One of my favorite, more affordable brush line has to be the Real Techniques brushes (which can be found at Ulta). I absolutely love the quality and feel of the brushes, and because they were designed by a professional make up artist (Samantha Chapman) it only makes them that much better. I find all of the brushes in the line multifunctional, meaning that even though it was made for one (or two) uses, I can essentially use one specific brush in many different ways. This makes the brushes practical and user friendly, especially for make up beginners.
What's also great about the brush line is that all of the brushes are synthetic (duo fiber) types of brushes. For me, those are my ideal type of brushes because it really helps with packing on product while blending at the same time. So the brush really does most of the work for you, leading to a more natural look.
The first brush I picked up was the Expert Face Brush, which is one that I have been eyeing for a while now. I can't get enough of face brushes and this one is definitely one of my new favorites. Although I prefer to apply my foundation with my hands, I love using this type of synthetic, dense brush to finish off the blending process to my foundation routine. So for a more natural, flawless finish I would spray a bit of MAC Fix Plus onto the brush and just work the brush around to blend and soften up the base. Along with foundation, the Expert Face Brush works wonderfully as a contouring brush with my Chanel Bronze Universal cream bronzer. Because of it's shape, it fits perfectly into the contour areas, and the synthetic bristles really do a great job with applying and blending the product evenly. And if you're into cream blushers this will also be the brush for you.
The second brush I picked up is one that I already own, but just needed more of, the Shading Brush. I absolutely love the shape of this brush, and find myself reaching for it everyday. One of my favorite uses for it is actually as a concealer brush. When I apply my under eye concealer/corrector I would use this brush to blend out the product for that natural look. And the second way I love to use this brush is actually for all of my cream and liner eye products. The slightly tapered end and the synthetic bristles work amazingly with blending any cream eye shadow or liner to soften up the look. And because of the design of the brush, you don't have to put in as much effort into the blending and application process because the brush really does most of the work for you.
I honestly want the entire Real Techniques line and have most of the brushes already. I just like to practice a little self control and try not to do too much damage when I am stocking up on products. However, one of the best times to pick up these brushes is when Ulta offers them during their 'Buy One Get One 50% Off" promotion. Definitely a great way to save on these already affordable brushes.