These Are the 10 Makeup Tools Everyone Needs, According to Pro MUAs

These Are the 10 Makeup Tools Everyone Needs, According to Pro MUAs

Assorted makeup tools: two brushes, blue lash tape, and eyelash curler


In This Article

Lash Curler Beauty Sponge Powder Brush Double-Sided Eyeshadow Brush Concealer Brush Foundation Brush Makeup Pencil Sharpener Lash Tape Stippling Brush Beauty Scissors

Whether you put makeup on every single day or only wear it on the weekends, it’s vital to have proper makeup tools—from brushes to sponges to scissors—to get the look you want. And if you bought a brush set years ago and don’t even know what half of them do, we’re here to tell you it’s time to edit your collection down to a few powerhouse tools. The difference a beauty sponge and foundation brush can make is honestly astronomical, and we promise it will make getting ready even more fun. We asked three pro MUAs all about their favorite go-tos when it comes to makeup tools, and their answers are sure to take your makeup game to the next level. Ahead, see the 10 makeup tools everyone needs in their arsenal, complete with tips on how to use them.

Meet the Expert

  • David Razzano is a professional makeup artist and the beauty director at Sephora.
  • Natalie Dresher is a Miami-based celebrity makeup artist who has worked with the likes of Dylan Mulvaney, Remi Bader, and Gia Giudice.
  • Tisha Thompson is a makeup artist and the founder of LYS Beauty.

01 of 10

Lash Curler

Eyelash curler on textured background


You’ve likely seen Alix Earle’s viral eyelash curling technique, and if it scares you as much as it frightens us, you’ll be glad to know that you don’t need to practically lift your eyes out of their sockets to get a good curl. In fact, all you need is a great lash curler—and yes, the brand matters, as we’ve found that some simply don’t work. If you want your lashes to appear lifted and stay in place all day long, the right eyelash curler is going to do the trick.

“A great lash curler is a must-have if you want to make your lashes look lifted and longer,” says Sephora beauty director David Razzano. “The Shiseido Eyelash Curler ($25) is a longstanding icon in the beauty industry. The shape and design of this curler is phenomenal at lifting all types of lashes to their highest peak. It fits all eye shapes without pinching the skin.” MAC’s Half Lash Curler ($25) is another option we love for when you’re trying to get the best curl on harder-to-reach, shorter lashes.

02 of 10

Beauty Sponge

Beauty blender sponge and container on textured background


We don’t know how we ever survived without beauty sponges—they're one of the best ways to up your makeup application game by easily blending any product. For a more seamless, your-skin-but-better look, this tool is key. And no, a beauty sponge won’t absorb all of your product: Instead, it evenly disperses it across your skin, allowing for a more natural look.

“As a makeup artist, I am always using beauty sponges to blend foundation, contour, highlight, cream, blush—you name it,” shares celebrity makeup artist Natalie Dresher. “The AOA makeup sponges ($10) are my most-purchased Amazon item ever. They’re a great dupe for the Beautyblender ($20) and you get a pack of six, allowing for frequent swap outs—how many months have you been hoarding your beauty sponge for?—leading to bacteria-free and breakout-free makeup applications.”

03 of 10

Powder Brush

LYS makeup powder brush on textured background


If you’re using a liquid, cream, or serum foundation, setting it with powder is key to making your makeup last, and a good powder brush will make even more of a difference. Whether you’re going in with a translucent powder to set or using a shade that matches your skin tone as your foundation, a fluffy powder brush will become your best friend.

“Whether you gravitate towards liquid or powder foundations, having an allover powder brush is crucial,” says makeup artist and LYS Beauty founder Tisha Thompson. “It can be used to set products down, or for touch-ups throughout the day. With these brushes, the fluffier, the better, because the goal is not to add coverage, but to evenly distribute powder—both pressed and loose–evenly on the skin. I always recommend the LYS Beauty Powder Brush ($15) and also love the Saie Fluffy Setting Powder Brush ($26).”

04 of 10

Double-Sided Eyeshadow Brush

Double-Sided Eyeshadow Brush on textured background


If you don’t wear much eyeshadow and stick to a simple bronzer in your lid with a topper (we’re looking at you, Urban Decay Space Cowboy, $24), you really don’t need to have a million different brushes. That’s why we love double-sided brushes so much, especially when it comes to eyeshadow. Not only do they free up space, but they’re super user-friendly.

“When it comes to eye makeup, there are tons of options,” Razzano shares. “You need a basic eyeshadow brush and a smaller detail brush—so why not get them in one? The Merit Brush No.2 Double Sided Eyeshadow Brush ($20) is dual-ended. One side is a soft, fluffy brush for sweeping on eyeshadows and blending out the edges, and the other side is a small precision detail brush to create graphic lines and shapes.” Rose Inc’s Number 8 Dual-Ended Eyeshadow Brush ($28) is another solid option.

