Heavy may receive a commission if you purchase a product through a link on this page.

11 Best Nail Art Brushes & Brush Sets

nail art brushes

123RF.com (alexitskovich)

Using the best nail art brushes makes all the difference when it comes to results. With the wrong brushes, you can’t get the control you need. With cheap brushes, you end up with fibers shedding from the brush stuck to your nails. These are the best nail art and acrylic nail brushes for your next stunning manicure. Pair with a nail extension kit and you’ll have everything you need to get started.

What Are the Best Nail Art Brushes?

misaki brush in case Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Kolinsky sable
  • Crimped for flatter center
  • Perfect for applying acrylic
Price: $39.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
50 piece nail art toll set with brushes Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Dotting tools and striping tape
  • Organizer bag
  • Wide range of brush shapes
Price: $18.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Purple Pana Kolinsky brush with close up Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Kolinsky sable brushes
  • Variety of sizes
  • Salon-grade materials
Price: $24.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Modelones brush with flaked metallic handle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Kolinsky sable
  • Aquarium glitter handle
  • Sizes to choose from
Price: $5.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
anself brushes with clear rhinestone handle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • For polish, acrylic, and gel
  • Three different sizes
  • Holds up to acetone
Price: $10.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Makartt nail art brush set Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Six brush set
  • Affordable
  • Acrylic and polygel shapes
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Specialized flower petal brushes with swatches Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Unique botanical shapes
  • For flowers, leaves, and feathers
  • Makes nail art faster
Price: $13.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Nail brush set with nail art tools Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wide range of tools
  • Affordable
  • Striping tape and rhinestones
Price: $6.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Five Winstonia brushes for nail art Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Perfect for fine detail
  • Includes striping brush
  • Known stamping brand
Price: $9.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pink nail clean up brush Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Kolinsky sable brushes
  • Sizes labeled by color
  • Quality cap
Price: $9.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
nail brush with wooden handle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Many sizes available
  • Professional-grade
  • Kolinsky sable
Price: $30.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: Misaki Kolinsky Crimped Acrylic Brushes

    • Built for applying with greater control
    • Kolinsky sable brushes
    • Crimped for a flatter brush
    • Lightweight
    • Pricier than others
    • Not for painting detailed work
    • Thicker handle size
    • Requires special care and no acetone

    These Japanese Misaki brushes are carefully designed to help you work faster with more control when applying acrylic. The pure Kolinsky sable is crimpled at the base to create a bowing in the center of the brush which gives it a flatter shape without compromising the round tip. With this shape, you can use more of the brush to create a more even application of acrylic.

    It’s an extremely lightweight design making it perfect for preventing hand fatigue during long sessions of work and it comes with a protective cap and case. The Kolinsky bristles have been treated for working with acrylic and will function better if not cleaned with acetone.

    I’ve featured a size 10 but you can get a wide range of sizes in this brush style depending on your preference including size #14 brushes up to size #22 brushes.

  2. 2. Beaute Galleria 50-Piece Nail Art Kit

    • 15 brushes of many different shapes
    • Includes bag and nail art tools
    • For gel, acrylic, or nail polish.
    • Good value for the money
    • Brushes are synthetic
    • You may not need all of the extras
    • Not for salon professionals

    If you’re just getting into nail art I highly recommend the Beaute Galleria Nail Art Bundle. The set comes with 15 different nail brushes, five double-sided dotting tools for a total of 10 sizes of dots, 30 rolls of colorful striping tape, and an organizing pouch with built-in slots for your brushes and dotting tools. 

    The brush set includes a wide variety of brush sizes and shapes including oblique gel brushes, flat gel brushes great for working with cream nail polish, fan brush, 3D sculpting brush, striping brush, and three sizes of detailed painting brushes.

    The five dotting tools are a great inclusion that both makes creating dots and circles easier and gives you more tools to play with and discover what you like using. I actually prefer to use my dotting tools over brushes when doing less intricate reverse stamping work as I find it’s less likely to smudge. 

