“Do I need to get good makeup brushes?”… “Aren’t they really expensive?” These questions are two of the most frequently asked makeup-related questions I get! Yes is the answer to the first question. No is the answer (and the good news) to the second question! Keep reading, I’m here to help.
Back in the day before I seriously got into makeup I owned one makeup brush. I could never work out why my eyeshadow never looked like pictures in makeup adverts. I figured either I was doing something wrong, or the photo had been significantly airbrushed.
I’ve since discovered something: You know the little eyeshadow applicator with the sponge tip ends that comes with most eyeshadows? Yeah, well, that’s good for patting eyeshadow on the eyelid or under the brow bone – and that’s about it! For the rest of your eye makeup application, you need brushes ladies: Brushes.
I now own a lot of eye makeup brushes (and I’ll keep buying more as, frankly, I’m addicted). Some of my brushes have cost me a small fortune (MAC, I’m talking to you!) but actually, my some of my favourite brushes are my inexpensive brushes and are the ones I reach for the most. The trick is knowing which eyeshadow brush performs each purpose, as they all have their unique uses! (That said, big shout out to MAC’s 219 pencil brush: This is going to the grave with me).
So, here’s the down-low on eye makeup brushes, including the brushes I reckon are essential ‘must haves’ to pull off a smoking hot eye, as well as a quick rundown on what they each do – as they all have different jobs! I’ll also give you a heads up of a starter brush set I think is fabulous and a quiet heads-up on where you can buy it from without remortgaging your home!
Base eyeshadow brush: This brush is for placing a base of colour onto your eyelids. (Tip: If you clean it off, you can also use it to highlight your brow bone area)
Crease/Blending brush: For applying your colour to the crease of your eye (literally in the fold that appears when you open your eye). If you find the right brush, you can also clean the brush off on a tissue and use the same brush to blend the top edge of the eyeshadow to get rid of any harsh lines (good eyeshadow seamlessly transitions from your lid up towards your browbone).
Detail/Accent brush: Necessary for smudging eyeliner, applying eyeshadow under your lower lash line, or applying an illuminating sparkly eyeshadow to your inner eye corner (which is an instant eye brightener and one of my all-time favourite makeup tricks for faking a good night’s sleep).
Angle brush: Great for applying eyeshadow as eyeliner along your lashline, but this brush can also double up and be used to fill in and define your eyebrows (yes, I’m still bleating on about that. Check out this blog post). I own several of these brushes, so that I have one dedicated to applying gel eyeliner (including winged out eyeliner/cat eyes), another for applying eyeshadow along my lashline and, of course, one for applying powder to my brows.
Drum roll please…. Based on price and quality I’d go for the Starter Set from Real Techniques. Designed by Pro Makeup artist and YouTube beauty Guru Samantha Chapman (and one of my heroines), this starter set has all of the brushes mentioned above. I like this set so much, I have two of them! Lots of makeup artists have these in their kits, I certainly use them when I’m doing makeup on lovely ladies.
The brushes are plush and soft on your oh-so-delicate eye area, have synthetic bristles (easy to clean) and are 100% cruelty free (Bambi, we love you). Best of all, they’ll help you to apply a smoking hot eye!
I do want to point out that the eyeliner brush isn’t my favourite, but it does the job well enough, and also that I reckon the angled brush is best used for brow definition only, it’s not the best brush for applying eyeliner. That aside, the brushes are great and I use them all the time. I particularly love the Deluxe Crease Brush – which I use to apply and blend out concealer, e.g. under my eyes (so it gets in all those fine lines!) and on blemishes too. Of course, it’s great just as a crease brush too (the purpose for which it’s intended).
Where to buy them: I paid NZ$50 from my set which I reckon is a pretty good deal for five brushes. However, at the risk of annoying local retailers I’m going to let you into a secret: You can get this exact starter set from http://www.iherb.com for US$17.99 + US$8 shipping (approx NZ$32 at today’s exchange rate). That’s $6.40 per brush (including the shipping). Bargain! Timeframe for delivery: 1 week. Astonishing, I know!
So, if you want to step-up with your eyeshadow application and pull off a smoking hot eye, buy some eye makeup brushes. You won’t regret it!