Long before I got really into makeup, I used to get frustrated with the brushes I used to apply my eyeshadow. I didn’t know the difference between a blending brush to a flat shading brush, or a pencil brush to a smudger brush. I seeked advice online but a lot of the brushes that were recommended, I found too large for my small eyes and equally small lid space. So whilst everyone raves about the Mac 217, and although I do own it in my arsenal and I do use it quite frequently, there are other brushes out there that I would say are much better than the Mac 217 in my eyes and for my eyes. I’m sure there are so many others out there like me, with smaller eyes particularly south east asian eyes (obviously not all), or those with mono-lids, that want to know what brushes to use for what when it comes to eyeshadow application so this one’s for you. Even if you don’t have small eyes but want to invest in a brush that’s great for precision blending or allows you to get really tightly in the crease, then you may also find this helpful. So in no particular order, here’s my top 7 makeup brushes for the eyes:
Sigma E40 Tapered Blending Brush
This is one brush that is raved by so many and rightly so but the great thing is that it actually works on my small eyes. I like to use this brush after applying each shade to my eyes to clean up any harsh edges and because of its longer but more tapered shape (which makes it great for those with a smaller space between the crease and the brow bone) and also because it’s so ridiculously soft, it is the perfect blending brush.
Sigma E45 Small Tapered Blending Brush
This is a very tapered brush where all the hairs thin out to a soft pointed tip. This makes it great for getting into that crease and generally just working with eyeshadow in that outer crease area. I also secretly like to use this to contour my nose because it is so tapered, it allows you to get that really streamlined look which is obviously essential if you want a straight looking nose!
Zoeva 231 Luxe Petite Crease Brush
This is one of my favourite brushes for the eyes of all time. Not too dissimilar from the Sigma E45 in it’s function, this brush not only allows you to work precisely in the crease, it allow’s you to work effortlessly under the eyes to achieve a really softly blended look.
Zoeva 228 Luxe Crease Eye Brush
This is a brush that has been getting a lot of loving from me these past few months since I got it earlier this year. This allows for precision blending where the Mac 217 falls down on for me. Don’t get me wrong, as I mentioned earlier, I have the Mac 217 in my brush kit and I still use it quite often (but more when I’m working with transition shades that doesn’t need to be so tight within the crease) but on occasions where I really need to get into the crease to blend out the eyeshadow, this is the guy I turn to.
Zoeva 230 Pencil Brush
Everyone needs a pencil brush in their kit whether you have small eyes or not. This is an essential for getting into the tear duct,to brighten up the inner corner of your eyes but also if you want to blend out eyeshadow on your bottom lash line but want to keep the intensity, this does that job pretty well, whereas the Zoeva 231 gives a much softer look.
Zoeva 223 Petite Eye Blender
Another new addition to my eye brush arsenal, this is like a larger version of the pencil brush. This is literally like taking a pencil and drawing and I like to use it to ‘draw’ in the outer V to get that depth and intensity into the outer crease area. This is also another brush that could easily be used to contour the nose.
Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush (available in their Starter Set or Nic’s Picks)
This is my equivalent to the Mac 217 and at a fraction of the price. For me this is just that slightly bit more tapered yet enough to make a big difference. I also like the fact that the length of the brush is more streamlined and very light in the hand, plus it’s so much more softer than the Mac 217. This allows for more control when blending whereas the Sigma E40 allows you to blend more freely.
What’s your favourite eye brush?
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*After writing this blog post, I discovered the brand Morphe Brushes and have become a big fan of their affordable range of makeup brushes, for eyes and the face. Check out my video on my favourite Morphe Brushes below.
Hi! I would like to know if I can use Zoeva 228 for setting the undereye area.
Thank a lot! Giulia xx
Hiya, yes sure you can. It’s actually a great size for precision setting a small area like under the eyes.
Thanks so much for this post!! Super helpful <3
You have the same version of the E40 as I do but, Sigma changed it and it isn’t the same anymore, it’s no longer as long and tapered like the older models….it is not as good in many ways actually. Thought I would let you know since ppl might want to know 🙂
That’s a shame. Thanks for the heads up though!