Last month we talked about which cheek brush does what. If you thought there were too many of those, eye makeup brushes are going to confuse you even more. They are lots and lots of them. They come in different shapes and sizes, each better suited to a different area or technique.
While you don’t need to buy them all, you do need to know what they do so you’ll be able to choose those that best suit your needs. Otherwise, you’ll end up blending your eyeshadow with the wrong brush, wondering why on earth it never looks good (something yours truly did for ages, ahem).
So, let’s get started:
All Over Fluff Brush
This is my favourite eyeshadow brush. Why? It is so versatile! You can do almost anything with it. Thanks to its dense, tapered bristles, it works well to apply eyeshadows all over the lid. You can use it to pat eyeshadows on the lid for an intense look, or to sweep them on the browbone for a sheer wash of colour. In a pinch, you can even use it to blend eyeshadows in the crease.
My favourite all over fluff brush is E.L.F. Essential Eyeshadow Brush. It’s only $1.00, but sooo good! The bristles are dense and soft, and, almost six years later my brush is still as good as new. MAC 213 Shader Brush ($24.00) is another great, but pricier, option.
Angled Eyeliner Brush
This brush has – you guessed it – an angled shape that makes it easy to apply pencil, liquid, and gel eyeliners at an angle to your eye.
Angled Shadow Brush
A tapered angled shadow brush that fits your crease well is perfect to create a smoky eye. I use it to apply a dark shade in the outer V. It adds depth to a look. You can also use it to apply eyeshadows on the lid.
Bobbi Brown Angled Eye Shadow Brush ($30.00) is a great investment that will last you for years. On a budget? Try Coastal Scents Classic Angled Liner Medium Synthetic (also available in small and large sizes). Its only $1.95 and does the job well.
Bent Eyeliner Brush
Have trouble tightlining your eyes? Want the eyeliner right there, on your lash line? Then this is the brush for you. Its bent handle allows you to reach even the most difficult areas for a very precise application.
Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Bent Eyeliner Brush No 107 is only $5.99 and delivers a smooth, straight line every time. Japonesque 150 Degree Application Pointed Liner Brush ($13.00) is a pricier, but great, option too.
A must that should be in any woman’s stash, this fluffy brush is perfect to blend eyeshadows after application. Sweep it back and forth, and see hard edges morph into a seamless gradient.
The best blending brush ever is MAC 217 Blending Brush ($24.00). It makes blending eyeshadows a breeze. It’s the only brush I haven’t found a perfect dupe for yet, but if you want something similar, but cheaper, you can try Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Pointed Blending Brush ($3.99).
Flat Eyeliner Brush
Short and stiff, this brush can’t be used to apply or blend eyeshadows. Instead, its job is to apply eyeliner to the lashline. It allows you to push it right on the edge for a very intense look.
This mascara has two sides. One features a stiff brush that’s suitable only to brush your brows. The other side is handier. It features a comb that separates lashes and removes clump just after mascara application. My favourites are the metal ones. You need to be more careful with them, but they work much better than those cheap plastic ones.
Mascara Fan Brush
This is a new type of brush, and only a handful of brands make it. It is very easy to use. You pick up some mascara from the wand with the brush and then apply it on your lashes. Less product is deposited, so you get a more natural result (with almost no clumping!). This brush also makes it easier to deposit mascara right at the root of your lashes.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found an inexpensive mascara fan brush yet. The cheaper I’ve come across is Paula Dorf Perfect Mascara Fan Brush ($18.00). A slightly pricier option is MAC 205 Mascara Fan Brush ($20.00).
This type of brush has a pointed, rounded tip, just like that of a pencil. It is very handy for placing and blending eyeshadows in small areas, guaranteeing a precise application. You can also use it to apply eyeshadow in the crease or on the lower lashline.
If you love the smoky look, you need this brush. With short, flat, and dense bristles, it is ideal for smudging eyeliners for that softer, flattering look. Choose one with firmer bristles as it makes smudging eyeliners a lot easier.
One of my favourite smudge brushes is MAC 214 Short Shader Brush ($25.00). MAC brushes are pricey, but you really can’t go wrong with them, and, if you take good care of them, they last forever. But if you prefer something cheaper, there’s always E.L.F Essential Smudge Brush ($1.00). It does a great job too.
I don’t use spoolie brushes often, but they can be very useful. You can brush yours through your eyebrows, just after you’ve applied your pencil. It’ll help blend the colour and tone it down a bit for a more natural look. You can also use it to remove clumps from lashes just after applying mascara.
Don’t spend a lot of money on a spoolie brush. An old, but clean, mascara wand does the job well too. If you want a proper spoolie brush, get Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Spoolie Brush No 127. It’s only $1.99.
How many eye brushes do you use? Which ones are your favourites?