The Best Makeup Brushes

Updated on 6 October 2022

After 8 hours, the in-depth analysis of 19 kits and our tests of 5 of them, we have voted the Ecotools Start The Day Beautifully make-up brush set as the best of the moment for its outstanding value for money.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best mid-range

Ecotools Start The Day Beautifully Kit (5 pcs.)

The Ecotools brand is renowned for its affordable, high quality and environmentally friendly products, and this complexion and eye kit is no exception. In addition to the 5 super-soft brushes, a storage tray is included.

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Ecotools Start The Day Beautifully Kit

With its 3 brushes for the complexion (foundation, blusher and concealer) and 2 for the eyes (eye shadow and eyeliner), this kit is very complete for easy everyday make-up. The kit appeals to both beginners and regular users thanks to its soft, solid synthetic bristles that stay in good condition over the long term. In addition, the materials used are sustainable and/or recyclable, vegan and cruelty-free. For our tests, we took the set of 5 eye brushes which turned out to be a great addition if you already have something else at home to do your skincare.

 

 

Best budget

EmaxDesign (12 pcs.)

Made of bamboo, nylon and synthetic materials, these brushes are pleasant and soft to use. They have enough diversity to be interesting as a first kit for beginners.

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EmaxDesign MB122

During our tests, we were able to see how good value for money this 12-piece set is. There are only 2 brushes that look almost the same to us: a dense brush and the mini-kabuki brush for evenly distributing liquid foundation. Otherwise, it includes everything you need to apply make-up to the face and around the eyes, and even to smooth the lashes. In terms of cleaning, they all regained their shape and remained soft, but the colour didn’t quite come out on the brushes we used with the liquid foundation.

 

Best high-end

Sigma Most Wanted (5 pcs.)

The brand is highly regarded in the industry and offers brushes that are more expensive but of a higher quality. The 5 tools in the set are perfect for a complete make-up application and ensure years of use without moving a hair.

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The kit includes five of the brand’s bestsellers: two foundation and highlighter brushes and three eye brushes for application, blending and highlighting. Made of ultra-soft, antimicrobial synthetic fibres, water-resistant polymer and durable, corrosion-resistant alloy, they have an impressive lifespan – and a 2-year guarantee. Professional quality, they won’t disappoint those who can afford them. They are guaranteed vegan and cruelty-free.

 

Mid-range alternative

Real Techniques Everyday Essentials (5 pcs.)

Real Techniques brushes are a must-have product on the market, offering outstanding quality at an affordable price. With 4 brushes and a sponge, the kit appeals to beginners and professional users alike.

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Real Techniques Everyday Essentials

Highly regarded for their excellent quality and affordability, the brushes in this set are suitable for a comprehensive daily routine. They are designed to apply foundation, blush, powder and eyeshadow, and come with a complexion sponge. In our tests, we found the synthetic and cruelty-free bristles to be ultra-soft and pleasant on the skin. They also recovered their shape well and kept their softness after cleaning. The colourful design of the brushes is also attractive. While we gave the Ecotools brushes a thumbs up for their eco-friendliness, the Real Techniques option doesn’t fall short in any way. However, they tend to retain some of the colour used in their bristles, despite thorough cleaning.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best mid-rangeBest budgetBest high-endMid-range alternative
Ecotools Start The Day Beautifully Kit (5 pcs.) EmaxDesign (12 pcs.) Sigma Most Wanted (5 pcs.) Real Techniques Everyday Essentials (5 pcs.)
The Ecotools brand is renowned for its affordable, high quality and environmentally friendly products, and this complexion and eye kit is no exception. In addition to the 5 super-soft brushes, a storage tray is included. Made of bamboo, nylon and synthetic materials, these brushes are pleasant and soft to use. They have enough diversity to be interesting as a first kit for beginners. The brand is highly regarded in the industry and offers brushes that are more expensive but of a higher quality. The 5 tools in the set are perfect for a complete make-up application and ensure years of use without moving a hair. Real Techniques brushes are a must-have product on the market, offering outstanding quality at an affordable price. With 4 brushes and a sponge, the kit appeals to beginners and professional users alike.
£ 13.99 on Amazon £ 10.99 on Amazon £ 62.99 on Amazon £ 20.99 on Amazon

 

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How did we do the tests?

