Find the Best Makeup Brushes For You

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Discover the Best Makeup Brushes For You: Ultimate Makeup Brush Comparison Guide

by Emma White

Makeup brushes are necessary tools if you want to best apply your makeup.  The right brush doesn’t just pick up product, but it also allows you to be more accurate with your makeup application and perform techniques such as blending and contouring.

Our advice to beginners is to buy a complete brush set in order to discover the different purposes of each brush.  More advanced users might choose to upgrade their set instead, such as through a high-end makeup brush set, or through supplementing an existing set with individual brushes.

You will find a large variety of products, from individual brushes to professional sets. This compare-and-contrast guide offers you essential information so that you can make the best purchasing decision for you. Additionally, we discuss the best makeup brushes and brush sets that are currently on the market in 2014.

The Best Makeup Brush Sets

Makeup Brush Set
No. of
Brushes
Hair
Type
Rating
Price

Sigma Essential Kit

sigma set

Click Here to Buy Now from Amazon - Free Shipping



12

Natural and Synthetic

4.8

$$$

Bdellium Tools Professional Antibacterial Brush Set

bdlellium brush kit

Click Here to Buy Now from Amazon - Free Shipping



12

Natural

4.5

$$$

Coastal Scents 22 Piece Brush Set


Click Here to Buy Now from Amazon - Free Shipping



22

Natural and Synthetic

4.7

$$

Bobbi Brown Basic Brush Collection

bobbi brown set

Click Here to Buy Now from Amazon - Free Shipping



6

Natural and Synthetic

N/A

$$$$

Yalmeh Professional Makeup Brush Set

Yalmeh makeup brushes

Click Here to Buy Now from Amazon - Free Shipping


12

Synthetic

4.9

$$

Sephora Brand Deluxe Antibacterial Brush Set

sephora brush set

7

Synthetic

4.6

$$$

How To Use This Matrix:

  • Makeup Brush Set = Makeup Brush Pictures
  • No. of Brushes = Number of Brushes in a Set (only in the first matrix)
  • Hair Type = Makeup Brush Hair Type – Synthetic, Natural or Mixed
  • Rating = Amazon Overall Rating
  • Price = These are approximate prices on Amazon.com
  • My Review = My review on a specific product

*Click on any of the columns to sort the brushes to help make your decision easier

Review of the Top 5 Makeup Brush Sets

As there are so many different brands of makeup brushes available, with new types of brushes being released all of the time, so this is unfortunately not an exhaustive list.  However, we reviewed the makeup brushes that we consider to be the best, all of which have great reputations!

1. Sigma Essential Kit

If you want to buy a long-lasting makeup brush set with soft, high-density bristles, the Sigma Essential Kit may be the set that’s right for you! This kit is made up of 12 high quality brushes for both the eyes and face, and contains all of the best makeup brushes needed to create a complete look at any level of artistry.

The Sigma Essential Kit includes the following makeup brushes:

  • E05 – Eye Liner
  • E30 – Pencil
  • E40 – Tapered Blending
  • E55 – Eye Shading
  • E60 – Large Shader
  • E65 – Small Angle

Buying the brushes as a set costs $139, which is more cost-effective than buying the same brushes individually, at a total cost of $190. While this is not the cheapest makeup brush kit out there (or in this review), the brushes are of a high quality, and the set is comparable to more expensive professional sets.

The brushes from the Sigma Essential Kit are amazingly soft, being some of the softest we’ve reviewed, and they are effective for all kinds of makeup. These brushes don’t shed, keep their shape, and pick up product incredibly!

A quick tip for cleaning these brushes – the duo fiber and the tapered blending brushes are the hardest ones to clean. Make sure to spend a little bit more time on these two when cleaning your brushes (which you should be doing regularly!), because you could accidentally leave some old makeup residue in these brushes.

The only drawback that we found, if you can even call it a drawback, is that the brush holder tends to hold onto fingerprints if you touch it when you have makeup on your fingers, and it can be hard to clean these fingerprints off.

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In conclusion, if you’re using this brush set for personal purposes, you wouldn’t need to look any further than the 12 makeup brushes in the Sigma Essential Kit.

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2. Bdellium Tools Professional Antibacterial Makeup Maestro Series Complete 12pc. Brush Set with Roll-up Pouch

The package contains 12 brushes, including a Natural Powder, All-Purpose Blush, Finishing, Foundation, Slanted Contour, Tapered Blending, Pencil, Large Shadow, Small Shader, Angled Brow, Eye Liner and Precision Liner brush.

