How to Pick the Best Foundation Brush for Any Occasion

How to Pick the Best Foundation Brush for Any Occasion
January 4, 2021

Rachael Grant

Choosing the best foundation brush that will serve you well for all foundation types is not at all simple. To make things even more complicated, certain foundation types require using a sponge or a puff. If you are used to using your fingers for applying face coverage products, investing in a foundation brush may seem unnecessary and even wasteful, especially if you get one that absorbs a lot of product.  

So, how do you go ahead with this essential makeup choice, which, if made wisely, will result in a makeup brush that will last for years?

What is Best: Foundation Brush vs. Sponge vs. Fingers

It all depends on what you want to achieve with your makeup.

Concentrated Application

If you want a more concentrated application, for example, using your foundation both as a base and as a concealer, your fingers will do the trick. 


For a more blended approach and a natural makeup look, you might want to use an oval sponge

Brushes are excellent for professional makeup application: you wouldn’t want to touch the client’s face unless necessary. In other words, if you’re going to accomplish an expertly applied foundation, then it is good that you are considering the best foundation brush that will suit your needs. 

Special Makeup Techniques

Many modern face makeup techniques, such as contouring and highlighting, require using more that one good foundation brush. 

Of course, the optimal choice would be to get a professional brush set or a more modest makeup set for personal use. To nail down the selection, consider the critical characteristics of foundation brushes we are exploring below.

Best Foundation Brush for Full Coverage

When we are discussing how to pick the perfect foundation brush, we are thinking of liquid foundation or any other type of face coverage with a creamier consistency.

Maximum Coverage

The best brush for maximum coverage has either a flat top of triangular shape. The bristles are cut in a straight line to apply the liquid in one equal stroke on the designated area. Think of applying makeup like painting art. For sensitive skin, pick brushes with natural hair. Concave or angled foundation brushes are cut diagonally for easier application around facial curves.  

You can also consider a stippling brush, as an all-in-one solution. It has a double bristle layer that helps you apply the maximum amount of foundation to your skin without letting it go to ruins.  


Light to Medium Coverage

A round brush is ideal for achieving lighter translucent coverage that shows a bit of skin under the foundation layer. The round brush will soften the edges of the stroke and give a flawless look without patches or dry areas. A round brush can also serve an extra purpose of applying powder foundation or blush. However, it is best if you have a separate brush for blush and the foundation as regular maintenance can be a pain and shorten the lifespan of your makeup tools.

Best Foundation Brush for Dry Skin

Applying liquid foundation on dry skin can cause many problems: from excessive product absorbing to causing a rash when chosen inappropriately. If you have dry skin, it is good to invest in professional quality brushes and clean your brush regularly. The imperative for natural bristle brushes remains here, too, as they are the least likely to cause allergic reactions or leave you with flakier skin than before. 

How to Minimise Large Pores

If, in contrast, you have large pores and oily skin, complement your choice of foundation brush with a second one for adding powder. Alternatively, go for a set of puff sponges that you can frequently clean form the excess sebum.

In a Hurry? Get an Oversized Oval Brush

An XXL oval foundation brush will be your best choice if you:

  • Don’t have a lot of time on your hands
  • Don’t require full coverage
  • Prefer compact and powdery consistencies 

The large oval brush can be used to blend a complete makeup look you have previously worked on step-by-step, using a primer, a concealer, and several shades of liquid foundation.

Foundation Consistency and Brush Quality

As mentioned before, different foundation consistencies require different foundation brushes. So, here is what to look for in the best foundation brush for liquid, powder, and creamy texture.  

 Liquid Foundation

Brushes for liquid foundation are usually flat, do not have that much volume, and come with a gentle taper. Everything discussed in more detail above applies to liquid foundation brushes. Since this is the one that needs to provide the base coverage, it is crucial you pick a good one, even splurge a bit. For more precision, get a stubbier brush. 

As mentioned before, different foundation consistencies require different foundation brushes. So, here is what to look for in the best foundation brush for liquid, powder, and creamy texture.  

Powder Foundation

Fan brushes are (you guessed it!) shaped like a fan. Because of their loose bristle texture, they are perfect for finishing a look or softly blending the top powder layer on an already well-covered area. 

Avoid them for liquid foundation because they may not provide equal coverage and you’ll end up disappointed in the foundation, when, in fact, you just made a poor choice with the foundation brush.  


Cream Foundation

The best brush for foundation with creamier consistencies must be soft and thick. It should also soak in moisture well. This is because many makeup artists apply warm water to the brush before they apply creamy foundation, and if the bristles are too dry or coarse, the outcome will be flaky and uneven. 

How to Keep Your Foundation Brushes in the Best Shape

Regardless of how well you keep your treasured foundation brush, it will age in time. If you notice it smells, sheds, or flattens, it is time to move on and pick up another one. 

  • Wash it at least once a month or whenever you notice it has accumulated a lot of gunk form frequent use.  
  • Use lukewarm water and gentle soap. If it is made of natural bristles, a mild shampoo will be appropriate. 
  • Lie your brush flat for drying to avoid gravity issues. 
  • Store brushes in a separate compartment of a makeup organiser.
  • Apply a brush conditioner occasionally to prolong their life. 

Choosing the best foundation brush doesn’t have to be intimidating – we hope we have helped you make the best possible choice. Remember – is not always up to the brush, sometimes the foundation itself can cause problems, in which case, you might want to consider tried and tested coverage ideas.  

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