My 5 favorite budget makeup brushes for the eyes

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5 inexpensive makeup brushes to create all eye looks

When I started wearing makeup regularly a little over 10 years ago, I didn't own any makeup brush. I used what I had on hand, literally: the sponge applicators or small brushes that come with many products, or, more often than not, my fingers. I thought it was perfectly ok, and I didn't see a good reason to spend money on better applicators. 

Then I joined online forums about makeup, and after reading so many posts by beauty-addicts saying that brushes were a must-have, I finally, little by little, started investing. At first I wasn't satisfied at all, and thought that brushes were overrated. There was a simple reason for that feeling: while forums were raving about MAC brushes, I was purchasing cheap ones, and most were poor quality. 

With time, I understood that getting ANY brush just won't do it, what you need to take your makeup application to the next level is a good quality brush. Yes, a good brush makes a ginormous difference: you can do gradients on your eyes, you can blend your blush seamlessly, you can blur your eyeliner for a quick smoky look, etc... And all these techniques are made a lot easier by the use of a good brush. 

BUT a good brush doesn't mean an expensive brush, so no, you don't have to break the bank to get a collection of great tools. In today's post, I want to show you 5 very affordable (not to say dirty cheap) brushes that I use every day to do my eye makeup. They're all great, maybe not as perfect as some luxury brushes, but they make creating a beautiful eye look a breeze. Most of the time, they're all I need to reach for (for a full beginner set, I'd add an angled liner brush and a pencil brush). I've had them for years, and they all hold their shape very well, without shedding much (they all happen to be made of natural hair by the way). 

Total price for all 5: under $15.

Let's take a close look at my 5 most-loved budget brushes! 

5 great affordable makeup brushes for eyes

1- Target Up & Up Crease Brush: it's called a crease brush, but this fluffy, tapered round brush makes a great blending tool. It's soft, the bristles are relatively long and bendable so it's perfect to blend shadow without removing it, or to apply a soft dusting of highlighter under the brow bone. I don't see this particular brush at Target right now, but keep your eyes out for their Up & Up brand brushes, their low price tags ($4.99 to $7.99 for a single brush) hide little gems like this one! 

2- e.l.f Blending Eye Brush, $1 (!): this brush is the most versatile in my collection. It's not the softest in the bunch though, so I prefer to use the Target one for serious blending (this one's hairs are more rigid). This domed round brush works really well for: applying shadow to the crease, the brow bone, the inner corner, or smudging liner. I know it's a natural hair brush and those are supposed to be reserved to powder products (silly rule if you ask me), but it works incredibly well with cream and liquid products too. I can't begin to tell you how impressed I was the day I tried to use it to smudge my pencil liner! Lately, I've also discovered how brilliant it is at applying and blending a touch of liquid highlighter on my brow bone. This is the brush I use the most out of my entire collection. Saying it's worth every single one of the 100 pennies it costs is an understatement! 
A word of warning about e.l.f. brushes though: unfortunately their quality is inconsistent. I've bought other brushes by the brand twice, and noticed that their shape was very different. So my advice would be to buy them in a store if you can (Target and Walgreens carry them) and look at the shape of the indidual brushes to make sure their bristles are cut well. If you have to purchase them online, try to do so at a store that accepts returns easily, in case you get a dud. 

3- e.l.f. Defining Eye brush, $1: this fluffy, soft angled brush works great to apply shadow to my outer corner or for precise application in the crease. It does exactly what its name says: it's perfect for defining the eye and creating depth. 

4- Coastal Scents Classic Shadow Large Natural brush, $2.49: this large shading brush is dense, soft, flexible but firm enough to offer good control. The hair is cut in an absolutely perfect, slightly tapered shape, and to be honest it's higher quality than a lot of my pricier brushes. It really feels a lot more expensive than it actually is! I mostly use this one to apply shadow all over the lid, from the lash line to the brow bone. Having a lot of mobile lid space, it's also possible for me to use it to shade just that area, but unless you have protruding eyes like me, chances are it would be too large for you to use that way. 

5- Coastal Scents Classic Shadow Medium Natural brush, $2.49: very similar to the previous one, but smaller, with shorter hence a little firmer hair. It does a perfect job at applying shadow to my mobile lid, whether I want to press it onto the skin (ie loose powder shadows or pigments) or swipe across the lid. Both Coastal Scents brushes get back to their original shape without intervention after washing, and I never experienced shedding with either. 

My 5 favorite budget makeup brushes for the eyes

Do you use budget makeup brushes? Which ones are your favorite?

Where to buy? Up & Up brushes are sold at Target, and Coastal Scents on the brand's website. e.l.f. brushes are available at the following retailers: Target, Walgreens and 

The products featured in this review were purchased by Lulle. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

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