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Best 15 Makeup Brushes for Flawless Application

Best 15 Makeup Brushes for Flawless Application

Best 15 Makeup Brushes for Flawless Application

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

A few things go into creating a flawless makeup application: knowledge, the right products, and the right tools. Knowledge is something that comes with time and occasionally from trial and error. Having the right products centers around picking makeup items that are complementary to your skills, makeup goals, and skin type. 

Finally, the right tools include brushes and other applicators. For the purpose of this article, we’re focusing solely on makeup brushes. A good makeup brush can be a lifesaver, helping you to expertly apply, buff, or define depending on your makeup plans. While you can spend a fortune on brushes, this isn’t always necessary. Still, if you’re just getting started and trying to build your brush kit, the following options should be on your shortlist. 

Best makeup brushes overview:

How we chose the best makeup brushes

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including shape, use, bristle material, and more, to create a short list of the top makeup brushes. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best makeup brushes for each category.

Our picks for the best makeup brushes

Morphe Eye Obsessed 12-Piece Eye Brush Set

What we love


  • 12-piece set
  • Comes with carrying pouch
  • Includes concealer brush

What we don’t love


  • Combination of animal and synthetic hairs
  • Only focuses on eye applications

If you’re just starting out, buying a brush set is always a smart bet. It’s no secret that makeup brushes can get pricey — especially if you’re targeting more premium brands. So, a pick like this Eye Obsessed 12-Piece Eye Brush Set is a good start for any makeup lover. 

While this set is solely focused on the eyes, you’ll get everything you need to line, define, create cut creases, apply undereye concealer, and even create graphic eyes if you so desire. We also like that this is an incredibly affordable option, making it ideal for a broader range of budgets. 

However, vegans beware, as this is a mix of natural (animal) and synthetic brushes. Still, it comes in a convenient pouch, which does make it travel-friendly.

Shape: Blender, buffing, precision | Use: Eyeshadow, concealer, liner | Bristle material: Natural, synthetic

EcoTools Daily Defined Eye Makeup Brush Kit

What we love


  • Affordable brush set
  • 5-piece collection
  • Handles made from renewable bamboo

What we don’t love


  • Only for eye applications

Budget beauties still need a reliable tool set that will help apply makeup but won’t break the bank. EcoTools is a great option with this incredibly affordable five-piece Daily Defined Eye Makeup Brush Kit. Along with being made from synthetic fibers, this set includes every essential eye brush you need to create anything from smoky eyes to more avant-garde looks. 

You’ll also like that this set comes with a storage tray and even includes a brief tutorial on how to do more common eye looks. In keeping with the brand’s eco-friendly focus, the brush handles are made from renewable bamboo.

Shape: Blender, buffing, precision | Use: Eyeshadow, liner | Bristle material: Synthetic

E.l.f. Cosmetics Ultimate Blending Brush

What we love


  • Erases harsh lines
  • Works with liquid, cream, and powder formulas
  • Synthetic fibers

What we don’t love


  • Bristles may shed when washing

Nothing ruins a makeup look like harsh lines. If you’ve ever stepped back from a mirror, concerned that your makeup didn’t look “done,” then you need E.l.f. Cosmetics’ Ultimate Blending Brush. Along with an affordable price point, you’ll appreciate that the large fluffy dome head helps to blur and blend to erase harsh lines. 

We like that it can be used with powder, liquid, and cream formulas — making it a versatile brush to have on your makeup vanity. The bristles are also made from synthetic fibers, perfect for vegan beauties.

The densely packed brush head also means that you get better blending support since it easily works over all areas of your face. However, while the majority of reviews are positive, negative reviews centered around how easily the bristles shed, especially when running them under water.

Shape: Blender dome | Use: Foundation, powder | Bristle material: Synthetic

Keshima Kabuki Foundation Brush

What we love


  • Works with liquid, cream, and powder formulas
  • Applies and blends for flawless finish
  • Available in multiple sizes and colors

What we don’t love


  • Only available online

Whether you have limited space on your vanity or you’re trying to declutter, not everyone wants to use a different brush for varying makeup formulas. If this sounds familiar, you’ll love the Keshima brand. In particular, the company’s kabuki brushes are fan favorites because they cut down on application time and are compatible with liquid, cream, and powder foundation formulas. 

True to form, the company’s Kabuki Foundation Brush works to quickly apply makeup all over your face while also blending and buffing to avoid any demarcation lines. This brush is available in two sizes — regular and large. Likewise, you can find it in multiple colors, including black, neon purple, and white.

