Tag Archives: makeup brushes

The best makeup brush sets you can buy for less than $50

You can own the most expensive makeup, but if you don’t use a quality makeup brush, that high-priced makeup is pointless. Quality makeup brushes don’t have to be expensive, and overspending on luxury brands is certainly a trap many people fall into. The best way to build out your makeup brush collection is to strike a balance between the features found in high-priced designer brand brushes and the low price tag attached to better-than-nothing drugstore knock-offs.

There are so many makeup brushes and sets that it can be overwhelming to pick which ones are best for your needs. We’ve done the research to find the best affordable makeup brush sets in a variety of categories so you don’t have to. Before we get into our picks, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • A brush for everything: Each makeup brush is made for a specific purpose, so be sure to keep in mind which brushes you need when you’re shopping. You can buy brushes individually to make sure each one serves a specific purpose, but you’ll almost always save money buying your brushes in a set.


  • Natural brushes are made of animal materials with blue squirrel being the most desired, and pony, goat, and sable falling shortly behind. Some people have ethical issues about using natural brushes, which is where synthetic makeup brushes come into play, but you can also find natural brushes that are PETA certified. Natural brushes hold color pigments better than synthetic models and tend to create a softer, more natural look on your skin. They are also the general go-to for applying any type of powder makeup.


  • Synthetic brushes are man-made and usually consist of either nylon or polyester filaments, which are often dyed and baked to make them softer, more absorbent, and less prone to damage from makeup and solvents. Because the filaments don’t trap or absorb pigments, synthetic brushes are easier to clean and maintain and are the must-haves for individuals with certain types of animal allergies. They hold up to makeup better than natural brushes and as so are the preferred choice when applying liquids or creams, or layering powders.


  • Essential Brushes vs. Add-Ons: You can find a makeup brush for nearly any application, but to keep your sanity and bank account in check, it’s a good idea to ask yourself which brushes you want versus which ones you actually need. Your collection should aim to have at least seven basic brushes: A liquid foundation brush, a brush powder brush, a blush brush, a concealer brush, an eyeshadow applicator brush, an eyeliner brush, and a lip brush.


  • Price: Makeup brushes vary in price based on materials, quality, and brand name. Obviously, a fancy designer brush is going to cost more than something you find at a drugstore, but you can’t always assume a higher price tag automatically equals a higher quality item.  

The following picks are based on online research, expert reviews from the fashion and beauty community, personal experience, and Amazon buyer reviews. We chose to go with makeup brush sets rather than individual brushes for the sake of price and providing plenty of options, although you could easily purchase add-on items if any set is missing a brush you know you’ll need.

Because the feel of a brush is a good indicator of quality, we dove into customer reviews to get an idea of how real consumers gauged the brushes, rather than relying on manufacturer claims. Although we were not dead set on finding the lowest price options, price was a consideration and because all picks did come in at under the $50 mark, we didn’t dedicate any specific pick as our budget choice, considering all of them are reasonably priced.




Woman’s horrific skin infection is motivation to keep makeup brushes clean

You don’t have to know what cellulitis is to guess that you most definitely do not want it.

And now a woman named Katie Wright, of Austin, Tex., has proven just how easy it is to get the infection — simply by not washing your makeup brushes enough.

When Wright discovered a painful pimple above her eyebrow, she did what so many of us (wisely or unwisely) do in that situation: She popped it.

But instead of being a little sore afterwards, her “entire face swelled up” within the hour and she felt like “something was going to burst out of my skin.” Sensibly, she took herself straight to a hospital.


The doctors said she had a very serious case of cellulitis, a type of staph infection that can spread to other parts of the body, such as the blood, muscle, and bone, and can become life-threatening if not treated quickly.

“Since it was on my face, there was a huge risk of it spreading to my brain or to my eyes causing me to go blind,” Wright wrote.

Now that it’s finally healing and her face is going “back to normal,” she has shared her story online to urge other people to clean their makeup brushes regularly — all of them.

“This most likely happened from bacteria getting on my eyebrow pencil brush,” she said. “I’m super strict on washing my face/beauty blender/brushes, but I never ever thought to disinfect my eyebrow spooly [sic]. If you wear makeup PLEASE make that a step in your cleaning routine! It’s a small thing to do to avoid a painful, expensive and traumatizing infection on your face.”

She shared the message along with photos of herself taken 48 hours apart — before and after the infection took its hold.


The after image should be graphic enough to persuade anyone to make brush cleaning part of their routine, but what should that routine look like exactly?

Because of how they’re used, it’s impossible to keep your brushes from ever getting dirty. So if that’s not motivation enough to spend some quality time with your beauty tools, know that the bacteria production on your brushes is contaminating your makeup and promoting acne and breakouts on your skin.

