Beauty tools surround me in practically every room of my postage-stamp sized flat. A quick tour and you’ll find brushes in my wardrobe, an array of metal utensils in my bathroom and a pair of nail scissors in my kitchen ‘lets put paperwork in here in forget about it drawer’ – everyone has one of those, right? But it got me thinking – what do I actually need. Could I narrow it down to a handful perhaps? After an afternoon of chin scratching I think I got there. Of course they’d still be a few implements that would weasel their way in, but for the purpose of this post I present you to 10 tools you NEED‘ sprinkled with a few recommendations along the way…

  1. Flannels – this might seem like a bit of a ‘dur’ choice, but a good stack of flannels will see you through cleansing, face mask removal and a good douche. I pick mine up cheap and cheerfully from Primark and on the last count I think I own more flannels than I do pants. 
  2. Foot File – scrubs are good, yeah sure - when it comes to the odd dry patch or snakeskin-like limbs, but when it gets down to feet you need something heavy duty. And nothing saws those paws into shape quite like a hardy foot file. My favourite is the Tweezerman version and I’d quite happily put that into the chart of my top 10 beauty-related finds this year. It’s that good.
  3. Exfoliating Mitt – on the subject of exfoliation, I’ve recently made the shift from potted scrubs to an abrasive mitt. Not the most exciting of moves, but no more slopping salty dollops all over the wall and shower curtain and just frothing up your mitt with your shower gel of choice and getting down to a good scrub is a much more penny saving option. The mitt in choice? St Tropez’s Tan Build-Up Remover Mitt.
  4. Cotton Buds – a bit of an obvious one but when my cotton bud reserves start to get a little low I do tend to get a little panicky. I use at least four buds on a daily basis. Whether it’s for wiping away my morning eyes, smudging out some shadow or tidying up an overzealous mascara application – they come in so handy. An essential that’s not to be overlooked.
  5. Eyelash Curlers – lash curlers were a bit of a revelation for me. As a possessor of elephant-esque poker straight lashes I never fully knew what a flutter was till I clamped them down with a torture device curler. A technique that looks painful, wrong and just a bit bizarre but one that makes all the difference. Shu Uemura’s ones are the best, I’ve tried a bunch and these just rule the roost. And it has nothing to do with the fact they’re available in gold. Nothing.
  6. Tweezers – I’ll spare you the whole ‘I used to be a Teen Wolf’ tale, but lets just say that tweezers for me are a gamechanger. But even if you don’t need a bit of plucking they come in v.handy for a plethora of activities from sticking on false lashes to riding the odd bit of cuticle. The original Tweezermans may be a pricey initial payment but they are far superior to any others on the market and you can send them back anytime for a resharpen.
  7. Spoolie – if I had a penny for every time I’ve combed through my caterpillar brows will these, well… Eyebrow combing aside, I find them to come in handy for toning down an overzealous mascara application and for making harsh powdered-on brows look less Pete Burns.
  8. Blending Brush – it goes without saying that this would be in the top 10, right? A good blending brush can turn a sponge applicator applied eyeshadow job into a top-notch look. For an eyeshadow noob, like myself, the MAC 217 Brush works wonders – helpfully finding the crease for you and depositing and/or blending a haze of shade exactly where you need it. Fluffier ones can also help out with contour, highlight and blush.
  9. Buffing Brush – I do love a nice fingertip massaged-on base, but there’s a time and a place for a good ol’ blending brush (by Real Techniques of course). A decent one will perfect that ‘Who me? No I’m not wearing a scrap of makeup’ base, while ramping up the coverage.
  10. Tiny, Tiny Brush – paired with a dot of concealer, a pinpoint-headed brush will become your new best friend. Hello photoshop! But they can also be roped in to applying inner corner highlight, liner and lip colour. Real Techniques’ Detailer Brush is my weapon of choice.

10 tools that have got your back beauty-wise from crusty feet to cleansing aids and botched-up liner to bushy brows. Shove them in your toolbox and you’re good to go.

  • Charlotte

    Can you really get tweezerman’s resharpened? When I looked into it (briefly) I was told it was only in America? I’m dreading the day mine get blunt!

  • Anna Blush

    I really want to try the Shu Uemura eyelash curlers. Everyone says they are amazing x

  • Noisy Rain

    Switching to an exfoliating mitt was the best idea for me too: no more messy showers, now I keep my nice scrubs (gotta love Soap&Glory) for night baths ;) xx

  • Jade Waterfield

    Such a great selection Anna! I almost have the whole list, but i need to get my hands on some Tweezermans, i’ve heard so so many lovely beauty bloggers rave about them!

    Gracious Silhouettes

  • shayleen anne

    Such a great post


  • grace

    I am pleased to say I have all of this! What a great collection of tools!


  • molly

    great post, i really need to get an exfoliating mitt as having salty stuff all over the floor tends to get annoying xxxxx

  • Emma Denton

    I just love the real technique brushes!! Great post! Please check out my new beauty blog from Australia much appreciated xx

  • Anya Cross

    I have about 3/4 of these tools – the buffing brush being my favourite! But I am in need of a spoolie!

    • Shrutilaya

      Me too! And Gold Eyelash curlers!

  • Lauren B

    Real Techniques brushes are a definite must!

    I’m running a giveaway on my blog, if you would like to check it out you can find it here:


  • Becky

    I have to agree with most of this but eyelash curlers make me panic that I’m going to rip my eyelashes out. I have been using them for ten years and I still get scared!

