While fingers are fine – and I use ’em often – there’s really nothing like the finish you get when you use a really great foundation brush. I used to be a devotee of paintbrush-style foundation tools, once I learned the trick for correct, streak-free application (use a tiny bit of product at a time, apply with one side of the brush and blend with the other), and while you still generally see makeup artists using those, most of us at-home enthusiasts have moved to buffing brushes.

Duo-fibre (NOT fibre optic, note; you are not applying your makeup with a phone line) or synthetic foundation brushes are a godsend. They do seem counter-intuitive to start; like the brush will just wipe away the makeup, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, the tightly-packed brush heads give a polished finish that looks like it took an hour to achieve, but which probably took all of three minutes. Result.

I’ve tried a lot of them at this stage and right now (I can’t swear it won’t change), these are the three I consider to be the super-duper best of what I’ve personally checked out. 

Sigma Flat Kabuki F80

​Its praises were sung from on high online and I’m always a wee bit sceptical of that because I think you need a good basis of comparison in order to be able to judge a product effectively so I kind of dismissed it as ‘one of those things’. However, this is a really good brush and I like pretty much all of the Sigma brushes I’ve used. Mine was a sample from Cloud10beauty.com where it costs €19.95, which is a great price. This has a very tightly packed head so it finishes makeup in seconds, as opposed to looser-packed ones which I’d have liked more previously and which I now reserve for powder blusher. This washes well too.

Urban Decay Good Karma Optical Blurring Brush

My favourite of the three, I absolutely adore this brush. It’s a great size, comfortable weight and the round, well-packed head means I use this for both foundation and concealer because it can get right in at those tight spots in at the sides of the nose and around the nostrils too. It’s super low-fuss, travels brilliantly because the handle is quite short and washes perfectly. If you only buy one, buy this. Yes, it’s not cheap at €29, but mine is a trojan and is showing no signs of wear over its 18 month+ life.

Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush

The priciest at €30, when this brush launched in 2011 it was an absolute game-changer. With a teeny, tiny head (it’s about the size of a 10c coin), this has a very firm, angled head and it took me ages to stop looking at it funny and start using it. Brilliant with fine liquids, the small size of the brush and the angled cut means it can get anywhere on the face. I don’t use this one so often anymore as cleaning it is a bit of a faff because it’s so well-upholstered, bristles-wise, but for event makeup, or those times when you want to look hyper-real, it’s the absolute bees knees. Absolutely one to know about.

Next on my list? The Real Techniques duo fibre collection is next on my to-buy list. I was eyeing it up in Boots recently but it was too close to payday to consider a purchase. But soon …. soon. 

Have you tried any of the three mentioned here? Let me know your thoughts on them below.