Tom Ford Cheek (06) & Bronzer (05) Brushes Reviews & Photos

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush ($78.00) is a blush brush with a rounded square-shape, slightly domed along the top edge, with very densely-packed bristles that feel lush and thick to the touch. It is very similar in shape to Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush, it’s just larger. The brush head is 33mm in length, 35mm in width, and 20mm in thickness. It has a metal ferrule that is pitched towards the top, and the handle is well-balanced with some heft (but it’s not heavy or awkward) with a total brush length of just over 6 inches or just under 16 centimeters. The brush handle is somewhat thick at 15mm in diameter, and it has a flat bottom, so it can stand upright (if desired). The brand’s logo and brush number are engraved and have gold lettering (neither have worn off at all so far).

Tom Ford’s brushes, from my experience, are very consistent. There is no question that they’re soft, silky, and feel great against the skin, and the Cheek Brush is no different. The brush is dense and thick, so it’s somewhat firm (but not stiff) with spring and give that’s just right for sweeping, patting, and diffusing powder products. I haven’t had any issues with this brush over the year and a half I’ve been using it–no shedding, no funny smells, and despite it being white, surprisingly easy to keep close to the way it came. The natural bristles pick up color well, and then the shape and texture of the bristles also blends out the powder well. Because it retains its shape during application, it can also work well for contouring or applying bronzer, as the edge fits well into the hollows of the cheek.

Hakuhodo J5543 ($60) is very similar and is only 2mm shorter in length and thickness (though Hakuhodo lists it as 11.5mm in thickness, mine is 18mm after washing and use)–it is not quite as dense, which results in a lighter application, though I felt realistically you can layer and apply as much/as little with either brush, it’s a matter of technique, pressure, and amount of product you initially pick-up. I also think that many will prefer a softer blush application to start than one that provides for a more pigmented application right off the bat. Generally, denser/thicker brushes will yield more color payoff and coverage, and then fluffier, sparser brushes will give you a softer, sheerer color payoff and coverage. I don’t have it to compare, but the J501 ($96) is longer (44mm) and less thick (16.8mm); J505 ($69) is also longer (38mm) and less thick (15mm). MAC 116 ($35) is much less dense, not as soft, and is narrower/more flared.

Bronzer (05) Brush ($115.00) is a massive, dense, thick brush that’s wide, flares out towards the top and has a slightly domed edge. I have to reiterate that this brush is huge, and it’s one of the larger brushes I have. The brush is 45mm in length, 50mm in width, and 30mm in thickness. The handle is quite thick at 21mm across in diameter, flat-bottomed, and the brush has a total length of 6.7 inches or 17 centimeters. It has a metal ferrule that is pinched towards the top. The overall shape is similar to both the Cheek (06) and Cream Foundation (02) brushes, which this being the largest, the Cheek falling in the middle, and the Cream Foundation being the baby of the family. The bristles are layered, so the outermost bristles are shorter than the ones in the middle. They move, feel, and act like one in many ways; you do not feel bristles or fibers against the skin, just a seamless sweep across the face.

While it’s designed for bronzer, and it certainly applies bronzing powder well and blends it out nicely, the brush is quite large and so it will depend in your application and face shape/size whether it’s really a feasible/worthwhile tool. It picks up powder products quite well, which may make products seem too pigmented if you tend to be heavy-handed. Less is more, and you’ll spend less time diffusing and blending out whatever product you may apply. I must admit that I personally like using this for applying finishing, setting, and loose/pressed powders/foundations over bronzer, as I regularly wear those and wear bronzer less, so I can get more use out of it that way. I had two to three hairs shed during the first two or three uses, but after that, I did not have any issues with it shedding. It washes easily, though be prepared for a slightly longer drying time compared to smaller brushes–it’s just so large. It dries in less than a day, though, and some of the synthetic brushes that are closer to this size, take a full day.

If you are even the slightest bit seduced by brush softness and don’t want to splurge on this product, I highly recommend never, ever touching it. Ever. It is like a combination of silk and cream against the skin. One thing I’ve learned is that brushes can be had at all price points, and like anything that’s a splurge, you have to not just love it but use it. If it just sits there, it’s never going to be worth it. If you use it every day, you get joy out of using it, then it might be just the right reward for yourself.

