The Best Makeup Brushes

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– Sephora
Our Top Pick

– Tom Ford
Best Luxury Brand

– Sonia Kashuk
Best on a Budget

If you’re a makeup enthusiast, you know that the best makeup brushes can give your daily routine an invaluable precision boost. A well-designed brush will have soft, springy bristles that hold their shape well — allowing you to apply just the right amount of product — plus a comfortable handle that lets you adjust your grip from the tight control of applying eyeliner to the looser application of blush or finishing powder.

For anyone looking to build up a collection of reliable brushes for daily use, we loved the quality of the Sephora Collection ($20-$40 per brush). Their slim, tapered handles are easy to grip, and the brushes deposit makeup smoothly and evenly, keeping their shape well with minimal shedding post-wash. We also appreciated the sheer range of Sephora’s offerings, from its essential brush collection to sparkly holiday gift sets and collaborations with major makeup names like Hakuhodo. Whether you’re collecting go-to brushes for your personal routine, or hunting for the perfect gift for a makeup-loving friend, Sephora has you covered.

We were blown away by Tom Ford’s luxurious brushes ($47-$115). Though pricey, their quality was mesmerizing. The brushes have extremely soft, dense bristles and perfectly balanced mahogany handles that allowed for a level of control less expensive brushes just couldn’t replicate. Besides applying your makeup flawlessly, the brushes are beautiful enough to just display on your vanity, thanks to deep red-brown handles, gold metal ferrules, and white bristles. We didn’t want to part with them.

If you’re a newcomer to makeup and aren’t ready to spend a lot, or if you just want decent brushes without bleeding your pocketbook dry, we’d recommend Sonia Kashuk ($2-$20 per brush). During testing, these brushes beat out more expensive contenders like MAC thanks to their soft, full bristles, although some of our testers disliked Sonia Kashuk’s handles, which have bulbous curves that make it hard to control exactly where you grip each brush. Sonia Kashuk does stands out for being cruelty-free — if animal testing is a no-go for you, this brand has historically taken a strong stance against it. (We dig into the details of what “cruelty-free” actually means below.)

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