lily D
Lily Donaldson backstage at Lanvin spring 2011

Question: If you only invest in a few great makeup brushes, which are the most important ones to have in your bag?

Answer: The average woman doesn’t need—and would most likely never use—all the brushes found backstage in a professional makeup artist’s arsenal (fan brushes, we’re looking at you especially). Instead, edit down to three that multi-task to serve your eyeliner, foundation, blush and shadow needs. M.A.C. Senior Makeup Artist Gina Bettelli offers up her picks.

1) A small, angled brush. Use this for anything that requires precision: applying liquid or gel eyeliner, grooming and shaping brows with pomade or powder and drawing clean, perfect lipstick lines.

2) A flat, paddle-like brush. This is essential for building coverage with powders and creams; you’ll use it for eye shadow, foundation, concealer and highlighter.

3) A soft dome-shaped brush. This fluffy brush should be mid-sized to fit the eyes or face. Use it to blend, sweep and buff cream or powder blush and bronzer and to wash eye shadows across the eyelids

M.A.C. 266 Small Angle Brush; 252 Large Shader Brush; and 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush,