Your foundation game is only going to be as good as your foundation brush. Even the most highly rated and expensive foundation isn’t going to look great if it’s been applied with a brush that leaves behind streaks or causes product to settle into the pores. This is not to slam other applicators, like makeup sponges or fingers, but there is something special about the way that best foundation brush glides over the skin.
However, preferences also matter in this instant! Some makeup brushes give a sheer, natural coverage perfect for that cool-girl aesthetic, while others offer flawless full coverage for that Instagram-perfect complexion.
As always, this article starts with some recommendations, focusing on the best foundation brushes for every purpose. I explain the differences between the different types of foundation brushes, as well as how to use each one. I’ll help you decide between a foundation brush and a sponge, and maybe even convince you to get both.
To make sure your foundation brushes stay in tip-top shape, I’ve included my brush cleaning and maintenance guide, as well. Enjoy!
Foundation Brush Guide: Contents
25 Best Foundation Brushes to Add to Your Makeup Kit
These are the best foundation brushes you can add to your makeup kit. Some of these brushes are best for liquid foundations, while others are a dream to use with a cream or a powder foundation. As a bonus, unless stated otherwise, they are all guaranteed to be vegan! Choose the one that will work best for your needs!
1. Tarte Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush
This soft, silky foundation brush is made from vegan fibers to go specifically with Tarte foundations – though it can work with any foundation. It is on the larger side, so it will give you a super quick foundation application but may require some squeezing in order to get into the crevices of the face. It has a medium firmness and a kabuki-style shape, with a thick bamboo handle that makes for an easy grip. Buy it from Sephora!
2. Sigma Beauty F60 Foundation Brush
I like to think of flat, tapered foundation brushes as “old-school” foundation brushes that really make you feel like you’re painting your face. These brushes are declining in popularity, but if you’re still into them then this is one of the best foundation brushes made in that style. It is made of synthetic, antimicrobial fibers, and is extremely durable. Get it at Nordstrom!
3. Kat Von D Lock-It Edge Foundation Brush
This foundation brush is truly unique. It has a sculpted, tapered shape that is thinner than other foundation brushes, and makes it one of the best foundation brushes for getting into facial crevices. It can be used for both applying and blending foundation. It is vegan and synthetic, and yet the bristles are incredibly soft. The end of the brush is pointed, so it is great for picking up product. It is available at Sephora.
4. Hourglass Vanish Foundation Brush
This round, flat-topped brush is the best foundation brush for blending thicker cream foundations, though it’ll work with liquid foundations as well. While the Taklon bristles themselves are extremely soft, they are packed in very densely so the brush is able to pick up and move product around the face with ease. It is small enough to fit into the hard-to-reach spots, and it gives a gorgeous, streak-free finish. Pick it up from Sephora!
5. MAC Cosmetics 196 Slanted Flat Top Foundation Brush
MAC Cosmetics are known for their truly high-quality range of makeup brushes. This flat-topped foundation brush is extremely dense, so it gives a very full-coverage application of foundation and will work even with very thick formulas. It has a slight angle, which allows it to curve more comfortably against the contours of the face and makes it easier to reach the crevices. The only drawback is that cleaning it takes a touch longer due to the sheer amount of tightly packed bristles. Find it at Nordstrom!
6. Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Full-Bodied Foundation Brush 110
This pink, paw-shaped foundation brush is as adorable as they come, but it is also very functional. It has a very soft texture and medium density, which means it glides over the skin with ease and applies a diffused layer of foundation. The finish is seamless, and the application is less heavy than it would be with a denser brush. It is sold at Sephora.
7. Rae Morris Jishaku 23 Liquid Foundation Brush
The Rae Morris makeup brushes, which are made in Japan, are a high-tech luxury with a magnetic base for safe storage. This foundation brush has a medium density, which allows for a very natural all-over application of foundation, and because the bristles are on the longer side it covers a lot of space quickly. Order it online from Net-a-Porter!
