Brushes That Won’t Make You Look Like Alex Mack

Disclaimer: I AM NOT A MAKEUP GURU. I only write about them in books.

One of the things that happens to my main character, Lacey, in The Intern Diaries, is she gets to work with Hakuhodo brushes. She’s incredibly excited about this (though things don’t go exactly according to plan…) The point is, I have never even so much as touched a Hakuhodo. They’re ridiculously expensive. But I’ve watched enough YouTube IMATS hauls to know the elitism of these brushes, and the emotions they evoke in the gurus that get to try them out, or even purchase one.

This video in particular stands out when I think of Hakuhodo, because it’s the first time I ever heard them mentioned. It’s at the very beginning, and Ingrid and Tanya just make the brushes sound so magical.

But I am perfectly content with the variety of brushes I DO own.

Everyone has their own method of applying makeup. I absolutely ALWAYS start with my foundation/bb cream and then move along to eyes while the foundation/bb cream sets. Once eyes are done I go back and do blush, highlight. Then I go back and curl my lashes (something I only mastered last year as it terrified me–still does) and then apply mascara. Lipstick/or gloss is always last.

Some people prefer to do eyes first, then move on to face so they can clean up any fallout from the eyes, but this has been my method forever and I’m comfortable with it.

Here are my most used brushes for when I do a full face of makeup. Most times i get my makeup done in 5-10 mins and keep it light, but this is my routine for any special event:



Left to right: my trusty MAC 239 shader brush (it packs the color on so perfectly), a Sigma shader brush is for any extra color I need to apply after I’ve used both sides of the MAC 239, then of course my MAC 217 blending brush which I use to apply crease color. The big fluffy Sigma is my favorite for blending. The gold brush is a Real Techniques detail brush for highlighting the inner corners, and the last one is a Smashbox eyeliner brush. The bent shape is supposed to help control the application, but liner is something I still suck at and probably always will. Applying liner takes me about five minutes of intense concentration. Per eye. I just keep it as close to my lashline as possible, I don’t tightline because I’m terrified of it, and if I wing it out I keep it small.




These are all foundation brushes. I tend to lean more toward the Real Techniques buffing brush for foundation, but if it’s dirty I’ll choose one of the others shown here. For the record, the Real Techniques line is by Samantha Chapman (half of the Pixiwoo sisters), a huge YouTube guru. I love her line because the brushes are soft, apply makeup beautifully, they clean really well, and they’re super affordable (and available in Ulta!)



These are my blush/highlight brushes. The two pink ones and the gold are Real Techniques. Left to right: a Multitask brush, which, as the name implies, is good for just about anything. I use it for blush usually, sometimes highlight. The stippling brush is great for cream blush or cream highlight. The whole idea with stippling brushes is that they pick up minimal product, so they’re perfect for anything super pigmented or creamy where you only need a bit. The center brush is my MAC 129 blush brush, and it’s super soft and applies my powder blushes perfectly. The green one is new, and it’s a Senna pointed brush. This is the closest I’ll probably ever get to a Hakuhodo, because it’s one of the softest brushes I own, and the pointed tip makes it great for small areas, like highlight. The last Real Techniques gold brush is another brush I use for highlighter.

Notice a pattern here? I love highlighters, and can’t have enough of them, nor can I have enough brushes to apply them. It’s an addiction. Remember that scene in the first episode of The Secret World of Alex Mack when she’s doused with the chemical that gives her super powers and she’s glowing gold? I still think that wasn’t glowy enough.

What are your favorite brushes?? Or your favorite guru who talks brushes?