You Need These Brushes To Nail That Smokey Eye

by Miki Hayes

A good makeup look is equal parts what you're applying and how you're applying it. While fingers are great tools, brushes are usually better; especially when going for a more detailed contour or eye look. One look in particular that requires the right brushes is a smokey eye. While an intricate smokey eye might take a number of different brushes to layer on all sorts of colors and dimension, you can actually get away with using just two types in most cases.

That's right. If you're crunched for time or just want a simpler application, all you really need is a shader brush and a blending brush (or two, because while the key to any eye look is blending, it's especially the case when using darker colors). When looking for a shader brush, try something that is thin yet dense at the same time. If you're having trouble finding one, most flat concealer brushes actually work wonderfully to pack on shadow. When looking for a blending brush, it's important to find one that is fluffy while still being the right size and shape to fit your eye. Thinner, more tapered blending brushes will provide more concentrated blending while wider, denser blending brushes will provide more diffused blending. Still unsure? Here are some to try:

For Shading

From left: Make Up For Ever 228 Medium Precision Shader Brush, $25, Sephora; Sephora Collection Classic Perfecting Concealer Brush #20, $9, Sephora; Sonia Kashuk Core Tools Small Eye Shadow Brush No 106, $5, Target

For Blending

From left: NARS Blending Eyeshadow Brush #42, $32, Sephora; Sephora Collection Pro Blending Brush #27, $20, Sephora; IT Brushes For Ulta Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105, $14, Ulta; Sonia Kasuk Core Tools Pointed Blending Brush No 109, $4, Target

What To Do

  1. For a quick and easy smokey eye, start by laying down a dark cream base like a MAC Paint Pot or Maybelline 24HR Color Tattoo.
  2. Using one side of a shader brush, pat on your lid color.
  3. Flip over the shader brush and use the other side to lay down a darker color on the outer corner of the lid.
  4. On a blending brush, run a lighter transition color through the crease.
  5. Using either the same blending brush or a clean one, continue to sweep around the shadows until everything looks perfectly blended.

MAC Paint Pot, $22, Nordstrom; Maybelline 24HR Color Tattoo, $8, Walgreens

Images: Miki Hayes; Courtesy Brands