March 03, 2012

Do you need a foundation brush? And why I’ve never used one until now.

Most makeup lovers I know swear by using a foundation brush when applying their base. Not me. Until recently I’d never used one and had absolutely no intention of using one.

It all started over 10yrs ago. I’d either had a payrise or was feeling rich for some reason or another, and decided to treat myself to a high end foundation. I went to DJs in Elizabeth street and headed straight to the counter of a brand well known for their excellent foundations.  The MUA put me off straight away with her snooty lecturing attitude - “WHAT? You’re currently using a MAYBELLINE foundation? With your FINGERS? Oh you deserve to be jailed for such atrocities towards woman-kind” (Ok, maybe that last sentence didn’t really happen but the rest of it did).


Anyway after giving me a lecture about why I should ALWAYS use a foundation brush to apply my base, blah blah blah, she wiped off the makeup I was wearing at the time and started applying their brand’s foundation using a brush. And during that process I felt like retching big time. Why?

Her fingers smelled really badly of ONIONS. Like she had been peeling 50 onions that morning and never washed her hands. It was disgusting. If you don’t believe me, next time you cut up onions try not washing your hands for 30minutes and then sniff your fingers. It will make you throw up.

After somehow putting up with the application process and making fake noises of appreciation I promptly made my way to the in store bathroom to check out my skin properly. And what did I see?

Stripe central! My face was streaky, the foundation was not blended at all and I could see patches of my skin from where the foundation hadn’t covered it. And worst of all I could still smell the ONIONS.

Needless to say I did not buy the foundation. Nor did I use foundation brushes.

From that day onwards I’ve resisted using a brush to apply my foundation because I associate it with A. that bad onion smell, B. that streaky application.

Until recently, when I joined the Sigma program and was sent their F80 Flat Top Kabuki Brush ($16US). My first thoughts were “oh, what do I do with this?” but then I thought I’d give it a try on a weekend when I had all the time in the world in case it was bad and I had to redo my base.

I applied my MAC Studio Sculpt foundation (review HERE) using the brush, and not only were there no streaks but the whole process was quicker than normal and I managed to get into the hard to reach areas like around my nose. The coverage was more even using the brush, and the foundation lasted longer on my skin I suppose because I had buffed it in well.

I haven’t completely converted to a brush and still use my fingers most of the time, but it’s good to have one handy for those days when I want a super even and smooth coverage.

So back to my original question. Do you need a foundation brush? I would say no, you don’t need it. But you should still have one in your stash, as a good brush will allow you to blend your foundation beautifully, especially on tricky areas like around the nose.

Do you use a foundation brush?

47 comments :

  1. Great post. I know heaps of people who swear by this Sigma brush. :) I always use a brush to put on my foundation (besides that one time I used Maybelline's mousse foundation and had to use a sponge. It turned out HORRIBLY). I use ELF's powder brush to put my foundation on so what I don't think I will ever use or pay for, is a traditional foundation brush like this: http://www.thefinishingbar.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/foundation-brush.jpeg I'm happy with the one I have!

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    1. I've tried the traditional foundation brushes but I just can't seem to make them work for me. I say whatever works for you, use that!

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  2. Love this post for 2 reasons:
    1. I have had that EXACT experience in the past (ok not the onion smell) but a MUA scolding me for my regime and trying to make me buy her product which was a million shades wrong and felt all yuck. What is it with snooty beauty counter ladies!?!?
    2. Last year I only just converted to using a brush when my mum gave me some Napolean brushes for my birthday, since the NP lady convinced her they were a good buy. And I agree! I think they use more product, but definitely give a longer lasting & more even finish. Add to that you dont get dirty/foundationy nails and fingers!

    xx S

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    1. Seriously what is it with some MUAs doing the scolding trick... we're not in school, and we're not going to be sent to the naughty corner for having a different beauty regime. Glad you like the NP brushes though!

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  3. A great story about foundation brush! :D

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  4. Love this post! I still apply my foundation with my fingers. I have tried a few brushes in the past and didn't find one that worked real well for me. I'm not against foundation brushes, I just need to find one that works decent!

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    1. I'm definitely a fan of using my fingers, whatever works well really!

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  5. I have this brush and I always forget to use it!
    I use different brushes depending on the foundations. And on occasions I also use my fingers.
    A bit of everything really.
    XX

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    1. I suppose you need a variety of brushes as I don't think something like this will work with a thick cream or mousse foundation. But I'm too lazy to get more brushes, just means more cleaning for me to do later! xo

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  6. I never use a foundation brush, but mainly because I use a mousse foundation? Can you use a brush with a mousse? I don't know! Ha, loved this post! xxx

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    1. Thank you! I think sponges are best with mousse foundations, although I've only ever used my fingers with my maybelline dream matte mouse.

