Best Makeup Brush 2020 • 7 Makeup Brushes Reviews
With the best set of useful makeup brushes, every woman can achieve a flawless look. The following is an informative buying guide on how consumers can find the best makeup brushes for them personally.
Makeup Brush Leaderboard 2020
What is a Makeup Brush?
It is a tool with bristles made from natural or synthetic materials, and a handle made out of wood or plastic. This tool is used for applying makeup on the face, lips, and eyes or for face painting. When cosmetic products are applied using the right brush, they blend better with the user’s skin.
How Does a Makeup Brush Work?
A cosmetic user swipes a makeup brush into a cosmetic product (blush, foundation and powder), and then moves the brush in a circular motion or pats it on the desired facial area. A makeup brush is specially made to target certain parts of the face.
Advantages & Applications
Using the best makeup brushes, which have been reviewed positively by other users comes with many benefits such as-
- A quality makeup brush can last for long; therefore consumers will not have to break the bank needing to replace it often.
- People with dry skin can apply foundation straight onto the skin with a foundation brush without needing to dampen it first. Dry skin types need to conserve moisture and adding water to the face will only make the skin drier and lead to a clumpy situation.
- Brushes are great for full-coverage makeup. They absorb less product on their bristles, thus save money on the cosmetic products in the long run.
- The best makeup brush also helps users to apply product more precisely to the desired areas.
What Types of Makeup Brushes Are There?
There are very many types of makeup brushes in the market, with all of them serving different purposes. Below we have discussed some of them.
The best powder brushes usually have long, fluffy soft bristles that spread loose powder cosmetics evenly across the face without dispensing excessive product. To use a powder makeup brush, swipe it into compact or loose powder cosmetics, gently tap off the excess and swirl the brush on the desired area in round motions. Depending on the size, it is also possible to use the best powder makeup brush to apply blush or bronzer.
The main function of foundation brushes is to enable the smooth application of base or foundation makeup onto the skin. Using the best foundation brush allows the user to spread the foundation smoothly to attain a natural look. Choosing a wrong tool can make the makeup cakey.
These useful little makeup brushes allow the user to apply concealer with accuracy to the small nooks and crannies on the face, like below the eyes, either side of the nose, and over a facial blemish. Using an antibacterial concealer brush may work out for the best since it will be spreading product over pimples.
Similar to a foundation brush, a stippling brush is also used for base application. However, the stippling brush helps to attain an airbrushed look while the foundation brush spreads product on the skin smoothly. The ends of a stippling brush are really light and feathery when contrasted to the base.
Angled makeup brushes have multiple uses. They can be used to for the eyebrows and eyeliner. The angle shape helps to fill in brows in the desired shape. The sharp ends also make it possible for users to draw out a good-looking liner.
The best contour brushes normally have angled tips with soft, dense bristles that let the user apply concentrated bronzer without fallouts. A contour brush fits nicely under the cheekbone, almost doing all the contouring work for the user.
Eye shadow Brush
Eye shadow makeup brushes have huge, brimming, slightly rounded bristles, which are used for applying eye shadow in just one swipe. The brush is dipped in eye shadow colour then swiped from the inner to the outer corners along the lower parts of the eyelids.
To pierce winged eyeliners, a special eye liner brush is needed to attain that level of precision. Eyeliner brushes are designed to collect and deposit the needed amount of makeup product while giving the user maximum control.
Thin, pointed lip brushes are very useful when it comes to the application of lip colour flawlessly, particularly dark shades. By using a brush rather than straight from the product tube, it is possible to be more accurate with outlining and filling in the lips. Lip brushes also allow the user to build colour, which is normally more difficult to do when lipstick is applied directly.
A mascara brush is used to apply product on the lashes and brows. Of course, users can use the wand that normally comes with the product, but for those who are highly specific on how they want their lashes to appear, mascara brushed as the way to go.
Highlight Fan Brush
Bristles in fan brushes are specially made for highlighters. These bristles are spread out to make it possible for the brush to pick up a small amount of the makeup product. The brush is then gently dusted on the cheekbones and other regions on the face that require highlights. Users are advised to go in with a light touch to achieve the best results.
This type of makeup brush normally has a tapered head with soft, fine and dense bristles. This brush is used for blending different eye colours or for highlighting the brow. A blending brush also works great for blending concealer below the eyes.
