Best drugstore makeup brush sets

Finding the best drugstore makeup brush sets can be hard if you’re unaware of what features to look for especially that there are so many of them to find around. For this reason, we’ve put up a guide highlighting the top best drugstore makeup brushes in the category.

The Best Drugstore Makeup Brush Sets

There’s two brands I’ve been using for years, who offer both affordable and high quality makeup brush sets: Eco Tools and Real Techniques. Both brands make high quality, super soft makeup brushes! I’ve used them for years, and they last. Both brands are cruelty free, which I love! I also found a beautiful makeup brush set from Tarte with an incredible $32 price point! You seriously cannot beat it. Below are the best drugstore makeup brush sets!


Here’s some affordable rose gold makeup brush sets.


What to Look For

When it comes to makeup brushes, it’s not about how much you spend, but about the quality of the product! Brands like Eco Tools and Real Techniques have figured out how to make cruelty free makeup brush sets that are super soft and uphold the same quality as an expensive brush. It’s great for aspiring makeup artists, because they don’t have to spend $1000 on a brush set! They can easily get high quality for less.

The Details

Here’s a few of my favorite affordable drugstore makeup brush sets, PLUS one from Tarte!

Real Techniques Everyday Essential Brush Set


This $19 brush set comes with almost everything you need for a fraction of the cost! Real Techniques makes cruelty free, well constructed makeup brushes that last forever! I have a set from 2 years ago that I use daily, and they’re still in amazing shape.

Set Includes:

RT 400 Blush – tapered, soft and fluffy bristles. Blend powder blush evenly for a smooth, natural look

Miracle Complexion Sponge – soft, flexible. Blend liquid and cream foundation into a luminous, dewy finish

RT 300 Deluxe Crease – short, dense bristles. layer and blend cream and powder eyeshadows evenly into eye crease

RT 402 Setting – soft and fluffy bristles. Dust on highlighting or setting powders precisely for natural looking illumination.

RT 200 Expert Face – firm bristles. buff liquid or cream foundation to a glowing, flawless finish


Eco Tools Define & Highlight Brush Duo


I’ve had this Eco Tools brush set for years and it’s only $5.99! You cannot beat the price. The bristles are insanely soft, they’re cruelty free, and easy to clean. They also fit in a makeup bag easily! I use one as a powder brush and the highlight one for bronzer. It’s my absolute favorite makeup brush set!


Sculpt: Use the tapered bristles of the Define Brush to dust contour shade onto areas of the face you want to define or minimize such as hollows of cheekbones, jawline, or forehead. Apply by tracing the number “3” on both sides of your face. Start at the top of your forehead; sweep down and across the hollow of your cheeks, then dust across jawline.

Highlight: With the wide fanned bristles of the Highlight brush, gently sweep on highlighting powder to facial features you want to bring forward such as the apples of cheeks, center of forehead or bridge of nose.


Tarte Brush Set


I love Tarte! This brush set is only $35 and originally $139 if you buy the brushes separately. The set comes with all 5 brushes (eye, cheek & face brushes)! Here’s a few details from the Tarte site:


complexion brush: dusts powder all over face

small cheek brush: precisely applies contour or blush to hollows of cheeks

loose powder brush: small, tapered brush sets undereye concealer or dusts highlighter onto cheekbones

double-ended shader & blending eyeshadow brush: blends shadow into the crease & packs pigment onto lid

double-ended pencil crease & liner brush: buffs shadow onto the lower lashline & lines top lashline

How to Choose Quality Makeup Brushes

It's not just the quality of your makeup you have to worry about -- if you want to look your best, you also need a good brush!

It’s not just the quality of your makeup you have to worry about — if you want to look your best, you also need a good brush!MONICA RODRIGUEZ/LIFESIZE/GETTY IMAGES

Are you a cosmetics aficionado? Do you know the difference between liquid foundations and pressed powder? Do you know how to make your eyes pop? If you own the perfect shade of lipstick and blush for every dress in your closet — well, you probably know your makeup. According to the Global Cosmetics Industry Magazine, cosmetics generate approximately $230 billion in global sales every year, so it’s clear that women buy makeup even in tough economic times. And why shouldn’t they? Makeup helps boost ladies’ confidence, highlights natural features such as eye color and cheekbones, and can enhance a mood with a simple sweep of a sexy lip color.