    Unless you are striping day in and day out, 30 rolls of striping tape is going to last you a while. With this set, you get a bunch of different colors including metallics, holographics, and stripes. Striping tape is versatile in that you can apply it and leave it like a nail sticker or use it to create your own stencils. 

    Overall it’s a nice bundle to set you up with all the tools you need to get started for an affordable price. I featured Beaute Galleria’s nail mat in my Best Nail Mat guide.

  3. 3. Pana Professional Kolinsky Acrylic Nail Brushes

    • Perfect for nail acrylic and UV builder gel
    • Konlinky sable brush
    • Range of sizes
    • Salon-grade
    • Not vegan
    • Not for fine detail painting
    • Pricier than others

    For professional nail technicians working with acrylic and UV gel, there’s nothing better than natural Kolinsky brushes like these from Pana. Kolinsky sable brushes use the fur of a weasel (not actually a sable) and are considered the best brushes available in the nail and fine art world. 

    If you thought is a brush is a brush is a brush, consider sitting your Apple laptop next to some off-brand laptop and deciding if you think there’s a difference. Quality materials and made are everything. Kolinsky handles differently than synthetic and is longer-lasting.

    This Pana brush has a lovely oval shape perfect for shaping acrylic and comes in a range of sizes from six to 22. If you’re not sure about sizes, according to Nails Mag, bigger tends to be better for acrylic application. 

    VideoVideo related to pana professional kolinsky acrylic nail brushes2019-03-11T15:54:56-04:00
  4. 4. Modelones Kolinsky Sable Nail Brush

    • Made with Kolinsky sable
    • Many sizes to choose from
    • Shaped for acrylic powder
    • Unique aquarium handle
    • A little extra for some people
    • Handle makes the brush heavier
    • Not for nail art detail work

    If you like your nail tools to be extremely extra, then Modelones’ Acrylic Nail Brush might be exactly what you’ve been looking for. 

    The handle is not only filled with glitter, like some other brushes, it’s also filled with water. This changes the way the glitter moves in the brush making it completely mesmerizing. The metallic glitters inside are all different shapes including diamonds, circles, and stars.

    Enough about the flash. The brush is 100 percent Kolinsky sable and is perfectly shaped for manipulating acrylic powder. It comes in several sizes to suit your needs.

  5. 5. Anself Nail Art Liner Brush Set

    • Super-fine liner brushes for detail
    • Three differents sizes in the set
    • Holds up to acetone
    • Cute rhinestone handles
    • Only liner brushes
    • Synthetic brushes
    • A little heavy for some

    I’m a sucker for shiny things so I love these brushes from Anself that have a hollow handle filled with rhinestones. The set is of three liner brushes in sizes 3 (11 millimeters long), 2 (nine millimeters long, and 1, (a teensy seven millimeters.)

    The super-thin liner brushes are perfect for very fine detail work, doing freehand nail art, nad working with blooming gel. They’re durable enough to work with nail polish, acrylic, and gel as well as handle cleaning with acetone. They have a little bit of heft to them that some folks love and others don’t. It’s all a matter of preference there. 

  6. 6. 6-Piece Makartt Nail Extension Brushes

    • Two acrylic and four polygel brushes
    • Affordable
    • Likely not animal fur
    • Great for beginners
    • Not sable
    • Not salon-grade
    • Only full-size acrylic brush

    This Markartt Six-Piece Brush Set is a great starter set for people just getting into doing their own nail extensions. It comes with two tapered acrylic brushes and four different shapes and sizes of UV hard gel brushes for use with polygel. It’s not specifically stated what material the brushes are made out of so that leads me to assume they are made with more vegan-friendly nylon bristles compared to the traditional sable fur.

    You get #8 acrylic brush, #2 acrylic brush, #6 and #4 flat gel brush, and #6 and #4 round gel brush. It also includes a roll-up case.

