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A Review of the Best Affordable Makeup Brushes

I used to think that to get a good makeup brush you had to go to beauty stores like Ulta or Sephora and spend $20 or more before tax on a brush. This didn't work with my budget so I used to keep brushes for years and just wash them frequently, but when a brush gets old it's not as effective. Nor is it good for your skin. I realized that a little while ago when I really looked and saw the sorry state my foundation brush was in. Some of the inside bristles were warped and wouldn't lay flay anymore no matter what I did. This shouldn't have been a surprise because the brush was over seven years old. It was time to replace it.

I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the brush so I started looking at my local drug and big box stores. I first tried a couple of Elf brushes and they weren't any good. One brush broke and the bristles on both had an odd smell that wouldn't go away.

A review of two makeup brush brands that don't cost a fortune and are easy to find and buy. | arelaxedgal.com

(This post includes affiliate links. For more info see my affiliate disclosure.)
Next I tried EcoTools. I decided to try them since I follow EcoTools on social media and had seen their brushes in the store.

EcoTools is an eco-conscience brand that makes their brushes from natural materials like bamboo for the handles and cruelty-free bristles.

I opted to buy the EcoTools Lovely Looks Brush Set for about $15 before tax. I bought the set online and was surprised when it arrived and I saw the box the brushes were in. I didn't realize the brushes were short. I had thought they were full size. I considered returning the brushes, but knew I (really) needed some new brushes and decided to keep them. The set includes five brushes
  • A foundation brush
  • A powder/blush brush
  • A shadow brush
  • A flat eyeliner brush
  • A lip brush

So far I've used four out of the five brushes - foundation, powder/blush, shadow and flat eyeliner brushes. I don't wear lipstick much at all so I haven't used the lip brush.

A review of two makeup brush brands that don't cost a fortune and are easy to find and buy. | arelaxedgal.com


Why they are a fave
  • The smaller size make the brushes perfect to use when traveling
  • The bristles are soft and don't irritate my skin
  • The foundation brush gives even, medium to heavy coverage
  • I can use the foundation brush for my powder foundation and if I ever decide to switch to liquid foundation
  • The powder/blush brush is great for blush or bronzer
  • I love the application I get with the shadow brush. It allows me to easily apply eye shadow and get an even finish
  • The flat eyeliner brush is great for blending and smudging eyeliner and eye shadows
  

While there are many things I like, there are a few negatives
  • The brushes are so small it can sometimes be hard to use them on a daily basis
  • The bristles on the powder/blush brush are a bit flimsy and aren't good for applying powder foundation



While the EcoTools Lovely Looks brushes are a favorite of mine, I still wanted a foundation brush that had a longer handle and could be used to apply my loose powder foundation. I considered getting another EcoTools brush, but was curious about another brand I saw had a coupon on Ibotta app. The brand was Real Techniques. I'd never heard of them before, but have found that several beauty bloggers have or do use the brushes.

After spending several minutes in the beauty aisle at Walmart looking at the many brush options, the Real Techniques brush I decided to buy was the powder brush. Mostly because it says it "can evenly apply powders and mineral foundations to provide smooth, high-definition results." The brush was about $10 before tax and I saved $2 with the Ibotta coupon.


Before using the Real Techniques Powder Brush I washed the bristles with a gentle shampoo (I do this for all my brushes) and let the brush air dry. Since then I've been using the brush during my morning foundation application.

Why it's a fave
  • The bristles are soft, but not flimsy. So they don't bend or give when using the brush on my face
  • The brush is long which makes it easier to use
  • I can use the brush to apply a light or heavy layer of foundation
  • You can access a video tutorial for using the brush on the Real Technique's YouTube channel
  • It's affordable

Some of the negatives
  • The bristles had a slight smell that went away after I washed the brush
  • The brush is so long it's almost too long for my makeup bad
  • It's not as easy for me to get a heavier finish  

What are your favorite makeup brushes?




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