Review

The Gloss Report: Foundation brush reviews

Anna Hunter 18 February 2016

1 / 19

The Gloss Report: Foundation brushes

As the blank canvas of beauty, the application of foundation is a pretty important process in any regime. Blended, seamless and perfectly smooth, we’re forever in search of the flawless complexion. If sponges and pads aren’t doing it for you, then you’ve come to the right place. Yes, this week we’ve been dabbling in the silky smooth world of foundation brushes to see if any of them can give us the flawless finish we’re after. Here’s what we found out…

2 / 19

Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush

Price: £29

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Feedback: “Small, dense and compact, this brush is perfect for getting into those hard to reach areas on the face such as around the nose and eyes. It gives a really even coverage and leaves no streaks as the bristles do not spread and leave marks as you brush. The only thing I found was that the brush, being so dense, was quite difficult to clean after use.”

Was it worth the money?

As it’s the kind of product you use daily, I’d say it was definitely worth the money.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Yes, to a friend who took care to clean her makeup brushes!

Score: 8/10

3 / 19

Estee Lauder Sculpting Foundation Brush

Price: £37

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Feedback: “Looking a little like it’s been cut clear in half, this unique brush from Estee Lauder is a face sculpting dream come true. Ergonomically designed, it intuitively follows the contours of your face for precision definition, seamless application and belissimo blending. It can be a little hard to get an even spread of foundation onto the brush, so I found it best to dot it onto skin first and then use the brush to apply it. I also found it took me slightly more than the supposed ‘3 motions’ to evenly apply foundation over my face - I didn’t particularly see this a downside though, I rather liked taking my time to paint and sculpt my sallow skin away!"

Was it worth the money?

It’s pricey but it’s one of a kind and leaves a professional finish that makes it worth every penny.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

I probably wouldn’t recommend it as a first-time brush buy. However, i’d certainly suggest it to my more experienced brush wielding friends.

Score: 8/10

4 / 19

Clarins Foundation Brush

Price: £25

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Feedback: "The lovely sleek foundation brush from Clarins achieves even coverage with no streaks or stray bristles. Another positive is that the brush doesn’t soak up the foundation. However, I did find that I used more foundation than usual, as I usually apply my foundation with my fingers (perhaps a makeup myth - but I prefer using my fingers as it warms up the foundation for a more even coverage). It was easy to clean and the brush itself was a good size and very soft but strong."

Was it worth the money?

Yes!

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Absolutely.

Score: 9/10

5 / 19

Tom Ford Foundation Brush

Price: £58

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Feedback: “As is to be expected with most things Tom Ford, their foundation brush is strong, sleek and super soft. The gorgeous handle is just the right size and length for easy application and the brush is dense enough to spread liquid foundation smoothly over the skin with a good coverage without leaving streaks. The only setback? The price!”

Was it worth the money?

The brush itself is gorgeous and I could not fault it, the only issue is the price. If it is something you will use every day and a big part of your beauty toolkit, then yes, it is worth the money.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

To a friend looking to treat herself post-payday, yes!

Score: 9/10

6 / 19

Barry M Foundation Brush

Price: £5.99

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Feedback: “For a more budget brush, the bristles on Barry M felt really soft against the skin. The head was small enough to get into the hard-to-reach areas under the nose and around the eyes and the chunky handle made application a lot easier. I also really liked the fact that the bristles were quite short, giving the brush an even and decent coverage over the skin.”

Was it worth the money?

At £5.99? It's an absolute steal!

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Without a doubt, it's the perfect budget brush.

Score: 10/10

7 / 19

Real Techniques Foundation Brush

Price: £9.99

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Feedback: Makeup pros  Pixiwoo  are very savvy sisters indeed, both in terms of makeup artistry and knowing what the average woman at a beauty counter wants and needs. Their high quality yet affordable brush line allows us mere mortals to tap into their application mastery, and this particular foundation brush fits the bill in terms of decent base application and a great price point. Artfully angled to get into nooks and crannies and just about fluffy enough to buff in cream products convincingly, the synthetic bristles pick up product well and are very easy to wash. It may not look as expensive as other models, but that’s because, well, it isn’t, which is a plus point overall.

Was it worth the money? Most definitely

Would you recommend it to a friend? Yes, especially a brush phobe.

