How To…#4

17 May

How To Choose Make-Up Brushes for Foundations

This is just a brief (if I can afford to make it short :)) overview of several types of foundation brushes you’d need in your make-up kit. I’m not a professional make-up artist so I don’t own an extensive collection of make-up brushes, however I do like to invest in good brushes, which don’t necessarily come with a hefty price tag.

Foundation application is a tricky area as there are so many different tools/brushes you can use. It is very much based on preference more than anything.I will elaborate in each category (according to the types of brushes often used), the different brands available and the types of foundation that can be used with.

1. Flat Foundation Brush

The obvious approach is to use a foundation brush which is made out of synthetic bristles, explains why its a little stiff. A foundation brush is good, especially for an oil base foundation as it picks up product and slathers on quite well but I always find sometimes the application looks a bit streaky on my face. I do however use it from time to time, especially on occasions where I need a full coverage.

some high-end options : MAC 190 Brush, Sephora I.T. Foundation Brush (how gorgeous is that pink handle?), MakeUpForEver HD Brush (which is quite known to be good for giving you an even and airbrushed look)

source :



Cheaper alternatives: Sigma F60 Brush (very very comparable to the MAC 190 brush above, quality and size wise), E.l.f. Studio Line Angled Foundation Brush (such a good buy for its price and quality; angled brush helps to get into hard to reach places like the side of your nose etc. ), Crown Brush M10 Taklon Brush (a fav. brand by some makeup artists)




Use if for:

Liquid foundations, tinted moisturiser

2. Duo Fibre Brush (Stippling Brush)

My favourite type of brush so far, to use with most of my liquid foundations and tinted moisturisers has got to be stippling brushes. This is a staple brush in many beauty lovers’ collection, as it is very versatile. For those who are unaware for its use, I will try and explain as best as I can. A stippling brush has that “skunk” look to its bristles, be rest assured that the skunk title doesnt include the smell 🙂 It has white and black bristles; the white part is made out of synthetic hair and is mainly used to pick up the product, the black part is made out of natural hair usually goat hair and is mainly used to buff the product into your skin. The effect you get is absolutely beautiful, as it gives you the airbrushed look.

The idea behind the brush is, you pick up products like liquid or cream foundation in a stippling motion (dotting it onto the product) and you began to stipple it all over your face distributing it evenly (dotting it onto the skin). Next, began by buffing it into our skin, in a circular motion all over your face. This will achieve the most even look without feeling like you’re slathering on products.

The most common stippling brush is the MAC 187 brush (larger) and MAC 188 brush (smaller). But over the years many other versions from other companies have introduced this in their collection. I have the MAC 187 brush, it is expensive but worth every penny as I foresee abusing this for many years to come.


If you’re looking for something of a cheaper range but works almost just as well, try the Sigma F50 and F55 brushes. They are the dupe for MAC 187 and 188 brush but at more than half the price!


Other alternatives: E.l.f. Studio Line Stipple Brush, Sephora I.T. Stippling Brush



Use it for:

Liquid to cream foundations, powder foundations, tinted moisturisers

3. Egg-Shaped Sponge

I know this may sound bizarre unless of course you already know what I might be talking about. It is the very famous BeautyBlender sponge that everyone in the makeup world has been raving about. Sadly I have not jumped on this bandwagon just yet, I might be soon if they stock it up at Sephora in Malaysia.


This is a multi-purpose sponge that works 100% better than your regular sponge. It is supposed to double in size as soon as you wash it under a running tap and use it while it is slightly damp. It applies any liquid/cream based make-up (foundations or blushers) beautifully, without giving you any creases. As skeptical as this may sound, it achieves a different look altogether compared to using a brush. Apparently a more fresh and natural look.

The wider side of the sponge lets you roll on products onto your skin without giving an obvious streak line, and the pointed end lets you blend the product on any small and hard to reach places on your face (ie. the sides of your nose, under your eyes etc).Like any other sponges, there’s that annoying factor that you would have to wash it properly every single time after application as it might breed bacterias faster than normal brushes do.

Sephora has a dupe for the famous BeautyBlender brush called Sephora Precison Brush, it is not exactly that much cheaper and I’m not too sure if it is as good but you could try and check it out.


Use it for :

Liquid to cream foundations, tinted moisturisers

4. Kabuki Brush

This is a fully densed brush with a short cute handle. The small handle is made so that there is more control to the user during application. It is exceptionally good for buffing the product into the skin. This is my choice for mineral powder foundations as it will buff well into my skin without me looking ‘powder-y’.

If you prefer powder foundations, it is best to use a kabuki brush rather than a normal powder brush as the product will sit on the skin better when you buff it in. Thus, creating a longer lasting foundation.

There are so many good kabuki brushes out there, the key to look for one is to test it on the back of your hand. If it feels soft and not scratchy, chances are it will feel the same on your face. A good kabuki shouldn’t scratch your face, it should be soft enough for you to apply some force onto it when buffing.

Some good but expensive options: Bare Escentuals Kabuki Brush, NARS Botan Brush, MakeupForever HD Kabuki Brush.




Use it for:

Powder and mineral powder foundations

My mum uses the Sephora Retractable Kabuki Brush with her mineral powder foundation and she recommends it. It has a retractable casing so it is perfect for on-the-go touch ups!

Websites for these brushes:

That is all for my version of most used foundation brushes. However, there are of course a lot more options which I shall not cover. Please check out my Cleansing Your Tools post to find out how to take care of your brushes to make them last for another 10 years!

Also, check out my How To Buy A Foundation post to get some ideas on different kinds of foundations you might be interested in 🙂

Have a great Wesak Day (Vesakha) !


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