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Monday, November 28, 2011

Eyeshadow 101: How to Hold Eyeshadow Brushes

You've bought the brushes, read what to use them for and watched the tutorials but you're still not getting the effect that you desire.
Have you ever considered the way you are holding your brushes?

Learn how to properly hold your eyeshadow brushes for different purposes!
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Some people are born with talent. I'm not one of those people. Knowing how to apply makeup didn't come naturally to me. I've read books, blog posts, forums, watched videos and most importantly, put what I've learned to practice. When you've practiced enough ie. try all sorts of different techniques and looks, you'd eventually know what works and what doesn't.

The problem is, most people would simply stick to what they know if the outcome of them trying was failure. While you can read all about the types of eyeshadows and brushes to use, there's hardly anything out there that tells you how to hold the eyeshadow brushes.

"Pffftt! How can anyone not know how to hold an eyeshadow brush?"
As easy as it appears, it's an important aspect of applying eyeshadow that I've only realized through practice. You can count on me to complicate such a seemingly simple thing :)
Trust me, it'll make quite a difference in your eyeshadow application.

Brush: Shader Brush (Stila #30)
Purpose: To pack on eyeshadow on the main lid
  • Hold the brush close to its head, gripping flat between the forefinger and thumb
  • Pretend that you're holding a pen and extend your fingers rather than bended
  • The forefinger basically lies along the brush handle. It's as if you're replacing your forefinger with the brush
  • Use short pat-and-drag strokes to pack on the color while minimizing fallout

Brush: Shader Brush (Stila #30)
Purpose: To blend out the lid color
  • You can use the same brush for a different purpose just by varying how you hold it
  • Hold the brush slightly further from the head. This reduces the pressure applied by your brush. If your brush still has eyeshadow on it, too much pressure would apply more color that you don't need. If your brush is clean, too much pressure would lift off too much color
  • Notice that only the forefinger is pressed onto the brush handle while all the other fingers are just supporting. This is more similar to holding a pen except the thumb is not pressed onto the handle. You can see that it's just sitting on the handle
  • To blend, use flicking motions towards the direction that you want the shadow to blend into
Brush: Blending Brush (MAC 217)
Purpose: To blend out harsh lines/apply crease color
  • Again, if your purpose is to blend or apply color of less intensity, hold the brush further from its head
  • The way to hold this brush is similar to the method above except my fingers are slightly more stretched out to give the brush more flexibility to swish compared to the above where I wanted my blending to be more precise
  • This way you can blend 'til your heart's content and the eyeshadow won't get washed out

Brush: Fluffy Crease Brush (Stila #30)
Purpose: To apply and blend dark outer corner color into crease
  • Now, my purpose here is to apply a dark color but with very little intensity so it appears blended at the same time. In other words, "smoking"
  • Hold the brush really far from the head to greatly reduce pressure and consequently the color intensity
  • Only the forefinger is on the brush while the thumb and other fingers act as support. This allows for more swish, which translates to blending without washing out the color
  • However, since the color placement is precise, the fingers should be bended to give better control
  • Use small circular motions, occasionally flicking into the direction that you want
Brush: Pencil Brush (Crown Italian Badger Round Crease Brush)
Purpose: To apply dark color precisely on the outer V
  • If you want a very intense color application and on a very precise area, hold the brush very close to the head
  • The way to hold it is exactly how you would hold a pen
  • Your brush will have no room to swish and you'll be applying greater pressure with the utmost control. You can also rest your fingers on your cheek for even more control
  • Use small, tight strokes
To summarize --
  • Hold your brush nearer to the head to apply more pressure and further from the head for less pressure. More pressure means the color will be more intense and vice versa
  • The more fingers pressing onto the brush means less space for the brush head to swish around. More fingers = more precise. Less fingers = more blendy
  • Bending your fingers gives you more control over the area that you want to apply eyeshadow on
Additional Application Tips

If eyeshadow looks funny on you, consider the angle of where your eyeshadow should end on the outer corner and also at the crease.

  • The outer corner angle to look out for is basically the continuation upwards from your lower lash line. It's the same angle that your winged-liner should be on. Going off from this angle can make your eyes appear droopy
  • The shape of your eyeshadow in the crease should be consistent with the slant of your eyebrows. If your eyebrows are not U-shaped, your eyeshadow shouldn't be as well
If you've managed to get through this post, congratulations! You can proceed with banging your head on the keyboard
When you practice enough, holding the brushes properly will eventually come naturally to you. Nevertheless, I really hope this post was helpful even if just to check if you've been holding your brushes right. If you haven't, give the above methods a try and see if it makes a difference.

You can do it! Go go go!


rinnah said...

Ahahahaha. Thanks for sharing your secrets Connie! I'm one of those who holds her brush at the same length all the time, no matter what type of brush I'm using. Gotta start practising this now! :P

Connie De Alwis said...

Rinnah: Lol! Hardly a secret. More like a "realization" ;) Hope it helps!

Jen said...

Im actually quite thankful for your post! I'm only getting into really using eyeshadows now & this is definitely a great help to me :D thanks again!

lyn said...

Fantastic tips! I think I'm holding my brushes similarly to yours but my skills are still no where close ;-) Guess I need more practice!

Connie De Alwis said...

Jen: Glad you are! You're most welcome :D Have fun experimenting!

Lyn: Thanks :) You flatter me too much! Practice is definitely the way to go

Askmewhats said...

Hey Connie my dear! You have a very gorgeous eyeshadow on!!!! I do hold brushes the same way you do and I appreciate the post you've done!!!! :D

beetrice said...

thanks for the tips babe, definitely needed those (coming from someone who has to resort to using her fingertips half the time cos brushes frustrate me!) :D

Anonymous said...


hahah why hasnt anyone commented on the introduction? i loved it, super american tv crap!! ahahahah

❤ Ee Von said...

have to agree with Alene, the intro almost tricked me! when i saw the $ figures i was like "whaat..." lol!

super good post! there are so many posts on how to store brushes, how to apply eyeshadow using yadda yadda brush... i bet not many has ever given brush holding much attention. genius! :D i can't agree more, practice is the key!

Connie De Alwis said...

Nikki: Thank you! Good to know I'm on the right track and not teaching others to hold their brushes funny!

Bee: haha I understand your frustration. I started out with fingers too. Brushes do amazing things that takes a lot less effort than fingers would if you can get the hang of it

Connie De Alwis said...

Alene: Lol! I was beginning to think that nobody noticed :P I'm bad at "creative" introductions that most of the time they just sound like commercials

Ee Von: You didn't think that I was really selling something, did you? ;)
Thanks! I've noticed the absence of such info too and yet it's an integral part when it comes to using bushes. You do great eyeshadow work! Any secrets? :D

Bun Bun Makeup Tips said...

Great intro! Really made me LOL! And thanks for the tips! =D

Anonymous said...

I'm also getting back into using eyeshadows. Will try out the brush holding tips - feeling nervous already... :-) milktea

Rainy Days and Lattes said...

Your eyes look amazing :D I love the color!

Beverly said...

Wow Connie, u just read my mind. Was thinking of wear to get a tutorial on holding eye brushes. Thanks so much!!! =D

Ana said...

- Great tutorial
- Great eyebrows *_*

Underarm Bleaching said...

omg. this is so tipful!

yummy411 said...

that's why i love you.. so thorough and helpful! i generally try not to "choke" my brush when blending and have a firmer grip for other functions.

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Thanks a bunch!

<3 Connie

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