Score: 10/10

Reviewer: AH

8 / 19

No7 Foundation Brush

Price: £14

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Feedback: “Although it made it easier to clean, the bristles were a bit too ‘plastic’ for my liking and made the brush feel a little cheap. However, it was good for applying liquid foundation and left no streaks or stray bristles. The end was a tiny bit flimsy which made some areas of the face a bit more difficult to cover, but overall I like the effect it created.”

Was it worth the money?

Any more and I might say no, but for £14? Yes.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Not the best, but a good budget brush - yes I would recommend it.

Score: 6/10

9 / 19

Liz Earle Foundation Brush

Price: £18

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Feedback: "Designed to allow effortless application, this foundation brush had a semi-flat head to help you get to all of those nooks and crannies on the face. The bristles are incredibly soft and made blending the most enjoyable part of my makeup routine, rather than the most tedious. Its clear acrylic also means it looks quite sleek and a pretty addition to my makeup bag."

Was it worth the money?

Yes. The price is beyond reasonable for its exceptionally professional results.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Definitely! My foundation has never looked more even and smooth.

Score: 9/10

10 / 19

EcoTools Bamboo Foundation Brush

Price: £7.99

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Feedback: “I loved how soft this brush felt against my skin - a feature which remained even after I had washed it! It didn’t shed any hairs and was really good for blending and shading with my liquid foundation. Although it is fairly cheap, it felt really good quality and didn’t fall apart after one use!”

Was it worth the money?

For £7.99 you can’t really go wrong here.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Yes!

Score: 9/10

11 / 19

Charlotte Tilbury Foundation Brush

Price: £30

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Feedback: Having ‘Charlotte’s hands’ all over your face is something that celebrities pay dear for, so for having such blending expertise at your fingertips day in, day out, the steep price point seems prudent. It’s smaller than most foundation brushes in my collection, but that by no means equates to it being less might, especially as it nips into nooks and crannies around the nose and mouth very artfully indeed. The synthetic fibres are extremely soft and very effectively tapered for streak-free application, and they didn’t shed or leave any fine ‘hairs’ behind on my face, which I can tell you is not a given with every base brush. It’s easy to wash, doesn’t pick up too much product and the handle reminds me of one of the corrective pencil holders at school that encouraged you to write properly. This, in turn, probably prompts you to apply your foundation properly!

Was it worth the money? Yes- it’s a high quality, high end brush that washes well and will last a long time. For some the small size might be off putting though as it doesn’t allow you to buff over big cheeks quite so quickly!

Would you recommend it to a friend? Charlotte is EVERY makeup lover's best friend, so yes.

Score: 9/10

Reviewer: AH

12 / 19

Body Shop Foundation Brush

Price: £12.00

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Feedback: "The tapered brush claims to give a flawless finish – and I have to say it didn’t disappoint! It allowed me to get a really nice coverage without being too thick. Though the bristles are synthetic they are ridiculously soft and I loved the feel of it against my skin. I think it’s a great priced beauty essential and it's animal cruelty free – bonus points from me!"

Was it worth the money?

Completely! A great first brush to buy!

Would you recommend to a friend?

Definitely! I was really surprised at the quality of the brush!

Score: 8/10

13 / 19

RMS Beauty Foundation Brush

Price: £30

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Feedback: Is your makeup brush vegan? This supreme quality base brush certainly is, and it allows you to buff on everything from powders to BB creams both flawlessly and with a conscience. It looks appropriately innovative, with a swirly, stippled design, and it distributes product cleanly without a streak, thanks to the varied length and distribution of the synthetic bristles. This also has the happy side effect of making your foundation of choice last longer, plus it helps you to avoid a ‘cake face effect’, as the clever brush simply won’t allow you to pick up a huge glob of product. ‘Softly softly’ is the approach with this particular model.

Was it worth the money? It’s undeniably very expensive, but it’s also unique and you can be 110% sure that every brush is cruelty-free. Whether it’s worth it depends on your priorities!

Would you recommend it to a friend? Yes.

Score: 9/10

Reviewer: AH

14 / 19

Clinique Foundation Brush

Price: £24

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Feedback: "Although I am not typically a fan of foundation brushes, this one from Clinique is flat, tapered and very sleek, and made a very stylish addition to my makeup bag. In terms of application around fine edges I found it worked really well, and covered hard to reach areas such as around the eyes and hairline really neatly. One thing I did find is that I had to use a lot more foundation than normal - which with my skin is usually something I tend to avoid. I'm not totally convinced on foundation brushes, but as they go this one from Clinique is definitely up there with the best!"

Was it worth the money?

For somebody who uses them yes - a lovely brush.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Again, only if they were a fan of foundation brushes!

