Looks like everyone is doing some kind of a compilation post right now as we are heading towards the end of 2013 so I thought I'd go with the flow and do it, too! I did my MAC lipstick collection yesterday (my lips are still a bit red and sore by the way!) and today I'm doing something a little less painful and that is a review of some of my most used blush brushes. :)
I own way, way, way too many brushes! It's like, whenever I hear someone raves about a certain brush, I feel like I have to try it, too. It used to be bad – I used to buy a few (or more) at a time and multiple times a week. It was a really bad habit (on top of buying makeup itself) but now I'm glad I'm not so crazy like I used to anymore. These days I'll try to wash them when I run out of brushes to use instead of buying new ones! :D
They are a good investment, though. Start with the right tool and it will make your makeup a whole world different. I don't think you need the most expensive ones, what's more important is they should fit the shape and size of your face and be able to perform the task or help create the look you are looking to achieve. Sure, there are times when I'd dream about owning a Tom Ford, Suqqu, or Hakuhodo brush and I'm not going to assume that what I have are comparable to those, and maybe one day I'll own one, but for now, I'm pretty content with what I have. :)
My five most used blush brushes
Shu Uemura 20 Brush
The smallest brush of the five but its performance is nothing but small! :) The black lacquered handle is shorter than the rest but it has a good balance and it's really easy to hold especially if you have small hands. I love how the ferrule is always shiny even after countless washes! The bristles are silky soft and made of pony hair and while the brush head is pretty small and flat, it allows for the most precise application when depositing the color to the cheek. The bristles pick up a perfect amount of pigment and fan out just a bit on the skin to deposit color and blend simultaneously (amazing how it works). I sometimes use it to apply highlighter as well as the small size fits perfectly on top of my cheekbone.
BUY ▶ US$50 | Shu Uemura
Real Techniques Blush Brush
The largest brush of the bunch. The handle is pink aluminum and it can stand up on its own because the end of the handle is flat! How neat. :) The bristles are made of synthetic taklon and are big, fluffy, and bouncy. The way I use this brush is to brush the tip of the oval-shaped bristles on the surface of the blush, transfer the pigment to my cheek and then buff it in. It's not made for precise placement of color but it does wonder at buffing and diffusing, no harsh lines guaranteed. I sometimes use it to apply powder and bronzer, too. Another good thing about this brush is the bristles dry super quick and retain the shape well. No need to ever use brush guards with Real Techniques brushes. :)
BUY ▶ US$8.99 | Drugstore.com
Bobbi Brown Blush Brush
The longest brush of the five! I really have no idea why they feel the need to make the handle so long. I suppose as you hold it further away from the ferrule, you are depositing less pigments on the cheek, creating a light layer of color (my assumption). That, or the long handle simply positions your hand out of the way so you can see what you're doing. Either way, it's a bit inconvenient to take with you on the go because it doesn't fit most makeup bags/brush cases. But what I like most about this brush is the size and shape of the bristles – it's perfection! They are made of pony and goat hair – so soft – and dense just about enough to pick up the right amount of color and blend it in evenly on the cheek. The head is tapered so you can either use the flat side to pat on the color or the tip to create a defined application.
BUY ▶ US$50 | Sephora
MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush
This one is a true multitasker! Meant to be used as a contour brush but I find the angled shape of the bristles perfect for applying blushes as well! And guess what, I sometimes use it to apply foundation, too! You wouldn't believe the coverage it gives – my skin looks almost airbrushed-like! No streaky or cakey application here. When used to apply bronzer, it fits perfectly right into the contour of my face, making the application as easy as placing the brush on the cheek! :) The brush is really soft and made of goat hair and while I adore the white bristles, I find them to stain easily. They do not retain the shape well after washes either, so you do need to dry in a brush guard.
BUY ▶ US$35 | Nordstrom
Dior Backstage Cheek Brush
First of all, I have to mention that this version has been discontinued and replaced with the new, redesigned, angled version. I felt reluctant to include this in the list but it truly is one of my most used blush brushes and I think I needed to stay true to it. It is a big, fluffy brush in a traditional shape that applies and blends like a dream. The pony hair bristles feel luxurious and so is the look and feel of the silver handle. The bristles hold the shape really well after each wash, too, and while the brush may be a bit too big for a precise application, I think its fool-proof shape is perfect for everyday cheek color where you just swipe the color on, blend, and be done in a snap. I really adore this brush and wish they would have kept it permanent.
BUY ▶ US$46 | Discontinued but you can still buy it on Ebay and Amazon
So, that's it for my list. What's your go-to blush brush? :)