The Bdellium brushes are professional brushes with antibacterial properties and are eco-friendly. The brushes come in a storage pouch, and each brush is hand crafted and made out of the best quality material. All the bristles are treated with antibacterial agents so that bacteria is kept to a minimum. However, this is not an excuse to not wash your brushes!

The all-purpose blush brush is good for applying skin care products. You can also put on your moisturizer, primer and face-masks. We know some of you use your fingers for applying your primer, but since skin absorbs much more product than a brush, using a brush can make your product last longer! Of course, you can also use this brush to apply brush, bronzer, and powder.

The foundation brush has natural hair at the base and synthetic bristles at the tip. It is smaller than an ordinary foundation brush and this makes it more efficient for applying the product on the tricky areas like around the nose and under the eyes. It is fairly dense, so you can work up to a full coverage on your face.

In our opinion, the blending brushes tend to be a little scratchy and stiff. You can use them for blending eye shadow, for putting powder under your eye concealer or/and for creasing.

The eyeliner brushes have pointed and long tips, excellent for a precise application of the eyeliner. The shorter one ensures you a perfect finishing of the eyeliner – a sharp and precise line. It is almost impossible to make a mistake when using this brush to apply eyeliner. You’ll be applying a perfect winged liner in no time at all!

The brushes from Bdellium Tools Professional Antibacterial Makeup Set are very soft and they do not shed at all. The handles are fairly short, and the brushes are quite light. In contrast with the brushes from the Basic Brush Collection from Bobbi Brown (the 3rd set), these ones do not have their function written on the handle.

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These brushes are fairly reasonably priced at $100, considering the quality of the set, and that it has a double digit number of brushes.

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3. Coastal Scents 22 Piece Brush Set

According to Coastal Scents, their 22 piece makeup brush set is the ideal assortment of cosmetic brushes for both beginners and professionals, and we couldn’t agree more. The best part about this brush set is that if you’re a beginner who wants to experiment without spending your entire makeup allowance of brushes, this $35 brush set is the one for you!

The Coastal Scents 22 Piece Set includes the following makeup brushes:

  • Large Fan (Synthetic)
  • Powder Buffer (Synthetic)
  • Round Powder (Synthetic)
  • Flat Buffer (Synthetic)
  • Angle Blush (Goat Hair)
  • Foundation (Fiber Hair)
  • Concealer (Nylon Hair)
  • Large Shadow (Pony Hair)
  • Blender (Pony Hair)
  • Doe Foot Blender (Pony Hair)
  • Dome Shadow (Pony Hair)
  • Dome Blender (Pony Hair)
  • Medium Shadow (Pony Hair)
  • Detail Shadow (Pony Hair)
  • Lip (Pony Hair)
  • Detail Concealer (Fiber Hair)
  • Pointed Blender (Pony Hair)
  • Brow (Pony Hair)
  • Smudger Sponge (Rubber)
  • Large Liner / Brow (Nylon Hair)
  • Medium Liner / Brow (Nylon Hair)
  • Small Liner / Brow (Nylon Hair)

These makeup brushes are better than most of the other brushes that you’ll find at Ulta, and we will say that we have practically tried them all! Nonetheless, the quality of these makeup brushes isn’t quite as high-end as those such as MAC or Sigma, but it’s still a quality set to have and to use.

The best part about this set is that all of the brushes work well. They all pick up product easily, and help you apply it as desired, whether you’re going for a single color wash or blending a variety of different colors!

One thing that we noticed is that, although the natural hair brushes shed a little bit more than we expected (Don’t panic though, it’s not that much!), the synthetic brushes shed a minimal amount.

Overall, this is a good set to buy, especially if you are a beginner or don’t apply makeup that often.

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4. The Basic Brush Collection from Bobbi Brown

This makeup brush set is made up of 6 brushes, each one with a specific purpose.  There is one for concealer, foundation, face blending, eye shadow, eye liner, and eyebrows.  The Bobbi Brown Basic Brush Collection comes in a black, portable case.

The foundation brush is a brush with synthetic bristles, with the ends of the bristles having a different color than the base.  It is best for use with liquid foundation and creamy blushes. The concealer brush has a cap for protection and it is tapered. It is firm, but supple enough as to apply the product flawlessly around the eyes.

