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The best cheap make-up brushes: budget does not mean basic

The best cheap make-up brushes: budget does not mean basic

When it comes to applying your make-up, expensive brushes are the new must-have beauty item. However, with this growing trend, it’s hard to know what’s actually out there, what works for you, and what’s actually worth buying. Add in a tight budget, and it can feel like the choices are limited. Fear not, we have rounded up our picks of the best cheap make up brushes that won't break the bank.

From blending to contouring, there are a whole host of different styles of brushes on the market, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a set of brushes that you’ll barely ever use. There are plenty of cheap make-up brush sets out there, some of which that just include the basics, and others which give you a comprehensive kit for all your cosmetic needs. A basic make up brush set will usually include around 4 brushes such as a foundation brush, powder brush, blusher brush and sometimes an eyeshadow brush and in the professional world can set you back around £50-£100. The great news is, there are plenty of lesser known brands, with equally rave reviews that will set you back around £15 for a similar set.

If you are new to using make-up brushes then opting for a basic set from the likes of Real Techniques is a good place to start as you can practise and then build your brush collection from there. Whilst Real Techniques is a professional brand, the price tags of their individual brushes can drop as low as £8, so don't veto them if you are on a budget. If you are a more seasoned make-up artist but perhaps don’t want to spend a fortune on a set of brushes, then there are plenty of more comprehensive sets that won’t cost the earth too, although you may need to keep your eyes peeled for little known brands to get the best deals on the cheapest make up brushes.

We’ve picked out a range of make-up brushes all under £30 that offer a variety of options for creating different looks. Many come with a handy carry case which makes it easy to take them travelling and also keeps them separate from your cosmetic bag so they don’t get dirty or damaged. 

If you have a bit more budget to splurge, check out our round up of the best make-up brushes this season and when you have picked your favourite our guide to the best make-up mirrors will see you applying your blush perfectly in no time.

1. Real Techniques Core Collection Kit

A great way to start off your make-up brush collection

Best for: Essentials | Number of brushes: 4 | Carry Case: Yes | Types of brushes: Contour, Foundation, Detailing & Buffing

Cruelty free 
Handy travel case
 Tricky to clean  

If this is your first time investing in some make-up brushes, then Real Techniques are a popular first-time buy. This set contains 4 of the essential brushes for creating a flawless base including a foundation brush and a contouring brush if you’re feeling brave. Users love how soft these brushes are and find them to be very easy to use, apart from when it comes to cleaning product out of them. Make sure you clean them regularly to avoid product build up, and keep them stored in their carry case rather than your make-up bag to keep them clean.  

2. bhcosmetics Metal Rose

Soft and synthetic brushes for rose gold lovers

Best for: Style | Number of brushes: 11 | Carry Case: Yes | Types of brushes: Powder, Foundation, Blending, Smudge, Concealer, Eyes & Lips.

 Not everyone likes pink

These rose gold make-up brushes are bang on trend right now, and while they make look super sleek and expensive, these ones won’t break the bank. The set comes with 11 brushes which make for a great intermediate kit for practising your contouring and blending. The handy travel case is stylish and users found the brushes to be very soft with minimal shedding. Some did say they’d prefer a softer powder brush, as this one is a little firm. 

3. Rio Professional Make Up Brush Set

A high-quality brush set for those who are serious about their make up

Best for: Comprehensive brush set | Number of brushes: 24 | Carry Case: Yes | Types of brushes: Powder, concealer, shading, contour & eyes

Variety of brushes
Feel professional 
Not the best for travel  

If you really want to get to grips with make-up fads such as contouring, the infamous smoky eye, and sparkling highlighter, then this is the make-up brush set to have. With a whopping 24 different brushes, you’ll be able to pick and choose the perfect brush to create your desired look right from your smooth base through to your perfectly sleek brows. This kit is a little large to take on holiday or pop in your handbag when going out, but it’s a great set to keep at home for those occasions that require a little extra touch.  

4. Ecotools Six Piece Starter Collection

Soft, natural brushes for the eco-warriors

Best for: Eco warriors | Number of brushes: 5 | Carry Case: Yes | Types of brushes: Shading, powder, concealer

Made from recycled materials
Covers the basics
Some of the hairs shed 

This basic brush set is ideal for anyone starting out with make-up, and the fact that they are eco-friendly is also a great bonus. These brushes are made from recycled materials, but users say they are really soft to touch and apply product very well. Some say that the smaller concealer brush tends to shed some of its hairs, but as long as you keep them well looked after in their pouch, you should find they last very well.  

5. Look Good Feel Better Makeover Brush Set

A smart set of brushes that are kind to sensitive skin

Best for: Sensitive skin | Number of brushes: 4 | Carry Case: Yes | Types of brushes: Powder, blending, detailing

Support cancer charity
Soft and fluffy
Not many brushes 

This sleek and smart brush set looks the part and come with a slim travel case that’s perfect for taking your brushes wherever you go. There are only 4 in this set which may not be the best for those who have an extensive make-up routine, but for travel or topping up and existing collection, users say these brushes are great. it has also been said that these brushes are particularly kind to sensitive skin, and it’s great that this brand supports a global cancer charity. 

6. bhcosmetics Rose Quartz 9 Piece Brush Set

Another great entry from bhcosmetics for all your essential brushes

Best for: Adding to your existing collection | Number of brushes: 9 | Carry Case: No | Types of brushes: Face and eye

Look expensive
Soft and sturdy
No carry case

This 9 piece brush set from bhcosmetics makes for a perfect second set to add to your collection. Customers love these brushes for their luxury look and feel and say they are very sturdy and have lasted them well. They don’t come in a carry case like our other entry from this brand, but what they are great for is using at home when you want to bring out the extra special make-up for a certain occasion. 

7. Sleek MakeUp 7 Piece Brush Set

Make sure you blend to perfection with these sleek brushes

Best for: No streaks | Number of brushes: 7 | Carry Case: Yes | Types of brushes: foundation, powder, blush, eyes, lips

Natural and synthetic fibres
Blends really well
Feel a little flimsy  

If you think that 4 brushes aren’t enough, but some of the larger sets just aren’t necessary for you, then you might find that this 7 piece set is the perfect size for you. Users say that the synthetic and natural fibres blend product really well on the face, which means you can expect no dodgy tide marks the next time you apply your foundation. Some users say they feel a little flimsy, but the roll up travel case keeps them safe and is also really handy for when you’re taking them away with you.  

Organise your beauty tools with our round up of the best make-up brush holders.