Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The Hit List

What’s the Best Brush for Blending Eyeshadow you’ve tried?

Share your favorite!  And don’t forget to share why :)

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87 thoughts on “Hit List: Best Brush for Blending Eyeshadow

  1. Barbie

    crown brush pro blending fluff!

  2. I absolutely love MAC 217, it does such a great job of blending and has the perfect shape for the job!

  3. Ellen

    I used to use the Mac 217 for all blending, but then mine started to look a little worn – I clean and condition it every time I use it, so I’d hoped it would survive better than this. Then I got the Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, and never looked back – it’s amazing!


    Those two are my favorites at the moment. They’re VERY affordable (around $3 each), very soft, don’t shed, blend eyeshadows like magic, and most importantly, the tapered brush fits in the crease of my hooded eyes perfectly! Score! 😀

  5. Lauren

    Mac 217. The shape is perfect for the crease and it also can be used to add color for dimension. I also like the little fluffy blush that comes in the ecotools eye kit. It’s the ONLY good brush in the kit and I think it’s labeled “lid” (and useless for actually packing on shadows). The one they label “blending” is actually useless for that purpose. Anyway, I use the little ecotools blush for blending out the edges either clean or with a neutral transition/blending shade. I don’t really use it in the crease, though I probably could.

    • Annika

      I haven’t tried the MAC 217, but I agree with you on the eco tools brush!

    • Tuva

      I agree, the EcoTools eye kit is pretty useless… I use one of the brushes for putting highlighter under my brow, but that’s it.

    • Carla N.

      I find that many of the brushes, such as the MAC 224 and 217, that I use to apply my shadows are used by most people for blending.
      For all-over, post-application blending, I like to use a flat but soft wide synthetic brush, like the blending brush UD sells.

  6. I’m still a fan of 217, or rather my old one. I bought a backup at some point last year, and for some reason it just doesn’t feel the same. I wonder if it takes breaking in, or if MAC changed the brushes secretly. I wanted another 239, but ended up not getting one because that too seemed different from the one I own.

  7. xamyx

    Like with most things in life, I don’t think we can take a “one-size-fits-all” approach for brushes. Not every shadow is created the same, even within brands, so it really is a good idea to have more than one brush to use for blending. Sometimes, even those “cheap” little brushes included in palettes work very well for blending, although they may be useless for application. I never just toss them without at least giving them a few tries, even if I have to “repurpose” them. Also, many shadows just aren’t designed to be blended, so a brush shouldn’t be deemed “bad” just because it doesn’t work well with the shadows used. I have some brushes that work well with some shadows, but it took many tries before I found what brush works for which shadow.

    Also keep in mind the brand; for example, a MAC brush may not play well with a UD shadow, as the formulas are so different, thus the brushes will likely differ greatly. If your shadow stash is UD-heavy, a MAC 217 may not be the first brush you should buy.

  8. Jigisha

    Mac 224. Have 217 also but still reach out for 224 for blending.. :)

  9. No doubt about it: MAC’s 217!

  10. Karla

    I like the Mac 286 and the BH cosmetics blending brush

  11. Charlotte

    Sephora Collections Pro Natural Crease Brush #10. Its very soft and a nice shape..and I got it on clearence! I’ve been using this for blending for months

  12. Danielle

    I like the brush from Bare Escentuals – it’s called the Soft Focus Shadow Brush. It really does the best job at blending, especially for dark colors; I don’t have to sit there for 20 minutes just blending. I really only like the Mac 217 to blend lighter or barely there colors.

  13. Manuela

    The MAC 217 and the Paula Dorf Sheer Crease Brush. Although, since I got the Paula Dorf one, I find myself reaching for that one more. It’s longer and fluffier than the 217 and it basically does all the work for you. Both Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury use them.

  14. missrossre

    Mac 217. Hands down.

  15. Kate

    The Lauren Luke Blending Brush is great for larger areas to blend, and for more precise blending, I like the Ecotools Smudge Eyeliner brush (it’s too big for its intended purpose, but perfect for precision blending in the crease!)

