I’m very serious about my makeup brushes. I truly believe that a good quality set of brushes is a longterm investment that will up your makeup game by leaps and bounds; not only making it easier to apply, but also allowing you to be more precise, and therefore get a more professional-looking finish.

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to opt for synthetic brushes for applying anything liquid, cream or wax. They’re less absorbent, easier to clean and more hygienic. For powders, go for natural bristles. Generally, they’re the fluffiest and gentlest on the face; and as they have a cuticle (like human hair) they really grab the pigment and hold on to it until you’ve put it where you need it to go. Having said that, Make Up For Ever‘s professional brushes are all 100% synthetic fibre and they are exceptional. They combine a balance of straight and wavy fibres in various densities that mimic the softest natural hair. I could have easily just chosen ten brushes from this range, they’re that good.

Not everyone will feel that they need ten different brushes, but it’s best to choose a specific brush for each application task. As a bare minimum, you need at least four: a large powder brush, a smaller fluffy brush for blush and bronzer, a flat eyeshadow brush and a smaller, domed brush for blending and precision application. For me, I add a few more to the mix: a firm angled eyebrow brush for eyebrow powder and under eye definition, a flat foundation brush, a fine eyeliner brush for liquid and gel liner application, and a fluffy multi-tasker which I can use for any touch ups whilst out and about.

If you look after your brushes correctly, they’ll last for years and be just as good as the day you bought them. I give my brushes a quick clean every time I use them, using Make Up For Ever Instant Brush Cleanser spritzed on a tissue, it’s literally a godsend. Once every couple of weeks, I use a mild shampoo and warm water to thoroughly get rid of any product buildup; once a month for powder brushes. Some makeup artists go as far as using conditioner on natural bristle brushes to keep them soft and extend their lifespan, whilst others believe that this over-softens the bristles and you lose definition when applying your product.

Click through the gallery for ten of my favourite brush essentials.

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