All About Brushes, Guides

All About Brushes: Complexion

There are lots of ways to apply your awesome-skin-faking products – fingers, blending sponges, etc – but I prefer using a brush. Plus, that’s what this series is all about, right? This definitely isn’t a completely comprehensive list (have I said that before?) but below are some of the common types of brushes you’ll see for foundation and concealer. Since face products often come in liquid or cream form, brushes are usually synthetic or made of sturdy natural hairs like goat, horse or weasel.


Concealer Brush

Concealer brush

Note: This particular brush is actually labeled as an eyeliner brush. A fine-tipped brush will pick up small amounts of product and allow precise placement. This is great for placing products small areas like blemishes and under-eye bags.

Concealer brush

Concealer brush

A small, flat brush can be used for precise placement or cover larger areas. This is a good general-purpose concealer brush.

Concealer brushConcealer brush

A round, fluffy brush made of soft fibers can be used to blend out the edges of the concealed area.



Stippling brush


Stippling (or duo-fiber) brushes have two lengths of bristles. The shorter ones are more dense and firm, and the longer ones are looser and more flexible. You can use a stippling or dabbing motion to build up coverage, and then use a circular motion (with just the longer bristles touching the skin) to blend. These are normally used with liquid or cream products and can give sheer to full coverage. The flexible hairs on stippling brushes can be great for dry skin since they’re less likely to catch on the skin and pull up flakes.

Flat buffing brush

Flat buffing brush

Flat topped foundation brushes can be used with any type of foundation. For liquid and cream, you can use a stippling or circular motion to apply and blend. Powder foundation is easiest to apply by buffing in a circular motion. The bristles are usually fairly short and dense. I find that these give a fuller coverage. These are suitable for most skin types, but circular buffing can cause flakiness on dry skin.

Buffing foundation brush

Buffing foundation brush

Round buffing brushes are used to apply foundation using a circular motion. Bristles are typically densely packed but medium length to allow some movement. These are generally used for liquid or cream products and give a more “airbrushed” finish. Buffing in circular motions can, however, stir up flakes on dry skin.

Flat foundation brush

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Flat, or paddle, foundation brushes can be used to apply liquid products in downward strokes, like applying paint to a canvas. They can be very gentle on dry or easily irritated skin, but aren’t as efficient at disguising uneven skin texture.

Still have questions about complexion brushes? Leave a comment below!

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