When doing your makeup—whether it’s for work or for an after-office-hours event—the tools you use are just as important as the products you’re working with. Good makeup brushes—ones that are soft, densely packed, don’t shed, and have strong handles—can help elevate your look, so your application is as defined or as well-blended as possible.
Decades ago high-quality brushes were usually only found at department stores and at high prices. But these days, stellar brushes are available at a wider range of outlets and at more affordable prices too. Intrigued yet? Below, we’ve chosen five excellent brush sets, all under $20. They all allow you to unleash your creative side with your makeup without draining your bank account.
If you’re looking to give your entire makeup-brush collection a makeover, start with this 18-piece set. You can use it for your whole face and it includes brush basics, like tools for applying foundation, blush and shadow. It also has some fun extras like a fan brush to apply highlighter, and an angled brush for contouring. All brushes are made with wooden handles and synthetic bristles.
Made with recycled aluminum and plastic hardware alongside cotton and bamboo fibers, this five-piece set of makeup tools isn’t just budget-friendly, it’s eco-friendly too. Each brush is meant to be used with a different makeup product: foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, liner and blush.
Apply foundation, blush, shadows or highlighting powders with ease. This set features sturdy brushes with either fluffy bristles for blending, or firm bristles for buffing or sculpting. It even comes with a makeup sponge, which you can use to apply cream or liquid products, like foundation, to achieve a natural-looking, airbrushed finish.
If you love playing up your eyes then this set is for you. Of the 14 brushes it includes—all soft, sturdy and dense—seven are for applying makeup around your eyes, including the brow area. It also comes with its own case, so you can do your makeup on-the-go and in style.
If you’re all about that base—base makeup that is—look no further than this 15-piece set. Most of the items, including a silicone puff, are meant to be used with complexion-enhancing products, like foundation, powder, blush, contour, highlighter and concealer. The brushes have densely-packed, soft-to-the-touch bristles, which are ideal for applying cream and liquid products. Also included is a lip brush, eyebrow brush and lash comb.