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15 Best Makeup Brush Sets in 2023

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As with any art, your tools are just as important as the medium. Makeup brush sets let you introduce a few brushes into your arsenal in one go, often for a lower cost than purchasing them individually. If you’re new to makeup, it’s the easiest way to guarantee you have all the accessories you’ll need right away.  

In this guide, we’ve selected the very best makeup brush sets for every type of makeup lover. From accessible budget options to high-end artisan sets, these brushes will help you bring your dream makeup looks to life. 

Best makeup brushes overview:

How we chose the best makeup brushes

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including materials, set size, and more, to create a short list of the top makeup brush sets. Then, we dove into our own robust brush collection and combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best makeup brush set for each category.

Our picks for the best makeup brush sets

Best overall
IT Brushes For ULTA Your Superheroes Full-Size Travel Makeup Brush Set

What we love

  • Excellent for all experience levels
  • Ideal for creams and powders
  • Multiple potential uses per brush

What we don’t love

  • Only 6 brushes

For the best overall brush set, we decided to go with a fairly minimal set of only six brushes, which may seem surprising. Starting the list with a bloated set just didn’t seem right. Instead, we recommended a high-quality, versatile kit to help you begin your brush journey. 

Both newcomers and advanced makeup users can enjoy this set. The brushes are comfortable but firm, handling both powders and creams well. The shaping choices allow for a few uses per brush: The foundation brush could also work for cream contour, the smoothing concealer brush for shadow primer or lid color, and so on. 

Larger kits are often very rigid about the purpose of each brush, but this is a set of essentials that’ll push you to get creative with your approach.

Number of brushes included: 6 | Types of brushes included: Powder, foundation, concealer, crease, shadow, angled liner | Bristles: Synthetic

Best budget
Wet n Wild Brush Roll 17 Piece Collection

What we love

  • Large set with everything you’ll need
  • Very soft brushes
  • Extremely affordable

What we don’t love

  • Some brushes aren’t dense enough
  • White handles may get dirty

This one set does it all and then some for an unmatched price. It’s ideal if you’re new to makeup, on a budget, and want a set that’ll teach you the fundamentals. 

Most of the brushes here are incredibly soft and smooth, perfect for sheer powder applications.  The stipple brushes designed for cream applications could be firmer, but that’s always something you can upgrade later on. As for the eyeshadow brushes, there are no complaints to be had — they’re excellent from curation to performance.

Number of brushes included: 17 | Types of brushes included: Powder, blush, foundation, large stipple, small stipple, flat top, fan, contour, large concealer, small concealer, crease, large eyeshadow, small eyeshadow, brow and lash comb, bent liner, smoky liner, angled liner | Bristles: Synthetic

Best splurge
Sonia G. Pro Face Set

What we love

  • Artisan-made Japanese brushes
  • Fluffy and soft bristles
  • Perfect for powder complexion makeup

What we don’t love

  • Very expensive
  • Not ideal for creams

Sonia G’s Pro Face Set is the way to go if you want to dive into the world of luxury makeup brushes. 

The collection hails from Kumano, a Japanese city famous for manufacturing calligraphy brushes (Fude brushes), as well as luxury art and makeup brushes inspired by the same techniques. Beauty blogger Sonia Gilmour commissioned the artisans there to produce the exact brushes she felt the world was missing, and as many reviewers raved, the difference shows. 

The fluffy Face Pro can provide the lightest wash of setting powder, while the Cheek Pro is dense for building up color. It’s a complete set ideal for the complexion, although some of the smaller brushes could work on the eyes, too. 

The goat hair bristles are incredibly soft, making them an ideal option for someone with a powder-focused routine. That said, these brushes won’t work well with creams. Overall, it’s a great set to splurge on if you want to upgrade your collection.

Number of brushes included: 5 | Types of brushes included: Face, Inochige (a yielding, medium-sized complexion brush), fan, detail, cheek | Bristles: Natural

Best face brushes
Real Techniques Everyday Essentials Set

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Ideal set for cream and powder complexion makeup
  • Quality on par with natural hair brushes

What we don’t love

  • Colorful aesthetic isn’t for everyone

Real Techniques is one of the most consistent brands when it comes to affordable makeup brushes. The quality of its brushes is unparalleled at this price point.

The Everyday Essentials Set is the ideal kit for complexion makeup, with everything you need to apply both cream and powder products. These brushes are as soft as their natural counterparts, with just the right density level for their intended purpose. 

There’s very little to criticize here, although some shoppers might not like the multi-color design.

