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When I was a newbie beauty enthusiast with just a little knowledge and even less money, the idea of building a make-up brush collection was pretty daunting. I know, we’re talking about brushes here, not climbing Mount Everest. However, I’ve learnt a bit over the years and have some advice for those who might not know where to start:

1. Start small

While it may seem logical to buy a 40-piece brush set right off the bat, I find it can be a massive waste of money. These things are not cheap, and more likely than not there will be brushes in the set that you will not use and might even hate.

Instead, buy a few good brushes or smaller sets that are suited to your needs. The more practise you get, the more you’ll understand what works for you and what brands are better than others. The Zoeva Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol 1 is a good place to start as it has a concise mix of eight eye and face brushes that are soft, good quality and easy to use. Dh378.

2. Multipurpose brushes

Another way to get the most bang for your buck when starting a brush collection is to look for double-ended brushes and brushes that can be used in multiple ways. The Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Brush (Dh130) is a great example of this; it’s high quality, and vegan and cruelty free to boot. I also use it for blush, which I find its size and shape perfect for. One multipurpose brush I can’t do without is the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (Dh70), which I’ve used for liquid foundation, cream and powder blush, concealing and contouring.

3. Quality over brand name

I covet brushes from YouTuber Wayne Goss’s artisan-created line, or from iconic make-up brand Mac, but I know even smaller, less expensive brands have some great-quality brushes; I would definitely prioritise quality over a brand name any day. One of my top brands for budget brushes is Kiko Milano. They’re sturdy, with soft bristles that do not shed, and the range is huge.

4. Look for deals

As a beginner, you won’t need tools urgently so take your time sourcing products you like. Scour the internet for discounts, bundle deals and voucher codes; not only is this cost effective, it’s actually a lot of fun. One brand that always does bundle deals during the holiday season is Beauty Blender, so that’s a good time to stock up on this dressing table essential.

5. Get artsy

This is a bit out there, but paint brushes meant for art can be used for eye make-up as well. They’re not very different and can even be cheaper. Look for styles that mimic the shapes of eye brushes, such as a flat brush for packing on eyeshadow, or a tapered fluffy brush for blending.