After 18 hours of research evaluating 84 products, we picked BS-MALL Makeup Kabuki Style Makeup Brush Set as our top choice.
Choosing a makeup brush set isn’t the same as choosing makeup brushes individually.
For example, when you select the best foundation brush for your kit, you’ll consider the foundation you usually use first and then the size you’re after. And, that single brush may cost you between $20 and $60 – but that brush will serve you for a very long time.
When buying a makeup brush set, you’re after a variety of brushes at a reasonable price. You just need to cover the basics so you can do a great job on your face without spending a small fortune. You’ll obviously get a more refined look when you choose the right brush for every job.
At the very least, you’ll need a foundation brush, a powder or blush brush, an angled liner, an eye shadow brush, and a lip brush.
Remember that you’ll need to care for your makeup brush set, even if you’re after an inexpensive one. If you’re wondering how to clean makeup brushes, check out our #1 fave. It’s as important as removing your makeup before bed. Promise.
There are 8 pieces in this makeup brush set – and a decent variety within them. Plus, the price is good and the quality is high.
Some of the brush tips are a little too stiff. Plus, there’s no guide as to which brush to use for what.
This synthetic makeup brush set has everything you need to get going with advanced application. The handles are made of sturdy wood and alloy in black and silver. The bristles are very dense and perhaps a little too stiff for some users. But, that makes these an excellent choice for dry makeup products. They don’t do a bad job with creams, but you may want to go easy on the liquid makeup.
Despite being stiff, the bristles are rather soft and you’re not going to irritate your skin. On top of that, you get a 12-month worry-free warranty at such a low price. And, the customer service is something to rave about – which you won’t likely need to do as users find the high-quality all in order from the moment they unwrap them.
Number of pieces: 8
Brushes: Falt, precision tapered, round, precision round, angled, precision angled, tapered, precision flat
Case or storage: None
Bristles: Premium synthetic hair that’s dense and soft
Price: The MSRP is $20, but you’ll find this for less than $10 at any given time. That’s a really great value for money.
There is an amazing variety of makeup brushes in this totally affordable set. These are almost professional quality, soft, and come in a roll up case.
There aren’t 32 different brushes – only 23 different brushes as there are some duplicates. Additionally, some of the smaller brushes are a little too stiff.
The brush heads are standard professional sizes, though the handles are a little longer than usual. Still, they fit in the compact roll up carrying case. The bristles are all exceptionally strong – and, given the price, very well made. The synthetic fibers are mostly soft, though some of the eyeshadow brushes are a little sharper, so you may want to be careful if you have a heavy hand.
We’re very happy with the 12 months warranty, and the customer service is very good – though too many people love this makeup brush set to really tell how responsive they are. One thing we do want to warn you about, however, is the number of different brushes – there are 23, not 32. Don’t panic, there are 32 brushes, but there are some duplicates. Still, that can’t possibly be an issue for the price.
Number of pieces: 32
Brushes: Blending, blush, powder, large powder, angled contour, small fan, large fan, eyebrow comb, lash, large eye shadow (6), small eye shadow (3), angled eye shadow nose shading (2), eyebrow (3), concealer (4), lip, sponge eyeshadow (2), eyeliner
Case or storage: Travel pouch designed for storing all brushes
Bristles: Amazingly thick and soft synthetic fiber bristles
Price: You should pay around $18 for the entire set and carrying case. That’s an amazing deal!
Besides the terrific price, this makeup brush set has a 100% money-back guarantee and comes with a vinyl carrying case.
Some users find a few brushes to be a little too soft. And, not everyone likes the carrying case.
Most people aren’t going to find room for a super large brush set when travelling, but they definitely want a good selection of brushes for nights on the town. This high-quality kit offers an almost perfect selection and made from quality materials. Most of the brushes feature synthetic hair, though the eyeshadow brushes have horse hair.
The wooden handles are sturdy and available in white (which is stunning), black, or pink – all for a good price. These brushes do well with both wet and dry products, though they may be slightly better for cream and liquid makeup. And, once you throw in the case, you’ve got a deal you don’t want to miss.
Number of pieces: 12
Brushes: Powder, large angled contour, foundation, small concealer, eyelash, brow & lash, smoky liner, lip, small eye shadow, angled liner, fan
Case or storage: Roll up flower pattern case
Bristles: Synthetic, tightly-packed, ultra-soft bristles (though the eyeshadow brushes are made of horse hair)
Price: The MSRP is $20 and you’ll likely pay around $12. Considering you get the carrying case, this is a darn good value.