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    2. Same here! Ive never seen a reason to not use my fingers! xx

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  7. I use foundation brushes very rarely because I'm just too lazy to clean them constantly! I'm a huge fan of using my fingers to apply foundation, cream shadow, cream blush but if I'm going out for a special occasion I'll definitely take my time and use brushes.

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    1. Ha ha I think one of the reasons I don't like using too many brushes is because I'm lazy too to clean them! LOL.

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  8. That SA/Makeu artist was so rude! I had a similar experience with a dance teacher last week. Definitely not the way to build a clientele base! I also have the Sigma brush, I really like it, more so than the MAC equivalent! But depending on the foundation, sometimes I use my fingers.

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    1. Maybe some people think the way to earn people's respect is by being rude. Clearly the dance teacher and MUA are wrong! I was suprised how good this brush was, considering it's 1/3 the price of the MAC one in Aus. Goes to show price doesn't always equate to quality.

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  9. great post! i'm the opposite i have always used a brush for some reason my foundation does not seem to go right with my fingers :\ maybe it's just me! I use this Sigma brush and love it ! <3

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  10. that brush looks amazing i ordered a bunch of brushes from sigma im still waiting on them to send it to me! can't wait to try them out

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  11. On a day to day basis, I just use my fingers and I don't put foundation all over my face, but every now and then when I feel like it, or when I want to go all out, I'll use a brush to apply my foundation all over. My brush of choice is the Buffing Brush by Real Techniques, it's so soft and just blends the foundation into the skin so well. I have a feeling that this Sigma brush might be very similar, if not a tad more dense. I'm really keen to try it out. That story of yours is quite funny, it's a pity you had such a negative association with applying foundation with a brush for so long from that one traumatic experience ages ago!

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  12. It's making me laugh how against finger application people can be, especially as the recent trend for "glowing skin" that is in every magazine starts with the words "pat the foundation onto your skin using your fingers."

    Besides, what's wrong with it as long as your fingers are clean? I keep antibacterial gel on my dresser for that. >> But I tend to switch between a stippling brush and my fingers depending on how I feel.

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  13. I love this brush, it is my right arm :) kiss

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  14. I never used to but then I discovered some really good ones like the sigma synthetic brushes and the louise young brush.

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  15. I use the exact same brush for liquid foundation. I use to use the stippling brush from MAC until I found this one!

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  16. First and foremost, I'm am so grossed out for you in regards to the onion fingers. I'm a bit of a germaphobe and I would've FREAKED if that happened to me, EWWWWW!

    Second, I prefer to use a brush because I actually tend to get streaks when I use my hands (I think it might be because my fingers are double jointed lol). I prefer the Real Techniques stippling brush but I've heard so many great things about those sigma brushes, I might have to try them!

    Great article!

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  17. I go on and off with foundation brushes- sometimes I love the finish they give me, while some days I feel like they strip moisture off my face- if it makes any sense! I'm currently using my fingers as I feel I don't over-exfoliate my face with a buffing brush. LOL that onion smell, yuck! I don't know how polite and straight-faced I'd be if I was in your place!!! xx

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  18. i used to use a brush for my foundation and was a big advocate for it , but when i had to cut my makeup routine down to less time i stopped and just use my hands now it works faster and i get everything each time but i also never used one of those kabuki brushes i was using the mac 190 foundation brush which literally felt like i was painting my face on i think i will try that one it seems like it would be faster.

    i really hate those department store people i use maybeline foundation two , i buy high end brands for eye shadow and lipstick but most expensive foundation makes me break out and have always had good luck with maybeline foundation

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  19. ive used a foundation brush for years, i used to use my fingers but id always forget and touch things and leave foundation smudges all over everything!

    ive recently bought this sigma brush and cant believe i didnt buy it sooner! absolutely love it :)

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  20. I was just like you. Never used a foundation brush, but one time I bought one and... stripes! I tried to blend, I did my best, but didn't look good. So I was back to my fingers 'till I found Sigma *-*

    Some friends told me about their brushes' quality and so I bought a brush kit, that now I love <3 I got used to foundation brush and I rarely use my fingers now (just depend which kind of foundation I'm using) ^^

    =*****

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  21. I prefer to use a brush - and the Sigma f80 is my favorite one. I feel like it gives a better, more even application than my fingers.

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  22. Haha! This post is awesome. I read it twice. I could totally picture the whole thing. lol I have never in my life experienced a SA that removed my makeup and actually put something good on my face. I wish I could find a good SA!

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  23. I've literally tried everything for applying foundation. Sponges, fingers, brushes of all sorts. This and my MAC 187 are my favorite methods. I don't do well with fingers, it tends to make me break out.