8. bareMinerals Beautiful Finish Foundation Brush
Now, this foundation brush is truly unusual. It is made by bareMinerals, and is one of the best foundation brushes for applying mineral or powder foundation. It has a convex center with a skirt of fibers surrounding it. The skirt picks up the powder, while as you press down, the center of the brush really buffs it into the skin, ensuring a really blended and diffused application. As with most other brushes on this list, it is vegan. It has a short, chubby handle that is quite ergonomic and easy to transport. Purchase it from Sephora!
9. Clinique Foundation Buff Brush
This half-flat half-domed foundation brush is a classic choice for applying liquid and cream makeup. It is quite dense, but because of the semi-dome shape it is possible to really control the intensity of the application by changing up the angle a bit. It is made with synthetic bristles and has a long, white handle, which is a nice change from all of the black options on this list. You can buy it from Nordstrom.
10. It Brushes for Ulta Airbrush Buffing Foundation Brush #110
This is another option if you’re seeking the best foundation brush for powder foundations. It is a firm brush, but because of the fanned-out shape in which the bristles are packed it is still somewhat yielding. It will also work with more fluid liquid foundations. Its handle is colored a sleek silver color and has a comfortable grip. It is available at Ulta.
11. Marc Jacobs Beauty The Face II – Sculpting Foundation Brush No. 2
This is a solid and sturdy foundation brush that offers a ton of control. You cannot tell from the photo, but this brush is actually angled in such a way so that the top of the bristles has a lot of surface area. You can achieve quick, all-over coverage by using the top of the bristles, but by simply tilting the brush you can use its side to get into crevices or to apply contour products. This foundation brush is semi-firm, so it should work with both creamier foundations and with slightly thicker ones. Get it from Sephora!
12. Lancôme Synthetic Bristled Liquid Foundation Brush #2
This is a gorgeous flat foundation brush option for those who prefer that old-school technique. It is on the larger side of things, so you can brush that liquid foundation on quickly. The end of it is tapered enough that you can do some blending with the top of the bristles. It is a synthetic bristle brush with a longer handle, and the ferrule is stamped with a romantic rose logo. Pick it up at Nordstrom!
13. Wander Beauty Nude Illusion Dual Foundation Brush
Travelers take notice, this foundation brush is a two-in-one that saves you both time and space. One end is a firm flat-topped foundation brush that buffs in and blends foundation all over the face. The second end is a flat and tapered foundation brush that is a little thicker than others on this list, so it doesn’t leave streaks and it can be used to apply foundation in hard-to-reach areas like under the eyes and could also work for cream contour applications. The handle is colored an incredibly gorgeous rose gold color. Find it online at Net-a-Porter!
14. Cover FX Liquid Foundation Brush
This foundation brush has a totally flat tip and medium-packed bristles that are very soft on the skin. It is ideal for applying liquid foundation, but it is just firm enough to also work with creams. It is on the smaller side of things, so it’s perfect for very precise applications over smaller areas of the face. Do note that it must be cleaned gently or it can be prone to shedding. It is available for purchase at Sephora.
15. Chanel Les Pinceaux de Chanel 2-in-1 Foundation Brush
This soft, flat-topped foundation brush has a slight angle, which allows for a very luxurious and controlled application. It has a smaller head so while it might slow down the application, it’ll also allow you to really build things up where necessary. As with all Chanel products, it is extremely durable and well-made. Buy it at Nordstrom!
16. Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush
This large yet firm foundation brush gives a full coverage application of makeup very quickly. You can use it with a combination of tapping and buffing motions and still enjoy seamless coverage that doesn’t look heavy. It also works quite well with powders. It is made with a combination of light-colored wood and black metal, which is a nice change of pace. You can get it at Sephora.
17. Artis Brush Fluenta Oval 6 Brush
For something a little different, you can opt for an oval foundation brush. Applying foundation with an oval brush is a speedy experience that feels extremely luxurious. Artis is known for making the best oval brushes, as they are dense yet able to cover a ton of facial real estate in a short amount of time. This foundation brush has a very comfortable textured handle. It is sold via Net-a-Porter. …