Shape: Kabuki | Use: Foundation | Bristle material: Synthetic

Smith Cosmetics 304 Detailed Lip Brush

What we love


  • Compatible with cream, liquid, and powder formulas
  • Perfect for precision and blending
  • Antimicrobial handle

What we don’t love


  • Petite brush head means smaller coverage area

If your lip makeup goes beyond swiping on a sheer gloss, you’re probably no stranger to using a lip brush. A good lip brush can help you create crisp lines — which is a must when cleaning up your lip application with contour or trying to create precision lip looks. 

The Smith Cosmetics 304 Detailed Lip Brush is a pro-quality petite synthetic sable bristle brush that’s ideal for both applying precision edges and creating blended effects. It’s designed for cream, powder, and liquid formulas and even features an antibacterial-coated handle.

Shape: Domed | Use: Lip | Bristle material: Synthetic

Luxie 502 Large Powder Brush

What we love


  • Creates diffused makeup effect
  • Shelf appeal design with pink and rose gold
  • Synthetic bristles

What we don’t love


  • Only recommended for powder formulas

A good powder brush is a must to help set your makeup. The Luxie 502 Large Powder Brush is exactly what you need if you need to work on larger sections of your face. The domed design features synthetic bristles designed to work with pressed and loose powders. This gives you a soft, diffused look.

Note that this can also be used for blush or bronzer applications, thanks to the larger brush head. We can’t lie that we’re a bit partial to the soft pink handle and rose gold ferrule that gives a lovely shelf appeal.

Shape: Domed | Use: Powder | Bristle material: Synthetic

Morphe V112 Fluffy Fan Powder Brush

What we love


  • Vegan, synthetic bristles
  • Compatible with liquid, cream, and powder formulas
  • Oversize fan shape

What we don’t love


  • Requires a slight learning curve

If you’re a makeup newbie, you may have escaped the mega-wattage highlighter trend from the mid-2010s. For those of us who remember, it was all about finding the right fan-shaped brush that could kiss those cheeks (and the tip of your nose) with the right amount of shimmery powder to give the sun a run for its money. 

While the over-the-top highlight trend is (thankfully) behind us, we’re still very much in love with this Morphe V112 Fluffy Fan Powder Brush. It’s not your typical fan brush, as it’s significantly thicker and oversized. This provides even more coverage and allows you to use it with a wider range of formulas, including powder, cream, and liquid.

Better still, the synthetic bristles make this a vegan-friendly pick. Just be forewarned that as this is a bigger brush with more bristles, it’s easy to go overboard and find yourself back in the mid-2010s if you pick up too much product.

Shape: Fan | Use: Cheek applications | Bristle material: Synthetic

Senna Brow Pro 40 Brush

What we love


  • Dual-ended eyebrow brush
  • Synthetic fibers
  • Works with powder and pomades

What we don’t love


  • Smaller brush head may require more effort for people with scarce brows

No matter how you prefer to wear your brows, you need a reliable precision brush. This dual-ended Brow Pro 40 Brush from Senna is a must-have for your makeup bag. It features an angled synthetic nylon bristle brush on one end and a spoolie on the other. The spoolie allows you to control those errant hairs. 

The firm tip on the angled end means you can use waxes, pomades, creams, and powders with ease. The smaller brush head also gives you enhanced precision so that you can make shorter, hair-like strokes for a more natural effect. Whether you have naturally full brows or you need a little help from your favorite makeup brand, this brush is a useful tool.

Shape: Dual-ended, angled | Use: Eyebrows | Bristle material: Synthetic

Artís Palm Brush

What we love


  • Great for face and body applications
  • Compatible with liquid, cream, and powder formulas
  • Synthetic bristles

What we don’t love


  • Expensive

Not everyone limits makeup applications to their face. Whether you’re applying bronzer or even moisturizer to your chest, arms, or legs, the average foundation brush just isn’t going to cut it. Artís’ Palm Brush is an oversized handheld brush that can pull double-duty for your face and body. This brush started the oval brush trend that was once popular in the 2010s.

As the name implies, it fits in the palm of your hand and is ideal for applying a wide range of products to larger parts of your body. While it can be used as a foundation brush for your face, you can also use it to apply skincare products, blush, highlighter, and even powder to your face or other parts of your body.

It’s compatible with liquid, powder, and cream formulas, and the density of these synthetic bristles offers a flawless finish. However, since it lacks a handle, make sure to give it a solid grip as you work it over your face or body.

Shape: Oval | Use: Face, body | Bristle material: Synthetic

Bdellium Tools Golden Triangle 951 Small Slanted Double Dome Blender

What we love


  • Double dome design softens and diffuses
  • Compatible with liquid, cream, and powder formulas
  • Speeds up makeup application

What we don’t love


  • Not best for beginners

We get it. At first glance, this brush can seem intimidating. The Golden Triangle 951 Small Slanted Double Dome Blender from Bdellium Tools features a unique brush head you’re probably not used to seeing. However, we can attest from staff reviews it’s a solid choice — especially for contour or highlighter. You can also use it for foundation, concealer, and more.