It’s easy to wash brushes: Just fill a bowl with warm, soapy water, submerge the brush, gently massage the bristles, rinse, rest on a clean towel, and repeat. There are soaps dedicated specifically to cleansing brushes and beauty blenders, but often gentle soap — like baby shampoo — will do the trick just fine.

While there’s a general rule to cleanse your brushes every month, timelines can actually vary according to what you use the brush for — so dig in to these guidelines and make a commitment to clean.

Oh, and a final bit of motivation: Wright’s ordeal was not only emotionally trying but also financially costly, and she just launched a GoFundMe campaign to try and recoup some of her losses. “Unfortunately, this was not a cheap lesson to learn. I was left with thousands of dollars in hospital bills that I haven’t been able to pay yet,” she wrote. “The doctors of St. David’s saved my life and it would mean the world to be able to pay them back for their services. Any help you may be able to offer would be greatly appreciated and every little bit helps!”



These Game Of Thrones Makeup Brushes Will Make You Feel Like A True Westerosi

After the epic fall of Highgarden in last Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, the future of Westeros is starting to look even more bleak. With Lady Olenna out of the game, there’s no living soul in the Seven Kingdoms left to provide a quick-witted retort, offer a knowing side-eyed glance, or sneakily produce a vial of poison for one particularly virulent boy king. But there’s still one place the Tyrell dynasty can live on: in your makeup bag, with a new eight-piece collection of brushes that each bear the emblem of one of the Great Houses.


With five shadow brushes, a liner brush, a brow and lash comb, and a fluffy powder brush, the Game of Thrones set from The Catch comes complete with everything you could ever need to do your face and/or come out on top in the War of the Five Kings. (Just kidding — if it were that easy, the war would have been won long before winter.) In plated metal, you’ll find the emblems from your house of choice, be it Stark, Greyjoy, Lannister, Tully, Targaryen, Baratheon, Arryn, or Tyrell.
Yes, your favorite character is probably dead (and was likely slaughtered in a brutal fashion, no less), and yes, with each passing episode the show starts to feel less like something to get excited about and more like the wake of a beloved family member, only it keeps happening every week. But there’s one important thing you might be able to appreciate once you’ve got these brushes in your kit: It’s just a TV show. Now try telling yourself that at 8:55 on Sunday, when your heart is pounding in anticipation and you’ve got a goblet of red wine so overfloweth, Cersei would no doubt approve. (As you already well know, that’s not necessarily a good thing.)

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes With Drugstore Products

Happy Drugstore Beauty Week! In honor of the occasion, we’ve solved a very common problem with less than $5.

The problem: dirty makeup brushes. Be honest, how often do you clean your tools? Between the time it takes to wash and dry makeup brushes (at least half a day), most of us try to go as long as possible without having to clean them. But, did you know that dirty makeup brushes can lead to staph infections, clogged pores, pre-mature aging and even bugs? If that’s not a wake-up call, we’re not sure what is. 

Lucky for us, celebrity makeup artist to Gwen Stefaniand Angelina Jolie, Gregory Arlt, weighed in on how to keep your brushes clean: “I actually like Bounty, or those paper towel that are a little bit textured because it really helps to get the hair up, the dirt off and the makeup, kind of work it back and forth every single day,” he suggested for daily care to E! News. “About once a week, I recommend shampooing your brushes. A lot of people are like, ‘Can I throw them in the dishwasher?’ I’m like, ‘If you never want to see them again.'”

Fortunately, there is an easy way to shampoo your tools, and it doesn’t include a dishwasher. 

Ready to wash your fears of dirty brushes away? Grab some baby shampoo and read our tutorial below! 

ESC: E!ssentials

To keep bacteria from building in your makeup brushes, beauty pros recommend washing your tools at least once a week.

Urban Decay Jean-Michel Basquiat Eyeshadow Palette, $38

ESC: E!ssentials

There are plenty of makeup brush cleaners on the market (Try: Clinique Makeup Brush Cleaner), but you may have a great solution already in your bathroom. Baby shampoo will cleanse your tool of makeup without damaging the bristles. Place a pea-sized amount onto the brush.

Johnson’s Baby No-More-Tears Shampoo, $3.92

ESC: E!ssentials

Put the makeup brush with baby shampoo into shallow water. Ideally, you want to avoid getting water in the base of the brush. Pro tip: Using a small bowl or mason jar will help to save water and keep you from having to clean your skin after.



ColourPop Pressed Powder Compacts and Makeup Brushes Are on Their Way

Concealer isn’t the only newness ColourPop has coming up this week. Just a day after the Southern California–based cosmetic company announced that it was coming out with its first-ever concealer, it started teasing more upcoming brand-new products. ColourPop Pressed Powder Compacts and a full-set of brushes are on their way, too. Phew — do the people over there ever get to sleep?


