Part II: The Eye Makeup Brushes

Part II: The Eye Makeup Brushes

So many makeup brushes, so little time. No, we have time, it’s simply a matter of knowing how to use each brush like a pro. Boom!

Now that we’ve mastered our face makeup brushes, it’s time we’re turning our attention to the eye makeup brushes…yep, it’s a whole new territory. Read on for tips, tricks, and tools from pro and celebrity MUAs for fierce eye makeup. You’ll thank us…

A quick refresher to Makeup Brushes 101: the low-down on natural versus synthetic really just depends on the type of formula being used, natural brushes are better suited for powders (they pick up more product, and coincidently deposit less, giving a wash of color) while synthetic brushes are best for cream and liquid products. The one to use depends on the look you’re going for, so for daytime natural-looking makeup opt for natural brushes and for nighttime smokey eyes, you may want to pull out the synthetic brushes.


There are a few different types of makeup brushes meant for eyeshadow, and they all serve a purpose. No more sponge applicators from our mothers’ old-school compacts.

Flat – This brush looks like a small concealer brush (and can be used to apply concealer too). Considered the “lay down” brush, for applying base shadow colors. This brush will give a more “intense” look says MAC Senior Makeup Artist, Keri Blair, who also says, “When using a flat brush, a useful tip is to use one side of the brush to apply color and the other side to blend and soften. You can also use one brush to apply product, and a clean brush to blend and blur edges.”

Make Up For Ever 226 Medium Eye Shader Brush ($25)
MAC 242 Shader Brush ($25)
MAC 228 Mini Shader Brush ($20)

Domed/Blending – Usually “fluffy” brushes (in multiple sizes) for blending shadow all over the lid. Pro tip from MUA Suzy Gerstein, who’s worked on none other than Christy Turlington: have a clean MAC 217 Blending Brush ($25) on hand when creating smokey eye looks to blend away hard lines.

YSL Eye Blending Brush ($40)
It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe No Tug Dual Eyeshadow Brush #5 ($24)
Make Up For Ever 242 Large Blender Brush ($30)
Real Techniques Eye Shade + Blend Brush Set ($9)
MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush ($25)
MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush ($32)
MAC 221 Mini Tapered Blending Brush ($25)

Contour – AKA the “pencil” brush, this brush is usually a small, densely packed brush that’s meant for shading the creases of the eyelid and applying shadows (cream or powder) near the lash line. Its shape allows it to get into the corners and crease of the eye. Suzy also suggests using this type of brush to blend out eyeliner for a smokey effect.

Kat Von D Shade + Light Eye Contour Brush ($27)
Elf Beautifully Precise Smudge Brush ($5)
Make Up For Ever 216 Medium Precision Eye Blender Brush ($25)
MAC 219 Pencil Brush ($25)

For Brows & Eye Liner

Angled – Ensures precise application of powder, liquids, and gels for fierce eyebrows, but also great for applying powder or gel eyeliner. Make Up For Ever Pro and Media Educator Nicholas Lujan says, “Work the product into the flat sides of the angled brush. Use the sharp edge to ‘stamp’ in color and shape, then stretch and drag the color as desired,” this applies when doing brows or eyeliner. When applying brow gels, Nicholas also suggests “a flick of the wrist with light pressure can create the illusion of feathered individual hairs in the brow.” #Eyebrowsonfleek

Make Up For Ever 172 Precision Corrector Brush ($21)
Chanel Angled Brow Brush #12 ($32)
It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Tightliner 10-in-1 Dual-Ended Brush #13 ($24)
Elf Beautifully Precise Eyebrow Duo Brush ($5)
MAC 266 Small Angle Brush ($20)

Fine-tip – A skinny-tipped brush for applying liquid and gel eyeliner. It’s tiny, pointy shape allows for precise application and perfect winged liner. The smaller the brush, the more control over the product.

Laura Mercier Smoky Eye Liner Brush ($30)
Make Up For Ever 250 Extra Fine Eyeliner Brush ($18)
Elf Beautifully Precise Eyeliner Brush ($5)
MAC 210 Precise Eye Liner Brush ($20)

Remember, keeping brushes clean applies to eye makeup brushes too!

Shop the post for MUA-approved brushes…

Claudia Mercado is a beauty-obsessed writer living in Long Beach, CA.

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