My Makeup Brush Collection – Not a single brush over twenty bucks!

makeup brush collage Here are three things I know about makeup brushes:

One – they can make a huge difference to the finished look of your makeup.

Two – they are can super expensive even though they just look like little paintbrushes.

Three – I have quite a few of them, to be exact I have 48 (don’t worry that surprised/shocked me too)

When I first got into makeup I hardly ever used a brush, apart from applying eye shadow with those terrible double ended cotton bud looking things (do they even really deserve to be called makeup brushes?!?) Now I use many brushes for every kind of makeup application i’m doing, no makeup makeup, big night out makeup, work makeup – no matter what, the brushes are always involved. In the past I used my fingers to spread my foundation on my face, I hate thinking about that now. Sure I still use my fingers a little to dab and blend, but not to actually cover my face. I never realized how bad using hands and fingers on your face can be for pimples and things like that either – and I use to have quite bad skin, coincidence? Maybe?

As I mentioned I have a selection of brushes to choose from in my collection, and although I am totally pro brushes I have always refused to pay a lot for them. I just can’t justify $80 on a brush when I could spend that money on three lipsticks, a primer and a mascara – those things are more exciting. Luckily though there are some brushes out there which are amazing and not a trillion dollars.

And I’m not just saying it, they are actually really, really good.

Jessup collage Jessup brushes are a regularly discussed topic on MUO – I think simply because they are so cheap and seem a bit too good to be true. But they are seriously good brushes. They have strong, thick handles and soft hairs which can survive through quite a bit of rough washing. I got the face brush set around 6 months ago now and have recently had a few hairs fall out of my most used ones, but definitely not throw out or cry about it level. The eye is my newest brush purchase and so far they seem pretty great. You can find these on Ebay from numerous sellers (my eye ones were from misskingdom001) and they range from around $5 – $20 a set, spend some time flicking between sellers as from my experience they are all the same but some people have them for much cheaper. Also don’t settle for anything less than free postage to NZ.

real techniques brushes

Created by famous Youtuber Samatha Chapman, Real Techniques brushes are high quality yet affordable brushes. They come in a huge range of single brushes and sets which you can purchase online or in stores (I order mine from and picked up my first set from the downstairs chemist in Westfield Albany). They are lightweight yet strong and I find them easy to clean. One of my ultimate favourite brushes of all time is the Expert Face Brush from this collection. I use it to apply my liquid foundation and never use anything else apart from a few dabs from my beauty blender alongside it.

elf brushes E.L.F brushes are the cheapest in price among my collection (considering US prices from the official e.l.f website). They are also possibly the one of the most accessible brands as they are now stocked at Kmart. I am a huge fan of their black studio brushes! The white ‘essentials’ brushes are great as well however, in my opinion you can definitely tell that they are slightly lower quality than the black. Before I discovered my dream Expert Face Brush I used the E.L.F Studio Stipple brush religiously. At Kmart they range from $3-$12, you can find them online starting from $2.

bdellium brushes

I only recently discovered Bdellium after reading one of Morgans posts Β on Hyacinth GirlΒ about how the 776 is a dupe for her favourite MAC brush. These brushes are really lovely in quality and are cruelty free, with the yellow, green and pink handled range also boasting sustainable bamboo handles and vegan synthetic bristles. They look and feel professional. You can find bdellium on their official website and can also find them at and fantastic local online store

random brushes

Here’s a squiz at a few other brushes I own and really like. Again they all cost me well under $20 each. The pink handled brush is one of four from a Hello Kitty set from Sephora I got years and years ago. The small angled brush is an Australis eyeliner brush which has never had a single hair out of line. Ecotools is another great brand if you are trying to be more eco-friendly and they were created by our favourite clueless actress Alicia Silverstone. That Everyday Minerals brush is a killer dupe for the NARS Ita brush and I think it cost me $10 (the NARS Ita is $55 USD). =0

I’d really like to hear other peoples thoughts on what you pay or are willing to pay for makeup brushes. Am I being ridiculous and totally missing out?!Β 

  • I pretty much only have cheap brushes. A lot of mine are Ecotools, some are from Sephora sets I’ve ordered online. I have one or two that are from the Manicare or Artiste by Manicare, and for the fact most of them are over $20 they aren’t that good! I have one RT brush but I’d like to try more.

    • I just find that there’s nothing wrong with a lot of the ‘cheaper’ brushes, so why pay more, you know? I really like the RT brushes!

  • I really enjoyed this post! And your lovely photos πŸ™‚ I’m a fan of cheap makeup brushes too. Most of mine are from Real Techniques or xoBeauty. Check out the carousel Cosmetics brushes on too! I have some of their eye brushes and they’re brilliant.

    • Thank you Charli! Oooo I didn’t know that Carousel had brushes – is that the beauty bliss brand?

      • yes! Lol I meant to type not Beauty Review xD (was obviously looking at my Beauty review beauty box when I wrote this haha)

        • I have one of their lipsticks from an MUO meet up and it’s fab, so I’ll definitely be looking at their brushes. Lucky you with the Beauty Review Box! Are you really pleased with it?

          • SO pleased. will have a post up about it next week! lots of awesome full sized products, and think I’ve discovered a new ‘holy grail’ in it too which is a bonus!

          • Yay! I am looking forward to reading and seeing. I have been quite disappointed with subscription boxes lately. My latest one arrives on the 20th, it’s a goodie box for my puppy!

  • Your Brush Collection puts mine to shame! ^ ^

    • Haha it is really just a sign of laziness! The more brushes available, the less washing!

  • I’m all for cheapies!! Work the same IMO. I own RT, Ecotools, Sigma and few randoms from various brands. Looking at buying a new new set for eyes! Any recommendations Laura?

    • Yeah – if not better at times! Have you tried Bdellium Tools? They are super nice brushes and are fab quality. Or I just bought a Jessup eye set recently, I got 7 brushes I think for about $20 and they are great!

  • rochelle

    Just wondering where you bought the Everyday Minerals dupe for NARS Ita brush from? It’s been discontinued on iHerb and I neeeeeeed it!

    • I got mine from herb awhile back, breaks my heart to hear that it has been discontinued!! I will do a little bit of research though and see if i can find some and let you know =)