Whether you like to buy drugstore cosmetics or spend your dollars at higher-end makeup counters, the products you buy won’t help your skin glow if you don’t have quality makeup brushes. The right brushes bring your cosmetics palette to life, and they can mean the difference between a flawless face and a clowny mess.

So, how can you tell if you’re buying a winning makeup brush? There’s one simple test to find a durable and high-quality brush: Rub it against your skin. The bristles should feel soft, not rough or scratchy. To test the strength of the bristles, run the brush against your hand to see if any fibers fall out. If they do, don’t buy it. If the bristles stay intact and feel soft, it’s a keeper.

Finding great makeup tools goes beyond testing for bristle strength, however. Let’s take a look at how to recognize a quality brush that can tackle your makeup case.

Recognizing a Quality Makeup Brush

You can own the most expensive makeup on the market, but if you don’t use a quality brush, the difference will show all over your face. A good makeup brush consists of densely packed bristles, a solid handle made from wood or plastic and a shape that applies and blends makeup smoothly and evenly. It should transfer makeup effectively, meaning the brush shouldn’t lose a lot of the makeup in transit to your skin. Sturdy brushes will allow you to work cosmetic magic for years to come.

While it’s tempting to buy a professional set of 32 makeup brushes, hold off! The unspoken rule when building your collection is to purchase brushes a la carte. As you perfect your makeup application routine, you’ll quickly figure out which brushes you need daily and which specialty brushes might also be added to your kit. If you travel a lot or like to reapply makeup during the day, think about keeping an additional set of basic brushes with you as well. Makeup artists recommend seven standard brushes to help bring your face to life. These include:


  • liquid foundation brush
  • powder brush
  • blush brush
  • concealer brush
  • eye shadow applicator
  • eyeliner brush
  • lip brush

The price for makeup brushes is generally based on their size and the material the bristles are made from. They can range anywhere from $8 for a small eye shadow blender to $60 for a large foundation applicator. Prices can be even higher for brush bristles made from delicate animal fur such as squirrel or sable. They can cost as much as $150 — for one brush!KEEP IT CLEAN

Makeup brushes are sensitive items. Oil from your face combined with makeup residue will hinder brush performance over time, not to mention harbor bacteria. Wash your brushes with a mild cleanser (such as baby shampoo) to keep them clean and oil-free.

Synthetic vs. Natural Makeup Brushes

Goat hair makes surprisingly good makeup brush bristles.

Goat hair makes surprisingly good makeup brush bristles.DIGITAL ZOO/DIGITAL VISION/GETTY IMAGES

Makeup brushes come in endless shapes and sizes. The major difference with brushes for cosmetics is the bristles, the part of the brush that transfers the makeup from the palette and applies it to your face. Choosing which kind of brush is right for your skin is often a matter of trial and error. Some brushes may be too rough when applying makeup, and some may not stand up well to frequent use. If you’re an animal lover, you should also pay close attention to what materials the bristles are made from.

Natural brushes, whose bristles are made with various hairs from animals, are more expensive than synthetic brushes. Natural bristles tend to hold color pigments better than synthetic offerings and create a softer, more natural look on your skin. If you’re an adamant animal rights supporter, however, you’ll want to find out if the brushes were made humanely before buying. Natural makeup brushes include bristles made from the fur of various animals, including squirrels, goats, badgers, horses, minks or sable, and the condition the animals are kept in is often less than ideal.


Synthetic bristles are man-made and are usually either nylon or polyester filaments. They can be created to increase their color-carrying ability by blending fibers. Often, synthetic filaments are dyed and baked to make them softer and more absorbent and are less prone to damage from makeup and solvents. They’re easier to keep clean than natural hair brushes because the filaments don’t trap or absorb pigments, and they’re better suited for layering powders or concealers since they hold up more solidly to makeup. Also, synthetic-fiber brushes are a great fit for people with allergies to animal fur.

Just remember that regardless of your budget or the kind of makeup you use regularly, finding the perfect brush is a matter of personal preference. Yes, chances are that a brush that costs $50 will work much better than a cheap, bargain-bin buy, but, like makeup itself, what works for you is all a matter of personal preference. If you find a quality brush that makes you look your best, buy it and don’t look back, and as long as you take care of it, it should serve you for years to come.

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