I think I am beginning to become a beauty product collector. Either that, or I am channeling Goldilocks, endlessly looking for the one that is “just right.” I am currently hunting foundation brushes. I also am trying to keep the hunt inexpensive and cruelty-free. You’ll notice there there aren’t any paint brush or flat style brushes in my collection. I think brushes shaped for a buffing motion better keep the foundation from being visible in pores. My current collection from left to right above:
Shiseido Foundation Brush ($30): This was my first. It has near perfect ratings and an Allure Best of Beauty award. It opened my eyes to how much better foundation can look when applied with a brush. I resisted brushes for the longest–duh! Now, I never apply base with my fingers. This brush does apply product very, very well. Yet, I never pick it up unless my other brushes are dirty. It’s a good brush. The bristles are soft and very densely packed. The surface area is small. I feel it drags on the skin a bit when working in a small amount of product or thinning out product because it’s so dense. Lastly, the handle doesn’t feel quite right–a bit too short. (I am not sure what the bristles are made of, but I am pretty sure it’s not synthetic.)
Ecotools Domed Bronzer Brush ($9.99). I got this lovely, fat baby to use as a foundation brush after seeing lots of convincing posts calling it a dupe of the Tarte Airbrush Finish Foundation Brush. The Ecotools is a third of the price! I have several Ecotools brushes. They are soft, sturdy, and never shed (big pet peeve). My fave is their tapered blush brush. I got the domed bronzer brush to use with the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation. The brush was a good match for the thick consistency of the Tarte. Unfortunately, the foundation made me break out. Since I am not using any thick foundations these days, I now use this brush for it’s intended purpose–bronzing.
Sephora Large Domed Stippling Brush ($36). Here is the one that is nearly perfect on paper: a large surface area; stippling bristles that work beautifully for buffing; a handle that is comfy–long enough and not too thin or too thick. But this brush is the only “oh hell no” of the bunch. Why? It sheds like crazy when applying makeup and even more when washing. It sheds a shameful amount considering the price and the fact that it’s part of the so-called pro collection. And it is harder to clean than the other brushes on this list. It is the only one I have had to use oil cleanser on before my usual cleanser (Dr. Bronner’s). It is going back. BTW, no other brush on this list has ever shed a single hair on my face during application.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush ($9) If there is one brush here that I think most people would like, this is it. It works beautifully. Comfy handle; easy to clean; mid-size surface area; tapered edges that make buffing quick and easy; washes easily. I think that of all the brushes on the list, this one can best handle a variety of textures of liquid or cream products. If I were to do anything to tweak this, it would only be to make it a tad softer and a tad bigger. However, it cannot be beat considering the price. RT is an amazing brand in terms of quality and affordability. I really like RT brushes for applying liquid and cream products.
Sigma Angled Kabuki ($24) I just got this brush as an answer to what I thought was missing from the Real Techniques brush. It is softer and has a bigger surface area. I went with the angled one to help with working around the the eyes. (I think if you’re getting your a Sigma for buffing in foundation, you should probably get the rounded or flat kabuki to start. Both of those have a huge fan base.) I like this brush a lot and have been alternating using it with the RT expert Face Brush. I have the Sigma eyeshadow blending brush and like that a lot too. I think this is another quality brand.
So is the search over? Probably not! Especially since I have a Sephora store credit coming my way!