The Best Eyeshadow Brushes I Can't Live Without
The right eyeshadow brush can go a long way for getting the coverage and finish desired in less time, and the key is identifying your own preferences, eye shape and size, and considering how varied (or not) the colors you reach for.
Just because a brush works magic for me doesn’t mean it necessarily will for you, so it’s important to consider what type of bristles you prefer, how your application methods differ (or are similar) to mine, and so forth.
Best Brushes for Packing on Eyeshadow
Eyeshadow packing brushes are designed as they sound: to pack on eyeshadow all over the lid in a concentrated fashion. These brushes are for someone who wants stronger, more opaque color payoff from their eyeshadow onto their eyelid.
The most common shape is similar to MAC’s 239, which is a slight rectangle shape that’s moderately dense, flat but has a slightly dome-shaped edge that has subtle fluffiness that it can double for blending in a pinch.
A fluffier, more dome-shaped edge can also double as a blending brush in a pinch and can also lay down color into the crease (using the edge to place the color). Flatter, stiffer brushes are better for applying denser, firmer eyeshadow formulas while ultra-soft brushes are better for more buildable application.
Sonia G. Builder Three ($32.00)
It’s ideal to have a brush that’s soft enough not to feel pokey or sharp along the eye socket, but sometimes, “softest” doesn’t translate into “best” for a particular purpose.
Sonia G. Builder Three ($32.00)
If I could only pick one, this is the one. This denser, dome-shaped packing brush has become my current go-to and favorite because it picks up product well, holds it and helps minimize fallout, while delivering intense coverage in a single pass. The domed-edge works well for sweeping and gently blending colors together on the lid or to deposit intense color into the crease. Available at Beautylish.
Smith Cosmetics 253 Laydown Brush
Smith 253 Laydown Eyeshadow Brush Small ($22.00)
It is a small-to-medium sized brush with a tapered, arrow-shaped edge that makes applying color to the lid a cinch as the shape fits in well into the inner corner as well as the outer corner. I recommend this one for firmer, thicker eyeshadows in particular. Smith 256 Laydown Eyeshadow Brush Large ($24.00) is functionally similar but larger, so for those with larger features, this might be a better pick. Both are available at Beautylish.
Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush ($25.00)
I’d recommend this for someone who needs very soft bristles or often works with more powdery products or has a lighter hand. Available at Beautylish.
Hakuhodo J242 Eye Shadow Brush
Hakuhodo J242 Eye Shadow Brush ($18.00)
This brush works well for getting color onto the inner area of my lid and for someone with smaller features, as it is smaller, a bit firmer/flatter, but still offers the flexibility of the brushes listed above. Hakuhodo J004 Eye Shadow Brush ($20.00) is a lightly fluffed-up, dome-shaped brush with a flatter shape, but it has just enough spring and give to apply eyeshadow to the lid as well as to lightly blend edges or place color into the crease. For those who need ultra-soft bristles, consider Hakuhodo S133 Eye Shadow Brush ($35.00). Available at Hakuhodo.
Zoeva 234 Luxe Smoky Shader ($11.50)
For a brush that’s more affordable (relative to other recommendations), this is my pick; I still use it from time to time for firmer/stiffer eyeshadows. It’s very comparable shape and feel to the MAC 239. Available at Zoeva.
Best Crease Brushes
I love a good crease brush! There are so many to choose from that I think one really has to consider how they apply color into their crease. If you tend to go for a more defined crease, looking for a tapered crease brush that comes to a more noticeable point (rather than one that is wider, fluffier, or rounded) that is smaller rather than larger will be your best bet.
If you want a really diffused, blown out crease color, a fluffier, more rounded crease brush will get the job done. I warn those new to crease brushes to carefully consider the size of their crease and the brush you have your eye on. Too small can result in very precise color application that requires a lot of blending but too large can mean color that nearly goes up to the brow bone too quickly!
Wayne Goss Brush 20 ($22.00)
Wayne Goss Brush 20 ($22.00) / Hakuhodo J5529 ($17.00)
It’s a small, tapered crease brush with a more rounded edge, so it deposits intense color but also diffuses and blends in circular motions easily. I also use the Brush 19, which is more tapered at the tip, so the lay down of color can be a bit sharper and ideal for getting rich color deposit into the deeper areas of the crease. Available at Beautylish.
