If you’re anything like us, the first step in your makeup routine involves pulling out a motley crew of banged up, splayed out makeup brushes that haven’t been washed since, well, ever. It’s a wreck of a collection that in no way reflects the precise, beautifying job the tools are meant to pull off each day.
But ah, we just remembered—it’s spring! What better excuse to do a full cleanout of your sad-sack makeup bag and fill it with shiny new brushes of every variety. Much more fun than the traditional spring cleaning that involves sweeping, dusting, and otherwise overhauling your living space. Ahead, 9 options.
Charlotte Tilbury Magical Mini Brush Set
We cringe a little whenever we read a makeup kit story that says, "AND the case doubles as an elegant evening clutch!” Because no it doesn’t. Ever. Oh, wait! Except for this one. It has us heading out the door to buy some Saint Laurent-inspired outfit to match it. And while we still might not actually use it to carry our credit cards and cash, we certainly wouldn’t mind pulling it out of our satchel and shamelessly applying makeup in public with the pro-quality minis it holds.
Sigma Beauty Brow Goals Brush Set
Alright, Cara Delevingne, everyone knows you’ve got really great brows. They’re the kind of brows people create hashtags for. The kind of brows that inspired us to go on a six-month brow detox. After enduring all that regrowth-stage trauma, we’re ready to keep them looking as good as yours (or at least as close as we can get), and we’re putting our trust in this 4-piece set of perfect tools to shape and define. We vow never to pluck things up again.
Artis Elite Smoke 3-Brush Set
Warning: The first time you use an Artis brush, you’ll feel all weird and clumsy, like you’re a righty trying to apply makeup with your left hand during some summer camp contest. But a couple seconds in you’ll get the hang of it, and low and behold, the flat-paneled tools have created an almost an airbrushed effect, and you think, huh, I’ve gotten a lot better at putting on makeup in the past few minutes.
Tweezerman Mini Contour Kit
This little trio lets us contour like we’re an official member of the Kardashian Klan (or at least a second cousin) using the only three tools required: A curvy sponge for diffusing, a flat-top foundation brush for creating perfect planes and a pointed brush for giving us the cheekbones we never had.
Real Techniques Prep + Prime Set
Our motto: Be prepared for anything. And this little kit ensures we’ll be prepped to deal with the following: An unexpected third cocktail (depuffing rollerball); sticking to our #nofilter policy (primer prep brush); running into an ex and looking so glowing and so, so happy!!! (luminizer application sponge). Plus there’s one of those little spatula things that we have no idea what we’d do with...but option, options.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Your Place Or Mine? Five-Piece Travel Brush Collection
Just because we got lucky doesn’t mean we have to buy into that whole walk of shame business. Marc Jacobs’s Your Place or Mine brush set all but promises that we’ll never return home with makeup that looks any less put together than the night before. (Bedhead is another story. We’ve got nothing for you on that front. Sorry.)
E.L.F. 11-Piece Brush Collection
We did the math, and this 11-piece platinum in this set works out to less than $2.75 per brush, letting us live out Moet dreams on a Two-Buck Chuck budget--at least until our next paycheck, or raise, or Mega Millions win. The price might be bottom-shelf, but the brushes work really well, letting us skillfully apply shadows, foundations and powders to perfection.
Claudio Riaz The Collection Set
We crunched the numbers on this one, too. At around $65 a brush, this kit gave our pocketbook a painful kick in the side, but hey, tax season’s coming up. Refunds are on their way! And after a purchase like this of sublime brushes for every purpose you could possibly think of, we’ll never need to buy a makeup brush again for the rest of our lives, right? Money well spent.
Sonia Kashuk Cosmetic Brush Set
As much as we appreciate all the makeup inspo that comes courtesy of social media queens today, why does someone else need to be our makeup muse? We think we can handle that job ourselves, thank you very much. Maybe all we need is a little artistic inspiration. Enter: This set of brushes all dressed up in designs inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein (plus two more we’re not totally sure of). That should be enough to bring out our inner makeup artist.
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