I gathered similar brushes to compare to this one, but its greatest difference is how dense, full, and lush it is. It is just packed with feathery, silky-smooth bristles. MAC 134 ($53) is the brush closest to this that I have, though it feels noticeably rough and scratchy in comparison, is more flared out, and is 30-40% less thick/dense (just my estimate!). OCC Powder Brush ($28) is narrower at the base with a stronger flare, and it is a thinner, less densely-packed brush. I don’t have any Hakuhodo brushes that I purchased that compare to this, but I did try to make an educated guess comparing the measurements, and the closest I could find was the J5541 ($111), which is half as thick (13mm vs. 30mm), and the J501 ($96), which is 6mm shorter in length and half as thick (16.8mm vs. 30mm). Make Up For Ever #128 ($52) is a brush that also has a very large brush head and a fairly thick/dense quality to it, but the shape is really quite different. I do prefer the #128 for loose/setting powder application (I feel like you can press better) but Tom Ford’s is better for dusting, sweeping, and feathering those products across the skin.

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See more photos!

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush
Tom Ford Cheek (06) Brush

Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush
Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush

Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush
Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush

Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush
Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush

Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush
Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush

Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush
Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush

Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush
Tom Ford Bronzer (05) Brush

About the Reviewer


Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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Yeah, these brushes can make application easier (depending on what you have and how satisfied you are with your current brushes), but they’re not going to perform any magic tricks really 😉

Thank you for reviewing Tom Ford’s brushes! I am obsessed with the line and constantly scour the internet for reviews of their products. Would you recommend this blush brush for smaller faces? I think something like the MAC 116 would suit my face more but I don’t like the quality of mac brushes since they all tend to feel a little scratchy on me.

If you like the size of the 116, then you’ll like the size of the Cheek brush. It’s a bit shorter, and definitely much thicker and denser, so they’re less twins and more sisters or cousins. The Cream Foundation brush is very similar in shape, just smaller, so if you want something even smaller, you might like that.

Hakuhodo J5543 is also about the same size as the TF Cheek Brush and slightly cheaper and not quite as dense (not necessarily a bad thing, depending on how you apply your blush and results you seek), but the price difference is not as great as it is on other brushes, so the aesthetic of TF may appeal more. A good brush taken care of will last many years, so I say that knowing that I’d probably opt for the TF over the Hakuhodo because I personally really like the TF handles, lettering (and NUMBERING ON THE BRUSH!), etc.

If you find the MAC 116 scratchy, I think you will be most pleased with the softness of either TF or Hakuhodo. The 116 was my go-to, but I will say that the most recent one I purchased is less soft compared to older ones I have.

Wow! They look like amazing brushes! Very Nice quality and they sure look like they would apply makeup product very nicely! Thank You for sharing such Great products!

Thank you for the in-depth reviews and comparisons! These brushes are a big investment and it’s nice to have a wealth of information before purchase.

Thank you, Sasha! I never intended the brush reviews to be so long but I can’t seem to get them shorter… and then I feel like at this price point, longer is probably better because they are an investment, not something one would just buy on a whim typically, and you’ll want to know more than “OMG, it’s the softest brush ever!!!”

I have 3 TF brushes, although none are this large- a shadow contour, foundation, and shading brush. I’m sorry but they are not odorless, despite many washes, and the foundation one is the worst. I ordered them all at the same time, but if I would have known that, I might not have ordered at all. I may be overly sensitive, I will admit, but to me it really detracts from the overall pleasantness. Maybe they’ve changed the goat hair type recently or even not so recently? I’d be interested in finding that out.

With the exception of the Bronzer brush, mine are from November/December 2012. I just re-smelled all of the TF brushes I have, and no odor at all. They smell the same as my Hakuhodos as well as my synthetics, which is like nothing to me. I wouldn’t say I have an excellent nose or anything nor would I say I can hardly smell – about average in smelling ability? LOL! But I can get bothered by certain smells or odors, so I can definitely detect smells to some degree.

What is the odor like?

To me that is strange, I can detect synthetic from natural even if they were still wrapped in plastic. Both my TF and Hakuhodo white hair brushes are pungently animal smelling (to me). I actually started going back to blackhair,and more recently, synethics, because of this. Probably I am more sensitive, or maybe developed some sort of hypersensitivity/allergy; I don’t have any pets or anything.