Don’t get scared off by that double layer. The intentional design buffs and blend for a soft photo focus. So, that translates to no harsh lines and contour that caresses rather than harshly sculpts your features. While this brush is intended to diffuse for an airbrushed finish, you can still achieve a fuller coverage effect.

Shape: Double domed | Use: Face | Bristle material: Synthetic

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Skin Skin-Smoothing Complexion Brush #704

What we love


  • Bristles infused with skin-loving ingredients
  • Can be used with skincare products
  • Synthetic bristles

What we don’t love


  • Expensive

If you always assumed that you had to use a sponge to apply liquid foundation, that’s not the case. While sponges might seem like the only option, the truth is, you can apply liquid foundation with a brush. The IT Cosmetics Heavenly Skin Skin-Smoothing Complexion Brush #704 is a synthetic bristle brush designed to be compatible with the brand’s liquid foundations — including the iconic CC+ creams. 

Technically, the price point on this brush might put it on the splurge end. Still, we like that the actual synthetic bristles are infused with peptides, collagen, silk, niacin, and antioxidants to improve the look and feel of your skin with every use.

Additionally, the brush promises to blur imperfections, thanks to the angled cut of the bristles. While intended for liquid foundations, you can also use it to apply skincare products. You’ll like that the brush features an angled head for enhanced precision applications.

Shape: Angled | Use: Foundation, skincare | Bristle material: Synthetic

Veil Cosmetics Pro on the Go 5 Piece Brush Set

What we love


  • Compact size is great for keeping in purses
  • Full-size brush heads
  • Leaping Bunny-certified

What we don’t love


  • Short handles can be difficult for some people

Some people don’t mind paying for extra luggage to bring their favorite makeup products and tools with them. For the rest of us, switching to travel-friendly beauty tools is a smarter move. The Veil Cosmetics Pro On the Go 5 Piece Brush Set is a great way to bring professional-quality tools with you without overloading your carry-on. 

This five-piece set is Leaping Bunny-certified and made from synthetic bristles that are still full-size — just with a micro handle. The bristles are safe to use with liquid, cream, and powder formulas. More importantly, since it’s such a compact set, you don’t have to wait for vacations to take it with you — it can easily fit in your purse. However, the micro-length handles might be a bit frustrating for some people to use.

Shape: Compact | Use: Face | Bristle material: Synthetic

Kevyn Aucoin The Neo Powder Brush

What we love


  • Ideal for applying contour and highlighter
  • Synthetic bristles
  • Airbrush effect from slanted bristle design

What we don’t love


  • Expensive

The Kevyn Aucoin Neo Powder Brush is a serious splurge that more than justifies its higher price. This angled face brush was originally designed to complement the brand’s Neo Powder highlighter release back in the mid-2010s. However, this dual-fiber stippling brush with a slightly dipped interior is perfect for expertly caressing the hallows and apples of your cheeks so that highlighter is applied exactly where you need it.

More importantly, this brush will give you an airbrushed finish for a “your skin but better” effect if you choose. If you want more coverage, you can always apply another layer of product.

Shape: Angled | Use: Face | Bristle material: Synthetic

Make Up For Ever Powder Kabuki 124

What we love


  • Travel-friendly compact size
  • Airbrushed finish effect
  • Perfect for powder foundation and setting

What we don’t love


  • Expensive

Powder foundation might seem like a no-brainer, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Powder formulas have the potential to highlight skin imperfections or settle in fine lines if misapplied. So, if this is a fate you want to avoid, the Make Up For Ever Powder Kabuki 124 is a must-have brush. 

This miniature kabuki brush is designed to apply, smooth, and blur powder for a soft photo-focus finish that will have people asking if it’s your skin or foundation. It’s specifically designed for applying finishing powder, but you could use it to apply a powder foundation if you prefer. The shorter handle gives you more application control, while the domed, densely packed brush head offers an airbrushed effect.

Shape: Domed | Use: Face, body | Bristle material: Not listed

MAC Cosmetics 287 Synthetic Duo Fibre Eye Shadow Brush

What we love


  • Dual-purpose brush
  • Can be used to apply and blend shadow
  • Compatible with cream and powder formulas

What we don’t love


  • Incorporates natural bristles
  • May have a slight learning curve

Every once in a while, you want an eyeshadow that’s not a wash of color but a bold punch of pigment. When this happens, you need a duo-fiber shadow brush. Thankfully, the MAC Cosmetics 287 Synthetic Duo Fibre Eye Shadow Brush is exactly what your makeup kit requires. The rounded head features two synthetic fibers that help you pack on color when you need it most. 