If you’re shopping Hakuhodo, I find that the Hakuhodo J5529 Brush ($17.00) is nearly identical and slightly cheaper (excluding shipping costs, hence if you’re already placing an order…). I use it interchangeably with the Brush 19.
Wayne Goss Brush 17
Wayne Goss Brush 17 ($28.00) / Hakuhodo J142 ($19.00)
For a more medium-sized, tapered crease brush, this slightly fluffy take on it works well to blow out color, like transition shades, and really buff the edges of eyeshadow above the crease. If you want a larger, tapered crease brush, try Brush 16, which is a larger version of the 17 (slightly fluffier, too). Available at Beautylish.
Hakuhodo J142 Eye Shadow Brush ($19.00), which is very comparable in shape, and an honorable mention to Hakuhodo J146 Eye Shadow Brush ($18.00), which is slightly more tapered.
Best Eyeshadow Blending Brushes
The typical blending brush was made famous by MAC’s 217 brush (which is now discontinued and has been redone as fully synthetic but the shape did change a bit). It’s not so dense, fluffy, and has more surface area at the edge so it can buff and soften edges with ease. The goal for a blending brush is to be medium in size with less densely-packed bristles and a lot of fluffiness along the edges, which helps to spread and diffuse color without lifting it completely.
Sonia G. Worker Three Brush
Sonia G. Worker Three Brush ($32.00)
For really tough-to-blend formulas, this is the magic tool to use; it’s much, much denser than the typical blending brush but I feel like I have to use less pressure and can get more precision out of blending, so sometimes it helps avoid over-blending. It also works well for depositing color into the inner tear duct, especially when working with glittery shades! The Worker One and Worker Two are both larger, and I use all three, but I prefer the smaller size of Worker Three overall (more versatile). All three brushes are available at Beautylish.
The Worker Pro ($30.00) is most comparable to the original MAC 217 but has a more defined edge, so it offers more precision and less fluff in comparison.
Wayne Goss Brush 18 Eye Shadow Blending Brush
Wayne Goss Brush 18 ($27.00) / Hakuhodo J5523 Brush ($19.00)
It’s a medium-sized, fluffy blending brush with a domed edge and is really a softer, better version of the signature MAC 217. You can find it at Beautylish.
Alternatively, Hakuhodo J5523 Eye Shadow Brush ($19.00) is nearly identical and is slightly cheaper (excluding shipping). Its firmer, denser sister, S5523, may work better for someone with a lighter hand and has trouble using enough pressure to blend products together; it can also be used with cream and liquid products.
Smith Cosmetics 220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush
Smith 220 Eyeshadow Finishing Brush ($24.00)
This unique shape works well for diffusing and pulling color outward from an area with greater precision than traditional, fluffy blending brushes (like the ones listed above). Available at Beautylish.
Check out my other brush guides: Best Blush Brushes | Best Highlighter Brushes
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I love this post! My favorite brushes are blending brushes. Lid brushes I’m not picky. I do love the MAC 217. I’ll probably try the synthetic version. It’s just a good size for my eye. I can do a whole eye look with it.
My favorite big fluffy blender is the Morphe G17 Elite. Perfect to blow out the crease.
I also love the Real Techniques base shadow brush, the slightly tapered one. I can do a whole look with it and it’s good for adding depth to the outer v.
And then kind of a weird one but I love the Morphe M560. It’s called “detail crease” but it’s quite long and pointy. I like it for doing a soft cat eye with powder shadow, gets the job done super quick.
I like this exercise because I feel like I probably could chuck all my other brushes haha, why do I have so many??
Happy to hear some of your picks, Ginny! I am always looking for new ones to try, particularly synthetics/lower priced options 🙂
Have you tried sable hair brushes for packing brushes? I have a couple for Esum and they became my holy grail for quickly and easily packing color on my lid.
I’m not sure – I have some Esum brushes but none that have won me over yet!
Those sable brushes are where Esum really shines!
