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The Importance of Good Makeup Brushes

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An artist is only as good as their tools, and we’re not just talking about painters. The same rule applies in the realm of cosmetics: Your makeup can only be as good as your applicators, which is why you should upgrade your collection to include the best makeup brush sets — to ensure that your every beauty need is met.

Expertly curated makeup brush sets come stocked with high-quality options that cater to the face, cheeks, eyes, brows, and more, but if you’ve yet to master the art of contouring, defining, shading, highlighting, no worries; you don’t have to be a professional to operate this fine equipment. According to celebrity makeup artist and brow expert, Danielle Kimiko Vincent, founder of KIMIKO, everyone from beginner makeup moguls to celebrity artists can benefit from investing in a complete set.

“I love a good brush set because it can encourage you to start experimenting with new techniques that you might not have otherwise considered,” Vincent tells WWD over email. “For example, an angled eyeshadow brush can be used in many more ways than a standard flat brush. You might learn to create a color wash with the wide section of the brush, and then use the narrow side to create an accent with a darker color.”

It also helps that there’s “usually a price break,” when you opt to purchase an entire set versus individual brushes, Vincent adds. “Even if one of the brushes doesn’t become a favorite, you’ll likely make use of most of them, so the value is there.”

How To Shop for the Best Makeup Brush Sets

While makeup brush sets are an excellent investment, like anything else, not all sets are created equally. Ergo, when shopping for the best Makeup Brush Set, there are some key details to consider.

Synthetic vs. Natural Hair

In an exclusive interview with WWD, global makeup artist for Jane Iredale, Nechelle Turner explains that bristles on silicone mask brush are either natural (sourced from animals like squirrels, goats, and ponies) or synthetically made from nylon, polyester, or other synthetic fibers. Natural hair brushes, Turner says, have cuticles, making them porous, therefore, they attract and keep the product in the brush, which ultimately results in a more sheer application. “Their porous nature can also make them a breeding ground for bacteria,” Turner says, adding that natural hair brushes also tend to be a higher price point and their longevity is questionable.

Synthetic brushes feel more like natural hair brushes and are nonporous, therefore they “pick up and distribute more product on the skin for a more defined and more precise application,” Turner tells WWD. That being said, because synthetic brushes pick up and distribute more product, Turner advises using a lighter hand. It’s also worth noting that synthetic brushes that are stiff or have a shiny coating can result in a streaky makeup application, so you want to look for fluffy, softer bristles.

“In either case look for shedding,” Turner warns. “Shedding or lack of shedding bristles is a good indication of the quality of the fibers in both cases.”

Brush Count

Be realistic about how many brushes you need and how many brushes you’ll actually use. “If you’re advanced and like to try new techniques and looks, then a larger set with a wide range of variety will suit you best,” Vincent tells WWD. “If you’re relatively simple with your makeup, then an edited set will be great for you.”

Vincent tells WWD that as far as length goes, for a personal makeup bag, medium or shorter handles work well overall, but for a professional makeup artist, longer handles are ideal for powder and blush application. “This allows me to view my client from slightly further back, giving me a fuller picture of what I’m creating,” she says.

As for handle material, there are two options: wooden or plastic. “This may not be important for everyone,” Vincent prefaces, “but specifically for natural brushes, I prefer a beautiful wooden handle and brush hairs that have been hand cut and tied. This usually means high attention to detail has been taken with the taper and placement of the brush hairs, which I find translates to a more refined lay-down of powdered products.”

With sets geared towards beginners, pros, and every mastery level in between, the best makeup brush sets accommodate a wide range of beauty abilities with their basic, essential, and expert brush pairings. Below, find the best makeup brush sets that will satisfy every beauty buff’s skillset and budget.

1. BS-Mall Premium 14-Piece Brush Set

The BS-Mall Premium 14-piece brush set is one of the best makeup brush sets on amazon. With over 79,000 reviews (the majority of which are 5-star) to date, customers rave BS-Mall synthetic hair brushes are “soft,” “high quality,” and “comparable to high end brushes.” The 14-pc collection includes nine precise beard brush for shaving, as well as five chunky kabuki brushes for blush, bronzer, foundation, and other face product application. A travel case is also included with every purchase for easy storage.

One of the best affordable makeup brush sets on the market, EcoTools brushes are also (as its name would suggest) eco-friendly. Each tool is constructed from 100% recycled, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free materials and the collection comes packaged in tree-free paper made from cotton and bamboo fibers. The Day Beautifully Brush Set consists of the brands core collection of five brushes (including an angled foundation brush, blurring brush, defining crease brush, angled liner brush, and full blush brush), as well as three how-to beauty look cards to help simplify your routine.

Vincent tells WWD her brand’s essential brush collection is particularly excellent for “stepping up your brush game while keeping your makeup bag curated.” Each brush included in the set is hand cut, constructed with cruelty-free materials, and is designed to be multifunctional, ensuring you can create more looks with limited tools: “Three of the four brushes are dual-ended (with caps), so you’re actually getting seven brushes; a do-it-all brush for face, two essentials for eyes, a synthetic concealer and lip brush, and a brow and lash brush.”

Bridal and celebrity makeup artist, Cara Lovello tells WWD this set from EIGSHOW is one of the best makeup brush sets for beginners available on Amazon. “The brushes are affordable and good quality,” Lovello says, adding, “they don’t shed or fall apart.” The brand’s 15-piece Jade Series kit includes all the tools needed to create precise, flawless looks, from a foundation brush to various eye makeup tools. The brushes are made with vegan-friendly bristles sourced from corn silk fibers and birch wood handles, and come packaged (and separated) in a cosmetic bag made from recycled clothing and linen fibers.

The Tarte Cosmetics Goal Getters Contour Brush Set features five complexion brushes the brand guarantees will “sculpt, strobe, and perfect” your complexion. Inside, you’ll find the Bronzer Brush, Contour Brush, Foundation Brush, Concealer Brush and the Highlighter Brush, all decked out in rose gold sequins and topped with baby pink bristles. Reviewers give the set just shy of a 5-star rating, and love the set for its quality, as well as its overall aesthetic.

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