Which Brush Do You Use to Line Your Lashes?

Published in: MAC Makeup, Makeup Tools

Last week reader JJ was looking for a specific kind of brush recommendation…


Wondering what brushes you used to apply your eye makeup… especially for the shadow below your lower lashline. I can never manage to create the thin shadowing you’re sporting here.


Seriously, JJ, it took me a forever and a day to find (and a recommendation from a friendly MAC makeup artist), but the MAC 214 Short Shader Brush was the answer to my prayers. It makes drawing hella tight, thin lower lash lines as easy as 1-2-3.

The fibers are made from goat hair, and it’s a little expensive for a brush ($24.50). Actually, it’s quite expensive for a brush; MAC raised the price after I made the video up at the top.

Yes, it’s expensive, but if you like to push pigments right up against the roots of your lashes (and/or if you feel you’re a little clumsy with brushes), the 214 is worthy of a serious brush crush. The short, rounded bristles are a perfect combination of absorbent, in how they pick up a lot of product, and precise.

More often than not I’ll use it with powder shadows, particularly along my lash and water lines, but I think it also handles gel and cream liners well.

Oh, and if you want really crisp lines, wet the 214’s head with eye makeup remover, and gently run it along the edge of your shadow/liner. That trick cuts crisp lines through liner like a scissors cuts paper!

The $6 Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner Brush is also an option — a much less expensive one.


Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner Brush

It might take a little longer to apply with because the head’s so thin and pointy, but good things come to those who wait. 🙂

Ladies, what are your favorite brushes for lining your lashes?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 72 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Phyrra says:

    The Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner brush is what I use for the top lashes. An ecoTools smudge brush is for the lower lash line on me 🙂

  2. Beth says:

    I use the SK Bent Eyeliner brush which I read about first on here! Before that, I just used my eyeliner and never used eyeshadow b/c I would get it all over! Boo!

  3. Dao says:

    I use the Coasta Scents angled eyeliner brush to line my eyes. It costs less than $3 and I get some thick lines. When I want something thinner, I use MAC 266, which does the job quite nicely. When I want it really really thin, I use a Loew-Cornell detail brush that looks like a SK bent brush. It takes a lot more time and the line is really thin.

    To clean up the mess, I just use a damped cotton bud. It’s not as high-tech as your makeup remover and brush tip but it does the job to me.
    Dao recently posted … Does LOreal HiP Precious Look Familiar

  4. ki says:

    I use Sephora’s angled brush no.15 for my upper lashline 🙂 it’s a fabulous brush for thin AND thick lines. I always line my waterline with kohl (it’s an Indian thing) so I rarely ever line my lower lashline!

  5. abby says:

    I scope the craft line at wally world, the smaller the artist brush the better and usually under 5 bucks for a bunch of them. Then when I forget to wash out the gel liner, I don’t feel so bad tossing it out. Out side the artist box thanks.

  6. i either use the sigma e05 or ecotools’ angled eyeliner brush. the ecotools brush is my favourite, though 🙂
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … All About Eyes – Rainy Night

  7. MONICA_MAUI says:

    Any angle eyeliner/eyebrow brush. i find them easier to use that a pointy eyeliner brush.

  8. Carolanne says:

    for the upper lashline (or waterline, if i’m using gel/cream liner), either Avon’s Bent Angled Liner Brush or e.l.f.’s Studio Small Precision Brush.

    for lower lashline, e.l.f.’s Studio Small Smudge Brush.

    best part? None of these brushes are more than $3! Love them! <3 =]
    Carolanne recently posted … LASplash Golden Seahorse

  9. meibaola says:

    I use the Sephora Professionnel Smudge Brush #14, it is very similare to MAC 214.

  10. Advah says:

    I avoid lining my lashes like the plague – I’ve got dark long lashes even at the bottom, and it makes my eyes droopy and racoon-like. Although now I’ve read that post, it might be because I’m not using the right brush..

  11. gio says:

    I either use and angled brush or Gosh Round Eyeshadow brush. It’s similar to MAC pencil brush but it has a smaller head so it applied eyeshadows more precisely on the lower lashline and creates thin lines.
    gio recently posted … Product Review- Esprit Moisturizing Color Lipstick in Tonic Pink

  12. Kim says:

    I always stick to pencil liners because I’ve been too lazy to get a good brush! 🙂 Actually, I think I’ll add some MAC brushes to my xmas list. If I wait to get them myself, I’ll be writing this same “I haven’t bought a good brush yet” post next year!