  16. Cynthia G

    I’d say the MAC 217. It is soft and not too big. The soft bristles allow for light feathery blending, if that makes sense.

  17. Heloise

    Real Techniques base shadow brush!

  18. Mouawad

    217 mac but i use evreday the elf blending brush for one eurro :) so great

  19. t_zwiggy

    I like MAC 224. Makes everything smooth and seamless and doesn’t overblend/take away too much color.

    I don’t get the 217 hype at all. It’s the one brush I have that I haven’t found any good use for. I HATE it for blending and it doesn’t work well for applying shadow to the crease or lid.

  20. Mariella

    I’d have to say the MAC 217. I have a 224 but I’ve relegated that to applying concealer as it is excellent for that task. I maybe should buy another one but I like how the 217 works so well and really is multi-purpose.

  21. Julia

    The issue I have is my eye space is really really ridiculously small, so brushes people love like the 217 and 224 are way too big and anytime I try to blend two or more colors I end up with a muddy mess. I was super psyched to try the 226, but it did nothing for me (granted, this is the 226 from mac me over, which apparently was different from the original.) Anyone in my same predicament have any suggestions?

    • daheep

      You might want to try a fluffy-looking Crease or Pencil brush instead. I have an Essence of Beauty Crease brush that my roommate ‘borrows’ constantly. I use it as a crease brush, but she uses it as a blender. She’s Filipina & has a same problem you are describing. As for the brush itself, I bought over ten years ago & the bristles are still soft & full. Hopefully they are still making it with the same quality materials! I think it’s a CVS brand. The one I have has an bamboo-esque handle & I believe purchased it on it’s own & not in a kit.

      If you can’t find that brand, maybe try Posh (Harmon Discount Beauty) or Elf (Target). I figure it’s always easier to get a bunch of different bargain brand brushes, return the ones that don’t work size/style/material-wise, & then upgrade to a higher quality when you finally find the right one. You never know, you might be like me & find a stellar bargain one that doesn’t need upgrading at all!

  22. lilly04

    I use Mac 213, i don´t have 217, think i schould buy it. :)

  23. Bdellium Tools #776 Green Bambu line.

  24. Tuva

    I use MAC 217, it blends nicely and does the job. I also have a dupe from Makeup Mekka, which I got in a magazine. It’s not as nice as 217, but it’s great for adding some shade in the crease.

  25. Kerry Lauder

    I like the Coastal Scents synthetic blender, and their synthetic flat blender. The flat one is great for packing color in the crease & flicking it up. Then I like their fluffy white hair blender or synthetic traditional blender for blending out into my skin, below the brow bone.

  26. The Edward Bess Luxury eye brush. Oh dear, it’s so soft but dense, and so fool proof you could literally use a cannon to slap your eyeshadow on and then make it look flawless with just a couple of swipes of this wonderful brush. It’s really amazing <3

  27. Stephanie TP

    MAC 217!

  28. Veronica

    I use my MAC 217 for everything from blending eyeshadow to blending out concealer. It’s probably the second most used brush in my collection. :)

  29. Lily

    Sigma E45 – SMALL TAPERED BLENDING! not everybody has big eyes. This brush has the right size and amount of brush hair which makes blending super easy!

  30. Jill

    MAC 217 for sure, but not too impressed with the 224. I got a similar brush from Bdellium tools, and it works just the same as the 224 at only $9 compared to MAC’s $28!

  31. MAC 217. Love it so much I own two!

  32. Arianna

    MAC 217. I’ve tried dupes, I’ve tried drug store and department store brands, nothing can match it. Its stiff and dense enough to actually move the product, but not so dense or stiff to wipe it all away.

  33. Michelle Teixeira

    I guess it depends on the type of blending. If I am adding color as I blend, then it is the MAC 217. If I am softening edges or blending a gradient upwards to the brow bone, then it’s a Sonia Kashuk fluffy blending crease brush. I have many others, but they are so flimsy that I only use them when my other blending brushes are used.

