The Top 14 Brushes for Applying Makeup

Photo Credits: Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Contributor/ Getty Images | Image Used for Illustrative Purposes Only

An envy-worthy makeup collection means nothing without the proper tools to apply them. But, like any beauty guru knows, brushes can often cost more than the product you’re applying themselves, leaving us not only curious about which brushes we should invest in, but also if there are any wallet-friendly options. Here, the ultimate guide to which brushes are worth splurging—and saving—on.  

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1/14

Artis Elite Smoke Oval 7 Makeup Brush ($65)

One use of this sleek brush is all it’ll take to get you hooked. Not only does it offer a quicker application, but makeup—whether it’s liquid foundation, powder foundation, concealer or blush—goes on smooth, streak-free and flawlessly every time.


2/14

Beautyblender ($20)

This rainbow-bright sponge speaks for itself. When used damp—this is the key!—it blends out foundation, concealer and pretty much any other makeup product with ease, and the tapered edge makes blending concealer in harder-to-reach areas easy.


3/14

Chanel Blush Brush ($50)

This chic, domed makeup brush takes the guessing out of the blush equation. Each stroke delivers the perfect amount of powder or cream pigment without looking too heavy or concentrated in one area.


4/14

Tom Ford Bronzer Brush 05 ($115)

The not-so-secret weapon behind most beauty bloggers’ perfect bronzer application? This massive bronzer brush that makes for a seamless application of your favorite formula both on the face and all over the chest and neck. Not only will you save a lot of time diffusing and blending out product, but you’ll notice a much more natural-looking finish.


5/14

Real Techniques Bold Metals 300 Tapered Blush Brush ($19)

Gorgeous enough to show off instead of stowing it away, this blush-specific offering features super soft bristles that apply blush easily and evenly, leaving behind an airbrushed, rosy glow without any harsh lines.  


6/14

NYX Cosmetics Pro Flat Foundation Brush ($15)

An even, streak-free foundation application is standard with this tapered brush that works well with both liquid and cream formulas. Plus, the narrow end goes where fingers can’t (think tear ducts and around the nostrils) for a look that’s uniform in all lighting.  


7/14

Wet n Wild Fan Brush ($3)

Cruelty-free and a sporting a perfect grip, this fan brush is less than $3 and ideal for dusting on your favorite highlighter or cleaning up unwanted fallout once your look is complete. Or, if you’re a skin care junkie, try using this to evenly apply your go-to face mask to make things a little less messy. 


8/14

FLOWER Beauty Travel Brush Set ($17)

Perfectly sized for travel, this ultimate girl on-the-go brush set includes all the brushes you’ll need without skimping on quality: A powder brush for your complexion, a contour/blush brush for sculpting and a shadow and liner brush to accentuate your eyes—all for less than $20. What could be better?


9/14

IT Brushes for Ulta Airbrush Bending Crease Brush #105 ($14)

The tapered head on this Ulta-exclusive brush fits seamlessly in the crease of your eye to easily blend out your go-to shadow look for a natural, never-harsh lid look. Plus, the super soft bristles feel silky-smooth on skin.


10/14

e.l.f. Beautifully Precise Powder Brush ($12)

This loosely bound, large powder brush (along with the rest of the new line) feels and looks expensive, but is easy on your wallet. This one is designed for powder—both loose and compact—to deliver a professional airbrushed finish every time.  


11/14

Sonia Kashuk Medium Multipurpose Powder Brush No. 17 ($17)

This ultra-luxe line of tools features countless high-quality brushes, but this one is the star of the show. All-natural goat hair bristles perfectly cushion your cheekbones to create a flawless contour in one swipe.


12/14

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($7)

Comparable to the coveted beautyblender (you can use them both), this sponge works just as well as its luxe competitors, sporting a unique, flat edge that makes contouring and blending foundation a breeze, and a precision tip for when you need a little more control. 


13/14

Palladio Beauty Flat Shadow Brush ($8)

Perfect for a dramatic eye or a delicate one-shadow look, this flat brush uses high-quality bristles to perfectly pack highly pigmented shadows onto your lids without losing any intensity or creating any fallout. 


14/14

Sigma B12 Bent Liner Brush ($15)

This makeup artist favorite features a game-changing pointed “neck” on one end and a traditional tip on the other designed to make lining the lash line—be it a cat’s-eye or a delicate line—easier than ever.