My favorite flat shader brushes are the Urban Decay E206, and Cozzette D225. I use the Sigma E32 for my brow bone highlight usually. For blending brushes & crease work I love the Real Techniques B04 from their Powder Bleu line, Real Techniques #305, Furless Pro2E (so soft!), Sigma E35, E45, E25, E48, Makeup Geek Defined Crease Brush, Hourglass #4, Bdellium Tools 776.
I haven’t tried any of the RT Powder Bleu brushes! Thanks for the rec!
I’m really enjoying the Esum eye brushes from Muse Beauty Pro lately. The W23 & W25 are really lovely for laying down color.
Awesome to hear, Katie! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
Yes i too discovered these two sable esum brushes from a ytube influencer…….wow they are my go to every day brushes for so many diff finishes…….pack it on and diffuse…… Dont understand why they arnt talked about more?
Thank you so much for writing and sharing this, Christine! I love your informative posts about brushes. I also love Samantha’s videos about brushes…I think I learn about brushes more than I actually use them.
My pleasure, Helena! 🙂
I have 2 MAC 239. They are the best brush of that style I’ve ever tried. I wish MAC would’ve let us know about the change in time to stock up. I would’ve bought at least two more.
Zoeva’s are definitely the closest I’ve come to overall shape, density, size, and quality (I’d say Zoeva was on par with most recent 239s)!
Even the Mac employees don’t care for the newly replaced synthetic brushes. They told me so when I wen to buy the bits and pieces. Belks still have 217. Saks may have a few. No 239 anywhere. Beautylish has quality fur brushes and great service.
I also have two MAC 239. I’ve said many times that I would have stocked up had I known they would be discontinued. I have not tried the synthetic yet, but I’ve heard they are awful.
I was wondering If you could do this with lesser priced brushes. Or drugstore brushes ?? I can’t afford those !! Love your blogs and info. Xo
These are my personal favorites, which definitely skew higher, but I wanted the list to be an accurate listing of what I actually use over and over again! I find Zoeva to be a good brand that offers a lot of sets and usable brushes (one of which I mentioned here).
Google the US Zoeva site. Or your country’s, if you don’t live stateside. Make you wish list, and load up on Black Fri! They price point is considerably lower, and I find that often their brushes hold the powder with less kickup than most others. The descriptions of how to use, under details, can help you differentiate. Believe me, they have a metric ton of choices and many sets…even vegan, if you prefer. The Zoeva flat rate is 9 to the US…and think how much your tax would be, on a Wayne set from B’lish, for example. Not meaning to slight my WGs, though. And C is right…just the thing to start stiffer shadows or blush. Just counted, have 34 Zoeva brushes, though some are duped, far more than any other brand. But I like the m/u, too. Kind of a Z Ho, so consider the source when I rec.
I think I need to sort out my brushes into categories, because at the moment they are all living in one canister and I do find it tricky to get the brush I want.
This is a great post Christine because it shows us what brushes you could need for where….I have some great Real Techniques ones that look similar to the ones you’ve got in your post.
That might be a good idea! I have mine organized similarly – by function / purpose!
I personally love all of the Smith Brushes I’ve ever tried. I find that their 203 Micro Angled Liner Brush is the best Brush for applying ABH Dipbrow or Benefit KaBrow! and getting precise hair like strokes especially in the front of the brow for the feathery look. The brush was recommended in a favorite brushes by Samantha Ravndahl. Berfore that I had been trying out other brow brushes and couldn’t find a good one. I bought several of the Smith Brushes during the sale they had last year on Black Friday. I also love some of the Urban Decay brushes I have for the eyes. I purchased the whole brush vault when they released their brushes. My favorites are UD Pro Tapered Blending,Smoky Crease,Moondust,Smoky Smudger,Flat Eyeshadow,Medium Eyeshadow,and Detailed Smudger. I also have a tiny Sonia Kashuk brush from their Pleated Pink Brush set that was on clearance and a tiny Morphe 507 Pointed Mini Blender Brush for deepening the crease. During the VIB Rouge sale last year I got all 3 Sephora Pro Drawing Detail Brush 40, Drawing Shadow 41, and Drawing Blending 42 and I really like them all and they are marketed for help to achieve cut crease looks. I want to get all the ones you recommend soon. I have also been want to try the Hakuhodo, Wayne Goss Brushes and the Sonia G. Brushes. The fact that you made this guide is making my life so much easier and enabling me to spend significantly less money. I will probably be purchasing every brush on this list. Thank You, Christine!!
