Getting into eye makeup past eyeliner and mascara can be a little daunting, especially when picking out the brushes. There are so many brushes out in the market, so here’s a rough guide I cobbled up for you, to help you out.
Remember, I’m just going by my meager brush stash, and show you how I use some of the brushes I have. Obviously, you can always use these brushes outside their specific intended function. Let’s hop to it!
FLAT SHADER BRUSH — for basic eyeshadow application! Use these brushes to pat on eyeshadow to minimize fallout and get maximum pigmentation.
From left to right: MAC 239, Urban Decay Double-Ended Good Karma Shadow/Crease Brush (comes with Naked 2 Palette), NARS No. 3 (from the And God Created the Woman Set), Charm Wet/Dry Shadow Brush (from Sonia Travel Pro Set)
My favorite of the three is the MAC 239, followed by NARS (which provides a good wash of color instead). Both the UD and Charm brushes work in a pinch, though.
The density—or the fullness of the bristles—of the brush affects how much color is actually transferred on the lid. The NARS brush is a bit fluffier than the rest, so the effect is much softer.
BLENDING BRUSH — for blending out harsh lines and blending colors into each other. The shape and fluffiness blurs out harsh lines and makes your look seamless. Basically, this is a magic tool for a more polished eye look.
From left to right — Urban Decay double-ended Good Karma Shadow/Crease Brush (from the Naked 2 Palette), MAC 217 (broken?), Charm Blending Brush, e.l.f. Blending Brush
My favorite is obviously the MAC 217, but I feel like my spot cleaner dried out the bristles and some of them broke off, and it makes me sad. I like the UD next, though it’s much stiffer. The Charm one is okay, but it’s too fluffy and it doesn’t seem to provide much resistance. It squishes down a bit and splays out when you put pressure on it. The e.l.f. blending brush is okay, but I wouldn’t use it unless I absolutely had to.
PENCIL/POINTED BRUSHES — for applying shadow on a specific, concentrated area. You can use this to add a particular color on your inner corner, outer corner or smudged along the lower lash line.
From left to right — Marionnaud N°8 Eye Brush, Marionnaud N°37 Eyes, Charm Pencil Point Brush
My favorite is the Marionnaud N°37! It’s the perfect stiffness, density, and point width for inner corner highlight application and outer corner shadow application. The Marionnaud N°8, I rarely ever use but I think it would be great to serve the same function as the N°37.
The Charm Pencil Point Brush, I mostly use for smudging color below my lower lash line. I also have the e.l.f. “C” brush, which is with my sister right now, that I use for the same purpose. The line I get is thicker and much softer. You can also use it to create a “C” shape from the upper lash line, upward and outward, which is ideal for a smoky eye.
RANDOM/MISC BRUSHES — for more specific purposes, see below.
The Eyebrow Defining Brush, I find a bit too small to use on my eyebrows, so I use it for smudging on eyeshadow on my lower or upper lash line, or adding a sharp angled color on my outer corner. The RT Domed Shadow Brush is one of my favorites to travel with as it’s multi-purpose. It’s great as a flat shader brush and it blends beautifully.
The Angled Shadow Brush is something I also use for blending out the crease color. The shorter end, I rest on the crease, where I want the color to be more pronounced, and then the longer, fluffier side rests on the part where I want to color to blend out in a haze.
EYELINER BRUSHES — different strokes for different folks! Various eyeliner brushes to suit your preference.
So, I feel like these mostly differ according to the angle you like to hold your brush when applying a liner, but they mostly have the same purpose. I use the Bent Liner Brush for gel liners, though I find that I prefer the width and feel of the MAC 211. The Charm Flat Liner Brush and MAC 266 are mostly used for lining with eyeshadow, but I prefer the feel of the MAC 266, which I can also use for gel liners.
Mostly, it depends on what makes you comfortable, really.
EYEBROW BRUSHES AND TOOLS — for enhancing or drawing on eyebrows.
From left to right: EcoTools Angle Brow Brush (from Recycled Brow Grooming Set), Charm Brow Lash Spoolie, EcoTools Spoolie Brush (from Recycled Brow Grooming Set), Marionnaud N°38 (other end is a spoolie)
I’m very low maintenance when it comes to brows so any stiff angled brush that will let me apply eyebrow powder in neat strokes will do it for me. The spoolie is for extra neatness, for brushing the hairs in place.
And that is the end of this post! There are other brushes out in the market, but I hope this somewhat basic round-up was helpful for some of you.
It took me a while to figure things out and unfortunately, my progress is well-documented on this blog, lol. I know it’s a bit hard to take on eye makeup when you’re more used to lipstick and blush application, but once you get the hang of things, it’s really quite fun!