21 Brushes Makeup Artists Use On Set — & In Real Life, Too
Finding the perfect makeup brush is almost like Goldilocks and her three chairs... it takes a few tries, but eventually, you'll find a selection that's just right. So rest assured that the brushes makeup artists use on set are ones that give photoshoot-worthy results, every single time.
Foundation and powder brushes the most commonly used brushes because they're used to apply base shades, as the name indicates. The importance here — and for all brushes — are the bristles, so that product won't look streaky and uneven. Always take note of how they feel on your skin... and if you sense a tiny bit of irritation, steer clear. That doesn't mean that you have to spend a fortune on your collection, though (even though Chanel, NARS, and Bobbi Brown are among artist faves). Celebrity makeup artist Lilly Keys, who counts Dua Lipa and Alessandra Ambrosio as clients, recommends foundtion brushes from Sephora's line, as they're budget-friendly (which makes more space to buy two sets!), and work just as well as prestige ones. "They do a couple of different sizes and they're just so soft," she says. "Whenever I use them, my clients always ask me what brush I'm using — they love the feel of them."
Ahead, see the other brushes and brands that help artists paint Picasso-worthy work.
"This Chanel foundation brush is a bit denser and wider, but it really helps to apply a layer of foundation on the skin without wasting a bunch of product," Jenna Kristina, who works with Lais Ribeiro and Jasmine Tookes, tells TZR.
"I love the It Cosmetics brush," makeup artist Jamie Greenberg tells TZR. "It blends flawlessly so you'll never have a weird line of makeup — and it connects the skin to the makeup in the most natural way."
"I love that this brush is cruelty-free and blends seamlessly," Coleen Campbell-Olwell, who works with Kristin Chenoweth, says.
"I really love the Sephora brand foundation brush," Keys gushes of the arched tool.
"I love the Jenny Patinkin Powder Brush because it's so soft on the skin and deposits powder evenly," Greenberg says.
"I really love this brush. It’s super soft and feels so lovely on the face. The hairs are the softest I’ve ever felt," Kristina says. "It applies a light amount of powder... enough to take away shine, but not to take away the beautiful healthy glow that I always try to achieve in my makeup application."
Campbell-Olwell loves this brush for powder application because "the smaller shape makes it easy to get under the eyes, around the nose, and other parts of your face."
"Powder brushes can be tricky if they are too big and overpower the face," Terrell Mullin, a celebrity makeup artist who includes Angela Bassett and Serena Williams as clients, explains. "Not only does it feel amazing, but it’s also so sexy."
"I love the Bobbi Brown Blush Brush for large areas on the face, and for applying powder," Keys says.
Greenberg uses this brush for hard-to-get areas that you need to blend. "This brush is like a Photoshop tool," she says.
"The NARS concealer brush is my favorite because it’s wide and applies an even layer to the skin," Kristina shares.
"My favorite foundation brush is by Jay Manuel," Mullin says. "I love the brush because of its small handle — you are really able to get close to the face for a seamless application."
This brush is a favorite of Campbell-Olwell because "it blends out concealer easily without tugging." A tip for flawless application is to "stipple close to the bottom lash line with it since it's so soft," she adds.
If you want to precisely conceal your blemishes, Campbell-Olwell recommends this gorgeous pick.
"This brush feels like a tiny paintbrush and covers so beautifully," Keys says.
Fenty is the best of the best according to Mullin. "I really love how dense this brush is and how easy it makes placing the highlight right where you want it," he says.
In case you've never used a fan brush, it's perfect for adding highlighter. "It's easy to use and makes no mistakes," Greenberg states.
"I like using the Sigma Tapered Highlight Brush In F35 for above the cheekbones," Campbell-Olwell tells TZR.
This brush is a great option because "the dense bristles do not soak up too much foundation, and it blends out the product like a dream," Campbell-Olwell says.
"Smashbox does great budget brushes — they're just as good as super high-end lines and I love the striking red and black colored brushes," Keys says.