Splurge: Seven years ago, I bought a set of travel size M.A.C. makeup brushes at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I’m still using them today, and I plan to augment my stockpile by purchasing the set seen at left during this year’s sale ($49.50).
Unlike so many brushes–I’m looking at you Sephora–the M.A.C brushes don’t shed their bristles over time. And they’re dyed properly so your black blush brush doesn’t become a mottled brown blush brush after a few washes.
Also, if you buy both sets, you will be well-equipped for far less than a professional set of brushes would cost you. A Bobbi Brown set of professional-quality brushes will set you back $175 for just seven pieces.
The set at left is a great kit for those of you who already have the basic brushes. And the other M.A.C. set offered during the Anniversary sale, a five-piece kit with eyeshadow and face brushes, is a great starter kit.
Save: The set at right is from EcoTools (Walgreen’s, $13). As far as drugstore purchases go, this one is near the top of the scale. The brushes are made with a taklon synthetic fiber, the same fiber used in artist-quality paint brushes. So they’re durable, easy to clean and cruelty free.
This set contains the basics–blush, concealer, angled-eyeliner, eyeshadow and brow groomer–and the brand also makes large and small powder brushes.
While EcoTools is a good brand, for my money, I don’t think fiscally-minded shoppers can do better than Sonia Kashuk’s brush sets (Target $15-$22).
I especially lover her Purse Brush Set ($13) for women on the go. It’s flat, skinny brushes and slim-fit case are perfect for tossing in a purse or weekender. And since the case locks tightly, you don’t have to worry about finding Shimmer Brick all over the inside of your otherwise pristing Rebecca Minkoff MAB. Not that I speak from personal experience on that one or anything.
Verdict: It’s a draw. While I believe that brushes are an investment, and find that the M.A.C. brushes are a perfect middle-ground for the budget conscious, quality-seeking shopper, if I needed to save on my purchase, I would buy the Sonia Kashuk brushes.
While the M.A.C. ones will probably last longer, making them a good, long-term investment, $50 is a lot for an unpaid intern to be spending on brushes. So when it comes to brushes, splurging or saving is a matter of personal preference.