OMG! Finally, I have completed my guide to my favorite eyeshadow brushes and how I use them, including links to some of my faves and recommendations for hopefully every budget.
I want this post to be kind of a master list or guide for my tutorials one can reference because I name off types of brushes regularly but fail to show the brushes. This list or post rather, I can link in each tutorial if you were to have questions and it can serve as a stand-alone post as well.
Brushes can make or break a makeup look, you need the right tools to create eye looks. Of course, there are no rules on how you can use the brushes necessarily but some brushes are better at some application for instances and others are more apt for blending. Then there are detailing brushes for those intricate things like liner. Ultimately you can do what works for you as I do. You will see in these post that I use brushes labeled for one thing in a different way. That being said, a little guidance never hurt anyone, especially if you are new to makeup.
I have included quite a few links to sets I have and brushes I use as well as general brand recommendations that I know are good quality and I have used and approve. I feel you can find excellent brushes and a great price point and am always on the hunt for affordable brushes. Brush prices can vary dramatically and in a lot of cases you get what you pay for but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fantastic and affordable brushes. If you take good care of your brushes they can also be a great investment. I can do a separate post all about brush cleaning and care if ya’ll like, let me know below in the comments.
Let’s start roughly in the order in which I would use the brushes.
The Large Fluffy Brushes
Sometimes referred to as Large Eyeshadow Brushes or Large Blending Brushes. The shape can vary but most often oval shaped and fairly dense with long hairs.
- Covers a lot of surface area.
- Great for applying the base shade and setting the lid.
- Can also be used in the transition are in case of a lot of lid space. or really blowing out a shade the eyeshadow.
I tend to use these brushes for setting down my eye primer with powder and\or applying a base shade (an eyeshadow close to your skin tone)
In some cases more often than not on myself, I use one of these brushes as a blending brush for my transition shade. I have a lot of lid space despite having hooded lids and I like to go in with what is basically a transition shade for my transition shade.
My number one brush for this is actually the E.L.F. Concealer Brush. It’s a very large blending brush that can set the lid or blend out eyeshadow. While labeled as a concealer brush, I don’t like it one bit for concealer.
This type of brush is ideal for a wash of color in a large area.
The Blending Brushes
The most important brush in one’s kit.
- Longer brush hairs
- Can be Tapered or Domed.
- Usually pliable, soft and floppy.
Used for application and blending of shadow, especially in the contour of the eye like the crease, socket and transition area. Depending on the brush shape, be it tapered or domed The application will vary. If the brush is tapered it tends to apply the shadow more concentrated yet blended.
Much like the described uses. I use the blending brush in the contour of my socket to lay down a wash of color, usually my transition shade.
Sonia Kashuk makes excellent blending brushes as well as BH Cosmetics.
Medium Blending Brush
- A fluffy blending brush with shorter brush hairs.
- Can be Tapered or Domed, the density may vary.
- Sometimes referred to as a crease brush.
Great for placing pigment and blending out in a more concentrated area.
I use these types of brushes in the outer portion of the eye to pack on pigment softly and to blend gently but keeping the pigmentation where I placed it.
Small Blending Brush
- Light density
- Tend to be tapered
- Usually pliable, soft and floppy.
- A mini brush for the controlled application and blending.
Great for precision blending and for Hooded Lids and Little Lid Space. Also can be used along the lower lash line.
I use these little guys in the outer and/or inner portion of the eyelid and for accurate blending around the outer edges of the shadow in small circular motions.
The Shader Brushes
Angled Shader Brush
Description: A shader brush with hairs cut at an angle.
Uses: Angled brushes can be used to apply eyeshadow, contour the eye and blend on the upper and lower lid. It’s a very versatile brush that can be used for almost everything. Great for quick eyeshadow looks.
My Method: I don’t use these brushes quite as much unless I am doing a quick look because I can get all the key points of a look with one brush.
Flat Shader Brush
Description: Paddle shaped, sometimes angled flat brush.
Uses: Made for even application of powder or emollient products if synthetic like applying concealer, eyeshadow base, eye primers, glitter glues. They are also great for carving out the brow or cutting the lid for a cut crease and packing on pigments and glitter.
I use flat shader brushes for carving out my brows with concealer, laying down glitter primer and cutting the crease. I also use these brush for packing on the pigment over the concealer or glitter primer.
Dense Shader Brush
A firm brush with a slightly round tip.
Packing on pigmentation and subtly blending eyeshadows. Great for blending along the lower lash line as well.
I use these brushes to pack on pigmentation of the lid be it matte or shimmer. I also use it along the lower lash line.
The Detailer Brushes
Description: A pencil-shaped brush for precise shading on the lid, in eye crease or along the lash line.
- Tapered or Domed
- Sometimes referred to as bullet brushes or smudge brushes.
I use these for the outer V to pack on eyeshadow and create depth and along the lower lash line to connect to the upper lid. I also use them to highlight the inner corner or for any detail work.
Fine liner brush, can be angled and in various sizes and shapes.
For lining the eye with liquid, cream eyeliner or eyeshadow. Angled liner brushes can be used to fill in the brow with a pomade or powder.
I used this for lining the eye, I prefer an angled brush and for filling in the brow with powder and/or pomade.
If you are trying to build your kit or like a good value, I would recommend brush sets. I prefer to buy sets myself because usually, the value is good for the price and if you buy from a good brand, you get quality.
Not all brushes from BH Cosmetics are made equal but below are some of my absolute favorites from them.
If you have access to Target, I HIGHLY recommend Sonia Kashuk brushes, She has dead on MAC dupes and fantastic Limited Edition sets for each season. I adore and look forward to her new sets.
I hope this post was helpful. It took quite some time to compile. I wanted to make sure I included as much info as possible and recommendations. If you have any suggestions on makeup brushes or future posts like this please leave them in the comments along with your favorite brushes.
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