Kabuki Brush vs. Powder Brush: What’s the Difference?

Kabuki Brush vs. Powder Brush: What’s the Difference?
January 13, 2020 Ellis James

What is the difference between a kabuki and powder brush?

In today’s beauty world, it’s not enough to just know the different makeup products. To achieve that perfect look, you must also be familiar with the tools used to apply those products. Believe it or not, your final makeup look is heavily reliant on proper tools used. So, you must at least have an idea of beauty tools, especially your brushes.

It’s true that there are more than a dozen different types of brushes. Today we’re going to take a look at two types of brushes: the regular powder brush and the kabuki brush. Which of these two should you use for powder foundation? Kabuki brush vs powder brush?

Below is our take and your complete guide.

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What are the Different Types of Powder Foundation Brushes?

People often confuse a kabuki brush with a powder brush, because, by the looks of it, they both seem to serve the same purpose, which is to apply powder.

But if you have a kabuki brush, then why is there a need for a powder brush?

Each type of brush is used for applying makeup that differs in density, texture, and volume.

Their purpose may seem to overlap. But for people extremely conscious about achieving the perfect look, both brushes have their distinct purpose.

For instance, a powder brush has soft bristles. These are best for dispensing loose powder evenly, whereas a kabuki brush is used for distributing more products across the face.

Kabuki brushes are also among the brushes used for liquid foundation, but powder foundation brushes usually are not.

You must now be wondering what the best brush for powder foundation of the two is.

Let’s get to answering your question.

What are Powder Brushes?

To understand and then choose the best powder brush, we must first understand the main purpose of using a powder brush.

As the name suggests, a powder brush is used for setting a powder foundation. They have soft, loosely packed bristles that are put together to make one large, round-shaped, fluffy brush.


EcoTools Full Powder Brush for Pressed PowderEcoTools Powder Brush

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What are Powder Brushes Used For?

They are typically used to distribute loose powder across the face without dispensing too much product.

What if you are using pressed powder? What brush do you use for pressed powder? Powder brushes are also the best choice for pressed powders. You can easily use the sweeping motion to brush them across the face.

If you have oily skin but have no idea about the type of powder foundation to use, check out this very helpful guide on how to apply powder foundation for oily skin with proper tools and steps.

What is a Kabuki Brush? 

Kabuki brushes are very popular for many people. The name and the tool originated from the traditional Japanese Kabuki theater, where they used dense and large makeup brushes.

A kabuki brush is part of a daily makeup routine. For achieving different looks, they come in a variety of shapes, such as dome, flat, round, and angled.


e.l.f. Cosmetics Kabuki Brush, Synthetic Face Brush for Flawless Makeup Application

elf Kabuki Brush

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What is so special about a kabuki brush? What is a kabuki makeup brush used for?

To answer your questions, a kabuki brush is a traditional Japanese style brush that is like a powder brush, but with densely packed bristles.

They are easy to handle and are squatter so that you can achieve more coverage.

They are less fluffy, with denser bristles. These are ideal for thicker coverage of a foundation with more ease and even distribution.

Why is a Kabuki Brush Ideal For Powder?

In comparison to a regular powder brush, a kabuki brush has smaller bristles that are more tightly bound together, and that is why it gives better coverage. What sets it apart from other makeup brushes is its usage for both liquid foundation and powder.

If you want the best results, use a kabuki brush in a round motion and watch the magic happen!

Moreover, an ultra-soft, flat top kabuki brush can also be used for applying bronzer, as well as blending pretty much any face product.

They also come in various shapes, such as flat, dome, rounded, and angled. These various shapes are used for various purposes.

So, if you are confused about what the best brush for powder foundation is, try using a flat top kabuki foundation brush that is ideal for both liquid and powder.


Sigma Beauty Professional F80 Flat Kabuki Highlighter Makeup Brush with Sigmax fibers for Buffing and Blending Liquid, Cream or Powders

Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush

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What is the Better Choice? 

Now comes the hardest part — which is the best brush for powder foundation? Is a powder brush your go-to item, or should you switch to a kabuki brush? Which should you add into your makeup brush bag?

Our final vote goes to the kabuki brush. If you’re looking for the best powder brush that is also multi-purposed, then a kabuki brush is the best choice.

It is not only ideal for powder distribution, but its different shapes can also be used for bronzing, buffing in pigmented powders for a poreless, finished look, contouring, and blending in multi-colored concealers. If you have a cream to powder foundation, it will work well for that too.

Its short handle gives excellent coverage, while its size makes it an excellent traveling choice. So, if you are still wondering about what kind of brush you should use for powder foundation, then look no further than a cute kabuki brush!

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What are your thoughts on the wonderful kabuki brush? What’s your pick in the kabuki brush vs powder brush debate?

Comments (8)

  1. Sophie Wentworth 2 years ago

    I like powder brushes for a light dusting of setting powder but usually opt for a more dense buffing brush for powder foundations. I have an angled kabuki I love for liquid foundation though x


    • Angled kabuki is definitely a fave for liquid foundation. Thanks for sharing your tips, Sophie!

  2. Ashley 2 years ago

    I am sucker for a good kabuki brush- they’re my favorite!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  3. Deborah Kos 2 years ago

    I forgot about my Kabuki brush. I haven’t used it in a while. I do remember that I had better coverage. I don’t remember why I switched brushes but now I am going to pull it back out and try it again.

  4. De Vriendt Marleen 10 months ago

    Hallo, kan je 1 kabuki gebruiken voor vloeibare foundation en vaste poeder foundation of heb je er dan 2 nodig? Grtz Marleen.

    • Ellis James Designs 10 months ago

      Hi! You can use a kabuki brush for both liquid and powder foundations, so it should stand that you can use just 1 kabuki brush for both types of product. As long as you keep them clean before use, to prevent foundation caking on the bristles. Hope I answered your question correctly!

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