With all the great cruelty-free brushes out there, I don’t see any reason to use brushes from dead animals. In my opinion, sometimes synthetic brushes are better than animal hair brushes.
But, if you are going to use animal hair brushes, make sure they are cut from the animal in a humane way and not causing unnecessary animal deaths.
I really like Kimiko hand-crafted cosmetic brushes. Some of the hairs are synthetic and others a combination of goat, squirrel and pony (and they are hairs taken as haircuts only – no animal cruelty).
I have Kimiko’s Essential Brush Collection. There are in fact seven brushes in four because three of them are dual-ended, making them perfect for the woman on-the-go, who is looking to do more with less.
These are professional artist-developed brushes, with the names of the brushes on each end, which completely takes out the guess work out of what each one does.
I have tried cheap, drugstore brushes, and you really do get what you pay for. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment to get a set of nice, basic brushes.
I’m also a big fan of Ecotools (synthetic brushes only – the only good ones I’ve found in drugstores) and Jane Iredale brushes (cruelty-free animal and synthetic fibers).