In theory, how could someone have the best makeup in the world and it still look bad? Not using good makeup brushes. It doesn’t matter if you always wear one color or if you have makeup to match every outfit you own (though I would hope if you did what I was saying wasn’t news…). It also doesn’t matter if you buy your makeup at the drug store or go somewhere more expensive such as Macy’s or Sephora–bad brushes can still make your makeup look like a botched clown job.
Just as with some staples in your beauty regimen, price should not be a huge factor. I am not saying it is no factor; but do not be reluctant to spend more on a good set of brushes that will last you longer. In order to test if it is a decent brush or not…feel the brush against your hand before buying; if it feels scratchy or anything but soft for that matter, you don’t want it. If you run it against your hand if the fibers feel loose or even worse, actually fall out, you don’t want it. No you cannot test brushes everywhere you go; but my opinion is even if you use drug store makeup you should buy your brushes from a high end place that will let you feel/test them first.
Finally, yes these links below are for Amazon. Obviously you are not going to be able to test these brushes over the internet; it is still my recommendation that if it is possible, you go to the store and test them before buying them (and yes that can mean coming back home to Amazon and buying them…don’t feel bad or shy about doing that–a lot of people do).
Now, without further endless babbling (as yes getting good makeup brushes is something I feel very strongly about…)
Here are the top 10 best quality makeup brushes in 2016
01. BS-MALL(TM) Makeup Brush Set Premium Synthetic Kabuki Cosmetics Foundation Blending Blush
As of when I wrote this, this one is on a big sale. It is a set of ten brushes: an angled, tapered, flat, flat angled, round, small angled, small tapered, small flat, small flat angled and small flat round. This is a good set for the money even if it is not on sale. Its retail price suggests that it is not an “entry level set”. The bad thing is they do come with a paint smell. Finally, they take a lot longer to dry than other brushes.
02. Susenstone 20 Pc. Makeup Brushes
I think we are going to be hard pressed to find 20 brushes for cheaper than this. It is a 1 seller on Amazon; but that could easily be because it is so cheap. It does not come in any packaging; just the brushes. However, if one does not want to spend much, this is clearly going to be the best option.
03. Real Techniques Core Collection Set
Thing one…it only has four brushes. Even if it was a good buy, which based on the price and number of brushes…it isn’t. If it was a set of good brushes, it would be a lot more expensive. I am extremely concerned with how they offer a “monthly subscription” on these brushes. That would imply that they are not supposed to last very long. That in itself is enough to convince me not to even think about buying these.
04. BESTOPE Makeup Brushes
Here is another one that is, at the time of writing this, at a major discount. It is a 1 seller in lip brushes. It contains eight brushes. These appear to be middle level quality brushes that are presently on sale. If you don’t want to spend a lot and don’t want the absolute cheap ones, these would be a good buy.
05. Emax Design 20 Pc. Makeup Brush Set
Another set of 20 for not very much. An interesting thing about these is that they are a bestseller of new releases. I would be cautious because, as I said, makeup brushes are something you want to make an investment in and keep for a while. If they are new, you don’t know how long they last on average because there probably aren’t many reviews to tell you. They do clean rather easily with warm water and shampoo. The biggest complaint about them so far is that they are really small. Something that is not unexpected in a cheap brush; but as I’ve been saying, you get what you pay for.
06. BS-Mall 10 Pc. Makeup Brush Set
As with the other BS-Mall set, there is a money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with them. It seems to be more or less identical to the other set–just a different color–this one is silver. As with the other one, it is at the moment on a major sale. If you don’t want an absolute cheap set, but don’t want to go to somewhere like Sephora; this is a good option.
07. Emax 12 Pc. Makeup Brush Set With Bamboo Handle
This is more expensive than the 20 pc. from Emax that was listed earlier. Unless you need an eyebrow/eyelash brush that bad…I can’t think of a reason to buy this one instead of the 20 pc. There’s fewer brushes and it is more expensive. However, not expensive enough that you are getting Sephora quality brushes. I do not recommend this one.
08. BESTOPE Premium 8 Pc. Makeup Brushes
These need to be washed thoroughly in order to get the plastic smell out of them that they come with. Once you get past that, these are decent for the money. The black and gold coloring on them is really nice and they look a lot more expensive than they are. It is one of my recommendations so far.
09. Real Techniques Starter Set
I see a couple of problems with this one. Yes it comes with a case for them where some of these sets do not. However, there is no way that offsets how there are not very many brushes here to begin with. A bigger problem I see, there’s that subscribe and save feature with these. That makes me want to run even if there is something distinctive or unique about this set; which there isn’t. Makeup brushes are supposed to LAST; not need to be replaced in a month or two. I do not recommend.
10. BS-Mall 14 Pc. Makeup Brush Set
This is the biggest BS-Mall set offered. The price difference between this one and the other brush sets from BS-Mall is not noticeable. So that noted…if you choose to go with this brand, obviously this is the best bet. The biggest problem with them is the plastic, or to some people, paint smell that they come smelling like. The good news is that can easily be washed out.
In conclusion, I will be frank. I bought my brushes from Sephora and would do it again. I am even more picky about the brushes I will use than the makeup I will wear. That noted…I am operating under the assumption that if you wanted to do that you would have already and would not be here reading this. So, given that below is my recommendation of what I think is best.
Makeup brushes need to last a while…you wouldn’t buy a hair dryer thinking “oh well I’ll get another one in a month”. That noted, I would steer far away from any set of brushes that offers an auto subscribe feature. That implies that they think they won’t last or something; that’s no good.
As to what I would recommend out of this: if you want to go with Emax, get the bigger set. There is no reason not to. If you want 20 pc. I would go with Emax since the others come in no packaging. The BS-Mall brushes are the best ones available on this list. I see no reason not to get the biggest set so that is what I would do; in fact I am thinking about it for a backup set to my beloved Sephora brushes. There is a money back guarantee with them, so you can be confident about ordering them, perform the tests I described earlier and if you don’t like them at that point, they can always be sent back. But this very picky girl doesn’t think you will have to.