Number of brushes included: 4 + sponge | Types of brushes included: 400 Blush Brush, 300 Deluxe Creasing Brush, 402 Setting Brush, 200 Expert Face Brush, and the Miracle Complexion Sponge | Bristles: Synthetic

Best essentials
EcoTools Start The Day Beautiful Makeup Brush Kit

What we love

  • Ideal set for minimalists
  • Budget-friendly
  • Durable, soft, and friendly construction

What we don’t love

  • The design isn’t for everyone

From EcoTools, this is the perfect “bare minimum” brush set. It’s hard to create a full face of makeup with only five brushes, but this affordable set gives you the best chance to succeed. 

The angled foundation brush can double as a contour brush, the powder brush works for setting or applying blush, and the smaller brushes could be used for the eyes or detailed powder applications. 

Like most Eco Tools brushes, they’re durable and feel exceptionally soft on the skin. We also love that the brushes are made with eco-friendly and recycled materials. However, not everyone might appreciate the “earthy” aesthetic.

Number of brushes included: 5 | Types of brushes included: Foundation, blush, blurring, crease, angled liner | Bristles: Synthetic

Best eyeshadow set
Morphe X Ariel Signature Eyes 8-Piece Eye Brush Set

What we love

  • Excellent for a complete eyeshadow look
  • Natural and synthetic fibers
  • Reasonably-priced

What we don’t love

  • Nude handles are difficult to match to other brush sets

Where Morphe really excels is in curating its brush sets. This set includes every brush you could need for a full eyeshadow look, with different densities and shapes for every part of your eye, regardless of technique. It features both synthetic and natural fibers, which is great if you’ve been curious about the differences between the fiber options. 

The nude handles are also very chic, although you may struggle to match them with the other brushes in your collection.

Number of brushes included: 8 | Types of brushes included: Cream shadow, crease, fluffy, smudging, packer, defining angle, pencil, dual-ended concealer | Bristles: Natural and synthetic

Best for beginners
Sephora Collection Deluxe Brush Set

What we love

  • Well-curated
  • Synthetic fibers work with all formulas
  • Soft and easy to use

What we don’t love

  • Odd smell from pouch

The Sephora Collection doesn’t get a lot of recognition, but it should — the brush sets from this range are consistent, well-curated, and affordable. 

The Deluxe set, in particular, is excellent if you’re looking for a one-and-done brush collection. It includes 10 brushes that cover all the bases without being overwhelming. It’s an ideal option for beginners and could also make for a lovely gift. 

Since the brushes are made of synthetic fibers, they’ll work with every type of makeup formula. Reviewers raved that they’re soft and easy to use, with a range of firmness levels and shapes to suit different application techniques.  

They come with a pouch for convenient carrying, although some reviewers complained that it had an odd chemical scent.

Number of brushes included: 10 | Types of brushes included: Foundation, powder, blush, highlight, concealer, shadow, crease, precision, smudge, brow | Bristles: Synthetic

Best extra-large
Morphe MUA Life 20-Piece Face & Eye Brush Set

What we love

  • Features all the brushes you could possibly want
  • Reasonably-priced
  • Convertible carrying pouch/stand

What we don’t love

  • Brushes are unlabeled
  • Can be overwhelming for beginners

More is more with this Morphe brush set. Do you really need 20 makeup brushes? If your answer is “obviously!” then rock on with that maximalist spirit. You’ll have no problem creating any look you wish, and you’ll never need to worry about using a brush twice when applying your makeup. 

This set could be overwhelming for beginners because it’s so large, and the brushes are unlabeled — you’ll want to consult a makeup brush guide before starting. Because this set is reasonably priced, though, you’ll still get your money’s worth even if you only use half the brushes.  

Aside from the sheer size, our favorite thing about this kit is the carrying pouch. You can keep it closed when traveling or fold it open to use as a convenient brush stand.

Number of brushes included: 20 | Types of brushes included: Deluxe blender, angle foundation, precision pointed powder, angled contour, undereye bullet, highlighter, large round blender, round blender, tapered blender, oval shadow, angled concealer, pointed deluxe blender, detail round blender, firm shadow, medium oval, precision pencil, smudger, angled liner/spoolie, detail liner, pro round blender | Bristles: Synthetic

Best eye-blending set
Real Techniques Everyday Eye Essentials Makeup Brush Kit

What we love

  • Budget-friendly
  • Soft and gentle on the eyes
  • Ideal for blending shadows

What we don’t love

  • Missing a few of our eyeshadow must-haves

This is the kit to buy if you need to load up on well-priced, high-quality eye makeup brushes. Real Techniques’ plus synthetic bristles are soft and gentle, which is a must for the delicate eye area. 

