All about that base

Last week we looked at the tools of the trade from tanning and this week we are going to be putting foundation application tools. We have come a long way since the humble foundation brush of old which while served a purpose, it wasn’t the best brush ever made. Flat and similar to a paintbrush you would use on a fence it wasn’t really built for the contours of the face. Luckily for us the brush world has been revolutionised with some of the best base brushes ever and here I am going to share these with you. But first let us have a look at foundation brush care. It is a brush you with probably replace bi annually if you use it every day. You need to replace these more often because they are used to apply cream, gel or oil based product and need to be cleaned thoroughly. In theory you cannot “spot clean” these brushes because the composition of many long wear foundations need to be shampooed out. A little baby shampoo or some specific brush cleanser is best. To dry the brush lay it on a flat absorbent surface away from any direct heat source. I usually dry my brushes on an old towel and lay them on the kitchen counter or draining board. It is also best not the get the ferrule (metallic bit that joins the bristles) wet. And finally use lukewarm not hot water.

The Shiseido foundation brush is a great, short handled, stippled, densely packed synthetic fibre brush that will give you a full coverage look with a cream or liquid foundation. Stippled means that the brush hairs are slightly different lengths to ensure a good even coverage. This short handle on this brush means that you have complete control over the application of the product and the finish you want to create. Available in Sam McCauley, Douglas and Brown Thomas and priced at €30.50.

Blank Canvas are a new kid on the block since 2011 and I am delighted to have tried their F20 brush
The F20 Flat Buffer Brush  is made of short, dense synthetic fibres ideal for liquid, cream or powder products. I love the duo pack of these brushes as I use one to apply a foundation and the other to apply a light dusting of finishing powder. Go to and order the duo pack with a hot pink handle for only €26.99, it is a great idea to even have one for home and one for your handbag, o0r even to buy one for you and gift the other.

Nima brushes designed in Ireland by Niamh Martin are a beautiful collection with the CJ being my favourite. It is a dense taklon synthetic fibre brush designed with a round dome shaped head to enable you to get into the contours of the face. It can be used to apply powder across the face, pop blush across the cheekbones or to contour under the cheek one for a more defined make up finish. It is a great brush for those that like to contour the face using concealer or a liquid based product. It retails at €16.00 and you can buy it at

Real Techniques have been taking the brush category by storm although this brush still remains my favourite. Now it does come as part of a set, but the other brushes in it are really useful too so don’t feel too guilty about the multi buy. The Buffing brush is the one I have in my kit, and I have several of them for doing freelance work, primarily because they work the foundation seamlessly into the skin and they work very quickly. It is quite densely packed and really easy to clean. As I write this very piece the four piece set is on a half price in Boots.

Inglot recently launched their Pro Blending sponge which is a firm, egg shaped sponge that can be used for among other things applying your foundation. It is easy to transport, compact and perfect for on the go top ups. There is a rounded end for the larger areas of your face and a pointed end for concealing, whether that be blemishes, under your eyes or contouring your cheeks. It retails at €12 and is available in their stores or online at and they offer free delivery to orders over €60.

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