Professional tools are what help artists effortlessly create works of art that might otherwise be a struggle to reproduce in the exact same way. Even if you are a makeup novice, you will notice the difference in your everyday made-up face immediately with your new brush set. Patting lipstick on with your finger produces an immensely different effect from laying it down with a brush. Blending on cover-up underneath your eyes with a fingertip is a different experience from using a concealer brush. Don't take anyone's word for it. See for yourself.
Choose a foundation brush. You will be using this all over your face for applying base and other creamy products like moisturizer and all-over highlighter. Eventually, you may grow to favor using a sponge for these same tasks, but keep in mind that a sponge absorbs much more product than a brush does.
Look for a small brush with a flat head of synthetic hairs. This is a concealer brush. It is essentially a much smaller version of the foundation brush; you will use it to apply creamy products to small, concentrated areas on your face. Find one that fits the grooves underneath your eye for when you camouflage dark circles.
Feel the hairs on a selection of large, fluffy brushes to find one that you love on your skin. You will use the large, fluffy brush to set your makeup with powder and to brush away product fallout on your face. Smaller, fluffy brushes are for dusting powder blush on the apples of your cheeks as well as for brushing over your eye makeup to set it.
Decide which brushes you need for your eyes. There are many available on the market, but a few can be labeled essential. A small, angled brush with synthetic hairs is not only perfectly functional for lining your eyes with powder or liquid formulations; it is also helpful for shaping eyebrows with brow powder. The basic eyeshadow brush with a flat head of natural hairs is for stippling color on over the eyelid. A fluffy-haired eyeshadow brush with a round head is ideal for blending away the hard edges on your eyeshadow, such as when you need to soften your crease color. The choices are numerous, but even with these three for starters, you should be able to create beautiful eye makeup.
Buy midsized to large-angled brushes with natural hairs for defining your bone structure. These can chisel underneath your cheekbones, define your jawline, give a sun-kissed look to your temples and highlight the bridge of your nose.
Purchase a lip brush with a flat head instead of a pointy one for even color distribution. If following the outline of your lips with lipstick is your way of lining them, you would benefit from a pointy-headed lip brush as well.