Makeup Brushes 101



Share the love

I’d say 100% of the time when I post a makeup video you babes wanna know what brush(es) I’m using. For me, just like when I’m cooking I need to have the right utensil to bring the dish together. Well it’s no different when applying makeup. No matter your skill level or how many products you apply to your face you need a few “staple” brushes in your beauty drawer. 

The Best makeup Brushes

Now babes, please don’t ask me why I have so many dang makeup brushes BUT I need them all LOL!! I am NOT a pro makeup artist but I think I finally get the importance of quality brushes. As with an artist your face is a canvas and to properly lay down your washes of color and pigment you need brushes that will assist in the application so get the finish you want.

What makes a ‘quality’ makeup brush??

The criteria I look for are: longevity, maintenance, feel and application. 

LongevityPlain and simple, how long (with proper care of course ahem) does it last.

Maintenance: Can the brush withstand weekly cleaning without losing the bristles and how  easy is it to wash?

Feel: Does it feel good on the skin? I don;t like no rough bristles on my face!! LOL and how does the brush feel in my hand?

Application: Does it work? Like does it enhance the product being applied??


My oldest brushes are from Sephora Collection, Sigma Beauty, and Bobbi Brown. My collection of brushes have been gifted to me over the years while doing various campaigns with brands meaning I’ve tried a fair amount of different brushes. Because I work with Sephora, I’d say over half my brushes are the Sephora Pro brushes and I LOVE them so much!! They are vegan and synthetic sold individually which is ideal IMO because you can buy only the brush(es) you need. Sephora also makes brush sets if you prefer to grab a starter set to get you going. Sigma Beauty also makes incredible brushes that you can buy individually. I find myself reaching for my Bobbi Brown brushes daily, especially when I’m traveling because they hold up incredibly well. 

Bobbi Brown Makeup BrushesMAINTENANCE

Thankfully all my brushes are easily maintained and keep on going including the Sephora and Sigma brushes. Right now I am also partial to Hourglass brushes because they are very well made and are super versatile and wash out beautifully! While these brushes are new to me, I have a feeling that they will end up lasting me a long time too. 


I have these funky shaped brushes that feel amazing from Artis. Literally drool over how the bristles feel on my skin. But I do not like washing them :// Unfortunately, they absorb a lot of the product so when I go to wash them it takes ages to get all the makeup out. OH and the rubbery texture handles get scuzzy. But damn baby they are SO SO soft and glide makeup on better than all my brushes!!  For me again, I’m really loving my Hourglass brushes because the bristles are soft and dense and the metal brush handle just feels good in my hand while I’m using them. OH and I must give an honorable mention the Patrick Ta double brush!! SO soft and lightweight – very well made too!


SO I just said Artis brushes have the best application IMO but in truth all my brushes do a lovely job in this category. 

My Favorite Favorite Brushes x Makeup Type


I have a full set of brushes from Bobbi Brown and they are hands down my favy when it comes to the smaller eyeshadow brushes and such. The bristles do it for me. I don’t do a ton of eyeshadow but when I do, I only use BB brushes. If you are a cream or gel liner kinda person, the BB brush is THE ABSOLUTE BEST!! You can do a foxy liner with eyeshadow or you can get a fine sharp precise line… and it is easy to use. It’s a must have IMO. 


When it comes to foundation I tend to use the brush that coordinates with the brand of foundation I’m applying at the time. It makes sense to me that naturally the best brush for the job is the one designed to be used with the actual product.  BUT if you are looking for the best bang for your buck I gotta go with Sephora Collection Pro brushes especially for foundation.  You can literally get a brush based on the level of foundation you prefer. For example #56 is my ride-or-die medium coverage brush. It has medium density bristles and makes application a breeze. But wait hold up, the Refy brush is INCREDIBLE for light foundation applications. It has these super soft feathery bristles that make my skin look airbrushed, but I only use it with lightweight serum-like foundations. 


I only use 2 blush brushes: Sephora Collection Pro #96 and the Hourglass Veil Powder Brush dual-sided brush. I use cream blush and I find that these 2 pick up the product the best and apply the product without blotches. 


Listen, I need a light feather-like touch when I’m applying highlighter, especially creamy ones.  Which is why I primarily use my Sigma F42 Strobing Fan Brush. It delivers a perfect touch of highlighter I almost cannot f*ck it up!!! LOL!! I have oily skin so if I go overboard with highlighter I look not so great!! LOL!!


I used to be a total bronzer babe, now ehh I dunno. After I do a bit of contour I prefer to skip directly to blush foregoing bronzer.  BUT if I do apply bronzer I gotta use my Bobbi Brown Bronzer Brush. All of the BB brushes are phenomenal! Mine are definitely well loved and they feel and look great!!

How to Care for your Makeup Brushes

Now babes, nobody likes cleaning their brushes but ya gotta do it. It’s the chore I seriously dislike for some reason. Can you relate? Truth is bacteria likes to live on brushes!! I know, yuck, but that means when you are not cleaning your brushes regularly, as in daily or at the minimum weekly, you are putting your skin under risk every time you use your brushes.

  1. Quick Daily cleanser: I love love love using SigMagic foam cleanser for the daily spruce up. Not only does it remove bacteria and surface level makeup but it gets down in the bristles to deep clean any lingering pigments or foundations. Hold up, did I mention it’s all natural?!
  2. Deep Cleaning: For deeper cleaning the SigMagic Brushampoo is awesome! Yep, this one is an all natural too.  It gently and effectively removes all traces of makeup from brushes. I gotta say my Dr.Bronners Peppermint soap does a phenomenal job cleaning brushes too! When I don’t have the SigMagic Brushampoo on hand I can always count on my Dr. B’s to do the job.
  3. Makeup Brush Cleansing Mat: I’ve been using a brush cleansing mat for several years now, and I gotta say it’s a must for brush-wash-day! The different textures get between the bristles and gently remove build-up…and much faster than without one. AND please babes, use warm water when washing your brushes to assist the breakdown of the oils clinging to the bristles ;))

Makeup Brush Organization

  1. Michelle says:

    Thank you

  2. Shawonnica says:

    Yes, I love this blog about brushes. I use to use my fingers a lot, but I am into brushes now.


  3. Keishsam says:

    Great tips. Thanks

  4. kim says:

    can you share where you got the organizer from please?

  5. Tish says:

    Thanks for providing details on makeup brushes and how use and care for them. Do you mind sharing where you purchased the containers and display tray, they’re gorgeous!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2021 The Tennille Life LLC | All Rights Reserved

let's connect

I’m a clean beauty expert, a plant-based recipe guru, a fashion maven, and a mature black woman embracing my natural hair, silver streaks and all.

Welcome, I'm Tennille Murphy