How to: Choose your liquid foundation brush

This post was inspired by my blog’s avid reader Lynn (and even blogger herself – check her LovelyCosme blog) who was asking me how to choose a liquid foundation brush. Since I’m addicted to make-up brushes and love to experiment with them, I realized that this is actually a very good and not so obvious question, especially for a beginner with make-up brushes. The beauty market is full of different shapes of brushes and every brush has its own use, so I can understand it can be really tricky to find something that really works when someone is not familiar with the use of all these products. I’m especially happy that during this time, while I explained to Lynn about some brushes, she told me that she became an enthusiast of makeup brushes in a short time! So, in this post I will explain you some different types of liquid foundation brushes.

As you can see from the top picture there are different shapes of make-up brushes for applying liquid foundation and they have all one thing in common – they are made from synthetic fibers (except Bdellium tools 953). Apart using a make-up brush for applying the liquid foundation, you can also apply it with a sponge or with your fingers, or even use a combination of both (fingers-sponge, brush-sponge,…). But this post’s purpose is to explain and present the foundation brushes. Personally and professionally I prefer to use a (clean!) make-up brush for applying liquid foundation. Sometimes, I also use the sponge after the brush to set and blend the foundation really good into the skin. I have also noticed during the time, that with the new generation of foundation brushes, I almost don’t use sponges anymore.

Classic liquid foundation brush in different versions

Coming back to the brushes, the most common and even the first designed brush for liquid foundation was oval shaped, like Bdellium tools 948 in the picture. However, the brushes with this shape vary from brand to brand and you should try the brush before, to see how it suits your needs. The biggest difference is in the stiffness of synthetic fibers. I don’t like brushes that have too rigid fibers, because they don’t slide on the face well, they can be rough and they don’t blend well the product into the skin and in every corner of the face. But even if the fibers are too soft (and the brush is flat), is not ok, because they won’t distribute the product evenly. The second parameter is the length and width of the fibers. The brush can be large (like Bdellium tools 948) or narrow (like Bdellium tools 947). If it’s narrow, it can reach small areas of the face, otherwise “the large” one is usually a common width for a liquid foundation brush. 

Another version of this same brush is angled foundation brush like Japonesque (on top right). This brush is designed with a tapered edge to precisely reach areas on the face like around the eyes or around the nose. All these brushes are flat in order to smear evenly the creamy/liquid product. 

Pointed foundation brush

is a modern version of the foundation brush that has been designed from Adesign. This brush is designed like the previous one to reach different parts of the face and it has also quite short bristles which is especially fine for under eye areas, chin and nose. Adesign as well as EcoTools and some other brands have launched also the pointed kabuki brush. The difference from the flat pointed is its 3-dimensional shape and so it’s ideal when used with cream and liquid based products because it blends perfectly the foundation with no strokes left on the face. You also have more control when applying the product.

Pointed kabuki brush for liquid foundation from Adesign

Stippling brush

or “duo-fiber brush” is quite a new generation and concept of foundation brush in comparison with the classic foundation brush. Many brands include them now in their collections not just because is great for applying foundation, but is also very good for applying all creamy products like primers, cream blushes, cream highlighter,…With this brush you achieve a flawless airbrushed look thanks to the mix of two fibers: natural (black color) and synthetic(white color). The technique for using this brush is called stippling, which in Fine Arts means to apply paint, powder, etc., (to something) with many light dabs. Usually, with this brush you apply the foundation (or other liquid products) with tapping/dabbing it gently into the skin without doing any strokes. You literally paint the face with some kind of dots. Even the cruelty-free brands have designed their eco-friendly duo-fiber brushes versions that work as well as the original version mixed with natural hair. They have 2 different types of synthetic hair (one is softer, the other is more stiff) which allows a perfect result. I really love the Bdellium Tools green bamboo line where they have some amazing duo-fiber brushes.

Bdellium yellow bambu set of foundation brushes where you can see an example of synthetic duo-fibre brush

NOTE: Attention, don’t mess with duo-fiber synthetic brushes that are just colored with 2 colors. This is not a duo-fibre brush! Duo-fiber brush has 2 different types of fibers which you can see and feel.

Buffing brush

One of the latest versions of brushes is also the buffing brush, which has evolved lately, along with the expansion of mineral make-up. On the picture you can see an example from EcoTools, where the brush is very dense with a conical shape. It has quite a large and flat surface to blend and buff the product into the skin. Originally, this brush is meant to apply powder products, but I also love to use it for applying liquid foundation. It works great, because it literally buffs the foundation on the skin, leaving a flawless smooth skin and a natural look.

This is the entire range of different make-up brushes for applying liquid foundation.

Which one to choose?

As I mentioned before, these are the main shapes that vary from brand to brand in parameters such as density, width, shape, length and type of fibers. However, the choice which one to choose is not really easy for a beginner. I’d say to try before different shapes at least in the shop. Examine how do you feel the touch, how does it works, do you feel it’s too soft or too rigid, do you prefer a large or a narrow brush, which depends even on the size of your face (larger/smaller areas)? The choice of the brush depends also on the type of foundation you use. If you use dense almost creamy liquid foundations then I recommend brushes that are stiffer, otherwise you cannot pick, smear and blend the product good. Contrary, if you use light foundations (like HD generation) then a stippling brush or a smaller foundation brush with normal fibers (not to soft not too stiff) will do a great work.

Hope it was helpful and that everyone who is looking for a new liquid foundation brush will find its own!

2 Responses to “How to: Choose your liquid foundation brush”
  1. Lynn says:

    Hi Dasha,Thanks for the review!The ecotools retractable foundation brush also has pointed bristles.I haven’t tried it,but you’re right…to completely understand brushes,we should try it ourselves and find the difference. I haven’t tried the buffing brush,is it like my furless buffer blush?If yes,I think those kind of brushes aren’t as comfortable as stippling brush for liquid foundation,because the bristles are long:/

    • green makeup says:

      Hi Lynn! Yes, EcoTools has also a nice retractable foundation brush. Regarding the buffing brush, it’s perfect for liquid foundation but it has to be dense, with a big surface and not long hair. Sigma has this type of synthetic brush(vegan collection) for liquid foundation and is very good. But as I said, you have to try it first and see. The parameters are many so unfortunately we cannot judge always the brush by its shape.
      (On the picture with yellow brushes the 957 is a buffing brush for instance)
      Have a great time!

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    I write my opinion about products that I like, use and that are free of toxic chemicals. I am not paid for my reviews. I purchase the products for personal use and write about what is good from my point of view. New contacts and collaborations are appreciated, but I cannot guarantee a good review if it doesn't fulfill my conditions: safe ingredients and quality.


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