There is a makeup brush set out there for every need and level of experience. A salon might have hundreds of brushes to apply makeup professionally, but consumer products are usually packaged less than thirty. Inexpensive choices can be just up your alley if you’re a beginner. We’ve gone through the best to give you an idea of what will work for you.
- Best Overall Choice: BS-MALL Premium Synthetic Makeup Brushes
These have thick, kabuki-style brushes with synthetic bristles that are great for natural coverage.
- Best Cruelty-Free: EcoTools Start the Day Beautifully Makeup Brush Set
EcoTools makes brushes with synthetic, non-animal fibers and bamboo handles.
- Best Easy-to-Clean: BESTOPE Makeup Brush Set Premium Synthetic
This is a sixteen-brush set with dense, kabuki brushes that’s perfect for creating different makeup looks.
- Best Professional Set: BS-MALL 18 Pcs Makeup Brush Set Premium Synthetic
These brushes are nicely weighted with long handles, making this an inexpensive but well-made product.
- Best Price: Funfunman Makeup Brushes
This is an innovative makeup brush set that contains thoughtful choices for the price.
What to Consider Before Buying a Makeup Brush Set
Here’s what’s important to know before buying one of these sets:
1. Having the right makeup brush set for the right application
You will get the best results by making note of which tool is for which application and using your new brushes accordingly. Makeup brushes are crafted to correctly fit the angles of your face in different areas, including the brows, forehead and even the creases of your eyes. They don’t always come labeled, though. A quick way to remember what you have is to write the names on a piece of paper and line the set with it. Then store your brushes in the set in the same order.
Take a moment to Google the tools you will be using most frequently to see exactly how it should be held to get different looks. Then you’ll be a makeup artist in no time!
2. Knowing when to use a natural makeup brush set vs. a synthetic one
Even though synthetic hairs are very close to natural fibers in feel and quality, there are still some things a natural brush will take care of better than a synthetic one. This is due to the structure of the actual hairs. When cross-sectioned, animal hairs have a core and a cuticle. The cuticle of natural hairs contains microscopic scales that are layered on top of each other. These scales are what make the essential difference between a real, natural brush and a synthetic one.
The structure and placement of the scales allow the tool to hold more product, whereas a synthetic applicator will always hold less. If you’ve noticed you have to scrape your eyeshadow palette to get good coverage on a synthetic brush, it’s because of the tool. Natural makeup brushes are ideal for picking up powdery makeup and getting just the right amount onto your skin. With a synthetic makeup brush set, the process can be touch and go, quite literally.
3. Finding high quality, cheap makeup brush sets
In other ways, good synthetic hairs have been crafted to mimic natural hairs. Although made of polyester, nylon or taklon, they are thinly tapered at the tips to mimic natural hairs and softened so as not to irritate your skin.
If you’re used to handling makeup tools, some of the less expensive synthetic versions might not meet your expectations. In this case, you can find brushes of superior quality and appearance in the mid-range, spend less than fifty dollars and still get a makeup brush set that is appropriate for an experienced user.
Kabuki brushes differ from regular tools in that they are designed to apply powdered makeup to the entire face and neck with a natural look. They are denser than other powder brushes. They also work perfectly for applying liquid foundation.
You can receive this fourteen piece set of synthetic kabuki brushes in a variety of colors, but the most popular shades are more expensive than the starter color of black with rose gold. The kabuki brushes in this set are the large ones. The other tools are for the eyes and lips, and a mascara spoolie is included. The set comes with brief instructions on how to use each brush.
These are not ideal for use with pressed powder, only for loose powder. Due to the high density of the bristles, they can be difficult to clean. Still, clean them after each use, or they might streak.
EcoTools constructed these brushes from recycled plant materials and taklon fibers. The sets come in a variety of options: two, three, and five applicators – all of which are soft enough to use on delicate skin. These makeup brush sets are uncomplicated and perfect for those looking to conceal flaws and add a glow to the face.
Some kits come with complimentary gifts of crystal jewelry and one has a travel case option – all at great prices. Blotting paper is included in the travel kit to remove oil throughout the day. The package indicates the use of each tool.
We found the fibers of some of the brushes shed during the first few uses, after which they were okay. Some users feel the larger tools could be bigger for the stated use. They are great as a starting out kit but aren’t for professionals.
