Eye Brushes Guide

Jul 22, 2019 | Eyes, Tools & Brushes

ARE YOU STRUGGLING with how to use your EYE makeup brushes?
WHY are there so many options?

I’m here to clear up any confusion so you can become a pro with eye makeup brushes.

Unless you’re a makeup artist or have watched some YouTube tutorials, using makeup brushes can be a bit overwhelming. There are tons of them out there, and they come in different bristle shapes and density. I made this eye brushes guide so you can refer to whenever you need confidence using your eye brushes. I am going to refer to specific brushes that I personally used but you are free to use any other brands as long as the brushes are similar in shape and function to the ones I mention here.

So how do you know what each brush does?


Eye Brushes Guide Basics:

Even if you’re not a professional makeup artist, if you use high-quality brushes and products, your application will be better, because you’re only going to be as good as the tools you will be using to apply your products.

It’ll be worth it. After all, your brushes can last for years.


Application and Placement

The beauty of brush application is when you use the brush you don’t need too much product. For brushes, less is more – whether it’s foundation, blush, or eyeshadow.

Consider using light pressure, and this is achieved when you put your fingers on the center of the handle. This will ensure an evenly applied color and a more natural look in the end.


Two Universal Looks

I’ll give you the building blocks of basic eye brushes to use for two popular eye looks and how to use the brushes for each look, but the only thing that’s going to make you good at it is practice, and a good time to practice is definitely not before you rush to work. You need to dedicate some of your spare time for practicing and learning what you’re doing. You will not be perfect overnight. It’s repetition that will matter in the end.

The eye brushes I’m talking about are used on everyone. Mature lids, hooded lids, small lids, big lids, deep-set eyes, no defined crease..etc.

Ok, Let’s talk about the looks we’re trying to make:

The first one is the:


Cat Smokey Eye

Here you basically have a lighter color on the inner part of your eye and then it goes to a darker color on the outer corner of the eye, and you’re primarily using your crease color to create that kind of shape. You’re creating light to dark which is like a cat eye.

The second one is the:


Traditional Smokey Eye

Here your color goes from darkest to lightest. Darkest at the lashline and lightest towards the browbone.

You can do either one of the smokey eyes with any color combination you like and the brushes you need to use are exactly the same, so once you have these brushes there’s not a look you’re not going to be able to master.

Always start up with your CREASE.

Your crease is the most important part of your look. Your UPPERCREASE is the first place you’ll traditionally start with doing your eyeshadow look.

Now that we know our terms, let’s get down to business:


Brush #1:

Brush #1 in your eye brush collection is the fluffiest biggest brush you have. (examples: mac 224, sigma E40).

Dome shape at the tip , fluffy with the most volume of bristles at the base.

Brush #1 goes with Eyeshadow #1


Eyeshadow #1:

Typically the lightest color in your eyelook.

Work your brush into your uppercrease in windshield motion forwards and backwards from side to side. This deposits the color softly because the brush is fluffy and because that is our transition color. We need the rest of our colors to fade into it so you need this color to be the lightest and the highest in your crease. Work on it until it is diffused nicely.

*Pro Tip: Wherever you place the shadow first will ALWAYS be darkest. If you pick different points of origin every time you add more shadow, you will have multiple dark spots throughout your eye look. So for now keep the eyeshadow very light on the uppercrease and start applying from the outer corner.

*Pro Tip: A transition shade means a neutral color that can transition with multiple shades. It is usually matte and is put on the eyelid crease or above it and blended down and up. It’s a shade that you use mainly for blending or the “middle shade” between your darker & lighter shades.


Brush #2:

(sigma E25 / Mac 217..sometimes 286, e45)

Now when you have eyeshadow #1, your lightest color with brush #1, the next brush you’ll use will be a bit smaller than brush #1 along with the second darkest color usually medium tone peach (Eyeshadow #2).

Put it a bit lower on the crease, because you’re creating a gradient effect in your eye. If you go in and apply color #1 ( the lightest) with brush #1 ( the biggest) on your uppercrease and you go with color #2 (the medium tone) with brush #1 (the biggest) as well on the same area (uppercrease), you’re not going to be layering your colors, you’re just going to be building the two colors on top of each other in the same area which will result in showing one color and that does not create any dimension on the eye. You need to go in with a little bit smaller of a brush and with a little bit darker of a color. You can use any fluffy brush to get that next color in your crease, it just needs to be smaller than brush #1.


