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How Do I Choose the Best Complexion Brush?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

Begin your search for a complexion brush by deciding whether you are looking for a brush that cleanses and exfoliates your skin or a brush that can apply foundation and concealer. In the first case, you’ll want to look for a brush with soft bristles so as to not tear or irritate your skin. You should also find an exfoliating complexion brush that has a comfortable handle, making it easy to incorporate the brush into your daily skin care routine. If you plan to use your complexion brush for makeup application, look for a well-made brush with tight bristles — some foundation brushes are double-sided, providing a large brush for foundation and a smaller brush for applying concealer.

Many people use a complexion brush as a regular part of their daily hygiene. Users often apply a liquid cleanser to the brush, which is then used to gently scrub the face. The result is a clean face that has also benefited from exfoliation, a process for removing dead skin cells. The choice of a complexion brush for this purpose tends to be fairly personal; you may find that you prefer a brush with a long handle or you may prefer a round complexion brush with a short handle on its back. In either case, it is essential that you choose a brush that won’t irritate your skin, particularly if it is sensitive or if you have acne. Run the brush over the inside of your arm so that you can sense the softness of its bristles.

Woman in breeze
Woman in breeze

When selecting a complexion brush for applying makeup, take the time to find one that is of very high quality. Good quality makeup brushes last much longer than their cheap counterparts, making them a good value over the long run. If you use liquid foundation, look for a synthetic fiber brush. Natural bristles may be better if you use powder or mineral powder foundations. Small concealer brushes can be particularly useful for precision application of concealers and highlighters under the eyes and around the nose.

In all cases, it is important to care for your complexion brush to keep it in good shape and to prevent bacterial contamination. Wash synthetic bristles with liquid soap and natural bristle brushes with shampoo regularly, particularly if the brush is used to apply foundation or concealer. If you find that your skin shows signs of irritation after using the brush, discontinue its use, particularly if you have acne breakouts, which can be exacerbated by exfoliating scrubs and brushes.

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Discussion Comments


I don't wear makeup, so the only complexion brush I use is an exfoliation brush to clean my face.

The one I have was really cheap. I picked it up at a beauty store. It looks like a miniature bathing brush, except the bristles are super soft. I have really sensitive skin so I can't tolerate anything that's too harsh.

I use my exfoliation brush every other day with a face cleanser to remove oil and clean my pores. It works great! I haven't gotten many breakouts since I started using this brush. I wish I had found it earlier.


@simrin-- The general consensus among makeup lovers seems to be that brushes made of natural animal hair is best.

I personally think that it doesn't matter, as long as it works well. There are some brands with complexion brushes made from synthetic hair that work as well as any other.

The most important thing is that the brush's bristles shouldn't absorb and hold on to the makeup. This is why people usually complain when it comes to makeup brushes. If it doesn't distribute the makeup well, not only do you waste product but your skin won't look natural, flawless and glowing.


I've always been confused about complexion brushes because there are several different types. I didn't even know that exfoliation brushes are considered complexion blushes. When I think of complexion brushes, I usually think of makeup brushes for liquid, mousse or powder foundations.

The complexion brush I used to use before was a synthetic makeup brush for liquid foundation. I was not very happy with that brush though because it didn't apply the foundation evenly on my face. The synthetic bristles also didn't work very well and would cause streaks. So I would have to go over the application with my hands to even it out which was a waste of time. It was also extremely hard to wash this brush. It would take forever for all the foundation to come off.

The complexion brush I have now is a buffer brush made of natural animal hair. It can be used for all kinds of foundation. I absolutely love this brush because the application is so even. The bristles are also super soft and work really gently. The only thing is that I have to wash it often because I use it daily to apply foundation and bacteria can build up.

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