My favorite make up brushes

I have been asked so many times if the make up brushes you need to use has to be expensive for it to be good.

The answer is NO.

There are a lot of drugstore brushes that are cheap but really good. And there are high end brushes that are expensive but not good.

First, let’s talk about where make up brushes come from and how different they are from one another. Make up brushes are made of animal hair. But there are brushes that are synthetic. I am talking about brushes that are made of real animal hair.

Let’s take for example a goat or lamb (this is just an example). There are different types of hair that are taken from different parts of the body of an animal. The very soft ones that comes from a certain part of the body of the animal are the very expensive ones. These kind of hair will go to manufacturers of brushes that make expensive brushes. Example, the Chikuhudo brushes. Chikuhudo brushes is one of the most expensive make up brushes in the market. They are very good and made of the best hair.

The next batch of hair from a different part of the body of an animal will go to for example Chanel brushes. It’s still soft and good quality and still very expensive.

The next kind of hair will be not as soft anymore and still expensive nontheless will go to for example NARS or Bobbi Brown.

And then the not good part where the hair are coarse and scratchy will go to the cheapest brushes, the drugstore brands.

That’s how they are ranked and priced. But they come from the same animal but harvested from different parts of the body.

But still it’s no guarantee that it will be good. On the consumers end you need to know how to use it. You need to know which brushes to use on certain parts of your face. And you need to know how to take care of them to make it work to it’s full potential.

And this is where you determined if the brushes you use are good.

Expensive brushes last longer. You don’t need to change your brushes every now and then like the cheap ones. In the end you can save more if you invest in good expensive brushes.

For me I buy expensive brushes because I want to use expensive brushes on an expensive brand of make up. I cannot dip a drugstore brush on a Chanel make up or use a cheap brush on a Tom Ford makeup or a Charlotte Tilbury.

But I do have a lot of drugstore make up brushes. And they are really cheap but good.

Here are my favorite make up brushes. High end and drug store.

Let’s start with my first set of brushes that I owned way back in early 90’s. It’s one of the most expensive brushes and up to now I am still using them. That’s how long they lasted.

Shu Uemura Make up Brushes


During the early 90’s you don’t really need an extensive set of brushes not like now. This is my very set of brushes that I bought in Hongkong way back in early 90’s Shu Uemura #20, #14, #10 & # 6 OB. It has lasted this long and I still use it up to now. See, this is what I mean when I said expensive brushes last longer.

High end Make up Brushes

In no particular order.

Please excuse the brushes that I haven’t wash yet. That means I am using them as I was writing this post.

Tarte Make Up Brushes


I love these brushes. I love that the handle is made of bamboo. The bristles are very soft and dense. My favorite in this set is their buffer brush. Second from the right. I use this for applying my foundation. My next favorite here is the spully and the eye brow brush. The one on the top most bottom. Those are my top 2 favorite in this set. But I love every single brush in this set.

NARS Make up Brushes


My favorite in this set is the Ita brush (the flat one). This is NARS contour brush. One of the best contour brush in the market. Next are their blending brushes. The first 2 brushes on the left. I use this to apply eye shadow on the crease of my eyes and to blend my eye shadow. My next favorite is their Yachiyo brush. The 2 brushes on the right side. I use this to apply my highlighter and sometimes my blush.

Bobbi Brown Make up Brushes


These are my 2 favorite brushes in Bobbie brown. Their blending brush and their foundation buffer brush. I like their long blending brush. When you are blending your eye shadow you need to have long fluffy brush for it to blend well. And their foundation brush is very good when you buff your foundation.

MAC Make up Brushes


My favorite in this set is MAC 217 and MAC 219. The 217 is good for blending eye shadows and the 219 is their pencil brush that I use to apply for precise application of my eye shadow. Or to smudge my eye liner. If you notice I have 2 of the 217 and 2 of the 219. I love these brushes so much that I needed a back up.

I am also beginning to enjoy their oval brushes. The big oval brush I use to apply my foundation. It applies my foundation evenly and has a good grip handle. The smaller ovals I haven’t use yet. It’s suppose to be for applying eye shadows, concealers, eye liners, etc.

Chanel Make up Brush


This is my only Chanel brush. This is their powder brush. But I used it as setting brush, bronzer brush and blush brush. Actually you can use this brush in so many different ways.

Make up Store Brush


Make up Store is a good Swedish brand. I got this in early 2000 in Singapore. In Asia Make up Store brand is only available in Singapore. But this is one of the best high end European brand. I have their eye shadows and their blushes . Like Chanel this is the only brush I have of Make up Store. This is their powder brush and it lasted this long and up to now I still use it. I use this as brush blush, for setting and for bronzers.

Sigma Make up Brushes


I love this whole set. Every single brush here is my favorite. Claudia gave this to me a few years ago as a birthday gift and I was so happy when she gifted this to me. I’m not really sure if this is a high end brush. I guess it is in between high end and drugstore. Sigma is one the best make up brushes that all beauty gurus love.

Laura Mercier Make up Brush


I only have 2 Laura Mercier make up brushes. Their flat foundation brush and their eye make up blending brush. Both I love.

Stila Make up Brush


Like I said I love long fluffy blending brush. When I saw this in the Stila counter I grabbed it right away. It makes blending my eye shadow so much easier.

Estee Lauder Make up Brush


The sales lady in Estee Lauder counter convinced me to buy this when I was buying their Double Wear foundation. This is their foundation brush.

Drugstore Make up Brushesย 

In no particular order

Real Technique Make up Brushes


Like Sigma I love every single brush of Real Technique. This is one of the best or not the best drugstore make up brushes.

