The Best Makeup Brushes!! ..And the genius hack on how to clean them!

makeup brushes


And when I say the best, I mean the best on a budget.

Are there times when you would love to buy some makeup brushes & can’t afford them?  I do love & adore makeup brushes, but not interested in spending a fortune on them.  Ok, I would like some quality for my money, but not cheap brushes that scratch my face, or where the bristles are constantly falling out.  (Which does happen with really cheap brushes)  Keep in mind that with makeup brushes, the higher the price, doesn’t necessarily mean better quality.  There are expensive brushes that fall apart, & there are also inexpensive ones that last a long time!

Here I will list the most affordable makeup brushes, from the lowest to the highest, for you to buy!




E.L.F. makeup brush set, $30 for 11 brushes

Stands for: Eyes. Lips. Face.; Is probably one of the most budget friendly lines, E.L.F. does make some good products.  Here you get an 11 piece brush set for only $30!!  Some of their brushes are as cheap as $1 each!  (Depends on the brush) You can pick up their brushes in lots of places, Target, Walmart, or buy it off their website.  When I really want to get makeup brushes, but yet I’m on a tight budget, E.L.F. has been a great fix for me.


Wet N Wild Makeup Brushes

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Wet N’ Wild Makeup brushes, from $1-$3

Coming to a drugstore near you..  Wet N’Wild is releasing their own set of makeup brushes!  Wet N’ Wild has changed a lot since I was a kid!  I remember in the past all they would sell would be cheap lipsticks & eyeliners for $1.  They have since updated & added more products, like foundation, mascara, & much more!  This is relatively new on the market; they have only released them this year.  I  bought 2 of them already, & they’re really soft & fluffy!  So far, so good!



ecotools brushes

Ecotools 4 pc Beautiful Complexion Set, $10


Ecotools, 5 piece set, $11

I LOVE Ecotools!  Their brushes you can find in lots of places, Walmart, Kohls, Target, so inexpensive, and are synthetic & cruelty free!  I just bought a kabuki brush from them & it feels SO lush & expensive.  But it only cost me $8!  Their brushes feel softer than velvet on your skin!


Sonia Kashuk


Sonia Kashuk’s Double Duty Brush set, $24, & Proudly Pink Brush set, $16

She makes a combination of synthetic brushes & brushes made with real animal hair.  Featured exclusively at Target, even makeup artists love her brushes!  What I love about her is that she puts professional tools in the hands of the everyday woman!


Real Techniques

real techniques brush set

Real Techniques Collector’s Edition Deluxe Gift Set, $15


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Real Techniques Core Collection, $18

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Retractable Kabuki brush, $10, Retractable Bronzer brush, $9

This British based brand is making their American invasion: now available in Ulta, Target, Kohls, & Walmart!  And they’re starting to pop up in your local drugstore!  And some of them are so soft & fluffy I couldn’t bear to part with them!  And for the price, I find their brushes have great quality.  And my absolute favorites are retractable brushes because I love their portability!  Lots of makeup artists claim that Real Techniques are their favorite makeup brushes!


H&M’s Makeup Brushes

hm makeup brushes.jpg

H&M’s Makeup Brushes, $6-$13 each

In 2015, H&M released their own makeup line, offering a wide range of products from lipsticks to blushes, eyeshadows, nail polishes, shower & skincare, as well as beauty tools!  They had offered some limited beauty products before, but now revamped & released as a collection within their stores.  And for the price, they do feel really soft & luxe!


Moda by Royal & Langnickel

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Moda Makeup brushes by Royal & Langnickel, Individual brushes from $4-$10, brush sets $20

Coming soon to a Walmart near you..  Royal & Langnickel (say that 3xs fast) is a British based brush company that specializes in paint & watercolor brushes.  Last year, they released a line of makeup brushes called Moda, which will be coming to your local Walmart!  Lauded by Allure magazine, bright & neon colored, they boast that their brushes are 100% vegan!  Until then, you can buy them off their US based website!


Sephora Collection



Sephora’s Eye Brush Capsule, $22, Deluxe Antibacterial Brush set, $60

Sephora would be on the higher end of all the makeup brushes on this list; but for good reason.  Their brushes are really good.  When you buy each brush individually they can be a bit expensive; so best to buy in a set.  And they have lots of sets that come in pouches, or travel cases!


