Fact: Makeup brushes are the dark horse of any makeup routine. Often underestimated or forgone altogether by so many of us, they’re perhaps one of the most important components of a celebrity makeup artist’s beauty kit. They’re artists, after all, and the strategic tools they use to sweep and buff product are crucial to the final look.
We fully realize we live in a time when convenience takes priority above all else, especially when it comes to our beauty routine. In an effort to save time and money, and without giving it a second thought, we’ve resorted to our trusted fingers to smear on our foundation in an Uber and have haphazardly dabbed on cream formulas like blush and eye shadow too many times to count in the office bathroom. The catch is that the end result, sadly, isn’t reaching its full potential.
Don’t get us wrong. Using what evolution has blessed us with for an impromptu primp and accepting that the Beautyblender might very well take over the world by 2022 (just our super-scientific approximation) is totally fine. And beauty editors and makeup artists like both! However, after experiencing our own application trials and tribulations over the years and sneaking peeks into the kits of the industry’s most sought-after makeup artists, we’ve learned top-notch makeup brushes should not be underestimated. Better yet, even high-quality sets need not be heart-stoppingly expensive.
The right brush sets can dramatically improve the way our foundation melts into our skin or the way we line and stain our lips. For proof, we gathered together 21 crème-de-la-crème makeup brush sets you can buy, regardless of your budget. Sorted into three different buckets—save, spend, and splurge—our expert-approved options are below. Keep scrolling!