How to Use a Flat Foundation Brush for Flawless Makeup

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

Whether you’re newly into doing your own makeup, looking to explore and try something new, or have simply never used a flat foundation brush before, you may have some questions. What are flat makeup brushes really for? How do you use a flat foundation brush? We understand that it can be confusing to keep up with all the different types of makeup brushes and the best ways to use them, so continue reading and we’ll help you learn how to use a flat foundation brush along with other key tips and tricks.

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Table of Contents

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What is a Flat Foundation Brush

Flat foundation brushes, often called flat-top kabuki brushes, have densely-packed bristles with a flat top.  Their origins date back nearly 400 years ago to Japan, where they were used in Kabuki theaters.  If you’re not familiar with Kabuki theater, one of the key aspects of it is that the actors’ faces were completely covered in makeup.  This gave their skin a smooth and pore-free look.

The flat design of the brush made them ideal for applying the very elaborate face makeup for Kabuki actors on the stage.  Flat kabuki brushes are still used today for everyday makeup application.  Though, as you could probably guess, the end results are a bit different from the look of a traditional Japanese Kabuki actor.

We’ll take a look at what flat makeup brushes are used for today in the next section.

What Do You Use a Flat Makeup Brush For?

Keeping track of what makeup brushes are used for what can be confusing.  So what exactly are flat brushes used for?  Is a flat brush good for foundation?

As we shared above, flat kabuki brushes were originally used to make the face of Kabuki actors appear completely smooth and poreless.  Today, their benefits are quite similar.  Using a flat foundation brush can help individuals achieve a poreless look when applying their foundation.  Kabuki brushes can help you achieve dewy and soft-looking skin with a flawless finish.

Flat kabuki foundation brushes can also ensure that your makeup is more evenly applied to your face than when you use a rounded brush.  Another way to use a flat makeup brush is to apply setting powder to your face after finishing up your foundation.

How Do You Use a Flat Foundation Brush?

Now that we’ve shared a little more about what flat foundation brushes are and what they are used for, are you ready to learn how to use a flat-top kabuki brush to apply foundation?  Follow the steps below, and we think you’ll be impressed with the results.  After a few practice sessions, you’ll be a pro at applying your foundation using a flat kabuki brush.

  1. Use your fingers to dot your face with foundation.
  2. Use your fingers or a standard foundation brush to blend the foundation out towards the edges of your face.  Continue blending until the foundation looks evenly spread over your face.  You don’t want to use a flat-top kabuki brush just yet.  The denser bristles can absorb too much of the foundation, which will make them difficult to clean.
  3. After the foundation is spread around your face, it is time to reach for the kabuki brush.  Use small and light circular motions to smooth out the foundation and leave your skin with a texture-free appearance.
  4. As you are using the kabuki brush, remember that you are simply trying to smooth the foundation, not to press it into your face.  Thinking about this can help you maintain the light pressure that is necessary to achieve the flawless finish you desire.

Other Ways to Use a Flat Foundation Brush

Did you know that you can use a flat kabuki foundation brush for more than just applying your foundation?  Well, it’s true.  In fact, you could even get by with just a flat kabuki brush for all of the other face makeup you need to apply, if desired.

Let’s take a look at the different ways you can use a flat foundation brush for applying brush, applying bronzer, putting highlighter on, or blending your makeup.

Flat-Top Kabuki Brush Uses

Using a Flat-Top Kabuki Brush to Apply Blush

The steps below can help you learn how to apply blush using your flat foundation brush:

  1. Swirl the kabuki brush in the blush and tap off the excess.
  2. You can test the blush on your hand to make sure that there isn’t too much in the bristles of the brush.
  3. Use a swirling motion to apply the blush to the apples of your cheeks.

Using a Flat-Top Kabuki Brush to Apply Bronzer

Interested in applying bronzer with a flat kabuki brush?  Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Swirl the kabuki brush in the bronzer.  Tap it gently to knock off any excess powder.
  2. Test the brush on your wrist or the back of your hand to make sure there isn’t too much bronzer in the bristles.
  3. Work using swirling motions at your hairline, moving towards the center of your face.
  4. Apply the bronzer to your cheeks, forehead, temples, jawline, sides of your nose, or wherever you want it.

Using a Flat-Top Kabuki Brush for Highlighting

You can also apply highlighter using a flat-top kabuki brush.  Take a look at the steps below if you’d like to give this a try:

  1. Swirl the flat-top kabuki brush in the highlighter.
  2. Move the brush back and forth along the upper part of the cheekbone towards the edge of your eyebrow (you should be making a “C” shape).
  3. Apply more highlighter along your cupid’s bow and the bridge of your nose.

Using a Flat-Top Kabuki Brush for Blending

Finally, your flat-top kabuki brush can also come in handy when blending makeup.  Here’s what you’ll want to do:

  1. After all of your makeup is applied, work using small circular motions to blend it all together for a flawless look.
  2. Similarly to when applying the foundation, you don’t want to press too hard with the brush; just work using light motions.

Caring for Flat Kabuki Brushes

As with cleaning other makeup brushes, flat kabuki brushes will require regular care.  Taking the time to give your brushes a deep cleaning about once a week will help them remain in good shape, protect your investment, and ensure that they continue to work well for applying your makeup.

The steps outlined below can help you take good care of your flat kabuki brushes:

  1. Rinse the brushes under warm running water.  This is an important step as it will remove as much excess makeup from the brush as possible before moving onto the deeper cleaning steps below.  You’ll want to continue to rinse the bristles until the water runs clear.
  2. Remove the excess water from the bristles by gently squeezing it out.
  3. Put a drop of olive oil and mild soap on your palm.  Move the brush through the soap mixture using circular motions.  This should all be done under the running water.  It is important not to press hard with the brush; simply moving it through the soap will be sufficient.
  4. Continue moving the brush in a circular motion until all the soap and oil have been rinsed away and the water runs clear.
  5. Gently squeeze out the bristles to remove excess water.  Leave the brush out to air dry.


What do you use a flat makeup brush for?

Flat makeup brushes, or flat-top kabuki brushes, are ideal for applying foundation to achieve a poreless and perfectly smooth face.  If you’re looking for a flawless, airbrushed finish, then a flat makeup brush may be just what you want.  Additionally, applying makeup with a flat brush can be easier and quicker than using other brush types.

Is a flat brush good for foundation?

A flat brush is good for foundation when your goal is to achieve an airbrushed and pore-free finish.

How do you use a paddle foundation brush?

Paddle foundation brushes are used to apply liquid foundation to the face.  To use a paddle foundation brush, you want to work using downward strokes.  Using downward strokes will help fill in your pores, keep your skin from flaking off, and ensure that any short hairs on your face remain flat and less noticeable.  Painting over your face with a paddle brush can help you achieve a full-coverage makeup look.

Can you use a flat contour brush for foundation?

While you could use a flat contour brush to apply foundation, it isn’t what these brushes are ideal for.  Rather, flat contour brushes are meant to be used to sculpt the face along the cheekbones and jawline.

Closing Words: Flat Foundation Brushes

With all the different foundation brush types, it can be difficult to understand exactly what each type is best for.  Now that we’ve shared more about flat foundation brushes, do you feel more informed about when to add them to your makeup routine and what they can help with?  Do you think you’re going to give a flat foundation brush a try?

To learn more about the best makeup brushes, check out these related posts on our blog:

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