When I first started watching Youtube I would watch countless hours of makeup tutorials, trying to perfect a classic smokey eye (still not there!) and EVERY SINGLE TIME MAC’s 217 featured. I truly thought that the 217 would be the answer to all my blending woes but once I went into store and saw it in person I was really underwhelmed- it looked stiff and the bristles were no way near as soft as I was expecting! To cut a long story short, I walked out empty handed and maybe 4 years later I have still managed to steer clear of the much heralded brush and I’m glad- the price alone is enough to put me off, and I’ve found so many amazing brushes that’re much kinder on the purse!
My favourite brands:
REAL TECHNIQUES: My all time go to- there are so many different ranges but I tend to stick with the classics, not least because they are the most affordable but they’re also just such fab quality as it is that I’ve not really felt the need to spend on the more expensive ranges. The ‘buffer brush’ and the ‘expert face brush’ are my holy grail when it comes to applying foundation and their crease brush (which sadly is no longer sold!) has been my ultimate for blending out shadow since I got it over 3 years ago!
ECO TOOLS: Another great brand that is readily available on the high street; Boots and T. K. Maxx regularly have them in stock. I love their powder brushes, so thick and soft, as well as their flat eye-shadow brushes which are great for packing on shadow when you’re using a few different shades in one look and don’t fancy washing your brush each time plus they’re extra travel friendly and also work for eyeliner/brows/lips!
ZOEVA: Perhaps one of the prettiest brush brands that doesn’t quite break the bank, although they’re definitely the priciest on my list I think you can tell at a glance. Their sets are by far the most valuable way to invest in the brushes and end up working out about the same price as Real Techniques brushes whilst looking that little bit more special! Although I don’t yet own any Zoeva brushes they’re sitting pretty at the top of my lust list, and I couldn’t not include the brand when so many people around me vouch for their greatness!
MORPHE: The latest brush brand I’ve tried and I fell in love at first use! The shadow brushes are so densely packed that the blend out ANY shadow in a flash and also apply cream shadows brilliantly and the price is akin to a morning coffee. Plus, Beauty Bay often does 3 for 2 offers on Morphe, making them even more affordable!
U-SPICY: I’d happily hedge my bets that you’ve never ever heard of this brand- they’re an amazon special and are some of the best value brushes I’ve ever come across, you can get a ten piece set for around £8. My sister only uses these brushes and has had the same set for a good few years now without any sign of it ageing and they look the part just as much as any other brand!
Other top tips:
- REAP THE FREE EXTRAS: So many palettes come with free brushes, or in bundles where you can pay slightly more for the two products rather than just buying the makeup alone but still much much cheaper than buying the product and brush separately; I bought a Bobbi Brown brush in such a manner
- DON’T BE AFRAID OF DUPES: I have bought countless brushes of Amazon and Ebay and *touch wood* I’ve never actually had a bad experience. I always make sure to give them a wash before first use, just in case they’ve been treated with any harsh chemicals or have been lying around for a while and gathered dust but aside from that their quality is plenty good enough!
- LOOK OUT FOR DISCOUNT CODES: Feelunique and Asos are RIFE with offers at any given time and most outlets have discounts around Black Friday/Christmas and if you’re signed up to a mailing list in quiet periods you’ll often see one pop into your inbox
- WASH YOUR BRUSHES: I tend to use hand wash (for its antibacterial properties) and whatever shampoo I have on hand (usually the blue Herbal Essences or baby shampoo) and it makes my brushes feel like new! I have never had a problem with any shedding and thus don’t feel the need to invest in a specific brush cleanser- although I do have a No.7 spot cleanser for in between proper washes
Have I missed your favourite budget brush brand? or do you have any other tips for buying and maintaining makeup brushes on a budget? Please let me know! I love discovering lesser known brands and tricks, plus anything that saves money is a major bonus!