Beauty Hack of the Week: Cheap Makeup Brushes

  • Makeup
  • April 29, 2018
  • Updated May 2, 2020
Woman applying pink eyeshadow with a makeup brush
Woman applying pink eyeshadow with a makeup brush

Dear Budget Fashionista,

Do you have any recommendations for decent, affordable makeup brushes?

Well, yes, dear reader, we do. Read on for our top seven picks!

7 Budget Make-up Brushes & Brush Sets

Sonia Kashuk Brushes

makeup 1

The Sonia Kashuk line at Target is hands down the best makeup brush line for the money. For the price of one angle brush from a cosmetic company like MAC, you can score a whole set of high quality brushes, like the set below ($20 at Target) from the line.

Sephora Uncomplicated Brush Set

Sephora Uncomplicated Makeup Brushes

For everything you need in a brush set and nothing you don’t, try the Sephora Uncomplicated Brush Set. The five-piece set includes a medium shadow brush, angled liner brush, pointed crease brush, smudge brush, and fluffy crease brush — all packed neatly into a faux leather pouch for on-the-go travel.

E.L.F. Professional Set of 12 Brushes

e.l.f. makeup brush set

e.l.f. has won a solid place in this budget fashionista’s heart, with its wide variety of quality makeup and accessories at ultra-low prices. This Professional Set of 12 Brushes sells for just $12 — that’s just $1 per brush! Each brush is ergonomically designed to fit the hand comfortably for a flawless finish every time.

For more on this brand, see our e.l.f. review here.

Morphe Set 7-Piece Rose Set

Morphe makeup brush set

This chic and affordable Morphe brush set features plush bristles that are soft and pick up color with ease. The convenient carrying case is also a plus, making it easy to bring your makeup brushes with you wherever you go.

Forever 21 Makeup Brush Set

Forever21 Makeup Brushes

This beginner set sells for under $15 and offers just the essentials for a more natural look. The set includes a powder, eyeshadow base, foundation, eyebrow, and lip brush. Each of the brushes is also conveniently labeled on the handle, making it easier to grab the right brush when you need it.

USpicy Makeup Brush Set

USpicy make up brush set

If you’re looking to hone your makeup skills, you’re going to need a more substantial brush set. This 32-piece professional brush set by USpicy offers brushes of all sizes, shapes, and textures to help you achieve a wide range of looks. Selling for under $20, the 32 piece set offers smooth application with ample storage inside an exquisite box.

Spectrum 8-Piece Eye Blending Set

Affordable makeup brushes by Spectrum

The eyes are the focal point of any good makeup look. This eye blending set includes all the brushes you need to build detail on the lids for a professional look without the professional cost. These brushes are made with high-quality synthetic hair.

Makeup brushes are among the most important tools in your beauty arsenal. But that doesn’t mean you need to blow your beauty budget on brushes — you’ve got to save some dough for the actual makeup after all. Highlight your best features with brushes that offer premium results at a low price.

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    Catherine Brock

    As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

    Blog Comments

    e.l.f brushes are grrrreat. I ordered the small trave l set as a present, and got the eye liner brush and they are awesomeness. and you cant beat the price.

    I use e.l.f brushes too. And like the previous poster said you can’t beat the prices.

    Nothing can beat elf’s prices (or the Target kit price) but for specialty shapes/sizes/textures, an art supply store will have good options. And in NYC, Ricky’s house brand is a good bet and a bit cheaper than MAC.

    Here’s the issue with e.l.f. the customer service is inconsistent at best (most would say that it’s virtually non existent) and several readers have had problems receiving their shipment.
    Target is a better (although slightly more expensive option) than e.l.f because you know you will receive the brushes in the shape you expect to receive them in.

    That being said, if e.l.f can get itself together.. it would be a phenomenal option for those of us on a budget.

    here’s a post a wrote about elf last year

    $14.99 is a great price for all those brushes.  I got my make-up brushes at Nordstrom Rack.  They sell them individually for about $2-$3 each, so you can mix and match depending on what types you want.

    use this

    I have recently discovered Avon brushes. The prices are pretty good too—about 2.99-7.99. Its a bit more than Elf brushes but to be honest, they are a much better quality.  Avon’s Mark line also offers a small travel set that fits right into your cosmetic bag.  It’s ony 15.00 and its’s really cute.

    I found that the elf brushes are’nt as soft as they could be.(The brush actually fell off of the handle of my face brush after a couple of weeks).  But they are a dollar so I dont expect too much. I do still use some of the eyeshadow, and eyelining brushes from elf though.

    I have this exact brush set, and it is very good.  It is good to know my picks match the BF’s!

    The Target brushes are fine. I have had a few stray hairs fall from them, but that is to be expected with any cheap brush. My favorite cheap brushes though are the Essence of Beauty brushes that CVS pharmacies sell. They have a full line at incredible prices.

    I have those exact brushes and while the eye shadow brushes are good, the powder & blush brush have been shedding all over the place for me.  just a friendly warning.

    I bought the pictured set and love it!  So soft and, I got it on sale, a great deal.  I highly recommend.

    Have you seen the brush sets at Forever Beautiful Cosmetics? They are very cheap in price but high in quality. I have three sets myself. If you want to see them they are here

    There are a few companies out there that are cheap with high quality. You could say they get them before the name brand is on them. I found some here You can see all of the sets and cases right on this page.

    Eyeliner brush advice:

    Of all the eyeliner brushes I have tried, the chanel pinceau paupieres was by far the best. But, who wants to spend $30 on a brush? After losing it, I bought Sephora’s store-brand “lip brush” and cut a clean, straight line across the brush hairs (about 1/4”). Only about $5, and because the hairs are so densely packed, it really provides for a smooth application. Try with Smashbox’s cream liner pots.

    I have a travel kit from Sonia Kashuk very similar to this 1 minus mirror and angle brush. They are soft and good quality for the price however my blush brush came off handle but you can glue the metal part back to the wood handle. I have a regular size powder(face), blush, and angle brush by Maybelline I love them as well very,very good quality and soft.

    I love the elf mineral line eyeshadow primer it is very comparable to UDPP its only 3 dollars you cant beat that even with shipping its still cheaper and just as good in my opinion.

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