For some unknown reason, I got into this search for the perfect makeup brushes set. Do I already have makeup brushes? Sure do. In my case this is a completely needless search, but one I get into a mission like this, I need to see it through to completion. Here were my criteria:

  1. All brushes needed to match. Non-matching sets make me crazy. Unless it’s intentional, like with furniture. Furniture that matches TOO well also makes me crazy. I don’t want to walk into your house and KNOW that you bought everything in one shopping trip – then it looks like you just pointed and didn’t even think about it.
  2. The set needed to include multiple powder brushes and at least an angle brush for eyes. Most days I wear zero powder and just tinted moisturizer and dark brown eyeshadow on my eyelids and eyebrows, but on the days I wear bronzer, blush, highlighter, and finishing powder… I want to be prepared.
  3. I wanted the set to be affordable. This isn’t the type of thing I could mentally justify a significant financial investment into.
  4. They needed to be single sided. Most of the brushes I have are double sided which is perfect for travel (why I own them – I have one that is a concealer brush on one end and an angle brush on the other end and it’s the only brush I travel with), but not ideal for sitting in a cup on the dresser top.
  5. I’m not sold on the oval brush style. I wanted a traditional brush set.
  6. I was looking for a sleek, feminine-looking set. The default color for makeup brushes seems to be black, for that “professional” look, but in this particular case I was looking for a set that would act as kind of a decorative element.
Makeup Brushes

So, completely unprompted, here are my top 10 favorite makeup brushes from Amazon, plus a few bonus items to really make the makeup area into an arrangement.

10. Cream-colored brush set with case

This set has a classic color combination, nice cylinder case, and traditional-looking brush heads. I especially like that the connections are black (I like silver too, but not a big fan of gold on makeup brushes in most cases). They eye brushes are generally sleeker than what you see in other brush sets.

9. Pink and Silver Makeup Brushes

I like the color pink A LOT. It almost always looks like it would taste amazing. That said, it’s not always my favorite color for things. I tend to gravitate more towards dark wood, black, and blue for my house. I make an exception in this case because of the subtle shade, matching brush heads, shiny silver connectors, and sleek pointy handles. Especially for something like makeup, a more feminine look is a nice contrast with my usual style.

8. No Doubt Return of Saturn Brushes

This makeup brush set is in no way affiliated with No Doubt or that particular album, but that is 100% what I see when I look at these. It takes me back to feeling like a VERY cool 11 year old.

Who wouldn’t want to apply their makeup with Gwen Stefani’s hair? I mean, I’m sure it’s immitation Gwen Stefani hair, but still.

That hair could make makeup brushes
Right?

7. White and Silver Makeup Brushes

I am a big fan of white because it’s almost a workaround to my usual selection for anything (black) but with a brighter effect. True story: 10 years ago, someone close to me told me I wear too much black and that it was depressing. I wanted to argue it but I had a literal full closet of slightly different black dresses, black jeans, and various black knitwear. At the bottom of that closet were black boots, heels, and flats, and one pair of brown boots and a pair of orange strappy heels. Maybe some red boots too.

The point here is, black is classic and very neutral. It goes with everything, But sometimes you need something a little brighter. These days, when I catch myself defaulting to black, I shift to the next most classic and neutral color, white. Lesson: Any time something even slightly critical is said to me, I carry it with me for at least the next decade. Appeal: This beautiful white and silver makeup brush set reminds me that my choices are classic, not depressing.

6. Wood brushes with thick handles

Wood is another good option in pursuit of a non-black but neutral makeup brush set. The thicker wood handles on the brushes would be a good option for someone who bakes their makeup or likes to buff in the powder. Historically I’ve been a big fan of mineral makeup and really buffing it into the skin, but I feel like as I’ve gotten a little older, my skin is drier and that process has gotten a little trickier. This brush set would be perfect for someone younger or with more oily skin. I’m also a big fan of wood handles as a replacement for plastic. Although plastic makeup brush handles don’t have even close to the environmental impact that single-use plastic does, these things don’t generally last forever, so it’s important to think about what happens when you’re done with it.

