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14 Best Foundation Brushes for an Effortlessly Flawless Complexion, According to Makeup Artists

The pros have spoken.

best foundation brush
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Choosing the best foundation brush based on your skin type, preferred foundation formulation, and desired level of coverage can be overwhelming. Sephora alone carries almost 150 (!!) different options, so you need to know exactly what to look for. That’s where I come in… with a little help from three professional makeup artists who know the ins and outs of achieving a smooth and flawless complexion with a foundation brush.

First things first, what TF is the difference between a foundation brush and a sponge, and how does using one instead of the other impact your final lewk? Rare Beauty Global Makeup Stylist Cynthia Di Meo says a foundation brush “gives you more control” than a sponge and allows you to “focus the coverage where you want it.” A brush is also much easier to clean (which is something you should be doing every 7-10 days, according to experts) and won’t soak up your product like a sponge.

For celebrity makeup artist Grace Pae—whose clients include Lil Nas X and Normani—the biggest pro to using a foundation brush is that there are "so many different shapes and sizes" so "you have options to find what works best for you.”

I’m sold! Now let’s talk variations and how you should use each one, because, like Pae said, there’s a lot to choose from.

Pro Tasha Reiko Brown—who works with Alicia Keys, Gabrielle Union, and Tracee Ellis Ross—suggests using a flat, sharp brush with rounded edges for liquid foundations. Whereas for creams, she prefers a fluffier brush to prevent the product from looking too heavy. As for powders, Reiko Brown says it all depends on the amount of coverage you want. When applying a loose finishing powder, for example, you might prefer a large brush with loosely-packed bristles to dust excess shine. If you want more coverage, choose a compact dome-shaped brush to deposit a higher-concentration powder.

Sounds complicated, right? Wrong! It boils down to this: The more densely-packed the bristles are, the more coverage you’ll get from your foundation. Below, find the 14 best foundation brushes for every formulation and coverage level, plus a few options for sensitive skin folk and multitaskers. Yup, this list has it all!

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1
Best Foundation Brush for Sensitive Skin
Airbrush Full Coverage Complexion Brush #77
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IT Cosmetics

Infused with anti-aging collagen and peptides, the super-soft bristles on this foundation brush are gentle on sensitive skin and great for mature skin. Plus, the unique triangle shape is not just for show—it contours to each individual face shape for a seamless all-over blend. 

2
Best Liquid Foundation Brush
Full-Bodied Foundation Brush 110
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Fenty Beauty

Your skin but better! LOL. I know you're sick of reading that claim when consuming beauty content, but this paw-shaped foundation brush lives up to the hype. Designed to be used with liquid products, it clings to the contours of your face while providing the precision of a traditional foundation brush and the diffusing effects of a professional airbrush.

3
Best Powder Foundation Brush
Foundation Brush
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Alima Pure

If you love the convenience and coverage of a powder foundation but hate that it tends to look dry and sit on top of the skin, may I suggest using a different brush? This soft and fluffy duo-color fiber option from Alima Pure, perhaps? Reviewers say it distributes product evenly and presses powder into the skin for a cake-free finish.

4
Best Viral Foundation Brush
Foundation Brush
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Real Techniques

This lil viral sensation—which features an angled cut and straight bristles for maximum coverage—blends liquid foundation like a dream. "I don’t know WHAT magic this brush has," one person raved in a TikTok video that has over 100,000 likes. 

5
Best Foundation Brush for Details
190 Synthetic Foundation Brush
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MAC Cosmetics

The stiffer bristles of a paddle foundation brush like this one "help push the product onto the skin" and create a more "'opaque' finish" when using liquid foundation, Di Meo explains. The flat shape makes it easy to reach hard-to-blend areas of the face (i.e. the sides of the nose and in between the brows). "Use it like you would a flat paintbrush: Up and down strokes or stippling motions to lay the product down," Di Meo says. 

6
Best Foundation Brush for Acne-Prone Skin
Seamless Buffing Brush
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bareMinerals

Small but mighty, this foundation brush buffs liquids, creams, and powders into the skin seamlessly, while innovative fibers work to repel bacteria. How, you ask? They're infused with activated charcoal and antibacterial silver ions, so this brush will stay cleaner for longer—hello, clear skin!

7
Best Flawless Finish Foundation Brush
Blend + Blur Foundation Brush
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Real Techniques

If you've never tried an oval head foundation brush like this one, it's time you experience its magical blending abilities and the velvety finish it delivers. Skeptical? Here's just one of the many rave reviews: "This is the best cosmetic purchase I have ever made. It makes applying foundation so quick and easy. I actually think my skin looks better even when I have removed my makeup! My only regret is that I didn't buy a second one as a spare."

8
Best Splurge Foundation Brush
Foundation Brush #100
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Chanel

Reiko Brown recommends investing in a good foundation brush like this one, as makeup sponges absorb product so you'll end up spending more money on replacing your foundation in the long run. (I'm no financial expert but that logic checks out.) She suggests using the flat side of this tool to "pat coverage down into the skin and the sharp edge to evenly apply to tight spaces."

9
Best Affordable Foundation Brush
Flat Top Brush
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Wet n Wild

Hi, can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that this adorable foundation brush is under $5? And you'd never know it after feeling the luxe texture of the duo-color synthetic bristles.

10
Best Full-Coverage Foundation Brush
F80 Flat Kabuki
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Sigma Beauty

If you watched the OG beauty gurus—yes, I'm talking major YouTube nostalgia—you'll definitely recognize this flat top foundation brush. It was all the rage (do people still say that...?) back then and for good reason! The densely-packed synthetic fibers make blending a breeze. Fun fact: Jaclyn Hill used the Sigma F80 in one of her first-ever foundation routine videos. It now has 4.6 million views. 

11
Best Foundation Brush for Layering
Small Stipple Brush
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e.l.f. Cosmetics

A fluffy, stippling foundation brush like this one (which is only $4, BTW!) is perfect for "whisking" cream products into the skin to create a "diffused" finish," Reiko Brown explains. 

12
Best Versatile Foundation Brush
Daiya Fude Face Duo
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Shiseido

Don't let the high price point scare you off. This unique foundation brush is the ultimate bang for your buck item. One end has a gel tip that blends liquid and cushion products like a sponge...but it's much easier to clean and doesn't absorb your foundation. Meanwhile, the chic red synthetic brush is perfectly balanced with density on the inside and flexibility around the edges, making it compatible with creams, powders, liquids, and gels. A true multi-functional queen! 

13
Best Foundation Brush for Complete Control
Liquid Touch Foundation Brush
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Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez

Di Meo says this foundation brush is a must-have in her kit because the short bristles help "control and build coverage." She uses it for liquids and powders, and recommends using "circular motions to buff the foundation in" or "stippling motions to build coverage."

14
Best 2-in-1 Foundation Brus
Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7
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IT Cosmetics

Sometimes I'm in the mood to spend an hour on my face makeup, use nearly every product I own, and about 47 different foundation brushes. Sometimes I'm in the mood to apply a light layer of foundation, dab on some concealer, and run out the door. If the latter is more your vibe right now, allow me to introduce you to this 2-in-1 stunner. One side features a plush concealer brush, while the other side features a fluffy foundation brush. Both provide an airbrushed finish. 

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