Rant & Rave: Eye Brushes

Share: Tell us what you love and hate about Eye Brushes!

my answer: One of my favorite brushes is MAC’s 239, and surprisingly, it’s not duped by 400 brands, and I don’t know why. I could just get by with this brush for all areas of the eye if I needed to (and when I first got into makeup, I did). I find a lot of the eyeshadow brushes designed for initially packing/patting on eyeshadow to be either too small or too large, and I’d love to see more medium-sized, moderately flat/firm brushes (but not so firm or flat that they’re more like cream eyeshadow brushes).

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Rave: I love how much easier crease blending is with a brush rather than a finger (can be done, takes a bit of time!) 😀

Rant: like everything else, even utterly mediocre ones are expensive here! I did see that Real Techniques brushes have arrived on our shores – they didn’t have prices on though, and I was afraid to ask! 😛

I have a Paula Dorf angled eyeliner brush that I’ve had for I don’t know how long. It was the first brush I ever bought, so it’s probably 25+ years old. The brand imprint is almost completely worn away. I use that thing every day, and I haven’t found another that creates the same thin, sharp line. Also, it’s the perfect stiffness – it bends a little when you use it, but it’s by no means floppy.

I have a Bare Minerals wet/dry eyeshadow brush that I use everyday to lay down a wash of color. I wish it picked up more pigment (I have to dip into the shadow 4-5 times), but it works well enough.

I am always amazed at how wildly varied the experiences can be with brushes in general. Some high end ones do not necessarily work as well as budget ones and vice versa. I have some Hakuhodo eye brushes that I love and some essence and elf ones that I also love! I have small, hooded, droopy eyes and I do wish that there were more smaller brushes. Most are just too much brush for my eyes. I don’t like to see the creepy skin being pushed around by the brush either, so uber soft is my new preference.

Have you looked into Posh brushes? They do some smaller ones, especially crease brushes, they’re very soft, and average under $10. They’re sold at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, if you have one local.

Believe it, or not, there was a time when actual eye brushes were a *luxury*! When I started wearing makeup in the early-80s, most of us didn’t even know they existed… One couldn’t walk into a DS and find brushes, and in MS & HS, most of us were using primarily DS brands. When were able to find brushes, the quality was extremely poor, and we relied on sponge-tipped applicators & q-tips. It wasn’t until HS, in the late-80s, that I began getting decent brushes with G/PWPs, and they made all the difference. My collection is quite extensive now, and I have brushes across pricepoints, but my favorites are actually among the less expensive. While not all brushes are created equal, neither are all eye products, so sometimes it’s a matter of trial & error to find which combination works best. I put more into my eye makeup than anything else, so it’s very important to me to have several options.

I have some really old Borghese & Ultima II brushes that are around 25 years old, and still going strong! I cleaned them regularly back then, but I wasn’t nearly as careful as I am now, but I still use them regularly.

Rave: I love how good eye brushes can really make your eyeshadow look fantastic. I love my MAC brushes, good price and they have lasted me for years.
Rant: I hate cleaning them, that’s all.

I have recently sworned off all items MAC. Even the brushes seem to be less than they used to be. Recently picked up a set from Royal Langnickel…specifically the Revolution series. They are terrific. And for anyone who cares…totally cruelty free. Worth a look.

I too started wearing makeup before brushes (high priced or more affordable) were as ubiquitous as they are now and, like Xamyx, I and my friends usually used the applicators included with the products (sponge tipped applicators for shadows and less than fabulous flat brushes for blushes).

The way you feel about the MAC 239, Christine, is sort of how I feel about the 217. If I lived in a horrible world where I could only have one eye shadow brush, it would probably be the 217 (with the 239 in a close 2nd place). If there’s anything I “hate” about eye brushes, it would be those that just don’t pick up/hold enough colour so you’re forced to load the brush heavily, resulting in either fallout or uneven colour application or both.

I love that you can achieve any effect you want due to the sheer amount of types of brushes there are, however, due to the large amount there are a lot of brushes I have no idea what they could be for.

Finding the right ones is expensive and impossible. I obviously must rave that they make application and blending easier for someone like me, I really have no control and am heavy handed!

Funny enough.. I am a qualified MUA and work as a MUA, I own sooooo many brushes and love them all, I picked them myself one by one for my kit, from all brands and price points, based on what works for me and my techniques. I could NOT live without my brushes for my job.. yet.. I have none for myself!! I do everything with my 10 beloved fingers!! hahah 😀

I love all off the occ ones but their crease brush is the bomb if u are vegan and are trying to find cruelty free eye brushes that actually pick up product they are better than illamasqua brushes……

I have a weird eye shape (small and hooded but also round), and I find most crease brushes to be far too large for me. Because of this, I make a mental note to buy every small crease brushes I’ve found. I’ve been eyeing the ones from Louise Young.

Nowadays, I use one eye brush for most things (Masami Shouko 210, which is like a flatter, smaller version of MAC 217), and it works great unless I’m doing anything detailed. It’s small enough to lay colors down but is also fluffy enough to blend. I haven’t found a good dupe for it, unfortunately.

I’m with you on the 239! It’s the perfect size and I always despair because it’s nigh impossible to find others like it. I might end up buying another, I love it that much.

Chanel makes a great eye brush. I can’t pinpoint the year I bought it. I estimate it is 10 to 15 yrs old and still looks great. I use it everyday. If I had one brush it would be this.

I am happy you mentioned Chanel as I bought a few back in 1999/2000 they still look great
after washing them weekly and lay flat
to dry. Chanel makes the best brushes
in my opinion. I don’t use a lot of brushes myself as I am from the 90’s use your fingers and qtips era but when I do I reach for Chanel 🙂

lol on the 90’s fingers and q-tips era. i started wearing makeup regularly around that time too, but once i started on brushes, i embraced those fluffies.

I also agree with Christine about the 239, it´s such a great brush!

It took me a while to decide to invest on eyeshadow brushes, but I’m so glad I did because they make application and blending so much easier. I like there are different options out there to fulfill almost every need; unfortunately, sometimes it is a trial an error thing and brushes are pricey. It’s difficult to know if a brush will work by just seeing a picture of it or even touching it – it´s with actual use that you know and this can be an expensive process.

I like “crease brushes” for almost everything, just in different sizes for different uses. If it’s dome shaped, pretty dense, and not too long, I like it. My current favorites are still this cheap as heck two pack I can get at CVS, mainly for the tiny, tiny crease brush, which is my crease/outer-v brush.

The other brush I have that I really like is dense, not too long, and almost triangle shaped? I like it when I want to apply a light wash of color, it does a nice one step apply/blending move, which can save time and effort.

And I personally prefer natural bristles and shortish handles. I’m a daily glasses wearer, so I’m applying makeup with a magnifying mirror up in my face and really long handles get in the way of that!

I agree with how amazing the MAC 239 is! I can’t live without it! I think my rant would be that I really haven’t found the perfect blending brush. I do like the bareMinerals Soft Focus Shadow Brush or the Real Techniques Setting Brush to really blend out shadow.. but I’m still searching for “the one.”

I don’t think I have any raves or rants, really? They do the job and that’s it. 😡 I guess my only complaint would be that some crease brushes are just so scratchy. Definitely not what I’d want to use for blending.

Hey Christine,
I don’t have the 239 brush but the ELF “C”brush is one of my favs and looks like it could be very similar to the 239.

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