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Ask any makeup artist what the most important item in their kit is and odds are, it’ll be one of their favorite makeup brushes. From mascara wands to eyeshadow blending brushes, the trick to mastering makeup techniques often lies in the quality of the brush, rather than the skills of the person applying it.
There are plenty of benefits to using quality makeup brushes. Using an expertly shaped makeup brush will make the application much easier, resulting in a smoother, well-blended and overall, more refined final look without any harsh lines. And not only will your skin softly transition across your face for a more natural look, but the super soft, fluffy bristles can also be better for your skin than fingertips, which can transfer germs if you aren’t careful. Small or angled brushes are designed for maximum precision, ensuring that you won’t overdo it by caking on the product, which can lead to creasing or even worse, sliding.
It can be tricky to know which brush is best for the wide range of makeup products and textures, so we put together the below beginner’s guide to makeup brushes. If you aren’t sure where to start, this is a good place.
- Flat eyeshadow brush: You’ll use this brush to first apply an eyeshadow primer to catch all of the pigment, so it doesn’t fall into your under eye area, then to gently pat eyeshadow across the lid.
- Fluffy eyeshadow crease brush: This tiny hero brush should have lots of soft, bushy bristles to easily blend eyeshadow into the crease and outer eyelid to create seamless color transitions.
- Liquid foundation brush: These large, flat-tipped brushes are feature bristles that are packed tightly together so that the foundation glides right over skin for a totally even application.
- Powder brush: This brush can be used for powder foundation or setting powder as a final step to lightly disperse powder across the face.
- Blush brush: Longer, spaced out bristles that come to a slight point offer a concentrated application to the cheek.
- Concealer brush: These brushes do their best work when used with liquid or cream concealers for discoloration under the eye, as well as the creases around the nose.
For a wide variety of synthetic and natural tipped brushes for every budget, facial area and makeup product, look no further than Amazon. Each of these Amazon brushes has a library of helpful user reviews filled with extra tips on how to apply the product with that specific brush. And if you want to start your new beauty routine ASAP, you’re in luck, because most of the brushes on this list are available for Amazon’s super speedy delivery, especially for Prime members.
Here are the best Amazon makeup brushes that everyone needs in their regular makeup routine and how to use them.
BS-Mall 14-Piece Brush Set
Best Full-Face Set
The BS-Mall 14-piece makeup brush set offers everything you need to apply a full face of makeup with a variety of makeup products and textures, including several angled and flat blending brushes, as well as a double-ended brush with a super precise eyeshadow brush on one end and a brow wand on the other. Not to mention, it has more than 90,000 five-star reviews.
Keshima Flat Top Kabuki Foundation Brush
Best for Liquid Foundation
This flat-tipped brush from Keshima is densely and tightly packed with synthetic bristles to evenly distribute the liquid or cream foundation onto your skin, starting at the center of your face and lightly buffing outward in small circular strokes to prevent harsh makeup lines around the jawline. Bonus: the thick handle is easy to hold in case excess foundation trickles down.
Real Techniques Ultra Plush Powder Makeup Brush
Best for Mineral Foundation
The Real Techniques Ultra Plush Powder Makeup Brush is a best-selling powder brush that works magic with loose and packed mineral foundations. Its large brush head is extra soft and is especially great for those who lean into sheer or minimal everyday coverage.
Wet ‘N Wild Eyeshadow Brush
Best for High Pigment Eyeshadow
Don’t be fooled by the shockingly affordable price tag—nearly 90,000 Amazon reviewers swear by this short-bristled eyeshadow brush from Wet ‘N Wild that runs more horizontal than vertical to pack on your favorite bright hue or glittery number with minimal fallout.
Nyx Pro Blending Brush
Best for Blending Eyeshadow
An eyeshadow crease brush will get you the expertly blended eyeshadow look of your dreams. Nyx‘s slender eyeshadow brush features a pointed head filled with fluffy, light bristles, which are shaped to fit the curve of the eye to softly define and contour eye shadow for an impossibly smooth look.
Lamora Pro Face Contour Brush Set
Best Contouring Brush
Contour brushes can look intimidating and severe but using the right one, like the Pro Face Contour Brush Set by Lamora, is a total game-changer for blending and defining. This brush set is great for beginners with five differently shaped brushes. Not sure which to reach for first? It comes with instructions to explain when to use each brush.
