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

  • Picking the right makeup brushes can be a chore - there are so many options!
  • We've researched to find the best makeup brushes you can buy, and the BS-MALL Makeup Brush Set is our top pick because the brushes work as well as high-end ones but cost a fraction of the price.

You can own the most expensive makeup, but if you don't use a quality makeup brush, then those cosmetics are 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: These are made of animal materials, with blue squirrel being the most desired, and pony, goat, and sable right 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 certified by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 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: These 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 testing/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 judged the brushes, rather than relying on manufacturer claims. Although we were not dead-set on finding the lowest price options, the cost was a consideration; because all picks came in at under the $50 mark, we didn't dedicate any specific pick as our budget choice, considering all of them are reasonably priced.

Here are the best makeup brushed you can buy:

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Find all the best offers at our Coupons page.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at insiderpicks@businessinsider.com.

{{}}

View As: One Page Slides

The best makeup brushes overall

The best makeup brushes overall
The BS-MALL Makeup Brush Set comes with 10 clearly labeled brushes that look like expensive brand-name brushes but rival them in quality and price.

This highly rated BS-MALL Makeup Brush Set comes with 10 high-quality brushes that cover nearly every makeup application need. The soft brushes have a high-density bristle made of quality synthetic fiber that does not shed. You get extreme precision with big bold handles that make applying makeup easy and fast, plus, BS-MALL offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you don't love these brushes.

While most other makeup brushes are labeled by number or letter, each brush in this set is individually labeled with its intended use, which makes learning to use them especially easy. Each brush is designed specifically to apply different kinds of makeup. You get a foundation brush, a powder one, several smaller ones for eye makeup, and more.

The stylish brushes come in a black-on-gold color scheme with professional-looking brown turned white bristles. Many beauty bloggers, as well as dozens of Amazon reviewers, even go as far as to note that their design is strikingly similar to the high-priced Sigma Sigmax Kabuki Brushes. These BS-MALL brushes are long-lasting and they look and feel like they should cost more money.

The BS-MALL Makeup Brush Set is praised on several well-respected review sites, including Best Products, Best Reviews, Faveable, and Wise Bread. On Amazon, the set has an average 4.3 out of 5-star rating based on more than 8,000 reviews.

Amazon reviewers love the quality you get for the low price and many say this set rivals brushes they've paid top dollar for. A handful of reviews mention that the set is a great gift or stocking stuffer, while others are pleased because these brushes actually make their makeup look better. The brushes are even suitable for those with highly sensitive skin.

The majority of critical reviewers do mention the initial unpleasant smell, although others say the smell quickly goes away if you simply air the brushes out or wash them upon arrival. Other buyers say the brush and handle come apart too easily, but some reviewers say a hot glue gun provides a simple solution.

Pros: Professional look and quality, soft bristles, incredible price, each piece is clearly labeled by use rather than number, no shedding, 100% guarantee

Cons: Handles detach easily, unpleasant initial smell

The best essential makeup brush set

The best essential makeup brush set
The Andre Lorent PRO Makeup Brush Set features five must-have brushes that are made from LuxeFiber.

Sometimes a good set of the essential makeup brushes is all you really need and this Andre Lorent PRO Makeup Brushes Set delivers. The set features a foundation brush, powder and blush brush, angled liner brush, eyeshadow brush, and lip brush. The stylish white carrying case makes the set portable, and its design is elegant enough to leave it out in your bathroom as decor.

Because each brush is designed for a specific use, they perfectly complement a standard makeup routine. For example, the foundation brush is specifically designed to not soak up too much foundation, so you can use less makeup to achieve perfect coverage and the eyeshadow brush features densely packed bristles with a cloud-like texture, so it will never bother your eyes.

What makes these handmade brushes stand out is they utilize a filament called LuxeFiber, which is a high-quality synthetic fiber that makes the brushes last longer, reduces the likelihood of fibers falling out, and delivers a smoother makeup application. LuxeFiber also doesn't hold color after cleanings, so you can seamlessly transition between different shades.

The Andre Lorent PRO Makeup Brushes Set is featured in multiple best makeup brush lists including those on Thoroughly Reviewed, The Awesome Daily, and Review Lab.