Let’s start with the Pressed Powder Compacts since they go hand-in-hand with the concealers. For the past couple months, ColourPop has only offered its pressed powder bronzers and highlighters in palette form with two to six other shades. With the latest launch, both cheek products will be available individually in convenient mirrored compacts. (Yes, they are mirrored! ) On its Instagram page, ColourPop only showed the following black-and-white teasers for the cover of the compact and a sliver of the inside with the actual pressed powder.


Thanks to Sharon Pak, a marketing manager for the brand, ColourPop’s Instagram followers got a closer look at the product. She flashed the bronzer in a “Get Ready With Me”-style Instagram story and swept the highlighter onto her cheekbones for a blinding glow.


As for the brushes, 12 different shapes and sizes will be available. In the past, ColourPop has only offered eye makeup brushes, but it’s branching out to the whole face this time around. You can apply the new pressed powder compact shades with the large powder brush, angled face brush or one of the two fan brushes. There’s also a blush brush and stippling brush for perfecting your base. For eyes, you’ll be able to choose from six different options, including a blending brush and pencil brush. The dense small eye shader brush could even double as a concealer brush. All are less than $12 each. (The large powder brush is the most expensive at $11, and the angled eye brush is the cheapest at $5.)

As for how much the whole set will be, stay tuned!

The ColourPop Pressed Powder Compacts and brushes will be available on Thursday, July 27, on colourpop.com.



7 Makeup Brush Sets Worth Every Penny

Makeup is arguably one of the best inventions ever, but it’s virtually useless unless you have the right tools to apply it.

If you’ve ever bought makeup brushes before, you know what we’re talking about here. A cheaply-made brush that falls apart as you’re applying your makeup on is not good news. The quality of the bristles also makes a difference when it comes to coverage. Remember: You’re going for blended, not cake-y.

And it doesn’t matter how low maintenance your beauty routine is, you’re going to need more than one brush to finish your look. That’s why brush sets are the best.

With sets, you see, the pros have already curated a collection of all the ones you’ll need, so it takes the guess work out of it. Besides, when bought in multiples, it’s usually cheaper than if you bought each on its own. 

Shop our favorites below!

Branded: Makeup Brush Sets

Yes, a high-quality and affordable brush set does exist. This kit (valued at $70) includes a whopping 19 vegan-friendly brushes that will help you achieve any and every beauty look you could ever imagine. 

E.L.F. Cosmetics 19 Piece Brush Collection, $50

Branded: Makeup Brush Sets

If cost is a non-issue and professional results are your aim, these brushes are the way. Each one has a custom metal-handle and velvet-like tips made of engineered CosmeFibre, which delivers the smoothest coverage possible.

Artis Brush Elite Mirror 10 Brush Set, $360

Branded: Makeup Brush Sets

OK, so this isn’t a brush set, per se, but if you’re familiar with Beautyblender, you know why it’s in here. Even better: This pro kit comes with three different sized sponges, the blotterazzi pro and also includes the brand’s custom cleanser. Winning! 

Beautyblender Pro On the Go Kit, $40



‘Mean Girls’ Makeup Brushes Are Coming & This Might Finally Make Fetch Happen

That’s so fetch. The “that” I am referring to is the forthcoming Mean Girls Burn Book makeup brush collection from U.K. brand Spectrum Collections. Now you will be able to fully and effectively channel your inner Plastic — are you a Cady Heron or a Regina George? Personally, my fave is Janis Ian. So, what’s in the Mean Girls brush set?

The Burn Book Brush Book is 10 brushes that will cost £49.99 — that converts to approximately $65 USD. There is a version of the set comes with a mini Burn Book bag that can double as a handbag and costs £79.99 or approximately $104 USD.

The brushes have a “dipped” look — that is, ombre pink and purple handles. They also have pink bristles, since The Plastics loved their pink. Duh! On Wednesday, they wear pink.

But get this! Each brush features a Mean Girls quote.

Additionally, if you want to truly complete your Spectrum x Mean Girlscollection, there are two branded acrylic brush cubes in which you can store your tools.

The Burn Book brush set arrives on Aug. 30 exclusively via the Spectrum Collections site. I bet you are itching to know if the brand ships to the U.S. Yep, they do! So you can already start budgeting for and thinking about these awesome makeup tools.

Enjoy a scroll through the gallery to look at the case itself, the bristles, the handles, the colors, the awesome. So. Much. Awesome.

Spectrum Collections Instagram

Who cares if “you can’t sit with us?!” The Burn Book brushes are all you need in life.

