According to an expert, you should be able to manage with just five.
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While sponges and even your fingers can help you create certain makeup looks, brushes still deserve a place in your everyday kit: They make applying foundation, concealer, blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, and more a breeze. With that said, you don't need a bag full of tools to pull off your favorite styles. According to Sigma Beauty global makeup artist Dani Schmidt, you need just five. Ahead, the brushes she advises working into your daily arsenal.

assortment of makeup brushes on blue and pink background
Credit: Iryna Veklich / Getty Images

Kabuki Brush

For foundation, Schmidt recommends a flat kabuki brush, like Sigma Beauty's F80 Flat Kabuki Brush ($25, dermstore.com). "It's perfect for achieving a flawless base with minimal effort and time," she shares. Thanks to their densely-bristled nature, these tools allow you to create a full-coverage, airbrushed finish sans patches or streaks. For the best results, Schmidt says to use the brush to stipple foundation (or cream bronzer) onto the skin in circular motions.

Angled Contour Brush

Whether you use it for blush, bronzer, or a defined contour, this style tool—like MAC's 168S Synthetic Large Angled Contour Brush ($37, nordstrom.com)—is a must. Look for an option with "super-soft bristles to flawlessly apply your powder blush in a foolproof manner," she explains. For flawless results, upward sweeping motions are best, she says.

Concealer Brush

While you might think that any type of brush or sponge is capable of blending away concealer, Schmidt says to think again; using the wrong iteration can result in caked-on base. For that reason, she recommends a concealer-specific brush—we like Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage Brush ($26, macys.com) for spots!—to expertly blend and buff cream and liquid concealers into place. "Stipple and buff with a light hand to create a seamless finish," she suggests.

Blending Brush

Whether you're looking to disguise a blemish or create a polished eyeshadow look, Schmidt says you absolutely need a blending brush, like Sigma's E25 Blending Brush ($16, macys.com). "You can pack shadows onto the lid," she says, before blurring them out.

Small Angle Brush

Last but certainly not least, you want to have a small brush on hand for brow products and eyeliner. "The Sigma E65 Small Angle Brush ($15, dermstore.com) is my go-to," says Schmidt; we like Morphe's M165 Angled Liner/Brow Brush ($5, ulta.com), too. "The small, but firm angled brush head is ideal for creating lines and strokes to fill in brows, whereas the thinness of the brush makes it perfect for lining the lash line with gel, cream, or powder products." When accentuating arches, Schmidt says to dip your brush into the formula before applying it vertically, flicking the tool into the brows to mimic tiny hairs. For liner, turn the brush horizontally to darken the lash line with precision.

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