Our favorite part about this brush is the following trick – load the brush with product, put the cap on and throw it in the case. This way, whenever you may need to touch up your concealer, you have it ready and don’t have to bring the actual product with you, just the brush.

The eye shadow brush has a rounded shape and wide enough to cover half of your eye lid when applying your eye shadow, which allows for blending and techniques such as a cut crease.

The eyebrow brush has a straight end and it is also made up of synthetic hair. It helps you get a sharp contour for your eyebrows, and tame any wild eyebrow hairs!

The eyeliner brush is tapered for a clean application, and it can be used both wet or dry to apply the liner. You can also use it with wet eye shadow for a more dramatic look. With this brush you can get close to the lash line and create that perfect winged liner look!

The face blender brush can be used with a variety of products – blush, shimmer powder, face powder, and bronzer. We also like to use it for contouring with a matte bronzer.

amaz buttonEach of these brushes picks up the exact amount of product that you want and helps you apply it smoothly. They are also easy to wash and long lasting. Moreover, each one has its function written on its handle, so you always know which one to use and for what purpose.

Even if you are a beginner in the makeup world, the Basic Brush Collection from Bobbi Brown ensures you a professional finish and effortless application. The case they come in is spacious enough so can fit other necessary products too.

At $249, these brushes are a bit pricey and the most expense set presented here, but are an amazing quality that you would expect from a reputable company like Bobbi Brown.

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5. Yalmeh Professional Makeup Brush Set

A great medium sized makeup brush set that starts off beginners, and for use by intermediate-skilled makeup users, this particular professional-standard makeup set is fantastic value for money, and creates varied makeup looks with very little skill needed.

It’s all about the tools, and this 12 piece set, which houses its contents in a handy case, to keep everything in one place and clean, offers quality, with no shedding, making it easy to apply all different kinds of product to your face.

One of the main features of the Yalmeh Professional Makeup Brush Set is that antibacterial coating that covers the brushes, which means less chance of bacteria becoming housed. Despite this, it is important to regularly clean them as you would any other makeup tool, by cleaning them in warm water, cleaning with shampoo, and rinsing until water runs clean. Always store them in their protective case also, which comes free with the brush set. This will cut out any worries about germs.

This brush set arms you with the basics, such as an eyeshadow brush, mascara wand, blusher brush, eyeliner brush, and foundation brush, to name just a few. You will probably not use all of them, but they are the basics anyone needs in their kit.

The major perk? When using these brushes, they don’t shed and don’t leave any bits of brush in your makeup. They’re incredibly soft on your skin, and feels almost like satin.

For the cost, these brushes are a fantastic investment. amaz button

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6. Sephora Brand Deluxe Antibacterial Brush Set

sephoraThe set contains the following 7 brushes – foundation, concealer, powder, angled eye shadow, eye blender, lip/eyeliner, and a brow brush/lash comb.

What do they have as an extra feature?

Well, they are treated with a compound that is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and antibacterial, which helps to limit how much bacteria grows on your brushes! Like we said before though, this is not an excuse to skimp on brush washing!

The powder brush is multi-purpose, working well with powder, blush and also with foundations. It works well for blending, especially if you’re trying to contour.

The foundation brush is smaller than any ordinary foundation brushes. Due to this, it is also good for applying moisturizing under your eyes (since it’s such a delicate area), and for concealer.

The angled eye shadow brush is great for creasing and for blending.

The eye shadow brush has an almost flat end which makes it suitable for not only applying eye shadow, but also for filling in your eyebrows.

The concealer brush has a rounded top and it is flat. It is extremely efficient with the concealer.  However, no matter how you decide to apply it, be sure to blend nicely and cover all the needed areas.  This brush lets you work up to your desired coverage level.

The lip/eyeliner brush is the piece that makes this set cover all the face, as it is design to work for the lips too. This brush easily applies product on your lips, however, we suggest that if you use this for your lips, that you get a different eyeliner brush, since you don’t want to be applying lipstick to your eyelids, or eyeliner to your lips!

The brow brush/lash comb can be used to tame your eyebrows and avoid clumpy eyelashes. You can apply the mascara on the last comb side and then comb your eyelashes – they will look longer and will not clump together. Depending on how many coats you use, you can have a subtle “no makeup” look, or a more dramatic false eyelashes look.

The Sephora Brand Deluxe Antibacterial Brush Set comes in a silver pouch, and is light enough so you can carry it in your purse everyday. The texture of the brushes is very soft and they clean easily and well. The bristles are synthetic and they do not shed. The traveling size is also a plus – you can take them wherever you go. On the other hand, the handles could be improved, as they tend to split after a long time.

