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The 10 Best Makeup Brushes of 2019

Makeup Brushes: The Best of 2019

Makeup itself is only as good as the tools you use with it. To look your absolute best, professional tools are a must. Many products, primarily drugstore brands, include some sort of applicator, but for a perfect finish the right brush can make all the difference, turning an inexpensive eye shadow product into something that looks like a designer brand the envy of red carpet celebrities.

Most professional makeup artists agree that, as with makeup products, there are terrific brushes that are available in every price range and category. The best makeup brushes don't always have to be the most expensive. One brush may be super high-end but doesn't work as well as something you can pick up at your local discount store. Beauty bloggers and influencers may rave equally about a brush that costs the same as a couple packs of gum and one that costs as much as a fancy dinner for two. We've curated the best of everything based on performance. Here are our picks for the best makeup brushes of 2019.

Fenty Beauty was created by Rihanna to manufacture products and tools to enhance all skin tones. Rihanna says her favorite thing about her Cheek-Hugging Highlight Brush is that it was inspired by a shark-tooth shape, which sounds pretty on brand for a girl from Barbados. This brush will make your face shine bright like a diamond!

We agree that the chiseled or shark-tooth angles provide beautiful highlights to any shape of cheekbones, jawlines, or facial features. It easily doubles as a brush for blush, blending both blush and highlighter products effortlessly. It works well on all skin types – dry, oily, or combination, it’s not streaky, there isn’t much powder fallout, and as the name states, it literally hugs the cheeks as you use it. It’s perfect for those who are not familiar with using highlighter because it so naturally glides on with just one swipe.

Try switching up angles too, using the narrow edge for the bridge of the nose, the wide side for sweeping across the cheeks or collarbone, the blunt side to add shimmer to the chin or the forehead. It’s really hard to go wrong with the forgiving design. The brush is soft and it can be used for intense or subtle highlights, depending on how much product you load onto it. It works well with the most expensive and luxurious highlighters and dirt cheap drugstore brands, it doesn’t matter, this brush layers it on in a way that catches light from every angle. The Fenty Beauty Cheek-Hugging Highlight Brush 120 doesn’t really shed and is easy to clean.

Key Features
  • Asymmetrical cut
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Handle Type: Plastic with metal ferrule
  • Bag Included: no
  • Brand: Fenty
Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • Super trendy dusty pink color
Cons
  • Unusually shaped bristles takes some getting used to

To spoil yourself with perfectly golden and luxuriously pampered skin, look no further than the Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush No. 12. Made with synthetic, antibacterial hair, this feather-soft brush will leave you glowing like you just walked off the beach at St. Tropez, Ipanema, Phuket, Maui, or the Greek isles. Its extra large size makes it ideal for splashing on product all over your face and body for that perfect sun-kissed tan. It blends perfectly so even the fairest of lasses can pass for a beach goddess.

Use it to dust your favorite bronzer on the collarbone and décolletage, cheekbones and shoulders to feel like summer year-round. Use the narrow tip to apply to more targeted locations. It blends perfectly, just don’t overdo it, sometimes it feels so luxurious, like butterfly kisses and wings of angels on your face, that you might forget to stop.

A favorite of beauty bloggers, you might even be able to score the limited edition white version, the brush hairs are dense and soft and it picks up product beautifully. It’s hard to find a negative review of this brush, it’s worth every penny to pamper your face and get a fantastic sun-kissed glow.

With diligent care a Marc Jacobs brush can last for years, do a deep clean as needed using baby shampoo or any mild soap and the brush will retain its silky soft texture, it holds up nicely without shedding even after repeated use and cleanings. If ever there were a makeup tool to consider as an investment, the Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush No. 12 would be the one.

Key Features
  • Extra-wide
  • Synthetic fibers
  • Antibactrial
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Handle Type: Thick plastic
  • Bag Included: No
Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • Sinfully soft texture
Cons
  • Might be too big for detailed applications
Best value

3. e.l.f. Flawless Concealer Brush

9.75 / 10

A noted makeup artist from the Houston area remarked that e.l.f. brushes are “shockingly inexpensive for how good they are.” The e.l.f. Flawless Concealer Brush is an underrated little tool that proves that outright. As advertised, it effortlessly creates an appearance of airbrushed perfection, leaving skin looking smooth and flawless. The quality of this drugstore brush is definitely comparable to high end luxury brands. It retains its shape and washes well. Everyone from professionals, teenagers, influencers, moms, and drag queens are all rightfully obsessed with this brush.

