The best makeup brushes on the market

Do they need to be expensive to be good quality?


Makeup brushes are my weakness. I honestly think I have more brushes than makeup. (And I have a lot of makeup). I really believe having the right brushes changes how your makeup looks, sits and lasts.

The big question is… Do they need to be expensive to be good quality? Thankfully, the answer is no! I’m not saying all cheap brushes are good, but there is an abundance of affordable ones out that that I would highly rate. This blog is going to break down:

  • What to look for in a makeup brush?
  • What brushes to use for what?
  • Brush maintenance and why it’s so important.  
  • Cheap, mid range and prestige must have brushes.

What to look for?

There are 2 types of brush hairs you will come across – Natural (made from various animal hairs or furs) and Synthetic (made from nylon and other plastics). These are very easy to tell apart.

Natural brushes

Natural brushes generally feel very soft and are best used with powders, as when mixed with liquid products, they tend to ‘shed’ easily. The main purpose of natural hairs is to create a seamless and effortless blending experience. If you are looking for brushes to blend powder products with ease, I highly recommend looking for natural hairs (unless you’re vegan – there are many vegan brush brands).

Synthetic brushes

Synthetic brushes tend to have an obvious ‘shine’ to them as they are made of plastics. The bristles feel much stronger and when pulled, stay in tact and very rarely shed. These are better for cream/liquid products or when doing detailed work such as eye liner. I highly recommend synthetic when looking for foundation and concealer brushes or of course if you are vegan.

“Not washing your brushes is a bit like eating off a plate, not washing it and eating off it again.”

Brush Versatility

Often I find people buy one brush for one purpose, however brushes can be used in so many different ways for so many different things. If you are using cream products such as cream shadows, concealers, foundations, who’s to say you can’t uses your concealer brush for cream shadow? Just remember, the most important thing is to clean your brushes in-between.

The importance of brush maintenance

I cannot stress this subject enough! There are so many reasons why cleaning your brushes is so important.

  • Dirty brushes can cause acne and eye infections. When we apply makeup with our brushes, we are taking the oils and bacteria from our face and transferring them to the brush. It is a bit like eating off a plate, not washing it and eating off it again (gross right?).
  • Your brush just wont work the same way. If you buy a beautiful, soft brush but don’t clean it after using it, more and more product will clog it up which will:
    • Break down the glue in the base of the brush and cause it to shed.
    • Solidify in the brush, making it stiff and your makeup wont blend well on the skin.
    • Build up oils and bacteria that can cause breakouts and infections.
  • If you clean and look after your brushes, you will never have to buy another one again and you save your money! I can say this through experience as I have had some of my brushes for 16 years and you would never know.

All you need is a good brush cleansing spray and a cleanser. Cinema Secrets are by far the best cleansing spray out there and Bobbi Brown have a fantastic gel cleanser. 

If you want your brushes to last forever, clean them with the spray after every use and cleans them thoroughly with the gel once in a while. There is no two ways about this, trust me.

If you are a sponge lover, put them in a wash bag and pop them in the washing machine. It works a treat!

Top brush brands

This is the part I know you’ve been waiting for. I am going to say I easily have over 500 brushes (yes I know its excessive, but I like to think I am some sort of brush connoisseur).

Affordable Brush Brands

  • Morphe – Of all the cheap brushes out there, I have got to say, Morphe know what they are doing! £7 for an eye shadow brush? Are you kidding me? I’m in brush heaven… Excellent quality for their prices and they have a huge range of natural and synthetic brushes for you to choose from.
  • Zoeva – Very similar to Morphe in range, prices and quality. They have beautiful brush sets and aesthetically look very professional.
  • Sigma Beauty – A touch more ‘expensive’ than the first two brands, however still extremely good value for the quality of brushes. Personally I feel the quality is better and I would mainly buy foundation or powder brushes from them as they really excel in that range.

Mid Range Brushes

  • Real Techniques – Created by the power MUA sisters Sam & Nicola Chapman. They are and have been working in the makeup industry for years, so they know what they are doing. Their brushes are mainly curated in kits for ease so you don’t have to spend hours figuring out which ones you need. They are brilliant.
  • Mac Cosmetics – The OG of makeup artist brushes. Known for their famous 224 & 217 eye shadow brushes which many brands have tried to replicate. For anyone looking for a range of Vegan friendly brushes, MAC recently switched all their fibres to synthetic.
  • My Kit Co – These brushes have been a new favourite of mine! Beautifully made, wonderful quality and totally worth it. They also have a huge range of both natural and synthetic brushes. 

Premium brushes

  • Hakuhodo – I apologise now, you can only get these brushes online from the US but they are worth every little penny and delivery charge if you are a major brush fanatic like me. Hands down my favourite brush brand. Made in Japan with sheer care and precision. These brushes are the ‘caviar’ of the brush world. If I had limitless funds, I would have the full range.
  • Smith Cosmetics – Another brand of brush perfection. You can get a small range of these on or again from their US site. If you are a professional MUA or you just love brushes, you will never regret buying these. They are pricey, but worth it. Their designs are very unique and unlike any brushes I have seen.
  • Smashbox – Totally underrated. Their brushes are again very unique and effective. I especially love their complexion brushes over their eye makeup brushes. Excellent quality and worth the price. 
  • Bobbi Brown – There are three brushes in particular that I highly recommend. Their Full Coverage Touch Up, Full Coverage Face and Precise Buffing brush. These are three of the best complexion brushes I have used. Easy to use, does the job effortlessly and fantastic quality.

I hope this very thorough blog on brushes helped out!


Till next time…

G x

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