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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 these days, from sponges to silicone sponges 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, and electric brushes. 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.
I tend to apply light BB creams and skin tints with my fingers and use brushes for 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:
- 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
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best foundation brush overall
- Sephora Collection
Why you’ll love it: 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 declutter 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 or powder foundation.
A video on Sephora’s website specifically recommends using this brush for medium-coverage products. The slightly dense bristles allow you to layer and build product without creating a cakey finish. Apply foundation directly on the brush, place 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 884 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 formulas
The best foundation and concealer brush
- IT Cosmetics
Why you’ll love it: The IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 is one brush that does it all – or at least blends out both your foundation and concealer in two seconds flat.
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 watch seems to use this brush, and after reading the reviews online, I finally understand why.
This duo allows you to get 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 is cruelty-free, vegan, and 100% synthetic.
The foundation side is of the brush is big, fluffy, and domed, while the concealer side is like the baby version, featuring 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, works for concealer & foundation, cruelty-free, vegan
The best drugstore foundation brush
- Real Techniques
Why you’ll love it: Real Techniques makes high-quality brushes at drugstore prices, and the Expert Face Brush is your 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 formulas and liquidy ones. The bristles are widely distributed, so you can move product around your skin quickly before it dries down.
It has close to 2,000 5-star ratings on Ulta and over 4,500 ratings on Influenster. Reviewers on both sites give the brush an overall 4.7-star rating.
“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 Rank and Style points out, the brush actually stands on its base, so you technically don’t need to store it in a cup or drawer between uses.
Pros: Affordable, dense, works with multiple formulation formulas, stands on its base, cruelty-free
Cons: Some reviewers complained about shedding over time
The best kabuki foundation brush
- Sigma Beauty
Why you’ll love it: 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 get used to applying 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, so they’ll reduce the chance of breakouts between washes, and they’re durable, resistant to both 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 more than 2,000 customer responses and a 4.2-star rating. The brush has also been featured by 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
Why you’ll love it: Gadget-lovers will be drawn to the rotating Clarisonic Sonic Foundation Brush Head, which claims to blend base makeup in under 60 seconds.
Do you need a fancy electric rotating brush to apply your makeup? No, of course not. But if you’re a gadget-head or a facial cleansing brush devotee, you’ll love the Clarisonic Sonic Foundation Brush Head.
Instead of cleaning your face like the typical Clarisonic brush, this one distributes foundation or BB creams as it rotates. It claims to 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’ll save you money in the long term – so long as you already have a Clarisonic.
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.
“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