The bristles are soft and flexible, do not shed, and are made from animal-free synthetic material. Dip it in any concealer , blend in, and set with powder to create seamless perfection, expertly covering the tiniest of imperfections or dark under eye areas. Use it throughout the day to smooth out creasing or fading. It also doubles nicely as an eye shadow brush in a pinch because it blends so nicely.

The hairs of the e.l.f. Flawless Concealer Brush are gentle on your skin, making it reliable for day-to-day use, replacing messy sponges or cheap applicators provided when you purchase a product. It can be used to sweep concealer over large areas like under the eyes, or to zero in on small targeted areas, and can be used with liquid, cream, or powder products. As with any makeup brush, regular maintenance is a must to keep it in good shape. Cleaning after use and a weekly deep clean will help your brushes retain their shape and last a long time. These brushes come in a 3-pack so you can keep one in your travel bag, your makeup kit, and still have a spare!

Key Features
  • Soft bristles, gentle on skin
  • Can give an airbrushed effect
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 3
  • Handle Type: Plastic
  • Bag Included: no
Pros
  • Cruelty-free, vegan
  • Rounded shape easy to get good coverage
Cons
  • Head can detach with rough cleaning or handling

Part of a collection of seven brushes with holographic handles, the NYX Holographic Halo Micro Highlighting Brush is a slim fan brush that helps your face take on a shimmery glow. It allows you to apply the perfect amount of highlight to create a glow ready for a night at the club. Use it on your body or your face for skin that appears ethereal, dewy, and fresh. Each brush of the collection is meant for a specific highlighting technique, but the Micro Highlighting Brush is marketed to be used with a strobing technique, but it does well for almost any look.

The NYX Holographic Halo Micro Highlighting Brush can also be a go-to fan brush. It’s soft and flexible bristles make it versatile enough to use for blush or bronzer. For highlighting it lets you build to a level you’re comfortable with without looking fake or caked on. It truly makes your highlighter pop whether you are pairing it with NYX products or your own personal preferences. The design ensures application of a soft and diffused glow.

The construction of the brush is solid and it is built to last and doesn’t shed much. The fibers are synthetic, soft, compact, and dense, and the opalescent color makes it a unique addition to your makeup table. The NYX Holographic Halo Micro Highlighting Brush is a favorite fan brush of Instagram and YouTube stylists and influencers for good reason. Most department stores and drugstores carry the NYX brand and the brushes are affordable and easy to find.

Key Features
  • Synthetic bristles
  • Fan-shaped design
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Handle Type: Holographic plastic
  • Bag Included: No
Pros
  • Beautiful design
  • Good for layered looks
Cons
  • Holographic claim is a bit overrated

The Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 from IT Cosmetics is a favorite of professional makeup artists for its versatile double-ended construction, which makes applying foundation products and concealers simultaneously simple, seamless, and fluid, making a flawless, airbrushed look easily achievable. One leading professional who works with top models and recording artists around the world said, “The IT Cosmetics foundation brush is genius.”

Employing multi-tasking at its best, this brush can be used daily. It is high quality and made of synthetic vegan bristles that are remarkably soft and gentle even on highly sensitive skin. The fluffy large brush can be used to apply base foundation with circular brush strokes, starting on the parts of the face that need the most coverage, while the smaller brush zooms in on the tiniest imperfections, resulting in a smooth and natural finish.

There may be some residual shedding, but with proper care this can be kept to a minimum. IT Cosmetics recommends using its Brush Love for a daily cleaner and mild baby shampoo for a weekly deep clean.

For influencers, noted makeup artists, celebrities like Jessica Alba and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to everyday users of all ages, the IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 is a can’t miss tool. It works well and blends evenly with both cream and liquid foundations and concealers and is worth splurging on. It does an exceptionally good job of concealing blemishes, dark under eye circles, redness, and uneven skin tones, and leaves your complexion looking natural but perfect.

Key Features
  • Dual-ended
  • 12,800 hair count on fluffy end
  • 6,400 hair count on tighter end
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Handle Type: Dual tip
  • Bag Included: No
Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • Minimizes flaws
Cons
  • May shed after several uses

For an eye shadow brush that applies pigment evenly and lusciously across your lids, the most consistently raved-about brush is the Sigma E55 Eye Shading Brush. It is a durable workhorse that holds a ton of product and is perfect for everyday use. The brush head is square with rounded sides and packed with synthetic bristles. The dense head makes for a controlled application which works very well for individuals with smaller or hooded eyes. It works nicely with powder or cream eye shadows, although the manufacturer suggests the E57 brush for cream products.

