There are three major eye makeup areas: lid, crease, and liner, so why are there so many different brushes? No two brushes are alike and each tool serves a purpose when it comes to applying your eye look whether it’s a sultry smoky eye, or dramatic winged liner. Investing in a collection is the simple part of the equation, but figuring out how and where to use each brush on your eye can be head scratching to say the least. Luckily, New York-based hair and makeup artist Abraham Sprinkle demystified every eye makeup brush you could possibly need in your collection. Scroll through for our complete eye makeup brush guide, including our favorite shopping pick for each brush type.
1. Eyeshadow Fluff Brush
New to brushes? Consider the fluff the one eye makeup brush you need to start your kit. “The fluff brush is a beginner’s staple for their kit. Not only is it good for applying all-over color, it’s also amazing for blending out a line,” explains Sprinkle. Hourglass’ Nº 3 All Over Shadow Brush wide width makes it easy for novices to sweep color across the entire lid.
Hourglass | $32
2. Blending Brush
A blending brush isn’t just for your eyes only. Along with living up to its name by smoothing and diffusing shadow lines, Sprinkle says this multi-use tool such as Bobbi Brown’s Eye Blender Brush is also amazing for targeting foundation spots and blending them out for an even, natural finish.
Bobbi Brown | $34
3. Angled Eyehadow Brush
If you’re after a perfect eye makeup look, Sprinkle suggests using an angled brush such as Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Angled Eye Brush because it allows for precise application and the shadows’ colors concentrated.
Giorgio Armani | $50
4. Smudge Brush
Consider the smudge brush the smoky eye’s best friend. This rounded head brush such as Charlotte Tilbury Eye Smudger Brush, can be used to “transition one color to the next,” says Sprinkle.
Charlotte Tilbury | $34
5. Pencil Brush
If you love powder eyeliner, Sprinkle suggests making a pencil brush like Dolce & Gabbana Beauty Pencil Brush as your go-to tool. This brush’s neat shape allows you to draw precise lines with control, and works especially well on the outer corners of the eye when creating a cat-flick.
Dolce & Gabbana | $27
6. Crease Brush
“A Crease brush helps soften crease color without diffusing the tone,” explains Sprinkle. Use a brush such as Sephora Collection PRO Featherweight Crease Brush #38 in a windshield wiper motion to blur the outer edges of the crease.
Sephora Collection | $22
7. Flat-Tipped Liner brush
This brush’s flat top and thin bristles make it ideal for drawing on a heavier line using any eyeliner formula. A flat tipped brush such as Sigma Beauty Flat Definer Brush – E15 “lays the product heavier than swiping with a classic liner brush,” says Sprinkle. “I also love a flat tipped liner brush for creating a heavy line or using glitter or metallic liners.”
Sigma | $14
8. Slanted Liner Brush
The secret to dramatic winged liner: a slanted liner brush such as Urban Decay ‘Good Karma’ Liner Brush. Sprinkle says that brush’s flat angled bristles makes it ideal for creating thin, thick, or graduated lines weather you’re using eyeshadow or a gel liner.
Urban Decay | $26
9. Bent Liner Brush
Applying liner or shadow to the inner corners of the eye can be tough to master. “This area can be tricky if you approach a wrong angle,” explains Sprinkle. An angled liner brush such as Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush makes applying shadow or liner on an exact spot easy.
Laura Mercier | $22
10. Mascara Fan Brush
Yes, there’s even multiple brushes for mascara other than the wand that comes with the tube. A mascara fan brush like M.A.C 205 Mascara Fan Brush allows for more precise, even coverage on your lashes. “This brush is a must for precise mascara application. Especially if you’re using false individuals lashes,” says Sprinkle.
MAC | $20
11. Spoolie Brush
An often overlooked tool, a spoolie brush such as Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Spoolie Brush – N 127 helps tame brows and set them in place.
Sonia Kashuk | $2
12. Mascara Comb
This brush such as e.l.f.’s Studio Lash & Brow Comb does double-duty by removing annoying mascara clumps and or excess product from the ends of lashes.
E.L.F. | $3