Foundation, or a tinted moisturiser at the very least are most people’s bread and butter when it comes to their makeup routine. This means finding the best foundation brush is more complex than it may appear.
There are hundreds of makeup brushes and applicators out there, from sponges and little silicone or latex eggs made famous by Beauty Blender to flat, rounded, and stipple brushes. 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 foundation brush shopping, we’ve sifted through the racks to handpick some of the best foundation brushes –no matter your skin type or coverage preferences.
FURTHER READING: We’ve reviewed and ranked the best Charlotte Tilbury foundations, the best MAC foundations, and the best No7 foundations
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Best concealer | Best makeup brush | Best foundation brush | Best eyeshadow palette | Best foundation | Best foundation for dark skin | Best foundation for oily skin | Best foundation for dry skin | Best contour kit | Best lip gloss | Best lip liner | Best mascara| Best primer | Best highlighter | Best brow pomade | Best blusher | Best setting spray| Best makeup sets | Best false eyelashes | Best eyeliner | Best setting powder | Best eyelash curlers
£36 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: We’re big fans of a double-ended brush because they do more than just one thing. Not only do you not have to chop and change tool, but you save time and money, as well as space in your makeup bag. One of the softest and most gentle foundation brushes on the market that falls into this category 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, and this also makes it perfect for applying setting or finishing powders. You can also use it to blend out contour or sweep blusher over your cheeks. However, because of this, it will absorb the product if you use too much (if this happens, read our How to clean your makeup brushes guide).
Elsewhere, this foundation brush is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and uses synthetic bristles to make sure your application is worry-free.
FURTHER READING: Why we love IT Cosmetics so much
£7.99 | Buy now from Boots
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 foundation brushes we’ve ever used.
It’s a small, densely packed foundation brush, meaning it’s ideal for packing on a full-coverage liquid or cream foundation. Thanks to its broad shape and firm hold, it also makes application quick and seamless.
We’ve also been known to use this brush for applying bronzer, making it a much cheaper alternative to Charlotte Tilbury’s Air-brush – the Kabuki-style brush released with the makeup artist’s Airbrush Bronzer in May. Plus, this multi-purpose Real Techniques brush comes in at less than a tenner, what more could we ask for?!
The one downside is that the larger brush means it’s not suited for those hard-to-reach areas, in the same way other smaller or dual-ended brushes in this best foundation brush list are.
£42 | Buy now from SpaceNK
Why we love it: Small and mighty, Hourglass’ Seamless Finish brush packs a punch. With a small, angled brush head, it’s easy to combine this beauty with your other liquid products, such as concealer or even your contour. It’s so versatile, it also features in our best makeup brush list. It fits in neatly against your nose and into your eye contours while providing a larger space to work with when on your cheeks or forehead.
READ NEXT: Find your perfect foundation match
The handle – which is 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.
£7.50 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: Having never used a stippling brush before, and having picked up this one from So Eco in one of last year’s best beauty advent calendars, we’re now borderline obsessed with it. If you prefer a more dewy finish to your foundation, or your go-to foundation is a little more on the runny than the thick side, this is the best foundation brush we’ve used.
Not only does it apply foundation effortlessly, giving you an almost flawless base from the get-go, but it also helps you blend and build foundation with ease. It softens the edges and carries the foundation around your face with minimal effort.
This makes it ideal if you end up diluting your foundation with a moisturiser or SPF, but you can also use it for buffing out the edges of thicker, creamier foundations as well as cream blushers and contour.
Plus, all brushes from the So Eco range are beautifully built, using sustainably sourced materials housed in biodegradable packaging. All while being cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.
£26 | Buy now from Amazon
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. You can also use this brush to stipple your foundation before blending it with a damp beauty blender.
Plus, this foundation brush comes in two finishes – black and rose gold – so you can be sure that it’s going to look great on any dressing table.
£35 | Buy now from Feelunique
Why we love it: If you’re the type of person who accidentally uses too much foundation and you have to work harder to use up all the ‘waste’ – on even worse the excess goes straight in the bin – this is the best foundation brush for you!
Within the bristles of the brush, you’ll see Yves Saint Laurent has created what it calls a ‘‘Y reservoir’. This is designed to give you customised coverage for a mess-free flawless application as follows:
YSL created this brush to match its Touche Éclat Foundation, but don’t be put off by this because it works just as well with other liquid foundations. If using another foundation, however, bear in mind that the consistency may alter how much you need to put into the reservoir. This may take a little trial and error so the above list is good as a guide, at the very least.
The brush is cruelty-free and has a velvety feel to it hard to believe it’s made from synthetic bristle. And because it’s a flat top brush, it is quick and easy to use to stipple and buff foundation.
It’s up there with the Hourglass Luxury Buy best foundation brush in terms of price, but it’s worth the money and will be cheaper in the long run compared to you constantly replacing your foundation because you waste so much.
£16.75 | Buy now from Beauty Bay
Why we love it: A duo fibre brush, the Sigma F50 offers an airbrushed finish regardless of whichever type of foundation you use.
Liquid products will blend flawlessly without streaking, while powder and mineral foundations are blended evenly. This precise application is also aided by the fact this foundation brush has such a long handle, relatively speaking.
It can be a hero brush for applying a highlighter if you spritz it with some setting spray first.
Why we love it: Probably one of the most gorgeous-looking brushes in our best foundation brush list, the Fenty Beauty Full Bodied foundation brush is 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, this is the best foundation brush for you. This can prove particularly useful when trying to pack on setting powder under your eyes, for example.
FURTHER READING: Natural vs synthetic makeup brushes: What’s the difference?
£14 | Buy now from NYX
If you’re after a brush that will apply your foundation as well as your concealer and even your contour, bronzer 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