You’ve bought the fancy highlighters, stocked up on contour kits and splurged on the glitzy eyeshadows, now it’s time to complete your kit and truly master your makeup application. The first step? A full set of makeup brushes.
While beauty brush shopping may not be the most exciting of hauls to undertake, it is a necessary step in nailing your makeup routine and finally learning how to get that Kimmy K contour. Whether you’re looking for a brush set on a budget or would rather go pro, our guide to the best make up brushes and brush sets has you covered for style and practicality.
Below, we've listed our go-to brushes, putting forth our save and splurge favourites for each section. This means you can find cheap makeup brushes for when you're on a budget, or indulge in something a little more high-end for when you're wanting to treat yourself.
Best foundation brushes:
Foundation brushes are ideal for efficient and mess-free applications, working particularly well with liquid formulations. We recommend finishing off with a beauty sponge to ensure a streak-free finish!
Splurge: Adored for its rounded and angled shape, this foundation brush from Sisley allows users of all abilities to perfectly blend and smooth out powder, cream, and liquid foundation for that airbrushed finish. It may boast a slightly higher price tag but you won't fall victim to a malting brush that only lasts the year!
Save: This Sigma Beauty F60 Foundation Brush combines an innovative design with a tapered brush head to cover all areas evenly, all the while still reaching those smaller and more difficult places such as around the eyes and nose. Better still, it is made using synthetic, antimicrobial fibres for a clean and hygienic finish.
Best eyeshadow brushes:
Eyeshadow brushes arrive in all different shapes and sizes, but today, we're looking at the best all-rounder designs that both apply and blend out your favourite eyeshadows. With that said, we'd also advise checking out our full collection of eyeshadow brushes so you can line, smudge and style your looks too!
Save: Shop British with one of our favourite conscious beauty brands, Lottie London. This cruelty-free and all-vegan brush uses synthetic bristles that both apply and blend out your favourite eyeshadows for the perfect smoky eye. We love this brush for its professional precision and wallet-friendly price!
Best bronzer brushes:
There's often a lot of confusion between bronzer brushes and contour brushes. These two must-have tools both help to chisel your cheeks and warm up your complexion, but the main difference is between the brush head. Bronzer brushes usually have a more rounded, domed head, whilst contour brushes tend to be slightly more angular.
Splurge: If you’re the proud owner of the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Bronzer, you’ll want to add this brush to your basket ASAP. This sell-out bronzer brush works in tandem with powder bronzers, using its softer-than-soft bristles to evenly distribute the pigment for a skin-enhancing wash of warmth.
Best blusher brushes:
Add a pop of colour to your complexion with a brush that targets the apples of your cheeks. Blusher brushes tend to work particularly well with powder products and can even be used as a blending brush for translucent face powders.
Splurge: Densely packed synthetic fibres work together to pick up both pressed and loose blusher pigments, smoothing them evenly over the apples of your cheeks for a warmer complexion. The brush offers a long shelf life and a domed head that delivers seamless coverage.
Save: Streamline your contouring routine by introducing the Real Techniques Blush Brush into the mix. This complexion-enhancing tool works its magic on both cream and powder blushes, applying them delicately to skin for a streak-free finish that perks up dulling complexions.
Best highlighter brushes:
Ah, our favourite step in our beauty routines. Nothing brings us more joy than adding a swish of shimmer to the tops of our cheeks, especially when we have the tools to hand that make the process completely effortless.
Splurge: Team your go-to highlighter together with your new beauty bestie. This highlighter brush is perfect for blending out all highlighter formats for a soft-focus effect that shows off your best points. Plus, its precision tip means you can apply your glow in all the right places for a controlled, contoured finish.
Save: Adored by beginners and professionals alike, this affordable highlighter brush from Morphe is the perfect tool for adding a veil of shimmer to the tops of your cheeks. It effortlessly blends out powder, cream and liquid formulations to ensure an ethereal glow with every application.
Best brow brushes:
Bushy brows are back and here to stay. Get the brow brushes that ensure a thick 'n' fluffy brow for an easy application that boasts professional-looking results!
Spend: Double up on the brow-enhancing action with the ultimate 2-in-1 brush from Laura Mercier. This sleek brush contains a ‘sketch’ end which applies pomades to fill our thinner brows, while the ‘intensify’ brush end works in tandem with powders to add dimension and colour intensity.
Save: Make room in your makeup bag by shopping this handy dual-sided brow enhancer. One end showcases an angular, tapered brush head that applies pomades, waxes and powders, whilst the other end boasts a spoolie brush for fluffing up hairs and adding volume to your brows.
Best concealer brushes:
Cover up those delicate and hard-to-reach areas around the eyes and nose with a tailored concealer brush that works with you, not against you. Hiding those unwanted impurities has never been so simple.
Spend: Effortlessly conceal the tell-tale signs of late nights and early starts with the Hourglass No.8 Large Concealer Brush. This all-vegan, cruelty-free brush contains PETA-approved Taklon bristles which are more hygienic and less irritable than traditional animal hair bristles.
Save: Want a simple yet lasting concealer brush? Real Techniques have you (and your dark circles) covered. Pat and blend in the likes of liquid and cream concealers around the eyes and nose for a flawless finish every time. UltraPlush, high-quality synthetic bristles are used which work together to seamlessly pick up and blend in concealer pigments for streak-free results.
Best makeup brush sets:
Sometimes, one just isn't enough. Kit yourself our with a set that contains everything you need for a flawless finish. And besides, nothing looks smarter on your beauty table than a uniform set of brushes!
Teaming stylish exteriors together with innovation, this brush kit looks just as impressive as the results it imparts. The 10-piece set teams together all of the essential brushes you would need to complete a full face of makeup, ranging from complexion tools to eyeshadow brushes.
Jaclyn Hill has answered our beauty prayers by teaming up with the brush experts at Morphe, designing a sleek and durable makeup brush set that focuses its attention on the complexion. Highlight, contour and blend out your base products to unlock the secret behind a flawless complexion.
YouTubers make achieving a flawless smoky eye look oh-so effortless, but more often than not, we've fallen victim to a less than impressive imitation. Luckily, the ZOEVA Complete Eye Brush Set is the last piece of the puzzle that enables us to get the professional-looking results we’ve been lusting after.
Once you've kitted yourself out with the best in the business, why not check out our guide on the best way to clean your makeup brushes?
Written by Ellie Child
With five years’ experience under her belt, Ellie has worked alongside a range of highly regarded makeup artists, giving her a real insight into what consumers should be spending their money on.