The set has an average of 4.7 (out of 5-star) review rating on Amazon based on more than 1,400 reviews. Buyers say the brushes are well worth the price, make a perfect gift, and that they combine high-quality materials along with a high-quality design.

Critical reviews tend to center around the fact that that the bruises have a chemical smell to them or that some of the bristles do fall out after use.

Pros: Unique LuxeFiber materials, fashionable carrying case makes them portable, stylish design, each brush made for a specific purpose, professional quality at a reasonable price

Cons: Funky smell reported, questionable longevity

The best full makeup brush set

The best full makeup brush set
The USpicy 32-Piece Professional Makeup Brush Set covers all your makeup application needs for a great price.

The USpicy 32-Piece Professional Makeup Brush Set is perfect for all types of makeup application including blush, blending, contouring, shading, highlighting, eyeshadow, concealer, and more. The silky smooth hair brushes are designed for makeup artists and professional cosmetic use but are also suitable for amateurs, or those looking to set up their makeup game.

The brushes come with a custom travel makeup pouch designed for protecting, storing, and organizing them. The brushes are made with thick soft synthetic fiber bristles, so they're gentle on your skin. The long handles provide better control so you can apply makeup with ease, even if you rock long fingernails. The bristles are easy to clean with just a simple rinse.

The fan brush is especially popular. One thing to note is while you get 32 brushes as advertised, you technically get 23 different brushes, meaning some are duplicates, which is basically just something that comes along with purchasing a professional-level kit.

The USpicy 32 Pieces Professional Makeup Brushes are featured on the beauty blog Beauty Short Cut Tips as well as on various review sites like Thoroughly Reviewed and Faveable. The brush set maintained a 4.3 out 5-star rating on Amazon based on nearly 2,000 reviews.

Amazon reviewers are pleasantly surprised at how high quality the brushes are for such an affordable price, and love that they are super soft, and don't shed or irritate the skin. Others mention that the quantity of brushes comes in handy if you're not a professional makeup artist because you have duplicates on hand in case you don't want to clean them constantly.

Critical reviews tend to highlight the fact that the kit doesn't come with a blending brush, that there are so many brushes and no instructions for use, and that they have a plastic smell at first. Many reviewers do say the smell goes away quickly once you air them out.

Pros: Large quantity of brushes, professional-level kit, soft, non-irritating, convenient carrying case for portability and organization, easy to use design

Cons: Come with an out of the box smell you might need to air out, no clear use instructions, lacks a blending brush

The best eco-friendly makeup brushes

The best eco-friendly makeup brushes
The vegan-friendly EcoTools 6 Piece Starter Set features six brushes that are incredibly soft and long-lasting with a price tag that's hard to argue with.

If animal cruelty is a concern when shopping for beauty products, this EcoTools 6 Piece Starter Set will leave your conscious clear. The hype over vegan or cruelty-free makeup products is on the rise, with enthusiasts rationalizing that if you wouldn't wear a real fur coat, why would you use real animal fur products in your makeup bag?

This set is 100% cruelty-free and vegan (it's PETA-certified). What's more, all EcoTool products are made from recycled aluminum and plastic, the handles are made of renewable bamboo (one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet), and all packaging is made of 20% cotton and 80% bamboo fibers creating a 100% tree-free paper packaging.

The beginner set consists of a blush brush, eyeshadow brush, angled eyeliner brush, concealer brush, lash & brow groomer, and included carrying case. The high-quality brushes feature incredibly soft, hand-cut bristles that glide over your skin for flawless makeup application. They're easy to clean using warm water and a drop of gentle shampoo or cleanser so you can keep them and your face germ and bacteria-free.

I've used EcoTool brushes before and as advertised, they're noticeably smooth as opposed to other coarse itchy brushes you get in the same price category. In my experience, they lasted a long time and didn't shed, even after heavy use. They also blended colors better than other brushes I've used, so, for example, if I wanted to do a soft to deep color transition on my eyelids, the result actually looked natural as opposed to two colors being shoved together. These brushes are also favored by Insider Picks' senior editor, Malarie Gokey.

