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Expert Shopper Beauty & Personal Care

Best makeup brush

Which makeup brush is best?

A makeup brush is the most valuable and underestimated item in your beauty bag. This one small tool holds the power to help flawlessly execute a smoky eye or make your rosy cheeks look like a bad sunburn. One way to ensure your contour is always on point is to invest in a quality makeup brush.

If you’re looking for a complete makeup brush set that can handle anything from a natural makeup look to full glam, the Sephora Collection Deluxe Brush Set is a top choice.

What to know before you buy a makeup brush

Types of makeup brushes

There are many brush types, including essential makeup brushes for your everyday look and specialty brushes for specific makeup looks.

Essential makeup brushes

  • Foundation brush: for applying liquid or cream foundation
  • Powder brush: for applying loose powder all over the face
  • Concealer brush: for blending in liquid or cream concealer
  • Blush brush: for applying blush to the cheeks
  • Fluffy eyeshadow brush: for blending eyeshadow

Specialty makeup brushes

  • Kabuki brush: for multiple uses, based on user preference
  • Stippling brush: for stippling foundation
  • Contour brush: for applying concentrated contour
  • Fan brush: for lightly applying highlighter
  • Eyeliner brush: for applying powder or gel eyeliner
  • Lip brush: for applying lipstick
  • Extra eye brushes: for creating specific eye looks

Makeup set vs. single brush

Before choosing a makeup brush, it’s essential to decide whether you need a single brush for a specific purpose or a complete set. If you’re a beginner starting from scratch, a makeup set may be beneficial to help you learn about all the types of makeup brushes and figure out which ones you like best. Plus, a set will ensure all your makeup brushes match. 

Opt for a single brush if you’re a professional makeup artist who only needs to replace a single brush in their set or if you only use one type of makeup brush.

What to look for in a quality makeup brush

Makeup brush bristles

There are two types of makeup brush bristles: natural and synthetic. 

Natural brush bristles are made using animal hair, including goats and horses. They have many advantages, including being softer, absorbing excess oil from the skin and giving a more even application. However, they’re expensive, tend to shed or break down faster and may not be cruelty-free. 

Synthetic brush bristles are much more common. In addition to being less expensive than natural bristles, makeup brushes with synthetic bristles last longer, don’t soak up product and leave behind fewer streaks.


Makeup brush handles can be made of many materials, from wood to plastic to metal. While the handle isn’t quite as crucial as the bristles, it’s important to find a handle that’s balanced and feels comfortable in your hand. Handle length is also key to a precise makeup look, as it is instrumental for precision, control and whether you have a light or heavy touch.


Whether you’re looking for a travel makeup brush or love the idea of “less is more,” a double-ended makeup brush is a smart choice. You can find these dual applicators with assorted brush types, including powder, foundation, concealer and more.

How much you can expect to spend on makeup brushes

The cost of makeup brushes varies widely depending on the type of bristles, handle material and number of brushes in a set. You can expect to spend between $10-$100 on makeup brushes.

Makeup brush FAQ

How long do makeup brushes last?

A. If a makeup brush is high-quality and taken care of, it can last for years. However, even with frequent washing, makeup brushes can hold bacteria and should be replaced often. How often you should replace a makeup brush varies on use and cleanliness, but most agree it should be replaced as soon as three months and no longer than one year.

Do I need to wash my makeup brushes?

A. Yes. Makeup brushes can grow and transfer bacteria and should be washed frequently to avoid breakouts and infections. The frequency in which you wash your brush depends on how often you use it. If you use a makeup brush every day, makeup artists and dermatologists recommend washing it at least once a week.

What’s the best makeup brush to buy?

Top makeup brush

Sephora Collection Deluxe Brush Set

What you need to know: From beginner to professional, this deluxe set has all the makeup brushes required for a complete makeup look.

What you’ll love: These cruelty-free brushes are made with synthetic, vegan bristles and come with a convenient travel pouch. This set can handle foundation, powder, blush, highlighter, concealer and a full eye look.

What you should consider: A few users noted that a few of the precision brushes felt too short.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora and Kohl's

Top makeup brush for the money

Real Techniques Everyday Essentials Makeup Brush Set

What you need to know: Those looking for an affordable yet quality set of makeup brushes will be impressed with this makeup brush set.

What you’ll love: This set includes brushes for blush, foundation, shadow, highlighter and concealer, plus a makeup sponge. The brushes are cruelty-free, vegan-friendly and come in multiple colors.

What you should consider: Users may notice a few bristles falling out, especially after washing.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta and Amazon

Worth checking out

Bs-Mall 14-Piece Synthetic Makeup Brush Set

What you need to know: This makeup brush set is affordable and includes 14 brushes to cover all your makeup needs.

What you’ll love: With 14 brushes, there’s a variety of shapes and sizes to suit every face type. The synthetic bristles are soft and dense, while the thick handle is made of wood and easy to hold.

What you should consider: A few users noticed a slight chemical smell that went away after washing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Bre Richey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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