Hey Malia!

I mean they don’t smell exactly the same, but they seem pretty much a non-smell? Does that make any sense? Like I couldn’t tell you that they smell like anything in particular. Perhaps because I’ve never smelled just a particular fur I cannot distinguish it. My dog doesn’t smell like my brushes, for example, LOL!

If I shove my nose into my MAC 134 all the way to its base, it almost smells leathery. I would say of all the brushes I own, that’s one of the few that have any smell to me but only if I put my nose to it. Some of my brushes have been washed in lemon/lavender soaps over the years, and though my very current soap is scent-free, my previous one was lavender (so my TF ones have been washed with that for sure).

If you can smell things through plastic, and I can’t say I’ve tried to do that with brushes, you probably have a highly developed sense of smell 🙂

I am so happy you have the TF 6. I’ve been on the fence about it and now I can ask you questions about it! I can see that from having it for over a year and a half now the brush hairs have reverted back, outstandingly to it’s natural color. I have read/seen this on a few blogs, which is what made me even more interested in this brush; I really want a white haired blush brush, but I do not want it to stain. How often do you wash it (also how often do you wash the TF 2, what foundations have you used it with, could you use it with something as sheer as face & body and do you dip the brush in the foundation or apply the foundation to your face and blend out with the brush)? What kind of blushes do you prefer to use it with (can you use it with a mineralized blush or cream blushes)? I have darker skin (NC50ish) so a blush brush that can pick up a lot of product is not necessarily bad for me; although I do have pretty pigmented blushes, but I also have some sheer ones (like a blush ombre from MAC, mineralized and drugstore blushes). I have large cheeks as well so the size wouldn’t be so overwhelming that product applies beyond my cheeks. Do you think that if I owned this brush that I should have another cheek brush to use for my most pigmented products? Do you find yourself using it often and lastly, do you think this could be a starter blush brush? Thanks for answering and sorry to bombard you with all these questions (especially on the TF 2 I read your post on it when it was posted, but did not have questions back then. I figured it would be wiser to leave a comment here since you have so many posts to respond to)!

Hey Naomi,

I wash all my brushes after every use with exception of sometimes I am lazy about whatever brush I use for applying setting or finishing powder if they’re the “invisible” type and then my brow brush I use with the same color and product every day, so I don’t wash it every use. Everything else, though, I do – foundation, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, etc.

I’ve used Tom Ford’s Cream Foundation brush with these (to my memory): Giorgio Armani Maestro, Guerlain Lingerie de Peau, Guerlain Parure de Lumiere, Guerlain Parure Gold, MUFE HD, UD Naked, and probably a few more that I’m forgetting. I think it could be used with something sheer like F&B. It was fine with UD Naked (sheerer coverage) as well as the more liquid-y consistency of Maestro. One thing I like to do is apply pats of foundation all over my face, and then go at it with a brush, rather than putting say a giant dollop on the back of my hand and dipping the entire brush in it. It’s fine either way, but that’s just my preferred foundation application method. I expect you waste slightly less product that way.

I’m making the assumption that the blush question is for the blush brush (because the Cream Foundation Brush could be used as a blush brush, too, but given you mentioned you have larger cheeks, so I imagine you’re looking at either the Cheek or Bronzer). Please correct/clarify/re-ask me if I am wrong 🙂 I have no problems using it with powder or cream blushes, and I haven’t noticed any differences between powder blushes. If you have a really poorly pigmented blush – possibly because the texture is very stiff/hard – you may find this only helps marginally, but a scratchier brush (yes, scratchier!) will be better as the stiffer, harder bristles will actually disturb the surface of the sheer blush better and essentially dislodge the powder – so you can pick up more. The TF is so dense and there are so many bristles, you can get a lot that way, but it’s not going to take say a 10% pigmented blush and make it 100%, know what I mean? For something SUPER pigmented that’s like a little tap of the brush and it’s like whoa! I would continue to reach for something lighter, fluffier. For every day, though, this and Hakuhodo’s work well for me. Similarly, I do prefer the Cream Foundation brush for cream blushes as they tend to go a long way so I like the more precise application of the smaller brush head, but I am lucky to have the luxury of choice, and I think you’d do just fine with using both cream/powders with just one of them.

