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 a 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. This article offers some recommendations, focusing on the best foundation brushes for every purpose.
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.
18. Kevyn Aucoin The Foundation Brush
If you don’t like to play by the rules, this is the best foundation brush for you – assuming you’re okay with the price tag. Unlike other brushes on this list, this foundation brush has an extremely elongated dome shape with a heavy angle on the sides.
In a way, this shape is reminiscent of a makeup sponge and can be used in a similar way to apply product both to large swaths of the face and to hard-to-reach areas. It works just as well with powders as it does with creams because while it is quite dense the bristles are also long, which adds give. Pick it up from Sephora!
19. Luxie 510 Rose Gold Foundation Face Brush
If you stick to a feminine aesthetic, this foundation brush will fit nicely into your collection. It has a gorgeous rose gold ferrule and pink handle. It is a flat, tapered brush that is ideal for full-coverage applications. You could also give it a try for applying cream contour below the cheek or to the sides of the nose. Find it at Nordstrom!
20. Make Up For Ever 108 Large Foundation Brush
This is a unique variation on flat, tapered foundation brushes. Instead of being long, it is actually squat and wide. The tip of it is extremely soft, which allows it to be used directly to apply and blend foundation, while the flat side is ideal for covering a lot of space quickly and depositing a full-coverage layer of makeup. There is something that feels elegant yet rustic about the dark wooden handle of this brush. You can purchase it at Sephora.
21. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
This is the best foundation brush for those of you on a budget. It is quite firm so it is best for cream or liquid foundations, and it will give a high-coverage, airbrushed look. It is a colorful option with a peachy handle and metal ferrule. It is quite large, which means you will get a speedy makeup application although it will cost you in fine control. Order it from Ulta!
22. Guerlain The Foundation Brush
Yet another powder pink option for your liquid foundation brush. It is a softer option that works beautifully to apply a medium layer of liquid foundation that looks light and natural. It is semi-domed, semi-flat and smaller-sized, which make it versatile and easy to control. It comes with a black carrying case. Note that we couldn’t verify what the bristles were made of. It is available at Sephora.
23. Yves Saint Laurent TOUCHE ECLAT Foundation Brush
If you’re a YSL junkie then this foundation brush is a must-have. It is a flat-topped brush with a Y-shaped divot in its center. The divot collects product, while the rest of the bristles are quite firm, allowing for a full coverage application of foundation. It is very small, so you will have total control of your application though it will take a little longer than with a larger brush. Grab it from Sephora!
24. Estée Lauder Sculpting Foundation Brush
This is another oddly shaped foundation brush that works well, surprisingly enough. It is a firm brush with the top angled like a crescent moon, an odd shape that hugs the curves of the face and allows for a quick application with a few swipes rather than the typical circular motions. This leads to a very light, sheer application that works best with liquids. You can buy it from Nordstrom.
25. Lilah B. Retractable Crème Foundation Brush #6
If you often do your makeup on the go, then this is one of the best foundation brushes. First of all, it is beautiful, with a gorgeous white handle and lid. The handle is squat, so it won’t take up space in your bag, and the cap will protect it from getting dirty or making a mess. It rolls up, and the bristles have a bit of length to them, which allows for a medium coverage application. Order it online from Net-a-Porter!
Photos via @nikki.cruz, Sephora