Weekly Q&A: What Are Your Essential Eyeshadow Brushes?

This week, I will answer Phuong K, Pinklye and Sophia’s questions on makeup brushes.

“What brushes do you use to put in e/s? I know a lot of people use MAC brushes but they are expensive. Any cheaper alternatives or suggestions for just the essential ones? Can you also explain how to use the different brushes?”

Answer:- Sure girls! Here are what I consider the absolute must-haves for eyeshadow application:

#1. Small eyeshadow brush to apply color in the inner corner, lower eye and outer v.

My Pick: MAC #228 Mini Shader Brush. This tiny brush is great for putting color on precise areas. The dense bristles also makes it a great concealer brush.

#2. Medium eyeshadow brush for applying color on the eyelid.

My Pick: MAC #239 Eye Shading Brush. This is handsdown the best eyeshadow brush and the only one that I always reach for to apply color on the lid. Its very dense bristles makes it perfect for packing the color on. If you have trouble getting eyeshadows to show up on your eyelid, you must get yourself one!

#3. Blending brush to soften harsh edges.

My Pick: MAC #217 Tapered Blending Brush. This dome-shaped brush has just the right amount of fluffiness for blending color into the crease. It is also great for applying a wash of color on the eyelid and under the brow bone. I use this every time I apply eyeshadows.

#4. Crease brush to define the crease.

My Pick: For more definition, MAC 219 Pencil Brush is definitely the one brush I go to. With such a pointy and firm tip, you can literally draw a crease in. I also like using this to soften the eyeliner for a smoky look.

For a softer looking crease, I like MAC #226 Small Tapered Blending Brush. Its shorter, compact bristles makes blending a piece of cake even for those with small eyelid space or no crease.

If you are looking to buy some new MAC brushes, now is the time! MAC will be doing a Family and Friends 25% off sale starting this coming Tuesday. For more details, please refer to this.

Looking for cheaper alternatives? Stay tuned for part two!

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE, Glamour.com, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. MAC 228 is a very very underrated brush IMO… I like to use it for my lower lash line… it gives a neat yet soft effect… LOVE!

    I also highly highly recommend NARS #12 the small crease brush. It’s soooo great for people with small crease like me… it’s kinda like a softer 219 which defines and blends at the same time!

  2. Hi Phyllis !

    Thank you very much for your answer and your help :)
    I will go to buy these brushes.
    Do you know Crown Brushes ? because their brushes seem to be great and it’s very cheap…
    Anyways, I will wait your part two!

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