Not all professional makeup brushes contain the word "professional" in their product description. Talk to any pro make-up artist, and they'll tell you that less glamorous-looking brushes are sometimes the best. Like any other beauty product, what's attractive — and functional — in a makeup brush varies slightly between users.
Makeup brush kits help save you time and money, whether you are a makeup artist or want an elegant, finished look every day.
What to Look for in a Makeup Brush Collection
There are several factors to consider when you are searching for a makeup brush collection. Let's look at the most important ones.
Synthetic vs. Natural Bristles
Some of the best professional makeup brushes are made with animal hair, such as goat hair, while others consist of man-made materials. Both bristle types have a distinct feel and work well for applying different types of cosmetics.
Most brushes are made with synthetic bristles. These brushes don't use any animal products to make the bristles, and they are perfect for liquid or cream products (foundation, concealer, etc.)
Brushes made with natural bristles (animal hair) are best for applying powder blush or bronzer. They move more freely than synthetic bristles. Choose cruelty-free options when buying natural bristle makeup brushes.
Popular Brush Types
Brush kits may contain as few as four brushes or as many as 15. They may contain several small brushes for applying lipstick and eyeshadow, medium sized brushes for liquid foundation or concealer, and large, fluffy brushes for applying powder blush or foundation.
A powder brush has soft, long fluffy bristles designed to apply loose powder on your face without spreading so much makeup that your face has a cakey look. You can also apply bronzer or blush with this makeup brush. Examine the brush before buying (or check out online photos) to make sure any makeup brush professional sets includes one large brush with wide, fluffy bristles. (The brush may or may not be identified as a "powder brush.")
A kabuki brush is used to buff powder or foundation into your skin. It has a large, rounded shape and the bristles meet in a dome-shaped head. Brushes for lips, eyebrows, and eyeliner are small and thin. Angled brushes can be used for blush or eyeliner, and smudge brushes give eyeshadow a smoky look.
Cleaning and Care
Remember that some makeup brushes will lose bristles when they're new out of the package. Washing and drying your brushes the right way will help them last longer. Lay brushes flat when drying and don't let hot water go past where the metal ferrule meets the handle.
Ten Pro Makeup Brush Kits
Without further ado, let's look at 10 of the best brush kits out there.
This eight-piece professional makeup brushes set features eight brushes made of synthetic and animal hair. The set can be used for personal or professional use and comes with a portable zipper case. These MAC professional makeup brushes include powder, foundation, eyeshadow, and concealer brushes. They have thick wood handles in jet black and silver ferrules. MAC products are not tested on animals.
- MAC is a trusted name in cosmetics
- Soft bristles
- Comes in zippered case
- Many different sized brushes
- Bad smell
- Falls apart after a few uses
- May not be authentic MAC brushes if purchased from third-party seller
These soft-bristled brushes are suitable for normal and sensitive skin. The high-density bristles shouldn't shed with regular use and regular cleaning. Assembled by hand and individually packed, this 11-piece set can be used for eyeshadow and powder application, but you can also use them with liquid foundation. The brushes are made of nylon material with plastic handles.
- Won't harm sensitive skin
- Colorful handles
- High quality
- Individually wrapped
- May not hold onto eyeshadow well enough
- Doesn't come with a blush brush
- Best for young girls
This eight-piece set of professional makeup brushes includes everything you need for glamour, theatrical, or everyday looks. There are four face brushes (flat top brush, powder brush, concealer brush, and angled powder brush), plus four small brushes for lip gloss, eyebrows, eyeshadow, or lipstick.
These brushes are made with non-shedding microfiber bristles, which makes blending and smudging easier. The brush handles are plastic with metal plating and grooves in the handle for a better grip.
- Works with creams, powders, and liquids
- The handles have grooves for a better grip
- Beautiful rose gold color
- Easy to clean
- Bristles aren't thick enough
- Foundation brush has sharp bristles
- May be poor quality
This 12-piece set of bamboo makeup brushes includes the following:
- Eyelash brush
- Eye smudge brush
- Eyeshadow brush
- Highlight brush
- Concealer brush
- Blusher brush
- Foundation brush
- Powder brush
- Multifunction blush brush
- Multifunctional foundation brush
- Mini kabuki brush
There's also a sponge washing egg to clean brushes, a pouch, and a mystery gift. These bamboo-handles brushes have no chemicals, even out of the package before their first use. The soft, synthetic fiber bristles won't absorb much of the cosmetics you apply.