E.l.f. Flawless Face Brush
Best for Powder Bronzer
“Soft, fluffy and luxurious feeling,” writes one reviewer of the E.l.f. Flawless Face Brush. “You really don’t need to spend a lot for a good makeup brush. I have been using this to blend the edges of my blush and contour.” For a diffused, natural tan look, this brush basically does the work for you, just start underneath your cheekbone and gently swipe diagonally toward the top of your ear.
EcoTools Precision Blush Brush
Best for Creamy Textures
Hand-cut and shaped like a square for ultimate precision and control, the bristles on the EcoTools Precision Blush Brush provide just the right amount of pigment to give your skin the most gorgeous flush, regardless of your skin type. It’s also made from recycled aluminum and plastic.
Nyx Professional Makeup Pro Dual Brow Brush
Best for Eyebrows
Brows often don’t get the attention they deserve, but the Pro Dual Brow Brush from Nyx Professional Makeup will help you to frame your eyes. Start with the spoolie to brush the brow upward to reveal any sparse spots, then use the angled bristles on the other end to fill in the gaps, before giving them one more good brush.
Eigshow Pro Precision Eyeliner Brush
Best for Eyeliner
Eigshow’s Pro Precision Eyeliner Brush is a sharply angled precision brush that can be used with powder or potted eyeliner creams to easily shape a clean, dramatic cat eye. If that smudged, model-off-duty eyeliner look is more your style, this brush can do that too.
Energy Concealer Brush
Best Concealer Brush
A concealer brush allows you to apply your desired level of coverage with targeted precision to the areas of your face that a bigger brush can’t get to, including the under eye and the area around the nose. The Concealer Brush by Energy is tiny enough to reach every nook and cranny, but also wide enough so that you’re covering a decent amount of real estate all at once.
Ducare Highlighter Fan Brush
Best for Highlighter
Fan brushes are more than just a funky design, they’re a must for anyone who uses highlighter. With light-as-a-feather goat hair bristles, the fan shape on the Ducare Highlighter Fan Brush is designed to pick up just a hint of highlighter to delicately apply powder highlighter down your cheekbone, on the tip of your nose and along the brow bone.
JessLab Powder Brush
Best for Setting Powder
With a setting powder, you’re looking to mattify shiny areas, not to cover up any discoloration, and accidentally using too much can cause a white cast or a too matte, caked-on look. You can avoid this common makeup mistake by reaching for a large brush, like the JessLab Powder Brush, that has long silky bristles to prevent you from applying too much powder.
E.l.f. Kabuki Face Brush
Best Kabuki Brush
And now for the most versatile brush on the list: the beloved kabuki brush. Originally the kabuki was used only with loose powders, but thanks to the kabuki’s dense and firmly packed bristles, we’re now using it for all kinds of makeup products and textures: pressed powder, loose powder, cream and liquid formulas. The kabuki brush from E.l.f. Cosmetics features bristles that are wound tightly together at the base, but fan out at the top that deliver an airbrushed finish.
EcoTools Makeup Brush Set
Best Eco-Friendly Set
The EcoTools Makeup Brush Set is a six-piece set, which includes an angled foundation brush, a concealer brush, an eyeshadow brush, an angled liner brush, blush brush, plus a metal storage tray. They’re all made with synthetic bristles and recycled materials.
Begin Magic Lip Brush
Best Lip Brush
The standout lip brush from Begin will elevate an everyday lipstick from ordinary to extraordinary. Whether you’re carefully outlining your lips or blending together the harsh line between your lip liner and lipstick, the thin, tapered shape will give you the spot-on precision you need for the small, curvy area.
Matto 9-Piece Brush Set
Best Travel Brush Set
Cute and compact, the Matto 9-piece travel brush set is a collection of silky soft makeup brush essentials, including an eyebrow brush, highlighter brush, two eyeshadow brushes, a concealer brush, a blush brush, a flat kabuki brush, a powder brush and a foundation brush.
Zzihan Mini Makeup Brush Set
Best Mini Brush Set
These animal hair brushes with natural bamboo handles do the same job as regular size brushes but take up half the space. This six-piece set from Zzihan features a powder brush, blush brush, an angled eyeshadow brush, eyeshadow brush, eyelash and eyebrow brush. It also comes with a cute little canvas brush bag to tote with you anywhere.
Toodoo Dual Ended Lip, Concealer and Eye Brush
Best Multipurpose Brush
The Toodoo Dual Ended Lip, Concealer and Eye Brush works hard to line and blend lip products, dab and bluff concealer and swipe shadows across lids. Not only are these brushes multi-use, they’re also retractable, so you can toss it in your bag for on-the-go touch-ups.