Score: 7/10

15 / 19

BareMinerals Smoothing Face Brush

Price: £24

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Feedback: Since I started using a beauty blender I hadn’t looked back, but this brilliant new brush might have me returning to the brush fold. BareMinerals have completely solved all the niggles I’ve had with previous brushes. Instead of requiring lots of surplus product, you simply squeeze a pump or two of foundation into the specially moulded well in the centre of the brush. Like magic, it evenly distributes the foundation as you brush, without soaking up a single drop. I found it required a fair amount of pressure whilst buffing to blend the product, but the finished effect is flawless and effortlessly natural. It’s easier to clean and longer lasting than a sponge, too. I should note that the brush is designed to be used with a specific BareMinerals serum foundation, but it worked just as well with my own current foundation of choice.

Was it worth the money? It’s a bit pricey but it makes my foundation go a lot further, so I think it will save me money in the long run!

Would you recommend it to a friend? If they were serious about their foundation, yes.

Score: 8/10

Reviewer: IB

16 / 19

Bobbi Brown Foundation Brush

Price: £32

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Feedback: As far as foundations brushes go, this is one of the best I’ve tried. Soft and wonderfully shaped, its angled and domed bristles blended my foundation with ease leaving no tell-tale streaks - just even, smooth and creamy coverage. While I usually opted for a more hands-on approach in the past, I have to say that this expert tool has seriously made me reconsider my ways. (Plus, it keeps foundation application a lot less messy too!)

Was it worth the money? Yes. It provides seamless coverage and the quality of its bristles ensures that it lasts ages as well.

Would you recommend it to a friend? Yes. Absolutely.

Score: 10/10

Reviewer: AM

17 / 19

Topshop Flat Foundation Brush

Price: £8

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Feedback: “A no frills but beautifully functional brush, this soft, synthetic foundation applicator helps cream and liquid formulations to glide on pretty seamlessly, while the gentle tapered tip allows you to buff product into nooks and crannies. You’ll need a firmer concealer brush (or clean finger) to really cover blemishes effectively, but if you’re a fan of no-nonsense flat brushes rather than buffers, you can’t go too far wrong with this. Also, it’s had a dip dye, which sets it apart from the rest.”

Was it worth the money?

For sure! It does the business if you’re on a budget.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Definitely, especially if they’re an occasional foundation wearer and just want something easy to whack it on with.

Score: 9/10

18 / 19

YSL Le Teint Pinceau Foundation Brush

Price: £35

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Feedback: “Liquid foundation brushes with reservoirs aren’t new to our toolkit, but the ‘Y’ shaped dip in this one is certainly unique. An exercise is both subtle branding and substance, the ‘Y’ scoop is designed to hold two drops of the Touche Éclat Le Teint Foundation , the perfect starting point for even coverage, apparently. The idea works with any liquid foundation of your choice, however, although looser formulas work better than thick creams. The trough in the brush is pretty clever when it comes to subtle, natural application; it encourages you work your makeup into your skin rather than slapping it on, and the velvety bristles (they are FAR too soft to be called bristles) smooth on base in a very silky fashion. If you love your base sheer and barely there, this brush will help you get there, although if you’re happy with basic model brushes, the ‘Y’ may be a surplus to requirements.”

Was it worth the money?

Considering it’s unique and seriously cushy to use, I’d say yes, but it’s certainly an indulgence rather than an essential.

Would you recommend it to a friend?

I’d vouch for it to a fellow makeup maniac .

Score: 8/10

19 / 19

Zoeva 104 Buffer Rose Golden Vol 2 Edition

Price: £56.95 as part of the rose golden vol 2 brush set

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Feedback: “This generously bristled brush is quite the looker; I’m a sucker for rose gold and Zoeva dominate the pretty brush market. The flat head creates soft, light coverage; perfect and precise isn’t the brief with this buffer, but the upside is makeup that looks convincingly like actual skin (always the aim). Equally adept at applying liquid and powder foundation, whether you dab, circle, swipe or stroke, the result is streak-free and veil-like. Versatile and vegan, I fell for this one big time, despite the fact that it didn’t get into the niggly bits around my nose.”

Was it worth the money?

Without a doubt- it serves more than one purpose and if you don’t want the entire rose gold set (I challenge you to resist), you can ship the brush separately when it’s in stock .

Would you recommend it to a friend?

Yes, especially one that appreciates a ‘put together’ dressing table/ makeup kit.

Score: 9/10