My Favorite Brushes – Eye, Lip, & Brow Edition

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favorite brushes

Today, I’m going to talk about my favorite brushes for eyes, brows, and lips.  I’ll talk about my favorite face brushes in a separate post. I’m also putting together a post with my affordable brush recommendations, since I know quite a few of these are pricey!

Laydown Brushes

Shu Uemura 10 // MAC 239 // Hakuhodo J242G

Shu Uemura 10 // MAC 239 // Hakuhodo J242G

My favorite shape for a laydown brush is MAC’s 239, but I also love the Shu Uemura Natural 10.  The Shu is a little larger than I prefer, but the hair type (kolinsky I think) works especially well with less-pigmented shadows.  Also pictured is the Hakuhodo J242G, which is a great size and shape, but not quite as loved as the other two (but at $17, is a great brush for a great price!).

Blending Brushes

Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend

Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend (13)

My favorite blending brush is Tom Ford’s Eyeshadow Blend brush (#13).  It has just the right amount of firmness to blend away edges, yet is still very soft. I only bought this a few weeks ago, but it’s already a favorite!


Hakuhodo J5523 // Smashbox // MAC Oval 3

I also really like the Hakuhodo’s J5523, which is very similarly shaped to MAC’s 217, but much softer.  It’s great for blending or to apply a wash of color.

I’m not quite sure why the Smashbox brush, which I believe is from a palette, snuck into this photo – I don’t usually use it for blending, but rather for applying a base shade or a browbone shade. It’s not a precise brush, but it’s soft and lays down pigment quite well. Definitely a favorite!

The toothbrush-shaped MAC Oval 3 is a strange brush that I mostly bought out of curiosity. Since it’s very dense, I find it excellent for buffing / blending out harsh edges, especially with very stubborn products.  If your cream shadow sets and seems immovable, it’s still blendable with this brush.

Detail brushes

Detail Brushes

Shu 5r // Hakuhodo K005 // Hakuhodo G5515 // Hakuhodo K007 // L’oreal gel liner brush

The Shu Uemura 5r was one of my first high end brush purchases, and while I really like it – enough to include it in a favorites post – I don’t think it’s actually worth the price. Still, it’s a good brush that I do find myself using frequently.

Hakuhodo’s K005 is great – I like it so much that I have two. I use it to tightline and to line the lower lashline with gel liner.

My favorite / most essential eye brush overall is probably the Hakuhodo G5515.  It’s a tiny, tiny pencil brush, and perfect for creating a smudged, smoked out line. I use it with eyeshadow on my upper and lower lashline.

When I want a more precise line, I reach for the Hakuhodo K007.  It’s very small and comes to a fine point, so it can create very thin lines.

Another favorite is the brush that comes with L’oreal’s gel liner. I have a couple of these now, and I frequently use them for either gel liner or setting eyeliner with eyeshadow.

Pencil brushes

Top down: Shu 5r // Tom Ford Smoky (14) // Hakuhodo G5515

Here’s a comparison of the Shu 5r, the Tom Ford Smoky eye brush (which is an average-sized pencil brush) and the Hakuhodo G5515.  The Tom Ford brush is new to my collection, and I foresee it getting a lot of use for smoky eyes – it’s a beautifully made and balanced brush.


sephora brow brush

I am very loyal to my favorite eyebrow brush, which is a discontinued Sephora Collection brush. I actually trimmed it a bit to make it more precise, and I absolutely love the size, shape, and firmness.

Lip brushes

lip brushes

I have two lip brush favorites, and they couldn’t be more different. The Hakuhodo 270 lip brush is my go-to with lip color that sometimes applies unevenly, as the brush can smooth out the color beautifully. For everything else, I go with the $1 ELF Essential concealer brush. It’s fairly firm and quite small, so it’s easy to create clean, precise edges.

And that’s it for eye, brow and lip brushes! What are your favorite brushes?

*I purchased all brushes featured in this post. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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  • Arathael

    This is a cool read. I have an odd and small collection of makeup brushes, that are either from a small Merle Norman set from years ago, elf brushes or a few from recent IT Cosmetics purchases from sets on QVC. I am thinking I need to branch out….

  • What a great roundup! That Tom Ford brush looks fab and I really need more Shu brushes in my life 🙂

  • Icequeen81

    woow so many can you put them in your purse? i try to minimize as much as I can.

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