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- You only need a few staple eyeshadow brushes to experiment with fun looks.
- The IT Cosmetics Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105 is the best eyeshadow brush because it’s a multitasker that applies and diffuses shadow for a seamless finish.
I strongly believe that you only really need a few eyeshadow brushes to get a variety of looks going. There are all sorts of wild brush shapes out there and you’re free to experiment with them, but unless you’re a makeup artist, the basics should do you just fine.
My daily essentials are as follows: A fluffy tapered brush to blend out edges, a flat brush for packing color on the lid, and a pencil brush for detail work. Sometimes I grab a shorter fluffy brush to diffuse matte shadows across the entire lid. But really, that’s it!
For a long time I felt compelled to test-drive every unique eye brush that hit my desk, but eventually I realized I was complicating things unnecessarily. Even the most adventurous among us have an eyeshadow formula of sorts that we gravitate toward on a regular basis, and mine doesn’t require more than two or three brushes at a time.
Here are the best eyeshadow brushes you can buy:
- Best eyeshadow overall: IT Cosmetics Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105
- Best pencil eyeshadow brush: Sigma Beauty E30 Pencil Brush
- Best shader eyeshadow brush: Sigma Beauty E55 Eye Shading Brush
- Best drugstore eyeshadow brush: E.l.f. Crease Brush
- Best smudge eyeshadow brush: Sephora Collection PRO Smudge Brush #11
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best eyeshadow brush overall
Why you’ll love it: The IT Cosmetics Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105 gives you a seamless blend, making even the brightest eyeshadows seem like a natural part of your face.
IT Cosmetics makes some of my favorite brushes for eyes and face, and the Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105 is the best of all. I use my IT Cosmetics crease brush for everything — applying neutral transition shades, defining the outer edge of my eye socket, and blending it all together.
While it’s primarily designed as a blending brush for the dip of your eye socket, I find that this brush is a true multitasker. The bristles are incredibly soft and, though the brush comes to a slight taper, it’s wide enough to give you a wash of diffused color. I use it to blend out the edges of powder, cream, and liquid shadows.
I’ve used the heck out of this brush for several years now and it’s just barely starting to shed. Exclusive to Ulta, it has a 4.7 rating based on 349 reviews.
One shopper writes, “This brush is fabulous! I don’t know how I’ve managed without it. The quality is on part with some higher end brushes I have. This brush is soft/fluffy enough to use for a streamlined and more broadly blended look. I have one that’s shorter and more dense that is less versatile.”
Pros: Fluffy crease brush, blends variety of shadow formulas, synthetic bristles
Cons: Bristles are easily stained
The best eyeshadow pencil brush
Why you’ll love it: The Sigma E30 Pencil Brush has a tiny, gently pointed shape that makes detail work a total breeze.
A pencil brush like the Sigma E30 might seem like a non-essential, but it has the perfect shape to get into hard-to-reach areas. I use mine to highlight the tear duct or to apply shadow to my lower lash line. You can also use it to blend pencil, cream, or gel eyeliners along the top lid.
The bristles are made of SigmaTech fibers “synthetically engineered to outperform traditional animal hair” and designed to seamlessly apply powder and cream formulas. The bristles are also hypoallergenic and antimicrobial — you still need to wash them, though. As an added touch, the wooden handle is scratch-resistant. Mine has stayed in pitch-perfect condition over the past couple of years.
“This brush is so good for many parts of eyeshadow including: smudging upper or lower lashline, precision application of shadow on the outer corner (deepening a crease/outer-v), highlighting the inner corner of the eye, smudging eyeliner … just a nice brush to have on hand! I have a pencil brush from a cheaper brand on hand but the sigma brush has a better brush head to do all of the above,” writes one shopper.
Pros: Antimicrobial and hypoallergenic, sturdy bristles, good for detail work, scratch-proof handle
The best eyeshadow shader brush
Why you’ll love it: The Sigma E55 Eye Shader Brush is a short, dense brush that packs shimmer or dark colors onto the lid.
Another Sigma brush that has earned a spot in my regular rotation is the E55 Eye Shader Brush. The bristles are short and dense to help distribute high-impact color. I use this brush primarily to apply shimmers or darker matte colors all over my lid. It’s great for precise application.
The tightly-packed bristles helps you build up shadows to their fullest pigmentation, so they read similarly on the eye to how they look in the pan. Made with SigmaTech fibers, this brush is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. I notice that the bristles don’t hold on to shadows or get stained as easily as other brushes in my collection.
“Great brush and quality product, perfect for placing single shade on eyelid. Would recommend this brand,” writes one shopper.
Pros: Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, scratch-resistant handle, rounded edges allow for easy blending
Cons: Doesn’t pick up cream shadows as well as powders
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