A few months ago I got a DM asking if I could review and share a list of affordable makeup brushes. Specifically brushes under $20 that blend nice and don’t shed. I love a good challenge and was pretty excited to work on something like this. Makeup is something I’ve always enjoyed and it’s been fun to test out over 30 brushes (yes, 30) and pull together a list of my top recommendations. The best part? They are all $20 or less.
Now, do you need every single brush listed below? No! This is just a guide to help you decide what could work in your makeup routine.
I also think it’s important to mention I have used these for about 3 months and haven’t had any issues with shedding. I washed all of these 7 times (maybe more) and they still held up to their original shape. For a deep clean, I wash my brushes with Dawn dish soap and if I’m in a hurry, I love using Cinema Secrets. It’s gentle, but kills 99.9% of bacteria and dries in less than 30 minutes.
AFFORDABLE FACE BRUSHES
*brush type // prefered formula
1. FOUNDATION // LIQUID: Sonia Kashuk Professional Stippling Foundation this brush is easy to clean and does a really nice job blending liquid and cream foundations. I tried several budget-friendly foundation brushes, and this was hands-down the best for me. I’ve used with my IT Cosmetics CC+ Foundation (holy grail), Jane Iredale Glow Time Tinted BB Cream (2nd runner up to IT Cosmetics and what I’ve been wearing during my pregnancy) and my Tinted SPF and it worked great.
2. CONTOUR // LIQUID: Sonia Kashuk Angled Contour highly recommend this brush if you are someone who loves a cream or liquid bronzer. The dense bristles allow you to press in your product, while giving you ultimate control on how you want to blend etc. This brush is a must is my collection.
3. SETTING POWDER or BRONZER // POWDER or LIQUID: Elf Flawless Face I prefer to use this with a powder, but I’ve tried it with both liquid and cream products too. This is a nice option if you want a standard fluffy brush for all over powder or bronzer. The bristles are soft and diffuse the powder to give you an airbrushed finish.
4. BLUSH or HIGHLIGHT // POWDER: Elf Highlight and Blush The perfect brush for blush. I was looking for a dupe to my Bobbi Brown Sheer Powder Brush and this is pretty close. It gives you a sheer finish which is why I prefer it for blush.
5. CONCEALER // LIQUID: Morphe M17 Mini Dome Buffer I love this brush for concealer. It mimics the pad of your finger, so you can get in those hard to reach spots and really press and blend the product. Highly recommend this!
6. SMALL SETTING POWDER or HIGHLIGHT // POWDER: Milani All Over Blending This is my new favorite brush. I use it for setting powder under my eyes, or if I’m wanting to use powder on my t-zone. I also like it for highlighting my cheek bones. It’s a smaller brush (bigger than eyeshadow though) and is perfect for adding powder to small areas. This brush was hard to find, so if you want it, grab it before it sells out.
7. NOSE CONTOUR // LIQUID or POWDER: Kabuki Nose Contour I love using an angled brush to contour my nose. This brush is dense, but also soft enough that it creates a natural finish. I’ve used with both cream and powder and found it to blend both really well.
EYESHADOW BRUSHES UNDER $10
8-11. ALL OVER SHADOW or DETAIL // POWDER: 5-Piece Eyeshadow Brush Kit Usually, I stay away from brush kits. I find them to be a waist of money because I never end up using all the brushes. This is my exception. This set is only $10 and ideal for an everyday look, but also nice if you want to add a crease, smudge etc. I personally didn’t love the liner brush it came with, but the other 4 have been nice to use.
12. EYELINER // POWDER or CREAM: Mini Smudge for Eyeliner I can’t say enough good things about this brush. It makes it so easy to add a little wing when using a powder shadow. I will do a video on IGS this week!
13-15: BROW and CLEAN UP // POWDER or CREAM: 3-Piece Brow Detail Set I’ve been using this set for over a year. The small shader works really well if you want to smudge or clean up your eyeliner. I also use it to touch up if any mascara gets on my lids. The flat definer is nice to use on your brows if you want to add concealer or highlight under them. This set is a must!