Beauty 101: Essential Eye Brushes

essential eye brushes

You don’t need a professional to do your makeup to get a gorgeous eye look…you can do it yourself from the comfort of your own home. All it really takes is having a good assortment of brushes and knowing how to use them. If you’re overwhelmed by the abundance of different brushes out there (what’s the difference between a crease brush and a pencil one?), keep reading. Discover the essential eye brushes every shadow lover should have in their collection and the correct way to use them.


Shader Brush: This is the one brush everyone needs in their life, and ideally you should have two or three in slightly different sizes. A shader brush is best for packing on shadow thanks to its flat design. Use a larger one to apply shadow all over your lid, or a small one to place darker shadow on the outer corner of your eye or a small area you want to concentrate shadow on. For an intense and opaque application of shadow, pat in on with a shader brush. If you want something lighter, sweep it on gently.

Try: MAC 239 Eye Shading Brush ($25), Sigma E55 ($14), ELF Eye Shadow Brush ($1)


Crease Brush: The crease brush is, obviously, meant for applying shadow to your crease. The tapered end allows for precision so you don’t end up looking like a raccoon. Since the bristles tend to be a bit stiff, just use it for application, then follow up with a blending brush to diffuse the color seamlessly. A tip when applying shadow to the crease area: use something with a matte or satin finish; shimmer is best saved for the lid.

Try: ULTA Crease Brush ($10), Urban Decay Good Karma Crease Brush ($26), Sonia Kashuk Large Crease Brush ($5.99)


Blending Brush: Blending is so crucial to a beautiful eye look. Without flawless blending, your entire look can appear streaky and off-putting. It’s all about making sure the different shadows blend seamlessly together for a cohesive look. When you’re applying shadow, go in with a blending blush after every color you pack on. To prevent muddiness, wipe the brush on a tissue to get rid of excess shadow after every color you blend.

Try: Sephora Classic Blending Brush ($11), MAC 217 Blending Brush ($25), BH Cosmetics Blending Brush ($3.50)

It’s so important to take care of and clean your brushes. To learn how to do it right, CLICK HERE!


Angled Shadow Brush: Essentially a shader brush with an angle, this brush gives you for more control when placing shadows on your eyes. It’s great for applying shadow on your lid, up to your crease. It’s also ideal for applying darker colors into the outer V corner of your eye – it allows for maximum precision.

Try: Lancome Angle Shadow Brush ($27.50), theBalm Shadow Brush ($8), Luxie Beauty Medium Angled Shading Eye Brush ($12)


Pencil Brush: A pencil brush can be used for both smudging and precise placement of shadows. I love to use it to highlight the inner corner of my eyes. Use it on the inner corner, in your crease, under your lower lash line or anywhere you want very specific application. When you’re doing a smoky eye, use a pencil brush to blend out your kohl liner for a lived-in look.

Try: Morphe Precision Pencil Crease ($4.99), Bdellium Tools Pencil Brush ($7.65), Makeup Geek Pencil Brush ($8.50)


Bent Liner Brush: If you love tightlining or getting as close to your lash line as possible, this brush will be your new best friend. It can get into areas most liner brushes can’t, and it’s perfect for applying gel or liquid liner. The bend in the brush handle gives you more control and allows for more accuracy.

Try: Sephora Bent Liner Brush ($17), Make Up For Ever Bent Eyeliner Brush ($24), Coastal Scents Classic Bent Liner ($1.95)


Small Angled Brush: The small angled brush is the best for applying gel eyeliner and creating a wing. The angle makes it really simple to get a smooth and clean finish. You can also use this brush to fill in your brows with either powder or pomade. You can also use a flat liner brush, like the Sigma E15, but I find that the angled tip is more multi-purpose and is better for drawing a wing.

Try: ELF Angled Eyeliner Brush ($3), Japonesque Professional Angled Eyeliner Brush ($15), ULTA Angled Eye Liner Brush ($10)


Smudge Brush: If you want to create a smoky eye, you need a smudge brush in your collection. I use it solely for smoking out my lower lash line – it’s the perfect finishing touch to any smoky look. Since the bristles are so dense and short, you can blend out the shadow without removing any of the product. You can also use it to blend out liner.

Try: Jane Iredale Smudge Brush ($14.50), Sigma E21 ($14), Charlotte Tilbury Eye Smudger Brush ($34)


Spoolie Brush: No eye look is complete until a sweep of a spoolie. After you fill in your brows, brush over it with a spoolie to ensure there are no harsh lines and your brows look full, yet natural. You can also run a spoolie over your lashes after you apply mascara to get rid of any clumps.

Try: Anastasia Brow Wiz (It’s a brow pencil, but there’s a great spoolie at the end of the brush! $21), Sonia Kashuk Spoolie Brush ($1.99), Pixi Beauty Lash & Brow Brush ($8)


Mascara Comb: The mascara comb is a brush that features both a brush and comb for tidying up your brows and lashes. You don’t necessarily need this if you have a spoolie, but I find it works better for separating lashes. Use the brush side to groom your brows, and then comb through mascaraed lashes to separate any clumps.

Try: EcoTools Bamboo Lash and Brow Groomer ($3.99), Real Techniques Lash/Brow Groomer ($5.99), Vincent Longo Brow/Lash Comb ($10)

Do you have all of these brushes in your collection? Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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