This post comes thanks to a recent request, so thanks Lorraine – I hope my favorite makeup brush mentions live up to your expectations! If you’re on the lookout for some new additions, or you just like hearing about what others use in their kit, then this is for you. And in the meantime, I’m already thinking about all the brushes I left out of this post, so keep your eyes peeled for a part two in the future. Enjoy!

it’s official these are my favorite makeup brushes
black handle makeup brushes

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Brushes can be used for things other than what they were designed for!
  • You can never have enough (or too many) makeup brushes.
  • The best makeup brushes can come at an affordable price, and they can also be very expensive!


click here to read the transcript!


Episode 38: Show notes

black handle makeup brushes

If you’re a professional makeup artist, I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say, “You can never have too many brushes,” or at least that’s what I tell myself!

I can never seem to have enough, yet I still have my favorites, my heavyweights. Some old, and some quite new. And the good news is that almost all of these are now made with synthetic bristles.

Foundation Brushes: The Power of Precision

When it comes to foundation brushes, I’m always on the lookout for those that offer exceptional precision and a flawless finish.
And at the moment, one of those is the By Terry Foundation Brush, known for its unique design and soft bristles that make blending liquid foundation a dream.
I’m also rather enjoying the Royal and Langnickel Omnia Bom 200 brush, it’s bristles have such a springy feel, its easy to use, and looks great too.

Skincare Brushes: A New Discovery

Believe it or not, I’ve only recently hopped on the skincare brush bandwagon, and boy, am I glad I did.

And come to think of it, I was inspired by My Kit Co’s creator James Molloy who I was lucky enough to see live at Nigel Beauty in LA, alongside Danessa Myricks. Both gave their own makeup demos, but it was during this event that James mentioned using this brush for skincare. And yep, I’m a convert. And the brush I’m talking about is the My Kit Co Flexi Face 0.20.

Oh, did I mention that James is the owner and creator of My Kit Co.? Well, he is, and I’m a massive fan.

Paired with Sonia Roselli’s Water Elixir, the Flexi Face brush has become a staple in my routine, thanks to its ability to seamlessly apply moisturizers and elixirs for that perfect glow.

Powder Brushes: A Touch of Softness

When it comes to setting powders or adding a touch of color with powder products, I reach for brushes that offer control and softness.

The Makeup Forever Straight and Wavy Powder Brush and Ray Morris’s Powder Brushes (all of them!) are my go-tos for achieving an airbrushed finish and perfecting the look every time.

Special Effects Brushes: Getting Creative

For special effects and painting, my favorite brushes feature very heavily from the Skin Illustrator and Bdellium SFX range these days.
The Skin Illustrator fine-line favorites excel in precision and help me paint so easily and effortlessly.

Not to forget the Bdellium special effects brushes, perfect for paint work. But that’s a whole post on it’s own. So let’s come back to that, shall we?

The Art of Application: Lip, Eye, and Cheek Brushes

Feeling lost in the sea of brushes for lips, eyes, and cheeks is common, but fear not!

I’ve curated a selection of my favorite tools to make your makeup routine a breeze. My Kit Co are making some of the most interesting and well thought out eye shadow brushes in my opinion.

From the My Kit Co Lip Brush for precise application to the Royal and Langnickel Omnia Eyeshadow Brushes for flawless blending, I’ve got you covered. And you can check out the full product list right here.

Freebie Alert: The Ultimate Sonia Roselli Study Guide

If you’re as entranced by Sonia Roselli’s skincare products as I am, I’ve got a special treat for you.

I know I mentioned using My Kit Co’s My Flexi Face brush for skincare products. I particularly love using it with Sonia Roselli’s Water Elixir, and if you’re new to me, you may not have heard me raving about Sonia before.

Well, I do love Sonia Roselli. And I find myself recommending her range to makeup artists that may just be overwhelmed by the seemingly growing skincare and skinprep knowledge they need to have on the job. To newbies who just don’t know where to start.

Sonia is the perfect starting place. Why? Because she has a streamlined (that is, pretty small, that is NOT overwhelming, right?) range of highly effective and reasonably priced skin prep products to keep you covered at work and for your self, too.

So all of this inspired me to put together this free guide for you, as a bit of an introduction into her products. To give you a cheat sheet for what each of them do. What they target, who they are suited to, and what they are made from.

And I basically did this because, well, I love her products, I know them, I know they work, and I know they can help you.

So, allow me to present my I Love Sonia Study Guide, a handcrafted introduction to the best skincare products to elevate your beauty routine (or your clients).

Okay, I hope you enjoyed this quick bird’s eye view into my love of makeup brushes.

Whether you’re just starting your makeup journey or consider yourself a seasoned pro, these brushes are sure to level up your beauty game.

