There are very many types of make-up brushes available in the market – but the true art is finding ones to suit your make-up bag.
We asked the experts to match the products you have with the brushes you actually should be using.
Make-up artists are expected to have shed-loads of expensive professional brushes (and designer make-up) in their kit, but the biggest question most beauty fans have is whether they should you buy cheap or expensive tools?
"You don’t need to spend loads of money in real life, though. I use cheaper, synthetic brushes too and I think you get just as good a result," says celebrity make-up artist and Barry M ambassador Adam Burrell.
1. Beauty blender
This weird-looking sponge, (and its dozens of clones) is used damp for blending base products.
Some make-up artists love it as an alternative to traditional brushes, others think it’s a gimmick.
"Personally I think it’s better as a finishing product than an applicator," says Adam. "If your base is looking cakey, a quick blend will make your make-up look more like skin."
2. Foundation brush (medium/full coverage)
Fuller coverage foundation looks best when you have a brush that’ll let you buff in circles until you’re left with a lovely airbrushed finish, says celeb make-up artist Victoria Bond. (PS: It’s great for powdering too.)
"Use the brush to work the base outwards from your nose and cheeks where you need more coverage,” suggests Victoria. “Some make-up artists will then buff with a separate fluffy brush – personally I’ll just use the warmth of my hands to smooth everything in."
3. Foundation brush (BB/CC or light coverage)
If you only use a brush to apply one product, make it foundation, says Adam.
"It’s the best way to layer lightly and get that flawless finish everyone wants. You'll also use less product and save money.’
4. Highlighter fan brush
Cream strobing sticks are best slicked on and just blended with fingers, but if you love delicate shimmer brick-style powder highlighter, Adam recommends a fan brush.
"They pick up the tiniest amount of product, so you apply precisely to the cheekbone and brow bone."
5. Concealer brush
For dark circles, Victoria applies liquid concealer with a small flat brush.
"I’ll then pat concealer in with fingertips – the warmth gives the smoothest finish."
The same flat brush is perfect for getting cover-up onto spots, but you’ll need something to press it in and blend edges.
Francesca adds: "Fingers shift concealer, so use either a round, fluffy eyeshadow brush or a Beauty Blender."
6. Bronzer or blusher brush
Never use a giant brush to apply bronzer.
"You just end up looking either muddy or sparkly," says Francesca Neill, make-up artist and ambassador for Collection. "You need an angled contour brush to put bronzer exactly where you want it – where the sun hits the face for a healthy glow, or under cheekbones to accentuate contours."
The same brush is also perfect for all types of blusher.
7. Eyeshadow blending brush
Shock! There’s no sin in using those little foam applicators. "While they’re not as good as a small flat brush, they’re OK for getting powder eyeshadow onto the lid," says Adam.
But he adds, "You really DO need a small, fluffy blending brush to get a beautiful, blurred-out finish."
A little fluffy brush is also brilliant with cream eyeshadow sticks: just scribble on a winged shape, blend the edges out and you’ve got a 10-second smoky eye.
8. Liner brush/brow shaper or spoolie
Some pros use a super-fine pointed liner for feline flicks, but make-up artist Francesca reckons a small angled brush is easier to glide precisely along the lash line and is more versatile.
She adds, "I also use it for filling in brows, defining lips, highlighting inner corners of eyes and applying eyeshadow to the lower lashline."
To make it more multi-tasking still, Victoria recommends getting a double-ender with a spoolie (a bit like a pipe-cleaner) for brushing through brows and lashes.
9. Brush cleaner
Make-up artists need to keep their brushes pristine 24/7, but you don’t have to be so scrupulous if you’re only using them on yourself.
"I’ll spritz my personal ones regularly with a brush cleaner, but I’ll only wash them weekly," says Francesca. "Wash them daily if you have spots, though, you don’t want to spread bacteria around."
10. Full brush set
If you're an avid make up user then a cost-effective way to get all the tools you need is to invest in a full brush set.