I was cleaning out my brush collection and realized I have accumulated a lot over the past few years! I wanted to come up with a list of my favorite types of brushes and share that with you, so you don't end up like me with a few dozen unused brushes.
The majority of my brushes are from Sigma Beauty and MAC, but there are a few rando brands in there. I would suggest starting with the Sigma brushes though, because they are relatively inexpensive and are GREAT quality. The brushes are just as soft as MAC brushes, maybe even softer, and there is more of a selection to choose from. I have also heard that Sedona Lace brushes are pretty good, but I don't own any so I cannot compare.
Since we are in the holiday season, a great way to improve your brush collection would be to ask for one of the Sigma brush sets as a gift. There are tons of sets to choose from; you can get an essentials kit that includes eyes and face brushes, or you can get a more specific kit for either eyes or face. I personally would love to own the Mr. Bunny Kit, but I need to save up a litte more first!
Eye Shadow brush
I use the MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush to pack color on my lid, smudge shadow under my eyes and place shadow in my crease. This is definitely a multi-purpose brush, even though it was created just for placing color on your lid. The Sigma E55 Eye Shading brush is very similar to the MAC one.
Small Tapered Blending brush
I really like this type of brush because the small taper makes applying color/defining your crease super easy. You are also defining and blending color at the same time. I have both the Sigma E45 and the MAC 226 (limited edition from the MAC Me Over collection, but they are EXACTLY the same), and use this brush on a daily basis to apply crease color. This is different than a normal blending brush, such as the Sigma E25, because it creates a more defined line. It also differs from a stiff dome blending brushes (Sigma E35 or MAC 217) because those apply color more lightly.
Fluffy Blending brush
I love my Sigma E40 Tapered Blending brush. It's amazing at blending out all eye shadow colors once they've been applied to the lid and crease. This ensures that there are no harsh lines around my eyes after using my tapered blending brush.
Eye Liner brush
This brush is great for smudging eye shadow under the eye or on the lid. I mostly use this after putting on eyeliner. I will go over the eyeliner with eyeshadow on the brush. I have the MAC 219 Pencil Brush; the Sigma equivalent is the E30 Pencil.
Angled Buffer Brush
The angled buffer brush is one of my absolute favorites. I use it to apply my setting powder, which is the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in medium dark. The reason I like this type of brush so much is because I can sweep powder across my face lightly, or use the flatter top to pack it on more heavily. Something about the brush also makes me feel like I have more control than if I were using a large powder brush or rounded buffer brush. The kabuki brush I use is from the Kirkland Signature 10 Piece Cosmetic brush set purchased at Costco. I do not recommend buying this set since the only brush I use from it is the angled buffer.
I use the MAC 129 Powder/Blush Brush. This is the perfect size for applying powder blush to the apples of my cheek. It picks up color nicely and I only need to do one or two swipes.
Optional: Liquid Foundation Brush
I label this as an 'optional' brush because normally I don't use a brush to apply my liquid foundation. Some people don't want to use their hands because they're afraid they'll get dirt and oils from their hands on their face. Well, I say, just wash your hands first! Seriously, when I apply liquid foundation with my hands I always get the most natural looking finish and it doesn't even look like I'm wearing foundation!