- Set has 12 bamboo makeup brushes and a gift
- High-density bristles
- Includes silicone brush cleaner
- Great for theatrical makeup
- Strong plastic odor
- Hairs may fall out
- Brushes may not catch eyeshadow pigment
This 12-piece set of professional makeup brushes has everything you need for clients or personal use. The set includes a foundation brush, big eyeshadow brush, multifunction foundation brush, blush brush, and a small kabuki brush.
The handles are made of high-quality bamboo, and the synthetic fiber bristles have a soft, flexible feel. These brushes can be used with liquids, powders, or creams.
- Handcrafted brushes designed by a professional makeup artist
- Comes with portable bag and manual
- 12 brushes, including kabuki and blush brush
- No shedding issues
- Comfortable handles
- Funny smell
- Medium quality
- May not spread makeup evenly
Summifit's elegant 15-piece white and rose gold brush set has soft, synthetic fiber heads for smooth application and imitation porcelain handles. The kit includes a bronzer brush, flat angled and flat contour brushes, a small shader brush, eyelash, eyebrow, and eyeliner brushes, as well as the essential blusher, foundation, and powder brushes.
The kit comes with a pink bag. The odor-free brushes come with a money-back guarantee.
- 15 pieces, including eye smudge and small shader brush
- Soft but sturdy
- Rose gold handle
- Easy to grip
- Includes carrying pouch
- May not blend well
- Brushes wear out easily
- Gold caps on bottom of brushes fall off
This 15-in-1 multi-function makeup kit includes brushes for powder, blush, liquid foundation, bronzer, and two angled brushes. Small brushes for eyeshadow, eyebrows, eyeliner, concealer, lips, blending, and shading complete the set.
Brush hairs are made of synthetic fiber and come in a white cosmetic bag and an instructional brochure. The wood handles are painted white and have aluminum ferrules.
- 15-piece set
- Stylish white and gold design
- Comes with a portable travel bag
- 100% vegan bristles
- Great for use with creams and liquids
- May not pick up powder well due to the soft bristles
- Bad smell
- Caps may fall off brushes
Real Techniques' founders, Samantha and Nicole Chapman, grew up in the cosmetics industry. Their aunt was a makeup artist for Princess Diana, David Bowie, and other famous clients. In 2011, they launched Real Techniques and introduced an original and sleek line of makeup brushes.
The Core Collection Hand Cut Hair Design Makeup Brush Set consists of four brushes with synthetic, non-porous Taklon bristles. These bristles won't absorb dead skin cells or bacteria from cosmetics, keeping the brushes cleaner. The kit includes a contour brush, detailer, buffing and square foundation brush.
- Ultra-plush synthetic bristles
- Non-porous bristles don't absorb bacteria
- Created by makeup pros
- Comes with black or grey and white brush bag
- Smaller than most full-size brushes
- Brushes aren't labeled
- Hard to blend using contour brush
This colorful set does more than look appealing. It provides soft, synthetic fibers for professional coverage and highlighting. The 10-piece kit includes a highlighter brush, flat definer brush, lip brush, lash brush, and kabuki brush.
Docolor offers a 30-day replacement or money-back guarantee on these brushes. Even though the set looks too "pretty" to be professional, it's a popular and well-received brush set.
- Glistening rainbow handles
- Made of soft, synthetic fiber
- 30-day money back guarantee
- No shedding
- Great for blending
- May not work with powder makeup
- Brushes perform better after they are washed
- Smaller than many other brands
These BS-MALL brushes have luxurious, silky synthetic bristles. The set includes foundation and eyeshadow brushes, lip liner, blush, and powder brushes, and a kabuki brush for ten brushes in all.
There's a small angled brush for contouring the sides of the nose and cheek hollows, a small tapered brush to apply concealer on the nose or other rounded areas. You can stipple concealer and hide blemishes by using the small flat brush. A small flat angled brush can be used to put concealer around the nose and under the eyes. A small round brush is perfect for applying eyeshadow and primer.
- Synthetic fiber hair
- Soft, silky bristles
- Brushes distribute color well
- Money-back guarantee
- Smells like spray paint
- Some brushes may not pick up product well
- Hard to clean