The 5 Best Makeup Brush Sets

By Andrea Cannon on 13 April 2016 0 comments

You don’t need to spend a bundle on makeup brushes. On the other hand, sturdy brushes can last for years, if they are high quality and you take care of them properly. The right set of brushes will make it much easier for you to achieve a professional makeup application, in less time. They will also make your makeup last longer and will allow you to use less product and still achieve your optimal results, which will end up saving you money in the end.

What Is a Makeup Brush?

A makeup brush is specially designed to professionally apply cosmetics. There are a variety of makeup brushes available, with each one suited for a different area of the face or eyes. Some makeup brushes are very precise, while others focus more on offering soft bristles that feel gentle against the skin. In order to keep your makeup brushes in optimal condition for years to come, make sure to keep them clean with a good makeup brush cleaner. (See also: The 5 Best Makeup Brush Cleaners)

Top 5 Makeup Brush Sets

Real Techniques Core Collection Set

The Real Techniques Core Collection Set includes a contour brush, pointed foundation brush, detailer brush, and buffing brush — ideal for everything from powders and mineral makeup to creams and liquids. The brushes were created by celebrity makeup artist, Samantha Chapman of Pixiwoo. The brushes are high quality and feature a unique design and style, but are affordable enough to fit any budget. The ultra-plush synthetic bristles are non-porous, so they won’t trap or absorb product, are less prone to breakage or damage, and can offer high-definition results. Each brush head is hand-cut to achieve the perfect shape, which allows for precise, and even, streak-free makeup application.

The uniquely shaped and color-coded cruelty-free brushes offer extended aluminum ferrules, with each handle displaying the brush name, making it perfect for beginners and experts alike. The brushes are easy to use and clean. They also feature self-standing bases, so you can easily display them on your countertop. The handles are lightweight, so they are easy to use and you always have good control over them. They also feature ultra-soft bristles that many reviewers said felt like “heaven.” The set includes a 2-in-1 panoramic brush case, which is both a carrier and stand — ideal for travel or display.

Real Techniques also offers different brush sets and individual brushes, so you can buy exactly what you need for your makeup kit. This set is an Amazon bestseller and has more than 1,600 five-star reviews on Amazon. Many reviewers compared these brushes to the much more expensive MAC and Sigma Beauty brushes, and found that these brushes came out on top. The brushes are also frequently chosen by professional makeup artists and beauty vloggers, so you may have seen them in a number of online tutorials. They are also an Allure “Best of Beauty” Award Winner and recommended by Total Beauty, Style Caster, and Into the Gloss.

Currently $12.50 on Amazon

e.l.f. Cosmetics 12-Piece Brush Set

The e.l.f. Cosmetics 12-Piece Brush Set includes some of their most popular synthetic, cruelty-free brushes. The set includes a concealer brush, blush/bronzer brush, foundation brush, blending eye brush, smudge eye sponge, eyeliner brush, total face brush, defining eye brush, eyelash and brow wand, lip defining brush, brow comb, and brush eyeshadow brush. The brushes are ideal for the face and eyes, so you should be able to find the perfect brush for any makeup look. Each brush is individually wrapped and has the type of brush marked on the wand, so you can quickly grab the right brush for the job. The brushes feature white handles and ultra soft bristles. The set also includes detailed instructions to help even beginners achieve a professional makeup application.

e.l.f. is famous for providing professional quality cosmetic items at affordable prices. This set is backed by outstanding online reviews, including nearly 600 five-star reviews on Amazon. It is also recommended by Total Beauty, InStyle, Into the Gloss, and Refinery29.

Currently $19.99 on Amazon

Sigma Beauty Travel Kit

The Sigma Beauty Travel Kit includes seven bestselling travel-sized brushes in a sleek travel case. The set includes a large powder brush, large angled contour brush, foundation brush, eye pencil brush, eye shading brush, small angle brush, and tapered blending brush. The travel brushes are full brushes with shorter handles, so you can easily take them with you on the go. Many reviewers found that they prefer the travel size to the original size because the smaller brushes are easier to handle and use. The brush handles are made from a lightweight, sustainable source of wood and covered in eight coats of paint, so you won’t need to worry about scratches. The patented three-ring brush ferrule also uses high performance SigmaAlloy for unwavering durability. The travel case turns into two brush holders so that you can stay organized at home and on-the-go.

