Best Makeup Sets

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

52 Models Considered
18 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
200 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best makeup sets

Are you in the process of restocking your cosmetics collection? If so, consider investing in a makeup set. Buying individual containers of makeup is convenient, but it can be challenging to match complementary shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, and other products. A makeup set eliminates the guesswork. Makeup sets work within a color palette or specific range of colors. A makeup set of essentials, for example, pairs a few eyeshadow colors with a flattering lip color. A makeup set of eyeshadows can include a collection of a dozen similar shades or an assortment of different colors.

There are many makeup sets on the market, so to find the right one for you, you need to take a few things into consideration. Complexion, eye color, and even skin type may affect which makeup set you choose. It’s also important to keep your budget in mind while you shop around, especially because the price range for makeup sets is quite broad.

If you’re ready to embark on your search for the best makeup set, we can help you get started with our recommendations and this buying guide.

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Invest in good-quality skincare products, too. Not only will they help improve your complexion, but they will also help smooth the skin to ensure the even application of makeup.

Key considerations

Popular sets

The term “makeup set” refers to any collection of makeup products. The most common sets include essentials, foundation, eye, and lip product sets. Here’s a brief overview of each one.

Essentials: These makeup sets include a well-rounded assortment of products for all or most of your face. They usually include lip products, such as lipstick or gloss, as well as eye products like shadows, eye pencils, and mascara. Deluxe sets also come with blush, bronzer, foundation, and/or makeup brushes.

Foundation: These makeup sets include at least one shade of foundation. Some include primer, concealer, and/or matte setting powder. Many powder foundation sets come with a special kabuki brush, though it’s far less common for liquid or cream foundation sets to come with brushes.

Airbrush makeup sets fall into this category. They include an electric airbrush and a variety of liquid foundation shades. Because these sets are expensive and require a refined technique for even application, they’re mostly used by professional makeup artists for special events.

Eyes: These makeup sets include eyeshadow palettes and eye makeup sets. Eyeshadow palettes include an assortment of 6 to 100 shades of varying intensity. The collections usually include shades in more than one finish, such as matte, shimmer, glitter, and satin. Eye makeup sets include a combination of eye products to create a total look for the eyes. These sets may include eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow primer, and/or eye makeup remover.

Brows: These makeup sets include products to shape and fill in brows. They may include brow gel, brow powder, brow pencils, or brow setting products like gel or clear mascara. Some sets include more than one brow color of gel, powder, and pencils. Other sets come with brow-shaping tools like mini razors, scissors, and tweezers.

Lips: These makeup sets usually include an assortment of lipsticks, lip glosses, and lip pencils in either full-size or travel-size varieties. Deluxe sets of lip products may include lip primer, lip plumper, and/or lip exfoliator.

Other products: Other popular types of makeup sets include blush or bronzer sets, brush sets, and sets that include a combination of makeup and skincare products.

Travel: Travel sets include smaller varieties of products, which are easier to pack.

Free: Free gift sets are given away with a minimum cosmetics purchase. While free gift sets often include travel-size varieties, many of these sets include full-size products. Some free gift sets are also available for purchase separately.

Try to avoid carrying your eyeshadow palette in your purse. The tiny powder pans are somewhat delicate and prone to shattering if jostled around.

Staff
BestReviews

Finding the right makeup set

If you’re wondering how to find the right set for you, these tips will help point you in the right direction.

Eye color

Take your eye color into consideration when shopping for eye makeup. Certain shades are more flattering than others, and in some cases they can dramatically elevate or tone down your look. If you’re not sure which shades look best with your eye color, here’s a brief overview:

  • Brown eyes are versatile and look good with most colors, including bronze, gold, purple, and green. Dark brown eyes look best with bold shades like purple and silver.
  • Blue eyes are accentuated by warmer colors like orange, brown, and some shades of gray.
  • Green or hazel eyes are emphasized by rich shades like deep purple, charcoal, and chocolate brown.
  • Gray eyes are complemented by smoky colors like gunmetal gray and metallic blue.

Occasion

It’s helpful to be practical when you shop for makeup sets. As expected, different occasions call for different looks. For everyday makeup, it’s best to stick to neutral tones that are appropriate for daytime wear. For nighttime or special occasions, you’ll be better served by a makeup set that features bolder shades. There are also day-to-night makeup sets that include an assortment of products that are versatile enough to wear at any time.

Skin type

Some types of makeup are more suitable for your skin type than others. It affects application, and having the right makeup for your skin also means it wears better throughout the day.

  • Sensitive skin can benefit from organic, plant-derived, or hypoallergenic cosmetics that keep breakouts and reactions at bay.
  • Oily and acne-prone skin fares best with oil-absorbing makeup in powder form.
  • Dry skin benefits from the use of creamy or liquid makeup, such as cream shadows or blushes.
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Did You Know?
If your lip product makeup set doesn’t include a lip pencil, it’s easy to buy one from the same manufacturer to match the lipstick shade.
Staff
BestReviews

Makeup set prices

Makeup sets range in price from $10 to $200. The better the quality, the more expensive the set.

Inexpensive: Entry-level makeup sets cost $10 to $30. These include a few drugstore sets as well as two- or three-piece makeup sets from premium beauty brands. Quality is hit or miss at the lower end of the price range, so it’s recommended that you stick to the upper half of it.

Mid-range: These makeup sets cost between $35 and $60. They mostly include deluxe eyeshadow palettes from drugstore brands and some high-end sets with 6 to 12 pieces from luxury beauty brands.

Expensive: The most expensive makeup sets cost $75 to $200. Sets in this bracket are all from luxury beauty brands and their quality is unparalleled.

Many makeup artists recommend learning your eye shape to find the right application techniques to achieve the best looks.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Wash your brushes regularly. It’s a good idea to wipe down brushes with a spray cleaner after each use, followed by a weekly bath in brush cleaner. Not only does this help minimize breakouts, it also eliminates residue on bristles that may affect application.
  • Invest in a smoky eye set. A smoky eye is an easy look to put together, which is why it’s a good idea to have a dedicated set on hand. Given the popularity of these sets, many leading beauty brands offer them, so you’ll be able to find one no matter what your budget.
  • Research the set’s shelf life. All cosmetics have a limited shelf life, after which time the formula and pigments break down. For that reason, it’s a good idea to research the quality of the products to determine how long they’ll last. Powder can last up to a few years, while cream products last for only a few months.
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It’s not unusual for makeup sets to be available for a limited time only. For that reason, research your favorite shades from the collection so you can purchase them again separately.

FAQ

Q. What does it mean if my makeup set is marked “high-pigment”?

A. High-pigment makeup refers to cosmetics with a higher concentration of color. High-pigment eyeshadows, for example, feature bolder, richer colors that photograph incredibly well. High-pigment makeup is more expensive than regular makeup, whose color is often diluted with cheap filler ingredients.

Q. Are the brushes that come with eyeshadow palettes any good?

A. The eyeshadow palettes made by luxury beauty brands often include high-quality brushes. That said, they usually only come with a single shadow brush, which can be somewhat limiting for certain applications. The included brush is great in a pinch or on the go, but it’s still better to invest in a quality brush set for the best application.

Q. Is it worth buying an expensive makeup set from a luxury beauty brand?

A. Some people say yes and that you get what you pay for when it comes to makeup quality. Even so, there are plenty of excellent makeup sets that are affordably priced. As far as the color or shade exclusivity of luxury makeup sets, there are many lower-priced knock-offs on the market that feature strikingly similar shades and consistency.

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