The best makeup brush

Kailey Fralick

Clean your makeup brushes at least once per month and consider cleaning brushes you use to apply liquid makeup every week or two.

Makeup is a means of self-expression, a confidence booster, and also an art form. If you want to put your best face forward, you need a set of high-quality makeup brushes to help you create a blended, seamless look. But finding the right brushes isn't always easy. There are a number of factors you need to consider, including your budget, the types of brushes you need, and your makeup style. Here's a quick overview of what you need to know so you can pick the perfect set of makeup brushes for you. Be sure to check out our favorite brushes that apply makeup smoothly and cleanly - they are from Jenny Patinkin.

Considerations when choosing makeup brushes

The two key factors you need to focus on when choosing makeup brushes are the bristle type and brush type.

Bristle type

Makeup brushes have either natural or synthetic bristles. Natural bristles are made from animal hair. They're a great choice for powder makeup because the powder clings better to natural bristles, resulting in a more even distribution of makeup than you get with synthetic bristles. Natural bristles are also gentler on the skin, so they're worth considering if you've experienced reactions to synthetic brushes in the past.

Synthetic brushes, on the other hand, are the better choice for liquid makeup. Natural bristles have a tendency to absorb liquids, wasting product and making them more difficult to clean. Synthetic bristles are also more affordable than natural bristles, and they're better for precision application like eyeliner.

Some makeup brush sets contain a mix of synthetic and natural brushes, so you can have the best of both worlds, but most sets are either one type or the other. You may want to buy synthetic brushes for your liquid foundations and cream blushes, and natural brushes for your setting powders and powder eyeshadows.

Brush type

For a full face of makeup, you'll need the following brushes:

Foundation brush
Concealer brush
Powder brush
Blush brush
Eyeshadow blending brush
Angled eyeliner brush
Eyebrow brush or spoolie

More experienced makeup users may also want to invest in separate brushes for bronzer, contour, and highlighter, as well as additional eyeshadow blending brushes and precision eye and lip brushes.


There are several other factors to keep in mind when choosing makeup brushes.


Some makeup brushes hold up better than others. Handmade brushes are usually more expensive, but they tend to last for many years without shedding or breaking.


Some makeup brushes are more prone to shedding. Getting makeup brush hairs all over your face is annoying and may even affect how well the brush performs. You can determine whether shedding is a problem with the brushes you're considering by reading through customer reviews online.


Individual makeup brushes range in price from as little as $2 for drugstore brushes to more than $70 for some high-end brushes. Generally, you'll pay more for natural bristles, sets with many brushes, and handmade brushes. You'll usually get a better value when buying a makeup brush set.


Q. What's a kabuki makeup brush?

A. A kabuki brush is a dome-shaped brush with densely packed bristles. These brushes are great for applying powders, but if you don't have one, a regular powder brush will do just fine.

Q. How do I clean makeup brushes?

A. First, rinse the brush. Then dip it into a bowl containing water and baby shampoo or a makeup brush cleaner. Swirl the brush around and use your fingers to gently work out any makeup stuck in the bristles. Rinse the brush again, and then allow it to air dry completely before storing it or using it again.

Makeup brushes we recommend

Best of the best: Lazy Perfection by Jenny Patinkin 12-Brush Complete Collection

Our take: These are some of the best makeup brushes you can buy, but you may prefer a more affordable brush set unless you want brushes that will last you a lifetime.

What we like: Twelve brushes with high-end, handmade bristles that apply makeup evenly every time. They're gentle on the skin, easy to clean, and they don't shed bristles like some cheaper brushes.

What we dislike: These brushes are a significant investment, and they may be too expensive if you're on a budget.

Best bang for your buck: eBoTrade 32-Piece Professional Cosmetic Makeup Brush Set

Our take: This is a great option if you want a variety of makeup brushes at a reasonable price.

What we like: This versatile brush set contains 32 brushes in all shapes and sizes, and it includes a roll-up carrying case to help you keep them together. They're made of eco-friendly materials, and users report that the quality is excellent for the price.

What we dislike: There have been a few complaints of some of the brushes shedding hairs over time.

Choice 3: SHANY The Masterpiece Pro Signature Brush Set

Our take: This makeup brush set is versatile and well-made with all the tools you need for a flawless full face.

What we like: This 24-piece handmade brush set is made from elegant oak wood and antibacterial bristles. It includes a folding leatherette pouch for easy storage and transportation.

What we dislike: Users report that some of the longer-haired brushes start to shed over time.

Kailey Fralick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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