Brush up your makeup routine

Beauty Contributor and Cancer Survivor Elfreda McGowan joins us today with a post on makeup brushes – if you wonder why you need them and where to start, or, if you’re a convert but want to know what’s new in the world of brushes, this post is for you.

A cancer diagnosis can be a time when you really think about overhauling a lot of things in your life, so why not add some makeup brushes to your daily makeup routine, to make life a bit easier and help you feel more confident about your look?

Today, I thought I’d share some of the best makeup brush sets available, especially for beginners. I think a lot of women look at large sets of makeup brushes and haven’t a clue what a lot of the brushes are used for, so I’m going to concentrate on some of the best sets that keep it minimal, are good value, enhance even the most natural makeup looks and are durable and easy to use.

Even if you are used to just slapping a bit of foundation from the back of your hand with your fingers, or applying your eye shadow with your fingertips, I guarantee that with a little bit of practise, you will find that you get so used to using brushes, that you can be just as quick at applying makeup with them, and you will definitely start to adore the finish they give – from your foundation buffing on more evenly, to being able to blend different eye makeup looks with no harsh lines. All in all, just creating a more polished look and also, you will also find you don’t finish your products as quickly, as you will be less inclined to over-apply.

The following are some of the best sets available for beginners or those who want a fast but effective makeup finish.


The Basic Betty Brush Set, €35 from

From their website, I found the following information about the brushes included and their individual uses:

AYU Duo Fibre, Angle Blush/Contour Brush, Fluffy Eye Shadow Blender & Angle Brow/Liner Brush

AYU Duo Fibre: Hand-crafted, the Duo Fibre brush allows you to buff foundation onto the skin. It distributes products evenly, creating a totally flawless, air-brushed finish. It works really well for women with acne, open pores, or scarring because it doesn’t push the foundation into the pores, (and therefore highlight imperfections), but instead gently brushes over them. It can be used with powder, cream and liquid products making it an all rounder!

AYU Angle Blush/Contour: Hand-crafted, the angled brush has soft, round edges. It has been designed to give a soft flush of colour to your cheekbones, as well as a healthy glow to the apples of your cheeks. It can be used with powder products such as blusher, or a matte bronzer on the cheekbones for a perfectly blended contour.

AYU Blender: These are AYU’s brand new Blender brushes. Redesigned, these beauties have been hand-crafted to ensure the perfect cut and shape, set on a rose gold ferrule with their signature navy handle. It has a soft, fluffy brush head to give you a gentle application of colour, to soften harsh lines or to apply your transition colour to the crease. It is also perfect for application of highlight onto the brow bone or cheek bones. It is also perfect for setting under-eye concealer as it gives a perfect light coverage of powder to prevent any creasing. It is best used with powder products.

AYU Angle Brow/Eyeliner: This brush is loved by Ireland’s Top Makeup Artists. Hand-crafted and made with synthetic fibers, it features a super sharp, slanted edge to create a smooth application of product to create the perfect line or flick. This brush, with its super sharp shape, is ideal for creating the perfect brow too. It can be used with powder, cream, gel or liquid products.

AYU Navy Brush Wallet: The AYU soft navy makeup wallets are the perfect way to keep your brushes safe and clean. The wallet can hold 8 brushes so lots of room for other AYU brushes too!


Crown is another company who provide excellent makeup brushes for makeup artists and enthusiasts alike. Their 613 7pc HD Makeup Brush Set costs €36.99. This set is available on and from their website; I found the following information:

HD Brushes have been making a big impact in the beauty industry to work alongside HD photography and filming. This 7 piece brush set is a combination of quality, dense Nylon bristles for precise application which are perfectly adapted to the new generation of cream and liquid makeup, and are becoming increasingly popular with professional makeup artists. Used with powder shadows, they pick up smaller quantities of product, producing extremely subtle effects for a flawless high definition finish. The 7 piece set comes in a patent case with a Mixing Palette and Spatula.

The HD Set includes one of each of the following:

1x Powder

1x Foundation 1x Blush 1x Blending Crease

1x Oval Shadow 1x Pointed Liner

1x Double Sided Spatula

1x Metal Mixing Plate

1x Patent Case

Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas have an excellent website and offer more excellent brushes and brush sets. Their 5 Piece Set #2 with Travel Case, currently available for the sale price of €40 from their website covers all bases, is ideal for the beginner and also comes in a handy travel-sized case. The following information is taken from their website:

The 5 Piece Set #2 is a 5 piece brush set made up of a mix of natural and synthetic super soft, high quality brushes.

This set contains 5 super soft brushes and a faux leather travel case:

F20 Buffer Brush in Hot Pink

F22 Dome Buffer Brush in Metallic Purple

E27 Mini Detailer Brush

E26 Blending Brush

E30 Double Ended Brow/Spoolie Brush

The 5 Piece Set #2 is ideal as a starter kit or as your travel makeup essential. This set has all your bases covered with a mix of face and eye brushes. Makeup on the go has never been so easy.


Lastly, I love Sigma Brushes available from They ship to Ireland and if any of you have ever heard how expensive but excellent MAC makeup brushes are, in my opinion, Sigma are as good, and an excellent more affordable alternative.

I love the Basic Face Brush Kit 5-PIECE SET for $58.10.

The following is taken from their website:

Get the 5 classic face brushes you need for foundation, concealer, blush and powder in SigmaTech® fibers that won’t absorb and waste product.

Brushes included in this set:

F30 Large Powder Brush: Evenly powder all over the face

F50 Duo Fibre Brush: Create an airbrush effect with blush, highlight or bronzer

F40 Large Angled Contour Brush: Softly contour the cheekbone with blush or bronzer

F70 Concealer Brush: Conceal with precision around the nose and eyes

F60 Foundation Brush: Smooth on liquid or cream foundation

So there you have it, some of the best brush sets available on the web. Why not treat yourself, or dare I say it, add it to your Christmas wish list!

In June of 2017, Elfreda found out she had breast cancer, it was a terrible shock but she faced it head on. She has completed chemo, radiation and the drug Herceptin. Elfreda is a professionally-trained makeup artist and beauty therapist, she has vast experience in makeup and beauty and broadened and refined her skills working in salons in Dublin and London. She has worked as a makeup artist for well-known brands, most recently, Georgio Armani, and also works freelance, taking part in shoots, weddings and other special occasions. Her passion for all things makeup and beauty-related, and love of helping people feel good about themselves, has her very excited to be able to share her knowledge with the readers of Happy Magazine.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.