If you’re new to nail art or just want to improve your technique, you’re going to need some great tools. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the best nail art brushes — especially if you haven’t had the chance to try different types yet.
Like any kind of painting, nail art designs are a lot easier to create when you have the right supplies. Getting a certain look takes more than practice and patience; brushes and tools are needed to pull off different techniques.
What Are the Best Nail Art Brushes?
Editor’s Choice: Kolinsky 10pc Nail Art Application Brushes With Caps
This 10 piece nail art brush set is a good value set to get started. There’s a great array of standard brushes for both large area application and finer details. For those new to nail art, you’ll have almost everything you need to follow most beginner tutorials.
Made from sable hair, the brushes themselves are great quality. They’re soft and flexible, but still stiff enough for details. One of the biggest problems with any kind of brush is stray hairs fraying out and messing with the design – but these brushes don’t have that issue.
Finally, the brush itself. The entire brush is lightweight and there’s a grip in the middle that makes holding them more comfortable; something that you’ll appreciate if you’re going to be working for long stretches. Each brush also comes with a lid, which helps keep your brushes in good condition regardless of where you store them.
- Comes with 10 of the most popular nail art brushes
- Acetone safe for cleaning up around the nail as well as cleaning the brushes
- Comfortable to use
- Lids are included
- Quality of the rest of the pen is lower than the brush itself
- Brush sizes aren’t labelled, which can make it difficult to identify the correct brush especially when the lids are on
- No dotting tool included
Winstonia 5 pcs Professional Liner + Striping Brushes
I find that when you’re creating fine details it’s best to have high quality brushes. Even if you already have a brush set, it’s definitely worth it to add some extra lining and striping brushes in your collection.
This set in particular is great for clean, precise lines. The soft bristles make it easy for the brush to glide on the nails – even a beginner will have no problem getting the technique down quickly with this set.
The nylon hair bristles are designed to be anti-shed, which means no pieces in your nail designs. While you might think a set of 5 fine brushes is overkill, the slight differences in brush width and length makes a big difference when doing different kinds of detail work.
- Easy to control
- Comfortable, high quality wooden handles
- Can be cleaned with acetone
- Handles are thin enough to dip into skinny bottle necks easily
- Need to be cared for properly or the bristles will fray
- Complimentary set; you’ll need some wider brushes too
- Must be cleaned immediately or they get stiff
- Metal piece that holds the brushes sometimes can come unglued from the handle
Beetles Nail Art Liner Brushes
This is another fine detail set, but the brushes and the handles are quite a bit different than the Winstonia set. One major difference is that the Beetles nail art brushes are designed to work with gel nail polish.
What I really like about this set isn’t just the brushes. Yes, the brushes are great for both the sizes and the quality, it’s the rest of the pen that really makes them unique.
Each handle is a different color so you can easily identify which brush is which. Something that’s especially handy since these brushes come with lids to keep them from fraying. On top of that, the brush is held on by a solid metal piece; that means no risk of the brush falling off the handle when you go to clean it.
- Good value for money
- Lids are included to keep your brushes safe
- Brush sizes are included and each one can be identified by color
- Good quality brushes that work with gel nail polish
- May not hold up to repeated use, especially in a professional setting
- Brushes are thin, but may not be thin enough for extreme precision
- Pens are very light, which make them harder to control well
- Caps don’t always stay on well
BQAN Double Ended Nail Art Brushes
These nail brushes are double sided to help make details easier. You get four different sizes (5, 7, 9, and 11mm) with the 5mm and 7mm brushes repeated twice. Having a couple extra of the same brushes is handy when you’re creating patterns and don’t want to keep cleaning brushes.
To make the brush easier to use and store, each one has two lids. Since the cap becomes part of the handle you’ll have to choose which tip to work with at a time. There is a grip in the middle that makes handling them a bit easier, though. All this makes the brushes look pretty and elegant compared to others in this price range.
The small brushes in this set are soft and flexible, so they glide well across the nail. This is true for both regular nail polish and gel.
- 6 brushes total in 4 different sizes
- Lids are included
- Elegant design
- Brushes are flexible and glide well on the nail
- Tricky to use both sides at the same time
- Can’t tell brush size without removing the caps
- Quality is good for beginners but professionals may not prefer them
- Brushes aren’t sold individually if you just need a specific size
Artdone 31 pc Set of Nail Art Brushes
If you want a pack of nail brushes that has pretty much everything you could possibly need to do nail art, this is the set for you. With 31 pieces, you have everything from application and fan brushes to liners and dotting tools.
This is definitely the value option if you’re looking for a lot of brushes at an affordable price point. A professional nail artist who’s caring for multiple clients a day may find they’re not durable enough, but for a beginner or hobbyist these brushes are absolutely phenomenal.