The bristles are soft, the texture in between firm and slightly fluffy, and the head does not lose its shape over time. This brush comes with a two-year warranty, something not common with most beauty tools. It really packs on the color with any brand of shadow, but is particularly luxurious with higher end products. The Sigma E55 Eye Shading Brush picks up so much pigment and blends evenly. A key factor in whether a brush is high or low quality is how much effort is required to pull the color from the product to the brush and from the brush to the surface. With the Sigma E55 very little muscle is needed to do the job.

There isn’t much shedding and the brush tends to dry only a few hours after washing, even with the dense bristles. The shorter handle makes it easy to tuck into a makeup bag, toiletry case, or purse to take with you everywhere.

Key Features
  • Medium to full coverage
  • Wooden handle made from a renewable resource
  • Synthetic bristles
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Handle Type: Lightweight wood
  • Bag Included: No
Pros
  • Color goes on evenly
  • Two available colors - black/chrome and sparkle/chrome
  • Cruelty-free
Cons
  • A different brush is recommended for cream eye shadows
  • Not great with loose pigments

Finding the right eye liner brush makes all the difference in the world when it comes to creating a specific eye effect. The Laura Mercier Flat Eye Liner Brush may be the one brush that can help you manage almost any look you want. It has a tapered end so achieving a sharp line looks natural and beautiful every time.

The Laura Mercier Flat Eye Liner brush performs nicely using liquid, powder, cream, cake, and gel eye liners. It can produce a tight and crisp line over the eyelid, wings, or smoky shadows, and works for eyebrows too. Try it with white eye liner on bottom eyelids for a perky, bright-eyed face when the coffee is taking too long to kick in. Secret uses include tidying up around lips with concealer and minimizing tiny facial imperfections. It’s a favorite eye liner brush for professionals and accessible for casual users.

To keep your brush healthy and to make it last as long as possible, we recommend following the Laura Mercier care instructions, which include storing separately from other products, cleansing with mild shampoo, drying on a flat surface, and cleaning in the direction of the fibers. With proper care it should have a long life. Tight lining is tricky and may take a few test runs before you are an expert, but practice makes perfect. The Laura Mercier website also has great tips and techniques for using the brush and ideas for different ways to bring out the best in your peepers!

Key Features
  • Tapered bristles
  • Fine point ensures precise placement of color
  • Firm, stiff bristles for more control
  • Synthetic fibers
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Handle Type: Plastic
  • Bag Included: No
Pros
  • Great for tight lines
  • Works great with wet, dry, or cream eyeliners
Cons
  • Rigidity of bristles wears off after time

The Lancôme Powder Brush #1 complements nearly any powder to finish off your look so you’re flawless and picture-ready. Don’t let internet comments about excessive fallout and shedding scare you off. As might be expected from such a renowned brand, Lancôme went back to the drawing board and the brush has been re-designed with an improved shape and better quality of natural hairs to minimize the number of bristles that end up on your face and in your sink. Keep it cleaned as recommended to ensure a long and lasting lifespan. With proper care most Lancôme brushes will last for years. The brush is soft and gentle on skin and layers on powder with ease. It works well with loose and translucent powder as well as powder foundation and even blush and bronzer.

This brush is excellent for all-over coverage and contouring with long and soft bristles. It feels indulgent and sleek, and provides truly professional results. For an even application without making skin look too “powdered” you can press the product onto your wrist or a tissue before letting the brush pick it up. For a dewy look or drier skin it’s best to target only the t-zone. Using this brush tends to save powder, making it actually more economical to use than a sponge or applicator.

As a high quality tool in your brush arsenal, this powder brush will provide what you need to look polished and put together. Lancôme brushes are also packaged beautifully and great to give as gifts, to yourself or someone else!

Key Features
  • Natural bristles
  • Designed to minimize bristle loss
  • Rounded shape for better powder application
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Handle Type: Tapered plastic
  • Bag Included: No
Pros
  • Powder goes on evenly
  • Good for bronzer as well
Cons
  • Reports of shedding, mostly on older iteration

Getting perfectly defined brows doesn’t mean a trip to the salon when you have the Benefit Angled Brow Brush and Spoolie. This brush works smoothly with any product – powder, gel, cream, pomade, or wax – to fill in and blend eyebrows so they look full and textured, yet natural. The sharp angle of the brush lets you apply product with precision, and the spoolie side, spoolie being the fun word for what looks like a mascara wand, blends everything together so your brows look camera ready.

Benefit also provides a cute and functional carrying case so the brush doesn’t get damaged or mixed in with your other products and is perfect to take with you. The dual end makes creating the perfect brows simple because you don’t have to fiddle with separate brushes to apply and to blend, all you need is a flip of the brush. Eyebrow personalities are distinct and this brush works whether your brows are well-defined and high maintenance perfection or wild child crazy natural. The Benefit Angled Brow Brush & Spoolie should be a staple in everyone’s makeup bag. If you’ve never paid much attention to brows before this is a great way to start looking totally polished and groomed.

