You can often find inexpensive substitutes for your expensive brushes at art- or craft-supply stores (Michaels and Joanns are the big ones in my town) Just take a few of your brushes along and compare them against what's in stock at the particular store. For example, you can get a thin, fine-tipped brush for gel eyeliner pretty easily and then bend it yourself to make a "bent eyeliner brush." Short-bristle, angled-tip brushes for brow lining are easy to find, too. Art- and craft-supply stores frequently carry the same lines (both synthetic and natural bristles), so there's not much point to looking around unless you have a coupon for a particular shop.
|E. L. F. Essentials eyeshadow brush|
E. L. F. (on-line and limited supply at Target), as well as Essence of Beauty (I have the filbert-shaped foundation brush [CVS, Amazon]) and EcoTools (I have the retractable kabuki brush [Ulta, Target, Walgreens]) also have good dupes. I'm still using two MAC 239 Eye Shader Brushes (about $16 each when I bought them [now $24.50!]) that are each at least six years old, but I have E. L. F. back-ups for when they crap out. I prefer the $1.00 short-handled, white-stemmed E. L. F. Essentials Eyeshadow Brush (photo above) for easier application (I apply my makeup while in a wheelchair, which leaves me limited arm and elbow room). I almost want to ditch my MAC to use thee E. L. F. brushes, but they 239's are still going strong, and I hate to commit "brushicide."