Whether you're just starting out in your contouring career or you just want to own it all and own it now, finding quality makeup brushes under $10 is a win. Just because they don't cost the world doesn't mean they can't give you an entire universe of beauty that you didn't know existed before them. At least that's how I justify purchasing 10 new brushes to myself, and you're welcome to use the same tactic when perusing this inexpensive but excellent list of products.
In putting together budget-friendly options, I've tried to keep the range of brushes as different as possible, to prove that no matter what beauty item you may need, there's a cheap alternative to it somewhere. Plus, if you're anything like I am — aka filthy yet fabulous — replacing brushes instead of washing them is a great way to try out new brands and fresh alternatives.
So no matter where you stand on the makeup artist scale — from expert to still-using-those-crummy-sponge-sticks-you-get-with-some-palettes — this list will hopefully help you expand your dollar in order to collect all the tools of the trade you need for applying makeup to your face. In any case, these 11 brushes are a more wallet-proof way to feed your makeup addiction.
1. For Smoky Eyes
Moda Exglam Duo Smoky Eyes, $7.99, beautyusa.royalbrush.com
These are 100 percent vegan and recommended by Allure . This two-piece brush set will help you achieve that perfect smoky eye.
2. Budget Beauty Blender
Miracle Complexion Sponge, $6, realtechniques.com
The love project of sisters Sam and Nic of Pixiwoo — everyone's favorite makeup tutorial YouTube channel — Real Techniques brushes are all you need in this world. And with its version of the classic beauty blender (which I personally prefer, TBH), this brand shows its dedication to supplying beauty lovers with great products for less.
3. For Beautiful Brows
Beauty 360 Bamboo Dual-Ended Brow Lash comb/Angled Liner Brush, $5.99, cvs.com
Why have two makeup brushes when you can have one? Everything you need for the perfect brow comes in this dual-ended brush and comb.
4. A Qualified Best Seller
e.l.f Kabuki Face Brush, $6, elfcosmetics.com
Listed as a best seller on the e.l.f. website, a kabuki brush is your best bet for all those finishing powder touches.
5. All You Really Need
Core Collection, $18, realtechniques.com
Working out at $4.50 a brush, this set is a must-have for any makeup wearer because — as the name suggests — the brushes will make up the core of any makeup routine. You get a contour brush, a foundation brush, a detailer brush, and a buffer brush.
6. For On-The-Go
Beauty 360 Bamboo Lip Brush With Cap, $5.99, cvs.com
It's a lip brush that comes with a handy dandy cap so you can keep your brush clean and take it anywhere, without having to bring your entire makeup bag, too.
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7. Don't Forget To Blend
EcoTools Bamboo Eye Shading Brush, $5.29, ulta.com
EcoTools is, you guessed it, a totally eco-friendly brand. And as any makeup aficionado can probably tell you, eyeshadow is nothing if not properly shaded and blended.
8. For A Flawless Complexion
Moda Complexion, $7.99, beautyusa.royalbrush.com
Another brush in the Moda collection recommended by Allure , this one's perfect for "buffing cream foundation and blending contour lines."
9. All About Those Angles
NYX Pro Angled Eyeliner Brush, $10, nyxcosmetics.com
If you don't use a liquid eyeliner pen, this brush is what you need for all your gel and cream liner needs. NYX is a brand that I highly recommend.
10. Blend Blend Blend
Sonia Kashuk Duo-Fiber Pointed Blending Brush, $3.99, target.com
If there's one thing I want you to take away from this list, it's that you can never have too many eyeshadow brushes. These Target exclusive ones are no exception to that rule.
11. If You're Feeling Confused
Starter Set, $18, realtechniques.com
Five brushes for only $18 (aka $3.60 a pop) could never not make this list, and with the kit's aptly named "starter set" title, these are all the brushes you're going to need for the perfect eye makeup routine: A crease brush, a shadow brush, an accent brush, a fine liner brush, and a brow brush.
If you get all these brushes, you're certain to have a full set of makeup tools for a much lower price tag than a professional kit is likely to set you back.
Images: e.l.f. Cosmetics/YouTube; Courtesy Brands