I enjoy a lot of my Smith brushes, too! I really appreciate that they tried to innovate without creating shapes that aren’t functional.
Thank you for all the recs, Dominique!
What is a good brush for applying a more glittery-based shadow to the lid, such as the ones in the Pat McGrath Decadence palette?
For the PMG palette, I still used the brushes listed under “Applying Eyeshadow to the Lid,” as I didn’t feel the formula was too dense or anything to require something firmer than those (basically, I didn’t have any issues using the brushes I normally would!). If you’re having any difficulty, you might try dampening your brush a bit, patting rather than sweeping color on, or if you have a flatter brush, that might work for you.
Thank you! And many thanks for writing up your opinion regarding the best brushes.
Love this post Christine. I use Wayne Goss mostly. I have purchased a set of Rae Morris brushes have you ever tried any of her brushes Christine?
I have the first release, but I haven’t tried the updated ones.
Thank you. Enlightening. I understand that all eyes are different as are all products. Great baseline. ?
No problem, Susan!
It is definitely true – your eye shape, how you like to apply certain products, and what products you use (or don’t use) will have a huge impact on what brushes will work for you.
All my brushes are those that can be purchased “in store” and I’m hoping Wayne Goss’s brushes eventually become available at bricks and mortar stores in Canada. Nevertheless, some of my faves are my recently purchased Sigma E55 (purchased at Marshall’s for a song) as well as my old faves from MAC – 217, 239 and 213; IT Cosmetics dual ended No Tug Eyedshadow Brush (the flatter end is perfect for putting shadow under my lower lashes), Sonia Kashuk’s #28 (I have 4 of them and they’re sort of a hybrid of MAC’s 239 and 217 in a way) and Stila’s #15 Detailer Brush (I think that one is discontinued, sadly) and a cheap little #70 smudger brush (also d/c, I think) from Sephora. I have some Real Techniques brushes as well and like them well enough but the ones I like best only come in a set, I think, and that’s annoying.
I have a really lovely Sephora concealer brush for years ago that has no name, I bought in-store so I have no receipt to tell me, and it’s discontinued! Sometimes it’s impressive what lingers in our stashes long after they’ve been discontinued.
I have the same problem with RT – almost every rec I have from RT in my forthcoming posts comes in a set 🙁
I don’t have many eyeshadow brushes, because I have extremely sensitive skin around my eyes. Since I’ve realized this, I am careful and put in a lot of research before I will purchase eyeshadow brushes. Crease brushes made of squirrel hair are my go-to brushes. Wayne Goss brushes are workhorses. I use at least 1 Wayne Goss brush whenever I apply eye makeup. His old #19 (goat) crease brush is soft enough. I own 3! I use it to apply my transition color. It just does what I want, no fuss, no muss!
I recently found that I like to use rougher or lower-quality goat brushes for applying cream eye shadows. So far, I have only tried this with the crease brush that came included with the red Beautylish/Chikuhodo Sakura set. It fits my small eye area and applies cream shadow perfectly and lightly. If I want, I can continue to layer the product to deepen the color. Using my fingers is a no, as I can’t get any precision. And I’ve never found a synthetic brush that I like for shadow. They emphasize the creases on my lids when used with creams, and I can’t explain why I don’t like them for powder. I just feel like I get better results with natural hair. I also prefer goat over squirrel for those gelée type powders, like MAC Extra Dimension.
Glad you have found something that doesn’t irritate your eyes, Beau! 🙂
I prefer synthetics for cream eye shadows, since they can take more of a beating (more vigorous washings, harsher cleansers) but find I prefer the effect of natural hair for most powder products. Have you tried any synthetics for cream products? You might look at IT Velvet Luxe line (Ulta exclusive), Make Up For Ever (very soft/smooth), Urban Decay (very long handles, though), or Sephora.
I’d like to suggest Bobbi Brown’s Cream Eyeshadow Brush, $34 at Nordstrom. It’s a synthetic brush that I rely on for cream eyeshadows. There’s nothing I find scratchy or irritating about it. It’s both dense and soft but very structured for precision work. Just a great brush!
Ooohh I’m taking notes, thank you!
