Lived-In Reviews: The 3 Best Makeup Brushes (And How To Use Them)

The Best Makeup Brushes Reviews: Walmart
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* Get more even coverage with a better brush
* More sanitary to help prevent breakouts
* Our top pick features antibacterial bristles

Best Makeup Brushes

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Editor’s Choice: Shany Pro Signature, 24 Pieces 

Bottom Line: A high-quality set that includes a wide array of brushes to suit virtually any makeup task.

Editor’s Notes: Offers an attractive design and wider variety of brushes than other sets. Features wooden handles, antibacterial bristles, and a brush roll for storage. Some of the longer bristled brushes may shed.

Check Price of Shany Signature Set

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Choice: BH Cosmetics 11-Piece Pink-A-Dot Brush Set 

Bottom Line: Stands out for high-quality synthetic bristles and adorable design, but also includes all the brushes you need for a full face of makeup.

Editor’s Notes: Comes with a durable cylindrical case for storage and fun polka dot design on the wooden handles and case. Shorter handles make the set ideal for travel, but some owners complain about shedding.

Check Price of BH Cosmetics Brush Set

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Best Value: Real Techniques Flawless Core Collection Makeup Brush Set 

Bottom Line: All the brushes you need for flawless base makeup at a very affordable price point.

Editor’s Notes: Provides extremely soft, synthetic bristles and lightweight handles to make makeup application easier. Also comes with a stand for storing the brushes. Doesn’t include brushes for eye makeup.

Check Price of Real Techniques Brush Set


Buying Guide For Makeup Brushes

Whether you stalk Instagram or YouTube for your makeup inspiration, one thing is pretty clear: The right makeup brushes make all the difference in how your look turns out. Just like you can’t paint a masterpiece without a good brush, you can’t achieve a flawless face without the proper tools.

But there are so many makeup brushes on the market that it can be tough to tell which are worth your money and which just can’t get the job done. That’s why it’s so important to know exactly what types of brushes you need and which type of bristles to choose, so you wind up with the perfect set to meet your needs.

Ready to go shopping? Take a look at the choices above for our top recommendations. For some general tips on finding the right makeup brushes, check out our shopping guide.

You can use a small angled eye brush to apply gel or cream eyeliner or fill in your brows.

What Brushes Do You Need?

Most makeup brush sets include a variety of brushes, but you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you choose a set that includes both face and eye brushes. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy multiple sets to get all the brushes you need.

At a minimum, a good set usually includes:

  • Concealer brush
  • Foundation brush
  • Powder brush
  • Blush brush
  • Flat shader eyeshadow brush
  • Blender eyeshadow brush
  • Eyeliner brush
  • Eyebrow brush

Larger sets may also include:

  • Bronzer brush
  • Contour brush
  • Fan brush
  • Angled eye brushes
  • Small precision eye brushes
  • Liner smudging brush
  • Eyebrow spoolie
  • Lip brush

Types of Bristles

Natural Hair Bristles

Natural hair bristles come from animals like horses and goats.

Natural bristles have a variety of benefits, including:

  • They’re usually softer.
  • They pick up powder products extremely well.
  • They can absorb excess oil from your skin.
  • They can blend makeup smoothly and evenly across your skin.

Synthetic Brushes

Synthetic bristles are composed of microfibers like polyester and nylon. If you’re concerned about using cruelty-free brushes, they’re the safest bet. Synthetic bristles have a variety of advantages, including:

  • They’re extremely smooth, so they don’t soak up liquid or cream products.
  • The bristles stay tightly compacted, so they can create sharp, streak-free lines for contouring.
  • They work equally well for eye and face brushes.


How Much Should I Pay for Makeup Brushes?

Prices for makeup brush sets vary based on the quality of the brushes and the size of the set.

  • Sets that are under $10 tend to be poor quality with rough bristles that shed a lot.
  • Sets in the $10 to $50 range tend to vary in quality. In general, you’ll find that those with synthetic bristles are better bets because they’re extremely soft and don’t shed much.
  • Sets that are over $50 tend to be higher quality. Those that are $200 and under usually come with a brush roll or carrying case and can be a good investment for aspiring makeup artists or makeup junkies.
  • Sets that are $500 or more are usually handmade and sold by luxury brands. While they’re extremely pricey, these brushes can last for years.
A brush-cleaning spray can help spot clean your brushes between deep cleaning sessions.


Q. Is it better to buy makeup brushes as a set or individually?
A. You’ll almost always get a better deal if you buy makeup brushes as a set. However, there may be some makeup brushes that aren’t included in even the biggest sets, so you may need to pick those up as singles.

Q. Are makeup brushes with natural bristles better than those with synthetic bristles?
A. The type of bristles that work best depend on what type of makeup you prefer. If you use mostly powder products, go with natural bristle brushes. If you use mostly cream and liquid products, synthetic bristles are the best option.

Q. What’s the difference between hand-cut and machine-cut makeup brushes?
A. Hand-cut makeup brushes keep the fine tip at the end of the bristle fibers, while machine-cut makeup brushes remove them. That means hand-cut brushes are usually much softer than those cut by a machine.

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