Tip: When to know a makeup brush is GOOD: A) doesn’t shed, B) isn’t scratchy.  Try the testers in store, rub them back & forth against your hand, see if they feel good on the skin.  I think it’s best to buy makeup brushes in person.  Always test them before buying!

makeup artist 2


How to Clean Makeup Brushes: 

For An Everyday Clean: 

If you’re a girl that uses them quite often, but don’t want to go through the hassle of washing them every time, give them a good spray of rubbing alcohol, & rub them on a tissue until they rub clean.  You could get a brush cleaner; I think ideally best not to spend a lot of money on it when you could use alcohol instead.

ulta brush cleaner.png

Ulta’s brush & sponge cleaner, travel size, $3.50


How to clean them properly for a deep cleanse: 

You should wash your brushes properly approximately every 7-10 times that you use it.  i.e. if you use them every day, then you should wash them once a week.  With brushes that you use liquid foundations, or cream blushes / eyeshadows, you should wash them every time you use them.  (the bristles will clump together & dry up w/the product.  How gross!  Stick to the safe side & wash those every time you use them!)

I’m a lucky girl for I have a friend that actually is a makeup artist from MAC, & he told me how to properly clean brushes.  I’ll mention it again here in case you missed it.


DO: hold them at an angle, while your rotate the brush in the palm of your hand.  Usually when washing brushes, you should put some soap in the palm of your hand, & rub the bristles under the faucet.  You can even use dishwashing detergent to clean your brushes!  Why spend lots of money on brush soap when you can get dishwashing detergent for $1?


DON’T:  Smush the brush into the palm of your hand when washing them.  Actually don’t ever do this with your brushes.  This ruins the integrity of the brush, & is more likely to cause the bristles to fall out.  When you hold them at an angle, & rotate it, it naturally causes the makeup to come out with soap & water.


The Genius Hack For Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes!

I stumbled across this on Instagram, where you wash your makeup brushes with a silicone trivet!  It makes cleaning brushes SO MUCH EASIER!  To watch how to do it, watch this video!

brush trivet.jpg

Tip on cleaning brushes made with animal bristles: There are women who love the feel of real animal bristles, when buying makeup brushes.  Although it’s not my cup of tea, real ones naturally cost more money & will be higher maintenance.  After washing a few times, your makeup brushes may feel stiff / prickly.  If you do buy brushes with real animal bristles, every once in awhile you must wash it with some hair conditioner.  You have to think of them just like your own hair, which would get stiff / itchy without conditioner.  If you are a fan of the real stuff, you have to willing to pay the higher price as well as commit to taking care of them properly.


To Dry: Gently squeeze the wet brushes with a towel, & let them dry flat (ideally on another towel).  NEVER let them dry standing up.  Over time, water can cause the glue holding the bristles to deteriorate & the metal base (the ferrule) to rust.


DO: Let them dry flat, best on a towel.


DON’T:  Let them dry standing; for it’s damaging to the brush & also not hygienic.


Storing your brushes: 

As beautiful as it is to have your brushes standing up in cups, (lots of girls do), but it’s not hygienic for they can collect dust & debris.  Personally I got a clear, zip up makeup bag so that I can see everything I have.  (That is, unless, if you bought a set & it already came in a carrying case.)  I have a separate smaller zip up bag for my eyeshadow brushes.  And you don’t have to spend a lot of money on them.  I used the bag (that the TSA approves for travel) for my smaller brushes!  And that only cost me $1!

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Cheap brands to avoid: Forever 21’s makeup brushes, Target’s Up & Up, or anything from a dollar store.  I feel like I have to apologize to the above stores, for I love lots of other things they sell, but makeup brushes are not one of them.  Forever21 I feel like they are cheap sets made to be sold to little girls; whereas Target’s Up & Up quality is not there.  As much as I love a bargain, there are times when you do want some quality for your money, not just cheap imitations.


Have I gotten you excited about makeup brushes yet?  Now go out & put your best face forward!!


Check out other related articles:

CONTOURING!! And you CAN do it on a budget!!


Drugstore foundations that makeup artists love


5 thoughts on “The Best Makeup Brushes!! ..And the genius hack on how to clean them!

  1. Thanks for your very thorough review of makeup brushes. I am 62 and grew up in a time when there were only a few makeup lines. Brushes to use at home were virtually nonexistent. The only time you got to have makeup brushes was when they came in a free gift when you purchased a certain product or during holiday giveaways. There are so many new cosmetic and skincare lines that are relatively new that I have not tried.


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