As a self confessed eye makeup addict, eye brushes are my favouriteeee! Here are my top tool picks! Directory of reviews and stockists below :)
Spinoff discussion relating to my Top Brushes Series – Why pay more for brushes?
Youtuber of the week: Sarah Victor
Hakuhodo – J5523 Eye Shadow Brush Round & Flat
The closest MAC 217 dupe that Hakuhodo manufactures, I recommend the J5523 if you’re new to the brand because the shape feels very familiar and there is very little learning curve. J5523 review and comparison to the MAC 217 can be found here.
Available from the Hakuhodo website and makeup conventions like IMATS.
Hakuhodo – J142 Eye Shadow Brush Round
Slightly less dense than the J5523, the J142 is a rounded crease brush (i.e: round ferrule). One of my most versatile crease brushes, you can find the review here. Again, Hakuhodo J142 can be purchased from the Hakuhodo website and IMATS makeup conventions.
Hakuhodo – J146 Eye Shadow Brush Round
Defined, deep sockets are my obsession right now and unfortunately, I don’t have possess them naturally. The J146 is my solution; it’s the ideal slim crease brush to ‘fake’ a deeper socket. Highly recommend it for puffy or heavy eyelids, my original review can be found here. Like the J5523 and the J142 above, the J146 is comprised of goat hair (which is far superior to the goat hair sourced by MAC, in my opinion).
Can be found here on the Hakuhodo website and again, select Hakuhodo brushes can be purchased at IMATS.
Wayne Goss – #5 Brush
Kinda similar to the J146 but a bit smaller and a little less flexible; I use the two interchangeably when creating defined sockets. I purchased the entire Wayne Goss The Collection set and I will review them soon (bla bla, she always says that) but a quick preview: I expected to have dupes within my stash but I have no close substitutes, the brushes are rather unique (again, no affiliation and purchased by me). The #5 is made with blue squirrel fibres.
Wayne Goss brushes were previously available on Love Makeup Co Uk but they seem to have disappeared. Beautylish stocks Wayne Goss Brushes (and they do ship worldwide!).
Hakuhodo – G5522 Eye Shadow Brush Tapered
A largeish, tapered crease brush; those with smaller eyes might find this a tad large. A mix of blue squirrel and goat – the goat provides a bit of bounce and resistance while the blue squirrel offers a more flexible, fluffy feel (am I making sense?). The result is a fluffy (but not floppy) crease brush that allows for very gradual building of colour and for this reason, I adore it for bright eyeshadow looks as it allows for better control of bolder shades.
Read my original review here. Again, G5522 can be purchased on the Hakuhodo website.
SUQQU – Eyeshadow L Brush
A large, fluffy eye brush with a pinched ferrule. Made with grey squirrel, the Eyeshadow L is the softest eye brush I own; I highly recommend SUQQU eye brushes if you have an unusually delicate eye area. It’s not ideal for precise crease work but lovely as a ‘finishing’ brush, to make sure everything is well blended. I also adore it for precise contouring of the cheekbones and powdering the crevice of the nose.
Most of the SUQQU line, including the brushes, can be purchased from Ichibankao. There is a significant markup but prices include international shipping.
Alternatively, SUQQU can be purchased off Selfridges. Internationally shipping is flat rate of 25 pounds (ish?) but the raw prices are cheaper than Ichibankao. Essentially, it works out cheaper to buy off Selfridges if you’re haulin’ big but for one or two items, Ichibankao is the way to go.
Tom Ford – 13 Blender Brush
I’ve written an in depth review of this brush here. In a nutshell, a very dense crease brush comprised of goat hair; I find it to be resilient enough for buffing out cream eyeshadows, also wonderful for creating graphic eyeshadow placements. Not as delicate or as soft as the Hakuhodo brushes mentioned, in my humble opinion, but still tolerable on my sensitive eyes.
Tom Ford stockists vary from country to country, Google is your friend.
MAC – 239 Brush
The 239 is one of MAC’s cult products. It’s a medium sized, flat eyeshadow brush made with goat fibres. Not particularly soft but I use it to pack eyeshadow onto the lid using a patting motion, so softness is not imperative. It can be purchased at MAC stores ;)
Bloom – Eye Shadow 1 Brush
A slick, flat eyeshadow brush; slimmer than the MAC 239 while the fibres are slightly longer. Great for foiling eyeshadow (foil = eyeshadows used wet) for a reflective eye. Australians can purchase this brush from David Jones, there are no online stockists as far as I know.
SUQQU – Eyeshadow M Brush
A small, dense domed brush. It’s grey squirrel so despite the density, it is very soft (duh, it’s SUQQU). Great for buffing out the edges of cream eyeshadow (yes, I use grey squirrel for cream eyeshadow because I’m a rebel like that) and also for defining the outer corners of the eye. For stockists, refer to SUQQU Eyeshadow L above.
Make Up Store – Smudge Brush 112
A flat, tapered brush with short bristles. Super soft, I rub this back and forth over the lower lash line with no irritation whatsoever. I can no longer find this brush online or in store (sad face!). I believe the NARS #45 is very similar but I don’t own it so I can’t say with certainty.
Hakuhodo – Eyeliner brush J521-D1 Flat
A teeny, tiny flat push brush – only a few millimetres long! Made of horse fibres but soft enough to run along the delicate lash line area. When used with gel liner, it’s awesome for tight lining the upper lash line. Any precise/graphic liner you’ve seen on my site was likely created using this brush :)
Available here on the Hakuhodo site and possibly at IMATS, the stall doesn’t appear to stock the entire Hakuhodo range.
Wayne Goss – #8 Brush
Phew! You still with me? Leave a comment and let’s chat :)