Brush #3,

you can use anything you want, but I suggest the pencil brush (sigma pencil e30, sigma small tapered e45). Either one will work, it depends on what you’re trying to do, if you’re doing a traditional smokey eye use e45 (because you will use it all the way from the inner corner till the outer corner), but when you’re doing the smokey cat eye where it’s lighter on the inner corner and darker on the outer corner, you really just need to put the depth on the outer corner of the eye so e30 works perfect just to poke the color in there.

Eyeshadow #3 would be even darker than eyeshadow #2 and that would go even lower in your eyelid.

Blending brushes we talked about so far are: e40, e25 or e45, e45 or e30

These brushes are used to apply the product in a wash of color motion on the lid but you’ll need a brush to PACK COLOR on the lid. You can use one of these two shader brushes ( Sigma e55 or MAC 242).

Flat shader brushes Sigma e55, or Mac 242 both work perfectly fine. All you have to do is pack color on the lid. Do not pack the color with a fluffy blending brush. It’s not going to work. It will just fall everywhere and it will take forever to build that color. You won’t like the result!

Not much to be said, just have a flat brush on hand. It is absolutely crucial.

I always recommend highlighting the browbone. There’s no eyeshadow look in the world that’s not going to benefit from a good browbone highlight. So for that I like to use the e46 from sigma, a really flat tiny brush. I can also use this to pack some color in the inner corner to open up the eye and on the browbone.


Lower lashline brushes:

To do your lower lashline always use your pencil brush (brush #3 remember). You can use it to buff out eyeshadow on the lower lashline.

So this lower lashline brush always gets a little bit of color #2 -if you remember the second darkest color, After it gets a little color use it to smoke out your lower lashline. Then go in with more of a precise flat definer brush (mac 212) or sigma flat definer E15. You can use an angle brush to define your lower lashline and get that really dark depth right there.

The angle brush is ideal for someone who is trying to get a multiple uses of one brush. With an angle brush you can darken the lower lashline. You can use it to do eyeliner with your gel liner and you can do your brows with it. So this brush is a really good one stopshop!

We learnt that no matter what eyeshadow look you’re going to make, no matter what colors you’re going to use, no matter what your eye shape is, these things are universal:

Step1: Do you crease, upper crease = lightest color = biggest brush –Sigma E40

Step2: A little bit below in your lower crease with brush#2, second darkest color , blend – Sigma E25 or Sigma E45 or MAC 217

Step3: Move down your eyelid, smaller brush – darker color – pencil brush for cat smokey eye (Sigma E30),

OR Pack color on the eyelid and it has to be completely flat shader for traditional smokey eye (Sigma E55)

We also learnt that:

Step4: Pencil brush can be used to poke some shadow out the outer corner and also to buff out the lashline. – (Sigma E30)

Now you know that you can do your

Step5: Lashline with a flat definer (Sigma E15) or an angle brush (Sigma E75) and buff it out with a pencil brush (Sigma E30).

We also learnt last but not least that:

Step6: To highlight that brow, you can carefully use your flat brush. You just need to be mindful not to take this highlighter color all the way down your lid. Use sigma e46 because it’s easier to control right where you want it and you can use it to bring light to the inner corners of your eyes.

Sometimes you’ll notice some makeup artists using 8 or more eyeshadows for one look but I would say focus now on 3 shades, once you master how you layer your 3 colors you’ll be able to add more colors and create more complicated looks later.

Your basic knowledge of using different sizes of blending brushes and different tones of colors for each part around your eye, together with knowing core eye makeup terminologies like transition colors, crease and uppercrease brings you closer to achieve your desired eye look no matter how many eyeshadows you plan on using. Whenever you feel unsure of how to start just refer to this eye brushes guide and jump in with your first attempt! You may fail to achieve what you want and that’s totally normal! Nobody achieves anything from the first time. After all, those who don’t try, never achieve!

Learn how to use face brushes in this guide to complete the whole look!

Are you ready to build up your beauty arsenal and start using eye brushes in your makeup routine?


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