Eye makeup may be one of the trickiest cosmetics to apply and it certainly helps when you have the right tools at hand. I honestly never knew the importance of makeup brushes until I started working. As a student, I used to just dab on stuff with my fingers and call it a day. That was many, many moons ago.
Today, I will take you through several of my current favourite eye brushes.
From left to right:
1. Stila Brush #15 (Double-Sided Crease & Liner Brush)
This is one of my older brushes and I got it when Stila was available locally. I normally use the tapered end to create a "v" on the outer corner of my eye. It can double up as a liner brush by either using it damp or dry to smudge along the upper and lower lash line. The flat or paddle head is mostly used to lay colours on certain parts of my lid or to apply an allover wash. I like to take this along when I travel because it is essentially two brushes in one. Just remember to keep the little round plastic sleeve if you plan to store it upright because you wouldn't want one end to get smooshed.
2. MAC 213SE (Fluff Brush)
I cannot remember which limited edition set I got this brush from. I like using this to apply an allover shade across the lid. It is soft and feels really nice. The head is quite dense so you can also use this to pack on eyeshadows.
3. MAC 239 (Eye Shader Brush)
I think this is one of MAC's bestseller brushes and rightly so. It has a dense, rounded head and is perfect for patting on colours in specific areas of the lid. I also use this to smudge darker shades along my upper and lower lash line. I have a few eyeshadows with poor colour pay-off and this brush allows me to build the colours more intensely. The fibers are fine but dense. You can also use this with emollient or cream-based products.
4. MAC 217 (Blending Brush)
This is an all-rounder brush that can be used to pat on colours or to blend. You can probably complete a whole look with this brush alone. Like the MAC 239, it can be used with cream-based products. You can use it damp to pick up pigment powders as well. The bristles are firm and can get a little scratchy but I have no complaints otherwise.
5. MAC 219 (Pencil Brush)
I use this to smudge or blend dark shades on my upper and lower lash line. The tip is pointed and it allows more precise application. It can be scratchy if used directly on the waterline so I wouldn't recommend it for that purpose. I also use this to highlight the inner corner of my eye with a pearly or shimmery pale shade.
6. Urban Decay 24/7 Brush (Shadow Pencil Blending Brush)
This is a recent purchase and it's already one of my favourites. It is designed to be used with UD's 24/7 Shadow Liners but I find it to be the perfect brush to smudge or blend any eyeliner. It is soft yet stiff enough to feather out colours. The synthetic fibers are made from PET (recycled plastic bottles). I like the fat purple handle too because it is less boring than the usual black.
7. Laura Mercier Pony Tail Brush (Blender Brush)
This brush is very soft and feels incredibly nice on the eye. I use it to blend, blend and blend. It doesn't matter if you use circular or wiping motions as it works beautifully with any type of blending you do. I use this to apply a wash of colour over the eyelid quite often and also to highlight below the brow. This is another brush I'd bring along when travelling. This brush is 3 years old and it still looks good.
8. T. LeClerc Brush #5 (Large Crease Brush)
I have had this brush for nearly ten years and it still looks new! It is my favourite blending brush because the hairs are super soft and it fits into my crease perfectly. Besides blending, I can use it to lay on colours, highlight and swipe. I also like the fact that it's held up well over the years and I don't think I've seen this thing shed before.
9. NARS Brush (Angled Eye Shader)
This is a recent acquisition and is a really lovely brush. The fibers are made from pony hair and are very soft. I use this to shade the crease area and to line my upper or lower lash line. It can also be used as a highlighter around the inner corner of the eye. Creating smoky looks with the brush is quite simple too.
10. Shu Uumura 6oB (Natural Badger Angled Brush)
I use this as an eyebrow brush and it is quite precisely angled for that purpose. The bristles are firm but not scratchy. I use it with a powder colour to fill in and define my eyebrows. It can also be used to smudge harsh pencil brow liners to create a more natural look.
11. Inglot 30T (Bent Eyeliner Brush)
This is one of the best brushes for gel liners. The bent edge lets me see my eye better so I can draw a more precise line closer to my lashes. The tip is fine and pointed so creating a wing or flick at the end is fairly easy. You can go as thick or thin as you want with this brush.
12. MAC 209SE (Eye Liner Brush)
I have waxed lyrical about this brush before and I absolutely love using gel liners with it. It is quite an idiot-proof brush and I think it would be suitable for newbies to eyelining. The fibers are firm enough but do not feel hard or uncomfortable. I could never use gel liners until I discovered this and I have actually improved in applying eyeliners all thanks to this little brush. You can use it with liquid or ink liners that come in a pot. I have even used it damp with powder eyeshadows to intensify the colour and to draw along the lash line.
Acquiring good brushes can get expensive but if you care for them well, they will last a long time. Over the past thirteen years or so, I have collected a number of wonderful brushes as well as duds. My recommendation would be to try them out in person. But if you are not able to, do your research and read reviews because there are resources online that can help you make a decision. These days, there are many fantastic and affordable options out there so it's not necessary to plonk money down on expensive brushes. Just look around and shop wisely :-)