Elf Make up Brush


My favorite ELF make up brush is their stipple brush. You will know if I really like the brush because I buy back ups ( I have 2 stipple brush back up). I also like their blush brush. The stipple brush I use it to apply blush, bronzer or highlighter if I want a light application. ELF brushes are so cheap but this is one of the drugstore brand make up brushes that is good.

The Body Shop Make up Brush


These are my two favorite The Body Shop make up brushes. Their eye shadow blending brush. I also bought a back up. I love that it has a fat handle for easy grip.

The Balm Make Up Brush


I have to admit that what drew me to The Balms make up brushes is the packaging. I like that it is colorful and I love the font they use. It’s so fun! There are also cute drawings under these brushes. And these brushes are good, too.

Sephora Make up Brush


Sephora make up brushes is more expensive than the normal drugstore make up brushes. It’s not only more expensive than the normal drugstore brand but hard to find. They are always out of stock. Everytime I go to Sephora they always ran out of the brushes that I want. My favorite is their smudger brush. Second brush from the left.

NYX Make up Brush


I love NYX make up brushes. My favorite is their stipple brush and their foundation brush.ย They have a whole range of make up brushes like ELF.

H&M Make up Brushes


I first discovered H&M make up brushes in H&M Hongkong. I picked up their buffer brush and I was so shocked when I used it ’cause it was so good! When H&M opened in Manila sometime last year I was so happy that they carry their make up brushes here. My favorite is their buffer brush. I like it so much I picked up back ups. I also love their eye shadow blending brush and I also picked up back ups.

So, there you are my favorite make up brushes! There is one brand that I am dying to get hold of. The Zoeva make up brushes. This is available in Europe and I have a hard time ordering them online. One day. It will be in my hands!

My favorite make up brushes 2016.


  • I go for synthetic brushes since I’m personally for ethical treatment of animals. I’m glad that H&M carries makeup brushes that have received glowing reviews! Thank you for the tip, Ms. T. I’ll head to H&M soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi Tina, my first set of brushes are from mac and nars (old version). I have been using these for a long time and was fairly content. When I discovered Youtube, I started trying Sigma and Real Techniques which were also ok. As i got more serious, I started investing in makeup brushes. I remember buying Shu and RMK a month before I got my Suqqu and Hakuhodo brushes. Barely used, I put my Shu and RMK in storage. I have recently sold them together with all my other brushes. Those brushes I sold were all good (I read alot before I buy but I mostly buy online so sometimes I never get the chance to feel the brush). What made me stop using them? As i got older, my face started getting sensitive and what used to be ok with me for a long time (like the mac 217) felt so scratchy. I found a substitute in Hakuhodo for the mac 217. What’s left in my kit? For foundation I swear by the beauty blender. I have kept the sigma buffing brush but depending on my skin condition, it can emphasize my dry patches (i used to have oily skin but it’s now transitioning to combi/normal). For powder, blush and contour, i use haku, suqqu, rae morris and chikuhodo. For eye makeup, i use haku, chiku, rae morris & paula dorf. I dont use lip brushes. I do have a piece of tarte, sephora, wayne goss, mac, etc here & there. You are right expensive doesn’t mean better. If my skin is not that sensitive now, I wouldn’t mind using my old trusted mac. I have two holy grail brushes: suqqu eyebrow brush (i have to draw non-existent brows and this has made my routine faster and i keep a backup of this) and suqqu blush brush (more for softness than function, i have seen lisa eldridge use this on powder, blush, contour and even on cream products. I do not dare. I only use this for blush). Thank you for letting me share. I don’t have friends who are into this like me.

    • Wow! Your brushes are the top of the line which are hard to find! MAC brushes can get scratchy too. I must say among all the brushes I have used the Shu ones are the only ones that doesn’t get scratchy over time! I find NARS scratchy.
      I used Beauty Blender once in awhile. What I don’t like about it is it eats up my foundation. For me it’s better to use it dry when I use to blend my under eye concealer. Cos if I use it wet or damp it soaks up the product.
      I’ll try to get hold of Chikuhodo and Hakuhodo brushes. I have been wanting to buy but it’s hard to get from here. I know these are the top of the line brushes. Wayne Goss and Rae Morris are also good too!
      Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      • Hi Tina, I was fortunate that at the time i was buying my brushes, our family frequented Japan. Some of my Haku i ordered in their website in the US and had it shipped to a US address and my friend brought it home. Some i got in Haku’s counter in Takashimaya Singapore. Suqqu is present in most higher end dept stores on Japan, i think they are also present in Bangkok and London. Chiku is only available in one store in Tokyo. It’s in a normal building in Ginza so you really have to sadya. Napatingin tuloy ako sa brushes ko. I have kept my Real Techniques contour brush. It’s part of a set, if not I would have gotten more. I like to use it on my undereye concealer and cream contour. Have you seen the new higher end Real Techniques brushes? I only have the one for cream contour. Soso lang. I have also kept my mac 239 (the best for me), mac 242 for denser eyeshadow placement and mac 168 (i dont want to spend money anymore to replace this with a haku). Wayne i ordered from beautylish and had it shipped to a US address. Wayne naman my friend ordered in Australia for me. That’s all. Haha. Sorry for the long narrative.

    • Oh wow! Really? Is it a big store or just a counter? That’s really nice to hear. I love Make up Store. I have been to Podium like 3 times only and the last time I was there was in 2007 – 2008
      Thanks for the info!

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s