Stay tuned for more insider tips and product recommendations on Five Minute Face Talk! See you in the next episode.

Click here to listen to this episode!


Episode Transcript

[00:00:00]: It’s those brushes that no matter what you’re doing, that you can’t help but look for because you just want to use them. You can rely on them. You know exactly what they do and that they’re going to come through for you, like that reliable friend you’ve had for 20 years.

Well, that’s how I feel about my old favorite. And today I’m going to share those with you because, well, you asked for it. So, thank you, Lorraine, for suggesting this concept.

It’s been so fun to indulge and put together my collection. So I’ll discuss some really good quality, good value for money, some high investments, and therefore long-term investments as we go through all of my favorite makeup brushes.

[00:01:07]: Alrighty, so let’s start with foundation.

Now, I definitely go in waves when it comes to foundation brushes, so in all honesty, it’s really difficult to pinpoint just one favorite. I do, however, love my By Terry Foundation Brush.

If you’re looking at it from side on, it has a flat top. It’s circular bristles, but it’s kind of concave. So the way that the product disperses when you apply it is quite interesting. But it’s lovely and soft and I love it.

[00:01:49]: I like to blend with it.

And another brush that I do also really like is the Royal and Langnickel Omnia BOM 200 Brush for foundation. It’s hard to describe, but it’s just really springy and it feels good in my hand, too.

Now, something that I’ve only recently started doing is using a brush for skincare, and it feels like I’ve been doing it my whole career. I’m so happy to have finally started doing this. But the brush that has become my absolute go-to for skincare, so for moisturizers mainly, is called My Flexi 0.20.
And I also love using it with Sonia Roselli’s Water Elixir, which I put into a little tiny bowl and just use it to spread straight onto the face. So thank you, Gabi, for that recommendation.

[00:02:42]: I’ve never forgotten that it was you who introduced me to the world of Sonia Roselli. And if you haven’t used her products, if you haven’t heard of Sonia Roselli and you’re a makeup artist or you love efficient and effective skincare products, oh, boy, I have some treats in store for you today.

But again, I’m getting off-topic, so I’ll tell you at the end because I want to stay focused, and stay in the world of brushes. But the My Kit Co My Flexi Face 0.20 is just amazing for skincare. I love it.

Okay, so now let’s talk powder.

[00:03:15]: So for smaller areas where I need a bit more control, I love the Makeup Forever. I think it’s called Straight and Wavy Powder Brush, and the number is 142.
I don’t know what it’s meant to be designed for, but I love to use it. Just sweep under the eyes where you might need some setting power, but not a lot. And the bristles are really soft, but they’re quite long as well, so you can lightly sweep away as much product as you like. I also love my Rae Morris. Well, I love all my Rae Morris brushes, but my powder brushes and the number 22, which is the typical sort of tapered, rounded shape brush, and number 21, which has a flat top but is perfect for buffing in products, it’s so beautiful. So hats off to Rae.

[00:04:04]: She’s up there in the high investment category.

And I also wanted to mention the My Kit Co My Buffing Powder Brush number 0.35.

I love this brush as I can buff away using it. And it’s a bit smaller than the large powder brushes, but I can also use it with a light kind of pressing motion or a stippling motion, and really work in products that way, too. Now, I’ve recently been using my new My Kit Co All-Over Lip Brush 3.3 for applying concealer, especially under the eyes and also on lip lines, which is one of my favorite things to do is use concealer to pretty much outline the lips.

[00:04:46]: It’s just that extra added definition, isn’t it? And I also love their My Buffing Concealer Brush for soft blending as well. And I suspect this brush could easily find itself sort of osmosing over to my special effects brushes because, well, it looks suspiciously like some of my favorite and most used paint brushes for prosthetics, but we’ll get to those later. I also like to use the Makeup Forever brush for spot concealing. It’s a very small, curved, bristle shaped brush, very standard looking brush that I can easily just pop on a little concealer buff, and blend it out in a flash without making a fuss. Just easy, reliable. Okay. Speaking of lips. Now, while I do love the My Kit Co My All Over Lip Brush 3.3 for the lips as well, the My Line and Fill 3.1 Lip Brush.

[00:05:43]: So the brush has an angled side, so this allows you to create your clean liner edge and then fill with the rounded side.

[00:05:52]: It’s so needed. And I don’t think I’ve mentioned how much I love their brushes just yet. And I’ve only recently become a bit of a convert in the last year or so, and I’m just kicking myself.

Why has it taken me so long to use My Kit Co brushes? Because they’re excellent.

It’s so obvious that they’re made and designed by a professional makeup artist because they’re just well thought out. They’re efficient, they’re well balanced, there’s a weightiness to the brush.

I love the solid handles and they’re just clean and simple. And the actual brushes are divine.