Personally I mostly use EcoTools’ Eye Enhancing Duo brushes since they are a bit smaller than ET’s typical eyeshadow brushes, and therefore more workable for my eye shape and size. They are nice, very soft and fully synthetic and a great value for money, but I am looking for higher-end options so this is a very welcome and useful thread – thank you!
Thanks for the insight on the Eye Enhancing Duo brushes being smaller than their regular ones! Considering your eye size is such a big factor – I think I have “average” eyes overall, since a lot of typical brushes work fine for me, but there are tons of brushes that I’m like, “this is sooo big!” and rare to find brushes that are “sooo small.”
I was always a die hard MAC brush fan, until they changed to synthetic brushes. I bought the 217S and I hate it. It is stiff, scratchy and feel cheap. This was a blessing in disguise because I discovered Wayne Goss brushes, which blow the original MAC brush line out of the water. I ordered them from Beautylish and they are amazing. I also feel the need to let you all know that the Beautylish website is just as amazing. I ordered in the am and I received my brushes the next day.
Oh no! I haven’t had much chance to dive into the new MAC brushes (well, the ones that went from natural to synthetic I’m most curious about) yet since the release has been staggered. I’m very curious to try the new 239S, and I think the 217S is one that MAC sent over that I just photographed and put in my “to test” tray. I’m surprised that the 217S was stiff/scratchy, since you can get really soft/smooth synthetics these days (they’ve improved leaps and bounds in the last five years).
But yes, I also found that a lot of other brush makers make far superior brushes than MAC, sometimes even at cheaper price points! Wayne Goss is a great go-to rec since the shapes are more accessible/traditional (IMO), Beautylish has a nice return policy, etc.
Hakuhodo is often the same or less than WG for a very similar brush, but it can be more overwhelming to buy from their catalog, and they have a flat $9 shipping rate with a very strict return policy, so I tend to encourage people to start with Beautylish so they don’t get stuck with $100 in brushes they don’t like.
Christine, will you be reviewing the MAC synthetic brush line? Would love to hear your thoughts.
I really couldn’t say – I test probably 200-300 brushes a year but review a fraction of those as I’m usually behind on getting color cosmetic reviews up that I just don’t end up with the time I need to write-up reviews on brushes as often as I’d like.
I like the 174 from MUFE to apply eyeshadows as well as blend a little into the crease, I find the flex and shape work well for my eyeshape, as I rarely do a 2 colors makeup look (more often than not it’s at least 3 on the mobile lid :p )
But I am in love with the 226 since you made a review out of it ! As I got very little space between my crease and my browbone, it’s the perfect brush to blend eyeshadows in my crease without covering whatever space is left !
I also have the MUFE 212 for precise application in the crease and the MUFE 216 for blending along the lower lashline
I’ll have to look into the 174 (I can’t recall off the top of my head if I have that one or not). I want to revisit their eye brushes, though!
174 is supposedly a concealer brush. But I find it make a great eyeshadow brush for all kind of eyeshadows, cream and powder alike 🙂
This post comes exactly at the right time. What bushes would be your first choice for Everyday Look for large eye area?
I’m not sure what you mean by every day look – could you clarify? “Everyday look” to one person is one eyeshadow and to another, 10!
Just all over shadow and crease and may be outer V area if I have time in the morning?
Smith’s 256 is larger, so you can cover more territory for all-over but the angled edge will make it easier to get into the outer V/inner corner, too. I’d say that’d be a good all-around brush that’s larger but still not huge so you can use it for multiple techniques. For something larger, maybe Hakuhodo J532? I don’t have that one, but the majority of what I’ve tried from the J-series has been great – it’s 14mm in length (I like the J004, but it is 11.5mm, so this would be a bigger version of it).
Alternatively, if you like a more diffused, wash off all-over shadow, you might like using the “Blending Eyeshadow” brushes like the Sonia G. Worker One or Wayne Goss 18 – and it can do double duty for blending out crease/brow color, too. Wayne Goss 19 would work for outer V and more precise crease work but otherwise the Wayne Goss 16 would be better for a more blown out crease/outer V area.
Thanks Christine. You explained very well. It looks like I am going to be spending some money on the brushes soon!
