A guide to foundation brushes |The Different Shapes & Styles

When it comes to makeup brushes you can find incredible ones at any price point as long as you know what you are looking for! I have found some of the most affordable foundation brushes that I reach for daily. Of course this didn’t occur over night it was a lot of trial and error but I thought I’d share to you guys the different styles of foundation brushes and everything you need to know about them. There is no sense in you guys having to go through a lot of trial and error – consider me your guinea pig!

Okay so let’s jump straight in.

Flat top brushes

I thought I’d start with one of my most favourite styles of foundation brushes! Most of the time I love me lots of coverage and so this style of foundation brush is great for that. So basically a flat top foundation brush – as you can see by the photo is just that – it has a flat top. It doesn’t have a round shape or comes to a point. Its top surface has its bristles cut all the same length. Of course, my preference is synthetic fibres as I just find it works better with liquid products BUT the eco tools buffing brush works just as well. Now with flat top brushes, some are cut to be extra chiselled. So you can tell by their edges being perfectly straight they are super-duper flat-topped. Others have a softer edge and I find both perform the same way although the super straight-cut edge brushes do give that slightly extra coverage (but only slightly). Another factor with these flat top brushes is to consider how compact they are. The denser ones will give more coverage over less dense ones though they can be slightly difficult to blend with (sometimes – depending on the foundation). When I apply foundation I love to press the foundation into the skin using these flat top brushes – its shape makes that technique super easy to do. Some brushes with this flat top style? The real techniques buffing brush, the eco tools buffing brush, numerous brushes in the Bh cosmetics brush sets are flattop shapen as well. These are just ones I personally own. I also own a bunch of random ones off sites like wish, alliexpress and eBay. Sigma and Zoeva are pretty infamous brush brands that also are known for this style of brush.

‘Paint brush’ style brushes

This next style I find to be the OG style of foundation brushes. There was a time where only this style of foundation brushes existed and I am sure many people were content with them. I personally suck at applying my foundation with this style. For the life of me I can’t seem to blend out the foundation properly because I feel like I am painting the foundation on rather than blending it out. I know many makeup artists, especially mac makeup artists love to use this style to apply foundation. I reckon through their training they’ve probably grown use to that style but it’s personally not my favourite and I know many who also aren’t super fond of this style of foundation brushes either.


This particular style applies to whether the brush is compacted or fluffier but essentially the brush is cut so that the brushes in the centre of the brush are long then on the outside. Some more dramatically than others. But this style gives the foundation are more rounded shape. I love using this style for light to medium coverage foundations. It doesn’t cost you much coverage but I just personally prefer flat top styles for the full coverage looks. This style is easier to work with and particularly good if you are only just getting into makeup or (foundation wearing). One brush from this style that I really love is the real techniques face expert brush.

Fluffy + rounded

Last but definitely not least is the infamous fluffy-ish foundation brushes. Sometimes this style of foundation brush can work for other steps in the makeup application because of their fluffy nature. I love using this style for when I want my foundation to look more natural and sheered out. It’s a general fact that the fluffier the brush is (by that I mean less dense) it’s not going to give you as much coverage. So because of that I love using my BB/CC creams and tinted moisturisers with this style of brush. I also pair it with light to medium coverage foundations for when I want my foundation to look more natural. I will say that when my foundation is on the not so hydrating side I don’t enjoy this style and the blending job doesn’t look so good. So I make sure I pair this style with my more hydrating/ easy to blend foundations. One brush from this style that I love is the real techniques multi-tasking brush which I really love and wish was sold separately.

And that wraps up this lengthy post! I hope you guys enjoyed it and found it helpful. What style of foundation brush do you love? Drop a comment and let’s chat about it. I hope you guys have a wonderful day and I’ll see you shortly in the next post.

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  1. Deanna

    April 16, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Generally, I just use a sponge or my hands to apply foundation. I definitely prefer, if I do use a brush, a domed brush just because I find I can get a lighter coverage which is what I prefer. This is a fantastic guide! Thanks!

    Deanna | luxandvitae.com

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 16, 2019 at 10:25 pm

      I’ve recently been obsessed with the juno & co velvet sponge I’ve literally been using that and a beauty blender and I haven’t been ever able to skip foudation brushes before. There are still a few foundations that I feel apply better with a brush. Thank you for stopping by the blog. x

  2. Siobhán

    April 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    I’m mainly using my hands or a beauty blender these days but still love a buffing brush from time to time xx


    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 16, 2019 at 10:25 pm

      I’ve been using the juno and co velvet sponge obsessively! Beauty blender is my jam for more stubborn foundation but I don’t think I could ever completely quit brushes – some foundations work better with a brush.

  3. Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty

    April 16, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Great roundup. I tend to like rounded denser foundation brushes.

    Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 16, 2019 at 10:26 pm

      Thank you, yes the denser the better. x

  4. Shireen L. Platt

    April 17, 2019 at 6:13 am

    I am back obsessed with using a face brush to buff in my foundation again. A month or so ago, I was using only fingers! I adore Real Technique Buffing Brush the most.

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 17, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      Real techniques definitely makes awesome foundation brushes.

  5. Ana

    April 17, 2019 at 8:32 am

    I usually always use my beauty blender for foundation, it leaves such a natural finish xx


    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 17, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      A beauty blender is irreplaceable but with certain foundations, it’s frustrating to use but it just absorbs far too much product.

  6. Danielle Alexa

    April 17, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    So many brushes here that I absolutely adore!

    Danielle xx

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 17, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      You can never have too many brushes haha. x

  7. Claire

    April 17, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    i love the real techniques face expert brush ! it blends foundation so nicely and the quality is amazing!


    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 17, 2019 at 9:52 pm

      Real techniques are easily one of my favourite brush brands.

  8. Lauren Victoria

    April 23, 2019 at 8:05 am

    This is such an informative post! I love a buffing brush. They’re my go-to xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.co.uk

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 24, 2019 at 11:15 pm

      Thank you so much. x

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