The sturdy oak handles on these makeup brushes complement the different hairs used across the set. In addition to 24 brushes, the roll up case is exceptionally useful.
Besides the price, some users have experienced some shedding.
It’s difficult to find a traditionally made set of makeup brushes like this one. You’ll find a variety of hairs in the mix – each one chosen for the type of makeup being applied. Despite sable and pony hair, the manufacturer is a proud member of PETA. So, although they’re not vegan brushes, you can bet they’re cruelty-free.
Some of these brushes can be classified as professional, though not all of them. But, the oak handles are fantastic and we love the way they fit in the roll up carrying case. Overall these handmade makeup brushes are exceptional value for money considering the number of brushes for the price. And, the fact that they’re designed in the USA is a plus.
Number of pieces: 24
Brushes: Foundation, liquid foundation buffer, oval liquid foundation, rounded foundation, X fan, medium powder, mineral powder, slanted contour, blending, slanted finish, concealer, buffed bronzer, mineral blush, mineral bronze buffer, eye shadow (2), contouring eye shadow, slanted eye shadow, cream eye shadow, eye shadow buffer, slanted eyeliner, eyeliner, brow, spoolie
Case or storage: Travel makeup rollup pouch and storage box
Bristles: Natural materials: sable, goat, badger, and pony hair. There are also laser cut synthetic hair brushes.
Price: You should pay a little less than $40 for these brushes. That will feel like a lot unless you’re a makeup artist, but they do have everything you need and they’re super high quality.
This set of eye makeup brushes has everything you need for perfect eyes and each piece is made with 100% vegan materials.
Some of the brushes don’t seem to hold a lot of product very well, but only a few users report this issue.
It’s really, really tough to apply eye makeup with your fingers, though you can easily get away with hand application on the rest of your face. If you’re planning to do your eyes right, you’ll need a good set of eye makeup brushes and this is the place to start. (We totally recommend getting to know your brushes from someone who takes her makeup brushes seriously.)
Each brush is hand assembled and tested. The wooden handles and synthetic fiber tops have solid connecters that are available in silver or rose gold. And, there’s also a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so you’ll have a chance to play around even if you can’t touch these brushes at the store first. And, we don’t think you’ll need the time; most users fall in love as soon as they use them.
Number of pieces: 7
Brushes: Blending, classic shader, angled shader, small shader, detailed pencil, precise shader, angled detailer
Case or storage: None
Bristles: Soft, non-shedding, 100% vegan-friendly synthetic bristles
Price: The MSRP is $40, but you should pay less than $15 for the set which makes these a very reasonably-priced set.
The 5 brushes in this set are super soft, well-made, and come with a carrying case. Every one of these makeup brushes is 100% vegan and handmade.
Some users report issues with the white paint on the handles rubbing off or looking too dirty.
Okay, this isn’t the biggest set, but all five of these makeup brushes are well-made and super sleek. The largest brush, the powder and blush brush, is an amazing size and super soft. The other four brushes are on the smaller side for their use. This allows for a fair amount of detail with a minimum number of tools. And, really, you don’t need much more in the way of brushes, unless you’re headed out for a big night or really take your makeup seriously.
We love the white case; each makeup brush slots into its own space and the top of the case comes off completely. Better still, each handmade brush features soft “LuxeFiber” which doesn’t shed. Brushes are 100% cruelty-free and wonderfully durable. Sure, these are a little more expensive than other sets, but they’re worth every penny.
Number of pieces: 5
Brushes: Foundation, powder/blush, angled liner, eye shadow, lip
Case or storage: Comes with a gorgeous white carrying case
Bristles: “LuxeFiber” synthetic hairs that are super soft.
Price: The MSRP is $50, but you should be able to find it for $20. That makes this on the pricier side given the number of brushes, but they’re really amazing.
The larger brushes in this 10-piece makeup brush set are labeled, making it easy for beginners. Plus, there’s a 100% money-back guarantee.
In addition to the slight chemical paint smell, some users find there’s a need to reglue the handle to the tops.
Every makeup brush in this set is soft and silky to the touch – and you get an amazing selection of brushes. Once you’ve gotten the hang of working with brushes, you’ll find it’s very easy to select the right one. In the meantime, the larger brushes are labeled to help you along. There’s a good selection of concealer and foundation brushes in the mix.