  • Mary

    mmm..ok, so this is awkward but no one else has mentioned it and if it were me I’d like someone to quietly tell me…I’m not sure what you were trying to say with ‘douche’, but I don’t think it means what you think it means…I thought I’d say it now while it’s early enough for you to change it!

    • Natalie

      Yup, was thinking the same!

      • Marianna

        Douche can mean shower in several languages.

        • Mary

          Yeah, I assumed that’s what she meant too, just a bit of an unfortunate choice of words ;)

    • Eiwen

      Ever heard of French?

      • Mary


        Earlier I said I obviously thought she meant ‘shower’ too, I just deliberately dumbed down my initial comment to not sound like a smart-arse, but maybe it was ill-judged and came out that way anyway (I was being light-hearted and basing it off this meme:

        I’m actually half-Spanish and we say ‘ducha’, so I was aware of what she probably’s just that I thought ‘surely I can’t be the only one whose mind is probably in the gutter and will notice that?!’ and if I had seen someone else being rude or mean about it elsewhere I would’ve felt guilty I hadn’t mentioned it before. As I said, if it were me I would like someone to tell me – we’d just have a little laugh over it and I’d see if I wanted to amend it or not. Not a big deal :)

        (anyway, the whole point was to not draw loads of attention to it, I can delete all this..what a palaver!)

  • Emma and Emily

    Agree with everything you’ve written! I would say a spoolie and cotton buds at the moment important :)

  • sof

    Great and very original post Anna!! also i love your pics! they are very artistic!

  • Emily Smith

    Love this post! It’s one thing getting a make up starter kit, but without the right tools for the job beautifying yourself would be difficult! I think cotton pads would have to be in mine as well though, I use a scary amount! x

  • Lydia

    I LOVE the real techniques buffing brush! It’s such a god-send. And very wise move into exfoliating mitt territory! I can’t work with scrubs haha x

  • roshkud

    I think I need one of those foot files, everything else I have!

    Roshni’s Journey

  • BohoRush

    Haha i love your writing! Its so lively yet very informative. I agree with you on the cotton buds. Always get a mini heart attack when I run out of them!

  • Emily Allen

    It’s definitely more money saving to ur a good exfoliating mitt, but I make homemade scrubs so it doesn’t bother me as much :p Loved this love a good practical post xx Emmi

  • trina

    I agree with all of these! :)


  • Veronique

    Have you tried Shiseido’s eyelash curler??!!!! I am debating which ones I should get!!!!! How are the Shu Uemura better? please help! xo

  • Jessica Villani

    Nicely written post.. overzealous was my favourite word in this one :D

  • Rinica Warner

    Eyelash curlers are a scary concept to me….great post though! I like th exfoliation mitt idea … :)

  • Peachylau

    yay, I’ve got 8/10. Two more to go ;)

  • Josie

    Exfoliating mits or gloves are SO much easier and less expensive than constantly buying scrubs!

  • Misc

    Douche?! With a flannel??

  • Parisian To Be

    Lovely post! I definitely agree with the majority of the things on here, but I really can’t live without the Tangle Teezer and Real Techniques Contour Brush–it’s amazing for concealer. Of course, that would mean that I’ve stretched the limit of 10…

    xo Lillian from

  • lexierose
  • Ariana

    Great post Anna! I do have to call you out on one thing, though … the blending brush in the photo isn’t the 217! It looks more like the 224. I forgive you, though, haha. :P

  • Sophie

    I love your writing style! It feels like I’m talking to a friend. Definitely going to get together what beauty essentials I have got, and make a shopping list of what I need – (I.E FOOTFILE!) x

  • Sophie

    This post is so simple yet so useful :)



  • Sophie

    I’ve been trying to find the Real Techniques Detailer Brush and realised it’s now a different brush to the one you have pictured :( are there any good dupes for it that you know of? xx

  • Ivy Vijay

    i love real techinues brushes infact all of them as thery are so helpul and quite rightly apt. I haven’t used a Mitt yet and not very sure , if i’d be doing that in future.

  • Hope

    Unfotunately I dont own half of your must have items, I feel a shopping trip coming on…H x

  • Heels Forever

    I really need to invest in more beauty tools! Always get lured in by the pretty make-up but never buy the actual tools I need to apply them properly xxx

    Heels Forever

  • Noemi Smolorz

    I have never used an exfoliating mitt.. need to try very soon!

  • Julie

    Yep now I’m buying myself a foot file.. And then off to holidays (with your packing guides…) Thank you for your lovely posts :)

  • Ryry

    I love your articles and videos Vivianna….but NO TO THE FOOT FILE !

    In fact the foot file scratch and RIP the skin…so the skin by protection will produce hard skin again. Endless. The only way to say good bye to the hard skin is to make it cut properly by a profesional, cut and not scratch. A pedicure who use a file on your feet is fooling you. And it if it’s not hard skin (more likely on a girl of your age), but very dry skin, instead of this horrible tool I would advice you to use a good foot cream (or any body cream). More gentle and more efficient :) Just a few night and you will feel the difference. :)

    Personally I am desperate without flannels and eyelash curler ( 5 seconds make up challenge? yeah)


  • KMK

    Great round up here Anna! And it’s quite fun to read how the names of the tools translate between your post versus how I would normally refer to them in America! :)

  • Suzanne Martin

    Everytime I go into Boots I look for that foot file and it is always sold out. I also need a MAC 217 and the eye lash curlers. A great post

  • Jo

    Do you know what douche means in English!? Unless I am supposedly to be doing something with flannels that I never imagined in my wildest dreams…