This is a big makeup brush that is great for softly applying powders, bronzers, and evenly spreading product across the skin. The best kabuki brush can also be used for buffing out harsh makeup lines by swirling the tool around the face.
The Big Makeup Brushes- Buyer’s Guide
Whether it is buying at a drugstore or at a higher-end makeup counter, the cosmetic products a person buys will not help the skin to glow if the brushes used are of poor quality. The right brushes bring life to a cosmetics palette, and they might mean the difference between a beautiful look and a cakey mess.
So, how can consumers themselves test the product before or immediately a purchase?
Test the Bristles
There is one simple test to spot a long-lasting and high quality makeup brushes: Rub the tool against the skin. The best bristles feel soft to the skin, not scratchy or rough. To test the strength of the makeup bristles, run the tool against the hand to check whether any fibres are falling out. If there are, do not purchase the brush. But if the bristles remain intact and feel soft against the skin, it is a keeper.
Test the Brush
However, finding the best makeup brushes goes beyond testing the strength of the bristles. While shopping for makeup brushes, the best tools also have:
- Densely packed bristles
- A shape that applies and distributes product evenly and smoothly
- A solid wooden or plastic handle.
The brush should distribute the product effectively; it should not lose a lot of product in transit to the skin. Sturdy makeup brushes allow the user to apply cosmetics flawlessly for several years to come.
For those who travel frequently or prefer to reapply makeup products during the day, thinking about keeping an extra set of basic makeup brushes is a smart idea.
Synthetic versus Natural Makeup Brushes
Makeup brushes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The primary difference with makeup brushes is the bristles (the part that transfers product from the palette and applies it to the face). Choosing which type of brush is right for one’s skin is usually a matter of trial and error. Some tools might be too rough on the skin when applying cosmetics and some might hold up well to constant use. People who are animal lovers should pay close attention to the kind of materials the bristles are made out of.
Natural makeup brushes with bristles made from various animal hairs cost more than synthetic brushes. Natural bristles have a tendency to hold colour pigments much better than synthetic ones and provide a softer, more natural look on the skin.
However, adamant animal rights supporters might want to get information on whether the bristles were made humanely before making a purchase. Natural bristles are made from the hair of various animals such as squirrels, badgers, horses, sable, and goats.
On the other hand, synthetic bristles are artificially made, and are usually nylon or polyester filaments. They can be made to increase their ability to carry colour by blending fibres. Synthetic filaments are normally dyed and baked to make them softer and improve their absorbing power, and are less prone to damage from cosmetic products.
Regardless of a person’s budget or the type of makeup they use regularly, finding the best makeup tool is a matter of personal preference. Yes, chances are that a makeup brush that costs more will work better than a cheap buy, but like makeup itself, what works for someone comes down to personal preference. Reading online reviews can also help a person to find the best makeup brushes. Such reviews provide details on what users liked or disliked about a certain product.
Results and Experiences from Other Consumer Tests
Reviews.com consulted dermatologists and professional makeup artists to know what to look for in makeup brushes, then did a practical test on 70 brushes from sixteen popular brands. Their test winners were good lo look at, easy to handle, and fitted with soft, durable bristles. To choose the best makeup brushes, they pulled in best sellers, award-winning products, and recommendations from professional makeup artists.
Caitlin Picou from Kismet Cosmetics told Reviews.com that there are 2 big factors to look for in a makeup brush: softness and fallout. Therefore, as the research team removed the makeup brushes from the boxes, they tugged lightly to identify any initial shedding. Picou also suggested doing an inspection of the handle design; the best tool is comfortable to hold. The research team selected the brushes with classic, tapered profiles and left out the gummy, grippy, angled ones to narrow down their selection.
They bought liquid foundation, powder blush, eye shadow, and gel liner to swatch against a white Bristol board. In this trial they compared even application, manoeuvrability and precision of the brushes.
After conducting the aforementioned tests, Reviews.com took the best tools to try out on their faces. The finalists in their review: Bobbi Brown, Chanel, e.l.f., NARS, Sephora, Sonia Kashuk and Tom Ford were assigned to testers accustomed to wearing facial makeup. For all the 7 finalists, testers reported overwhelmingly positive experiences.