I don’t think the brush is hard to use, so I think it would be fine for someone who is starting out as far as that goes, but what I will say is you may want to spend time getting to know what shapes, densities, textures, and even natural/synthetic that you like (if you haven’t) before buying at this price point (unless you can return and are comfortable doing so). After essentially making an attempt to replace my MAC brushes with five or six difference brands of brushes (to point being to diversify and widen my idea of what good brushes are!) in this insane brush review bonanza I have going on, that’s what I’ve really learned. Shape matters a lot – and that’s a personal preference and depends on how you’re going to use a brush or what products you use most often. To that end, the best more budget-friendly option for the 02 is probably the Real Techniques Expert Face, which is all synthetic, which is a worthwhile brush, period, and may help you figure out if you like the shape for blush/foundation (since the 06 and 05 are really just bigger and bigger in comparison).

Hope that helps!

Thank you so much! I know my questions would get a bit confusing lol. I was asking about both brushes (the TF 2 & 6) so your assumption was correct. I am going to take your advice and try the RT Expert Face brush. I want to have no regrets buying core brushes (brushes I will use everyday),but it can be challenging when around every corner there is a new innovation in the beauty community each with it’s own claims. I am not the type to test every new thing especially when it comes to brushes; I am the type to use the motto “if ain’t broke don’t fix it ” in that department. I am glad to have you and your community on here to provide honest and thorough reviews as well as your suggestions, thanks 😀

No problem, Naomi! The Expert Face brush is great, and obviously a fraction of the price of the TF brush, so it can help you get a feel for the shape and feel and still be a good brush to own. Even if you end up getting the TF 2 or 6 later on, there’s nothing wrong with having something similar. (Maybe one you keep for liquid, the other for blush, or vice versa!)

My best advice is always to start out with a quality but more affordable set of brushes to figure out exactly what kind of shapes and such that you like and will actually use often, then you can upgrade the ones you would use everyday if you want something better/improved/more exactly to your taste. If I was redoing my collection from scratch, that’s what I would do, and then I would buy the exact ones I wanted that were more to my tastes re: shape and quality – of course, only if you’re unhappy with what you have. 😉 All of the brushes that I REALLY used in the past (mostly MAC), I very likely have doubles, triples, or even five or six of (MAC 239 I think I am up to six or seven!) – that’s how you KNOW you love a brush.

Also, a note from personal experience: going down a high-end (or luxury) rabbit hole of brushes can be difficult to get out of, so if it ain’t broke, don’t go borrowing trouble, lol! I can’t justify the cost of say Chikuhodo or Suqqu really – while readers might want to see it, the post is unlikely to you know, even cover a fraction of the cost of one of those. But we’ll see. I’m always curious to see just how amazing a jaw-dropping expensive product is relative to less expensive products. I’m too overwhelmed with what I’ve bought and received brush-wise recently, so at least that helps me stay away 🙂

I’ve never lusted after brushes the way I lust for these! “If you are even the slightest bit seduced by brush softness and don’t want to splurge on this product, I highly recommend never, ever touching it. Ever.” That just threw me over the edge! LOL! 🙂

I just can’t envision someone touching this, who is enamored or always on the hunt for the softest of the soft brush, walking away without second and third thoughts, LOL. Sometimes the best way to avoid temptation is truly AVOIDING!

So just wondering, after having these for so long, and having a large collection of brushes, do you reach for them?? Do they make the kind of impression that you would reach past an old school favorite to pick up these?

Hi Danielle,

Tom Ford’s Foundation & Blush brushes have replaced my foundation and blush go-to overall, but I’ve probably about 100 brushes I’ve been testing over the past 3-6 months more intensively, so I can’t say that I use either everyday at the moment 🙂

The Bronzer Brush is nice, but I don’t usually wear bronzer so it’s not an everyday brush for me, and I like it for powder, I really like MUFE’s new one for that as well.

