Ultimate Guide to the Foundation Brush

Heather Card Tue 15 Jan 2019
Have you ever wondered what all those different shapes and sizes of foundation brush actually do and can be used for? Here is a guide to your perfect choice in foundation Brush.

The Foundation Brush

Brushes come in all different shapes and sizes some are flat and stiff, round and soft, angled, pointed they come in different density's and they all do the same job but differently. I am going to explain to you the types of foundation brush and what it can and should be used for.

I personally don't like to use a flat foundation brush, I like to use a stipple brush or what is often referred to as a fiber optic brush as this allows me to buff the foundation into my skin  rather than painting on a thick layer like a flat foundation brush does, the stipple brush gives me a sheer coverage which can be built up but gives a more airbrushed natural finish to the makeup.

I only use disposable sponges as I find then hard to clean and often quite time consuming to clean effectively, if they do get stained even after washing and disinfecting I  will throw them out as a dirty sponge would not look in my professional kit. 

Stipple Brush

This type of brush will give you a natural coverage and airbrush look and feel to the finish of your makeup, the brush deposits minimal product and as a result is great for covering up imperfections and scars in the skin, the coverage can be built up in thin layers stippling and  dabbing the brush across the surface of the skin . This brush is suited for cream and liquid foundations.

Buffer Brush

Buffer brush is a brush made of densely packed hairs these create a firm texture but is also soft to the touch, this type of brush will give a sheer light coverage that again can be built up like the stipple brush by buffing and stippling the brush across the surface of the skin, this type of brush is not suitable for a dry skin type as the buffing motion acts like a mild exfoliate and will accentuate  dry and flaky skin. This type of brush is best used for creams, liquids and powder foundations.

Flat Brush

This is my least favorite brush to use for applying foundation as it gives a heavy coverage and can often be left streaky if not worked into the skin enough, I find I have to buff or stipple over the top to ensure a flawless coverage so I might as well just use a stipple or buffer brush in the first place would save me time having to clean unnecessary brushes. The flat brush does have its uses and I like to use a smaller version of a flat brush to apply my concealer under and around the eye and nose and then use a rounder fluffier brush to buff this into the skin. This brush is best used for cream and liquid foundations and concealer.

Pointed Brush

A pointed tapered brush are used to apply foundation and concealer more precisely around the eye area and the nose, I particularly use this brush for concealing and getting foundation blended to smaller areas on the face, this type of brush works well with  creams and liquids just like the flat brush.

Kabuki Brush

A Kabuki brush is a short dense bristled brush with a short fat handle, this type of brush deposits more product than the previous brushes and will give a full coverage quickly, this type of brush is perfect for using with cream, liquid, powders and mineral powders, This brush can be used for quick effective application of a foundation base as it can be buffed into the skin and blended well. I personally don't use one of these brushes as part of my kit but not for any particular reason I might invest in one.


Sponges can provide a flawless streak free application and work well with a dry skin as the sponge works best when it is slightly damp adding moisture to the face, however this can weaken the coverage and pigment of the foundation, You never rub with a sponge as this will remove product you need to dab. The sponge  is best used for blending liquid foundation, concealer and contour as well as applying and removing excess powder.

Odd/New Shape Brush

Oval shape is still fairly new as a makeup artist I have not had much experience with it but my makeup students, a few of purchased them from trade shows and there has been mixed reviews. The size and shape of the oval brushes allow for quick and easy application, the bristles although soft are quite dense so would act like a mini kubuki brush. There are better brushes out there ,this type of brush does not necessarily do a better job than any of the others.

Triangle sided brushes are great for working closely round the eye and hard to reach areas on the face. 

There are even foundation brushes with a hole through the middle this helps distribute the right amount of product onto the skin again I have not had much experience with these types of brushes.

So it is safe to say there are lots of different brushes and sponges available for you to use for applying your foundation, I hope you have found my guide useful and that it will help you pick the right tool for you and your cosmetic needs.

Thank You

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