Here They Are—the Best Brushes for Every Type of Foundation
There's no right or wrong way to apply makeup. It's all about what works best for you. With that being said, though, the right tools can make a world of difference, helping to ensure a smooth and flawless finish. Every. Single. Time.
When it comes to choosing the right tool, makeup sponges are a viable option. (I, for one, always keep a Beautyblender, $20, on hand.) However, foundation brushes deserve credit, too… a lot of credit actually. And even though it can seem intimidating to shop for one, seeing as there are literally hundreds of options out there, they really can step up your makeup game.
To remove the intimidation factor from it all, I reached out to three professional makeup artists and asked them to share their all-time favorite foundation brushes for every type and texture. My hope is that this serves as a shopping guide of sorts, narrowing down your options and providing you with the best product picks to choose from. So without further ado, keep scrolling to see the 15 best foundation brushes to shop now as well as the top makeup artist–approved foundations to use them with.
The Best Brushes for Liquid Foundation
Charlie Riddle, makeup artist and Stila global beauty director, swears by this double-ended foundation brush thanks to its soft bristles that effortlessly buff makeup into the skin. "This works great for lightweight and serum foundations to really buff into the skin," he says. He recommends using the larger end to apply foundation and the smaller end to apply concealer around the eyes, on top of blemishes, and around the nose and mouth.
Riddle's also a fan of this under-the-radar foundation brush. "I use this brush all the time," he says. "I love this brush for medium- to full-coverage foundations when I still want the skin to look like skin."
Next up, there's this no-nonsense brush from Jones Road. It's "just a great classically shaped foundation brush that's not too stiff, so it can blend a variety of formulas really well," Riddle says.
Brittany Lo is a professional makeup artist and the founder of Beia. "Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 by It Cosmetics is very fluffy to keep the coverage looking light," she says. "It also has a concealer brush on the other end that I love to ensure the foundation and concealer look flawless!"
"This foundation brush by Hourglass gives a beautiful airbrushed finish to the skin and can also be used to apply cream contour and blush as well," Lo says.
Terri Bryant is a celebrity makeup artist and the founder of Guide Beauty. For her, the Spectrum x Katie Jane Hughes brushes are winners. "They are both visually and technically beautiful tools to work with and a great example that vegan and cruelty-free brushes really deliver," she says. "The 08 brush is one of my absolute faves, as you can use it for so much. I love it for blending liquid foundations and cream concealers. The size gives you more controlled placement, while the bristles easily blend and diffuse product for seamless edges."
The Best Brushes for Powder Foundation
Sure, this brush is certainly an investment, but Riddle says it's unmatched, calling it "the softest brush you will ever put on your face." Whether you're using it to apply foundation or setting powder, "it gives an instant airbrush finish to the skin," he adds.
Riddle recommends this one, another dual-ended brush, because it deposits just the right amount of product. "I love using the bigger end to apply all over and go through with the smaller side for T-zone or places you tend to get shiny throughout the day," he says.
"Sephora's Powder Brush is light enough with the bristles, so it applies powder foundation evenly without caking it on too thick," Lo says.
Lo says this brush is great for a smooth application of foundation thanks to a big brush head with soft bristles that distribute powder evenly across the skin.
"Alima Pure's Powder Foundation Brush is a great choice for mineral and powder foundations," Bryant says. "It has a lovely tapered grip and densely packed yet super-soft vegan brush 'hairs.' If you like light to medium, all-over coverage and an almost polished finish to your skin, this brush is a no-brainer."
The Best Brushes for Cream Foundation
When it comes to cream foundation, Riddle recommends this brush, particularly for achieving a full-coverage finish. "This is amazing for applying product over any discoloration or blemishes," he says.
Next, Lo recommends this luxurious Tom Ford foundation brush. It "applies cream beautifully every time it's used on the skin, and it allows you to lightly build and layer the foundation," she says. "It's a splurge, but the bristles feel wonderful on the skin!"
"I love this brush by Charlotte Tilbury if you want to apply foundation and then your cream contour and blush as well," Lo says. "Versatility is key for me during a hectic morning where I want a quick and effective makeup routine."
"Rich creams and stick foundations lend themselves to fuller coverage," Bryant says. "Unlike lighter textures that build on the skin, creams, especially in stick form, need a bit more warmth and movement to press and diffuse without wearing heavily on the skin."
Bryant says the vegan bristles of this brush are densely packed to get the movement you need for blending, yet they're still soft and flexible for building coverage without streaking.
Makeup Artist–Approved Foundations
"This is my go-to foundation," Riddle says. "It's medium to full coverage but just makes the skin look like skin with a beautiful lit-from-within glow."
"It's very light coverage, but it does such a great job of bringing life into the skin," Riddle says. "It evens out, blurs, gives such a beautiful glow, and has great color range."
Both Riddle and Lo recommend this iconic foundation. It's "still a favorite," Riddle says. "This foundation wears so well throughout the day and really gives a flawless satin complexion.
"The Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation will forever be one of my absolute favorites," Lo says. "It applies onto the skin beautifully and leaves a very natural radiance to the skin while giving full coverage."
Even though it's technically a CC cream, Lo says this product has the coverage of foundation, which is why she wears it on a daily basis. "It has moisturizing and anti-aging properties in the formula, so your skin doesn't dry out from wearing it. This product allows your skin to still look like skin while having a holding power to keep your makeup in place all day!"
Just be sure to start with skin prep. "Make sure to moisturize and prime before applying foundation," Lo says. "The more hydrated and even your face is, the better the foundation will lay! I always like to build up the coverage to my liking and how much I am looking for versus starting too heavy. Also, be sure to always set your makeup once it's done with Beia Daily Hydrating & Setting Mist ($48).
Bryant calls this tinted sunscreen foundation her new "obsession": "It has just the right amount of coverage to balance and even out the skin without masking it. When my skin is a bit tired looking, this foundation gives it an instant boost of healthy radiance."
"When I'm looking to create a matte finish without dulling the skin, Nars's Soft Matte Complete Concealer steps in for my foundation," Bryant says. "I apply it to the center of the face and blend out with a long, loose-haired shadow brush. I then spot-treat by pressing it into the areas that need a bit more coverage with my finger and set it with translucent powder. It gives the skin this super-soft-focus finish, like walking around with a ring light!"