I’m a self-confessed brush addict so I have enough brushes to last me a couple of life-times, but the TF bronzer brush is one that I’ve used every single day for two years. I love this large, densely packed, über soft brush so much that I bought a second one when it became apparent to me that this was my all time favorite brush for applying various finishing powders. I often like a soft, diffused glow on my face but something a bit more shimmery on my décolletté; hence two brushes to avoid cross contamination. I wash my brushes at least once a week and find that they dry relatively quickly (1 day) given how large they are. They’ve retained all of their shape and supreme softness making them a true joy to use. The brush is pricey and not everyone is willing or able to shell out that amount of money for a brush, but if you are in the market for a superlative brush suitable for bronzers, finishing powders, and special effects powders, then TF’s is one to seriously consider. As for the blusher brush, that is the one I actually use for bronzer application. LOL

Thanks for sharing your experience with the Tom Ford brushes, Eileen! 🙂 It is funny how so many don’t use the bronzer brush for bronzer!

I like a more diffused application of blush so my favourite brush for blush application is Suqqu’s cheek brush. But I apply bronzer mainly to contour so I prefer a brush that’s firmer and will apply product exactly where I want it and Tom Ford’s cheek brush is perfect for that. It’s compact so the bristles don’t splay out upon contact with the skin but it’s so amazing soft and the bristles have enough give that they’ll blend the bronzer/Chanel Notorious out so I don’t have harsh looking lines on my face. The Chanel Notorious that I have is really hard as well (maybe that’s the way it comes?) and the Tom Ford brush allows me to actually pick up enough of the product. It’s an extremely well made brush with a substantial handle that balances the brush and mine never had the strong smell that many goat hair brushes have before the first few washings. I have several of the eye brushes (all but the eyeshadow brush, blending brush and concealer brush) and I like them but if I were to only own one TF brush, the cheek brush would be it. 🙂

I got all the Tom Ford brushes..
But I seldom use themm..especially the blush brush..
It’s too dense so it has very good color payoff..
But I’m a heavy hand girl..
when I was using it, I always got over-done… then I have to use another brush to buff it off..
So i prefer brushes wif fluffier and softer bristles

For the powder brush (05), I will use it for applying powder as I don’t use bronzer… 🙂

So sad to hear that someone’s TF brushes have odor…
Mine don’t have odor and I own them for few months already..

Does it smell leathery at all? Sometimes natural brushes (used with animal hair) can have that smell, but I don’t notice any strong odor in mine! I know a reader mentioned she did, though.

Hi Christine,

I’m looking for a blush brush and a face brush. I have a brush I already use for bronzer and I was thinking of getting this TF brush as a finishing powder brush…is it good for that? I am very enamored with the idea of Hakuhodo brushes, in part because of the blue squirrel hair that comprises some of them. For face brush, which brand (brush, too, if you have an opinion) would be best for dusting all over the face? I want something very soft, but some people complain that 100% blue squirrel brushes are “too soft”, which I’m not sure I understand. If you could make light of this, I would be very appreciative! Thank you!!

I think it might be too dense for finishing powder – you might want something a bit larger and fluffier for that purpose. When people say they’re too soft, I expect that because they’re SO soft, they do not pick up enough powder, so everything seems less pigmented/sheer.

Here are my recs for face brushes –

I’m confused, because in your reviews you say you like it for finishing, setting and loose powder, but here you say it may be too dense. Maybe I’m confusing the purpose of the powders? I plan on purchasing something like Guerlain’s Les Voilettes to mattify, set and complete my makeup application for the day…mostly because you loved it 🙂 I guess I’m asking, do you like this for that, or should I still get something fluffier? I’m still eyeing those blue squirrels Hakuhodos…they seem so luxuriously soft!

Hi Katya!

I like it for finishing, but it can be too dense depending on the finishing powder – e.g. Guerlain’s Mythic it’s great, but for something like Hourglass’ finishing powder, it’d be too dense 🙂 Does that make sense? Like Hourglass’ powder is so soft that it gives off a lot of product if you have a lot of bristles touching the surface. The denser brush means it can apply more product. I think for Les Voilettes this might work as long as the powder is pretty close to your skin tone – otherwise it might pick up too much product 🙂

Thank you, thank you, thank you Christine! It will never cease to amaze me that you are so responsive and interactive with your readers–not to mention, so generous with your time and advice–when you surely have so many other things on your plate!
Based on your thoughts, I think it’s safe to say that this brush isn’t for me, simply because I’m looking for an extra-soft brush good for a light dusting–i.e., I can go over my face a few times without looking like a pan of the stuff I’m using! 😛

Thanks again, Christine–your dedication keeps me coming back to Temptalia again and again. <3

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