The one drawback to these brushes is the light glue that connects the handles to the tops. Serious makeup brush users will take the time to unglue and then reglue these connections after the first wash (and you know you need to do that, right). Not everyone experiences this issue – and, given, the price, we don’t mind terribly. (In case you need some help with how to clean makeup brushes, we’ve got you covered.)
Number of pieces: 10
Brushes: Angled, tapered, flat, flat angled, round, small angled, small tapered, small flat, small flat angled, small round
Case or storage: None
Bristles: High-density synthetic fiber hairs that don’t shed
Price: The MSRP is $40, but we’ve seen this set of makeup brushes for sale for as little as $10 on Amazon. That’s probably why it’s a bestseller - or maybe it’s the other way around.
Makeup brushes might not get the same level of love and hype as other makeup products, but any beauty lover would know that they’re super important to achieving a flawless face. Why do we find it so easy to blow tons of cash on fancy lipsticks and cult-status foundations, yet we get so disgruntled by the thought of spending more than 20 bucks on a brush?
Well, good thing affordable makeup brush sets exist, right? These babies might not offer the same premium feel as high-end makeup brushes, but the bang-for-the-buck they offer is truly hard to beat. Perfect for makeup beginners and frugal shoppers, the best makeup brush sets will let you create picture-perfect makeup looks without breaking the bank.
A common theme shared by all makeup brushes, however, is that they can be tricky to figure out. Figuring out which brush is meant to be used with what product can be an overwhelming task.
If you’re facing this dilemma, well, you’re in luck. In this buying guide, we’ll tackle everything you need to know to get acquainted with the wonderful world of makeup brushes—from usage instructions to maintenance tips—so you’re better-equipped to make the best buying decision possible.
After all, makeup brush sets don’t come with instruction manuals (although all beginners will agree that they should!).
A foundation brush is used to apply cream or liquid foundation. It typically sports medium-length bristles that are packed quite dense, so it can easily and quickly spread your base all over your face and neck.
How to use it: Use small, circular buffing motions starting from the center of your face outwards.
A stippling brush is used to apply liquid or cream products. You can use it to apply foundation, liquid blush, cream bronzer, and even liquid highlighter. It’s great for ladies with scars and wrinkles because a stippling brush won’t emphasize texture.
How to use it: Apply a bit of product on the tips of the bristles. Instead of circular buffing motions, lightly stamp the product on your face until you get the coverage you want.
Use a powder brush to set your foundation with your favorite loose or pressed powder. With its long and fluffy bristles, you’ll be able to dust a sheer layer of powder on your face without looking too cakey.
How to use it: Dip the powder brush in a compact or jar of your favorite powder. Don’t forget to tap off excess product, and then sweep the powder evenly across your face while focusing on oilier areas.
A kabuki brush looks similar to a powder brush, but with a flatter top and denser bristles. This is an excellent tool for finishing touches, such as when you’re blending out harsh contour lines or diffusing excess blush.
How to use it: Use gentle circular motions to make sure your makeup is nice and blended. Avoid dragging the brush all over your face as this might make your makeup look less precise.
The blush brush is smaller than the powder and foundation brush, which makes it a great tool for achieving a pretty flush on the cheeks. It features a slightly-domed shape that is ideal for a concentrated and precise application.
How to use it: Use soft, sweeping motions starting from the apple of your cheeks. Blend towards your ears to achieve an uplifting effect.
The angled contour brush is perfect for applying contour powder or bronzer. It’s designed to fit the natural hollows of your cheeks, so you’ll be able to sculpt your cheekbones and jawline easily.
How to use it: Pick up a small amount of bronzer on your angled brush. After tapping off excess product, lightly sweep the brush on the hollows of your cheek. Blend until your desired contour intensity is achieved.
The fan brush sure is a multi-tasker! Although it’s most commonly used to apply a nice wash of highlighter, you can also use it to get rid of fallout that may have settled on your eyelashes and cheeks.
How to use it: Use the brush to apply highlighter on the high points of your face. Lightly sweep the brush on your cheekbones, nose bridge, and cupid’s bow to achieve a gorgeous glow.
This brush features short, stiff, and angled bristles that make thin and sharp lines achievable. This makes it the perfect partner for achieving that deadly cat-eye. Likewise, you can use it to create thin hair-like strokes when applying your favorite brow pomade.
How to use it: Pick up a small amount of eyeliner with the brush. Then, create thin, sharp lines as close as possible to your lash line. If you’re using it to fill in your brows, start by creating hair-like lines starting from the middle of your eyebrows moving towards the edges.
