The 10 Best Makeup Brush Sets of 2022

The Kosas Complete Brush Collection holds all the essentials.

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The 10 Best Makeup Brush Sets to Level Up Your Collection

Ulta

Purchasing a makeup brush set can be far more convenient than searching high and low for individual brushes — after all, sets are like pre-packaged kits of knowledge that give you a little bit of everything and contain the right tools you need to achieve a full look. Just getting into makeup and don’t know where to start? Find a beginner’s set. Looking to perfect an advanced smoky eye and your current selection just isn't cutting it? Try an eye brush set.


It can be difficult to know which set is right for you, though. Unlike singular brushes that target a very specific need, with a set you’re committing to the whole package. To ensure you spend your hard earned money on a quality brush set that will last for years, we sought out two professional makeup artists — Kelly La Blanco and Daniela Rodriguez — to help steer us in the right direction. With their help, we found the 10 best makeup brush sets of 2022. Though there are different kits to satisfy distinct needs, ultimately, the Kosas Complete Brush Collection is our best overall pick because it provides easy-to-use comfort, high-quality vegan fibers, and lively packaging. 


No matter what makeup skill level you’re at, you can level up your routine with our list of the best makeup brush sets of 2022. Find them all below.

Best Overall: Kosas Complete Brush Collection

Kosas Complete Brush Collection

Kosas

What We Love: This set has you covered with all the essentials (and they come in fun colors!).

What We Don’t Love: The angled cheek brush is best used for powder blush and bronzer over cream formulas.

We’re major fans of Kosas — a woman-founded makeup brand that’s upping the clean beauty game with skin-loving ingredients and good-for-the-planet materials. The Complete Brush Collection includes all the essentials you need for a full face beat, without anything extra. The set is easy to use (the brushes feel nice in your hands) and pretty to look at (the design and colors are uplifting). Made from vegan, cruelty-free, and latex-free fibers that mimic the effect of real hair, you’ll be shocked to experience the brushes’ fluffy feel. And even though they’re incredibly soft, they’re still sturdy enough for steady application and lasting use. Our one qualm is that while the angled cheek brush beautifully applies powder blush and bronzer, it’s not the best at blending out cream formulas. That said, the kit a great all around pick for beginners and experts alike.

Price at time of publish: $126

Brushes Included: 5 | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

Best Value: e.l.f. Cosmetics 19 Piece Brush Collection

e.l.f. Cosmetics 19 Piece Brush Collection

Ulta

What We Love: This set includes 19 (!!) brushes for only $50. Yep, you read that right.

What We Don’t Love: There can sometimes be inconsistencies within the set.

e.l.f. makes solid makeup brushes: The quality is good, and they’re known to hold up well compared to more expensive options. For the beauty aficionado who’s always trying the latest contour trend or owns dozens of eyeshadow palettes, it’s nice to have an expansive brush set to target each of your application needs. It doesn’t matter if you’re using cream, powder, or liquid formula products, this selection of brushes can do it all and create any look. We especially love that this kit includes an angled eyeliner brush and a mascara fan brush — two products you don’t always see within kits. Note that there are sometimes inconsistencies within the set, with some reviewers stating that it arrived with different brushes than the ones advertised, but those instances seem to be few and far between.

Price at time of publish: $50

Brushes Included: 19 | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

Best Splurge: Westman Atelier The Brush Collection

Westman Atelier The Brush Collection

Nordstrom

What We Love: Handmade in Japan by artisans and designed by a celeb makeup artist, this set is as luxe as it gets. 

What We Don’t Love: The ivory color sure is pretty, but it’ll get dirty fast (but, it can be used as a reminder to wash your brushes often!).

A high-quality brush really does make a difference when it comes to a smooth, flawless finish — and Westman Atelier’s brush set is as high-quality as they come. With founder Gucci Westman’s editorial makeup artist experience and commitment to clean, holistic materials, you know these are brushes you can trust. Each one is handcrafted in Japan by one of the world's most prestigious brush makers and feels like butter as you swipe it across your face. We also love that you can display them on your counter in the included red cylinder — talk about chic. And as for spending money on pricy brushes, Rodriguez says, “sure, good quality brushes can be expensive, but with the right care, they will last a lifetime, and you will be saving money and time in the long run.” Part of that care includes washing them regularly, and because the bristles are ivory you’ll want to wash them more frequently to keep them in tip-top shape. 

Price at time of publish: $575

Brushes Included: 9 | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

Best for Beginners: EcoTools Fresh Face Everyday Makeup Brush Set

EcoTools Fresh Face Everyday Makeup Brush Set

Target

What We Love: EcoTools brushes are known to blend super well, even surpassing higher-end brands. 

What We Don’t Love: These brushes are fairly basic, so if you’re a more advanced makeup connoisseur, you might want to look elsewhere.