The brushes feature both natural and synthetic fibers, which makes them soft, but sturdy enough to work with creams, powders, and more. They feature antibacterial, hypoallergenic Sigmax HD fibers, which guarantees perfect product placement and high definition effects without absorbing product into the bristles or leaving you to worry about hair fallout. The Travel kit is available in a range of colors and vegan options.

Sigma brushes may be expensive, but you won’t find better. These are the brushes that most beauty vloggers showcase in their videos, so you’ve likely seen them in online tutorials. Sigma offers travel kits, eye brush sets, individual brushes, and so much more to meet your needs. However, purchasing a set of brushes, rather than individual ones, will save you more money in the end. These brushes are also designed to last for years, so they should hold up very well over time. Sigma Beauty brushes are recommended by celebrity makeup artists, makeup vloggers, and publications like Elle, Style Caster, and Refinery29.

Currently $86.00 on Amazon

SHANY Professional 12-Piece Vegan Cosmetics Bamboo Brush Set

The SHANY Professional 12-Piece Vegan Cosmetics Bamboo Brush Set includes everything you’ll need to professionally apply makeup. The set includes a powder brush, foundation brush, blush brush, eyeshadow brush, concealer brush, lip brush, mascara brush, dual eyeshadow brush, and a spoolie. The brushes feature a ferrule base and high quality synthetic and natural hair bristles, which are soft yet sturdy enough for any type of makeup application. They have a sleek appearance and are carefully shipped in stylish packaging. The handmade natural bamboo brushes come in a vegan microfiber rollup organizer pouch, which is ideal for traveling. The set also includes illustrative instructions, so you can apply makeup like a pro. The traditional set is available in a range of colors, while the vegan set is also available in pink.

If you’ve ever tried Eco Tools brushes, you’ll find similar results with these affordable brushes that won’t irritate your skin. This set is globally known and backed by outstanding online reviews, including more than 1,400 five-star reviews on Amazon. SHANY brushes are frequently recommended online and by professional makeup artists because they offer professional results at an affordable price. In fact, many reviewers compared this set to the much more expensive Sigma Beauty and MAC brushes and found that the SHANY brushes came out on top.

Currently $12.99 on Amazon

BS-MALL Premium Synthetic Kabuki Makeup Brush Set

The BS-MALL(TM) Premium Synthetic Kabuki Makeup Brush Set is Amazon’s #1 best seller in makeup products for a reason. There are a number of affordable brush sets on Amazon, but this is the best one you’ll find. Many reviewers found that these are the best brushes they’ve ever used and a number of independent review sites selected these as the best affordable brushes available. The premium synthetic brushes offer amazing quality at a low cost.

This 10-piece set includes a foundation brush, powder brush, blush and bronzer brush, concealer brush, flat-angled brush, stipple brush, eyeshadow brush, angled contouring brush, tapered contouring brush, and flat angled concealer brush, so you’ll have everything you need for any makeup look. The brushes feature ultra-soft luxurious synthetic bristles that are sturdy enough to work with powder, cream, liquid, and mousse products. The no-shed brush heads have white tips, which will allow you to see how much product you have picked up and will allow for easier cleaning. The golden aluminum ferrule and ergonomic wooden handles are easy to hold and use, so you can have maximum control at all times.

This set is available in a range of colors to best suit your personal preferences. The set also includes a manual and picture guide to help you achieve picture-perfect makeup application every time. This brush set is frequently featured by makeup vloggers and professional beauty publications. Many reviewers also compared it to Sephora, Real Techniques, Sigma Beauty, and Morphe makeup brushes and found that these affordable synthetic brushes came out on top. This is also one of Amazon’s “most wished for” items, the #1 best seller in beauty gift sets, and backed by outstanding online reviews — including more than 2,600 five-star reviews on Amazon.

Currently $11.99 on Amazon

And those are our recommendations for the best makeup brush sets. As always, be sure to check Wise Bread's Buying Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything!

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