Makeup Brushes – Best Brushes on a Budget

Published by Donna Coppack on

I can’t believe it is eventually Spring! I m so excited that I have cracked open the the coral nail polishes and the inappropriate footwear already.

I thought I would try photograph my brushes outside for a change, so please excuse the bizarre choice of backdrop, but I couldn’t help myself.


Here are my favourites.  As you know I love a bargain so a lot of them are the best quality you can get a reasonable price point.  I consider £6-8 per brush to be my sweet spot but I will spend extra for a specific brush if needed.

Please excuse the slight snipped away bits on some of my brushes, this was not an attempt to hone each brush to perfection, rather my son just got busy with my hairdressing scissors one day, Thanks Little Man!


Ecotools Powder Brush – I got this in TK Maxx for £5,  It is really soft and great for applying a dusting of powder to set your foundation.  This stops you getting that cakey look that powder puffs give you.

Real Techniques Blush Brush – £7.19 Amazon – I just got this as a gift for my birthday I like the size of it and that it is great at giving me a soft blush or bronzer finish, I wouldn’t recommend it for contouring though as the head it just too big for me, but then I’m hopeless at contouring so I’m not sure I should be doling out advice on that!

Real Techniques Stippling Brush – I paid about £10 for this but they are cheaper on Amazon at the moment – I bought this to apply foundation with, as everyone was raving about it, but it sucks up all your foundation and leaves a streaky finish…not good.  However, I love it as a smoother after I have applied my foundation with my fingertips.  I just buff this in circles over my face and it gives it a very even streak free finish, it is ideal to ensure there are no lines or uneven patches.


Sephora Pro Crease – I bought this in Vegas and it cost about £16 after conversion from USD.  This is an amazing brush, you can use it to blend all the different shadows together at the end of application and it leaves such a professional finish.  I also like using it to apply face powder in small areas like to set concealer.  Now that Sephora ships to the UK there’s no need to wait till a friend goes there.

Laura Mercier Smudge – Another splurge brush, this cost me £20 from Space NK (UK equivalent of Sephora) – this is my all time favourite brush because it is such a specific tool but it works perfectly.  I love the smoky eye look and this brush is ideal to push a dark eye shadow into your lash line and then you can blend it out.  I have had this a few years now and it was well worth the money.

MAC 213 SE Fluff Brush – Free in a palette – currently 10% off at Debenhams – My brother kindly bought me a gorgeous MAC eyeshadow palette when he visited New York and this was in it, I have had it for about 10 years and I use it everyday unfortunately this brush suffered the brunt of the scissor attack and so I have had to replace it, it is still usable but nowhere near as good 🙁

Real Techniques Shading Brush – I paid about £6 for this – I have only had this about a week and was bought to replace my beloved MAC brush.  I like it so far, it applies your eyeshadow with more precision than the MAC but only by about 20% more.  I like that it is really soft and it blends much better than my old brush.

Ruby and Millie Eye Brushes – I have 2 of these both came free in makeup sets I was bought as Christmas gifts – I really like these brushes.  I use one for shading my eyebrows (it has a navy band round it in the picture, which I did with nail varnish.)  The other I use for eyeliner, it is so good at getting right into the lash line but still sift enough to use on your waterline.  The brand has been sadly discontinued but this is supposed to be very similar and at $10 (about £7) I would say is surprisingly good value.

Maybelline Liner Brush – this came free with their gel liner that was only about £8 – It is great for detail work but I wish it had a longer handle.  I use this on the waterline and for cats eye liner.

Body Shop Blending Brush – I have had this since University so about 15 years it cost about £6 – They no longer make it (God knows why?) but it is a really good brush for putting on your base colour of eyeshadow as it is so broad it is really quick.  Here is something similar though the price is nowhere near as good.


Body Shop Eyeshadow Brush – Again it cost about £6 and I have had it for years – It is a truly terrible eyeshadow brush as it is too thin and the bristles are too firm BUT.. it is a very good concealer brush for applying concealer over blemishes (spots.) It is great at depositing cream concealers without taking it back off again. This has now been discontinued as well.

Body Shop Lip Brush – ditto cost, age and discontinuege (not a real word) – I never use lip brushes so I have no idea whether this is good as a lip brush but like it’s sister above, it is great at concealing.  I use this for detail concealer work.  This has now been discontinued and not replaced by anything remotely similar.

Last but not least

Disposable Mascara Wand – I got these on Ebay they were about £1 for 10 – I use these to brush through my brows after applying my foundation to ensure there is none hanging around there waiting to look all grubby.

Hopefully this gives a good overview of my prices, I have a couple of kabuki’s that I occasionally crack out for blush but other than that this pretty much sums up my everyday tools.

Is there anything else I’m missing?  What are your Must-Have brushes?

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1 Comment

John Keisling · August 20, 2014 at 11:55 am

Awesome blog!
My daughter was insisting for face contouring brushes which she wanted to use them on her dancing competition in school. But I have not found time to take her to shop and let her purchase. So I decided to order them online to save my time. I was randomly searching for makeup brushes on the web and come up with a platform which was offering a cheaply priced pouch of brushes. I did some more research on those brushes / that pouch was consisting of a variety of brushes in economical price. I decided to order them. My daughter was really happy on receiving them.

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