To achieve beautiful and flawless eye makeup looks, you need the right brushes. But with so many different types available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So, I’ve put together this little guide to show you the five eye brushes every woman should have in her arsenal, plus tips on how to use them and recommendations about some good quality tools at all price points. Because, while good brushes are an investment, it doesn’t always have to be an expensive one.
So, let’s get started:
1. Flat Shader Brush
A must in any brush collection, a flat shader brush usually has a squared-off shape. Its bristles are dense, stiff and slightly domed, which allow them to pick up a lot of colour and pack it tightly onto the lid, providing an intense finish. In an emergency, this brush can also be used to apply eyeshadows in the crease. Smaller flat shader brushes, instead, also work well at smudging colours under the lashline. This is the type of brush we use every time we apply eyeshadow, so it’s best to have at least a couple in your stash.
One of the most popular flat shader brushes is, undoubtedly, MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush ($25.00). If, like me, you have small eyes, a better option would be MAC 213 Fluff Brush ($24.00). Are you on a budget? Then, try Gosh Flat Eyeshadow Brush (£7.00). It’s just as good as the MAC 239 Brush, but a lot cheaper! Another favourite of mine is E.L.F. Eyeshadow Brush. It costs only $1.00!
2. Stiff Dome Brush
A stiff dome brush has round-shaped bristles that are tapered into a dome. They are stiff but soft, allowing you to blend even the darkest colours seamlessly into the crease. Its shape makes it easy to blend out harsh lines, feather out eyeshadows to create smokey eyes, and add depth to a look. The best stiff dome brush is MAC 217 Blending Brush ($24.00). It’s expensive, but worth every penny. I have yet to find a decent dupe for it. I’m actually thinking of buying a second brush to use as backup. It’s that good.
3. Tapered Blending Brush
Commonly known as fluffy brush, the tapered blending brush has long and wide bristles tapered into a dome. The bristles are soft, but not dense. This makes the brush flimsy and inappropriate for any precise work. However, that doesn’t mean it is useless. On the contrary, this brush excels at softening harsh lines on the crease and browbone areas. Because it doesn’t move a lot of colour around, it simply softens its edges rather than blending it out too much, which makes it perfect for smokey looks.
But it also works well at applying highlighting shades on the browbone. It’ll just deposit a very soft wash of colour. In addition, tapered blending brushes also double up as concealer brushes: they do a great job at hiding dark circles and bags under the eyes. I use the Smashbox Crease Brush #10 ($24.00), but other good options include MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush ($32.00) and Sigma Tapered Blending Brush E40 ($13.63).
4. Pencil Brush
If you need to do any precision work, or want to apply colour on the lower lashline, then you need a pencil brush. It has dense and short, tapered bristles that end in a point, like that of a pencil. A pencil brush can be used to apply colour in the inner corners of the eyes, smudge it near the lashline for a softer or smokier look, or to apply and blend it on the crease for a very defined cut crease look.
The most famous pencil brush must be MAC 219 Pencil Brush ($25.00), but my favourite is Gosh Round Eyeshadow Brush (£7.00). The quality is just as good, but its point is smaller, which makes it more suitable for people with small eyes.
5. Angled Eyeliner Brush
The most versatile type of eyeliner brush, the angled eyeliner brush has short, flat and slanted bristles that can be use for tightlining, drawing both thin and thick lines along the lashline and creating cat eye looks. The shape of this brush allows you to control the shape and size of the line, allowing for a more precise application. Plus, it works well with all types of eyeliners, and even with eyeshadows. I use the Ecotools Bamboo Flat Eyeliner Brush ($5.29), but other, more expensive, options include and Japonesque Travel Angled Eyeliner Brush ($11.00) and MAC 263 Small Angle Brush ($20.00).
What are your must-have eye brushes?