It wasn't until a few years ago that I realised I actually needed to have some good tools to apply my makeup with, I don't even remember what I used before! I am not one who likes to spend too much money on brushes but I still want to find good quality brushes that are going to last wash after wash. These brushes are the ones I would highly recommend if you are looking to invest in some good quality brushes to get you started.
Lets start with Real Techniques brushes, these are the best ones on a budget. I think if you picked up a couple of the sets and individual brushes you would be starting off well. These are perfect if you are on a budget, you can even find them cheaper on Amazon or if you order directly from the US Real Techniques website to the UK. I would start off with the Powder Brush (£10.99 at Superdrug but I got mine for around £6 on a deal). This brush is great for applying all over face powder to set your foundation and you can even use it for bronzer. The second face brush is the Blush Brush (£9.99), I actually have two of these because I use one for my blush and one for my bronzer. This brush is perfect for applying cheek colour as it does it very naturally.
The one brush set I would recommend from Real Techniques is the Eye Starter Kit (£19.99 but you can pick it up for around £10 on Amazon some days). While this set will provide the basic eye brushes you need it also has a great concealer brush which isn't even meant for concealer! The Deluxe Crease Brush is far too big to use for eyeshadow but it is perfect for applying concealer under your eyes or on any blemishes. In this set is a few great brushes for eyeshadow and a Brow brush. This is the brush that I have been using for almost two years for my brows and I still love it.
If you are wanting to invest in some slightly pricer brushes that will last you years and are fabulous quality, look no further than Zoeva. For foundation I love the 104 Buffer Brush (£12.95), it applies foundation flawlessly and buffs it into the skin making it look very natural. I have tried different foundation brushes from both Real Techniques and Zoeva and the 104 is my all time favourite. For highlight I would suggest the 105 Luxe Highlight Brush (£11.50), not only is this brush extremely soft but it applies highlight powder so well and doesn't make it look too much. Two eyeshadow brushes I would recommend, these are optional if you are a beginner, are the 228 and 231. These are incredible brushes for the crease and I wouldn't be able to create decent looking eye looks without these brushes.
Another brush that is optional but I would recommend is the Ecotools Bamboo Bronzer Brush, I picked mine up from eBay for less than £3! I use this brush every single day to make sure that my foundation and concealer is blended into the skin. This brush can also be used for applying bronzer but I prefer to use a different brush for this. You could even use this brush for foundation.