tutorials & looks

Gimme Five Friday – Tools of the Trade Pt. 1!

If you are shopping for makeup brushes or tools, it can be very overwhelming. There are a TON to choose from. In the makeup tools category there are 322 options on Ulta’s website and 480 on Sephora! And that’s not including all those fantastic indie brands that sell direct from their own website.

So how the f%#k do you know what to get- what is worth the money, what you actually could use, what you need?? 


I have by no means tried everything out there, and almost all of my brushes are on the more affordable side- so I can’t speak much on the higher end (Although I am dying to try luxury brush options!). But these are my most used FACE brushes- ones I use day in and day out, and great basic brush shapes I would recommend to someone starting to expand or start their collection!

Flower Beauty Ultimate Powder Makeup Brush – $12.98

Ultimate Powder Makeup Brush by Flower Beauty (Drew Barrymore’s makeup brand!) is only available at Walmart. I use this one almost exclusively as my bronzer & contour/nontour blending brush. The dome is just angled enough when turned on its side, that it gets right under my cheekbone perfectly! And it is one of the softest brushes I have ever used. Definitely a great buy, and a great bronzer brush.

Real Techniques #103 Angled Powder

#103 Angled Powder by Real Techniques from the Bold Metals collection. I’M A TERRIBLE PERSON and I’m telling you about a brush you can’t buy anymore. This brush came in a 3 piece holiday set, that I found at Kohl’s on super sale, and this particular brush was exclusive to that set. BUT. I think my love for this brush is very telling of how the rest of the Bold Metals collection is, and there is a very similar brush still available. Another super soft, all over powder brush, but because I use the Flower brush for bronzer only, I use this one to set my face. It is HUGE and soft and beautiful and perfect and ….you get the idea.

Also – please enjoy my reflection in the brush handle.Reflection

Morphe Tapered Blush Brush

Tapered Blush Brush by Morphe I also got in a set, but that one is still available! And dirt. cheap. ($19.99 for the 10 piece set) The few Morphe brushes I have tried are really great quality, and after all the washing mine go through, none have broken or even shed. This pink didn’t even bleed out! This brush, as you’d expect, I use for blush. It is the perfect lil size to start small and blend out for a perfect flush. This whole set has some great pieces, and for $20? Chyeah- getchu some grrrrrrl.

Real Techniques Setting Brush – $7.99

Setting Brush by Real Techniques is one of those you don’t realize you need until you have it. I originally wanted this shape for help with setting my under eye concealer- but I  didn’t love it for that. But for highlight tho! It is the perfect size and shape to lightly dust on the top of my cheekbones for a subtle glow, but with the ability to build up the glam. (Funny thing is, I bought it in a set – do I get all my brushes from a set? maybe? Anyway, I got it in a set specifically for the Fan Brush that came in the set because I desperately wanted one for highlighter. But this brush is so much better at it!)

EcoTools Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush – $9.99

Recycled Aluminum Retractable Kabuki Brush by EcoTools was honestly a ‘what can I throw in my cart to get free shipping’ purchase. But it turned out to be a great purchase! First of all, the bristles are soft as all get out. On top of that, this is really like multiple brushes in one. When pushed all the way down, it can be an all over buffing or setting brush. Or even bronzer! But by pushing the base up a little, like I did in the photo, the bristles actually become more dense, and it becomes the BEST foundation brush for powder foundations. I start with it about mid way up when applying powder foundation. Then buff it all in with it on its ‘softest setting’. The versatility of this brush makes it a must have for me!

Bonus Tool!!

Beauty Blender – $20

A beauty sponge like the Beauty Blender or Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge has absolutely changed my makeup game. I do not have a photo of my BB because it is a sad, sad sight and needs to be replaced BADLY. I have used the ever living crap out of it. The Beauty Blender is in a league of its own, and I definitely think it is worth the $20 – although it seems absurd to spend that on a sponge. However, I have also really enjoyed using the Real Techniques sponge, which is only $6 – it seems to hold much more water and gets super soft – which isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing. Just different! Any other sponge I have tried aside from those two however, have paled in comparison.

These sponges are best used damp. I actually clean mine every morning before use (because why not clean it if it has to be wet anyway? and the thought of wet AND dirty kind of grosses me out..) After cleaning, I squeeze all the water out and wrap a paper towel around to soak up just a lil more. Washcloths have a tendency to leave lint and lil hairs all over. I like a fresh new towel every time.

Use damp, and DAB on ’em. Dab, dab, dab. If you want to take your foundation coverage to the next level, get yourself a beauty blender and dab that shit on. It leaves a flawless, streak-free finish.  I will also never blend out under eye concealer with anything but a damp sponge ever again. Once you dab, there’s no turning back.


If you are wanting to get a starter set of brushes, Real Techniques and Morphe are both great, affordable options that offer a wide selection and clearly a lot of sets 🙂 And don’t forget a sponge!

Stay tuned for part 2 AND 3 coming up in the coming weeks!!