Foundation brushes and foundation are like butter and toast. They’re good on their own but even better together. Though it’s fine to just use your fingertips (or a sponge), a foundation brush is a great alternative if you want to get a more airbrushed finish (and it’s a less messy experience overall since the bristles are doing most of the work).
As for choosing the best foundation brush? Well, that comes down to a few different factors, like how much coverage you like and the amount of control you prefer during the application. For some, the type of bristles (synthetic vs. not) are also important.
If you’re starting to feel slightly overwhelmed by the options, don’t worry. We’ve compiled the 13 best foundation brushes for every skin type, texture and preference ahead.
1. Zoeva #122 Petit Stippling Brush
Best for Lightweight Coverage
If you’re more of a tinted moisturizer type, this stippling brush is for you. With longer, wispier bristles that don’t pick up too much product at once, it’s an ideal tool for getting that sheer, lightweight finish that doesn’t look cakey or unnatural. Tip: Lightly press the bristles into your skin where you need a little more coverage and buff out the edges using small circular motions to finish.
2. Huda Beauty Build and Buff Foundation Brush
If you want something that is double duty, we’d recommend Huda’s build and buff brush. One end features a pointed, pyramid-shaped tip to easily reach those tricky areas of your face—like around your nose and under your eyes. The other end has a flat surface and densely packed synthetic fiber bristles to seamlessly blend out the edges, so there’s no obvious lines of demarcation.
3. Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Brush
Best for an Airbrushed Finish
With an angled tip that’s loaded with lightly crimped bristles, this brush gives you total control and delivers a smooth, even coverage over all of the different angles and planes of your face. Plus, the bristles are made with PETA-approved, high-grade Taklon bristles that don’t feel scratchy against your skin (and offer a nice alternative for anyone who is allergic to animal hairs). Sweep it over skin and admire the streak-free finish.
4. Sephora Collection PRO Foundation Brush #56
Best for Liquid Foundation
This brush features a blend of medium-length bristles that are ideal for spreading liquid foundation formulas. Tightly packed and sheared to a smooth dome shape, the hand-shaped synthetic bristles deliver a streak-free finish, while the tapered handle gives you complete control. Tip: Start with a small amount of foundation and buff it on using light, circular motions for the most natural look.
5. Monika Blunder Beauty Hybrid Cream Brush
Best for Spot Concealing
For those of you who prefer to use a light hand when it comes to your foundation (or concealer), this smaller, synthetic duo-fiber brush will be a welcome addition to your makeup bag. Use it to coverup specific areas (like under your eyes and around your nostrils) and then use it to layer on any blush, bronzer or highlighter afterwards. It acts like the blur tool in Photoshop, lightly buffing away any hard lines or edges so your skin looks airbrushed.
6. Artis Elite Mirror Palm Brush Mini
Best All Around
It was a toss-up between “best feeling bristles” and “best all around,” but we ultimately decided that the latter was all encompassing. The palm-sized brush has a shorter handle that gives you the optimal grip for reaching any of the nooks and crannies around your face and neck. The wide, flat top covers a lot of surface area at once, which is great for people who want to blend their makeup quickly, and you can use the petite brush to apply and blend everything from your foundation to your concealer, bronzer and blush. Gently glide the bristles across your skin and try not to fall asleep when you do this; it feels like you’re brushing your face against a small velvet pillow.
7. Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Liquid Touch Foundation Brush
Best for Precision
This plush angled brush is as deft at applying foundation as it is at sculpting your face with bronzer or any contouring product thanks to its unique, marquis shaped tip (which was crafted to mimic your fingertips). The silky synthetic bristles easily reach all of the nooks and crannies of your face and deliver seamless coverage using the minimum amount of product. Plus, for our animal lovers, this brush is vegan and cruelty-free.
8. Clinique Foundation Buff Brush
Best for Beginners
This beloved brush is great for people who have never used a foundation brush before because it’s foolproof for applying any type of foundation—whether it’s liquid, cream, powder or stick. Loaded with fluffy bristles, it feels amazing against your skin and delivers the smoothest finish. Also of note: The bristles are antibacterial, which is especially helpful if you’re prone to break outs.
9. Wander Beauty Pixel Perfect Retractable Brush
Best for Travel
We love this retractable brush for overnight stays or travel of any kind because the bristles fit nicely inside the sleek cap when not in use. And despite its smaller size, the bristles are just as generously packed as any other foundation brush (if not more) so you still get a seamless application and airbrushed finish. Tip: Pop it into your purse for quick touchups any time.
10. MAC 170 Synthetic Rounded Slant Brush
Best for Cream Foundation
If you prefer to use a thicker cream or a higher coverage liquid foundation, this densely packed and slightly slanted brush is a reliable choice. The shorter synthetic fibers disperse the foundation evenly, so you get the smooth coverage you want without a mask-like finish. Plus, the brush is definitely built to last with quality wood handles and nickel-plated brass ferrules, with many rave reviews stating they’ve had theirs for years without any signs of wear or tear.
11. Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush
This cult classic brush features synthetic bristles and a domed tip that can just as easily be used with cream, solid or liquid foundation formulas. Per the makeup artist for whom the brand is named after, always begin applying your foundation in the center of your face and work your way outwards to the edges for the most natural-looking finish. The tightly packed bristles give great coverage and don’t shed all over your face, as some others do.
12. Sigma Beauty F80 Flat Kabuki Brush
Best for Building Coverage
Some days call for a light stitch of makeup, while others require full coverage. If you’re looking for a brush that can help you do both, we’d direct you to this kabuki brush from Sigma. The soft fiber bristles buff on foundation as much or as little as you need, depending on how much pressure you apply. We also appreciate that the brush doesn’t absorb too much product (because we know how expensive foundation can get, y’all!)
13. By Terry Sponge Foundation Brush
Best for the Sponge-Lover
For our sponge devotees out there, here’s an option that gives you the best of both worlds. The soft sponge tip gives you the bouncy application and dewy coverage you love, but with the hygienic handling of a brush. We especially like that the sponge has a flat side for covering the larger surface areas of your face (i.e., your cheeks and forehead) and a pointed tip for reaching those smaller curves around your nose and mouth.