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- Sigma Beauty
- From flat-top kabuki brushes to silicone sponges, there are almost too many tools to apply foundation.
- The Sephora Collection PRO Flawless Airbrush #56 is a basic, non-gimmicky foundation brush that gives you a seamless finish with your favorite cream or powder products.
There are so many options for applying face makeup, from foam sponges to silicone versions that look like chicken cutlets to oddly-shaped brushes that claim to give you an airbrushed finish. But regular old foundation brushes shouldn’t be overlooked.
Even within that category, the possibilities are seemingly endless. There are flat-top kabuki brushes, paddle brushes, angled brushes, round brushes, electric brushes, and more. How can you choose just one? And what’s the difference between them all anyway?
A lot depends on what kind of coverage you prefer and what your makeup application goals are, but you don’t need to amass a huge collection – one brush can work for the majority of base products.
Personally, I tend to apply light BB creams and skin tints with my fingers and use brushes for products with medium or higher coverage. A foundation brush can also help blend out stubborn cream products. If my makeup is starting pill up from the warmth of my fingers, I’ll switch to a brush to get rid of any weird clumps.
Here are the best foundation brushes you can buy in 2019:
- Best foundation brush overall: Sephora PRO Flawless Airbrush #56
- Best foundation and concealer brush: IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7
- Best drugstore foundation brush: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
- Best kabuki foundation brush: Sigma Beauty Flat Kabuki Makeup Brush F80
- Best electric foundation brush: Clarisonic Sonic Foundation Brush Head
Updated on 5/22/2019 by Jada Wong: Updated formatting and links.
Keep scrolling to check out our top picks.
The best foundation brush overall
- Sephora Collection
The Sephora Collection PRO Flawless Airbrush #56 is the only brush you need to perfectly blend your favorite cream or powder foundations.
Are you sick of looking at 75 different foundation brushes cluttering your makeup area? Feel free to KonMari them all and pick up the Sephora Collection PRO Flawless Airbrush #56. It’s cleverly designed to work with just about any foundation formula, which means you can use it with liquid, cream, or powder foundation.
A video on Sephora’s website specifically recommends using this brush for products with medium coverage. The slightly dense bristles allow you to layer and build product without creating a cakey finish, and spreads product around even no matter how you like to use the brush. You can apply foundation directly on the brush, pump it on the back of your hand first, or apply it directly on your face before swirling the brush in circular motions.
This brush has a 4.7-star rating based on more than 900 reviews. One Sephora shopper writes, “When you apply your foundation, you don’t see the marks that bristles can sometimes leave behind. It is the best brush out there, believe me you’re gonna fall in love with it!!!!!!!”
Pros: Not tested on animals, synthetic bristles, works with multiple foundation formulas
The best foundation and concealer brush
- IT Cosmetics
The IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 is one brush that works for both your foundation and concealer.
The IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 first came to my attention – like most things beauty – on YouTube. Every single makeup expert I watched seemed to use this brush, and after reading the reviews online, I finally understand why.
This duo helps you score a flawless face in about five seconds flat. The two different sized brushes ensure you’ll be able to reach every single crevice for a gap-free blend. Like all IT Cosmetics brushes, it’s also cruelty-free, vegan, and made with 100% synthetic bristles.
The foundation side is of the brush is big, fluffy, and domed, while the concealer side is like a baby version with dense bristles and a rounded tip. IT Cosmetics makes beautiful brushes (I use several almost daily for eyeshadow) with super soft bristles that don’t shed no matter how much you reach for – or neglect to wash – them.
“I’ve been using this brush for years,” writes one Ulta reviewer. “Definitely got my money worth. It applies cream & powder foundation, bronzer,& blush beautifully.”
Pros: Double-ended, multi-purpose brush works for concealer and foundation, cruelty-free, vegan
The best drugstore foundation brush
- Real Techniques
Real Techniques makes high-quality brushes at drugstore prices, and the Expert Face Brush is an ideal foundation application tool.