This brush set is ideal for beginners because it includes your five standard brushes needed to create a full makeup look (one for foundation, one for blush, and three for eyeshadow application), but won’t cost a fortune. EcoTools uses vegan, cruelty-free, and recycled materials to create a product that is soft, safe, and gentle enough for sensitive skin. I’ve had a set of these for years and with proper cleaning and storage, they’ve stayed in great condition and continue to be a mainstay in my beauty routine — even blending better than most designer brands. Plus, they’re also great for travel when stored in a tin holder. Keep in mind that while they’re ideal for beginners, they might be too basic for serious makeup aficionados. 

Price at time of publish: $13

Brushes Included: 5 | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

Best for Eyes: Morphe X Ariel Signature Eyes 8-Piece Eye Brush Set

Morphe X Ariel Signature Eyes 8-Piece Eye Brush Set

Ulta

What We Love: These brushes make applying eyeshadow a breeze. 

What We Don’t Love: They don’t come with a matching case.

Morphe is known as a go-to brand for brush sets, frequently recommended by makeup artists and beauty influencers alike. Their quality tends to vary from product to product, but we (and countless other online reviewers) are amazed with these — they feel soft, make clean lines, and distribute makeup flawlessly. In this set, you have eight brushes that will create a wow-worthy eye look. The A19 Dual-Ended brush is particularly great for prepping the eye and the A16 Defining Brush is perfect for lining. It’s important to note that some of these brushes are synthetic, while others are made with natural hair. But, La Blanco notes that she usually likes to have a mixture of both natural and synthetic brushes in her own kit for better application. The only thing that would improve set was if it came with a matching case to store the brushes. 

Price at time of publish: $48

Brushes Included: 8 | Best For: Eyes | Vegan: No

Best for Face: Real Techniques Everyday Essentials Brush & Sponge Set

Real Techniques Everyday Essentials Brush & Sponge Set

Ulta

What We Love: This set includes a makeup sponge.

What We Don’t Love: The brushes shed over time.

It’s hard to find a brush set that includes a sponge — so we had to mention this one! Even though there is an eyeshadow brush within this kit (so it’s technically not exclusively for the face), it contains a variety of face brushes that work flawlessly with powder, cream, and liquid products and blends easily for a flawless finish. Plus, the RT300 brush, which is technically a crease brush for eyes, can also be used to build concealer. The latex-free foam sponge features a flat edge for contouring, a precision tip for covering blemishes, and rounded sides for blending larger areas. The quality for the price is tough to beat, but be aware that these brushes won’t last forever, and they can start to shed over time. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Brushes Included: 4 plus a sponge | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

Best for Travel: Chantecaille Ultimate Brush Set

Chantecaille Ultimate Brush Set

Bluemercury

What We Love: It has everything you need for life on the go, housed in a chic travel case.

What We Don’t Love: The foundation brush is designed to work best with liquid and cream formulas, so if you use powder foundation you’ll need another brush.

We’re big fans of Chantecaille for its commitment to cruelty-free production and philanthropic initiatives that support the planet and wildlife. Made from high-quality vegan fibers, this brush set brings their ideologies to life. It includes five fluffy brushes that are all you need to achieve a full face look — though, it’s worth noting that the foundation brush is designed to best distribute cream and liquid formulations, as opposed to powders (use the cheek brush for any of your setting powders). Perfect for travel, this set will create more space in your makeup bag because it comes in a stylish, compact roll-up case that can double as a clutch for a night on the town.

Price at time of publish: $185

Brushes Included: 5 | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

Best Vegan: Hourglass Vegan Face and Eye Travel Brush Set

Hourglass Vegan Face and Eye Travel Brush Set

Sephora

What We Love: These brushes have a weighted metal handle that helps guide application. 

What We Don’t Love: Though this set is marketed for travel, the brushes aren't very compact.

Everyone loves Hourglass brushes (they consistently earn top placement on ‘best of’ lists) and we share the same sentiment. We’re impressed by the soft, fluffy feel of the synthetic bristles — they seamlessly glide for an even, blended, and glowy makeup look. Though the soft feel of the bristles takes center stage, the metal handles are also noteworthy because their sturdiness allows for greater precision control. All of the brushes in the kit are genuinely impeccable, but the dual-sided Ambient Lighting Edit Brush is particularly unique and can be used for powders, bronzers, blushes, and highlighters alike. The length and weight of these brushes make them perfect for building out your everyday collection, but, despite the products’ name, the same feature makes them less than ideal for travel.

Price at time of publish: $320

Brushes Included: 7 | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

Best Design: Tarte All Jazzed Up Brush Set

tarte All Jazzed Up Brush Set

Sephora

What We Love: These patterned handles will make you smile every time you open your makeup cabinet. 

What We Don’t Love: The bristles don’t feel super soft.

This set is fun and festive, and gets the job done with five brushes for under $40. Don’t sleep on Tarte for affordable, basic brushes — this set is great for beginners looking to start their collection or anyone wanting to add a pretty touch to their cosmetics drawer. We’re especially fond of the angled cheek brush that brilliantly lifts and sculpts, giving you a highlighted temple and glowy effect. This pretty set includes all you need for your everyday makeup, but we do wish the bristles were a tad softer. 

