There are as many different varieties of cosmetic brushes out there as there are types of makeup, but what if a six-brush maximum were imposed? What are the essential brushes that can help any woman create a flawless face? We turned to Make Up For Ever Director of Artistry LIJHA STEWART to get her tips on the best options for a pared-down tool kit.

Make Up For Ever Blending Brush #122, $48
Two lengths of bristles make this brush perfect for getting an airbrushed look for your foundation application, but its firmness allows you to build coverage on days you need a bit more makeup.

Laura Mercier Camouflage Powder Brush, $28
Tight, flat bristles make this brush perfect for applying concealer under your eyes and around your nose, giving you ample coverage to hide imperfections without the excess makeup you don’t need.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Brush Duo

Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Brush Duo, $18
In case you missed the news, it’s all about the brows these days, and this dual-ended spooley/angled brush combo can help you get the perfect bold brow. First, brush through the brows with the spooley, then fill them in with the angled brush. Last but not least, disperse the color up and out with the spooley to finish the look.

Make Up For Ever Double-Ended Sculpting Brush #158, $53
This convenient double-ended brush is all you need for the perfect cheek. The rounded end adds a rosy glow to your cheeks with powder blush, while the angled side takes the guesswork out of finding the contour of your cheeks when applying bronzer and highlighting.

Lancome Precision Shadow Brush #12, $26.50
If an eye-shadow brush is too large, it can be hard to control, putting too much shadow on your lids. But the firmness and size of this brush make it easy to get just the right amount of product exactly where you want it.

Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush, $42
Short, tightly packed bristles pick up powder without too much fallout waste, leaving your skin looking shine-free, yet natural.


Tender, Loving Care
According to Stewart, you should wash all your makeup brushes once a month, and use a product like Make Up For Ever’s Instant Brush Cleanser to remove bacteria and color. “I clean my brushes with a mixture of gentle soap, the Instant Brush Cleanser and cool water — and make sure not to get the metal ferrule wet, since that can loosen the glue and compromise the integrity of the tool,” Stewart shares. “Then lay them flat to dry overnight on a paper towel to absorb the excess water.” She also points out the importance of storing your brushes properly: “When you’re not using your brushes, don’t shove them in a bag somewhere — you want to store them in a brush holder or cup to protect the shape of the brush.”