I Had an Exhaustive Collection of Makeup Tools, but I Pared It Down to These 5 Brushes That Do It All

These multi-tasking brushes save me space and money.

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I Had 20 Makeup Brushes, but Pared Them Down to These 5 That Do It All
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Every two months or so, I try to downsize the copious amount of beauty products that reside on a five-tiered shelving unit in the bathroom. I'm grateful for and enjoy testing all of the makeup and skincare products that come my way, but if left unchecked, the perpetually incoming stream of products would take over my entire apartment.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had to go through my makeup brushes when the lucite cube that was housing them literally split at the corners. I dumped the cup out and counted at least 24 makeup brushes — which is truly unnecessary for someone who lives alone and is not a makeup artist.

There were a handful of brushes I quickly removed from my collection — ones like eye shadow brushes for intricate looks, lip brushes that I've literally never used, and more. I then pared down the type of brushes I use frequently — the ones for blush, foundation, finishing powder, etc. After repeated mix-and-match combinations and testing how multi-faceted a brush could be, I discovered that I only really need five to cover all of my makeup needs.

Anisa Angled Concealer Brush


Shop now: $28; anisabeauty.com

For liquid and powder concealer and foundation.

I only started using concealer this year, so I spent a while figuring out how I best like to apply it. While my fingers do the trick, my long nails make it difficult to apply precisely in small curved areas like my eyelids.

Anisa's Concealer Brush has soft, densely packed bristles that disperse product and blend it seamlessly into your skin. It's great for subtly yet precisely covering my T-zone in concealer or for applying foundation all over my face when I want an exact, pigment-packed finish.

Jones Road The Everything Brush

Jones Road The Everything Brush

Shop now: $40; jonesroadbeauty.com

For liquid and powder blush, foundation, concealer, highlighter, and setting powder.

This Jones Road Brush is great for pretty much everything eye makeup. The bristles are short and tightly packed into a wide, round shape that I like using for very controlled makeup application. For example, it works well with Rare Beauty's Liquid Blush — I can very deliberately blend the pigment out across my cheek exactly the way I want it. The way the bristles are packed I think also makes it very efficient. I find that when I'm using The Everything Brush, I inadvertently use less makeup.

Rose Inc Number Three Foundation Brush

ROSE INC Number 3 Foundation Brush

Shop now: $32; sephora.com

For tinted serums, tinted sunscreens, and foundation.

This is the brush for skincare-makeup hybrid products and/or any foundations you want to apply with a light hand to give you that no-makeup makeup look. These are the softest bristles I think I've ever felt and they're packed loosely into the handle. It is great for picking up light, watery, serum-like formulas and depositing them onto the skin without absorbing them, so I've found it especially useful for my growing collection of tinted serums.

Róen Beauty Everything Eye Brush

RÓEN BEAUTY Everything Eye Brush

Shop now: $32; credobeauty.com

For eyeliner and eyeshadow.

I wear eye makeup frequently in an ever-revolving rotation of styles, so I thought I would need more than one eyeshadow brush. That isn't the case, however, thanks to Róen's Everything Eye Brush. I use the narrow end for the corners of my eyes and my lash line, and I use the flatter, wider end for everything else.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Brush


Shop now: $49; hourglasscosmetics.com

For setting and foundation powders, blush, and highlighter.

Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Edit Brush is the accompanying tool for its celebrity-loved face palette but I've found that it plays well with literally any powder. One end of the brush has longer, looser rounded bristles, and the other end is shorter thinner tapered bristles.

I use the round side for setting and foundation powders and natural-hued blushes, anything where precision isn't required. I've been using the other tapered side for highlighter and bronzer.

It's a little pricey at $49, but it's pretty reasonable if you think about it as two brushes. The soft bristles don't make me break out, and the handle feels luxurious and heavy.

Your individual needs probably differ somewhat but I consider these five brushes to be a good set of staples that you can add to and adjust as needed.

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