Whether you’re a liquid, cream, or powder gal, finding a great foundation isn’t the end of the equation. You need something to apply it with, and fingers aren’t always your best option. From buffing bristles to the cult classic beauty blender, the kind of foundation brush you use completely changes the finish you get—and can even make your makeup look like a completely different kind of product. But choosing what’s best for you can be confusing!
How do I choose a foundation brush?
- If you’re after a full-coverage look, you’ll want to try a firm kabuki brush.
- If you prefer a sheer finish, opt for a lightweight stippling brush.
- For those hard-to-reach spots, you’ll need something slanted or ergonomically-shaped to hit every nook and cranny of your complexion.
No two brushes are the same, with each one designed to meet a specific purpose. Foundation brushes can even help your formula stay smoother and stay longer, as it’s creating a seamless canvas that can better cling to your skin or your primer. So rather than leave you to wander the makeup aisle aimless wondering what your brush choices say about you, we’ve made the decision-making process a bit simpler by streamlining the only brushes you need for every application desire. Here, our top picks for creating a perfect canvas.
e.l.f. Cosmetics Triangular Buffing Foundation Brush
Considered the ol’ reliable, there’s a reason this foundation brush is the first one makeup experts reach for. Tapered, synthetic bristles ensure a streak-free application every time.
Hourglass Foundation Brush
You know those awkward spots around your hairline, ear lobes, and jaw that you just can’t hit with a bigger brush? Hourglass’s crimped bristles and slanted shape were made specifically to blend in your favorite foundation in even the toughest crevices.
Real Techniques Expert Foundation Blender
If you prefer more control over your blending, opt for the handle-less bristles of this little buffer—perfect for liquid, powder, or cream foundations.
NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Pro Drop Foundation Brush
This shark tooth-shaped foundation brush from NYX is great for applying smaller amounts of foundation in a more detailed way around your face. Use it to apply a darker shade to contour under your cheekbones or to apply a lighter shade under your eyes.
beautyblender Makeup Sponge
No, this isn’t technically a foundation brush, per se, but I would be remiss if I didn’t add the original BeautyBlender on this list! This cute pink sponge changed the game when it came out and has remained a makeup artist favorite over the years.
It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7
I stand behind the dream team of plastic surgeons and makeup experts that developed this brush. The larger end provides a flawless finish on your powder or liquid foundation, while the smaller end can be used to touch up nooks and crannies with concealer.
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Liquid Touch Foundation Brush
This angled foundation brush from Rare Beauty will flawlessly hug the contours of your face for easy blending. The shape mimics the feel of your very own fingers, so prepare for a natural—but buildable!—finish.
Sonia Kashuk Essential Flat-Top Foundation Brush
Flat-top brushes like this one from Sonia Kashuk make blending a breeze thanks to their collection of dense, flat brushes. This one is also cruelty-free and vegan.
tarte The Buffer™ Airbrush Finish Foundation Brush
The thick, bamboo handle of this brush provides a comfortable grip as the dense bristles buff and blur your foundation. The result? An even, non-flaky base for the rest of your makeup.
wet n wild Foundation Brush
Stocking up on professional-grade makeup brushes doesn’t have to be expensive—and this Flat Top Brush from Wet’n’Wild is proof. It has over 43 thousand five-star reviews for a reason!
11. Alima Pure Powder Foundation Brush
If you prefer a lighter-coverage finish, consider using a powder foundation with this Pure Powder Foundation Brush from Alima. The ultra-soft bristles are designed to give you a seamless finish that looks natural on the skin.
12. Morphe M439 Deluxe Buffer Brush
Morphe’s selection of makeup brushes have rightfully secured their place in the makeup bags of many a beauty guru on the internet and for good reason. Many of them—like this M439 Deluxe Buffer Brush—are priced at under $20, and work with all foundation formulas.
13. Real Techniques Blend ‘n Blur Foundation Brush
This Blend ‘n Blur Foundation Brush from Real Techniques is designed to give you an HD finish thanks to its densely packed oval shape. The long handle also makes it ideal for applying body makeup, too!
14. MERIT N. 1 Tapered Blending Brush
If you’re using a heavier cream foundation, you need this brush from MERIT. It’s designed to seamlessly blend out the denser formulas for a flawless, natural finish.
15. Ilia Perfecting Buff Brush
This cute lil’ buffer is ideal when you’re working with your most versatile foundation. Blend in one layer for a more natural look, or use this to layer on the pigment for more coverage.
16. Westman Atelier Flat Foundation Brush
Sustainably-sourced birch makes up the sleek handle on this easy-to-wield brush, best suited for patting liquid foundation formulas into a smooth, polished finish.
17. bareMinerals Seamless Buffing Brush
The bristles of this dome-shaped brush are infused with activated charcoal and silver ions that repel acne-causing bacteria upon contact. Plus, the antibacterial fibers won’t wash off as you clean your brush, so you can have peace of mind even after a thorough cleaning.
18. SHISEIDO Hasu Fude Foundation Brush
This brush’s unique shape sets it apart from the plethora of options out there. A flat surface provides even coverage on your cheeks and forehead, but it’s angled enough to offer precision for those hard-to-reach spots (like the grooves of your nose). Plus, you can use it to contour afterward. Win-win.
19. EcoTools Wonder Cover Complexion Brush
Not ready to empty your wallet for a makeup brush? No worries—EcoTools has a great cost-friendly option. Made with recycled and 100 percent recyclable materials, this wide foundation brush can be used wet or dry and offers great coverage to help to correct skin concerns like rosacea, hyper-pigmentation, and those pesky blemishes.
20. Fenty Beauty Full-Bodied Foundation Brush 110
Fenty’s foundation brush is shaped so that you can apply liquid foundation with the full coverage of a paddle brush and with the blending abilities of an airbrush. The 140,000 bristles are dense enough that foundation goes on your face–not caked up inside the brush.