The EcoTools 6 Piece Starter Set is featured on Urban Vegan, Byrdie's list of vegan makeup brushes, and PETA's list of cruelty-free brushes. The set is a best-selling product on the EcoTools site and has an average 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon based on nearly 1,400 reviews.

Amazon reviewers love the price point, with many stating these brushes are better than more expensive brushes they have used. The EcoTools brushes are also very soft, so using them almost feels like a facial massage. The brushes are long-lasting, too.

Some reviewers claim that certain brushes in the set are better than others, specifically, the smaller brushes work better than the larger ones. Others experienced hassles with receiving the wrong product or say that the brushes are too soft, but we can conclude the latter has to do more with the type of makeup being applied, rather than the quality of the brushes.

Pros: Cruelty-free, environmentally friendly, super soft, high quality, low price, long-lasting

Cons: Certain brushes in the set may work better than others, shipping issues

The best high-end makeup brushes

The best high-end makeup brushes
The SHANY Pro Signature Brush Set comes with two dozen professional makeup brushes.

The SHANY Pro Signature Brush Set features 24 handpicked brushes selected from the company's 220 brushes, each of which is designed to be the best type of brush for its use. Every single brush went through a series of development and enhancement stages and was sampled, tested, and guaranteed by professional makeup artists, to ensure the set is full of industry-level products.

The brushes are made from animal hair and microfiber bristles, but SHANY is PETA-compliant so you know the brushes are crafted in a cruelty-free fashion. We like that they're high quality, but because they don't carry a fancy name (like Bdellium or Sigma), you can score the set at an incredibly fair price.

A combination of sable, goat, badger, and pony hair and synthetic laser-cut microfiber bristles create soft, resilient, and long lasting brushes that are also hypoallergenic and antibacterial. Uniquely, the type of hair or other materials used in each brush bristle is chosen based on the makeup the brush is intended to apply.

The brushes have sturdy oak and rosewood handles with a sleek black finish that make them both fashionable as well as a comfortable weight for easy handling.

The set comes with both a travel makeup storage box and a roll-up pouch. The pouch not only keeps your brushes organized but also features zipper pouches and mesh bags so you can throw in extra makeup essentials you might need. To make application a breeze, the set also comes with a photo instructional guide that helps you learn how to use each individual brush.

The SHANY Pro Signature Brush Set is featured on fashion site Her Style Code, has a thorough review on the beauty blog Beauty Isles, and is included on various review site lists including A Web to Know, 5 Star Deal Reviews, and beauty and fashion ranking site Rank & Style. On Amazon, the set has a 4.6 out of 5-star average rating based on more than 1,500 customer reviews.

Reviewers state the brushes are high quality and an excellent value. Buyers enjoy the presentation of the brushes in the box and say the instructional guide is very helpful. Some reviewers go into detail about how perfectly the brushes are crafted for the intended use, while others go into more detail about how they redefine the idea of soft.

Critical reviewers cite issues with the brushes shedding, that they come with a smell, or that the handles disconnect after a few months of use.

Pros: Brush fibers individually chosen for brush use, high-quality, beautiful presentation, convenient carrying options, hypoallergenic and antibacterial-treated, instruction guide, price

Cons: Initial smell upon arrival, handles have questionable durability, possible shedding issues with certain brush bristles

How to take care of your makeup brushes

How to take care of your makeup brushes

Whether you splurge or save big, you want your makeup brushes to last. No matter how expensive or high-quality any brush is, you won't get the most use out of it without proper maintenance. Taking care of your brushes is really more of a necessity than an option, but it shouldn't be a total drag.

Most brushes come with recommendations on how to wash and store them, just make sure you know what those recommendations are and how much additional time and money they will require.

Some brushes can be washed with warm water and a household gentle cleanser, while others will require a special solution, such as the Amazon best-selling Ecotools Cruelty Free and Eco Friendly Makeup Brush Cleansing Shampoo. Any quality brush will be sturdy enough to wash without leading to breakage, bristle shedding, or other wear and tear problems.

Likewise, some brushes come with storage contains and even travel pouches, while others require you buy storage and organization units separately. Proper brush storage can provide time saving and organizational benefits, but the most important role of storage containers is to extend the life of your brushes.

Add Comment()
Comments ()
X
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.