After conducting a survey on 70 makeup brushes and considering 16 brands, Reviews.com concluded that Sephora is the best mid-range brand; Tom Ford is the best luxury brand; and Sonia Kashuk is the best brand on a budget.
There are very many brands of makeup brushes which are popular among consumers across the world. We have discussed some of them below.
- Tom Ford
- Sonia Kashuk
- Bobbi Brown
- Real Techniques
Sephora was founded by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1969 in Limoges. It is based in Paris, France and it features almost 300 brands and its own private label. Sephora produces and distributes cosmetics, skincare products, nail colour, hair care products and perfumes. The company was bought in 1977 by LVMH. The name “Sephora” was derived from the Greek spelling of Zipporah, the wife of Moses from the Bible.
Makeup brushes from Sephora have received numerous positive reviews because they have slim, tapered handles that are easy to hold and feel well-balanced. The fluffy brushes distribute makeup on the skin evenly and maintain their shape well. Many consumers also appreciate the wide range of Sephora’s offerings, from essential brush collections to amazing holiday gift sets and collaboration with popular makeup brands. However, there’s less quality in the eye brushes.
Thomas Carlyle Ford, a fashion designer, film director, film producer and screenwriter founded the Tom Ford luxury brand in 2006. Ford had previously worked as the Creative Director at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. The Tom Ford brand produces menswear, womenswear, eyewear and beauty products.
Tom Ford makeup brushes have been reviewed as being a gorgeously designed, top performing and long-lasting products. While Tom Ford’s luxurious brushes are pricey, their quality is mesmerizing. The brushes feature super-soft, densely-packed bristles and greatly balanced mahogany handles that offer a perfect level of control. These brushes are also very beautiful due to the white bristles, golden metal ferrules and red-brown handles. On the downside, they offer few eye brush options.
House of Chanel was founded in 1909 by Coco Chanel. Now known as Chanel, this privately held company is owned by Alain Wertheimer and Gerard Wertheimer, who are the grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer. This high fashion house specializes in clothes, luxury products and fashion accessories. They are headquartered in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and London, England.
Chanel eye makeup brushes have been reviewed as being extremely precise, with densely-packed soft bristles, smooth and even application, and no shedding. Brushes from this brand are the best for those who already know the type of makeup brushes they prefer and are willing to invest in a high range brand. However, the brand’s options are limited.
Sonia Kashuk, Inc. was formed in 1990 and it manufactures and distributes beauty products under the Sonia Kashuk brand. This company produces eye shadow, lipstick, lip gloss, nail colours, makeup brushes and other beauty accessories. Sonia Kashuk, Inc. is based in New York, New York. This brand has over the years taken a firm stand against cruelty to animals, which has gained them positive reviews from consumers.
Makeup brushes from this brand have been reviewed as offering exceptional value, and great for gifting. Their brushes are the best for those who want decent makeup brushes without bleeding their pockets dry. Sonia Kashuk foundation and blush brushes have been reviewed as being outstanding. On the downside, the mould of the handles does not appeal to everyone.
NARS Cosmetic is a cosmetics and skin care company in France that was founded by Francois Nars in 1994. The cosmetics line started with 12 lipsticks offered at Barneys New York. Since then, the company has produced a variety of multi-purpose beauty products. It is currently a subsidiary of Shiseido.
NARS high end eye makeup brushes have been well-reviewed because they have razor sharp precision and do not shed easily after being washed. Push Eyeliner Brush from NARS has received positive online consumer reviews because it offers some of the best, most controlled contours during product application. NARS line of brushes produces a really sharp, dramatic look. On the downside, some of their brushes are not particularly soft.
Bobbi Brown Cosmetics is a multinational beauty brand that aims to empower women to embrace and improve their personal beauty. The brand was founded in 1991 in New York City by Bobbi Brown, a makeup artist. This brand produces universally flattering cosmetic products made with uncompromising quality.
Bobbi Brown makes and distributes all sorts of high end makeup brushes. Most of them have received numerous positive reviews because they have luxurious soft, dense bristles, blend makeup seamlessly and effortlessly, last for long, and retain their shape and form even after cleaning. However, some of their blush brushes tend to shed when washed.
e.l.f. cosmetics is a global cosmetics brand that was founded by Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba in June 2004. The brand is based in Oakland, California and it offers some of the best bath and skin-care products, brushes, professional tools, lipstick, glosses, bronzers, blushes, mascara, and other cosmetics. The company prides itself in producing cruelty-free goods.
e.l.f. (stands for Eyes Lips Face) cosmetics have been reviewed in popular magazines and websites across the world. Most of their makeup supplies are offered at low prices ($1, $2, or $3) in an effort to be affordable to broader audiences. Their brushes are beautiful, super-soft and apply product very well according to consumer reviews. However, the face brushes from their essentials line are rough and shed a lot.