The bristles are easy to work with and pretty good quality. They don’t fray easily and hold the paint well, meaning you’ll have no problems unleashing all kinds of creativity with your designs.
- Complete set of almost every nail art brush you need to create designs
- Brushes are nice looking and comfortable to hold
- Bristles withstand fraying
- Excellent value for money
- Brushes may wear out quicker than more expensive brands
- Little plastic bristle covers aren’t good quality and can be hard to put back on
- Handles are not all the same design
- Quality across the different brushes is somewhat inconsistent
Makynail 5 Piece Double Headed Nail Brush/Dotting Pen Set
What I love about this set is how each brush has a dotting pen at the other end. It’s super convenient to have the dotting pens handy like that so you’re not constantly reaching for another brush, especially when creating smudged designs.
The dots and the brushes are all different sizes with a similar size brush and dotting tool on each so you can work seamlessly. To make it even easier, the handles are color coded so you can see at a glance which size you’re grabbing.
- Fun pen design has glitter inside that moves
- Color coded for convenience
- Only double sided brush/dotting pen set on this list
- Great selection of detail brush and dotting pen sizes
- Can be tricky to use the same size brush and dotting pen at the same time
- No lids included to protect the bristles
- Handles are narrow and can be hard to hold if you’re used to wider pens
- Small set so you’ll need to supplement with other brushes
SILPECWEE 3Pcs Gradient and Ombre Nail Art Brushes
If you’re interested in doing ombre or gradient nail art then there’s a few specific brushes you’ll need – all of which you can get with this set. While the quality isn’t quite as good as professional ombre nail brushes, these are perfect for doing a DIY gradient or ombre nail design at home.
The ombre brush works fine, but can appear a bit grainy since the brush is porous. If you use a fair bit of nail polish when you apply the designs come out really nice
For softer nail art, the sponge brush also works great. It can be used to blend your ombre design or to create unique looks.
Finally, there’s the gradient brush. This will create stripes on the nail and smudged designs. It’s by far the trickiest to get the hang of, but the results are beautiful when it works out.
- Handy add-on set to create ombre and gradient nail art
- Brushes are good quality and easy to clean
- Sponge brush is a great alternative to a cosmetic blender
- Protective tubes are included for the bristles
- Ombre brush needs a lot of nail polish to work well
- No sponge refills included
- Handles are all different
- Double sided sponge brush is handy for variety but tricky if you want to use both sponges at once
8 Piece Set of Flower Nail Art Brushes
There’s a bunch of ways you can create flower nail art, and special brushes are definitely one of my favourites. This set comes with 8 uniquely shaped brushes that can help you easily create a variety of flowers and other designs – even if you’re not great at drawing.
The brushes are high quality, and should hold up especially if you’re not using them all the time. They’ll last even longer if well cared for so make sure you store them safely with the plastic caps on.
Learning curve is probably the biggest drawback; if you haven’t had practice making flowers with a brush before it can be a bit tricky to get the technique down at first.
- Great set for making a variety of unique nail designs
- Grips are comfortable to hold and non-slip
- Easy to clean with alcohol or acetone
- Can be used with a variety of materials like nail polish, gel, and glitter
- Need to be stored properly but don’t include caps
- May be difficult to tell apart
- Learning curve can be high for beginners
- No instructions included
Can You Use These Brushes on Acrylic Nails?
The good news about acrylic nails is that you can actually use almost any nail brush on them. Just make sure you’re choosing one with soft bristles; firmer ones aren’t good for acrylic.
Typically, synthetic brushes (like those made with nylon) are better on acrylic nails because they aren’t as affected by the monomer. If you’re a beginner, this is probably your best bet while you practice brush techniques.
Professionals sometimes prefer natural hairs like kolinsky sable because they hold the paint better.
Why Are Kolinsky Sable Hair Brushes the Best for Nail Art?
Since the Kolinsky Sable hair brushes are made from natural fibres they make an ideal all-purpose brush choice for all kinds of nail art. They’re especially great for doing art on your natural nails, or creating french tips.
Kolinsky Sable hair is a great brush material because they have soft bristles that hold paint well. They also usually last longer than synthetic brushes.
While synthetic is often better for acrylic nails, these will still work great on acrylic nails and with gel nail polish too.
The 10 piece professional grade set gives you everything you need to get started creating nail art. There are thicker brushes for wide polish application, and thinner ones for detail work.
Of course, all the nail art brushes on this list are fantastic! If you want a larger entry level set, the Artdone 31pc kit is great for beginners. Once you have your base set of brushes, supplement with specific brush sets that are designed for detail work.