The right blush brush is really dependent on what product one’s trying to apply! A very pigmented blush often requires a less-dense, more feathery brush for foolproof, buildable application, whereas a lighter or sheerer blush works better with a denser brush.
It can also depend on whether one’s naturally a bit heavier handed or lighter handed, as it may mean that going for a less-dense brush is more or less ideal.
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Best Blush Brushes for Sheerer Coverage
When you want sheer coverage blush application, you’re looking for airier, more feathery brushes; they’re less-densely packed with bristles and have a lot of movement. They’ll work better with softer, more powdery formulas as opposed to denser, stiffer powder products–on average. However, if you have an intensely pigmented blush that’s firmer,
Wayne Goss The Air Brush ($35.00)
It is a small, more paddle-shaped face brush with tapered bristles that come to a rounded edge. It’s aptly name The Air Brush because it is airy; it’s not densely-packed, so it has a feathery feel against the skin (though not ticklish!). I prefer using this brush with sheerer formulas or ones that are more powdery but would avoid with stiffer formulas (need something denser for those). Available at a Beautylish.
Sonia G Fan Pro Brush ($32.00)
It is a small, goat-haired fan brush that has a rounded, pinched ferrule where the brushes flare outward to create a gently curved edge. It is incredibly soft and moves fluidly against the skin–no feeling of any individual bristles at all. Available at Beautylish.
Wayne Goss Brush 14 Cheek Brush ($33.00)
This is a longer-than-average cheek brush that flares outward from the base and then tapers toward the last third of the brush head to a rounded edge. The gradual taper of the bristles and the rounder shape make it excellent for applying intensely pigmented blushes for a sheerer effect. I’d reach for this over the previous two for any very, very pigmented, more contrasting shade of blush (like a matte red blush for me). Available at Beautylish.
Honorable mention: SUQQU Cheek Brush ($123.60) is an extremely silky, airy brush, but it’s harder to purchase in a lot of countries.
Best Blush Brushes for Medium, Buildable Coverage
In my experience, most blushes have more medium to semi-opaque pigmentation with a moderate hand, so these are the kind of brushes that work well with those. You can use a lighter hand with them to get sheerer coverage or a heavier hand to pick up more product in one pass for more intense color application.
Sometimes, you may find that you like one brush for the initial lay down and diffusion of color but prefer another shape for really buffing and blending out the edges for a seamless result. I find this to be true with more matte blushes as well as any blush that is a bit harder to blend out.
Sonia G. Face Two ($48.00)
It’s a small-to-medium sized brush with a flatter edge, so it’s almost like a small, buffing brush with good spring and enough fluffiness to make it a really well-rounded tool. I find the shape to work well for gently patting onto the surface of a product and getting the exact application I want (even sheer, really) and can easily get medium and buildable coverage. Available at Beautylish.
Sonia G. Designer Pro ($46.00)
It’s a slightly smaller-than-average cheek brush, but it’s moderately dense and has a more paddle-like shape (with a soft, domed edge), so it lays down product easily with a few taps but then has the density necessary to diffuse and blend out products evenly. Available at Beautylish.
Sonia G. Sculpt Three ($32.00)
It’s a small, but mighty, smaller fan brush that picks up product evenly and deposits in precisely, which I find perfect for creating intense glow exactly where you want it. Available at Beautylish.
Hakuhodo G5545 Blush Brush ($63.00)
It is a medium-sized, flatter blush brush with a rounded, tapered edge that picks up product well and distributes it gradually and naturally diffused. I like using this with very pigmented cheek products or more softly-pressed powders.
Wayne Goss Brush 12 ($53.00)
It is more of a classic blush brush; medium in size, moderately-dense, and lightly domed. It applies color more moderately but is amazing at blending out edges as denser brushes work better for buffing in small circles (but without lifting up base products, as the bristles are quite soft). Available at Beautylish.
Best Blush Brushes for Intense Pigmentation
These are slightly larger, denser versions of the brushes listed in the section above–more rounded, medium-to-large-sized blush brushes. I reach for these when I’m using lighter shades, applying bronzer all-over the face, or if I’m working with a sheerer powder to begin with and want a bit more coverage out of it. These also work well for buffing and blending out color already placed on the skin, where I’ll use a clean one of these style brushes after I used something more precise to apply my blush.
Hakuhodo B505 Blush Brush ($98.00)
It is a medium-to-large blush brush that’s quite dense (but not stiff) with tapering bristles that makes it fantastic for diffusing and blending out blush. The size works well for those who apply bronzer to a greater portion of the face, though. This brush is also available in the J-series for less.
Wayne Goss Brush 11 ($48.00)
It is a medium-to-large sized face brush that has a rounded edge, tapering bristles, and moderate density. It’s actually marketed as a “Buffing Brush,” which is what I tend to use it for–making sure blush edges are perfectly blended and the like.
Best Blush Brushes for Liquids & Creams
Like I’ve found for liquid and cream highlighters, I routinely opt for fingertips over brushes in most instances–they’re efficient, the warmth improves blending, and mean no extra brushes to wash! I prefer more duo-fiber style brushes and will opt for synthetic for true liquids and creams as they’re more resilient and don’t absorb product.
As I find smaller brushes to be more precise, which is necessary when dealing with liquids and creams, my favorites for blush are exactly the same as highlighters!
MAC 159S Duo Fibre Brush ($35.00)
It is a small-to-medium-sized, domed cheek brush that has more feathery, sparse bristles at the edge, which help with gradual, diffused application. Available at Nordstrom.
Real Techniques Setting Brush ($7.99)
It’s a small, more precise synthetic brush that works well for applying highlighters to the high points of the face. I typically use it with liquids and creams, but it could also be used with powders. Available at Ulta.