Think that’s gonna be short and easy? Think again. Foundation, concealer, and powder brushes come in different shapes and sizes too, each one better suited for a different technique and texture.
You don’t need them all. But you do need to know which one suits your needs best. Otherwise, you’ll try to cover that pimple with the wrong brush, wondering in frustration why you never manage to hide it completely (or did that happen only to me?)!
So, let’s make some sense of this face makeup brush kerfuffle, shall we?
1. Flat Foundation Brush
The most common and popular type of foundation brush, it has a flat body and a rounded, square, or slightly angled, head. Perfect for liquid application, its synthetic, densely-packed bristles provide medium to full coverage and blend everything seamlessly.
Bobbi Brown Foundation Brush ($42.00) has the classic rounded head we’re all most familiar with, and promises to blend your foundation without streaking. Prefer a square head? Try MAC 191 Square Foundation Brush ($35.00). But my favourite is Le Metier De La Beaute Angled Foundation Brush ($50.00). Its angled head allows you to easily reach all the corners of the face. Definitely worth the investment!
2. Flat-Headed Foundation Brush
I rarely use cream foundation these days, but if you do, you’ll want to invest in a good flat-headed ( better if slightly slanted) brush. Its shape really allows you to press the foundation into your skin as you swirl it all over, ensuring a natural and flawless coverage.
Shiseido Foundation Brush ($30.00) has just the right shape and provides a high, natural coverage. Dior Fluid Brush is more expensive, but it has a more angled head that makes it easier to apply foundation into all nooks and crannies.
3. Duo Fibre Brush
Also called stippling brush, a duo fibre brush has two layers. A dark set of dense but short natural bristles, and a lighter set of long and sparse synthetic bristles. Results vary depending on how much pressure you use.
If you use a heavy hand, you’ll get full coverage. A light hand, and you achieve a more natural, sheer finish. That’s perfect for those who have great skin to begin with, and don’t have much to cover.
MAC Duo Fibre Face Brush #187 ($42.00) is hard to beat. Like all MAC brushes, it is quite pricey, but will make your life a lot easier and last for ages (if you take proper care of it). Not convinced? Try Real Techniques Stippling Brush. It’s only $9.99, and works just as well.
4. Large, Fluffy Powder Brush
This type of brush has a wide, fluffy head that’s perfect for applying powders all over your face. You can also use it to dust a layer of translucent powder to set your liquid foundation.
Tarte makes a really good one. It’s called Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush ($34.00), and blends and buffs powder foundation for that perfectly airbrushed effect.
5. Kabuki Brush
Small and compact, the Kabuki brush is very versatile. Ideal for mineral foundation, it can also be used to apply all kinds of powders, such as blushes and bronzers. I prefer kabuki brushes with densely packed bristles because they deliver a higher coverage, but the fluffy ones are best if you only want to apply a sheer dusting of foundation all over the face.
With a slim body and soft, straight fibers, Make Up For Ever Foundation Kabuki Brush ($48.00) combines the precision of a traditional foundation brush with the convenient size of a kabuki brush. Too expensive for you? Opt for The Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals Powder Foundation Brush ($25.00). Its bristles are really soft and don’t scratch skin.
6. Precision Foundation Brush
This type of brush has a slimmer head with a pointed tip that allows for a super precise application. It easily reaches difficult areas such as the corners of your nose and eyes, ensuring a flawless application all over.
Japonesque Professional Pointed Foundation Brush ($25.00), allows you to apply foundation (and concealer) exactly where needed. A cheaper option is E.L.F. Studio Pointed Foundation Brush. It’s only $3.00, but does the job well.
7. Flat Concealer Brush
Flat synthetic brushes with a tapered head are perfect to hide dark circles. The flat shape allows you to really press that concealer down. The tapered head prevents clumping. And the synthetic bristles? They pick up less product, resulting in a more natural application.
With its red handle, Smashbox Precision Concealer Brush #5 doesn’t fail to attract your attention. Plus, it applies and blends concealer like a dream. Hourglass Large Concealer Brush #8 is a pricier, but very valid, option too.
8. Pointed Concealer Brush
Ever tried to hide pimples with a flat concealer brush? Me too, and it always ends badly. So frustrating! The solution? Use a pointed and tapered brush. It shape allows you to easily apply concealer only when you need it, without touching the surrounding skin. For an airbrushed look, use gentle swirling motions, and then blend the edges with your ring finger.
Are you using the right face makeup brushes for your needs? Which ones are your favourites?