Spectrum Collections Instagram

This brush set is anything but a life ruiner. I could do this all day. Look at those fluffy heads.

Spectrum Collections Instagram

Regina George’s hair may or may not be insured for $10,000 but these brushes are beyond fetch.

Hurry up and get here, Aug. 30.



Does putting your makeup brushes in the washing machine work?

It’s one of the most arduous tasks of being a makeup wearer – washing the brushes.

That’s probably why 61% of women who use makeup brushes clean them less than once a month – if at all.

It’s so annoying that some people have just got tired of the fuss, and started putting their makeup brushes in the washing machine to get them clean.

But does it actually work, or will it make your Mac or Morphe babies look like sweeping brushes?

According to Twitter, it’s a miracle fix.


In some super scientific research, I spoke to a friend who tried this lazy yet brilliant technique. The verdict was mostly good, with spotless Kabukis and blending brushes.

However, one looser powder brush was caught in the crossfire and had all of its bristles ripped out in the wash.

It seems the best game plan if you want to try this is to put them in a laundry bag or tied-up pillowcase, add some mild detergent, and use a cold, quick washing cycle.


Does putting your makeup brushes in the washing machine work?

This genius gadget is the only way you’ll clean your makeup brushes in the future

If you’re a makeup aficionado, you know the struggle of cleaning your makeup brushes. 

Cleaning the brushes that graze your face is super important, as the buildup they collect is full of dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and old makeup. And did we mention bacteria? Lovely. 

Whether you’ve never cleaned a brush or are looking to be more time efficient, this gadget is for you.

The Luxe Brush Spinner (luxe!) cleans and dries brushes in seconds, and all you have to do is attach your makeup brush of choice to the spinner and watch as it does the work for you. 

The attachment mechanically swirls your brush around a glass bowl of solution, and then dries it as you lift it out of the bowl in about five seconds. 

Originally listed at $69.99, get it now for just $49.99. 




Why You Need Vegan Makeup Brushes in Your Kit

Where there is makeup, there are never makeup brushes far behind. Especially for those of us who love mineral and pressed powders, finding the right brush for your needs can make all the difference.

Here’s the thing, though; a lot of the bristles in makeup brushes are made up of animal hair, and we’re not talking hair that’s just naturally fallen off of our furry friends. So technically, if fur coats make you cringe, the thought of rubbing a squirrel on your face to get the perfect contour probably will, too.

But animal hair must have some advantages, right? Well, not really.

When Synthetic Trumps Natural

If you’re always looking for the greener option when it comes to beauty, it may seem like going the most natural route is the best choice. However, when we’re talking about applying your blush (or foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, etc), the synthetic option comes out on top.


Not only is it guaranteed to be cruelty-free and animal free, but there are a few other benefits, too. Most vegan makeup brushes use Taklon, a polyester fiber which is cut to mimic the feel of real hair, but without the pitfalls of an organic material. Because there are no cuticles, and it is non-absorbent, Taklon hairs do not trap dirt, powder, and bacteria, making them more hygienic and far easier to clean.

Ever been happily stroking your pet and felt a sneeze coming on? Yep, you guessed it – using synthetic hairs also means you can skip out on irritating allergies. Try these vegan makeup brushes for size and you’ll instantly feel the difference.

vegan makeup brushes


Best for face makeup: Alima Pure

Luxury lovers will swoon over these clean, sleek looking makeup brushes. Usually, duo-fiber makeup brushes are a mixture of animal and synthetic hair, but these are completely vegan, with all of the perks remaining. The white bristles are less dense, allowing for lighter, more buildable application. This makes them especially great for things like foundation, where some areas you might want higher coverage than others and for it to be, of course, super blendable for a natural looking finish.

vegan makeup brushes


Best for eye makeup: Lily Lolo

Know your tight lining from your socket blending? Then these brushes will have all of your artistic desires covered, minus the need for any cruelty. There are eight brushes in total that can be used for eye makeup (ten if you’re counting the fact two are double ended), so you can make the most of your eyeshadow collection and create all kinds of looks! The easy to clean Taklon bristles also means you can give them a quick wipe in between colors (and between more thorough washes).


vegan makeup brushes

Best for travel: EcoTools

If there’s one brand that knows how to do vegan makeup brushes, it’s EcoTools — the company has been doing it for ten years! One of the first to make cruelty-free brushes serious contenders, all of these brushes are certified by PETA, and have added green points by making use of recycled aluminum and sustainable resource, bamboo, for the handles. EcoTools are always coming out with new creations, but it’s the various kits which steal hearts. They’re ideal for building up your brush kit affordably, and super easy to carry around thanks to compact sizes and cute (tree-free) reusable pouches.



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