To test the make-up brushes, we started by judging their softness before cleaning them. We then checked to see if they were still soft and had regained their original shape.

Next, we moved on to the actual make-up test. To do this, we used each kit according to the brand’s recommendations and noted how well the brush hairs were preserved. Finally, we washed them a second time, paying particular attention to their ability to detach the colour used.

 

How to choose your make-up brushes?

While it is possible to apply makeup with your fingers, brushes are becoming an increasingly important part of most people’s daily beauty routine. Easy to use for flawless make-up – when chosen well and used correctly – they come in many (very) different forms.

Pinceaux de maquillage

It can therefore be difficult to find your way around when it comes to choosing a good kit, especially when you are a beginner. We have therefore listed the different types and uses of the most common brushes to help you make your choice:

  • Complexion brushes: include tools for applying foundation, BB or CC cream, concealer, blusher, powder, highlighter or bronzer. While foundation brushes tend to be rather flat and with dense bristles, brushes for applying powder products tend to be airier. Keep in mind that, in general, a dense brush applies the material more intensely and with more coverage, while “fluffier” brushes ensure a lighter, more airy application.

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  • Eye brushes: there are a lot of them, of varying size and density. The principle is the same: a dense brush is ideal for applying a colour intensely, while a lighter model is great for blending. Depending on their size and shape, they allow for more or less precise work. The thin, bevelled brushes, in addition to being useful for creating a line along the lashes, can be used to draw the eyebrows – if you are not a fan of eyebrow pencils.
  • Lip brushes: they are very useful for outlining the lips and applying lipstick with precision and control. They are often thin and dense, allowing you to apply the material evenly.

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  • Sponges: following the huge success of the famous Beauty Blender, we are seeing more and more make-up sponges in beauty departments. Ideal for applying liquid or cream products, they ensure a light, natural and dewy finish when used wet. For better coverage, some can be used dry.

Once you have determined your needs – or wishes – we invite you to pay special attention to these few criteria:

  • Materials: while natural hair brushes have a reputation for being very soft, synthetic fibres, including Taklon, are becoming increasingly popular. For many people, synthetic hair is a more animal-friendly option: many brands are certified cruelty-free and vegan. The key is to find a brush that is soft and won’t shed hair with each use.

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  • Ergonomics: the brushes come with handles of different lengths: it is up to you to determine your preferences and the ease with which you want to hold them. For easy storage and transport, some models have retractable handles.
  • Cleaning: ideally, the brush should be resistant to use, but above all to cleaning. A good brush always regains its original shape and does not lose bristles when washed. It is advisable not to immerse the whole brush, but to concentrate the cleaning on the upper part of the bristles. Although there are many specific products for this purpose, a simple shampoo or conditioner is usually sufficient.

Pinceaux de maquillage

Even though in this article we have focused on kits and multi-brush sets, which are very practical for a complete routine and especially for beginners, all the brands presented in our comparison offer equally good individual products.

 

Other recommended make-up brushes

MAANGE (£12.49 / 15 pcs. upon publication): an economical and particularly gentle alternative. This set comes with a practical make-up bag. In use, we found these brushes to be particularly soft. Although there isn’t a brush made for spreading liquid foundation, it includes everything you might need to perfect your complexion (contour, blusher, concealer…) as well as something to make up your eyes (8 eyelid brushes plus brushes for eyeliner, eyebrows…). The thing that convinced us the least was that they lost some hair in a short time.

 

Other tested make-up brushes

EmaxDesign MB1801 (£10.77 / 18 pcs. upon publication): a set that is not really worth the money. Although this brush set is cheap, in our opinion it is not good enough to buy. Contrary to the brand’s claims, we didn’t manage to apply liquid foundation (like foundation or CC cream). And considering it offers 10 different brushes for complexion alone, we at least expected one to be able to do so. Besides, there are only two brushes that allow you to apply makeup to the eyelids.

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje

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