When it comes to doing eye makeup, the key really is to blend. But with so many sizes and shapes of blending brushes out there, how do you know when to use what kind? And do you really even need every type of blending brush? Well the answer to that second question is no. You don't need every single type of blending brush that has ever existed. But a few wouldn't hurt.
If you're the laid-back, throw-a-color-in-the-crease-and-go kinda gal, you might only need a fluffy or tapered brush. But if you like experimenting with a variety of colors, defined looks like a cut-crease, or blown-out looks like a dramatic smoky eye, you'll probably need a wider variety of tools. And because the brushes you use matter just as much (if not more) than the makeup you use to achieve the looks you imagine, it's important to find quality tools. But remember that "quality" does not necessarily mean "expensive." It just means that the bristles are made from the right material (whether they're sable or synthetic), they don't scratch your skin, and they don't shed. And if you know how to use these seven different types of blending brushes, you'll be able to master any eye look.
While small, dense blending-brushes can work well with powder, they're really great for blending out cream products. Whether applying an eyeshadow base all over the eye, or blending out a shadow-stick, these brushes are amazing for quick applications and blended cream-eyeshadow looks.
Fluffy blending-brushes like this can be used with our without product to seamlessly blend color. Use it with a transition shade for a sheer wash of color in the crease, or go over the edges of your shadow so there are no harsh lines.
Tapered blending brushes like this are a must-have. Just like the fluffy blending brush, they can be used with or without product. However, when using this brush with product, the tapered tip allows one to apply more concentrated color into the crease.
And of course, the smaller the brush, the more concentrated the color-application. This brush is similar to the fluffy, tapered brush above, but its smaller tip allows for even more precision. A blending brush like this one is really great for applying and blending a cut-crease look.
Duo-fibre brushes are typically less-dense at the top (where the white bristles stand out) and more dense toward the base of the bristles (where the black/brown bristles are). This aspect makes them perfect for using without any product to blend out an eye look. Use light pressure around the brow bone to help crease colors seamlessly fade, and use slightly more pressure in the crease to blend multiple colors.
Like the small, tapered brush mentioned above, a brush like this is also good for applying and blending shadows for a cut-crease (or other concentrated) look. However, the shorter bristles make this brush ideal for blending out eyeliner or eyeshadow on the lash-line. For soft winged-eyeliner, try applying eyeshadow in a wing-shape with an angled eyeliner-brush, and then blending out the edges with a petite, tapered blending-brush like this one.
To really make sure there are no harsh, unwanted edges in your eye look, a large, domed blending-brush like this one is perfect. Without any product on the brush, just sweep around the edges of your shadow for a seamlessly-blended look.
The right brushes really do make a difference.
Images: Miki Hayes