You’ve probably noticed we can’t stop talking about this season’s array of bold eye looks. There’s the classic smoky eye like Olivia Wilde, a bright line of color a la Jessica Biel, or softer renditions like those in our gray eyes editorial. In fact, Hollywood’s so hypnotized with a defined eye, that actresses like Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence are pairing their smoky gazes with an equally-striking lip. The one thing they all have in common? Their eye makeup is expertly applied and has a polished finish. You don’t need a makeup artist—just the right brushes. Georgie Eisdell, the makeup artist behind some of Carey Mulligan and Rose Byrne’s best red carpet looks and Dianna Agron’s edgy editorial, says you can accomplish any look with just three—as long as their the right ones.
The first—and most important—brush to own is a classic eye shadow brush. “It will let you do anything from a soft wash of color to a strong smoky eye,” Eisdell says. Pick up a brush with an oval shape and medium-length hairs like Bobbi Brown’s Eye Shadow Brush ($29) or Sephora’s Classic Must Have Powder Shadow Brush #60 ($15).
A contour brush is just the right shape to give your eyes definition in the socket, outer corners, and even under your bottom lashline. “You can use this brush to get a smudgy finish as well as a more defined line,” Eisdell says. “Plus, it’s fantastic for blending out sharp edges from dark shadow and creating softness with a pale color.” Try Clinique’s Eye Contour Brush ($21) or Nars’ #14 Eye Contour Brush ($28).
Don’t worry, Eisdell didn’t forget about your brows! The last tool you need is an angled brow brush, which will groom and color your arches to Cara Delevingne perfection and allow you to apply gel eyeliner or wet shadow with extreme precision. The key is to buy one with short, stiff hairs, Eisdell says. She swears by Chanel’s Angled Brow Brush #12 ($30); we love Maybelline’s Angled Definer Brow Brush ($6).