How to use Flat Top Foundation Brush? [Tutorial]

flat top foundation brush
For perfect makeup coverage, a flat top foundation brush is essential. (Scroll down for video)

A flat top foundation brush for applying liquid makeup will make application quicker, easier, and give you airbrushed-look, flawless, results. The flat top makeup brush can (and should) also be used when applying sheer powders and blushes too.

This How-to will begin with applying liquid makeups with the best foundation brush you can get, followed by how-to-apply blushes, highlights and concealers. Finishing with how and why it’s best to use, a flat top foundation brush for a powder to lock the foundation and concealer for a long-lasting look.

If you’re reading this article to decide if you should get and use a flat top foundation brush for the first time, makeup professionals believe that, “It’s not an indulgence, it’s a necessity.”

Liquid foundation is one of the trickiest and fussiest products to apply. It’s why we’re beginning with it. It’s almost unfair that it can make or break your entire look and be so unpredictable. Applying liquid foundation with a flat top brush, using these techniques, eliminates the guesswork and issues.

CLICK TO TWEET: Applying liquid foundation with a flat top brush eliminates the guesswork and issues.

how to use flat top foundation brush

Flat Top Foundation Brush for Liquid Foundation

Take your favourite foundation and dab a small amount the size of a small coin on the back of your non-dominant hand. You can also use a palette for this, but using your hand is recommended because it warms the foundation, blends in with your skin’s natural oils, gives the bristles resistance, and doesn’t push the product up into the bristles the way a palette can.

Dip your brush into the foundation. A perfect flat top foundation brush is soft bristled, densely packed, synthetic, and antibacterial. (While that sounds like a tall order, we recommend Nanshy because their brushes are all that, plus cruelty-free!) Dip your brush a few times with a quick, yet soft, dabbing like motion.

Using the same quick dabbing motion, like a sewing machine needle moves (stippling), begin at the bridge of your nose between your eyebrows and go down the centre towards your nose tip. Then stipple from the outside in along each cheekbone from by your ear towards the side of your nose. Now do the same outside-in on your chin from the outer sides meeting in the middle. Without adding any more foundation, get the area above your upper lip and below your nose and finally the area above your chin just below your lower lip.

beautiful woman face
beautiful woman face

If you use foundation instead of, or in conjunction with concealer around the eye area, now is the time to tap the edge of your flat top brush into the foundation. At an angle as if the brush was laying on its side, with the edge of the bristles touching the edge of the foundation on your hand. Now with the brush at that same angle in relation to your face, dab along the under eye from the outside in towards your nose, your hand below the bristles. For application above the eye, bring your elbow up, so your hand is above the bristles (almost as if you were writing, but elbow way up) and stipple from the outside toward your nose bridge.

For your forehead, the very upper outside of your cheekbones and jawline (the remaining areas), dab the top of the brush into the foundation on your hand to get more product, then starting with the lower outside areas of your forehead, dab up and toward the centre all the way to your hairline.

application using flat top makeup brush

Get more foundation onto the flat area of the brush by dabbing your hand. Then apply by stippling the side areas of your face, between the eye and ear on each side. And then downward under your jaw to fade it into your neck.

beautiful woman face

Now is when you apply blush, highlighter, contour, and all your cream based products.

A quick over-all buff with your flat top brush for blending and you’re done!

Flat Top Foundation Brush for Powders and Blushes

The best way to make foundation and makeup last is setting it with powder. While one way to do it is with a puff, rolling or pushing it into the skin, this is likely to cause uneven results and can be a bit messy. Putting the powder onto your skin using a flat top brush sets it perfectly and is easy to clean afterwards.

Powder application should be light to lock the foundation and concealer but not disturb your underlying makeup. Stipple the powder, (dabbing lightly and quickly) no swirling or buffing, it can cause streaks and uneven application – And possibly wipe off everything you’ve already done.

Tap powder into the lid and use as a dabber (The way you used the back of your hand for foundation). This way any powder not used by the flat top brush can be thrown away if it got mixed with makeup. Or, put back in with the rest of your powder if you think it is ok. This helps your powder last longer by not tamping down the whole thing every time you use it.

Patting the powder on with the brush really ensures that the powder sinks in and really helps to set both the foundation and the concealer. Blend out contour powder or cheek stain (with a flat brush) in an upward motion, giving a real airbrush effect. There won’t be harsh lines or abrupt colour changes on your face.

Use a flat top foundation brush that’s soft bristled, densely packed, synthetic, and antibacterial. (Nanshy Kabuki Brushes are perfect for this.) Contour brushes and natural bristle makeup brushes will take away the foundation when swiping powder on to set your makeup. A soft bristled, densely packed, synthetic flat top brush, as you set your look by tapping with powder, will press the foundation making your set even firmer.


Beauty is as Beauty does! Share these great Pro Tips with your friends. You can also Tweet it out or use the social icons. Feel you’ve got a better way or tip you’d like to share, join the conversation and beautify the world!

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