Like the BS-Mall fourteen-piece set listed above, the large tools here are also kabuki brushes, but this one has sixteen tools in total. The two extras here are a fan and an eyebrow brush & comb tool. They hold up well under cleaning and rinsing.
This set comes in two color options, black and pink, and the brushes are nicely angled. The set includes a user card. Most buyers agree that this is a good beginner set for younger siblings.
The brushes could be softer. They are also a bit fragile. On some, we could see the glue connecting the handle to the foundation of the tool. The angled eyeliner brush has no angle. The bristles are lightweight and bend unexpectedly. The user card is not totally accurate in its descriptions.
This BS-MALL set is a non-kabuki kit of eighteen tools that comes with beautiful and long, champagne colored handles. Like the other BS-Mall set and the BESPOKE, the bristles are nylon, not animal hair. These have a cheap price, but the brushes are soft and handle like more professional, higher-priced options.
The applicators that are different in this BS-Mall kit are the multi-function brush, which has two different angles in one tool, and the tapered, concealer and mini-flame brushes (an under-eye concealer brush). All eighteen pick up precise amounts of product, similar to tools with mid-range pricing.
The set does not include usage instructions for each applicator. The new chemical scent of the product takes a while to dissipate. Some users complain that the heads pop off when washing.
This set has ten pieces and some major differences that show the manufacturer put a lot of thought into the product. We mean the cute marine/mermaid design – it goes great in the bathroom.
The foundation applicator has shorter bristles for more control when applying. There are three different varieties for applying concealer in the eye socket. Additionally, if you like contouring, there is also a nasal shadow brush to get into the corners of your nostrils perfectly. All the brushes in this set are easy to clean, and they dry quickly.
The tools are very lightweight, and the hairs on the fan bend. Although cute, the handles are plain plastic with nothing in them to improve the quality or lend more weight.
What’s Trending in Makeup Brushes
Ecosystem-friendly makeup tools are growing in popularity. Handles made of wood and recycled bamboo are better choices for the environment than those made of plastic. Some handles are even crafted from recycled plastic bottles, for the conscientious makeup lover.
Makeup Brush FAQs
What is a reasonable price for the best makeup brush set?
Let’s face it, we all want something that looks chic and professional on our makeup stands. It just gives a luxurious and lovely feel to the whole makeup application process and makes us look forward to that time of day. You can spend less than fifty dollars on a beautiful mid-range makeup brush set that turns you into a celebrity each time you pick up a tool.
Keep in mind that mid-range applicators are generally good quality because these off-brands are trying to catch the eye of beauty influencers and move up the ranks in the makeup world. Therefore, a two hundred dollar synthetic makeup brush set will probably not be a whole lot better than a fifty dollar one.
Why would I need a makeup brush set with thirty different tools?
If you are an aspiring makeup artist, a pack of thirty might be beneficial for you. Learning all the different angles and curves of the face, the different types of makeup and their application and which tools are used for each, is great for those who are learning to apply makeup professionally.
For most laymen, however, five to ten brushes are more than sufficient to get the job done, depending on how much makeup you use. If you prefer a more natural look, three or five tools might do it for you. If your routine is more detailed, try a pack of ten to fifteen.
How many different brushes are used for each area of the face?
To theoretically split up a thirty-piece makeup brush set, there are three different brushes that give overall powder coverage. Only one is essential. There’s a foundation brush and two different sizes for blush, whereas only one is fine. There are four for the brows and lashes that include two different spoolies and two brow brushes with different angles. The majority of tools in a kit of thirty will be made to catch the various angles of the eyes: about eight separate ones that create different eyeliner looks and almost as many eyeshadow tools to cover the lids, under-lids, crease and brow by applying, smudging and blending. Then there are those for concealer and the lips.
A non-professional won’t need all these, and can make do with five and the handy little applicator pads, sponges and brushes that come inside makeup compacts without the need for too many extras.
Which synthetic makeup brush kits have brushes that mimic natural fibers?
Synthetic tools have really moved up in quality over the past several years. So if you are dissatisfied with your current makeup brush set, go ahead and invest in something new. The superior quality of what’s available might surprise you.
Most synthetic hairs today are laser cut for precision and softness and most people cannot distinguish a difference in feel with their eyes closed. Natural brushes are more expensive because the materials cost more and the hairs must be sorted, cleaned and hand bound. Everything is done by machine with synthetic makeup brush sets, and as mentioned before, they won’t have the same pick-up abilities as a natural set.