Makeup Brushes For The Face Reviews

I have gotten quite a number of questions about what brushes so today I will go over some of the brushes and tools I use for my face.

MAC #190 Foundation Brush ($32)
I absolutely *love* this brush for applying liquid and cream foundations. It gives me that airbrushed look and never looks streaky. A great thing about using a foundation brush is that it makes application less messy – no more dirty hands yay! – and it makes your foundation last longer. Plus you end up using less foundation when you use a brush. If you don’t own a foundation brush, please go get one.

MAC #187 Stippling Brush ($42)
Made from a soft blend of goat and synthetic fibres, this brush is best for lightweight application and blending of face powder or pigments. I use this mostly to apply blush and pigmented products like MAC Mineralize Skinfinishes. Its bristles are very soft and it picks up just the right amount of product. What I do is swirl it over the MSF, tap off the excess, then buff onto my cheeks. I also use this to apply loose powder and it blends everything right into my skin so it looks very natural.

MAC #129 Powder/Blush Brush ($34)
As the name suggests, I use this mainly for powder or blush application (duh!). The hair, however, is not soft like the #187 or #168. In fact, it is a little stiff and it kind of scratches up my cheeks a little. The small size of it together with the round dome shape, however, is perfect for applying blush on to your apples for that doll look. One thing I noticed is that it does shed, at least after the first few washes. Nonetheless, this is still a pretty good blush brush.

MAC #194 Concealer Brush ($18.50)
This works great with MAC Select Coverup Concealer and other cream concealers. The firm bristles are great for precise application without tugging or poking my skin. I usually dip this into my concealer, apply it onto areas that need coverage, then tap with my finger until the concealer is well blended. The brush is also slightly tapered so it works great on those hard-to-reach areas, i.e. inner corner of the eye and the sides of the nose.

MAC #168 Large Contour Angled Brush ($32)
Like the stippling brush, the hair on this brush is super soft. I use this mostly for highlighting my cheekbones and the bridge of my nose. The angle is *perfect* for sculpting your face and it deposits just the right amount of color onto the right places.

Cat Cosmetics Kabuki Brush ($39)
This kabuki brush is made of super euro goat hair and it is densely packed, uber soft and very well anchored. It is great for buffing, deposits the color evenly and makes the powder literally undetectable! I use this to apply loose powder and sometimes blush and bronzer too. It also comes in a black faux leather case that is oh-so-cute and great for traveling. This kabuki brush can also be used to apply mineral foundations so if you are a powder person, definitely get this!

Sonia Kashuk Powder Puff ($~9)
This is a round plush puff with a satin strap across the back and it is a little bigger than the size of my palm. I use this mainly to press loose powder onto my face to set my makeup. The velour fabric is uber soft and even though I have washed it a few times, it still looks new.

Related Entries
Makeup Brushes Reviews Part II – Eyes

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. What’s the difference between using sponge and brush to put on liquid foundation?
    I have never used brush before to put on foundation…

  2. when using the stippling br for both blush and powder, are you using 2 separate brushes? do you think the lg buffer is still necessary for powder if using the stippling?

  3. I’m not sure if you have Nordstrom there, but Nordstrom MAC told me that they will have an anniversary set of MAC brushes in a few months. Have you ever tested those out? The SA told me that the brush head is identical in quality only shorter handles. But I doubt it cos 5 brushes will sell for like $45 when one 187 brush costs that much already! I’m planning to invest on it if it’s really worth it.

  4. Yes I own a set of those anniversary brush sets. They’re great for traveling and it’s super good value too but the brushes are not as good as the full size ones.

Leave a Reply