Even though the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush is the top drugstore foundation brush on this list, it really is one of the best options out there – period. If you’re not interested in dropping $30+ on a brush, I urge you to check this one out.
This is a basic dome-shaped foundation brush that’s super densely packed to pick up and blend both thicker cream and liquid formulas . The bristles are widely distributed, so you can move product around your skin quickly before it dries down.
“I normally use mineral powder foundation and this works great for that – but was curious how this would work with a heavy cream. Result: you TRULY can multitask with it! I have NEVER been able to do this with one brush before … I applied, one after the other with no wiping or cleaning between,” reads the most helpful 5-star review on Ulta.
As an added perk that you wouldn’t realize before buying the brush, Rank and Style points out that the brush actually stands on its base, so you technically don’t need even to store it in your overflowing brush cup or makeup drawer between uses.
Pros: Affordable, densely packed bristles, works with multiple foundation formulas, stands on its base, cruelty free
Cons: Some reviewers complained about shedding over time
The best kabuki foundation brush
- Sigma Beauty
The Sigma Beauty Flat Kabuki Makeup Brush F80 gently spreads foundation across your face without absorbing half the product in the process.
Let’s face it – some foundation applicators eat product, causing you to use way more than strictly necessary in order to cover your face. The Sigma Beauty Flat Kabuki Makeup Brush F80 doesn’t absorb any product, thanks to bristles made of the brand’s proprietary Sigmax fibers.
A little foundation goes a very long way, so you may need to use less than usual when using this brush. But that’s definitely not a bad thing because it has the potential to save you a lot of money in the long term. This flat-top structure is ideal for liquid formulations as opposed to powders.
The Sigmax fibers are hypoallergenic and antibacterial to help reduce the chance of breakouts between washes, and they’re durable and resistant to heat and various chemicals.
Sigma Beauty Flat Kabuki Makeup Brush F80 has a ton of reviews online. It won an Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2016 and is an Amazon’s Choice item with a 4.2-star rating and more than 2,150 customer reviews. The brush has also been featured on Rank and Style.
“I legit only use half the amount of pumps of foundation using this brush compared to using a beauty blender (which btw just soaks up everything, great blender but uses too much product),” writes one reviewer. Another shopper says she even uses it for non-streaky sunless tanner application.
Pros: Doesn’t absorb product so you use less, hypoallergenic, antibacterial, durable, heat resistant
Cons: Only works for liquid or cream, not powder
The best electric foundation brush
Gadget-lovers will be drawn to the rotating Clarisonic Sonic Foundation Brush Head, which the brand claims will blend base makeup in less than 60 seconds.
Do you need a fancy electric rotating brush to apply your makeup? No. But if you’re a tech-head or a facial cleansing brush devotee, you’ll love the Clarisonic Sonic Foundation Brush Head.
You can use this brush head with a Clarisonic Mia 1, Mia 2, Mia FIT, and Smart Profile – which means, if you don’t have a base, you’ll have to buy one separately. The obvious downside here is that the brush head only works if you have that specific facial cleansing device. But if you’re thinking about taking the plunge anyway, this is a highly recommended add-on, with more than 200 5-star reviews on Ulta.
Instead of cleaning your face like the typical Clarisonic brush, this one distributes foundation or BB creams as it rotates. The brand claims the brush can blend everything smoothly in less than 60 seconds.
Speed is the main draw here, but this brush also gives you that airbrushed look while requiring fewer pumps of foundation. Even though it’s pricey, it can help save you money in the long term – and you can streamline packing since you’ll just need to change the head on your Clarisonic.
“I use this for everything from apply foundation, blending out contour and any cream products, or as a final step to just buff out the foundation after I put it on with my beauty blender,” writes one shopper.
Pros: Uses less product, blends in under a minute, anti-microbial bristles
Cons: Expensive, only works with Clarisonic brushes (which can also be expensive)