Price at time of publish: $39

Brushes Included: 5 | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

Best Oval: Artis Elite 5-Piece Brush Set

Artis Elite 5-Piece Brush Set

Nordstrom

What We Love: Artis brushes are curved to ergonomically fit the shape of your hand. 

What We Don’t Love: If you’re a beginner, these brushes aren’t as intuitive to use.

Oval-shaped makeup brushes are typically packed with far more bristles than your standard brush, intended to apply the product with more uniformity and ease. “A densely packed brush will apply more product on the skin,” explains Rodriguez. Artis has perfected the oval brush and, though pricey, really stands alone on quality in the category. The brand designs its products with ergonomic best practices for self-application (as opposed to a professional makeup artist applying on you). The curved handle, grip pads, and specific angle of the fibers allow you to have more control over the tool for superior blending. And, they’re known to give off a super smooth airbrushed finish effect, which is ideal for special events and photo-ready moments. This five-piece set covers the bases of the face, eyes, and brows — but though it contains the essentials, you might want to opt for a brush set that’s more intuitive to use if you're a beginner.

Price at time of publish: $170

Brushes Included: 5 | Best For: Whole face | Vegan: Yes

What to Keep in Mind

Material

Makeup brushes come in both synthetic and natural materials. If you have sensitive skin or are allergic to animal products, you’ll definitely want to go the vegan route. Though, natural brushes can have their place and time as well. Ultimately, when it comes to materials, quality is key. “Cheap brushes will often shed, leaving hairs behind during your application process,” explains Rodriguez. “As a rule of thumb, I look for big names behind the brush,” she says, like the Westman Atelier The Brush Collection. “If a renowned makeup artist created the line, chances are you will be investing in a quality tool that will serve its purpose and last for years.” That said, there are affordable brushes (like EcoTools Fresh Face Everyday Makeup Brush Set) that can last a long time with proper care. 

Your Makeup Needs

Whether you’re new to experimenting with makeup or you’re a seasoned pro, your skill level, makeup goals, daily needs, and budget should factor into what brush set to purchase. If you’re looking to start your collection, the EcoTools Fresh Face Everyday Makeup Brush Set, Kosas Complete Brush Collection, or Tarte All Jazzed Up Brush Set are great places to begin. If you want to hone in on more specific category expansions, the Morphe X Ariel Signature Eyes 8-Piece Eye Brush Set will heighten your ability to create dramatic eye looks, while the Hourglass Cosmetics Vegan Brush Travel Set will serve as a luxe treat for your tool collection.  

Your Questions, Answered 

How do I use a makeup brush set?

Makeup brush sets are amazing if you’re just starting your brush collection or are looking to replace significant brushes. Most sets include the basics (the five or so tools you’ll need to create a full face), while some sets offer more specialty niches like eye application or powder brushes. But, if you’re just looking to add a brush or two to target a specific need, individual brushes may be the way to go. 

According to La Blanco, there are nine brushes to have in your personal kit for everyday use. When it comes to the face, she says it’s imperative to have an angled blush brush (for face shaping), a setting powder brush (to use all over your face), a small setting brush (for targeted oily areas), and a concealer brush (for masking redness). When it comes to eyes, crease and blending brushes help to create a cohesive eyeshadow look, while angled and flat liner brushes make applying eyeliner a seamless experience. A smudge brush is also important to blur out harsh lines. 

What’s the difference between vegan and non-vegan makeup brushes?

Most natural brushes, especially in the pre-vegan-fiber era, were made from animal hair —o ften blue squirrel, fox, goat, horse, or sable, explains La Blanco. These days, vegan brushes are increasingly popular and better constructed. “There are some synthetic brushes that feel so luxurious, it’s hard to tell that they’re not real hair,” she says. Vegan brushes are commonly recommended for those with sensitive skin or allergies (they’re typically made from nylon or other plastic materials), and of course, for sustainability reasons. “Because they don’t soak up the product, vegan brushes are perfect for cream products (foundations, cream blush, contouring, and illuminators). They allow you to blend the product down without streaking,” she adds. 

Rodriguez tacks onto the synthetic fiber argument, as she says they’re easier to clean and the hair doesn’t break as often as natural brushes. However, La Blanco notes that natural brushes can be better for powder products as synthetics are often too slippery for powders to adhere to. 

How do you clean makeup brushes? 

If you’re using your brushes regularly, once-a-week cleanings should be a general rule of thumb for both sanitation and long-term care. For deep cleaning, La Blanco recommends soaking brushes for a few minutes in Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner and following it up with Zote Laundry Bar Soap to fully clarify and clean. (If you don't have either of those, you can clean brushes with any shampoo.) Simply swirl your bristles around in the soap to get them sudsy and sanitized, then rinse with water and let them air dry. 

Why Trust InStyle

Linne Halpern is a freelance beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer. She is a member of InStyle’s evergreen commerce team where she extensively tests and reviews countless products. For this story, she interviewed acclaimed makeup artists Kelly La Blanco and Daniela Rodriguez, who provide their professional tips and tricks for selecting the best makeup brush set for your personal needs. 

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