l-r: Real Techniques Buffing Brush, Ecotools by Alicia Silverstone Blush Brush, Real Techniques Multi Task Brush, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, Models Prefer Mystique Blush Brush, Real Techniques Contour Brush, Ecotools Tapered Blush Brush
Real Techniques Buffing Brush
I've harped on about this brush endlessly, including in my 10 Products I Would Repurchase and Best of 2013 posts. There really isn't anything further to say. It's the best foundation brush I've used and I rely on it most days I wear makeup.
Ecotools by Alicia Silverstone Blush Brush
It's lamentable this brush from a limited edition Ecotools by Alicia Silverstone 5 Piece Brush Set can't be purchased alone and isn't being produced anymore. It's ultra soft and fluffy, with a beautiful shape just made for the cheeks, it picks up product well, blends it seamlessly, and there's zero shedding when washed. I've flirted with many blush brushes in the last couple of years that I thought I liked (namely the Real Techniques one), but simply put, this one's the best.
Real Techniques Multi Task Brush
This brush from the Real Techniques Travel Essentials Set is the closest to the Ecotools by Alicia Silverstone Blush Brush I've found. It's actually a great substitute, though the Ecotools has a more tapered shape and this Real Techniques one is a bit larger. Along with blush, I normally use the Multi Task Brush for bronzer in an attempt to contour the cheekbones. It's a good size for my plump face and the shape strikes an ideal balance between control and softly blended edges.
l-r: Ecotools by Alicia Silverstone Blush Brush, Ecotools Tapered Blush Brush
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
Some would argue this is basically interchangeable with the Buffing Brush, possibly even the superior offering given its more rounded rectangle shape allows you to navigate the contours of the face better. I do appreciate how it performs as a Buffing Brush alternative, but my preferred use for the Expert Face Brush is to apply cream blush. It is the absolutely perfect shape for it, especially blending from the top of the cheekbones down. The thick, slightly firm bristles but relatively narrow shape diffuses product beautifully and doesn't turn your cheeks into a patchy, ruddy mess. It's excellent for cream bronzer/contouring as well.
Models Prefer Mystique Blush Brush
I was on the hunt for an angled blush brush from the likes of Sigma or MAC for quite a while, but managed to satiate my curiosity with this more affordable version from an Australian brand stocked at Priceline. Unlike all the other brushes featured here which are synthetic, this is the only one made with natural bristles. I like it for more pigmented blushes as the brush doesn't pick up too much product and it softens and tones down the colour when applied to the cheeks. Its primary function however, ever since I purchased NARS Laguna, has been in my attempts to contour my face. I'm not entirely convinced whether the angled shape really makes that much of a difference compared with something like the Real Techniques Multi Task Brush, but it seems to make the placement and blending just that little bit easier.
Real Techniques Contour Brush
One of the more versatile and underrated brushes in my collection. I mainly use it as my go-to highlighter brush (I much prefer it to the flatter and smaller Real Techniques Setting Brush for that purpose), but I imagine it'd work equally well for a broad range of uses, including contouring with both powder and cream products, more precise blush application, blending undereye concealer and spot powdering.
Ecotools Tapered Blush Brush
I initially bought this thinking it would be identical to the Ecotools by Alicia Silverstone Blush Brush, only to be sorely disappointed when I realised it was significantly flatter, more tapered, not as thick and fluffy, and larger in shape. I would have dismissed it as mostly a failed purchase, except I found it performs one function better than any other brushes in my collection: applying a light layer of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder over my foundation. My other powder brushes are these dense, rounded domes (like the Real Techniques Powder Brush or Too Faced Powder Pouf) which would be too heavy-handed and pack on too much product, but the relative flatness and floppiness of the Ecotools Tapered Blush Brush works to its advantage in gently dusting all over a fine finishing powder for that final, skin-perfecting touch.