  34. Melissa

    Love this topic! I mainly use my MAC 217. I’ve been thinking about getting a MAC 224.. Next on my list. I love hearing everyone’s opinions/suggestions!!

  35. Mel

    MAC 217 is my favorite brush EVER. I apply and blend the eyeshadow with it. If I could only keep one of all my brushes, it was going to be this one.
    And it is the only brush I can’t replace with any other.

  36. Carla N.

    I love my Urban Decay eyeshadow blending brush; it gives my eyeshadows that seamless “air-brushed” look.
    I use good-quality brushes for application, though, so I typically don’t need “heavy-duty” blending, except when I wear very dark colors.

  37. I use the MAC 217 and 224 religiously for blending! I carry a bunch in my brush belts for work/freelance work and pick one depending on the person’s eye shape.

  38. Lindsey

    I usually reach for my MAC 217 or the one from the Ipsy/Glam Bag collection depending on what needs blended. :)

  39. Dani

    MAC 217! Or any good dupe like Sigma, Bdellium ir even Coastal Scents (:

  40. Bridget

    Mac 217 !!!!!

  41. Kayla Johnson

    MAC 217!

  42. moena

    Hakuhodo J5523

  43. Leticia

    I always use MAC 224 – it is fluffy but tapered and it does the job for me :)

  44. Like what most people have been saying, MAC 217! The handle of mine is all messed up and I had to put tape on it to keep the lettering on it since the original top coat of nail polish I put on it started coming off! Despite the ghetto-ness of the handle, the brush itself is still great. I’ll definitely have to buy a backup at the next IMATS or PHAMExpo if I go!

  45. verladesh gilles

    MAC 226 brush!

  46. Sandra

    Mac 224 for me. I do love my 217, but I use it more to apply and blend in 1 step. For strictly blending, my 224 beats it!

  47. Winni

    Easily the Sonia Kashuk fluffy blending crease brush. I love it so hard!

  48. Erin

    Definitely MAC 217 and 224! I use the 217 to apply and do a little blending at the same time, then use the 224 strictly for blending. The 217 is my favorite brush of all time.

  49. MAC 217!!! It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again! I haven’t found anything that comes close. I will say that each one is a little different… One of mine is really fluffy and diffuses color a little differently when compared to my other two.

  50. mahreen

    suqqu L and suqqu M
    best brushes i’ver ever used. they’re made from the first hair of a squirrel : )
    nothing like the suqqu experience.
    i used to swear by mac 217 but suqqu changed it all.

  51. Think I’m agreeing with the majority here, MAC 224 gets the job done! Does a beautiful job of blending out contrasts. I do love my 217, but mainly use it for application.

  52. Considering the fact that not every brush comes out the same (I’m talking about the MAC 217) I think it depends on how your brush is. I have two, and one definitely works better for blending rather than the other.

  53. The fluffy blending brush in the ecotools mineral set

  54. I was never a fan of MAC 217 sooooo much .. but still i have like 2 .. i use them especially to place color on brow bone or for concealers 😀
    i love my MAC 226 and all thanks to you and when you recently mentioned MUFE 17 s I tried it and GODDDDDD
    it blends soooooo well …
    226 is good for placing a deeper color in the crease when you dont want to blend in as it leaves a harsh line
    MUFE 17 s is amazinggggg in fading and blending the color :d
    “C” do you still love it or you have any new fav ?? 😀 😀

    • I like MUFE’s 17S for a lot of blending, and I use MAC’s 272 a lot – which apparently has been discontinued!

      • JC

        LOVE LOVE the MUFE 17s brush to apply dark eyeshadows on the crease area only(I bought it after you recomended it, thanks Christine!). But my absolute favorite for blending is the LAURA MERCIER “EYE CREASE” brush (I bought 3 after loving my first one. It blends powder eyeshadows like a dream and also cream eyeshadow much much better than my MAC-217.

      • deirdre

        I think you’re the only person I’ve ever seen show that brush, my total favorite, some love. 222 and 272 are my go to blenders, every day.