This brush is compatible with powder and cream eyeshadow formulas and features a blend of natural and synthetic bristles. While the brush is intended to create a soft wash of color, you can create a bold color payoff by simply tapping the brush into your lid instead of using a wiping motion.

Shape: Rounded | Use: Eyeshadow | Bristle material: Synthetic, natural fibers

Take your makeup to the next level

The right tools can make all the difference in terms of speed and precision for makeup applications. As shown in our guide, there are brushes that can help you apply product like a pro and options that cut down your prep time. Whichever you choose, just understand that there’s no substitute for knowledge when it comes to makeup application.

If you want to jump-start your makeup brush collection, we recommend our favorite selection from Morphe, the Eye Obsessed 12-Piece Eye Brush Set. Meanwhile, the EcoTools Daily Defined Eye Makeup Brush Kit is a solid option for budget beauties. 

How to pick the right makeup brushes for you

Finding the right makeup brushes for your application can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, if you consider factors such as the bristle material, purpose, and brush shape, you can make an informed decision and select brushes that are best suited to your needs. 

Bristle material

  • Natural. Natural is a euphemism for animal hair. While this is a no-go for vegans or those concerned about animal cruelty, natural hair has a well-established place in the makeup world. Natural fibers are better for applying powder formulas and tend to blend more easily than other fiber formats. They’re also incredibly durable and age better than other fibers. 
  • Synthetic. Synthetic fibers are made from non-animal ingredients and tend to be cheaper than their natural fiber alternatives. The most common option is nylon. Because these bristles have a different composition and lack a cuticle, they don’t absorb product — so it goes on your face where it belongs. Synthetic makeup brushes are ideal for precision applications. 
  • Blend. As the name implies, these brushes are a blend of natural and synthetic fibers. The most likely types of brushes with this bristle composition will be stippling brushes — whether for the face or eyes. The under layer will feature natural fibers to blend out and reduce harsh lines, while the upper layer will have synthetic fibers to pick up and apply product to your skin. 


  • Apply. Brushes designed to apply product will usually feature softer, fluffier bristles. These brushes are simply depositing product. However, keep in mind that some brushes are mutitaskers and may support applications and buffing or blending. 
  • Buff/blend. A brush that buffs or blends will usually feature densely packed bristles. The more densely packed (meaning that you can’t easily count the bristles on the brush head), the more easily the brush will blend out your makeup for a softer finish. This isn’t limited to face brushes such as foundation or concealer. It can also include eyeshadow brushes. In most cases, you’ll look for a domed or rounded head that supports a diffused effect. 
  • Precision. Precision applications almost always require an angled design. Even for larger face brushes, the bristles are angled, ensuring that you can effectively get into various crevices around your face. Liner brushes (eyes, brows, lips) are also usually precision brushes since they’re angled and often feature stiffer bristles. 

Ease of use

  • Handle length. This might seem like an odd feature, but usability is critical when picking a brush. A brush with a handle that’s too short or long can be frustrating to use. So, look for brushes that offer a natural length that allows you to comfortably hold the handle while still maintaining control of the brush head. 
  • Cleansing. There’s nothing worse than a brush that’s difficult to clean. While there’s a right and wrong way to clean your brush, be mindful of reviews that talk about bristles that never fully get clean or brushes with a unique shape that makes them difficult to clean. 
  • Durability. No one wants to buy a brush that loses bristles as soon as you start using it. Although this is always a risk, look for brushes with a ferrule (the metal portion that holds the brush head to the handle) that’s sturdily applied to the handle. 


What makeup brushes do professionals use? 

The truth is that every professional has their preference. So, if you ask 20 different makeup artists, you’ll get 20 different answers. However, we recommend launching your makeup brush collection with our top pick, the Morphe Eye Obsessed 12-Piece Eye Brush Set.

Are expensive makeup brushes better?

Expensive isn’t always better, as there are plenty of wallet-friendly brands that offer professional-quality brushes at a fraction of the price. Before falling into the premium price trap, think about how you plan on using makeup brushes. If you’re preparing for a professional career, splurging on premium brushes might make sense. If you only wear makeup a handful of times during the year, you definitely don’t need the most expensive brushes.

What’s the best material for makeup brushes?

The answer to this question depends on your ethics. If you’re vegan, the only answer is synthetic fibers, as they aren’t derived from animals. If you aren’t quite as strict, then technically speaking, natural fibers are best. While they’re animal-derived, natural fibers tend to offer more longevity and get better with age. Meanwhile, if you’re concerned about product absorption into the brush fibers, then synthetic brushes are a better option.

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