Have you heard the saying that a tradesman is only as good as his tools?

It can also be said of makeup brushes.

You could have the most expensive makeup in the world, but if you don’t have the right brushes, you’re not going to achieve that perfect look.

We’ve come up with our top 10 best makeup brushes to help you create the most stunning looks.

Comparison Table

What Are The Different Types Of Makeup Brushes?

makeup brushes

When it comes to makeup brushes, nobody would blame you for being confused.

There are so many types of brushes on the market and none of them come with a user manual.

It may seem obvious to some people, but for most us, figuring out which brush to use with which product takes longer than applying the makeup.

Before we share with you our best makeup brushes, we thought a brief explanation of each brush and what it is used for would be helpful.

  • Foundation brush: Using a brush to apply your foundation is far more hygienic than using your fingers. A good foundation brush will fit in your hand easily and the bristles will be large enough to cover a wide space with one swoop. Use the brush in circular motions to stop your foundation looking cakey or blotchy.
  • Stippling brush: This is like a foundation brush, but the bristles are lighter. This gives you an airbrushed look with your foundation and feels delightful to use.
  • Concealer brush: A good concealer brush should be small with short, flat, bristles. Concealer should be patted onto your face with the brush and not blended out. If you need to cover a wide area, you still need to dab the concealer on your face first. It may be time-consuming, but if you blend the concealer out, you will reduce its effect.
  • Angled blush brush: This will help you to achieve an even, tapered, look with your blush. The angle on the brush means that the density of your blush is already tapered for you before you apply it to your face.
  • Contour brush: Do not be tempted to use your blush brush for contouring. A contour brush is more angled and has firmer bristles. This gives you more control over where your contouring product will sit on your face.
  • Highlight fan brush: This odd-looking brush is designed to distribute your highlighter evenly and sparingly. That way, you can add product as needed and you don’t need to worry that you’re putting too much on your face initially.
  • Powder brush: Softness is what you’re looking for in a powder brush. Your powder should be spread evenly and lightly over your foundation, so you want a brush with super-soft bristles.
  • Small angled brush: This is the perfect tool for applying winged eyeliner and is also great for filling in your eyebrows.
  • Blending brush: Again, don’t be tempted to use an eyeshadow brush for your blending. Blending brushes need to be soft enough that you don’t wipe the shadow off, but strong enough that they are able to do the job of blending.
  • Eyeliner brush: These tiny brushes are exactly what you need to create the perfect wing. Because they’re so thin you won’t pick up too much product on your brush and you’ll have complete control over your look.
  • Eye shadow brush: Because of where you use this brush, it needs to be soft. However, it also needs to be flat, so you can pack your eyeshadow on it, and then on your eye. Don’t worry if you put too much product on your eyes, because that’s why you have your blending brush.
  • Lip brush: These are fabulous tools that help stop feathering from your lips. They’re perfect to use as a lip liner and are also hygienic as you wash them after every use.
  • Eyelash brush: Also known as a spoolie, these help to keep your eyelashes on the straight and narrow and should always be used before you apply mascara.

How We Chose Our Best Makeup Brushes

make up

When we compiled this list, we wanted to include some budget-friendly options along with the high-end brushes.

If you care for your brushes well, there’s no reason why you can’t get great use out of the cheaper versions.

The main difference between high-end brushes and cheaper versions is that you can expect the high-end brushes to last longer before you need to replace them.

We also considered the length of the brushes when we chose them.

Longer brushes tend to be more comfortable to use as your hands won’t brush against your face and mess with the makeup you have already applied.

Customer reviews, where available, were taken into consideration but were taken with a grain of salt. Reviews are in fact, opinions, and what one person may like, another may not.

The Top 10 Best Makeup Brushes

We began our list with high-end, or branded brushes, and we’ve filtered down to more budget-friendly options. See if you agree with our choices.

MAC Small Angle Brush #263
  • 263 Brush is flat shaped with angled tip
  • For lining, shading or shaping the eye or eyebrow
  • Works with all formulas of eye colour

Used for: Eyeliner and/or eyebrow shaping

Where to buy: M.A.C. online and some department stores

Was there ever any doubt that a MAC brush was going to turn up on this list? MAC cosmetics are an extremely popular brand and with good reason. Their products are always of a high quality and they offer plenty of variety.

The 263 MAC brush is hand-sculpted with a wooden handle and nickel-plated brass ferrules. The ferrules help keep the brush handle strong.

The online reviews were mostly positive. However, one review stated that the top of her brush broke off within a week.

Sigma F84 - Angled Kabuki
  • Unique Feature: Soft and angled head
  • Function: Blended cream product application
  • Recommended Use: Buff cream blush or bronzer onto the skin

Used for: Blush and bronzer application

Where to buy: Sigma online, Amazon and some department stores

This brush has gorgeous soft bristles which glide over the face easily. The bristles are made from synthetic sigmax and the handle fits perfectly into your hand. The online reviews state this is a dense brush which appealed to some but was a negative for others.

Smashbox Fan Brush, No.22
  • Use it to apply even the darkest shades lightly for a perfect, natural finish every time.
  • Use FAN BRUSH #22 to apply even the darkest bronzers or blushes lightly.
  • Red

Used for: Highlighting

Where to buy: Smashbox online, Amazon, and some department stores

This is a popular brush that is reported to have amazingly soft bristles. The online reviewers all stated that it was a superior product. One reviewer mentioned that she had owned hers for 10 years and it still didn’t need replacing.

