4 Must-Have Eyeshadow Brushes For Beginners

By Sarah - Friday, October 06, 2017

4 Must-Have Eyeshadow Brushes For Beginners

Eyeshadow has been my most favourite part of my makeup routine, no doubt. When I first started wearing makeup a long time ago, I remembered thinking that eyeshadow was probably one of the trickiest application to master. However, after practising and trying out various combinations, I realise that it really isn't the case.

Depending on your preference, eyeshadow looks are extremely versatile and can be varied easily with the change of a shade. I realised that over the many looks that I do, the brushes that I tend to use are generally of 4 categories. I wrote an older post on this quite recently (here) which are essentially the same brushes, but I guess a little refresher would do all of us good. I also added a tutorial here to make things easier.

Of course, there are times when eyeshadow brushes are not even necessary. There are many formulations of eyeshadows out in the market, and a simple eyeshadow stick or cream pot would work just fine with the application and blending with a finger. However, if you want to go one step further, there are some brushes that I do think would greatly benefit your eyeshadow application. From a simple smokey cat eye to a halo smokey eye, the brushes (depending on their bristle density, length and shape) really do complete a look.

4 Must-Have Eyeshadow Brushes that are essential for beginners

Specific brushes shown here are just for reference. I will be posting all about my favourite eye brushes soon!


This is the most basic brush and it truly has a myriad of uses. If you're starting out, I do think this brush is a great one to get. Depending on the bristle length and density, the application and deposition of colour would differ (the denser the brush, the more pigmented the application), but overall, this is a multipurpose brush that is worth of investment. I like to use shader brushes to :

  • set the eyelid primer with a cream/flesh toned colour
  • apply a brow bone highlight under the arc of the brow
  • apply the main shade on the mobile eyelid
  • apply a darker shade onto the outer 1/3 of the mobile eyelid

Tapered blending brush

This is the second brush which I feel is a worthwhile investment. A tapered blending brush (think of the infamous MAC 217) is a fluffy brush that has a ferrule which is pressed in in the middle, thus making it tapered. It resembles a fluffy paddle brush, if that helps. This is extremely useful when it comes to blending the shades and getting rid of any harsh lines after application. It provides slightly more control than a fluffy blending brush which I will explain later. I like to use tapered blending brushes to:

  • apply a light transitioned shade to the crease
  • apply a deeper shade into the outer crease to add more definition 
  • blend out the shades on the mobile eyelid or outer V
  • apply a light dusting of eyeshadow onto the lid to give a light wash of colour
  • blend out the shades applied to the lower lash line  

Fluffy blending brush 

This is slightly different from the tapered blending brush mentioned above as it isn't tapered, thus it is fluffy throughout its entire circumference of the ferrule. Depending on the brand, the bristles may be cut in a domed shade to help fit against the orbital bone better. This blends out shadows too, but it just does so in a more diffused way. You have less control over this brush as the bristles cover a larger area on the eyelid. Therefore, the eyeshadows will be more blown out in a sense, and this could be an issue if you do not have a lot of lid space to work with. I like to use fluffy blending brushes to do whatever the tapered blending brush does, but just remember that the result would be that the eyeshadow is applied to a larger surface area on the eyelid (blown-out effect):

  • apply a transitioned shade to the crease 
  • apply a deeper shade into the outer crease to add more definition
  • blend out the shades on the mobile eyelid or outer V
Fluffy blending brush and tapered blending brush difference

Pointed Pencil Brush 

This is a great brush for precision work. If you do not have a lot of eyelid space to work with, this is a handy brush as it gives you the utmost control when it comes to eyeshadow application. This works great for adding deeper shades in specific areas to add definition. I like to use pointed pencil brushes to:

  • apply a darker shade to the outer V of the eyelid (for a smokey cat eye)
  • apply a darker shade to the inner and outer 1/3 of the mobile eyelid (for a halo smokey eye)
  • apply a dark shade to the lash line to add definition without using an eye liner 
  • apply shades to the lower lash line 
  • apply an inner corner highlight 
I will write down some recommendations for these categories in another post as this post is already getting too long!  This also means I have tons of makeup brushes to wash! I will be sure to update here when I do.

I do hope that this was helpful. Generally, I do think that blending brushes are the ones that require the investment (quality really does matter here, or it would just feel like you're scratching your eyelid!). Here's a little mini tutorial featuring all 4 eye brushes! Here I used my Kar Von D MetalMatte palette and it is a really simple look, but the focus is on the brushes used.

1. Setting my eyelid primer with a matte bone shade using a shader brush (Wet N Wild Eyeshadow Brush).

Kat Von D MetalMatte Eyeshadow Tutorial for beginners

2. I applied the shade Fringe into the crease using my fluffy blending brush (Morphe R37) .

Kat Von D MetalMatte Eyeshadow Tutorial for beginners

3. I added a mixture of Oak and Suede and deepened my outer crease using my tapered blending brush (Morphe R39)

Kat Von D MetalMatte Eyeshadow Tutorial for beginners

4. I added Velvet to my outer 1/3 of my mobile eye lid with a pointed pencil brush (this one was from a Jessup Brush Set).

Kat Von D Metal Matte Eyeshadow Tutorial for makeup beginners

6. Blending that dark shade out using a tapered blending brush once again.

simple Kat Von D MetalMatte Eyeshadow Tutorial for beginners

7. I applied Tinsel to the inner 2/3 of the mobile eyelid using a shader brush (Sigma E55).

Kat Von D MetalMatte Eyeshadow Tutorial for beginners

8. Adding in an inner corner highlight with the shade Glitz using the pointed pencil brush.

Kat Von D MetalMatte Eyeshadow Tutorial for beginners

Hope this was useful in some way. There are so many brushes and brands in the market that sometimes, it gets overwhelming and intimidating even. However, take small steps and you will slowly build up your makeup tools collections. Despite the name printed on the brush, there is really a myriad of uses when it comes to a particular brush so don't feel restricted. A blog post on my favourite eyeshadow brushes is in the works so do keep a look out if you're interested!

top 4 essential  Eyeshadow Brushes For Beginners

What are some of your favourite eye brushes? Do share them with me below! 

Till then,


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