Louise Wittlich's hand, holding her favorite foundation brushes

The Best Foundation Brushes

Flat, round, angled, with natural bristles or synthetic fibers: there is so much choice that it is not always easy to know which make-up brush and more specifically which foundation brushes to choose.

Personally, I often like to apply my (liquid) foundations with my hands. Why? Mainly to take advantage of the warmth of the hands to stretch the texture even more finely on the skin for a transparent and natural finish. This works very well with the very fluid foundations I use a lot.

But all other textures, thicker fluids, cream, cake, stick, need a brush for application.

Foundation textures and brushes go together

It’s the foundation texture that determines its ideal pairing brush. It can be a real headache to find the right brush for your foundation… As a rule of thumb one can say: A dense formulation will require a rather firm brush. A very lightweight texture will best be worked with a very fluffy brush with will allow for a light touch.

As a small guide, I would like to share with you a list of my favourite foundation brushes: Their features, why I like them and the best way to use them.

These foundation brushes can be considered “basics”, meaning they’re also suitable for makeup beginners! But they are also must-haves for the more advanced makeup artists among you.

There are different shapes of foundation brushes:

The classic flat foundation brush

Never out of fashion, this brush shape allows to precisely control the amount of product you apply. It can be used for all kinds of foundation: liquids, creams and powders (for those who like them).

You can use the back of your hand as a palette, where you put the product and then apply it in long strokes, as if you were painting on a canvas. The best method is to start in the middle of the face, and smoothen and blend out to the sides. Very important when working with this brush is to finish with very light up and down strokes. This will flatten the small hairs on the face and will get you a smooth finish.

My favourites in this category are MAC’s No. 190 and Dior’s No. 11 Fluid Foundation Brush. Both are made of smooth synthetic fibres, which are easy to clean.
The MAC brush is a bit firmer and therefore lends itself well to working with more compact textures. More tapered, the Dior brush is useful for creamier products.

The round foundation brush

A foundation brush that has become more and more common lately.
I prefer the round domed ones to the round flat cut brushes (often called Kabuki) which create a heavier finish and also can irritate sensitive or blemished skin.

With this type of brush I like to work lightweight liquid and creamy textures. I apply them in small circular movements, always starting in the middle of the face. Dabbing lightly will then blend the foundation perfectly.

I like brush 170 from MAC, because of its ultra-fine synthetic fibres which make it super smooth. Wider, for more efficiency and speed, is the F101 from Urban Decay. And finally a new “hype” brush, but one that deserves its buzz entirely: The Oval 7 from Artis. Super-fine and dense fibres are mounted in an flat, angled shape, a bit like a hairbrush. The brush-like handle is very practical when applying make-up on yourself. It feels pleasant and the result is a perfect uniformity. The large surface area of this brush also makes it very effective and fast to use. That’s why we professional makeup artists use them a lot in the backstage of the fashion shows, to retouch the models’ legs and arms. 😉

Having come this far, you might also be interested in my post on the best concealer and powder brushes, which you find here. 😉

By Louise Wittlich

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