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What Brushes to Use for Liquid Foundation

What Brushes to Use for Liquid Foundation
August 28, 2019 Ellis James

Makeup is an art form and your face is your canvas, but an artist is only as good as their tools. There are many types of brushes available on the market for every kind of makeup; what’s best for different types of foundation? With so many options, how do you know which one to use to apply liquid foundation? The answer will depend on what kind of coverage you want, your skin type, budget, and personal preferences. This guide will decode the buzzwords surrounding makeup brushes and help you decide what brushes to use for liquid foundation.

Which ones are best for you?

Dense or Loose Brush?

A denser brush means the bristles are firmer or packed closer together.

Think of the difference between a soft toothbrush and a firm toothbrush — a dense brush is like a firm toothbrush, while a loose brush is like a soft toothbrush.

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Dense brushes are better for liquid and compact foundations; a loose brush is better for mineral foundations or to blend a liquid foundation. 

BBL Angled Makeup Brush Synthetic Contour Face Kabuki Foundation Brush for Blending Liquid Powder BB Cream Buffing Bronzer cosmetics tools applicator

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A great type of dense brush is an oval foundation brush. If you’re stumped how to use oval makeup brushes, here’s a quick guide to them!

Duo Fiber Brush

Many face brushes come with two types of fibers, which is great for layering and blurring.

Duo fiber means the brush has dense bristles at the base and loose bristles at the top, usually in two different colors. It can be used to blend liquid foundation or to apply powder on top of liquid foundation.

Colourpop’s Duo Fiber Face Brush is a classic, affordable brush you can use for liquid and mineral foundations, blush, bronzer, and powder. 

What Brushes to Use for Liquid Foundation - Ellis James Designs

Buffing Brush

Buffer brushes come in different shapes and sizes, so for full face makeup, you will want a larger size. The smaller ones are for concealer, eye shadow, and other smaller surfaces.

Buffer brushes are a great choice if you are looking for quick and easy application with even coverage. 

One shape of buffing brush that is great for liquid foundation is a flat-top buffing brush. Flat-top buffing brushes can have different head shapes; however, they all have bristles of even length and, of course, a flat top. These are best for thicker or compact liquid foundations, and offer the most coverage. 

Another type of buffer brush that is perfect for liquid foundation is a flat, tapered brush. These brushes are probably the most commonly used brushes as they are easy to use and create full coverage. Flat, tapered brushes are usually duo fiber and have an angled tip for more precise application. 

EcoTools Custom Coverage Buffing Brush - Soft Custom Cut Bristles Recycled Aluminum Ferrules; For Use with Cream or Powder Foundation Blush and Bronzer

Stippling Brush

Stippling is the technique of using small dots to create layers of color.

Most stippling brushes are flat across the top, duo fiber, and two-toned, with dark, dense bristles on the bottom that turn into white, looser bristles on the top. The Real Techniques Dual-Fiber stippling brush is a great (and affordable) example.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush, Dual-Fiber, Uniquely Shaped and Color Coded, With Synthetic Custom Cut Bristles For an Even and Streak Free Makeup Application

To use a stippling brush, apply liquid foundation to the back of your hand, dip the flat top of the brush, and move it in small circular motions across the areas you want to cover.

Be sure not to press too hard and mash the bristles into your face, as this can leave brush lines and bend the bristles out of shape.

Here is a video on how to use a stippling brush by Wayne Goss, YouTube personality and makeup artist to the stars:

Kabuki Brush

A Kabuki brush is very similar to a stippling brush, except it has a much shorter handle that allows you to hold the brush closer to your face while applying foundation.

For some people, a shorter handle offers more control and precision, while others prefer a longer handle length.

Kabuki brushes are great for your travel makeup bag since they are so compact, especially if you get one with a cover, like the retractable Kabuki brush by cruelty-free brand Too Faced.

Too Faced Retractable Kabuki Brush for Women

Makeup Sponge

These little foam eggs are great for everyday use on skin that has little to no texture, as they offer the lightest coverage.

They are also great for oily skin since the sponge helps absorb excess oil.

They are cute and compact. Since they are held closer to the face, they also offer more control over application.

The most well-known brand of makeup sponges is, of course, Beauty Blender


beautyblender original: The Original Makeup Sponge for Foundations, Powders & Creams

Choose for You

Now that you have demystified the language of liquid foundation makeup brushes, you’re now well on your way to choosing the one that works best for your skin type and coverage needs!

What brushes do you love to use for liquid foundation?


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