The Best Kabuki Brush

Flat Top Kabuki Premium Foundation Makeup Brush

Our Top Pick for 2017: Flat Top Kabuki Premium Foundation Makeup Brush
Read our full review.

As any makeup junkie will tell you, the quality of your tools is just as important – if not more – than the quality of the makeup you use. Choosing the right brush can be the difference between a flawless, airbrushed finish and a streaky mess.

Many makeup artists swear by kabuki brushes for foundation application. Kabuki brushes are characterized by relatively short, dense bristles and are most often used for face makeup (think foundation, face powder, or blush). They may have a flat, round, or angled top depending on their intended use.

If you’re in the market for a new foundation brush, consider branching out and joining the kabuki brush revolution. They’ve become hugely popular amongst makeup artists and enthusiasts alike. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top performing kabuki brushes on the market today to help you in your quest for streak-free foundation glory.

Table of contents

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Flat Top Kabuki Premium Foundation Makeup Brush

Flat Top Kabuki Premium Foundation Makeup Brush Gold Pick

View it on Amazon: $18.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

This flat top kabuki brush from Beauty Junkees is made to flawlessly apply liquids, mineral foundations, and powders. Beauty Junkees has crafted a brush that combines versatility, durability, and excellent performance all at a great price. Ultra-soft synthetic duo fiber bristles provide medium to full coverage with no streaks, lines, or caking. In a review of top-ranked kabuki brushes, this brush was among such prestige names as Sigma, Real Techniques, and TooFaced.

Cost
At $11.37, the Beauty Junkees kabuki brush is a mid-priced option. It is backed by a full money-back guarantee, and users were widely very impressed with the level of customer service.

Coverage
Do you prefer a soft look some days and a more intense, full coverage effect for special occasions? Beauty Junkees’ kabuki brush makes it easy to achieve your desired look, whether you’re going for medium or full coverage. Whether you’re out on a lunch date or getting ready to hit the clubs, this brush allows you to easily adjust your coverage without caking.

Bristles
These 100% synthetic bristles are the perfect density to pick up and distribute liquids and powders evenly. The duo fiber bristles are ultra-soft and gentle on the skin. To use with a liquid, stipple the product into the skin and buff in circles for a seamless airbrushed finish.

Durability
Even with regular use and washing, this flat top kabuki brush maintains its shape over time and doesn’t shed. Its wooden handle is sturdy and well-constructed.

Versatility
On top of its flexibility in delivering different levels of coverage, this brush is suitable for a range of different product types. Whether you prefer liquid or powder products, or if you like to mix it up from day to day, this brush delivers consistent results.

Aesthetics
The full-length black handle is embellished with a silver brush attachment – called a ferrule – and silver lettering. The Beauty Junkees logo is in silver next to the words “FLAT KABUKI.” The bristles are duo fiber, with black fiber at the bottom and a small amount of white fiber at the top.

Drawbacks
Upon first opening the package, some users reported a very strong smell of glue and chemicals. Others said that the size of the brush head was too large for their liking, making it somewhat difficult to get into smaller areas like under the eyes.

What are real users saying?
Several users have said that this brush has far surpassed its much pricier peers, with one user saying that after using the Beauty Junkees kabuki, “[she] won’t be using [her] Sigma any time soon.” By and large, reviewers raved about the softness and perfect density of the bristles and their ability to provide medium to full coverage. One reviewer loved the brush’s “seamless blending ability even around difficult areas like the nose.” Many said that the excellent quality of the brush was apparent upon opening the package and picking it up for the first time. The heavy-duty wooden handle was very comfortable for most reviewers.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Simply Essentials Professional Kabuki Makeup Brush

Simply Essentials Professional Kabuki Makeup Brush

View it on Amazon: $11.44*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

Simply Essentials’ kabuki brush is a classically designed tool with synthetic bristles and a solid wooden handle. It is versatile enough for use with liquids, creams and powders, making it convenient for those days you want to switch up your foundation routine. Also included with the purchase of this brush is a free e-book with full instructions and application techniques.

