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The Best Eyeshadow Brushes

Clare Holden
Written by Clare Holden

Finding your perfect eyeshadow palette only gets you halfway to achieving your dream eyeshadow look. Having the correct tools in your makeup bag is essential if you want to create smokey eyes, smudged shimmery creases and colorful liners.

With so many options available, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly which brushes you need. Whether you are just starting to experiment with eyeshadow and need an entire set or are looking to invest in one key brush, we have created this list of the best makeup brushes which has an option for every budget, use and look.

Check out the picks below which include makeup artist recommendations, drugstore favorites and eco-friendly options, among others.

The 15 Best Eyeshadow Brushes

Finding the Best Eyeshadow Brushes

Making sure you have the right tools to apply your eyeshadow with is an essential part of achieving the perfect eye look. Unlike cosmetics, your makeup brushes are an investment that should last you years. This is why you need to be informed when deciding which and how many you need.

Whether you are in the market for a full set, one brush for a specific purpose or just need a dual-ended option for when you are traveling, we have compiled a compact guide to help you choose the right tools to create everything from smokey eyes, winged liners to shaded creases.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Eyeshadow Brushes

Use

Each eyeshadow brush has a different purpose. Using separate brushes for placement and blending will help you achieve a cleaner look. It will also prevent shadows from falling down on your face and messing up your foundation.

Brand

If you are looking to invest, MAC and Make Up For Ever are firm favorites of makeup artists due to their high-quality design and how long they last. If you are looking for a more affordable option, e.l.f and NYX are also great choices.

Shape

Flat brushes are ideal for color placement, tapered brushes are perfect for blending, while angled brushes make great liners. Dual-ended brushes are the best way to save on space and streamline your application.

Care

Keeping your makeup brushes clean is essential not only to ensure the longevity of your brushes but also to avoid eye infections. The good news is that you can clean them using a tiny amount of gentle soap or shampoo.

Price

Eyeshadow brushes are an investment, and if chosen correctly, should be in your makeup bag for a long time. If you have an everyday look, it can be worth spending a little bit more on a specific brush which will make it easier to apply your makeup and save you time daily.

What are the Different Types of Best Eyeshadow Brushes?

Placement

The first step in any eyeshadow application is the color placement. A flat sided brush is best to precisely place your shade on the chosen area. Don’t overload the brush with product, you can always build up the color as you go if it’s too light at first.

Blender

Blender brushes come in once the shadow has been placed. A blender brush is essential to blur harsh color lines and ensure your makeup gradually fades out for a more natural appearance.

Angle

Angle brushes have small tighter tips and are often the best choice when applying a shadow close to the lash line. They work extremely well for eyeliners and creating winged looks.

1

Best Overall: MAC 217S Synthetic Blending Brush

Pros

  • Hand sculpted
  • Long-lasting
  • Super soft bristles

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Might not work so well for shadow placement

Every makeup artist has one of these blending brushes by MAC in their kit. I bought mine over 15 years ago and it is still going strong — despite being used over and over again. Not only are the bristles extra soft and perfect for blending, the handle is durable and built to last.

If you were to own only one eyeshadow brush, it would have to be this one. It can be used for both cream and powder shadows, and the tightly packed hairs evenly blend out shades for a soft and professional looking finish.

2

Best for Blending: NYX Professional Pro Blending Brush

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Multi-use

Cons

  • Not great for placement
  • The white bristles stain more easily

NYX is famed for its professional-grade makeup products at drugstore prices, and their collection of brushes provides the same high quality standards at an affordable price point. There is nothing worse than eyeshadow with harsh lines, and this brush is the perfect tool to ensure your smokey eye always appears soft and well-blended.

This brush works to blur colors on the lid, across the crease and under the eye, and can be used with liquid, cream or powder shadows.

