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Start to Finish, All the Makeup Tools You Need

by Lexi Smith |

Anymore, every makeup brand has its own line of brushes but it doesn’t just stop there. They have multiple brushes for just one step. Leaving us confused and asking what brush is best for what.

From start to finish, I'm going to go over what tools to use for each step in my makeup routine, while also recommending some of my favorites along the way.


A rule that I loosely follow when doing my makeup is to use a sponge when the product is cream or liquid and then use a brush for powder products. Now, don’t be alarmed though, because there are some times where I completely throw this rule out the window.

I start my makeup routine by priming my face and just apply the primer with clean hands. It is super important for your tools to be clean, especially if you’re acne-prone like me. Not only should your hands be clean, but your tools should be clean as well. 

It is recommended by dermatologists that you clean your makeup tools every 7 to 10 days. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t have time for that. I’m proud of myself if I can get my makeup brushes cleaned every month. I think how often you clean your makeup tools should be relative to your lifestyle. 

To wash your makeup tools you’ll need water, a clean towel, and brush cleaner. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with our Pretty Lane It’s a BREEZE Brush Cleaner! To wash your makeup tool simply apply the cleaner to the tool and massage it into the tool underwater. Like you’re shampooing your hair, you’ll want to make sure to get all the cleaner out of the tool. After you’re done lay your tools out to dry on a clean towel. It will take your brushes about 3 - 5 hours to dry!


*Pretty Pro Tip: Set a reminder on your phone to clean your makeup tools, so that it doesn’t slip your mind. 

Next, I will apply my liquid foundation. And are you ready? I use a brush AND a sponge for this step. I love how fast and easy a brush spreads out my foundation, while the sponge really pushes the product into the face making the foundation look like a second skin. My favorite way to get a flawless foundation application is dotting the product on my face to then buffing it out with a kabuki brush. After I have the makeup evenly spread out on my neck and face, I will then go in with my damp sponge to blend out any brush strokes.

To dampen your sponge, simply squeeze it underwater and allow it to fill up. After the sponge is full, ring it out completely, so it is damp, but not sopping wet. I love dampening my sponge because then it doesn’t soak up as my product and the finish is more natural. 

How dense the foundation brush is will affect how much coverage you get out of your product. If you want a lighter coverage go for a less dense brush, while if you want fuller coverage from your foundation you should go with a denser brush.

For lighter coverage, I pick up my Sephora Collection Pro Core Diffuser #94. While, if I want a fuller coverage I pick up my Morphe M439 - Deluxe Buffer

For my sponge, I always go to our Pretty Lane Pretty Puff and use it damp when blending out my foundation. Although, if you want to know more about the other sponges on the market, Click here. Sponges are great because they blend out product beautifully without leaving stray hairs or brush strokes like a brush might.

*Pretty Pro Tip: If you're having trouble with your damp sponge lifting foundation off your face, put a small dot of your foundation on the back of your hand first. Then, bounce your damp sponge in the product a couple of times to get the product worked into the sponge. This will create a base on the sponge, so it doesn't lift your foundation.

After foundation, I go onto concealer which I blend out with that same damp beauty sponge I use for my foundation. And because we want our concealer to last all day, we will follow that concealer with setting powder. Remember, once you set something with powder though, don’t try to go back over it with liquid or cream. 

Now, here is when things get interesting. I prefer to set my under eyes with a dry sponge, so I like to keep two on hand. When I set my powders with a damp sponge it makes my concealer fall into the wrinkles under my eyes.

I only set my entire face with powder when I’m feeling super hydrated, which is next to never, but when I do set my face I always reach for my Dollup Beauty Magic Wand Skin Perfect Brush. Powder brushes should be big and fluffy so that you can distribute your powder evenly all over your face.

Not only do I used my Dollup Beauty Magic Wand Skin Perfect Brush for my powder, but I also use it to bronze up my skin. Like powder brushes, bronzer brushes should be big and fluffy as well, so your bronzer looks naturally sun kissed instead of smeared mud on your face.

Next in my makeup routine is my blush. It is most flattering to have your blush on cheeks sweeping backward. If your blush brush to be too big, you will end up with the whole side of your face flushed. This is why Dollup Beauty’s Get Even Blush Brush, is perfect because it is specifically made to be the right size for your cheeks and gives you an even application. If you need to know more about blush applications, Click Here.

Now, we’ve come to my favorite step, which is highlighter. Depending on the look I’m going for, I’ll choose different tools. If I want a natural from within glow, I will dip my damp sponge into my highlighter and bounce it on the high points of my face. If I want an intense glow, I’ll grab my Morphe M510 - Pro Round Blender to precisely place my highlighter on the high points of my face. Using a brush will hone the product in one place making it more intense. The brush for highlighter should be a little bigger than a fluffy crease brush.

For eyes, there are so many different brushes for so many different looks. On an everyday basis, though, I usually use a small fluffy brush to throw some bronzer onto my crease and a flat brush to pack a shimmery shadow on my lid. If you want to know more about eyeshadow, Click here. During the week I stick to my Dollup Beauty Angled Eyeshadow Brush to put eyeshadow in my crease and my Dollup Beauty Drop Shadow Brush to apply shimmery eyeshadow to my eyelids.

So there ya have it. All the makeup tools I use in my makeup routine from start to finish! If you need any help figuring out what brushes to use, I’m sure you’re not the only one. Grab some of your girls and book a Pretty Party with us!