The kit includes some of the best eyeshadow blending brushes we’ve tried, along with other useful options like liner brushes and a separator.  

Pair it with Real Technique’s Everyday Essentials set, and you’ll be nearly set for all your makeup brush needs. The only brushes we’d suggest supplementing are a thin, dense lid brush and a firmer crease pencil brush.

Number of brushes included: 8 | Types of brushes included: Shading, essential crease, crease definer, angled definer, smudge, medium fluffy, lash separator, fine liner | Bristles: Synthetic

Best for ergonomics
Guide Beauty Easy On The Eyes Brush Collection

What we love

  • Unique ergonomic handles for users who have trouble gripping
  • Perfect for a basic eyeshadow look
  • Soft and gentle on the eyes

What we don’t love

  • Not enough for dramatic eye makeup styles

Makeup artist Terri Bryant developed Guide Beauty after she lost dexterity in her hands due to Parkinson’s. 

Holding most makeup brushes can be challenging, especially if you experience chronic pain or a disability that impacts your mobility or grip. The brushes from Guide (along with other Guide products) have a unique ergonomic grip that makes them easier to hold and control.  

This eyeshadow brush set includes a fluffy all-over brush, a shadow blending brush, and a small pencil brush for defining and smudging — everything you need for a basic but full-eye look at a reasonable price. The vegan bristles are soft and gentle on the eyes but not too tightly packed, lending themselves better to blended looks rather than packing on a lot of pigment.

Number of brushes included: 3 | Types of brushes included: All-over shadow, blend/crease, define/smudge | Bristles: Synthetic

Best supplement set
Sigma Most-Wanted Brush Set

What we love

  • A way to try Sigma’s most popular brushes
  • Options for face and eyes
  • Soft, durable brushes

What we don’t love

  • Not enough on its own

This set from Sigma features the brand’s best-selling, most highly-reviewed brushes. If you need to augment an existing collection with a few complexion and eye brushes, it’s an excellent choice. It features five high-performing, synthetic brushes that have generated a lot of buzz from beauty lovers. It comes with three eye brushes and two complexion brushes. 

From a curation standpoint, the set is a little random. These brushes aren’t enough for applying a full face of makeup, but if you need to upgrade your collection with soft, durable brushes that you know will perform well, you can’t go wrong. 

Number of brushes included: 5 | Types of brushes included: Cream foundation brush, highlighter brush, blending brush, tapered blending brush, pencil brush | Bristles: Synthetic

Best natural
Wayne Goss The Goss Edit Collection

What we love

  • Ultra-soft natural goat hair makeup brushes
  • Ideal for powder makeup
  • Looped ends for convenient drying

What we don’t love

  • Missing a flat lid brush
  • Not ideal for creams

If you’re interested in natural hair makeup brushes, The Goss Edit Collection is a great introduction. Though it may seem expensive, this is actually a very reasonable price point for handmade Japanese brushes. 

These brushes, made of goat hair, are extremely soft and not too tightly packed. They’re ideal for applying and blending powder products, with options for both the face and eyes. The only thing missing for us is a tightly-packed shadow brush for applying pigmented shadow to the lids. 

The set is beautiful, with a design inspired by calligraphy brushes. They even have looped ends, which allow for upside-down drying after you clean your brushes

While the brand suggests the brushes can apply cream products, we wouldn’t recommend doing so since natural fibers can absorb creams.

Number of brushes included: 7 | Types of brushes included: Face and eye brushes (purpose left to the individual user) | Bristles: Natural

Best travel
BK Beauty Travel Brush Set With Pouch

What we love

  • Convenient, travel-sized brushes
  • Essential brushes for a basic makeup look
  • Comes with a roomy travel pouch

What we don’t love

  • Not great for light-coverage powder techniques
  • Pricey

Full-sized brushes are amazing, but they can take up a lot of space during travel. This little kit features high-quality synthetic brushes for the face and eyes. The handles are shorter than normal to fit in your carry-on or suitcase with ease. 

The bristles are soft yet dense, perfect for cream products or fuller coverage but may not be ideal for powder-dominant or light-coverage looks.

The set comes in a gorgeous faux-leather pouch that has enough room to hold the brushes and other cosmetics. The pouch could easily become your new travel makeup bag.