5. Charcoal grey set with narrow handles

Charcoal grey is another of my favorite not-black workaround colors. It’s approximately the same level of neutrality, but a little brighter and (in clothing anyway) more flattering next to my skin. I’m told, in fact, that most skin tones don’t look amazing in straight black. I will admit though, that a charcoal sweater is a superior look to a black sweater. Black knits are something you have to be really careful with because they look awful fairly easily. How is this relevant to makeup brushes at all? Charcoal is a color I am low-key keeping an eye out for, at all times, and as a result blends perfectly into both my wardrobe and house. I’m also a big fan of the narrow handle tips on these – they look so sleek and elegant.

4. White tapered makeup brushes with tapered sparkly handles

As mentioned above, I’m a big fan of white. I also like the tapered handles on these with a little rhinestone band at the connectors. They have a simple look that doesn’t visually add clutter but still adds some shine to the makeup area.

3. Wood brushes with narrow handles

I mentioned above the environmental benefits of wood-handled brushes. This set has sleek dark metal connectors and all together in a cup, they would have the look of paint brushes. Kind of an artist vibe. I’d probably go with this set if I wasn’t trying to avoid wood for aesthetic reasons (they’re going on a wood dresser top… it’s not enough contrast). Yes, I have long since passed the point of putting way too much thought into this topic. I have to focus on something meaningless with everything else that’s going on in the world right now. Nobody needs that stuff on their mind 24/7.

2. Gold Spiral Makeup Brushes

So, remember how earlier I said I’m not the biggest fan of gold for makeup brushes? That was before I saw these. For one thing, they’re really more of a rose gold shade than yellow gold. They have glass bead at the base that reminds me of J’Adore Dior perfume bottles. It’s the cleanest and most “elegant 1990’s blonde woman” look, and if that is your perfume of choice, you probably need these brushes sitting in a glass next to your J’Adore bottle.

Looks exactly like the handles of those makeup brushes
Remember the ad with the woman who’s strapless dress looks like it’s about to slip off?

1. Silver set with narrow handles

Yes, I did it. I convinced myself that this was a real need. Appeal: These are shiny silver, have narrow handles like paint brushes, and have a good variety of brushes without being over the top.

Bonus Item: Crystal Whiskey Glass

I know they specifically make cups for makeup and brushes. That said, I think it’s much cooler to steal something from another part of the house for that purpose. A whiskey glass is way more elegant that any of the items made explicitly for that purpose. If you have more than one, you can swap it out and run it through the dishwasher to prevent it from getting dusty or powdery. And if you didn’t have ANY whiskey glasses in the house, you can get a set of two and use one for makeup and one for whiskey.

Other Bonus Item: Silver Mirror Tray

This appears to have been designed for candles or a table centerpiece. It’s actually the perfect makeup tray to put your whiskey glass full of makeup brushes, makeup, a flower or two, and a perfume bottle onto. Putting things on a tray satiates my literal compulsion to have surfaces cleared except for “things which hold other things.” It’s going to look lovely in our grey bedroom on the dark wood dresser. Yes, I ordered this one too.

Last Bonus Item: Diptyque Perfume

Once you have the brushes, cup, and tray, you have a nice spot for a pretty bottle of perfume. Obtaining Diptyque perfume used to require a trip to Boulevard Saint Germain but apparently it is available on Amazon these days. I would take more of an issue with that if we weren’t banned from entering the EU at the moment. Oyedo is my absolute favorite fragrance from Diptyque because it is so clean and energizing. It’s a happy, fresh fragrance and stays well on the skin.

I’ll post a picture of the whole arrangement once the brushes arrive. In the meantime, did I forget anything important that I will need to make room for on the tray?

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