3

Best for Placement: Makeup by Mario EF 1 Makeup Brush

Pros

  • Dual-ended
  • Feels super soft
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • White handle can get dirty quickly
  • Not as widely available

Kim Kardashian’s favorite makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic has developed the ultimate eyeshadow tool with his double-ended EF1 brush. Create an entire eye look using just this brush, which enables you to place, set and blend your shadows seamlessly.

The soft bristles are securely housed in a sturdy birchwood handle which makes them extra durable and a good investment for anyone who likes to keep a minimalist makeup bag or needs one multi-functional brush when on-the-go.

4

Best Budget: e.l.f. Blending Eye Brush

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Cruelty-free
  • Suitable for all skin types

Cons

  • Some may prefer a dark handle
  • Might not work for color placement

Coming in at just $1, you can’t go wrong picking up one of these eyeshadow brushes. E.l.f was founded on the principle of making beauty products accessible to everyone, and their range of brushes has all the tools you need to apply your makeup and achieve a sleek finish.

This blending brush is the standout of the collection and is the perfect option for eyeshadow lovers who are on a budget, as it effectively softens harsh color lines and sets products.

5

Best Drugstore: EcoTools Daily Defined Eye Makeup Brush Kit

Pros

  • Includes 6 brushes
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Great value

Cons

  • Brushes can’t be bought individually
  • Sometimes sells out

This six-piece environmentally-friendly brush set from EcoTools contains everything you need and more to create a multitude of eye looks from a light smokey eye to a more dramatic winged shadow.

The set comes housed in an aluminum box, and the handles are crafted from renewable bamboo — all for just under $5.

6

Best Splurge: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Plush Eyeshadow Brush 240

Pros

  • High quality
  • Super soft
  • Gorgeous pink color

Cons

  • Sometimes sells out
  • Some may prefer a more tapered shape

From gold shimmering eyes to matte fluorescent lids, Rihanna has launched dozens of eyeshadow trends over the years. Her brand Fenty has come up with this fabulous pink all rounder eyeshadow brush that can be used for both color placement and blending.

The luxury bristles evenly distribute shadow across the lids and then softly fade out the shades to eliminate harsh lines — all without irritating the eyes.

7

Best Set: Sephora Collection Essential Eye Makeup Brush Set

Pros

  • Includes 5 brushes
  • Great value
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Only available in black
  • Doesn’t come with bag

If you are serious about your eye makeup, sometimes one brush just isn’t enough to create the eye looks you desire. This set from Sephora has all the essentials you need to take your smokey eyes to the next level.

Containing two shadow brushes, a crease brush and a blender, it even includes a brow brush to complete your makeup and ensure your face is perfectly framed.

8

Best Affordable Set: Real Techniques Eye Shade & Blend Makeup Brush Trio

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Cruelty-free
  • Can be used with cream or powder

Cons

  • Not everyone may like the color
  • Doesn’t come with a bag

This brush set from Real Techniques is a bestselling option with rave reviews, proving you don’t have to spend a fortune to achieve well-applied eyeshadow. In addition to a base shadow and crease brush, it has a spoolie for brows and an angled brush that can be used for liner.

We also love how the metallic pink handles brighten up our makeup bag and how easy they are to clean.

9

Best Multi-Use: Merit Brush No. 2 Double Sided Eyeshadow Brush

Pros

  • Multi-functional
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Not as widely available
  • Slightly more expensive

Streamline your application process with this sleek dual ended brush from Merit. The bigger brush works like a dream to place color across the lid, as its fluffy bristles diffuse shades evenly to avoid patchy looking eyeshadow.

The thinner, tapered end is perfect for along the lash line making it the best choice for anyone who likes to keep their eyes lined with color — whether it be with a classic black or something more vibrant.

10

Best for Crease: Sigma Beauty E38 Diffused Crease Brush

Pros

  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • High quality
  • Makeup artist-approved

Cons

  • Not as widely available
  • Only comes in black

Sigma brushes are a favorite among beauty insiders, with many makeup artists even declaring them as the best in the business. Their E38 brush is an essential for anyone who likes to add definition to their eyes by applying shadow in their crease.