The bristles do not shed, they retain their shape, and the brush’s handle and ergonomic design make it so easy to use. The spoolie end is actually softer than you’d imagine, and it does a nice job of blending, rather than removing product from your brows.

Key Features
  • Dual-ended
  • Includes tapered brush and spoolie
  • Good for powders, creams, waxes or gels
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Handle Type: Plastic
  • Bag Included: yes
Pros
  • Expert application and blending with one tool
  • Two-in-one brush and spoolie
  • Can be used with a variety of types of brow products
Cons
  • Spool end can become loose with aggressive use

For foolproof application of lip products, we think the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Brush should be your go-to tool. Its square-tipped design allows for such precision control that lip liner sometimes isn’t even necessary. The handle is long and ergonomically designed, making your wrist able to sweep color into the corners and crevices with ease. And it won’t roll off of your bathroom counter because of the faceted shape, so you can ensure that the brush never touches anything but your lips.

Where this brush particularly stands out is in applying a particularly bold lipstick color. It defines, does not smudge, and makes a statement look easily achievable for professionals and home users alike. Most users who have gone from a pointed to square shape have found a major difference in usability. Experts agree that pigment lasts longer and is applied more uniformly when using a brush as opposed to the lipstick tube, but something about the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Brush works even better. There is less need for re-application when using this brush. It even has an “off-label” use as a very effective brow brush.

The Charlotte Tilbury Lip Brush is made from sustainable wood and synthetic bristles in Charlotte Tilbury’s signature rose gold and night crimson colors, and is constructed by European brush makers with demonstrably sturdy bristles that withstand thousands of washings with very little fallout or shedding. We highly recommend this brush for dark and dramatic colors, or for when you need the extra accuracy for a big event or photo session.

Key Features
  • Non-roll handle shape
  • Square-tipped
Specifications
  • Number of Pieces: 1
  • Handle Type: Wood
  • Bag Included: no
Pros
  • Cruelty-free
  • Soft, flexible bristles with no rogue hairs
Cons
  • Long handle, designed more for storing on a vanity than on-the-go

So what’s the right way to choose the best makeup brushes? It really depends on what you are asking it to accomplish. Brush sets are convenient, but not always the right choice, especially for a professional or for someone who wants a certain brush for a certainresult. You may find that you want to splurge on a specific makeup brush for cheeks, but find another great brush for concealer that works as well as an expensive brush, but costs much less. As a rule you should probably buy the best brushes you can afford.Most experts agree that professional tools are a must. Some may be very economical and some may feel way too expensive. Look first for quality, then adjust to your personal price point.

Let’s explore the primary types of makeup brushes. Different densities and brush bristle compositions work differently. Synthetic hair is becoming more in vogue as beauty brands move toward vegan and cruelty-free business models, but sometimes the feel of a natural fiber is the luxury and indulgence you want for your face. Just because a brush is made with animal hair, does not necessarily mean that it was unethically obtained or harmful to the animal, but do your research if it is a concern.

Foundation Brush – The bristles on a foundation brush are tightly packed so foundation can be applied for a smooth finish. Stippling Brush – The ends of the bristles of a stippling brush are varying heights to lightly dust product onto the skin, creating a feathery, texturized look. Powder Brush – A powder brush should dust powder onto the face without looking caked on. Ideally it has a rounded end and won’t disturb the other makeup you are dusting over. Bronzer Brush – Soft and fully rounded, a bronzer or kabuki brush will evenly place a bronzer onto your face after you shake or blow the excess off of your brush. Concealer Brush – Look for a flat brush with a tapered head that will cover up spots and imperfections and apply concealer to under eye problem areas or discolored skin. Fan Brush – Great for applying blush, powder or highlighter, this then brush with fanned edges sweeps across your face and is also helpful in removing excess powder. Cheek Brush – Similar to a powder brush, but smaller. Can be angled or round. Can be used for blush or contouring. Eye Shadow Brush – Usually flat with compact bristles to apply shadow precisely and smoothly. Sometimes Paired with a blending brush. Eyebrow Brush – Angled for achieving flawless brows. Sometimes comes with a spool or spiral end for blending. Eye Liner Brush – Small and flat tipped for precise lines. Lip Brush – A good lip brush has a small pointed and tapered end to allow perfect application of lip liner and color

Investing in the best makeup brushes for your needs will ensure that you are ones step closer to a flawlessly beautiful makeup job!

Resources — Allure, Organic Spa Magazine

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