The first makeup brush that I ever bought was the Prescriptives Powder Brush – it’s now so old that it’s actually the Prescriptives Powder “Bru”, as one eagle-eyed Instagram follower pointed out. I bought this brush (see photograph for general condition and appearance) because the makeup artist at one of my very first modelling shoots recommended it to me. I remember balking at the price – despite having always spent a fair amount on premium beauty, (even all of my part-time job wages as a teen) it seemed crazy to spend over twenty pounds on a brush! I’m pretty sure that it was £30 and that was just into the new millennium, so perhaps 2001?
Whatever: it was expensive. But the makeup artist (I can’t remember who it was, unfortunately, and I’d have liked to have thanked her for motivating this little beauty “initiation”) swore by everything and anything from Prescriptives and so off I popped to my nearest counter and bought the recommended brush: the extra-plush powder brush. And do you know what? It completely changed my makeup application – I had no idea about the importance of makeup tools before this moment, but when I swept on that bronzer? Well. It was almost a holy moment!
Before the Prescriptives brush I had been using those piddly little powder brushes that you sometimes get in cheap brush sets – a token “large” brush that is barely larger than the big shadow brushes I now use on my eyes. Either those or the free brushes that sat inside bronzer and blusher compacts – utterly useless. So having a full-size brush really did change the way that I did my makeup – I suddenly got how powder should be applied. (With a light hand and a large, plush brush, building up colour rather than piling it on all at once. No streaks or lines, just gorgeous washes of enlivening bronze and blush.)
Twelve years on and the first ever brush is still going strong. A little stiffer on the bristles, perhaps, and the paint is peeling from the handle, but all things considered it’s doing marvellously! Should you be inclined to get one, you can still buy exactly the same one online here, though I’m not sure they ship internationally. If you want to make an incredibly big investment, you could look to the Suqqu face brush, which is £168 at Selfridges.com, or for a brilliant affordable big brush that applies bronzer like an absolute dream, the Real Techniques powder brush. That one is £12.99 from Boots.com
I do think that if you have only the budget for one brush, then a large powder one should be your starting point. You can get by without all of the rest, in a way, (though you do need one or two eye brushes really!) but you’ll never apply bronzer or blusher properly with a crappy little freebie that comes with a compact. I’ll do a brush video or guide to my most-used if anyone is interested? Let me know! And…what was your first ever brush purchase?