Number of brushes included: 5 | Types of brushes included: Contoured foundation, flat blush, defined crease, shade, pencil blender | Bristles: Synthetic

Best aesthetic
BH Cosmetics Marble Luxe 10 Piece Brush Set

What we love

  • Gorgeous marbled handles
  • Budget-friendly
  • Solid performance

What we don’t love

  • Mediocre curation

You might love this pretty brush set from BH Cosmetics if you find all the professional-looking black-handled sets uninspiring. It may be budget-friendly, but it looks highly luxurious with white faux-marble handles and rose gold ferrules. 

With 10 brushes, it includes most of the tools you’ll need for a complete makeup look. Reviewers raved that the brushes perform very well for the price. That said, we think the curation could have been more diverse with fewer blending brushes and more options for detail work.

Number of brushes included: 10 | Types of brushes included: Jumbo face, tapered powder, deluxe buffer, domed detailer, duo fiber highlighting, multitasking face, diffusing eye, classic eye blending, tapered blending, eye shading | Bristles: Synthetic

Best oval
Artis Captivating Brush Trio

What we love

  • Side-mounted bristles for self-application
  • Versatile multi-purpose brushes
  • Gorgeous design

What we don’t love

  • Very expensive
  • Not convenient for professional use

A few years back, oval brushes were all the rage. Artis was one of the original brands to make these brushes a hit with unique side-mounted bristles that allow for an easier self-application. 

This set features three versatile brushes you can use on the face and eyes. The brushes are made with synthetic CosmeFibre packed to be denser than normal, which is perfect for blending out creams (and works with powders as well). That said, for a three-brush set, it’s pretty expensive.

Number of brushes included: 3 | Types of brushes included: Elite Oval 7, Elite Oval 4, Elite Linear 1 | Bristles: Synthetic

Bright-eyed and brushy tailed 

Using a phenomenal brush set makes every makeup application pleasurable. There’s nothing like a soft brush gliding against your skin, not to mention you’ll find it much easier to create the detailed looks you want. 

Our top makeup brush set from It Cosmetics is a simple kit with high-quality, sure-to-please brushes. But no matter your taste or budget, we think you’ll find a set that fits your unique makeup approach. 

How to pick the right makeup brush set for you

When choosing your next makeup brush set, consider the type of set you want and which brushes you consider essential. 

Types of makeup brush sets

  • Basic sets. With four to six brushes, these include the basics for both the face and eyes. You can create a complete makeup look with these sets if you’re willing to use one brush for multiple purposes. 
  • Full sets. With seven to 20 brushes, these sets include enough options for a full makeup look without the need to double up. 
  • Eye makeup sets. These usually contain six to eight smaller brushes ideal for the eyes, with shadow, brow, and liner brushes. 
  • Complexion sets. The brushes in a complexion set are larger; these sets usually come with three to six brushes for powder, foundation, blush, and more. 

Essential brushes

So what constitutes essential, must-have brushes? This depends on your approach. For example, if you only wear eye makeup, you won’t need any complexion brushes. 

That said, most makeup lovers benefit from owning a large powder brush and a smaller complexion brush for blushes or bronzers. A densely packed foundation brush would be more worthwhile if you don’t use powder. 

For eyeshadow, two or three brushes are enough for classic eyeshadow looks: a fluffy blending brush for blending eyeshadow sheerly and denser brushes for applying and blending stronger shades. 


Take note of how densely the bristles are packed into the brushes you’re considering. Tightly packed bristles will deposit more color and blend with more force, which is perfect for high-impact or full-coverage techniques. Fluffier brushes are better for light blending and softer pigmentation. 

As for material, synthetic bristles have come a long way in recent years, and if you ask us, they’re consistently the better choice (especially when shopping mass-market brands). They’re as soft as animal hair brushes but with better durability. In general, animal hair brushes are better for powder makeup since the fibers can absorb creams, while synthetic brushes can easily be used for both.  


Are expensive makeup brushes worth it? 

Nowadays, many affordable brushes rival high-end ones for softness and utility, so if you’re on a budget, expensive brushes aren’t worth it. That said, the craftsmanship and history that go into artisan-made Japanese brushes, like our picks from Sonia G. and Wayne Goss, justify the price tag. 

How do I know if a makeup brush is good quality?

There are a few factors to look for in a quality makeup brush. First, it should be soft and non-scratchy when you rub it against your skin. Second, it shouldn’t shed bristles easily. Finally, the construction should feel sturdy without any shakiness at the ferrule (i.e., the metal connecting the bristles to the handle). 

Are beauty brushes better than Beauty Blenders?

They’re not better, just different! Beauty Blenders and similar sponges are excellent for blending cream products, especially if you want a sheer, dewy look. Foundation brushes are often better for achieving full coverage. You can experiment with both to find the application style you prefer, and maybe you’ll discover you enjoy both.