Foundation – or a tinted moisturiser at the very least – is most people’s bread and butter when it comes to their makeup routine which means finding the best foundation brush is a much more complex decision than it appears.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of applicators out there, whether its brushes, sponges, and little silicone or latex eggs made famous by Beauty Blender. There are even top-price electronics designed to make getting a flawless base quick and easy.
To help you navigate the twists and turns of tool shopping, we’ve sifted through the racks to help handpick some of the best liquid foundation brushes –no matter your skin type or coverage preferences.
£36 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: We’re big fans of a double-ended brush that do more than just the one thing. It means you don’t have to chop and change tool, not to mention the fact it saves time and money, and one of the softest and gentlest brushes on the market that ticks these boxes is the Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection brush from IT Cosmetics.
READ NEXT: How to apply foundation like a pro
Because it’s dual-ended, it can be used for both foundation and concealer, and it’s also great for getting into those hard to reach corners of your face, and blending out liquid and cream foundations. It’s a dense brush so you can be sure of even coverage, although it will absorb product if you use too much (if this happens, read our How to clean your makeup brushes guide). It’s cruelty-free, 100% vegan and uses synthetic bristles to make sure your application is worry-free.
£7.99 | Buy now from Superdrug
Why we love it: An OG in the brush world, the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush was one of the brand’s original line up and it’s still one of its best. It’s a small, densely packed brush, meaning it’s ideal for packing on a full-coverage liquid or cream foundation, and thanks to its broad shape and firm hold, it makes application quick and seamless. And it comes in at less than a tenner, what more could we ask for?!
£42 | Buy now from SpaceNK
Why we love it: Small and mighty, Hourglass’ Seamless Finish brush surely packs a punch. With a small brush head, it’s easy to combine this beauty with your other liquid products, such as concealer or even your contour.
READ NEXT: Find your perfect foundation match
It’s so versatile, it also features in our best makeup brush list. The handle, short but not travel-sized short, means that you can get a really comfortable grip and solid control of where the product goes. Plus, it fits perfectly inside your makeup bag or even your handbag for a night out.
£26 | Buy now from Debenhams
Why we love it: If you’re a powder foundation kind of person, the Beautiful Finish brush from bareMinerals is the ultimate must-have. It’s designed to fit into the brand’s original and matte powder foundation pots, but the skirted silhouette means that the brush picks up enough powder to cover your face and blend out a gorgeous, flawless coverage.
The synthetic bristles are super soft, which means that your skin is left feeling soft and subtle instead of scratched and irritated as other goat-hair brushes can. You can rest assured that with this brush, your powder foundation is going on your face and isn’t being absorbed.
£17 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: Used by some of the top names in the industry, Zoeva is among the most trustworthy and reliable brands of makeup brushes – and particularly foundation brushes – available.
With a solid wood handle and vegan-friendly bristles, the Zoeva buffer brush is dense enough to pick up and evenly distribute your foundation without it streaking or caking. And it comes in three finishes, so you can be sure that it’s going to look great on any dressing table.
£21 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: A duo fibre brush, the Sigma F50 offers an airbrushed finish to whichever foundation you use. Liquid products will blend flawlessly without streaking, while powder and mineral foundations are blended evenly. It can also be a hero brush for applying a bomb highlighter if you spritz it with some setting spray first.
Why we love it: Probably one of the most gorgeous-looking brushes you can add to your kit, the Fenty full-bodied foundation brush is just dense enough to deliver an airbrush finish to your liquid foundation.
The handle is quite long and the head a bit small, but if it’s a quality finish you’re after, and you’re not fussed about taking your time, then this is the best foundation brush for you. It’s made using synthetic bristles too, meaning it’s vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. We’ve explained the difference between vegan and cruelty-free brands in our explainer.
£14 | Buy now from NYX
Why we love it: This brilliant foundation brush from NYX – one of our favourite cheap makeup brands – does what it says on the tin. If you’re after a brush that will apply your foundation as well as your concealers and even your contour, bronzers and blush, this is the best foundation brush around.
It has a gorgeous, sleek, black design that doesn’t look too garish and it’s easy to clean, with either solid cleansers or liquid soaps (read more in our How to clean makeup brushes guide). It is prone to shedding though and plenty of bristles can get lost in the cleaning process, so go gentle on the cleansing.
And if you need more advice, this video from the founders of Real Techniques is really interesting
Elly is a production journalist and sub-editor for a number of national newspapers and magazines including The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, and Woman and Woman’s Own magazine. A beauty-enthusiast, she loves travelling – especially to the States – reading and calligraphy