Is There A Difference Between Cheap & Expensive Makeup Brushes?

Hey guys!


Day 12 of Blogmas??? That’s gone really fast!


We’re now about halfway through and let me tell you, this has been no easy feat writing this man posts! Let alone creating the ideas for 25 individual blog posts!


But alas, I am enjoying it and I hope you are too!


Today I’m going to explore the difference between cheap and expensive makeup brushes and whether there actually is a difference in how they apply makeup.


I own A TONNE of brushes and from many different brands and price ranges. I have my Morphe 12 Piece set, my Real Techniques brushes, some from Makeup Revolution, some from Gracie Saunderson Bags, odd ones I’ve picked up here and there and even a £3.50 30 piece set from eBay!


Now, I am a firm believer that the right tools are what you need to do a job properly and when it comes to makeup, I think it’s best to have a better set of brushes that will apply products better. As Glam And Gore says in her 3 Makeup Mistakes You Are Making video, if you could only have good makeup or good brushes, good brushes would be the way to go.


But what is the huge difference between a set of £3.50 brushes from eBay and my £20-for-4 brushes from Real Techniques?


First major difference for me would be the build quality. You can feel which ones are cheaper and one of the cheap brushes did need hot-gluing back together. But why did I choose to use a £3.50 brush roll for college assessments rather than my Morphe Brushes?


Well that brings me to another issue. When you’re cleaning brushes 3 times a week, you don’t want to have brushes that you’d hate to ruin. My Morphe Brushes shed a TONNE  and therefore if I washed them half as much, there’d be no product left! So for the sake of me not buying a new, expensive brush roll every damn week, I decided I would rather have a set of (almost) disposable makeup brushes.


So how can we test the difference?




The best way is going to be the EXACT same eye makeup look on each eye using the cheap vs expensive brushes. I’ll use the exact same products but the difference will be the brushes!

For my expensive brushes, I’m using a mixture of Morphe and Real Techniques. The Morphe Brushes are £12 for 12 brushes and my Real Techniques brushes are £19.99 for 5 brushes. The cheap brushes came from eBay and were £3.50 for a set of 30.

I decided on a sunset-esque look for my eyes while the weather outside was icy with a chance of snow. The colours were yellow, pink and orange and came from my Morphe 35B palette.


I used no primer and did the look straight onto my skin (excuse my awful skin condition. It’s cold and my skin hurts). I have no idea why I opted for this but I guess one may say because I’m too lazy?


But you’re exactly right.


So I put the yellow in the inner corner, bright pink on the outer corner and bridged the gap between the two colours with an orange to blend. The look was simple and quick and you could probably top it off with lashes and a nude lip for a really glam look but I stuck with a false-lash mascara and some brows.

But which one is the expensive brush side and which is the cheap brush side? Well, here are some swatches on my arm of how the brushes apply eyeshadow to the skin. The main difference is that the expensive brushes apply the eyeshadow less patchy and more vibrant. (Expensive = top, cheap = bottom)

So can you now tell the difference?

If not, then let me explain why. For me, the brushes applied the makeup in the exact same way on both eyelids. Even in person and close up, you can’t really tell a difference. The main difference, as with the swatches, is that the colours applied with the expensive brushes are slightly more vibrant.


What is my final verdict?


Well, I would always choose the expensive brushes as I would rather not have brushes break in my hand. I’d rather pay a few hundred pounds, and have a set that lasts me a couple years and looks professional rather than a set where the heads fall off but quality wise, I can’t tell the difference!


Because I always interchange what brushes I use, I knew I wouldn’t see much of a difference. But not all brushes are great. Some are really hit and miss.


But in the photo above, the left eye is the cheap brush side and the right eye is the more expensive side.




What do you think? Do you think cheap brushes can be just as good as expensive brushes? Let me know!




Happy Holidays!


Melanie-Jessica x

6 thoughts on “Is There A Difference Between Cheap & Expensive Makeup Brushes?

  1. Some of my favourite brushes are the cheapest ones I own! Obviously I don’t wash mine half as much as you do – because of laziness! But I have never seen anything wrong with them. There is a slight difference in the wuialitt of the bristles, but as someone who doesn’t get irritated skin at all, the cheaper ones have always worked perfectly for what I need. I tend to reach for them a lot more than my real techniques ones to be honest!
    This was such a good test though, I haven’t ever seen anything like this before! Also; the look you have created is beautiful!! So in love with this. Xo

  2. Sometimes cheaper brushes just don’t feel good when applying makeup. They sometimes make scratches in the pallets too. Also, some cheaper ones feel rough and the bristles fall off like crazy.

    Also love the pallet and the eye colours! I wish i could do stuff like that with my eyes…but my eyes are Asian and won’t look good.


  3. I have a mixture of brushes and there’s no big difference in how they apply makeup but I do feel like RT brushes are easier to clean and dry quicker. For costume makeup, I’d always opt for cheap brushes though in case they get ruined!

  4. I have a range of cheap and expensive makeup brushes and with some of them, such as the eyeshadow brushes i can definietly tell a difference but with powder brushes and big brushes like that, they both do the same job just as well!!

  5. It’s crazy how similar the makeup looks on the eye isn’t it! I would still choose higher end brushes if possible as they feel nicer usually. But I have a few drugstore brushes which I really love too xx

  6. I use a lot of elf products mixed in with Sephora and Ulta beauty and I definitely notice a difference product wise (besides eyeliner and mascara) For brushes, I highly recommend a middle class brush or higher, and of course, the silicone sponge!

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