Creating the perfect makeup look is about more than the cosmetics - you need the right tools too. Even ‘natural’ makeup looks for everyday wear can benefit with the finesse of being applied with the right brush. Just try to attempt a cut-crease eye or winged liner without the help of an eyeshadow brush. It simply can’t be done.
There are myriad brushes for applying foundation, bronzer, blush and more to your complexion, but unless you’re a pro makeup artist, it can be tricky to know where to start. That’s why having a brush set in your kit is a stroke of genius.
They usually contain every applicator you’ll need in coordinating colours and housed in a matching bag so you can take them on trips with ease.
They also make excellent gifts for the beauty obsessive in your life. We’ve gathered the best around, from big brands to budget, to help you narrow the selection.
Shop our favourites below
Spectrum Collections KJH 25 Piece Set
This set is on the pricey side, but it’s made for full face makeup application with 24 brushes to help you create any look you have in mind. The olive, gold and cream colourway give them a luxe feel, especially when displayed in their matching premium vegan leather case.
The set includes large brushes for picking up a lot of product (read: foundation, bronzer and blush) as well as plenty of finer tips to help accentuate eyes, lips and brows.
Buy now £160.00, Cult Beauty
Otis Batterbee The Face Brush Set
If you’re not someone who wears eyeshadows and lipsticks on the regular, you may be on the lookout for base-only brushes. Say hello to Otis Batterbee’s The Face Brush Set, a trio of tools designed to help you apply, blend, and buff product over the face with expert precision.
The bristles are synthetic and ridiculously soft, making them a pleasure to sweep over skin and are finished with multicoloured handles, adding style to your dressing table.
Buy now £40.00, Liberty
Real Techniques Artist Essentials Brush Set
Express your latest look with ease thanks to Real Techniques’ brush set. There are five brushes in this collection, ready to cover, colour, blend and buff face, cheeks, lips and eyes to your desired effect. This set includes a fan-shaped brush, perfect for contouring as well as gliding powder highlighter along cheekbones.
Buy now £20.00, Boots
Ruby Hammer Magnetic Brush Set 01
If you’re looking for a small brush set to keep on call in your bag, they really don’t get more telescopic than this. From seasoned makeup artist Ruby Hammer, the award-winning stackable brush set stays secure with magnets and includes three multi-use brushes to perfect your makeup look: a pointed crease brush (for small jobs like applying eyeshadow and concealers), a smudge brush (ideal for precision lip colour and eyeshadows) and an angled brush (for lining eyes or filling brows).
A second set comes with a trio of different brushes - a spoolie for taming brows and lashes, an eyeliner brush and a flat lip brush to distribute even lip colour, also £28.
Buy now £28.00, Cult Beauty
My KitCo My Signature Synthetics brush set
This set of 15 brushes has it all, from a classic foundation brush for liquid and powder formulas, to smudging brushes that will help you create the perfect smokey eye with your shadows. The curved lip brush is perfect for lining lips with your chosen lip shade to give the colour staying power and ensure it doesn’t bleed.
Buy now £120.00, Selfridges
Spectrum Collections Malachite Jet Setter 8 Piece Brush Set
The perfect set to take on trips away, this luxe Spectrum set comes housed in a multi-compartment bag with plenty of space for makeup essentials and tools underneath.
The set comprises eight brushes made with soft green-hued taklon fibres - meaning they are vegan too. Create your base with the Buffing Foundation Brush, Tulip Powder Brush and Angled Cheek Brushes, fine tune with the Magic Wand and Tall Tapered Blender Brush before using the Angled Shader Brush, Precision Crease Brush and Double Ended Brow Styler to enhance your finer features.
Buy now £59.99, Lookfantastic
Rio 24 Piece Professional Cosmetic Make Up Brush Set
Whether you’re a makeup veteran or just discovering the world of beauty, a great set of brushes will help you master your favourite looks. Containing a whopping 24 brushes, Rio’s set has it all.
The high quality brushes are made with super soft synthetic bristles, are comfortable to hold and come in a faux leather roll-up pouch that make them ideal for travel.
Whether you’re working with liquid, powder or gel formulas, these brushes can handle them all.
Buy now £24.99, Lookfantastic
Luxie Golden Glow Set
Housed in a champagne-coloured tube case, this set offers seven of Luxie’s most popular brushes. There are four large and fluffy ones for the base, and three smaller brushes to fine tune eyes and lips, arming you with all the tools needed to create everything from dramatic evening looks to subtle ones for the office. Bought separately they are worth £214.
Buy now £53.40, Lookfantastic
Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Mini Brush Set
Charlotte Tilbury’s mini brush set ups the glamour stakes with the case, designed to look like an evening clutch bag. With only four brushes it is a smaller collection than the others featured on our list, but each one is multi-tasking, able to handle application no matter your ability and makeup formulas with ease. If you’re looking for a stylish set for touch-ups on the go, this certainly gives other sets a run for their money. Makes a squeal-worthy gift too.
Buy now £45.00, Charlotte Tilbury
Morphe x Ariel Signature Look 8-piece eye brush set
Borne from its recent collaboration with celebrity MUA Ariel (Kylie Jenner’s go-to), Morphe’s eight piece brush set is perfect for anyone who already owns foundation and blush brushes, and is instead looking for precision tips and angles to take their looks to the next level.
In cream and honey tones, the brushes include a cream shadow blending brush, crease blending brush, fluffy blend brush, smudging brush, packer brush, a defining brush and a pencil definer.
Buy now £48.00, Selfridges
XX Revolution XXpert Complete Brush Set
You should wash your makeup brushes every week to keep them hygienic and working effectively. This comprehensive set from Revolution Beauty helps them last for longer; the high-quality vegan bristles come coated with a protective complex to help reduce bacterial growth.
The pink XXpert brushes make an ideal gift for young beauty lovers and as well as the usual line-up you'll find a body brush, spoolie and eyebrow/lash combs in the mix.
Buy now £95.00, Revolution Beauty