LoVe you post on brushes! I was at the MAC store over the weekend and I was able to grab another old 239 ….grab them fast! The MAC employee said she likes the new synthetic face brushes but is not happy with the eye brushes!
Oooh, you lucky duck!
Sephora’s Pro brushes are some of the best on the market IMO. I’ll take them over my Wayne Goss brushes any day. I like my Wayne Goss brushes, but the few that I have are a tiny bit too soft for me. Esum has really awesome brushes. I have two that I got for purchasing my Viseart palettes. Sigma has some pretty good brushes too. Colourpop and Real Techniques have some pretty decent brushes. I own one Morphe blending brush and I really like it.
Could you share some specific recommendations from Sephora Pro? I have a slew of them, but I’m pretty sure they’ve redone their line since I purchased from them.
I really like the 15*, 27, 19*, 38*, 31, 14,* 42*, 40. The ones with * are my favorites. Number 42 is probably one of my absolute favorite brushes. It gets into the crease so well b/c it’s on the smaller side. I use the 33 as an inner corner highlight brush, although it’s marketed as a lip brush.
Their non-Pro brushes aren’t terrible. They get the job done, but I would only buy those when they’re on sale. They’re the ones that come in 5 piece sets. I grabbed two of the sets for like $11 or $15 a piece and it was worth that small amount of money. The $40 they want for it regularly is too expensive.
Thank you SO much for the detailed recs, Jessica! 🙂
Thank you so much for this post. I think my eyelids are small because I get the best application on my mobile lid with what’s called a smudging brush. It seems to be of normal width but is very short.
My pleasure, Lesley! I am so happy you found a brush that worked for your eye shape. That can be a real struggle to pinpoint what size/shape works for your eye size/shape!
As a person who used when I was a teenager to a 30 something the sponge applicator that came with eyeshadows switched to brushes once the sponges fell apart.
I use mostly Lancôme brushes, affordable, easy to keep clean, soft for my skin. I use mostly brush #18 for my eyes. A tissue removes the excess shadow from the brush before I go to the next color. When traveling I have 2 of brush #12 — one for light shades, one for darker shades.
Thanks for an informative post.
Thank you for sharing your recs from Lancome! I haven’t used their brushes in awhile, so I’ll definitely look into those two!
I love Lancome brushes. I can always find them for cheap and they really are great.
This is helpful. Funny, I just bought some new brushes last week for the first time in forever. Inspired by Tarababyz on YT and so I got a Goss and Chikuhodo GS you have listed. I like them. So soft. I still have all my old school MAC brushes but I love that they went synthetic and cruelty-free. So I assume you can’t get squirrel cruelty free and none of those listed above are? I want cruelty-free. And so I’ve bought synthetic. I like IT cosmetics brushes for the face because they are synthetic, but also love the ones I feel guilty for- Tom Ford brush and bronzer brushes and the other two new ones listed above for the eyes. If I’m wrong about them being cruelty-free, please let me know.
Tarababyz is great for recs! I love watching her 🙂
Most brands will give a statement that says something to the effect that the hair was obtained as a by-product (in the vein of leather) and some will also claim their brushes are cruelty-free when making this statement and others will not.
I love these posts!! And just bought 5 new brushes from Hakuhodo because of it hahaha!!
My favorite eye brushes are Sigma E45 brush, Mac 217 brush, Chikuhodo GSN-09 brush, Chikuhodo Z-10 brush, Coastal Scents blending fluff brush (I have like 8), Makeup Geek Outer V Brush and Sigma E40. I do have a bunch of Zoeva, Hakuhodo and It Cosmetics brushes I haven’t tried yet though… so many brushes… so little time…
GSN-09 is SO good! I’m glad I found that one since the 239 is different now (but here’s hoping it’s still good…).
LOVE this blog post and thank you! I am trying to up my brush game and recently ordered the Tom Ford blending brush and now seeing this post wondering if that is a good brush or if I should return and replace with one of these?
I think you will be happy with your Tom Ford brush, Karen! I’ve enjoyed the Tom Ford brush range, but it is overpriced relative to quality/cost of Hakuhodo/Wayne Goss/Chikuhodo (though not their upper echelon series like the Z-series, which would be pricier than TF on average).
