What Is A Smudge Brush, And Why Do You Need It In Your Makeup Brush Collection?

From the smokey eye to the cut crease, so many eyeshadow designs are just waiting for you to recreate them. To achieve your desired look, you need more than just a solid tutorial, though, as having the right makeup tools is essential. With so many brushes available, ranging from those for crease and blending to blush and mascara, it can be challenging to know what's necessary for your collection.

Luckily, there are only a handful of eyeshadow brushes that you really need for most makeup looks. For example, a flat eyelid brush is necessary for applying product evenly across the lids, while a round blending brush will help you blend already applied colors. The smudge brush is another basic eyeshadow tool that is recommended for many looks. While this brush may not feel as essential as something like a powder brush or mascara wand, it's still one worth having in your arsenal of makeup tools.

Everything you need to know about the smudge brush

So, what exactly is a smudge brush? This eyeshadow tool features short, densely-packed bristles that are used for precise application. Because the smudge brush is also wide and flat, it's perfect for smudging out said carefully applied product. Typically, it's used to blur eyeshadow along the lower or upper lash lines, creating a smokey eye look.

Besides this, the smudge brush can also be used to apply shadow to the inner-eye corner or to define the edges of the eyes, making it pretty versatile overall. The detailed work of this eyeshadow brush is what qualifies it as necessary for your collection. As Janice Daoud, celebrity makeup artist and LARUCE beauty ambassador, tells Real Simple, "The best and most necessary eye makeup brushes are small eye-detailed brushes."

When it comes to how to use this tool, all you need to do is dip the brush into your desired shade and apply the product along your lash line, using back-and-forth motions to blend it out. For blurring eyeliner, use small strokes to smudge the applied product, dampening the brush with water if necessary.

Knowing what smudge brush to buy

When it comes to purchasing a smudge brush, there are several things to consider. First, high-quality brushes are necessary to achieve solid makeup looks. This doesn't necessarily equate to expensive makeup brushes, as there are affordable brands that produce well-made eyeshadow tools. There may be a difference between drugstore and high-end makeup, but it's not always the quality of the products.

To assess the quality of a brush, it's helpful to do a feel test, if possible. When you brush the tool against your skin, the bristles shouldn't feel rough or loose. While smudge brushes are intended to be densely packed and firm, the bristles themselves should still be soft. If they feel loosely attached or fall out when touched, then it's definitely not a quality brush.

Part of selecting an effective smudge brush also comes down to what you want from a makeup look. As celebrity makeup artist Janice Daoud told Real Simple, "When choosing your makeup brushes, always go with what feels good, followed by the application test." She continued, "The application test will allow you to see how the color is picked up, deposited, and blended. If the bristles of the brushes do the job, then it's the right brush for you."