The super soft bristles were designed not to cause irritation and shaped to mold to your eye socket for a mess-free application.

11

Best for Smokey Eyes: e.l.f. Smoky Eye Brush Kit

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Contains 5 brushes
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Not everyone may like the silver handles
  • Doesn’t come with a holder

A good smokey eye is probably one of the most universally flattering makeup looks ever. Whether you like to keep it timeless with a mix of matte browns or experiment with shimmery tones, having one of these kits from e.l.f on hand will help you achieve a flawless finish.

All the brushes were designed to cover each step of the smokey eye application process — from placement, blending, lining and smudging.

12

Best for Cream Shadows: wet n wild Eyeshadow Brush

Pros

  • Great price
  • Curved bristles
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Only available in white
  • Light colored bristle stain more easily

This brush from wet n wild is perfect for cream shadows, as the curved bristles make it effortless to place color and glide seamlessly along the lid. The comfort-fit handle is ideal if you don’t have such a steady hand as it is easier to hold.

If you are looking to achieve a more precise eye look, this brush will help you keep your makeup looking clean. It also costs less than $1, making it one of our favorite beauty bargains ever.

13

Best Value: BS-MALL Makeup Brush Set 18 Pieces

Pros

  • Contains 18 brushes
  • Great value
  • Comes with holder

Cons

  • May be too many brushes for some
  • Handles are slightly longer

If you are looking to really up your makeup game, then it might be worth looking into investing in a full brush set. This bestselling kit from BS-Mall comes neatly packed in a cylinder holder and provides you with every tool you could ever need to apply makeup.

This set ensures that not only is your eyeshadow flawlessly applied but that your contour, base, lips and cheeks are too.

14

Best for Sensitive Eyes: EcoTools Eye Enhancing Duo Makeup Brush Kit

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Multiple application options
  • Great price

Cons

  • Not everyone may like the natural color
  • Doesn’t come with holder

Those with sensitive eyes may have long sworn off eyeshadow due to how irritating it can be. The super soft bristles on these brushes make for a gentler application which reduces the chances of causing redness and tears.

This set contains two dual-ended brushes which means that you get four brushes for just under $6 — making it a great value, providing you with options to define, smudge, blend and shade.

15

Best for Lash Line: Make Up For Ever 250 Extra Fine Eyeliner Brush

Pros

  • Extra fine tip
  • High-quality materials

Cons

  • Sometimes sells out
  • Only available in one color option

This brush has one of the finest tips available on the market, making it the ideal option for applying liner or shadow along the lash line. If you are looking to get as tight as possible to the lashes, then this is the brush you need to create a clean looking finish.

As with all Make Up For Ever products, this brush is of the highest quality and feels durable. The sturdier handle also means you can get a better grip and achieve that all important precise finish.

People Also Ask

  • Q: How many eyeshadow brushes do I need?

    A:This completely depends on the complexity of your eye look. Sets are a great way to ensure you have every brush you need, or if you like to keep a minimalist makeup bag, investing in one good brush may be enough.

  • Q: How do I keep my eyeshadow brushes clean?

    A:It is recommended that you clean your brushes at least once per week. Not only does it prevent dirt and bacteria from building up, but it will also give your overall eye makeup a cleaner finish.

  • Q: How much should I spend on eyeshadow brushes?

    A:If you are not sure how often you will use them, try out some more affordable options first then invest in more expensive options once you have figured out which type you use more.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

Clare Holden

By Clare Holden

Beauty and style writer Clare has been a fan of makeup and fashion ever since she was a child. While studying for her degree in Journalism and Communications, Clare worked part-time on cosmetic counters. After graduating she went back and trained as a makeup artist after falling in love with beauty and skincare. She now splits her time between writing about all things makeup and running her own womenswear brand White Night.
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