MAC Cosmetics was founded in 1984 in Canada by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo. Currently, the company is based in New York City and in 1988 it became part of Estee Lauder Companies. MAC stands for “Make-up Art Cosmetics”. This brand manufactures some of the best high end cosmetic products.
MAC makeup brushes have been reviewed positively because their quality is amazing. The best ones can last for over 10 years when cared for properly. They are also very soft with minimal shedding. The 217 MAC brush has been reviewed as being very versatile and it applies cream eye shadows flawlessly. Though brushes from this brand are on the pricey side, they are worth the money.
Morphe is a beauty retailer that produces some of the best professional grade makeup accessories at affordable prices. Some makeup artists from Los Angeles came together to form this brand in 2008. Morphe is popular for its makeup brushes, and eye shadow pallets.
Morphe makeup brushes have been received numerous positive reviews from makeup artists because the bristles are soft, they do not take up too much product, and are easy to clean. The handles of the brushes are also comfortable to hold while applying makeup. Morphe also offers a variety of brushes in a pouch that can be worn around the waist for when a person is freelancing.
Samantha and Nicola Chapman launched the Real Techniques brush collection in 2011. Despite being a relatively young brand, Real Techniques has a huge global following of women who love makeup. The brand’s products have been featured in many online reviews and consumers are glad that the founders always answer any questions posted on their social media sites.
Real Technique’s starter makeup brushes have positively reviewed as the best brushes for beginner makeup users. The duo fibre bristles make the makeup brushes more durable, and the colourful handles add spark to a person’s makeup table. Real Technique makeup brushes combine high-tech materials with creative design to make it easier for users to achieve a pixel-perfect look.
Interesting Facts & Guide
The Development of Makeup Brushes Over Time
It is speculated that the Germans were the ones who invented the modern makeup brush. However, there has been evidence that ancient Egyptians used makeup brushes because a bronze makeup brush was discovered in a Saxon cemetery dating back to 500-600AD.
The technology eventually spread from Germany to the US, Japan, Korea and China. The production base was also moved from German to Japan then to Korea, and finally to China. This transfer took place because of labour costs and environmental protection policies.
Since the brushes were mainly made manually, the labour costs impacted the price of the brushes. Moreover, the plating and oxidation of aluminium and copper tubes used in the production of the brushes caused pollution, therefore some developed nations started to control such factories. This forced factories to be transferred to other nations.
In 1995, there were some Korean and Taiwan makeup brush factories that moved to China. At that time, the main production base of makeup brushes was Shenzhen, just outside Hong Kong. Today, Shenzhen has over 200 factories that make makeup brushes.
Numbers, Data, Facts around Makeup Brushes
The Global Cosmetics Industry Magazine estimates that cosmetic products generate about $230 billion in worldwide sales every year, therefore it is clear that women purchase makeup even in hard economic terms. Makeup boosts the confidence of some ladies, highlights natural features like eye colour and cheekbones, and can improve one’s mood with a flawless sweep of attractive lip colour.
Many users of cosmetics have a habit of failing to clean their makeup brushes regularly, though they know very well that it is very important. Anisa International conducted a poll to determine how frequently people clean their brushes. Out of 1,113 women, 61% of them who used makeup brushes admitted to washing them less than once in a month, or not at all while 22% admitted they never cleaned them.
The poll went on further to ask the women why they did not clean them as required. Responses were varied, from some saying they just buy new brushes instead of cleaning to some saying they did not know that they needed to be cleaned in the first place.
However, not all the responses from the Anisa poll were worrying. Women seem to be very up to date on why it is important to keep a makeup brush clean, with 65% saying it helps to prevent bacteria build up and blemishes.
Safety Instructions When Dealing with Makeup Brushes
- Makeup brushes should not be shared as doing so can result in transmission of diseases.
