Kira Nasrat is responsible for creating the most gorgeous makeup looks on some of the most talked-about celebrities in the industry, from Jessica Alba and Margot Robbie to Bebe Rexha and Natalia Dyer. And while the professional makeup artist is mostly dolling them up for glamorous red carpets and awards shows, that doesn't necessarily mean she's exclusively using the most expensive beauty products. In fact, when it comes to makeup brushes, Kira Nasrat has a slew of drugstore picks that she keeps in both her professional and personal makeup kits.
Nasrat has found some of her favorite makeup tools while on errand runs to her local CVS or Target. Because of the low price tag, Nasrat often buys these brushes in bulk. She'll give them to a client who wants a brush to do touch-ups at an event, or reach for a new one if she's too busy to clean her brushes before doing another client's makeup. But it's not just the price that makes these brushes some of Nasrat's favorites: She's fallen in love with some of the bargain brushes based on their performance alone.
"You can always tell if a brush is good or not [based] on how it's constructed. You want to make sure you get brushes that don't shed and most of all, are comfortable to hold," Nasrat advises. "Applying makeup should be fun and hassle-free, and if you find your brushes are giving you a hard time because they are falling a part, then toss them and invest in a new one. The great thing is that there are amazing brushes out there that won't break your bank!"
Here are seven brushes — all under $6! — that you will always find in Kira Nasrat's kit. If you buy every single brush on this list, you'll be spending less than $22. Happy brush shopping!
1. MAYBELLINE Lip Brush
"I am always looking for a good retractable lip brush because I misplace mine a lot while on set, so it makes sense for me to buy a few and, since they aren't super pricey, I stock up," Nasrat tells Bustle. She doesn't usually apply lipstick on clients straight from the lipstick bullet not just because of germs, but also so she can be more precise in application, so using this tiny brush definitely comes in handy. "It's a great brush to layer and build your color along with applying gloss. And because it's retractable, you don't have to worry about getting messy!"
2. e.l.f. Ultimate Blending Brush
According to Nasrat, the key to applying your foundation smoothly and evenly on your face is a good blending brush. Nasrat explains, "The e.l.f. [Ultimate] Blending Brush is a great one and I keep a few in my kit. It's dense so that you can really have that control and the bristles are super soft. Plus, they're also cruelty-free!" Nasrat's pro tip: Remember to buff in circular motions if you want that glowy, blemish-free, filter-looking finish.
3. Sonia Kashuk Angled Eyeshadow Brush
Nasrat first discovered Sonia Kashuk's brushes during an errand run to Target for paper towels. While she picked up a set of Kashuk's brushes and loved them all, one in particular stood out to her. "I am super crazy about #108 Angled Eyeshadow Brush," says Nasrat. "I use this one for my creamy eyeshadows that set as powders, especially along the lash line when I want to create a subtle diffused feline flick." This brush is also great for creating more precise eyeshadow looks, like a cut crease, or for lining your lash line with eyeshadow.
4. EcoTools Eye Enhancing Duo Brush Set
"I keep these Eye Enhancing Duo Brush Sets in my artist kit along with my own personal kit," says Nasrat. These brushes are especially useful for travel, she says, because they are small in size and dual-ended — instead of bringing all of your eyeshadow brushes, you can just take these two! "You can draw a liner along your lash line, cut a crease, pack on color, and blend away with these brushes!"
5. e.l.f. Concealer Brush
Ever have trouble covering up those pesky little blemishes that just won't seem to go away? Nasrat says all you need is this concealer brush — that costs just $1! "I always say that using a smaller brush for concealing or color-correcting is great because it allows you to concentrate on just that." In a pinch, she'll use the tiny brush "to blend a liner on the bottom lash line while keeping the definition," after it has been cleaned, of course.
6. REAL TECHNIQUES Setting Brush
"This brand makes a good setting brush [and] for the price, it's a steal!" Nasrat exclaims. The MUA says this brush is perfect for setting makeup down the T-zone. "The brush is soft and fluffy, but not too fluffy where product is going to be flying everywhere," she says. To use, Nasrat will tap a face or setting powder onto the brush and press gently onto the T-zone, going back and blending in circular motions.
7. wet n wild beauty Angled Liner Brush
Though small, this brush is mighty, according to Nasrat. She likes to use it on her body, "especially the collar bones to highlight." Nasrat says it's also great for contouring your cheekbones if you're using a cream product.
To find out about Kira Nasrat's other favorite drugstore beauty products, check out her blog here.