If assembling a makeup repertoire wasn’t confusing enough, there’s the wide world of makeup brushes to deal with. Brushes aren’t something like a primer, or a setting spray, where you can convince yourself that it’s an indulgence. They’re an essential tool to helping you get your makeup looking the best it can be. Though we all wish a sponge could fulfil all our needs, a Beauty Blender just can’t quite nail eyeshadow.

Makeup brushes aren’t easy to shop for, though. The various sizes, shapes and functions will incite some serious FOMO* as you trawl online shops, perhaps leading to either a total meltdown from confusion, or buying more than you need.

To help you through this challenge, here are 5 of the essential makeup brushes you really need to get started. If you don’t fancy these brands or price-points, just bear their general shape and bristle type in mind before scouting for a more budget-friendly dupe elsewhere.

*FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out

Sigma Beauty F80 Flat Kabuki Brush

A flat-top kabuki brush is essential for applying liquid or cream foundations, or other base products. While sponges tend to soak up product, dense brushes tend to allow for full coverage application, and they use a lot less product.

S$35. Available at Sephora.

Hourglass Brush No. 3

An eyeshadow brush like this allows for applying colour to the lid, but its tapered, thick head also lets this double up as a brush to layer colours on your crease. The bristles are also synthetic hairs, which makes applying metallic or creamy eyeshadows far easier than it would be with natural hair brushes.

S$59. Available at Sephora.

Poni Cosmetics Pro Brow Brush

If you use cream brow products, a double-ended brush like this Poni Cosmetics gem is a must. This brush in particular works great with brow pomades or powders to sketch out the shape you desire, because the brush end is stiff enough to draw straight lines. You can even use it for eyeliner. The spoolie end is also fantastically handy for blending out any harsh lines, and making your brows natural, instead of block-ish.

S$15. Available at Poni Cosmetics.

13rushes x Larry Yeo Universal Do-It-All Face Brush

Local makeup brush company, 13rushes, collaborated with prolific Singaporean makeup artist Larry Yeo to craft this multitasking face brush. The bristles are dense enough to apply cream face products, whether it be foundation or blush, and are slanted at an angle so you can sculpt your face perfectly when contouring. The brush is also fluffy enough to seamlessly apply powder products, making it ideal for setting your face. If you can only have one face brush, make this the choice.

S$39.90. Available at 13rushes.

Zoeva 228 Crease Blending Brush

A fluffy, tulip-shaped eyeshadow crease brush is essential for buffing out your eyeshadow, making sure everything is seamless, and that there are no harsh lines left to spot. The Zoeva brush is a relatively wallet-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on durability, and application prowess.

S$18. Available at Sephora.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.