  7. 7. Specialized Gradient Brushes

    • Eight unique shapes
    • Gradients create instant shadowing
    • Perfect for botanical images like flowers
    • No lining or clean up brushes
    • Really just for this style of art
    • Not a well-known brand

    These gradient brushes aren’t your typical nail brushes. They’re carefully designed to create organic-looking images without spending forever freehanding them.

    Flowers have an undeniable organic, individual look to them that comes off as cold and lifeless when it’s too uniform, but painting the details on each petal by hand would take hours. My hat is off to those nail artists who love that stuff, but I do not have the time.

    These brushes are meant to be dipped into a couple different colors of polish and then when painted they create a gradient petal shape that has shadowing built right in giving your nail art 3D depth.

    It takes some practice to use a technique like this (and I recommend playing with them on paper before your nails) but once you get the hang of it, you can whizz through flowers, feathers, leaves, and other shapes from nature.

  8. 8. Teenitor Nail Art Design Kit

    • 15-piece brush set
    • Double-ended dotting tools
    • Striping tape and rhinetones
    • Very affordable
    • Not the highest quality
    • Synthetic brushes
    • Won't hold up to acetone

    This 15-Brush Set by Teenitor is perfect for those who are just starting out in nail art or those who are looking for a wider range of tools but aren’t necessarily professionals in the field. The Teenitor set fits into this list because of its variety, value, and price. They aren’t the best nail art brushes out there, but they might be the best nail brushes for you.

    It comes with 15 nail brushes (including liner brushes, fan brushes, oblique brushes, and flat brushes), five double-ended dotting tools, 10 rolls of metallic striping tape, and two 12-pot containers of nail rhinestones. That’s certainly the tools you’d need to experiment with several different types of nail art. 

    I have this set of dotting tools and they’ve held up for me for years with no troubles.

    Because of the price, I would stick to nail polish, acrylic paint, and gel with these. If you’re using nail acrylic or builder gel, I would invest in a professional set. Similarly, you’ll want to clean them with non-acetone remover.

  9. 9. Winstonia Fine Tipped Detail Brushes

    • Affordable
    • Four detail brushes and one striping
    • Perfect for very fine details
    • Liner brushes are different sizes
    • No wider brushes
    • Synthetic brushes
    • Doesn't include storage pouch

    When you’re looking for precision, you need super-fine liner brushes and this set from Winstonia has that covered. It’s a five-piece set of four different size liner brushes with ultra-fine tips for the most intricate details as well as a thin striping brush for creating lines. 

    It’s a straightforward set without any flash or extras which keeps the price down and doesn’t leave you with stuff you don’t want or need. 

  10. 10. Kolinksy Clean Up Brushes by Twinkled T

    • Kolinsky sable brush
    • Cute rhinestone handles
    • Matching color cap
    • Trusted indie brand
    • Pricier than others
    • Not a huge range of brushes
    • Not all Twinkled T brushes are Kolinsky

    I love sticking with indie nail art brand when I can and I love Twinkled T. Their line of Kolinsky sable brushes are durable, well-designed, and cute to boot. I like that their caps are sturdy like marker caps instead of those clear plastic tools that cheaper brushes come with.

    It provides so much more protection which is important because if you’re good to Kolinsky the brush can have a seriously long lifespan. My glitter-loving soul is enamored with the rhinestone filled handles and each size is a different color, as well as clearly marked, so it’s much easier to quickly grab the one you want. 

    Twinkled T’s brushes are more geared toward nail stamping and freehand nail art and are best for those working with gel nail polish.

  11. 11. EX Kolinsky Crimped Acrylic Brushes

    • Konlinsky sable
    • Eight sizes to choose from
    • Crimped
    • Professional-grade
    • Only for acrylic
    • Pricier than others
    • Not for general nail art clean up

    For those looking for a new brush for acrylic applications, check out EX Kolinsky’s Acrylic Nail Brushes. Despite the brand name making it sound like they have broken up with Kolinsky, EX Kolinsky brushes are made with Siberian Kolinsky sable tail fur, the top material in the business. 