Beaky 5-Piece Makeup Sponge Set
Best Makeup Sponges
Some of us prefer sponges to a traditional makeup brush for an airbrushed finish, and there’s no shortage of good options, including this Beaky 5-Piece Makeup Sponge Set, which provides you with enough sponges to rotate out while you’re waiting for the others to wash and dry.
Tarte Cosmetics The Buffer Airbrush Finish Brush
Best for Blending
“My skin looked almost airbrushed, and it completely left my skin dewy and smooth,” writes one Amazon reviewer of the Tarte Cosmetics The Buffer Airbrush Finish Brush. “I think I ended up using less foundation, too, but it gave me more coverage. I also used it to blend my concealer and it did a great job!”
Anastasia Beverly Hills 7B Precision Brow Brush for Powders
An angled brow brush is essential for all kinds of brow products, and this one from the eye-centric brand, Anastasia Beverly Hills, was designed specifically for applying powder-based brow products. Use the angled cut brush on one end to fill in arches with brow powder or for applying liner. Finish with the spoolie end to smooth product across the brow and blend for a natural-looking finish.
It Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Flawless Blush Brush
Best Angled Brush
A good blush brush is a hint smaller than a powder brush and for totally foolproof application, look for an angled brush, like It Cosmetic’s Live Beauty Fully Flawless Blush Brush, made with medium firm, high-quality synthetic bristles, which fits exactly underneath your cheekbone.
Daubigny Hexagon Face Brush
Best Palm Brush
Sometimes you need a brush that can cover a lot of real estate, fast. And this hexagonal-shaped foundation brush from Daubigny couldn’t be easier to hold, and the bristles are surprisingly soft for how incredibly dense the brush head is.
Beauty Kate Oval Makeup Brushes Set
Best Oval Set
If you haven’t tried an oval brush yet, you’re missing out on some seriously smooth-looking skin. “I regret not getting these sooner,” says Amazon reviewer, Melissa, of the Beauty Kate Oval Makeup Brushes Set. “These brushes are seriously amazing. They blend well, pick up more product and create a flawless finish. I swear they cut down on my beauty prep time.”
Yubi Makeup Brush
If you prefer to apply makeup with your fingers but don’t exactly care for the mess it makes, the Yubi Makeup Brush could be the perfect brush for you. Simply pump a liquid foundation directly onto the brush or swirl it in a powder (and always tap off excess product after), then slide your fingers into the handle and lightly buff. It’s great for building coverage on days you need a little more and having your fingers directly on the brush handle gives you total control, just as if you were using your actual fingers.
Bdellium Tools Professional Makeup Brush Studio Series Sponge Applicator
Best Sponge-Tipped Brush
This sponge-tipped brush from Bdellium Tools gives you the best of both worlds: the diffused final look you’d get from an ordinary sponge, but the easiness of a traditional tool, and it can be used for nearly anything you want to be totally blended, from foundation to lipstick to eyeshadow, just don’t forget to wash the sponge tip with mild soap after every use.
Goerti Angled Flat Foundation Brush
Best Body Makeup Brush
Anyone who applies makeup to their body knows that even the widest and largest foundation brushes just won’t do—who has that kind of time? The Goerti Angled Flat Foundation Brush is a half-kabuki, half-palm brush that is designed specifically for use on the body. It’s easy to hold and coverage can be layered from sheer to full with just a few more long, easy brushstrokes.
EmaxDesign 12 Piece Makeup Brush Set
Most Durable Brushes
People go crazy for bamboo makeup sets, and it’s easy to see why. Bamboo is far stronger than your average hard wood handle, plus it’s more sustainable and planet-friendly than going for a brush with a plastic base. We love the EmaxDesign 12 Piece Makeup Brush Set because it offers the full range of brushes you’d ever need and those of us with big, spirally eyebrows will love the super sturdy brow brush with a mini comb on one side and an actual brush with super firm bristles on the other.
Qivange Eye Makeup Brush Set
Best Maximalist Set
Some of us are minimalists and others are maximalists. And this set devoted just for creating an Insta-worthy eye makeup look is definitely for the more-is-more crowd. With 12 pieces in the Qivange Eye Makeup Brush Set, you’ll be able to swath your lids with color with small or large-tipped brushes, blend to your hearts content with a small, medium or large size crease brush, and line your eyes with a large, small or bent eyeliner brush.