I also have to mention the Bdellium Retractable 557, which populates my brush kit really heavily because they are just so handy for onset work throughout the day.

[00:06:38]: Because they’re retractable, it makes it so easy. And it also means that I don’t end up with lipstick everywhere in my actor bag or on my top. I always end up with lipstick all over me.

And I don’t have to have gross lipstick-stained tissues wrapping up brushes in my kit, trying to keep the lip brush protected. So yeah, definitely Bdellium Retractable Lip Brushes for onset. If you haven’t used them, it will probably change your working day. And the My Kit Co lip brushes for the morning makeup application. Now eyes.

[00:07:12]: This is a hard one, eyes, because I have a lot of brushes and it really depends on the makeup that I’m doing, as I’m sure it does for you as well.

So I’ve chosen a handful of quite similar brushes, but they’re all equally my faves. So for a controlled and more dramatic contour line, or crease, as it’s called, I love the My Kit Co 1.6 My Smoothing Shadow, and I also adore their finer tipped, My Defining Crease 1.3, and basically any of Rae Morris’s eyeshadow brushes, because they’re all sublime, they’re just soft and fluffy and beautiful. They just blend like a champion. They make you feel really good.

And then for blending, or just for an even all-over wash of color on the lid, I love the Royal and Langnickel Omnia BOM 430, My Kit Co My Tapered Crease, which the number is 1.2S, and also My Soft Blender, 1.27S from My Kit Co.

And also wanted to mention Makeup Forever’s 242, and that’s called the wavy brush. So they’re just some of my favorite eyeshadow brushes.

[00:08:23]: For brows, I tend to use a lot of MAC Shape and Shade Tint pens.

But when I am using palettes like my Senna Brow Book or my Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyebrow Palette, I love to use the Makeup Forever Angled 270 and 172 brushes, and the Bdellium 760 and 763, which I can sometimes use for liner as well. If I need to do, like, a 1960s line when I need to control brows or to brush or dress the brows as well as deposit color, I love the Bdellium Maestro 764. There’s a blend of two different types of bristles in there, and one of the bristles is quite strong and stiff, so you actually have a lot of power in controlling the brow hairs. For contour makeup, I like to use the Royal and Langnickel BOM 120, which is just a soft and clean contour brush that I can easily create that shape under the cheekbone or jawline.
And speaking of cheeks, to create that lovely rosy glow depositing on the cheeks. I love Bdellium Maestro 940 and 944, depending on the size and control that I need.
And I also really enjoy the Makeup Forever 160.

[00:09:40]: And it’s not just because of the beautiful wood look finish of their handles, which I’m a sucker for, but it is a really beautiful brush.
And also the Royal and Langnickel Omnia BOM 110. But honestly, they’re so similar, and I have so many big powder brushes and cheek brushes that I just say, find your groove.

Find your one brush, and just go with it.
If you love it, just stick to it, because there’s a lot out there, so whatever works for you.

Now, I wanted to mention body brushes, because I have a couple of makeup brushes that I think I must have bought on location by elf. So they’re just simple elf brushes, probably from Target, and I think they’re called Flawless Face and Powder brushes, and I use them for bronzing on the body if I have to do the chest or arms or even just the hands.

And I also use a lot of puffs and sponges and sometimes even airbrush makeup on the body, so not using brushes on the body that frequently for me, but the elf brushes are great, and they are super affordable.

[00:10:42]: Okay, and now to special effects.

Let’s start with painting first. So my fine line favorites would have to be Skin Illustrator NR8 and NR10. They’re just beautiful tapered paintbrushes, and they just always work for me. When you put them into an ink, the liquid just forms the shaped hairs into this beautiful, fine point. And it just creates such organic, natural lines that it moves very easily as well. They’re such beautiful brushes.

And another of my favorite brushes to use for lines is the Sian Richards.

[00:11:17]: I think it’s called Arc Concealer #1. So I know that sounds a bit weird, but it’s a bit similar to the Mykitco lip brush that I mentioned, where it has one angled side which goes up to a tapered point.

And so you can use it to paint lovely organic lines and just give your work a really natural finish and also create more dramatic lines with it, too.
And there’s two different sizes, but the number one is my favorite.

And of course, I can’t talk paint and special effects makeup without mentioning Ve Neill’s Stipple Brushes. These are actually, I think they’re called Powder Brushes, but they look like stipple brushes, and they’re probably made from a goat or a boar bristle. And they’re like an off-white or a bone-colored brush. And I go everywhere with them.

[00:12:05]: I still have my original ones, which are over probably 15, 16 years old now. So the handles don’t look too flash, but they still work and they still come through for me.

