For More Precise Eyeshadow Placement, Try Applying Your Crease Color With a Flat Brush

Published in: Eyes, Makeup Tips/How To

flat eyeshadow brushes

Oh, my gosh! So helpful. Give this a try one of these days when you’re doing your eye makeup: use a flat brush, instead of a domed or fluffy tapered brush, to apply your crease color.


I’m serious, MIND BLOWN. I watched a makeup artist do this recently, and to put it mildly, it was a freakin’ revelation, like with the clouds parting and the choir of chubby cherubs singing in five-part harmony, aaaaaah!

It’s just a tool thing, but it’s been incredibly helpful, and I think it could really help with your application if you have limited lid real estate on which to work, and/or you have a shallow crease (I have both of these issues).

It seems like most people apply their crease colors with fluffy tapered brushes or domed brushes, and that’s what I always did, too, because…well, it’s pretty much what most people do, ya know?

fluffy tapered brushes and domed shadow brushes

Whenever I’d see someone doing their makeup, fluffy tapered brushes and domed brushes were standard operating procedure for crease work.

And they still are.

But whenever I use a fluffy brush to do my crease makeup, I almost always end up getting color where I don’t want it. The fluffy brushes work great for generally placing color in the crease and quickly diffusing edges, but I have a hard time using them when I want to be precise. Whenever I use one, I end up taking my shadow too high up into the crease or too far into the outer corner.

Enter the flat brush. 🙂


Holy tabby tums, Catman! Thanks to their stiff bristles and, well, flat shape, flat brushes make it easy to place shadow exactly where you want it, even on little lids and tight spaces, so even if you have limited lid space and/or shallow creases like I do, you can still git ‘er done.

Of course, if/when you try applying your shadow with a flat brush, you’ll probably need to blend out the edges, because flat brushes also create distinct shadow lines. To end up with gorgeous gradients and subtle, artistic transitions, you’ll want to blur the edges with a blending brush, and that’s when you can really put your fluffy tapered or domed brush to work.

Give it a try one of these days, and let me know how it goes. I hope it helps.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Tulipthecat says:

    Hmm…I’ll have to give this a try. When I use a fluffy brush or dome brush it always goes too high above my crease. Great idea!

  2. Holly says:

    Such a simple solution! I’ll have to try it for more dramatic looks than my go-to everyday look. Do you have a favorite flat brush?

  3. breyerchic04 says:

    That’s what my mom taught me at 14, so I’ve always used a flat brush for my crease (239 for the last 8 years) and a domed brush (217) for my inner corner light color and blending. Then a pointy brush for any powdered lining I do, I forget it’s mac number.

  4. Rachel R. says:

    I almost always use a flat brush in my crease. My eyes are somewhat hooded, so I need to place color high up, and I need my lines fairly sharp. It so much easier to accomplish with a flatter brush. Sometimes I use a small domed brush, too.

    My favorite thing to use in my crease is the Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush from their You’re eyes enhanced starter set. It’s flat and tapered toward the middle.

  5. Amanda says:

    I just had this problem this morning. I was in a hurry, using my MAC 217, and what do you know? My shadow was too far above the crease and way into my outer “v.” And because I was using primer, I had to blend like heck to correct it. I hate the morning rush. Some days, when I poke my eye when tightlining, or I get mascara all over my lid, or my daggone concealer creases after 5 minutes, I wonder why I even bother :/

  6. Albertina says:

    Sounds good. I use a small pencil brush for my crease, which I guess more or less works the same as a flat brush, but I’ll definitely give it a try.

  7. Gabriel says:

    I use a pencil brush for when I need precise crease placement! 🙂 I feel like flat brushes are GOOD for a precise job, but pencils are BETTER. I definitely end up making a big mess if I use domed/tapered blushes for application (except for a couple very specific bright color looks I do, or if it’s a super subdued low-contrast contour shade). I don’t know if it’s because of my eye shape or limited real estate in the area, but that’s why I have more pencil brushes than any other kind of brush!

  8. Heather says:

    I enjoy your makeup application and overall life tips so much, Karen! I’m definitely going to try this, as I’ve tried your other handy tips. Thank you!

  9. Trude says:

    Brilliant! I have more hooded Scandinavian eyes so this would probably come in super handy when I’m trying to get a darker color precisely on the outer corner. Thanks lady! <3
    Trude recently posted … New Skincare Rituals

  10. Kathy Smith-Woodcock says:

    Please dont ever stop with the tips and tricks, I find them soo helpful as I am a novice in spite of my huge collection. I just love how pretty it all is. Thanks for the great blog, so glad I came across it several months ago, awesome work!!!!!!!!

  11. Tatiana says:

    I got some really tiny, half sized tapered brushes from Hakuhodo when I was in Tokyo and I use those to place my crease color. I also use a synthetic #10 flat brush from Shu Uemura. Also purchased in Tokyo, although for that one I sent my DH a photo and he went into the shop and bought it for me while on a business trip.
    I use the regular fluffy tapered brushes for blending and diffusing.

  12. Melanie says:

    I started using a flat brush for the lid after making a mess more than half the time I was applying my crease color… GAME CHANGER!!!! Seriously, my tiny eyes have never looked better 😉

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