I use my brushes incorrectly about 50% of the time. I know what type of brushes I need for which purpose, but I don't need 50 different brushes for each little thing I could possibly do. I do recommend, however, some basic brushes that are almost required to create any kind of look. I've never been able to find an "eyeshadow brush" or "packing brush" that deposited enough shadow for my liking, so I didn't include the one I've been using (it's a Sonia Kashuk one).
These are the ones I use the most. This picture is sideways and LJ won't let me change that, so let's go top to bottom.
- Sorta stiff "eyeshadow brush" - Sonia Kashuk. I use this to apply that light colour all over my eye and sometimes under. It evens out the red/purple on my lid and makes blending easier if that's what I'm doing that day. I tap it on my lid and then swoop it up to my brow.
- Stiff pencil brush - CiCi Fashion Brush .com. You are supposed to use these to smudge and line the lower liner, but I use it with this shimmery shade to highlight just under my brow and my inner corner (it fits perfectly). I occasionally use it to do a strong crease look or for its intended purpose on my lower lashline, but this is rare. It has natural bristles and I love it.
- Fluffy shadow brush. I use this brush for one reason, and that is to apply a shimmery shadow to my entire brow area which I should not do with hooded eyes like mine. Very rarely I use it to blend my crease out and up.
- Cone brush/stiff blending brush? - Sonia Kashuk. I only use this to blend my crease out and up. Since it's stiff, I also use it to apply more colour to my crease. The example Almay palette I've shown with these two brushes is irrelevant, I just like it.
- Fluffy dome/blending brush - CiCi fashion brush. This brush has blown out and is not very good quality. I should stop using it. I use it exclusively to blend out my crease to a very soft look. This specific brush tends to pull colour off rather than leave it and it's not that soft due to having synthetic bristles.
- Eyeliner brush - Ecotools. Got it at Walmart. 90% of the time I use this with the pictures eyeshadow to do my brows. When my hair washes out I use a more taupe colour, but I always use this very stiff brush: because it's a stiff brush, it gets in my brows nicely and fills them in. The other 10% of the time I use this to line my lower lashes, and usually with my brow colour. Ties things up nicely.
- Eyeliner brush - no idea who made it, I got it in a pack at Winner's. This one is thicker and softer. I only use this when I want a soft liner look, which is almost never. Mostly I use it on my lower lashes, but it's so wide that I have to be really careful not to get raccoon eyes from it.
The black on the pencil brush is from when I blended my crease after applying mascara because I'm stupid.
Closeup really shows how blown out my blending brush is. Be gentle!
The difference in thickness of my two liner brushes. The Ecotools one has been through a lot and still looks and functions really well! It's gotta be 7-8 years old.