    • Karen says:

      OH GURL, you need to put the MAC 217, 239 and this brush on your wish list!!

      • Kim says:

        Thanks! I just added the 239 (and had the 217 on my list already… see? I do listen and write things down, sometimes). 🙂

        • Karen says:

          Yay for holiday wishlists! The 239 is frickin’ awesome! I already have one in my stash, but I’m asking for a backup for Christmas, too. 🙂

          • Kim says:

            I hear you! My family is going to be so excited because I usually have a hard time thinking of something I want. These will be perfect! 🙂

          • Karen says:

            Oh, good!

            I have a hard time thinking of stuff I want too. I usually ask for practical stuff I can use, like pens (LOL, love my Pentels!), camera equipment and um, makeup/brushes. 🙂

            I can’t remember what you fill your brows in with, but the 266 is pretty snazzy too.

          • Kim says:

            I do too, and mostly end up with things for the house. 🙂 I’m a Clinique eyebrow pencil girl!

  13. Nina says:

    i also use the sonia kashuk bent eyeliner brush. it is awesome. the mac 209 isnt bad either. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nina,

      I’ve tried to have a moment with the MAC 209, but for some reason we just don’t get along, LOL!

      And yay for the Sonia Bent brush. 🙂

      • Nina says:

        Sonia is my homegirl! 😀

        plus her stuff is @ target which is heaven on earth for me!

        the 209 took a bit of getting used too …. my main issue w/ it was i couldnt see my eye as i was lining. i got used to it after a while. 🙂

        • Karen says:

          Do you have one with the full-length handle, or one of the shorter length handles from a MAC holiday brush kit?

          I have to go back to Target today… I swear I might as well keep an office in that place. I’m there ALL THE TIME.

          • Nina says:

            i have both actually and find that the shorter one is easier to work with.

            i want to go to target today too but its a bit cold … 😀

            the hubs says if ever i get lost, he knows he can find me at target! 😀

          • Karen says:

            You can be with me in spirit as I cruise Target, LOL!

            It’s funny, whenever El Hub loses track of me in Target he always knows where to find me 99% of the time — the makeup section!

          • Nina says:

            i will be w/ you in spirit fo’sho!

            when i go to target – the hubs asks me “what makeup is hiding in that green ecobag of yours, bug?”

            he knows me too well. 😛

          • Karen says:

            Haha! El Hub hasn’t quite figured out why I always take my BIG PURSE shopping with me. He doesn’t need to know I use it to ferry makeup into the house, heh!

  14. JJ says:

    Oh, what a nice post to see in the mornin’! I saw yer reply comment, but the video you made is even better! It’s always nice to see things in action 🙂 Ah, I love brushes. They do make life easier, don’t they? Can’t wait to pick this one up.

    I use a few brushes to line, depending on whatever’s closest… Benefit’s talent brush or Stila’s push brush.

  15. Marian says:

    I have so many eyeliner brushes! I have Bobbi Brown’s, the Mercier flat one, several of MACs…….
    My favorite is a brush that I got from India that I paid $1 for.
    It’s very thin and I can get a precise line with it. The bristles are not too soft, not too firm….they’re just right!

  16. Rebecca says:

    I use the Sephora Collection Professional Sponge Tip Shadow Applicator #27. I have a small area under my eyes, and rarely put much shadow there. The tiny sponge tip helps me smudge the shadow into my liner when I am doing a smokey eye.

    Of course now I want this brush to see what new things I can do… 😀

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      It’s a great lil’ brush — so fabulous for applying shadow and blending along the lash line. 🙂 Maybe put it on your holiday wish list?

  17. Ruchita says:

    I can’t remember the name of it (and can’t find it on the Target site) but it is a Sonia Kashuk angled eye liner blush. I like it for applying shadow as a liner to the top and bottom lashes.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruchita,

      Hmm, are you talking about the bent liner brush above? They might be the same thing.

