Many many many people, bloggers, makeup artists and sales associates alike will tell you that tools (AKA brushes) are the key to any makeup look. I only marginally agree with them. I do not think you need a full set of brushes to make a good eye look. I think sometimes they help, but they are not always the key! Which is why you are going to look at me strange when I show you the next pic which only amounts to a very small percentage of my brush collection (what? They are pretty!).
So, there are a lot of brushes in there. Brushes for face, eyes lips, cheeks and almost everything in between. If you bring everything down to basics, you need a total of 2 brushes to create a blended eye look.
Yes, there are 3 in this pic but you need 1 from column A and 1 from column B. The major difference between these brushes in the density of bristles. The brushes on the left are quite a bit more tightly packed which means they will deposit more color. The brush on the right is fluffy and will deposit less color. To blend colors you need a brush to pack on color (A) and a brush to blend (B). If you have a smaller eye or want to fill in a small space, the smaller of the two brushes on the left would probably be best (and I'd recommend the smaller ones to a beginner too).
For reference: beigey colored bristled brush is the Sephora Professional round crease eyeshadow brush, the next one over is the ELF eyeshadow C brush and the fluffy one is the Mark blending brush (fitly named).
Now, I've drawn in a dotted line which is about where you blend your shadow. This isn't to say you should only blend shadow on the crease or on the lid or what-have-you, it's only so you can kind of see the steps involved.
Taking the brush we are going to apply the shadow on the "lid" of Sassy Sally. Yes, it is supposed to be messy. No it doesn't matter. You'll be fixing it later.
Now, after you have applied your color, you now blend it. I tend to take the big fluffy brush and swipe it across my lid back and forth quite lightly like windshield wipers.
I usually do it right around the part that the color stops. And don't worry. You can't really mess this up. If you erase too much shadow, you can just reapply with the tightly-packed brush. If you are not combining two colors and are worried about it being streaky, apply some of your normal face powder on the brush to soften the line without adding color.
Now, there are some instances that you want to add color.
Here we have some Chantecaille eyeshadow (color unknown). Load up the fluffy brush (notice how this would generally be close to at least my skin tone. Unfortunately, Sassy Sally is even more of a sheet than I am (hahah).
Use the same sweeping motion with the fluffy brush.
See how the line is starting to erase (even though of course you can see it since it's dotted)?
Some winged liner and some mascara and Sassy Sally is ready to go out! She loves her soft blended look!
Now I know that's pretty much the basics. You can use various blocks of color and blend them the same way. Here's a small very quickly done diagram.
The idea is apply color in any shape you want, and around it (ie. squiggly lines) blend. As I said, you can blend it with just the brush, some loose powder or even another eyeshadow (though try to stick within the same color families or neutrals so it doesn't get muddy).
I hope this post was useful and I apologize again that I couldn't demo on a real person, but Sassy Sally is always willing to help. Achoo!
Also, you know how I disagree about tools? I painted the following with a Crayola paintbrush. The one that comes free in the water color palette. You know, the one that is like $3 that they sell to preschoolers? That one.
Comments? Questions? Tell me!