These retail for $60 for the set on Sephora.com.

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How to choose the best makeup brushes?

Best Makeup Brush Set

We’ve all heard that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but when it comes to makeup, beauty is also in the hands of whoever is wielding the best makeup brushes.  If you’re a new makeup user or an expert, you know that using the proper makeup brushes can make a huge difference when it comes to application and blending.

Brushes aren’t one-size-fits-all, with different brushes being better suited to different techniques or types of product.

Brushes that have natural hair bristles are fantastic for use with powder products, as they are the softest and fluffiest, and the bristles hold the powdered pigment until you place it on the desired area of your face.  Many high-end cosmetic brushes use squirrel hair, however, you can have great results with pony, goat, badger, and sable hair as well!

Synthetic bristle brushes are great for use with liquids and creams, such as liquid foundation, concealer, cream eyeshadows or eyeliners, and cream blush.  One downside to synthetic bristle makeup brushes is that they can become stiff over time, making them difficult to use.

There are so many types and brands of makeup brushes on the market that it can be very difficult to choose the best one for your makeup needs.  After some thorough testing and investigating, (which we must admit was a fun time!) we’ve come up with a compare and contrast guide that will help you choose the best makeup brush set.  Since some of you may be new to makeup, we’ve also included a description of how to use each brush!

Many people think that the key to good makeup only depends on the quality of the makeup, when in reality there are two other factors – the quality of your brush, and your makeup experience.  Someone with great makeup products and skill still can only go so far with bad quality brushes!

9 Comments on Find the Best Makeup Brushes For You

  1. anna lebonawski
    07/08/2013 at 7:45 am (1 year ago)

    the bobbi brown set is just amazing. cleaning the brushes is quick and easy. I use the brush “shampoo” from MAC. the bristles don’t fall at all – I’ve been using them for almost a year. so if you have some spare “change” you should definitely buy it.

    Reply
    • Emma White
      18/08/2013 at 10:06 pm (1 year ago)

      My goal in writing these reviews is to help you bring out that beauty within by showing which products you should use

      Reply
  2. Jenny B
    26/08/2013 at 8:31 am (1 year ago)

    The Sephora set contains good-quality brushes. I’m not an everyday makeup girl but these are my favorite

    Reply
  3. mary johnson
    07/09/2013 at 4:23 pm (1 year ago)

    I have a set from coastal (very cheap at the time I bought them), but now I am thinking of buyin the bdellium set. Thank you for reviewing them.
    Mastering the art of makeup application begins with a good set of brushes.

    Reply
  4. paulina be
    07/09/2013 at 4:46 pm (1 year ago)

    the bobbi brown set is far too expensive for the average women.who would buy them?

    Reply
  5. Julie Bee
    18/09/2013 at 6:20 pm (1 year ago)

    The right makeup kit for the right job is also important. If a department head has phoned ahead to recommend bringing very little or just what is needed, take notice and heed that request. The department head knows what is going on with the shoot. There is always time to bring in a larger makeup kit if you are hired for more days, or if you are assigned a specialized makeup procedure such as laying down sideburns for a period piece. You most likely have had conversations with the department head on any special makeup to bring with you. Every now and then, a production comes to town and the makeup department has not expressed to you what it is you will be doing or what to bring. Doing a little research on the production gives you a feel for the time period of the movie, and you can bring what you feel is needed.

    Reply
  6. MakeupByKiyyu
    11/12/2013 at 12:07 pm (12 months ago)

    Hi Emma,

    You’ve made the perfect guide for beginners. Nice and clear info.
    It’s really helpful.

    Thanks!!!

    Kiyyu XOXO

    Reply
  7. Mikey
    15/01/2014 at 7:43 am (10 months ago)

    Thank you so much for this review! As a Drag Queen, I am always pushed to look my best. This brush review has really made a difference in what I should be buying rather than what I have been buying.

    Reply
  8. Kasandra Danielle Aguilar
    04/02/2014 at 3:20 am (10 months ago)

    So I have been searching up and down for an awesome make-up brush set. Along my way I have encountered several misfortunes when buying things blindly. Thanks to this blog site I have just purchased the Coastal Scents 22 Piece Brush Set and I am super excited to see how it works out and will definitely leave feed back on the product. Thanks again!
    Warmly,
    Kassie

    Reply

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