      • Ruchita says:

        Hi Karen,

        No, it is actually a straight brush – no bend to it and has a white handle. I do want to get the bent angle one though, after seeing your review. I may have to make a stop at Target soon! 🙂

  18. Chris25 says:

    I love the Essence of Beauty eyeliner brush from CVS. It’s inexpensive, and of the perfect stiffness. Not so stiff it hurts, and not so soft that makeup smears all over my eye.
    Chris25 recently posted … MIA Blogger

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris25,

      Haven’t tried that line yet, but I’ve heard great things about it. Which brush is your absolute fave from them?

      • Chris25 says:

        I would have to say the eyeliner brush is my fave! I have many of the EoB brushes, and some are in my pro kit. I use their foundation brush on my clients and models. This is my second favorite brush. It costs so little, and it is double ended, so one side has a foundation brush, and the other has a concealer brush. I’m telling you, it makes things so easy at photo shoots! I just flip it over if I need a smaller brush. I got it as set with 4 other brushes for only $15. You should check them out the next time CVS has a sale on them. They are usually BOGO 50%.
        Chris25 recently posted … MIA Blogger

  19. Blovetbeauty says:

    I use the mac angled brush- works just fine for me 🙂

    • Karen says:

      The 266? I like it for brows, but find it too scratchy for the lash line.

      • Karen-

        There are three MAC angled brushes that look similar but aren’t. The 208 is the coursest, made for very thick brows, The bristles are natural but very stiff and not very comfortable on the skin. The 266 is what I use for brows, and the 263 is for lining the lash line. The 266 has stiffer natural bristles and that are better for diffusing powder shadows and combing through thick brow hairs, and the 263 has finer synthetic hairs that are GREAT for getting a medium thickness line. I prefer the 263 when using gel liners. When I want a SUPER fine line, I use the 212 flat definer brush with a little fix+ and some carbon shadow. Then I tap it into my lash line.

        • Karen says:

          Thanks for this detailed breakdown on the MAC brushes, Brian. I have a love/hate relationship with the 212. 99% of the time it stresses me out, but then I’ll use it that ONE TIME and it’ll be great. Sigh…

  20. Shannon says:

    I REALLY heart the Sonia Kashuk smudge brush . It’s perfect for packing shadow into the lash line/water line. It’s so tiny and awesome! As long as I tap the brush to remove excess powder, I don’t have almost any problems with fallout. I like to think it’s a dupe for the chanel #4 shadow/liner brush, but my sister doesn’t agree with me 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shannon,

      That looks like a cool brush. I can’t remember — do you have her bent liner brush?

      • Shannon says:

        No, I don’t. For some reason the bent head scares me , lol! I don’t feel like I would be able to wield it properly… I’ll just have to bite the bullet and try it out sometime. I’m sure it would be fun to play with 🙂

  21. Antonia says:

    I use an angled brush for eyebrows! It’s a Mac one, don’t remember the number..
    Antonia recently posted … Luckily- I had my pyjamas

  22. Anastasia says:

    I’m a big fan of the MAC pencil brush for lower lining… I do own the SK angled brush, which I sometimes bust out for gel liner precision. Good question!

  23. megan says:

    I use the Spehora Professional smudge brush #14…it’s just like the MAC brush you use but it’s $13…I really like, it does what I need it to do!

  24. I recently tried ecotools angle eyeliner brush and i really like it for lining my bottom lashes with eyeshadow. For gel liner, my favorite brush is actually one from craft store, the lowe something, there tiniest brush (great at drawing very thin precise line).
    Beautiful Canvas recently posted … Nails Saver! OPI Drip Dry Drop

  25. knownever says:

    I definitely cant’ afford this brush…Not being able to find a good brush is what keeps me from using powder as eyeliner because the line always comes out too messy.
    knownever recently posted … Militainment! Space Marines!

  26. I love this brush! For the longest time, I didn’t think it mattered what kind of brushes you own – but then I decided to try some really nice ones, and boy was I wrong! Those MAC brushes are really fabulous!

    I love the mini buffer brush so much right now! It’s my favorite!

  27. Sylvie says:

    I’m glad you included a short video showing how you use the 214. I have it too but I rarely reach for it because I’m not sure how I should use it. I tried to use it to smudge eyeliner/shadow along my bottom lash line but found it slightly too stiff and scratchy for that purpose. Maybe I’ve been using it wrong.

  28. SuzyQtoo says:

    Bobbi Brown’s eyeliner brush and her ultra thin eyeliner brush specifically for gel liners are what I use exclusively!

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