The 8 best makeup brushes - chosen by Mumsnetters

make up brushes

Blending, baking, stippling and setting - the possibilities with makeup seem never-ending. Whatever look you're going for, no makeup kit is complete without some handy application tools. We've rounded up the best makeup brushes and sets, as recommended by Mumsnetters, to help you achieve that flawless finish

Which makeup brushes do I need?

Makeup and beauty tools seem more innovative than ever (magnetic lashes anyone?) so it might be a bit overwhelming when choosing what to buy. Of course, you don't need all the tools – it all depends on the looks that take your fancy. However, if you're looking for the essential tools, these might be some good ones for your starter kit:

  • Foundation brush
  • Blending sponge
  • Contour brush
  • Blending brush
  • Powder brush
  • Flat shadow brush
  • Liner brush
  • Angled brush
  • Lip brush

How do I clean makeup brushes?

Keeping brushes clean is crucial if you want your skin to stay blemish-free – and for preventing product build up so your makeup looks great. Experts say you should wash your brushes at least once a week if you're using them every day.

Here's a step-by-step guide to cleaning your makeup brushes:

  1. Wet the bristles with lukewarm water.
  2. Using baby shampoo, or specially formulated makeup brush cleaner, saturate the brushes and leave it to soak in for a few minutes.
  3. Create a lather by massaging the bristles in your palm.
  4. Rinse the bristles under warm water. Repeat the above steps if necessary, until the water runs clear.
  5. Use a clean towel to squeeze out the excess moisture, then reshape the brushes and leave them on a flat surface to air dry.

Best makeup brushes

1. EcoTools Start the Day Beautifully, £11.05

1. EcoTools Start the Day Beautifully, £11.05

These are a great choice for any environmentally conscious makeup lovers, or if you're after good makeup brushes on a budget. EcoTools have some real eco-friendly credentials: the packaging is made completely out of tree-free paper, and the handles for brushes from renewable bamboo. The brushes are completely vegan and cruelty-free, and, as Mumsnetters can contest to, they really work.

“I use the EcoTools brushes. They are soft, without stabbing your eyes out.”

“EcoTools foundation and blusher brushes are amazing!”

“I currently use the EcoTools brushes as well. They seem pretty good; I wash them every month or so and they are holding up well”

Buy now from Amazon

2. Mac 217 Blending Brush, £21

2. Mac 217 Blending Brush, £21

MAC brushes are a staple for many makeup wearers, and if you can only choose one MAC brush, it's got to be the 217. This versatile brush blends eyeshadow effortlessly like nothing else. It's super soft and picks up a decent amount of product.

“If you're going to buy MAC brushes – even just one or two – definitely invest in a MAC 217. It's the most useful and versatile eyeshadow brush ever. I have about five of those and use nothing else a lot of the time.”

“The MAC 217 eye blending brush is very good. It's meant for blending powder shadow but is a great all-rounder for application too (great shape, weight and size).”

Buy now from John Lewis

3. Royal Cosmetics Foundation Brush, £4.08

3. Royal Cosmetics Foundation Brush, £4.08

If you're looking for a quality foundation brush but don't want to spend too much, look no further. This domed brush has soft bristles that give a flawless finish – and importantly, the bristles stay put.

“This is the foundation brush I mentioned earlier – it's better than the MAC 190 brush that cost me £26.50.”

Buy now from Amazon

4. Stila Complexion Brush, £22

4. Stila Complexion Brush, £22

If you've got a bigger budget, this dual-ended brush from Stila is genius. You can use the larger brush to create the perfect base with powder, liquid or cream foundations, while the smaller brush is perfect for under eye concealing, making this an excellent all-rounder. The synthetic bristles are designed to mimic applying foundation with finger tips, while giving you a more natural finish.

“Hard to find good but inexpensive ones. Stila brushes are good.”

Buy now from Amazon

5. The Body Shop Blusher Brush, £9.99

5. The Body Shop Blusher Brush, £9.99

Another cruelty-free option is this blusher brush from The Body Shop. It has super-soft synthetic bristles that will apply blusher easily and evenly. It washes well, doesn't shed and will last for years.

“My mum swears by the Body Shop brushes.”

“I have to agree that Body Shop brushes are excellent and not too pricey.”

Buy now from Amazon

6. Bobbi Brown Desert Twilight Travel Set, £27.99

6. Bobbi Brown Desert Twilight Travel Set, £27.99

This mini Bobbi Brown set is useful and pretty. It comes in a great little metallic flip case, perfect for any glamorous jetsetters to put in their suitcase, and contains all the essentials. Plus, it's Bobbi Brown so you can be sure it's top quality. It has a flat brush, perfect for applying blusher, as well as a mini liner brush (which can double up as a lip brush after a wash), an eye sweep brush and an angled brush for eyeshadow.

“The Bobbi Brown ones are the best I’ve ever used. They’re expensive but in two years I’ve not seen one bristle come out. I’ve used the foundation one every single day and washed it every week.”

Buy now from Amazon

7. ZOEVA Rose Golden Complete Eye Set, £68

7. ZOEVA Rose Golden Complete Eye Set, £68

This collection from Zoeva provides you with the brushes for every eye look you could imagine, from cat eyes to cut creases – and probably a lot more than that. The twelve-piece set is crafted with both natural and synthetic bristles, for use with both liquid and powder products. Plus, it comes with a beautiful rose gold clutch to store the brushes in.

“Very reasonably priced, fast delivery and they're better than MAC/Real Techniques. Their makeup is fantastic too.”

“The brushes are the best I've ever used. Also reasonably priced.”

Buy now from Beauty Bay

8. Beautyblender Pro Sponge, £13.60

8. Beautyblender Pro Sponge, £13.60

OK, not quite a brush, but there's no way this list would be complete without probably the most hyped makeup applicator of all time: the Beautyblender. Of course, there are many dupes around but the original is patented so they'll never be quite the same. If a flawless base is important to you, it might be worth splashing out – just make sure you wet the sponge before you use it to stop it soaking up product.

“I love the actual Beautyblender. They are expensive but fantastic. I've tried a couple of dupes but they didn't compare.”

Buy now from Beauty Bay

Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).