  55. Amalia

    Laura Mercier Finishing Eye brush

  56. Bdellium Tools 785!! I’ve been using it for a year now and it is still perfect! Good quality, cheaper than MAC.

  57. Geneva

    I like the MAC 217 & 275 brushes for blending. I haven’t tried any other brands because I’m satisfied with them. I plan on purchasing the Louise Young LY 38 for the crease since MAC discontinued the 226.

  58. I HATE my mac 224 brush. It is seriously the worst brush I’ve ever purchased…it sheds, after a few washes it was really rough, and it never blended well for me. I have large eyes with deep sockets so I never thought it was a space issue. I hate that brush.

    I bought the Sigma E25 for blending. Though it’s smaller, it does a much better job and is so much softer! Much better bang for less buck, IMO.

    I still love my mac239, but definitely not for blending. 😀

  59. My all time favorite is Real Techniques’ Base Shadow Brush which comes in the starter set. It’s super soft, blends well, and not too large (perfect for my small eyes). I have the MAC 217 but I’ve never liked it for blending. It’s a little scratchy on my eye and I’m not pressing hard. It is nice to apply powder under my eye to set concealer, however. I also have the Sigma E40 (from my Mrs. Bunny set) but don’t like it. I find the handle to be too long and the brush is way too big for my eye.

  60. Shelly

    I have two favourites: MAC 217 and Louise Young LY38.

  61. Tori

    Rae Morris’s precision shaders. There are three sizes and number 8, the middle one, is the most versatile. The heads are pointy so they blend well but they don’t wipe everything out and you have more control over where and what you want to blend. They work well for adding more colour in small, sheer increments as well so if you’re blending and realise that you need more of something, you can always go back and add more without having to start over.

    I’m Asian and have hooded eyes so the precision is absolutely necessary. And while the brushes aren’t the softest I’ve ever had, they’re not scratchy. I have an intense dislike for the 217, probably because it’s such a hyped up brush. For me though, I hate how scratchy the ones I’ve handled have been, how irregular their shape can be, how BIG the brush heads are and how useless they are at blending for me since they just muddy the colours on my lids. They’re also not that great for packing on colour; there can be a lot of fall-out so it goes right straight to the top of my list of most useless brushes. There are a whole lot of dupes, many of which are cheaper, on the market. And if you’re willing to splash out a bit more money, Hakuhodo has so many wonderful blending brushes. Some of them are even cheaper than the 23 dollars that the 217 commands and if you don’t live in the US, then the price difference is even less of a problem.

    In all fairness, some things about the RM brushes drive me absolutely nuts. At the top of the list would be those annoying magnets (no, I like it when my brushes don’t stick together) and the poorly done varnish on handles. They’re also not the cheapest brushes around. But for all-rounded performance, they’ve become my favourite brushes for blending.

  62. tracy

    My Hakuhodo comparable of the MAC 217 — way better quality and tighter brush point. And any of the Real Techniques eye brushes….I often prefer these over my Hakuhodo one, believe it or not

  63. Lily

    I’m a very big fan of MAC’s 217 and 224. It depends which kind of blending I’m going for, but I tend to lean more towards the 224 for a softer blend.

  64. Kara Mizera

    Ok, what I’m about to tell you is very valuable information. It seems not a lot of people haven’t heard of these brushes, well actually just one in particular, I haven’t tried her other brushes… It’s called the number 20 brush from Mint brushes.
    It has a pointed tip which really works wonders in depositing color and blending. I’m telling you – the results are AMAZING. I own like 200 brushes and this is definitely one of my favorites. It’s also somewhat fluffy so it works in ending blending as well. Also their customer service is really good. The lady that owns the site and made the brushes is a beauty blogger on youtube so there are plenty of videos with her using the brush too. I also love of course the 217 and 224. For cream shadow blending the Bare Essentials soft focus shadow is really good actually. And my go to is also the Rae Morris precision blending brushes.

  65. cosmos

    MAC 217 is my top favorite