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By now, you likely already know that if you want your makeup to look amazing, you need to apply it with quality makeup brushes. But these days, “quality” doesn’t mean “super-pricey”—in fact, some of the best brushes in the game right now are gloriously inexpensive. Whether you’re looking to apply flawless foundation or blend your eyeshadow within an inch of its life, we’ve scoured the stores and rounded up the very best makeup brushes under $20.
E.L.F. Studio Kabuki Brush (Amazon.com). This incredibly soft brush can be used to blend out powder onto the face. With its short handle, you can even keep it in your purse for touch-ups.
Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush (Amazon.com). This flat top brush buffs foundation into the skin for a flawless, full coverage makeup look. Its soft, synthetic bristles wont leave streaks.
Nordstrom Angled Liner Brush ($12, nordstrom.com). The fine bristles on this angled brush help you create a smooth, precise line, whether you’re working with powder, gel or liquid liner formulas. EcoTools Large Powder Brush (Amazon.com). This brush features synthetic taklon bristles that are cruelty-free and softer than many pricey brushes we’ve tried. If you want perfect powder application, this brush is for you.Soho Naturals Smoky Eye Brush Set (Amazon.com). Three brushes for the price of a coffee and muffin—what could be better than that? The flat brush is amazing for applying shadow across the lid, while the round brush is amazing for blending. The angled brush is stiffer than normal; we love it for defining our eyebrows.Coastal Scents Pro Blending Fluff Brush ($4.95, coastalscents.com). Professional makeup artists use a blending brush like this one to diffuse a smoky eye and blend colors into one another. This under-$5 version is easily comparable to brushes that cost four times as much.Real Techniques Blush Brush ($9, realtechniques.com). The dome shape of this brush fits perfectly onto the apples of the cheeks for a natural application.Sonia Kashuk Large Angled Contour Brush ($9.99, target.com). To define your facial features with contouring, use an angled brush like this one. It works incredibly in the hollows of the cheeks and around the forehead.Sedona Lace Vortex Brush Set (Amazon.com). Need to stock up? With 13 high-quality face, eye, and lip brushes, this affordable kit is a complete collection for about $6 a brush.