- Clean makeup brushes regularly, but not after every use to avoid fading and shedding.
- Use tap or distilled water to moisten brushes; never use saliva.
- Avoid smoking, eating or drinking while handling makeup brushes.
- Dispose of the brushes as required by the manufacturer.
10 Tips For Care & Maintenance
With so many makeup brushes available on the market, it is not always easy to know which brushes one needs and how to care for them. Here are some 10 useful tips on how to handle makeup brushes-
- Tip 1
- Tip 2
- Tip 3
- Tip 4
- Tip 5
- Tip 6
- Tip 7
- Tip 8
- Tip 9
- Tip 10
- Makeup bag- Helps to keep dirt away from the makeup brushes and keeps the bristles safe. It also allows the user to travel with their makeup brush kit easily wherever they go.
- Make up brush cleaner- Contains the right tools required to clean makeup brushes.
- Mirrors- It is not easy to use a makeup brush without a mirror, unless someone else is doing the job for you.
Alternatives to Makeup Brushes
High quality makeup brushes can be costly and investing in them may create a hole in a user’s pocket, keeping in mind the fact that they need to be maintained properly and replaced often. Nevertheless, particularly for women who do not like to step out of the house without makeup on, there are some inexpensive alternatives to costly brushes such as-
- Cotton swabs
- Tissue paper
- Angular paint brushes
What are the best makeup brushes on a budget in the UK?
It is possible to get high quality makeup brushes without breaking the bank. Some of the best makeup brushes on a budget according to online reviews are- Real Techniques Core Collection Kit, Zoeva Rose Golden Luxe Petit Crease Brush, Morphe Eye Slay Set, e.l.f. Cosmetics Professional Makeup Brush Set, and The Body Shop Mini Brush Kit.
What is a kabuki brush used for?
Normally, a kabuki brush is used for applying loose powder makeup on large areas of the face. Due to the design, the best kabuki brushes blend foundation, face powder or blush evenly on the face and form a very natural appearance.
Which are best cruelty-free makeup brushes?
For those who are animal lovers, vegan, or wish to lead a more compassionate lifestyle, some of the best cruelty-free, synthetic makeup brushes on the market according to online consumer reviews are- Naked Flushed Double-Ended Brush from Urban Decay, Lux Vegan Eye Makeup Brush Set from Motd Cosmetics, Deluxe Flat Kabuki from Morphe, Mr. Right Perfect Powder Brush from Too Faced, and e.l.f. Stipple Brush Travel Set.
Is an electric makeup brush cleaner effective?
According to online consumer reviews, an electric makeup brush cleaner can help you to wash and dry all your numerous makeup brushes in just 10 seconds. Moreover, the best electric makeup brush cleaner machines is 98% efficient in removing dirt, bacteria, makeup residue, dead skin cells.
What are the best makeup brushes for sensitive skin?
How is the Ecotools Retractable Face Brush used?
Remove the cap first. Dab the retractable brush in powder or bronzer. Apply the makeup using round motions to achieve a beautiful finish. Return the cap on the brush and put it in your bag. This retractable makeup brush from Ecotools has also been well-reviewed because it is 100% cruelty free.
What are the best makeup brushes kits in the UK?
Creating a flawless makeup look requires the best tools. Some of the best makeup kits in the United Kingdom according to online reviews are- Charlotte Tilbury Complete Brush Set, Kohl Kreatives Flex Collection, M&S Rosie for Autograph Make Up Brush Set, Nude by Nature Brush Set, and Sigma Most Wanted Brush Set.
Why are oval makeup brushes important?
The best oval makeup brushes are ideal for applying liquid or cream foundation on the face. Due to the big surface area, the brush allows the user to seamlessly apply makeup in circular motions. Oval makeup brushes have been reviewed as being the best for those who are in a hurry and want to apply setting or bronzer powder quickly.
Which are the best professional makeup brushes?
Some of the best professional makeup brushes on the market according to online reviews are- Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush, NARS Ita Kabuki Brush, Bareminerals Full Flawless Face Brush, Make Up Forever Small Paint Brush, and Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush 02.
Are makeup brushes better than sponges?
It all comes down to a matter of personal preference. The best sponges bring out a seamless blend, but brushes are better for precision application. Moreover, brushes work better with setting powders because they do not pick up too much product. The best sponges are also good for cream contouring.