If you need to paint a forehead piece and you need to paint it really quickly or you’re on set and you don’t have your airbrush, and you need to bump up the color of an all over appliance, these guys will do that for you very quickly. They just create such a natural dispersion of color on the skin or on the appliance that you can really quickly alter the entire shade or hue of a piece, they’re beautiful.

And in a similar vein, the Bdellium Special Effects Brushes in numbers 191, 193 and 195, which are called stipple brushes. And they’re going to do the same thing.
And I mentioned those because particularly the small and medium size are a lot smaller than the Ve Neill brushes.
So if you have a very small appliance, let’s say a nose tip or a tiny bridge of nose appliance, these guys will take care of that for you really quickly and just effortlessly as well.

[00:13:09]: Okay, let’s talk glue.

My favorite go-to large glue brush would have to be the Bdellium Large Glue Brush.

It’s got rounded edges, so you’re not applying with a square, blunt edge, although I do use those if I’m covering a large area in one go or pre-painting the inside of an appliance.

The Ve Neill Glue 4 brush is a great standard brush. It’s got black bristles, and I used that a lot on a team of wonderful makeup artists I was in recently.

We did a lot of old age stipple makeups, and we used these brushes to apply the stipple mix.

And boy, oh boy. While we’re on the subject, hasn’t old age stipple come a long way? I think about the olden days when I was a teenager and you would cook your Dick Smith old age stipple mix on the stove at home.

[00:14:02]: Oh, boy. We’ll have to talk about that sometime somewhere else, not today. All right, back on focus, Kerrin. Come on. Okay. Small glue brushes.

I’m a massive fan of the Skin Illustrator brush ranges, and not just the special effects ones, too. But I know I talked about the tapered paintbrushes.

[00:14:21]: But the GF series are my go to small glue brushes. They’re a lot shorter handles than a lot of the art brushes that you might use, and they’re just really easy to use, easy to clean.
They look nice, and I love them. I just bought myself a new set last year, and they’re still kicking on.

I’m sure they’ll go for many, many years to come. Now, for detailed glue work, I also use the Skin Illustrator GR Series as well as the Bent versions.

They just make gluing really easy, and like I said, they just look clean and crisp.

[00:14:57]: Now, I wanted to give a special mention to these. They’re not a brush as such, but they’re these small, yellow applicator thingies that I think are dental applicator tools, and they’ve become one of my favorite items that I must have when I’m doing special effects work.
Now, they basically have this tiny, rounded, soft end. It’s like a little tiny cotton ball on the end of a yellow plastic applicator, but it’s much firmer than a cotton ball. They’re like a microscopic Qtip, and they’re so useful if you have to lift up an edge, or sometimes you have to paint prosaide dots over things.

These are such versatile and handy tools to have in your kit. And if you do fx makeup work, you should definitely own a little set of these, and I’ll link to them in the show notes as well.

If you’re new to these guys, I’ll make sure I link to them for you. And another special mention is some of my favorite tools, which look like brushes, but they are actually silicon sculpting tools.

[00:15:55]: So the end where the bristles would be is actually a silicon shape, like a little cone shape or a wedge shape. And they’re just super handy to have in your kit for prep work. If you have to seal something with latex or dot latex or prosaide or a material over something, they’re just really versatile.

I use them a lot for hair work as well, and you can buy them in little sets with different shapes and sizes on the bristle end, but I’ll link to them all if you missed any of those things. Okay?

Now, if you’ve been listening, if you’re a good listener and you’re still paying attention and you’re keen to learn about the one and only Sonia Roselli, my undisputed queen of skin prep. I have fantastic news for you because I have put together the best freebie for you today. I’m offering you my I love Sonia study guide that I’ve put together especially for you today.

Of all the brands that I have come to rely on that I know that I love, it’s not everybody that I have done this for.

[00:16:59]: In fact, I’ve never done this before. So if you’re new to the world of Sonia Roselli, she is a veteran makeup artist in her own right. Although that word is probably way too harsh for someone as cool as Sonia is.

She has a very streamlined range of exceptional skin prep products that are so good. So if you’re totally overwhelmed by skincare and frankly, you don’t have the time to spend researching and reading up on every new product that seem to saturate our lives on social media, or if you’re looking for a product to solve a particular skin concern, then Sonia is the only stop you need to make.

So grab my guide and prepare to be transported and to never have to worry about finding another new skincare brand again. So sign up for my guide at and I can’t wait to introduce you to her line.

[00:17:57]: Honestly, her products are the best.

So that’s it for today. That was my little guide, my window into some of my favorite makeup brushes.

So I hope I’ve introduced you to something new, perhaps even a new brand that you haven’t had the opportunity to use before. Yeah, I hope you found something valuable in there, and I will see you next time.

[00:18:19]: Okay. Bye.

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