05 of 10

Concealer Brush

Concealer Brush on textured background


A concealer brush isn't necessary for everyone as you can absolutely get away with using your fingers or a beauty sponge. Still, when you’re looking for a bit more coverage without creasing, having the proper brush is a necessity.

“The under eye is such a complex area filled with fine lines, whether you have wrinkles or not,” Dresher says. “This area crinkles up due to smiling and facial expressions, and the skin in this area is just generally thinner. Having the perfect concealer brush allows for optimal coverage and application. The doe foot brush ($24) from BK Beauty taps on concealer for the ultimate coverage and allows the makeup to melt into the skin rather than sit atop it.” Hourglass’s Vanish Seamless Finish Concealer Brush ($39) is another game-changer that users love for its precision.

More Beauty

06 of 10

Foundation Brush

Foundation Brush on textured background


When we saw Glamzilla’s recent viral video using Make Up For Ever’s 108 Brush ($36)—a repeat sellout—we went on a hunt to find the next best thing, and we found several. A foundation brush is great for those who prefer brushes over beauty sponges, and finding the right one will make your base look absolutely stunning.

“This will become your best friend for creating that complexion base,” Thompson tells us. “I recommend products that work well with both cream and liquid foundations without absorbing too much product, like the Foundation Brush ($15) by LYS Beauty. The bristles are densely packed, which blends product onto the face in seconds.” For another option, try Rare Beauty’s Liquid Touch Foundation Brush ($29) to seamlessly build and blend your complexion products.

07 of 10

Makeup Pencil Sharpener

Purple Urban Decay makeup pencil sharpener on textured background


If you use eyeliner, lip liner, or even brow pencils (check out some of our faves of the latter), having a good sharpener in your stash will be a game-changer. The key here is to look for ones that are precise and won’t tug at your products, leaving them flaky and sharp, and Razzano agrees. “Many makeup products are pencils, which means you’ll need a great sharpener for best results,” he says. “The Urban Decay Grindhouse Double Barrel Pencil Sharpener ($12) is a classic—I have had this tool in my kit for years now. This is perfect for standard-size and jumbo pencils—it will get you a sharp point in just a few turns.” The NARS Pencil Sharpener ($7) is also effective and a great budget option.

08 of 10

Lash Tape

Two rolls of blue eyelash tape on textured background


Winged eyeliner can be notoriously tricky to get right. Achieving a straight, concise wing is already hard enough, and getting a matching one is next to impossible—until you try lash tape, which makes cleanup easy and is pretty foolproof when it comes to creating the wing of your dreams. True to its name, you also can place it beneath your eyes when applying false lashes to protect your skin, or even use it to catch eyeshadow fallout.

“If you are struggling to create a wing or a crisp angle when applying eyeshadow, the Jassins Eyelash Tape ($7 for six rolls) is your new best friend,” Dresher says. “It’s super affordable, gentle on the skin, and incredibly easy to use. Tear off a piece, angle it up from your lower lash line, and follow up to your eyebrow. Now you can create the sharpest wing or shadow line of your life in two seconds flat.” Lash Apothecary’s Soft Hold Blue Med Tape ($11) will also help you achieve the precise makeup look you want.

09 of 10

Stippling Brush

Makeup stippling brush on textured background


Another brush style we love to use in tandem with liquid and cream formulas is a stippling brush. This is an especially great option for those who prefer a more skin-like, "no-makeup makeup" finish. Since these brushes are less dense, they're a great choice for blending and creating a customized finish.

“Stippling brushes, or complexion brushes with less density, are a great addition to any collection for achieving a natural, light-to-medium coverage finish,” Thompson says. “Reserved exclusively for liquid or cream formulas, stippling brushes give you total control over the intensity of your complexion products. In the era of ‘no-makeup-makeup,’ that’s priceless. For stippling beginners, I love the Refy Duo Face Brush ($24) because it gives the best of both worlds with a stippling and buffing end.” If budget is your priority, the e.l.f. Cosmetics Domed Stipple Brush ($7) will help you quickly achieve a well-blended finish.

10 of 10

Beauty Scissors

Pair of beauty scissors on textured background


Last, but certainly not least in our roundup of makeup tool essentials is a good pair of scissors—and not your run-of-the-mill house scissors. Instead, look for a small, precise pair made specifically with beauty in mind. Whether you need to trim your brow hairs, facial hair, or even customize the length on your falsies, trust us when we say scissors are a necessity, even if you don’t use them every day.

“Having a pair of nail scissors or mustache scissors in your makeup arsenal is a must,” Dresher shares. “They’re so useful for opening products, cutting tags, and other steps in your getting-ready routine, but also a must when applying lashes, which almost always need to be trimmed. Measure the lash to the eyelid first, and trim off any excess that may droop the eye down instead of creating the illusion of a lifted, snatched eye—then, apply.” Tweezerman’s Stainless Steel Nail Scissors ($21) and Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Scissors ($23) are both precise, reliable options for all your beauty needs.


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