Can you use an eyeshadow brush to apply eyeliner?

Having the right tools can make all the difference when it comes to makeup application. However, you can also use a single tool for more than one purpose. For instance, using an eyeshadow brush to apply eyeliner. Many makeup enthusiasts wonder if they can use an eyeshadow brush to apply eyeliner, especially when they're in a pinch or looking to experiment with different techniques.

In this article, we will explore whether an eyeshadow brush is a suitable alternative to traditional eyeliner brushes, and what factors to consider for the best application results. Eyeliner is an important part of eye makeup and plays a crucial role in achieving a flawless final look, which is why it is important to use proper tools and techniques for eyeliner application. But before we discuss the main topic, let’s understand what eyeshadow brushes are.

What are Eyeshadow Brushes?

Before we explore the possibility of using an eyeshadow brush for eyeliner, let's first understand what an eyeshadow brush is. Eyeshadow brushes are typically designed with soft bristles that are ideal for blending and applying eyeshadow evenly across the eyelids. These brushes come in various shapes and sizes, each serving a specific purpose in the eyeshadow application.

Eyeshadow brushes come with compact shapes that help them pick the right amount of pigment. Their soft bristles are ideal for the sensitive skin around the eyes and they are ideal for blending eyeshadow perfectly to achieve an even look. The characteristic features of eyeshadow brushes make them one of the essential makeup tools.

Difference Between Eyeliner Brushes and Eyeshadow Brushes

To determine whether an eyeshadow brush can be used for eyeliner, we need to compare it with traditional eyeliner brushes. Eyeliner brushes are characterized by their thin, precise tips, which allow for sharp and controlled application. In contrast, eyeshadow brushes have softer, more rounded bristles, which are better suited for diffused and blended eyeshadow looks. Despite the contrasting build, eyeshadow brushes can be used to apply eyeliner. Here’s how you can experiment with your makeup techniques.

Using an Eyeshadow Brush for Eyeliner

The concept of using an eyeshadow brush for eyeliner application holds several advantages. The larger surface area of an eyeshadow brush allows for more blended and diffused lines, perfect for achieving a soft and smudged eyeliner look. This technique is particularly popular for creating a sultry, smoky eye effect that's both alluring and elegant.

Technique 1: Soft and Smudged Eyeliner Look

To achieve a soft and smudged eyeliner look using an eyeshadow brush, follow these steps:
  • Choose your desired eyeshadow color, ideally a dark shade.
  • Dip the eyeshadow brush into the eyeshadow and tap off any excess.
  • Gently apply the eyeshadow along your lash line, gradually building up the intensity.
  • Use a smudging brush to soften and blend the line for a seamless finish.
  • Optionally, apply a slightly darker eyeshadow shade close to the lash line to add depth and dimension.

Technique 2: Creating a Bold and Dramatic Winged Eyeliner

For those who love bold and dramatic eyeliner looks, the eyeshadow brush technique can be adapted to achieve a winged eyeliner effect:
  • Load the eyeshadow brush with your preferred eyeliner product, whether it's gel, liquid, or pencil.
  • Create a guideline for your wing by angling the brush from the outer corner of your eye to the end of your eyebrow.
  • Slowly build the wing by applying the product in short strokes along the guideline.
  • Once the wing is complete, connect it to your upper lash line and fill in any gaps.
  • For added drama, intensify the wing by applying a darker eyeshadow shade over the eyeliner.

Drawbacks and Challenges

While using an eyeshadow brush for eyeliner application offers versatility, it's important to acknowledge potential challenges. Achieving precise lines can be more difficult with an eyeshadow brush, especially for intricate designs or sharp wings. Additionally, some eyeshadow brushes may not pick up enough product, leading to uneven or patchy application.

Pros and Cons of Using an Eyeshadow Brush for Eyeliner


  1. Versatility
One of the significant advantages of using an eyeshadow brush for eyeliner is its versatility. With a single brush, you can create both subtle and smudged eyeliner looks.
  1. Blending Abilities
Eyeshadow brushes are excellent at blending, which can result in a softer, more natural eyeliner appearance.
  1. Experimentation
Using an eyeshadow brush for eyeliner allows you to experiment with various eyeshadow colors as your liner, providing a unique and personalized look.


  1. Lack of Precision
The primary drawback of using an eyeshadow brush for eyeliner is the lack of precision. Achieving a crisp and defined line may be challenging with the soft bristles of an eyeshadow brush.
  1. Product Absorption
Eyeshadow brushes tend to absorb more product compared to traditional eyeliner brushes, which can lead to product wastage and less intense color payoff.

Tips for Using an Eyeshadow Brush for Eyeliner

While using an eyeshadow brush for eyeliner may not offer the same precision as an eyeliner brush, there are ways to make the most out of this technique. To achieve precision and consistency when using an eyeshadow brush for eyeliner, consider the following tips:
  • Start with a light application and gradually build up the intensity. Creating an outline can help you avoid mistakes.
  • Use short, controlled strokes for greater control over the brush. This will help you achieve a precise eyeliner look.
  • Keep a cotton swab and makeup remover handy to correct any mistakes. No matter what your skill level might be, there’s a chance of messing up. Cotton swabs and makeup remover will enable you to correct mistakes immediately.
  • Practice on your non-dominant eye first to establish a steady hand. Building muscle memory will help you get your desired makeup look with ease.


Using an eyeshadow brush to apply eyeliner can be an exciting and versatile makeup technique. While it may not provide the same precision as traditional eyeliner brushes, it opens up a world of creativity and experimentation. By understanding the differences between eyeshadow and eyeliner brushes and following some helpful tips, you can achieve a stunning eyeliner look using an eyeshadow brush.
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