    They have a crimped base for a flatter belly and better application and come in sizes eight through 22.

What Type of Nail Brush Do I Need?

It really depends on the type of work you want to be doing, although everyone needs a good clean up brush. A cleanup brush is a dense oval or angled brush used to clean up the edges of your manicure and remove any polish that has strayed onto your skin.

What Nail Brush Is Best for Acrylic?

If you're a professional working with nail extensions you want acrylic brushes, preferably with Kolinsky sable bristles which can hold up to daily use for years with the right maintenance. Avoid cleaning with acetone and instead, use a monomer soak.

New to working with acrylic and other nail enhancements? There's a learning curve, so stick with it. Practicing on a nail trainer hand can save you a lot of clean-up and hassle before moving onto your own or your friends' nails.

Which Brush Is Best for Nail Art Detail Work?

If you're into freehand painting, nail stamping, or watercolor nail polish you're going to want smaller, more varied brushes to get the level of detail you need. This is also where fan brushes, asymmetrical, and super-long brushes come into play for creating different marbling and other abstract nail art effects. 

For this kind of nail art, go for brush sets so you have lots of options for shapes and sizes.

Because the only way to remove traditional nail polish is with harsh removers that break down bristles, it's not worth investing in Kolinsky brushes. Cheaper brush sets are fine, just be aware that you'll need to replace them regularly.

But, if you work with UV gel for your nail art painting, you won't have the same problem since rubbing alcohol or monomer can generally take care of uncured gel. 

For more info on nail art brush care check out this article in Nails Magazine.

Should I Get a Synthetic or Kolinsky Brush?

Kolinsky brushes will always provide a higher quality, longer-lasting brush with better control than synthetic.

However, they are significantly more expensive and probably not warranted for a home artist looking for a good clean-up or feathering brush.

Kolinsky and other sable brushes are made from the tail full of male sables and there are plenty of folks who take issue with that. If you prefer your products to be vegan. 

What's So Great About Kolinsky Sable Brushes?

Kolinsky brushes refer to brushes made of the tail fur of male Kolinsky sables. The term isn't actually a specific species but actually refers to several types of Siberian Weasel which are not a sable at all. I guess "weasel" isn't as fancy-sounding as "sable."

Kolinsky brushes are the top brushes for nail artists and painters of all types. In The Artist's Manual edited by Angela Gair, she states that sable (and weasel) brushes are the best brushes available and Kolinsky brushes are best brushes among all sable brushes. 

These hairs are so fantastic for brushes because they are thicker in the middle and then taper off to a thinner tip, according to Molecular Expressions where you can see a magnified close-up of these special hairs.

So we know Kolinsky brushes are ideal for nail enhancements, but they're also more durable than synthetic brushes. If they are well cared for, a high-quality Kolinsky brush can last you years and years.

What Are the Con's of Kolinsky Sable Brushes?

Beyond the higher initial investment. they are made from the tail fur of Siberian weasels who likely didn't survive the process. That's the big one and it's a big deal for a lot of people. 

Some people take comfort in the fact that these weasels are already in high demand in the fur industry so they aren't being taken solely for their unique tail hairs. 

There were rumors going around that the Kolinsky Sable/Siberian Weasel was endangered which would make these brushes highly unethical, but there is no truth to that rumor. 

These weasels are considered pests in many areas and, according to the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology, in other ecosystems, they are brought in to help keep other rodent populations down. 

As far as their conservation status, Siberian Weasels are of "least concern."

If you're thinking it's a no-brainer to avoid animal fur, synthetic brushes support the petroleum industry which isn't ideal either.

In the end, you just have to go with what you're comfortable with.  

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x