The fluffy bristles on this brush make it easy to leave a light sweep of sheer color all over your eyelids. You can also use it to blend harsh eyeshadow lines and achieve a diffused effect.
How to use it: Swirl the bristles over your eyeshadow of choice. After tapping off excess product, use windshield wiper motions to apply color all over your lids.
This brush features a slightly narrower tip and denser bristles. Use it to precisely apply eyeshadow into the crease or in the usual outer V area of your eyelids.
How to use it: Use a precise blending brush to precisely apply darker eyeshadows on the contours of your eyes. Make sure to buff away harsh edges so that colors blend seamlessly into one another.
The pencil brush is a small eye brush with short bristles and a pointed tip. Its shape makes it perfect for applying eyeshadow along your lower lash line. You can also use a pencil brush to apply a pop of highlight near your tear ducts for a wide-awake look.
How to use it: Sweep eyeshadow along your lower lash line using a pencil brush to balance out your eyeshadow look. With a clean brush, you can also apply a small amount of highlighter in the inner corners of your eyes using light tapping motions.
A flat shader brush is useful for packing pigment onto your eyelids. Some eyeshadows, like shimmery metallic shades, will require a nice, layered application to achieve full-impact color. The shape of the flat shader brush makes it super easy to pick up product and deposit pigment onto your lids.
How to use it: Load up one side of the flat shader brush with an even layer of pigment. Apply the eyeshadow using tap-and-swipe motions until your desired eyeshadow intensity is achieved. Use the clean side of the brush to blend out excess product.
Lip brushes are great for lining your lips and filling them in with your lip color of choice. A lip brush offers an application that is a lot more precise than swiping a bullet directly on your lips.
How to use it: First, use the brush to outline your lips until you get crisp and clean edges. Apply more lipstick on the bristles and then fill in the rest of your puckers with a wash of color.
Unlike other makeup products where a plethora of types, forms, and formulas are available, makeup brushes are classified into just two major categories: synthetic and natural. For makeup beginners, distinguishing between the two can be challenging—and that’s totally okay, because that’s what we’re here for!
So, what sets synthetic bristles apart from natural ones? And is one necessarily better than the other? Let’s find out.
Synthetic makeup brushes use synthetic bristles that are made from materials like nylon and Taklon. Synthetic bristles are usually white or black in color, but they can sometimes be dyed brown or cream to look like natural bristles, too.
What makes synthetic brushes great is that they’re a lot more affordable than natural ones. They also shed less and are easier to wash than natural brushes. The downside? They aren’t as soft—and some synthetic bristles can even feel scratchy on the skin.
Application-wise, synthetic bristles are best used with cream and liquid products. So if you have a wide stash of liquid foundations, concealers, and cream blushes and bronzers, synthetic brushes are your best bet. Compared to using a damp sponge to apply these products, synthetic brushes are also more economical since they don’t absorb as much product.
And, of course, we must mention that cruelty-free synthetic bristles are the only vegan-approved option when it comes to makeup brushes.
Natural brushes use animal hair as bristles. Typically, hair from goats, squirrels, and boars are used. Natural brushes are favored by many because they are delightfully soft, but they’re also more expensive and prone to shedding.
Natural bristles are considered superior when it comes to applying powder products, especially loose-pigment eyeshadows. This is because hair strands naturally contain tiny porous holes which help them pick up more pigment. Brushes with natural bristles are also better in terms of control and precision when applying makeup, which explains why professional makeup artists still prefer them over synthetic brushes.
On the flip side, the presence of porous holes in the brush also makes natural bristles a bit harder to wash. And because they are made from animal hair, people who are prone to animal allergies might not react well to the product.
A newer, smaller category of makeup brushes also exists: duo fiber brushes. The duo fiber brush looks characteristically unique with its two-tone bristles—black at the base and white through the top. As the name suggests, duo fiber brushes contain both synthetic and animal hair, which makes it great for both liquid and powder applications.
Regardless of the price of the makeup brush set you end up buying, taking care of your brushes will help extend their lifespan and allow you to get the most out of your purchase. With proper care and maintenance, your makeup brushes can last you years of use.
Cleaning your makeup brushes should be a habit. Many of us are guilty of using our brushes for weeks without washing them at all. But dirty brushes can cause all sorts of trouble—from breakouts to rashes to nasty skin infections.
So, how exactly can you keep your makeup tools in tiptop shape? Follow the tips below!