Used for: Foundation application

Where to buy: Amazon and some department stores

This is a fantastic price for such a high-quality brush. Made with synthetic bristles, it has a small handle which makes it easy to pop in your makeup bag for traveling.

Sigma E25 - Blending Brush
  • Unique Feature: Wide and slightly flat, firmer bristle blender.
  • Function: Controlled blending.
  • Recommended Use: Blend colors together onto the lid with added control. Buff out harsh lines for a well blended effect.

Used for: Blending

Where to buy: Sigma online, Amazon, and some department stores

Sigma appears on our list for the second time with its E2 blending brush. The bristles are made with synthetic SigmaTech Fibers which are antibacterial and hypoallergenic. It has just the right amount of firmness and roundness.

MAC 195 Concealer Brush
  • MAC 195 Concealer Brush
  • A flexible synthetic fibre flat brush with slight pointed tip for precision application and blending of all concealer...

Used for: Concealer application

Where to buy: M.A.C. online and some department stores

This is another beauty of a brush from MAC. It’s a flat brush with synthetic fibers and a pointed tip to allow for exact application.

e.l.f. Stipple Brush
  • Anti bacterial, synthetic haired taklon brush
  • Can be used with wet or dry products
  • Create a flawless look with this e.l.f. studio brush

Used for: Foundation application

Where to buy: E.L.F. online, Amazon and some department stores

This is your proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a makeup brush to receive good quality. Made with synthetic fibers, this can be used with wet or dry products and as a highlighting brush.

Real Techniques 100 Arched Powder Brush, (Pack of One), Bold Metals...
  • How to use: use the tip of the brush to swirl pressed or loose powder over your face; ideal for use with pressed or...
  • Synthetic taklon bristles are non-porous so do not trap or absorb product bacteria and dead skin cells, making our...
  • The color-coded system corresponds to the key steps of makeup application so you can create a flawless base, enhanced...

Used for: Pressed or loose powder application

Where to buy: Real Techniques online and Amazon

The price of this brush ranged from around $ on Amazon to $$ on the Real Techniques website. Our advice would be to read the reviews from Amazon sellers to make sure that you are not buying a fake.

The genuine Real Techniques arched powder brush is weighted for perfectly even distribution and looks classy in your bathroom.

Makeup Brushes Set 8pcs Synthetic Foundation Blending Powder Blush,...
  • Created by professionals for chic results. These eye makeup brushes will make makeup applying experience luxurious and...
  • The soft cut and dense bristles of the highest quality synthetic fibre provide an incredible touch and feel and they...
  • Our set is versatile with each brush bristles hand-cut to the perfect shape, allowing for precise application from dense...

Used for: All makeup applications

Where to buy: Amazon and some department stores

This set come with seven different brushes and a travel bag. These brushes were created by a professional makeup artist and can be used with both wet and dry products. If you’re new to makeup, a set like this is great and will give you an idea of the versatility of brushes available for makeup application.

Matto Face Makeup Brushes Sparkling Blue 6-Piece Makeup Brush Set with...
  • Acrylic makeup brushes handles are fulled up with luxurious diamond shape rhinestone, like crystal, very shiny and noble...
  • Premium synthetic bristles ensure no bristle fall out, give you superb soft silky feel on the skin, expertly hold...
  • Unique designed Face Brush Set is suitable for foudation,powder,mineral,highlight and contour

Used for: All makeup applications

Where to buy: Amazon and some department stores

This is gorgeous looking six brush makeup set made with synthetic bristles, aluminum tubing and acrylic handles. The online reviews are mostly positive with one reviewer stating that she didn’t intend to use the brushes but liked to keep them for decoration.

How To Care For Your Makeup Brushes

Once you have the perfect set of brushes to apply your makeup with, you won’t want anything to happen to them. How you care for your brushes determines how long it will be before you must buy new ones.

According to makeup artist Ashleigh B. Ciucci, you should wash your makeup brushes with shampoo once a month. Every week, you should clean them with a brush cleanser made specifically for that purpose.

Brush Cleaning Method

When it’s time to clean your brushes, pour a small amount of shampoo into a glass and fill it to the top with warm water. Swirl the brushes around in the water and gently massage the bristles. Remember that there will be dirt and bacteria that you can’t see.

When the brushes look and feel clean, rinse with warm, clean, water and carefully squeeze the bristles. You don’t want to change the shape of your brushes so make sure you don’t pull on the bristles.

Lay your brushes flat until they dry. As you’re cleaning them, check for shedding and discoloration. When the bristles start to fall out, or when it’s impossible to get them 100% clean, it’s time to buy some new ones.

The Brands That Make The Best Makeup Brushes

Our list of top 10 best makeup brushes makes it apparent that MAC and Sigma are the two top brands when it comes to high-quality products.

M.A.C. Cosmetics

In March 1984, salon owner Frank Angelo and makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan launched M.A.C. cosmetics in a Toronto, Canada, department store. The two men had been frustrated that they couldn’t find makeup that photographed well. They decided to make their own and haven’t looked back since then.

Sigma Beauty

Sigma was created in 2009, by power couple Dr. Simone Xavier, a molecular bacteriologist, and Rene Xavier Filho, a civil engineer. Their first product was a brush set, so it’s no surprise that they are now considered one of the top brands in makeup brushes.

The Final Word On The Best Makeup Brushes

With such a wide variety of brushes on the market there’s no excuse to use poor quality products. Whether you buy high-end or budget, your makeup routine can only be enhanced by using the proper tools.