    P.S. I'm allergic to onions so the smell makes me terribly TERRIBLY ill. You have my deepest sympathies.

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  24. Oh I love the Sigmax set of 3 brushes (as they were then). I have used and loved them all for well over 12m without any issues. Best brushes for liquid foundation EVER!

    I tried the Beauty Blender and it so did not work for me but I know just as many who swear by it. Who cares how you get the foundation on your face as long as it looks nice once it's there (snobby SAs give me the sh*ts).

    Jacx

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  25. I have the same Sigma brush and I love it! The application of foundation is so much smoother with it.

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  26. *vomits* Now I'm probably going to associate foundation brushes with onions now ;] j/k.

    I use my fingers around 70% of the time, but recently I bought a round top kabuki brush from Sigma and have been trying that out. I tend to only use a brush when I have extra time or really want a flawless finish. :)

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  27. Wow! somehow I have always wondered how you apply foundation because you always have such a flawless finish .. I recently bought MPP100 Airbrush from Priceline and enjoyed using it .. and ordered the Sigmax set of two F80, F84 some time back and waiting for the delivery now

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  28. No matter how many times I try using different types of foundation brushes, I always go back to the good old sponge!

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  29. I love this post! I completely agree that foundation brushes are not always necessary. That said, I do feel like there are probably great brushes out there and I just haven't tried them yet. After a lot of research I bought a Chanel foundation and a Chanel foundation brush. I like the foundation, but I NEVER use the brush. That darn brush was $45. It's shaped like a paint brush and not anything like these sigma brushes I see people raving about. At some point I am going to have to try them out, but for now I'm still grumbling about the $45 dollar brush I never use. ;)

    xoxo,
    Kassandra

    www.aposhmess.com

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  30. hahaha.the way you described your experience with the MUA is soo funny.I so agree with you on the point that they do have an attitude problem.

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  31. Hello Lilt,i luve your blog!I was looking for a foundation brush,and hey presto found your blog and it really made me chuckle...lolol@the ONIONS scent.I know excatly what you mean as went in search of lip gloss,for my upcoming italian holiday,and the MUA at my local x** Store(famous brand)when she applied the gloss to my lips her breath smelled kinda macrel/anchovy...suffice to say i tried not to breath as she was applying the gloss,it was truly gross,and end it up going to my local Boots,and buying Soap&Glory lip gloss.Thanks again and belated congrats on becoming a mamma!What adorable baby boy you have :)xo

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    1. Thanks for your comment and for the congrats on my little boy. He is my perfect little man! And glad you like my blog :)
      Oh that would have been disgusting, anchovy breath! Seriously, people working in any field where they'll be closely interacting with others need to be so mindful of basic hygiene like that. But on the plus side for you, you probably saved money by getting a drugstore gloss!

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  32. Loved going through this post, I myself planning to get a F80 and I'm now going to stick to your blog as you're one of those few bloggers who don't emphasize that how badly important a Sigma brush is, and if one does not have it there life ends there lol..

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    1. LOL, no your life won't end if you don't get a Sigma brush! I use mine occassionally, depending on the foundation I'm wearing as most of the time it's just too easy to use fingers for a lazy person like me :)

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  33. Love your blog and love this post. You are the best blogger who not only talk about high end brands but also mention best drug store products. I bought Maybelline foundation after your recommendation, and it was great. I never use brush for foundation because I have dry sensitive skin. Most of the make up artist recommend using fingers instead of brush for dry sensitive skin types.

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  34. Love your blog and love this post. You are the best blogger who not only talk about high end brands but also mention best drug store products. I bought Maybelline foundation after your recommendation, and it was great. I never use brush for foundation because I have dry sensitive skin. Most of the make up artist recommend using fingers instead of brush for dry sensitive skin types.

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, I really appreciate it! And I'm glad you like the Maybelline foundation, 90% of the time I use my Maybelline foundations and I couldn't be happier :)

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  35. I've been using my fingers eversince I started to put make up on my face, first because I didn't have the money to buy equipment and then because I didn't feel there was a need for it >.>
    Using my fingers has a very ugly side effect though that made me stop using it properly, whenever I had little scratches or tiny "wounds" from pimples, any kind of opening in my skin that would leave even the slimmest hint of a border, the make up would get caught on it and form ugly lines and streaks and that would just make me look ridiculous!
    When I read this and read how the 2nd try with the good brush went I felt really motivated to actually take my ex make up brush I'm using for powder to give it a shot and even though my forehead is in pretty bad shape with pimples and such, no lines, no streaks, it looks great, I'm so happy I tried it, thank you so so much!!
    I'm still gonna have to figure out how to do it perfectly but oh well, it will come to me with practice, which I'm gonna get started on starting now :D

    Thanks so much for this, you helped me a lot <3

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