There seems to be a whole world beyond MUFE. Who knew! Since they didn’t show up in the list can you give me a quick comparison so I know what I’m missing or not missing. I was trying not to be one of those girls with 100 brushes. Or can you give me a comparison tool similar to palette vs. palette? MUFE vs. Zoeva -type thing? I love this site. You are so helpful.
Sorry, I don’t have all of Make Up For Ever or Zoeva’s brushes! I had trouble with my MUFE brushes when I was testing, so I did not go out and buy a bunch of additional ones!
Do you ever use a color switch type product for your expensive natural hair brushes?
Not usually – I have a lot of brushes that I just use a new one as I move along.
I pretty much only use the large eyeshadow brush from Wet n Wild! I’ve had it for two years now, I think, and it’s still as nice as the day I bought it. If something ever happens to it, I’ll absolutely repurchase.
Although I use my fingers 95% of the time for my lid shade since it applies soooo much better, my favorite for applying loose shadows is that small BareMinerals flat eyeshadow brush that sometimes comes with sets!
Hi again Christine, I have the Wayne Goss and the Hakuhodo brushes you mention and I love them. I m a big Hakuhodo fan and liking the Chikuhodo brushes lately.
I just bought several Hakuhodo J004 Eye Shadow Brushes and wish I had waited for this review and gotten the Sonia G Builder 3 instead. I liked the look of the Hakuhodo handles, but the Sonia G look fluffier at the end and more like the MAC 239, which I wish I had stocked up on.
J004 is still a nice brush, but I can definitely see why you’d want the Builder Three, too! 🙁
Looks like an excuse to get more brushes 😉 The J004 seems great for satin and matte shadows, which are mostly what I wear. I’ll wait for a sale next year to get my first Sonia G! I wish I knew the really fluffy brush that Pat McGrath used, because I am having a hard time not spreading sparkles when I try to put her shadows on with a brush..
Have you tried using a flat, synthetic brush and perhaps dampening the brush?
I tried the J004 wet and WOW! No fallout and looked incredible. Thank you makeup queen!
Thank you so much Christine! I’ve been good about my low-buy this year and none of the holiday releases were adding enough new to my (small) collection, so I decided to invest my money in new brushes instead. I had dug up some of your older hakuhodo posts and been wanting to add some Sonia G brushes to my collection. What perfect timing! Thank you as always for your thorough posts, they make it easier for me to figure out which brushes will or won’t work for my style.
The Beautylish gift card event was definitely the fire that got me to update these brush guides (at least, some of them) just knowing how many brush brands I favor that are carried there and not many other retailers (if any).
Great post! I have several of these brush and concur that they work great, and my eyelid shape is much smaller than Christine’s. They’re truly really versatile brushes.
I also have very small eyelids (due to my Asian heritage hahaha). What eye shadow brushes (specifically crease and blending brushes) work for you?
Truth be told, I could only have MAC 217 and call it a day.
Unfortunately I have the old version (the natural bristles) purchased in Europe 4-5 years ago; I don’t think the synthetic version I can find right now in US MAC stores is that could.
I know a lot of people love the 217 (and its similar brushes), and I definitely use those types of brushes, but I often just use packing brushes + crease brushes and forget to use the blending brushes! A good packing brush I could use for everything!
I’m more of a blender. 😆 And I also love multitasker. I can use 217 for packing and crease work as well, sometimes I pinch it and use it under eyes as well. My other favorite is the brush that came with the UD Naked Smokey Eyes (still have the brush 4 years later); the blender end is slightly denser and it’s more precise for crease work and packs more on the eyelid; the other end it’s great both for smudging and under eye work.
I truly find very interesting how people use brushes so differently (or different brushes), almost for the same purpose. Your techniques and looks are definitely way more complex than my daily make-up, so I see how you can have totally different opinions and preferences.
I could see that! My eyes aren’t big enough to accommodate the 217-like shape for everything but definitely use far more eyeshadows per eye than a handful… LOL!
That’s why it’s so important to think about how you apply your makeup, what your preferences are, etc. (which you’ve figured out) because a brush can be HG for me but be something someone else would hardly use!
Just picked up a Wayne Goss 04 because I was looking for a smaller more controlled crease brush and I’m completely obsessed with it.
Thanks for this post!