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The 10 Best Professional Makeup Brushes

By Maria Del Russo

Makeup brushes are an essential part of any makeup kit. Whether you're filling in your brows, bronzing your cheeks, or applying eyeshadow, using the right brush makes all the difference. And as any pro knows, makeup brushes definitely aren't created equal, which is why it's important to do your research if you're looking for a quality set that'll last you for a while. Ahead, this guide breaks down the best professional makeup brushes you can buy on Amazon. But first, a few notes about caring for your makeup brushes, because proper care is essential to keeping your brushes hygienic and in good shape.

The best way to maintain your brush hygiene and quality is to clean them regularly — at least once a week if you're using them on a daily basis. There are tons of different ways to clean your brushes: you can buy a makeup brush cleaner, or you can do it yourself. DIY methods vary, but I like to do it by mixing two parts dish soap and one part olive oil. (The oil helps keep the brushes soft and gets washed out with the soap, so you don't have to worry about it transferring to your skin.) Wet your brush, swirl it in your soap and oil mixture, then run it under water until it rinses clean. Then, leave your brushes to dry on a towel overnight (or better yet, invest in one of these handy makeup brush dryers).

And here's another important tip. One of the most common mistakes people make when cleaning their makeup brushes is drying them upright: this causes the water to seep down, which can damage the glue that's holding the brush together, and can even cause the bristles to lose their shape. Instead, lay them flat or, if possible, hang them upside down to dry. Again, this is what makes makeup drying tools such a wise investment.

And now, scroll on to shop the best professional makeup brushes and sets.

1. The Best Basic Makeup Brush Set

For basic, everyday makeup looks, the EcoTools Start The Day Beautifully Makeup Brush Kit comes with all the essentials: an angled foundation brush, concealer brush, eyeshadow brush, angled liner brush, and blush brush. Each brush is cruelty-free, vegan, and made with sustainable materials (recycled aluminum and plastic, and renewable bamboo). And at just $10 for such high-quality brushes, this five-piece set really can't be beat.

2. The Overall Best Makeup Brush Set

If you're looking for a more well-rounded set, the SHANY Artisan's Easel collection contains 18 pro-quality brushes and a storage pouch, the latter of which can also be used as an upright easel. In this kit, you get six different brushes for cream, liquid, and powder face makeup, 10 eyeshadow brushes, and two eyeliner brushes. All of the brushes — some of which are made of natural bristles, some of which are synthetic — are made of high-quality materials, and, with proper care, should last you ages.

3. The Best Eye Makeup Brush Set

If you're solely on the hunt for a new eye makeup brush set, this quality kit gives you the most bang for your buck. The 24-piece kit includes brushes for shading, blending, lining, and even combing your lashes and brows. The shed-free brushes can be used with powder, cream, or liquid makeup, and they're all constructed with sturdy wooden handles.

4. The Best Round Brush For Face Makeup

Ideal for contouring and applying face makeup like foundation, blush, bronzer, and concealer, the Artis BrushCraft Oval 6's tightly packed bristles (which are made from animal-free fibers) and rounded shape will give you flawless, perfectly-blended makeup every time. The brand even claims that, with this brush, you can use half the amount of product that you normally would and achieve the same results. If you're all about base makeup that looks like it was done by a professional, this is the brush for you.

6. The Best Powder Brush

Get two pro-quality brushes in one with this dual-sided powder brush from Stila. In addition to using it to powder your face, you can use the smaller angled tip for baking and setting your under-eye makeup. This brush isn't vegan-friendly, however, as it's made from goat hairs — just a head's up.

5. The Best Flat-Tip Foundation Brush

Get flawless-looking foundation with this flat-tip brush from pro-favorite brand Koh Gen Do. Its shape is ideal for stippling and blending, and you can also use it for contouring and blending bronzer into your cheekbones. Made of synthetic bristles, it's compatible with both liquid and powder makeup.

7. The Best Mini Fan Brush

Created by celebrity-favorite makeup artist Jillian Dempsey, this mini fan brush has so many different uses: use it to highlight smaller areas on your face, to apply eyeshadow, or to contour the sides of your nose (a makeup artist trick). It's made with synthetic brushes and cruelty-free, and its corner-less design makes it ideal for easy blending.

8. The Best Sonic Blending Brush

Similar to a Clarisonic, this high-tech brush from Michael Todd uses sonic pulses to blend makeup into your skin, resulting in an airbrushed-like finish every time. It lasts for 60 minutes on a single charge and has three different speed settings. Use it for contouring, highlighting, or applying foundation, whether you're working with liquid or powder makeup. Sold in four different colors, each Sonicblend foundation brush comes with a charging cable, antimicrobial brush head, and storage pouch for travel.

9. The Best Splurge-Worthy Set

Consider the Artis Elite Brush Set the Cadillac of brush sets. These brushes are adored by beauty bloggers and makeup artists alike thanks to their unique rounded shapes, high-quality construction, and trademarked CosmeFibre technology. In this 10-piece set, you'll get brushes for your eye, face, and lip makeup, all of which are designed with perfect blending in mind. The bristles are super soft and feel like silk against your skin; and, as a bonus, they're animal-free.

10. The Best Makeup Sponge Set

If you've ever watched a beauty tutorial video on YouTube or Instagram, you're probably already aware that many makeup artists rely on makeup sponges for flawless face makeup. When it comes to liquid or cream foundations and concealers, a sponge is a great choice, which is why they should be a staple in every kit. This six-piece set contains sponges in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can reach under your eyes and around your nose with ease. Just remember to always wet them first.

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