a cute makeup holder filled with essential makeup brushes on top of a table
Photo: Sonia Roselli

I loved watching makeup-related videos at the beginning of my makeup addiction. I could spend hours watching the channels of Jarmaine from JLovesMac1 and Leesha from xSparkage, fascinated by the amount of makeup products and makeup brushes they have in their collections! Of course, as time went by, I realized that you don't even need most of that product. Actually, there are only a few essential makeup brushes that you need, especially when you're just starting out.

In this guide, we are going to unveil the five must-have makeup brushes for beginners, and I will also provide you with all the necessary knowledge to pick the very best makeup brushes for your beginner's kit. Let's begin?

How to Pick a Good Makeup Brush?

Before picking your first five essential makeup brushes, it's crucial to understand how to pick a good makeup brush. Quality is essential, as it plays a significant role in achieving a seamless and polished makeup look. Here are a few main factors to consider, when buying makeup brushes:

  • #1. Bristle Material: 

First of all, look for brushes with soft, synthetic bristles. Synthetic bristles are not only cruelty-free but also work well with both liquid and powder products. They're less likely to trap bacteria, making them a more hygienic option, Plus, synthetics are more durable, so you can clean makeup brushes with no fear.

  • #2. Brush Shape: 

The shape of the brush should match with the purpose. For instance, flat brushes are great for applying foundation, and layering color, while fluffy brushes work wonders for blending eyeshadows. Pay attention to the brush's shape to ensure it suits your makeup needs. If you see that a makeup brush doesn't hold its original shape, or has too many stray hairs, the brush won't serve you well.

  • #3. Handle Length: 

Brush handles come in various lengths, and it's a matter of personal preference and makeup brush anatomy. Longer handles provide more control, while shorter handles are ideal for travel or precise application. My personal favorite – a medium-length brush with a chunkier handle. I believe that they feel most comfortable in the hand.

  • #4. Price Range: 

High-quality brushes can be quite an investment, but they're worth it in the long run. However, there are also affordable options available that offer excellent performance for beginners. For example, Real Techniques offers an essential makeup brush kit perfect for beginners for a very affordable price. Another popular drugstore brand for beginners is e.l.f. with its range of high-quality goodies that don't break a budget. Try balancing your budget with the makeup goals you plan to achieve.

collage infographics with five essentials makeup brushes for beginners and their names

5 Essential Makeup Brushes for Beginners You Will Actually Need

Now that you're armed with the knowledge of what to look for in a makeup brush let's explore the five essential brushes that every beginner should have in their makeup kit.

‣  1. Flat Eyeshadow Brush (Small or Medium-sized)

The flat eyeshadow brush is a staple in any eyeshadow application. It features a flat, compact shape with dense bristles, making it ideal for applying eyeshadow to the eyelid precisely. The small-sized brush is excellent for detailed work, like packing eyeshadow onto the inner corners or lower lash line, while the medium-sized version is versatile for all-over lid color application. But, you'll actually need only one brush, reloading it with eyeshadow color in between the applications.

Its flat surface ensures that eyeshadow pigment is evenly distributed, creating a smooth and intense color payoff. Whether you're aiming for a natural look or a classic smoky eye, the flat eyeshadow brush is your go-to tool for precise eyeshadow application.

‣  2. Blending Brush for Eyeshadow

The blending brush is an indispensable tool for achieving seamless and well-blended eyeshadow looks. It typically features soft, fluffy bristles with a tapered or rounded shape. This brush allows you to diffuse eyeshadow colors, blend out harsh lines, and create transitions between different shades effortlessly. 

Blending brushes are your secret weapon for achieving that coveted gradient effect on your eyelids. They're perfect for softening the crease and ensuring your eyeshadow transitions seamlessly, giving your eyes a professionally blended finish.

two makeup brushes on top of an opened eyeshadow palette
Photo: Maria Camila Castaño

‣  3. Multi-purpose Small Synthetic Brush

A small synthetic brush is incredibly versatile and useful for various makeup tasks. Its synthetic bristles are ideal for applying cream or liquid products, like concealer, cream eyeshadows, lipsticks, or gel eyeliner. You can also use it to fill in your eyebrows and emphasize their shape with concealer. The small size and precise shape make it perfect for pinpoint application, ensuring that you can conceal blemishes, apply an eyeshadow base, or create sharp lines with ease. 

This brush is a true workhorse in your makeup arsenal, helping you achieve precision and detail in your makeup application.

‣  4. Angled Face Brush with Thick, Soft Bristles

Forget all those individual brushes for blush, highlighter, and contouring. All you'll need for starters is an angled medium-sized brush packed with thick and soft bristles.  Its angled shape allows for precise application, especially when it comes to contouring the hollows of your cheeks or highlighting your cheekbones. But, you can use it for blush and bronzer just as effectively, and even to apply powder onto your face.

Whether you're a contouring novice or a makeup enthusiast, this versatile face brush will help you define and accentuate your facial features effortlessly.

‣  5. Soft Kabuki Brush

The soft kabuki brush is a luxurious addition to your makeup collection. Its dense, rounded shape with ultra-soft bristles makes it perfect for applying and blending powders, such as loose-setting powder, bronzer, or blush. The kabuki brush provides a flawless, airbrushed finish by evenly distributing and buffing product into the skin.

Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of makeup applications, from setting your makeup to adding warmth with bronzer or a healthy flush with blush. It's a must-have for achieving that perfect, polished complexion. Pick kabuki with a flattened head for general purpose. Long-handled or short-handled brush – your call!


I believe that is it time for a small summary! Incorporating the five essential makeup brushes I mentioned above into your makeup routine will elevate your makeup game while saving you a ton of money, time, and other fuss. Remember, investing in quality brushes is an investment in your makeup results (but essential makeup brushes for beginners don't actually need to be pricey!). Pick only those brushes that align with your preferences and makeup style. Hopefully, this guide was informative and useful for you, lovelies, I'll talk to you again very soon!

Lots of love,