Top Makeup Brushes and Brush Sets

Makeup Brush

Julia Pfeifer / EyeEm/Getty Images 

Makeup brushes are a must in any woman's makeup drawer. You don't have to spend a ton of money on a makeup brush. Acrylic ones actually are easier to clean than the brushes made from fancy animal (sable, pony, squirrel, goat, and badger) fibers. But the pricey ones will last you forever — and cost you a lot up front.

Extra tip: When traveling, wrap makeup brushes in a bandanna. The cloth will protect the bristles and collect makeup.

The Ultimate (Pricey) Brush Set: Kevyn Aucoin

Kevyn Aucoin Brush Set
Kevyn Aucoin

You won't find a better brush set than this one from Kevyn Aucoin. A favorite with makeup artists, this extraordinary brush set allows for precision contouring and placement. Comes with 12 brushes and a brush roll.

Best Mid-Priced Brush Collection: e.l.f. 11-Piece Brush Collection

e.l.f. 11-Piece Brush Collection
e.l.f.

Perfectly priced at $30, this 11-piece set is an all-time favorite among beauty editors and makeup artists.

Best Inexpensive Brush Set: Sonia Kashuk

Sonia Kashuk Brush Set
Sonia Kashuk

Get all the brushes you need in one set. Sonia Kashuk brushes are inexpensive but don't feel cheap.

Best Bang for Your Buck Brush Set: Shany Brush Set with Leather Pouch

Shany Brush Set with Leather Pouch
Shany

One of Amazon's bestsellers, this 24-piece makeup brush set is perfect for those on a budget. Priced affordably, you get a lot of brushes (made of goat and badger) for the money. Don't expect these to last forever, but they are a good gift for a teenager or a beauty aficionado in your life (or even yourself).

Best Eyeshadow Brush (Pricey): Paula Dorf

Paula Dorf Eyeshado Brush
Paula Dorf

Want the best? Try Paula Dorf's eyeshadow brush. This gentle blue squirrel brush blends shadow from lash line to the crease of your eye. Great for contouring. Another great option: Shu Uemura.

Best Eyeshadow Brush (Affordable): Sephora's Sable Eyeshadow Brush

Sephora's Sable Eyeshadow Brush
Sephora

Throw out the freebie eyeshadow applicator and instead use a sable eyeshadow brush such as this one by Sephora.

Eyeliner Brush: NARS

NARS Eyeliner Brush
NARS

While some people love eyeliner pencils, we prefer to line our eyes with a wet eyeliner brush dipped in a dark eyeshadow. The best eyeliner brushes on the market are from NARS and M.A.C.

Best Concealer Brush (Pricey): Smashbox

Smashbox Concealer Brush
Smashbox

This brush has a stiffer hair that gives excellent control and blends products easily

Best Concealer Brush (Affordable): Bare Escentuals

Bare Escentuals Concealer Brush
Bare Escentuals

Some makeup artists (including Laura Mercier) use concealer brushes to apply concealer to dark undereye circles and any discolored areas on the skin. The pad of your middle finger works well, also, but you do get more coverage with a brush. This is a great one.

Eyebrow Brush (Pricey): Vincent Longo

Vincent Longo Eyebrow Brush
Vincent Longo

One of the best brow brushes on the market. Other great brands: Shu Uemura.

Best Foundation Brush: Trish McEvoy

Trish McEvoy Foundation Brush
Trish McEvoy

Many makeup artists swear by foundation brushes for the perfect foundation application. Trish McEvoy's brush is by far the best foundation brush I've tried. I've owned mine for years and it's still in pristine condition.

Best Inexpensive Powder Brush: e.l.f. Studio Complexion Brush

e.l.f. Studio Complexion Brush
e.l.f.

An amazing inexpensive option for a powder brush. Gets super high points on Makeupalley.com. Users love the softness of the bristles and the overall quality of the brush. Great for powders or bronzers.