Cost
Although it retails for $24.97, this brush is available on Amazon for $14.97. Simply Essentials backs their kabuki brush with a full money-back guarantee.

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Coverage
Whether you’re in the mood for medium or full coverage, the Simply Essentials kabuki creates a flawless finish. The soft, dense bristles allow you to add product without ever leaving your face cakey or streaked.

Bristles

100% synthetic bristles made of Taklon are densely packed to stipple product into the skin without streaks.

Durability
Both the bristles and handle hold up well over time. The bristles do not shed even with regular use and washing. The solid wood handle is sturdily constructed.

Versatility
Designed for use with liquids, creams and powders, this brush can do it all. It’s even suitable for blending out blush and bronzer for a seamless, airbrushed finish.

Aesthetics
An elegant full-length black handle is attached to a silver ferrule. Etched into the side in silver is the brand name: Simply Essentials. The single fiber bristles are a classic dark mahogany.

Drawbacks
Some customers reported a potent glue and chemical smell upon opening the package. However, several of these users said that the smell dissipated completely after washing. A few users reported shedding bristles, although the vast majority of reviewers stated that the brush did not shed. To prevent shedding, always use a gentle cleanser and dry your brush with the bristles facing down.

What are real users saying?
One happy reviewer said that she was able to achieve more coverage with this brush than she “had gotten from any kabuki” before. Another user, who prefers powder foundation, found that this brush picked up product easily to provide exceptionally natural-looking, even coverage. Several reviewers said that this brush out-performed their more expensive counterparts. Many users love that this brush is 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Bare Escentuals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush

Bare Escentuals Full Coverage Kabuki Brush

View it on Amazon: $17.45*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

Bare Escentuals is known for their renowned mineral makeup and natural makeup products. Mineral foundations have been said to improve skin’s quality over time while providing fresh, natural coverage. To complement their line of bareMinerals makeup, Bare Escentuals has released a kabuki brush specifically designed for use with their mineral foundations.

Cost
With a price tag of $27.99, the Bare Escentuals kabuki brush is the priciest on our list. This price is fairly consistent with their entire product line, which tends to be on the higher end in terms of price.

Coverage
Despite its name, this brush is best suited for a medium coverage finish. Fuller coverage can be achieved with more product, but it should be noted that layering too much powder can lead to caking and dryness.

Bristles
These natural bristles are crafted from goat hair. Natural bristles are intended primarily for use with powder products, making this brush a great choice for mineral and powder foundations.

Durability
Many users reported shedding bristles over time. Others reported no shedding with proper care, with some users saying that they had their brush for 3-4 years before needing a replacement. It is worth noting that natural hair brushes tend to shed more than synthetic bristles, so it is imperative to use a gentle cleanser or shampoo and avoid harsh soaps when washing.

Versatility
This brush is made specifically for use with powder products and foundations. The natural bristles are made to pick up powder and distribute it evenly. However, because natural bristles tend to absorb more product than synthetic ones, it is not ideal for liquid formulas.

Aesthetics
The bristles are a natural brown color attached to a silver base. A short handle measuring at only 1 inch makes this a great travel option. Toss it in your makeup bag for quick touchups throughout the day with your favorite mineral foundations.

Drawbacks
Some found the bristles to be somewhat prickly and tough, which is especially problematic for sensitive skin. Many reported shedding bristles after washing. Because it is made specifically for use with mineral and powder formulas, it is not ideal for those who regularly use liquid or cream foundations.

What are real users saying?
Customers who like this brush say it’s the absolute best way to get even, natural looking coverage with any powder or mineral makeup. The natural bristles pick up just the right amount of product for coverage without caking or heaviness. Its compact size makes it a hit for customers that travel a lot, and many users said that they bought two: one for their vanity and one for a travel bag.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Make-Up For You Premium Retractable Kabuki Makeup Brush

Make-Up For You Premium Retractable Kabuki Makeup Brush

View it on Amazon: $8.98*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

For the girl on the go, this retractable kabuki brush from Make-Up For You is as convenient as it is cute. A retractable design allows you to store it away and toss it in your purse for quick touchups throughout the day. The synthetic bristles are designed for liquid foundations but work well with powders as well. Available in 6 different color combinations, there’s a style for everyone.

