10 under $20: Makeup tools
Ecotools day-to-night clutch set
Here are 10 of our favorite brushes and tools that cost less than $20 each. It’s enough to make any makeup artist—or Suze Orman—proud.
Bing: ECOTOOLS SIX PIECE DAY-TO-NIGHT CLUTCH SET, $16.99
The compact zippered clutch contains five synthetic-bristle brushes that are just as soft and plush as the real thing. Our favorite is the versatile rounded brush, which is fluffy enough to deliver a light dusting of powder but also the perfect size for dabbing on blush or bronzer. Plus, they're all made from bamboo and recycled aluminum, so they're as easy on the environment as they are on your bank account.
Sephora Collection precision sponge
Bing: SEPHORA COLLECTION PRECISION SPONGE, $12
Easter-y and adorable as it may be, this pale yellow egg is seriously effective. Cushiony and smooth, it's tapered on one side for precision and rounded on the other for flawless blending. It's also antibacterial, and unlike other inexpensive sponges, it won't pill or start to break down after just a few uses.
E.L.F. Studio stipple brush
Bing: E.L.F. STUDIO STIPPLE BRUSH, $3.05
The two layers of bristles on this brush are packed side by side: The shorter hairs allow for expert blending, while the longer ones pick up lots of pigment for full coverage. Dip the brush into cream or liquid foundation for a more opaque effect, or swirl it in illuminating powder to dust over a finished look for a soft-focus effect.
Shiseido The Makeup Facial Cotton
Bing: SHISEIDO THE MAKEUP FACIAL COTTON, $9.50
Plush cotton pads add a touch of luxury to the makeup-removal process, but they also have a slew of makeup-application purposes. Use the gentle squares to blend, buff, and blot—they won't leave behind a lint-y residue like ordinary cotton balls or tissues can, and you can get a giant pack of them for less than $10.
Sonia Kashuk Essential eye kit
Bing: SONIA KASHUK ESSENTIAL EYE KIT, $11.49
Smoky-eye enthusiasts, take note: The five mini brushes in this slim mirrored case were made for creating dramatic eyes. There's a fluffy shadow brush, a stiff smudge brush, a slanted liner brush, a rounded blending brush, and a pointed crease brush. And the whole thing is compact enough to fit in your back pocket.
Almay oil-free makeup eraser sticks
Bing: ALMAY OIL-FREE MAKEUP ERASER STICKS, $5.59
We've all been there: What started out as a discreet cat-eye flick or artfully smudged liner turned into something much more...daring. That's where this genius tool comes in. Instead of having to remove and redo an entire face full of makeup, swipe one of the tiny sticks over any mistakes to clean things up.
Tweezerman mini slant tweezer
Bing: TWEEZERMAN MINI SLANT TWEEZER, $14.19
Tweezerman tweezers are the gold (or stainless steel) standard in brow shaping, and with good reason: they're razor-sharp and capable of gripping even the tiniest hairs. This mini version is as effective as the full-size tool, but decidedly cuter—and even more affordable.
Anastasia Beverly Hills duo angled brush
A soft angled sable brush and a stiff spooley sit at either end of this multitasker. Use the brush with brow powder for fuller, more defined arches, then tame them with the spooley. For really long-lasting hold, spritz a lightweight hair spray onto the spooley first.
Japonesque retractable lip brush
Bing: JAPONESQUE RETRACTABLE LIP BRUSH, $14.50
Sometimes a bright coral or electric pink lipstick is all it takes to instantly look chic. Other times, a sloppily applied bold lip color is all it takes to look undone. This slim, retractable brush is much more precise than applying lipstick straight from the tube. Bring on the matte tangerines and punchy magentas.
Sally Hansen Sexy Curls eyelash curler
Bing: SALLY HANSEN SEXY CURLS PRECISION EYELASH CURLER, $6.49
It's the control freak of eyelash curlers: The comfortable plastic handle is designed for a steady grip, allowing for more exact curl placement and a tighter crimp. And it comes with a replacement pad, so it'll last you a long time.