We all have our budget hard-lines, even when it comes to beauty and skincare products. You might find no problem splurging on a pricey moisturizer or serum but gladly will reach for the drugstore lipsticks. Or you could prioritize designer foundations but won’t spend money on any mascaras over $10.
For me, there are a couple of things I don’t love splurging on. When it comes to eye shadows, I find the cheaper options are just as good for me as the spendy ones. I really don’t mind hitting up the drugstore for bodycare products like bar soaps and body lotions. I also can’t seem to drop a ton of cash on makeup brushes. One time, I spent $50 on a brush, and I still feel guilty about it to this day, years later.
Look, I’m not shaming anyone who wants to treat themselves to an expensive makeup brush. A lot of times, there’s a reason why they cost that much. They’re often made with fancy materials and might even have a unique cutting-edge shape or design. We all have our splurge and save preferences—to each their own!
But for me, I’m okay with my under-$20 makeup brushes, especially since I tend to keep my makeup looks pretty minimal most days. I don’t really do a ton of experimentation with intricate eye shadow looks or contouring techniques that might call for special brushes. Plus, it leaves me more money to spend on fancy lipsticks, mascaras, and foundations.
If you’re in the market for some affordable brushes, take a look at some of my favorite sets and some highly rates ones below.
With this set, you have everything you need to apply foundation and concealer for a glowy and healthy complexion. It comes with a face sponge, concealer brush, powder-blurring brush, angled blush brush, and highlighting brush. The pink metallic handles give it a little bit of pizzazz! This brush set is one of the highest-rated options on Amazon, with over 50,000 ratings and 4.5 out of 5 stars. The 14-piece set contains five Kabuki makeup brushes and nine eye-makeup brushes. One reviewer wrote, “10/10 would recommend. I’ve worked at the Estée Lauder counter and used several high-end brand brushes. I would definitely say these are comparable to high-end brushes. The handles are nice but don’t feel as fancy as expensive brushes. But the brush itself is soft and feels just as good as the pricier brands.” Morphe’s seven-piece set comes with a tubby to store your brushes and make it easy for you to take on the go. The collection includes a combination of natural and synthetic brushes: a tapered powder brush, angle blush brush, flat foundation brush, small shadow brush, oval fluff brush, pointed crease brush, and chisel angle brush. These mini brushes are great to stash in your purse for touch-ups—they come with a handy pouch with a key ring. The set includes three brushes: foundation, concealer, and powder. Another highly rated set from Amazon, Bestope’s kit features a whopping 20 brushes, so you’ll be set for all different kinds of makeup looks. One reviewer says, “These are excellent brushes, especially for the price. Very soft and it doesn’t appear that they are going to shed at all, even when I lightly pulled at them. There is a brush for everything in the set, and I am very happy with the application of my eye shadows and makeup. On top of the quality, they are beautiful. Very happy with my purchase.” As someone who has a hard time keeping her brushes organized, I love that this kit comes with a storage case to keep the brushes protected and in place. The five-piece collections includes an angled foundation brush, blurring brush, defined crease brush, angled liner, and full-blush brush. Super minimal and compact, this set from popular brush brand Sigma is great to keep on your vanity or to bring in your carry-on. It comes with an eye shadow brush, a diffused crease brush, and a small angle brush. Fancy, expensive brushes aren’t required for contouring. This set has everything you need for the sculpted, enhanced look—it’s got a sculpting brush, fan brush, and setting brush. For a little bit of whimsy, opt for this eye brush set, which is inspired by boba tea. You’ll get mini versions of a crease brush, shadow brush, smudge brush, and liner brush. The marble detail on the handles and holder pot makes this set seem a little more expensive than it actually is. You get a foundation brush, a powder/blush brush, a contour brush, a highlighter brush, an angled brow brush, a fluffy eye shadow brush, a luxe crease brush, an angled eye shadow brush, and a concealer or cream eye shadow brush. Not only do you get an assortment of brushes in this set, but you also get four makeup sponges and a brush cleaner. Now, that’s a total steal in my book. The handles are made of eco-friendly bamboo, too. With 24 pieces, there’s a brush for every makeup need here. It also comes with a handy carrying bag, which is essential if you’ve got that many brushes. One reviewer wrote, “I love these brushes. I had to replace my entire brush collection after it was stolen while on vacation. I figured these would be a fine, whatever replacement while I restarted my collection of quality brushes. I was honestly shocked at how good these brushes are. They blend like an absolute dream, are super easy to use, pick up a good amount of product, are very soft on the face, and feel great in my hand. Honestly in love with these brushes.” I love using a brush-cleaning mat to make sure every nook and cranny of my brushes are cleaned. It makes the process so easy and quick. You need a good brush cleaner, too. This one from EcoTools is affordable and deeply cleans without any irritating ingredients like fragrances. These cotton rounds are an essential for my skincare routine because they help me apply my favorite products and reduce waste at the same time. You can wash these over and over. A gua sha tool can help improve circulation and sculpt your face. I find it’s also just really soothing to use and is a nice trick for stress relief after a long day. I used to use hair-removal creams on my upper lip, which left my skin dry and red. So when I discovered this hair-removal device, my life was changed. It’s so easy to remove any unwanted facial hairs, and it’s totally painless. Next up, These 21 Stunning Eye Makeup Looks Live in My Head Rent-Free