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Cost
Coming in at an impressive $7.98, this brush is the most affordable in the group.

Coverage
This brush provides buildable medium to full coverage. Users loved that they were able to build their product up without any caking or streaking thanks to this brush’s soft, dense bristles.

Bristles
Made of quality imported Persian hair materials, these synthetic duo fiber bristles are soft and dense for even coverage with no streaking. The bristles are hypoallergenic and suitable for even the most sensitive or problematic skin.

Durability
Users reported that the bristles didn’t shed even with regular cleaning. The brush also maintained its shape over time. Its retractable design allows for the brush to be stored away without risk of the bristles becoming damaged or misshapen. However, some users reported that the case was not sturdily made and fell apart after some time. A few customers said that the case was broken upon receiving the item.

Versatility
This little brush does it all: liquids, creams, powders, and mineral foundations all go on smoothly and evenly thanks to high quality synthetic bristles. Use this brush for stippling, buffing, blending, and even contouring.

Aesthetics
6 different color combinations are available. Choose from Solid Black, Black/Gold with an angled brush, Black/Gold with a rounded brush, Gold, Pink, or Purple. Each option comes in a retractable container with a lid. All of the brushes have duo fiber bristles.

Drawbacks
The main drawback among customers was that the retractable packaging felt somewhat “cheaply made,” tending to scratch easily and fall apart after some time. Others said that the lid doesn’t stay on.

What are real users saying?
The convenience of this brush for travel and quick touchups was commented on by a large majority of reviewers. Many users also remarked that the bristles were of very high quality and did not shed even with regular use and washing.

Pre-purchase considerations

Coverage

Before purchasing a kabuki brush, consider what kind of coverage you’re expecting. Do you prefer a sheer to medium coverage, or do you want something that can deliver full coverage? If you like lighter coverage for day-to-day wear and full coverage for special occasions, you’ll want to choose a brush that can offer you some control over your foundation application.

Natural vs. Synthetic Bristles

Makeup brushes are made with two different kinds of bristles: natural and synthetic. Choosing the right brush type for your preferences will help you to get the best results. Natural bristles are made with natural hair, often from a goat or squirrel. These bristles are ideal for powder formulas, while synthetic bristles are best for liquids as they won’t soak up and waste the product.

Durability

With proper care, a quality makeup brush can last for up to 5 years. When choosing a kabuki brush, consider its durability. Do reviewers consistently report that the bristles shed, even with proper care? Are there a lot of reports of the brush losing its shape over time? Doing your research here will help you choose a brush you can use for years to come.

Keep in mind that synthetic bristles tend to last longer than natural bristles. However, with proper care and regular cleaning you can still expect a few years of use out of a natural bristle brush.

Versatility

Are you planning to use your kabuki brush for just foundation application, or do you want something that can tackle your blush, bronzer, and powders? Do you sometimes switch back and forth between liquids and powders? Some kabuki brushes are versatile enough for everything, from liquid foundation and BB cream to powder foundation and setting powder. Others are more suited to a specific use or formula and may not perform well with other products.

If you’ve got a tried and true routine and don’t plan to stray from it, you might want to pick a brush that is specifically tailored to your favorite products. But if you like to switch it up, look for a brush that can do it all.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

The flat top kabuki brush from Beauty Junkees has it all: streak-free performance, versatility, and exceptional durability. Whether you’re going for a soft daytime look with a powder or you’re using a liquid foundation to achieve full coverage, this kabuki brush has you covered. Users were blown away by the flawless airbrushed finish they were able to achieve with this brush. Many even said that the Beauty Junkees kabuki outperformed its pricier competitors, including cult favorites from Sigma.

If you’re a strictly powder foundation kind of girl, Bare Escentuals has got you covered with their natural hair kabuki brush. Just be sure to pick up a gentle clarifying shampoo and skip the heavier duty cleansers, or you risk shedding bristles.