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My Top 9 Favorite Makeup Brushes

By Sheila Arkee

Although I own approximately 1,000,924 makeup brushes, there are a solid 9 I reach for on a consistent basis.

 top 9 favorite makeup brushes

These are the work horses of my life as a beauty blogger, the brushes that have seen me through application after application, always staying true and not shedding or breaking after being used and cleaned several times during the week. To maintain the integrity of the brush, I wash them after every application, dry them overnight, and store them in a brush roll.

One thing is for sure, I’ve sure come a long way from the lone Maybelline eyeshadow brush I picked up when I first started learning how to do makeup. Or, let’s get real, from sponge tip applicators!

Here are my top 9 favorite makeup brushes.

1. Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush

 Oh, my this brush changed my life. I mean, there was a major life improvement when I started using this around the time I was dealing with a major case of hyperpigmentation. Your skin looks like your skin and not a mask of makeup. A must and just $25, which seems like a huge bargain.

2. Real Techniques Blush Brush


When I first received this brush I was scared of it – it seemed like clown-like blush was guaranteed, but nothing of the sort. Just a soft diffused blend of color exactly where you need it. This brush is positively lovely.

3. MAC 168 Angled Blush Brush

This is what I use to contour and apply bronzer/contour color on my face. It is super soft and blends beautifully. I know some have used this as a foundation brush, which it’s also great for.

4. Sephora Pro Airbrush #57 Concealer Brush

This brush gets so much love from beauty fans, and no wonder, because it’s fantastic! A worthwhile investment.

5. MAC 217 Crease Brush

There is a much cheaper dupe from Coastal Scents available which you should totally get because it’s AWESOME. I have about 10 of these brushes and want more, because they’re that great for blending and also for applying cream products on your lids.

6. MAC 242 Flat Brush

I have yet to find an exact dupe for this brush which is what I love for applying color to the lid. Just “pat, pat, pat” on your shadow for maximum impact.

7. MAC 213 Brush

Small, fluffy, and cute, this brush is great for applying color to the browbone, the inner eye,  and for finishing up a good blend.

8. MAC 239 Brush

For the longest time I did not get the hype about this brush, but over time have come to rely on this soft, multi-purpose brush which does everything from apply color to the lid to blending out color in the crease. Wet n Wild does make a comparable brush, but it’s far scratchier than this dreamboat.

9. MAC 263 Small Angled Eyeliner Brush

This is what I use for applying product to my brows, and it’s also a good one for gel eyeliner.

And, a treat! I’ve been promising a return to YouTube for so, so, so long, and even have a few short videos already done, but there’s no better time than the present! There’s a lot of talking with my hands and the sound of brushes clinking, but hey, carpe diem! Here’s a short video with my thoughts on my top 9 favorite brushes. Enjoy!

What are your favorite makeup brushes?

  • BeautyJudy

    I have and love some of these brushes, as well! I love this post – it’s so true, as makeup addicts it’s easy to acquire a bunch of brushes…but I do the same thing, and reach for the same ones too!

  • Aleya Bamdad

    I have to admit that I tend to reach for my MAC brushes more than any other brands.

  • Norah Salazar

    MAC 217 is prob one of my most favorite ones.

    I have many favorites but I’d say I am a combination of EcoTools, Sonia Kashuk foundation and a lot of Bdellium Tools. I also have my Makeup Forever pro brushes that I do love.

  • Noelle

    Oooh, that UD Blurring Brush sounds all types of awesome!

  • Allison @neversaydiebeauty

    I’m bookmarking this post. I have a motley collection of brushes that are OK for a beginner like me. But I don’t own any MAC brushes. I will choose one that you recommended and buy it, probably the 242 flat brush since I would get the most use and bang for the buck with that one.

  • http://www.cosmeticsaficionado.com/ Cosmetics Aficionado

    I want to try the Urban Decay brush. I like that shape most for foundation application.

  • http://www.blushingnoir.com/ Brooke @ Blushing Noir

    I live for the MAC 239. As much as I say I need that UD brush I haven’t bought it yet! ugh

  • http://www.beautybymissl.com/ beautybymissl

    RT blush brush is in my wish list. My most used brushes are from Sigma and Real Techniques.

  • Anastasia

    That UD brush sounds like something I would love to try some day.

  • http://www.slashedbeauty.com/ Miranda Mendoza

    I also have the RT blush brush but it’s SO BIG I actually use it for transluscent powder.

  • Angela Sherman

    Taking notes – I need to new brushes!

  • http://www.phyrra.net/ Phyrra

    I picked up that WnW brush and mine is so scratchy :( I love the UD one

  • be likealady

    the Sephora design is so clever, having the package to keep it hygiene. And the real tech I have it, I am so happy with it.

  • Justina

    Totally bookmarking! I think I need the UD optical blur brush.

  • Cosmetic Sanctuary

    My favorite brush is BECCA The One Perfecting Brush!

  • FabZilla_Kath

    Great to see you in action. I love your curls! More vids pls!

  • http://www.mynewestaddiction.com/ Laura

    love your fave brushes! <3 <3 <3

  • http://www.cosmetically-challenged.com Melody Robinson Wright

    Ohh so now we know the secrets to your amazing eye looks! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://theplasticdiaries.com Kimmi @ The Plastic Diaries

    I just bought the UD one and I can’t wait to use it.

  • http://www.geniabeme.com/ Eugenia

    Yay! I subscribed to you! I love watching beauty bloggers on youtube!

  • http://beautylitfromwithin.blogspot.com Nidia Doherty

    That Real Techniques blush brush gets a lot of good buzz! I may have to check that out next time Ulta has a sale. Right now, my very fave brush is my Cover FX liquid foundation brush. Very soft and dense, and does a great job!

  • Betzy Carmona

    I really love my real techniques brushes

  • http://www.honeygirlsworld.com/ Honeygirlk

    I can’t help it – I love my MAC brushes. I’m headin gover to subbie to you now :)

  • BTBAshley

    You are totally relatable and camera friendly! Loved your quote at the beginning. I love my MAC 217 and my UD Optical Blurring Brush too!