I Tried It: Clarisonic’s Sonic Foundation Brush Head

Confession: I almost never use a makeup brush to apply my foundation. I have quite a few brushes in my collection (really nice ones, too), but they tend to sit in my drawer taking up space, while my fingertips do all the work. In my 15 years as a beauty editor and writer, I’ve done approximately 1,056 interviews with top makeup artists who have all told me the many, very convincing reasons why I should be using one: It goes on smoother, it looks more blended, more seamless. Yet, every day, I slap on my foundation with my bare hands.

The reason? I guess you can call it laziness. For one thing, I hate cleaning my brushes. Seriously, with two young children, it seems like I’m always cleaning something. Plus, I don’t wear much foundation -- just enough to cover the redness around my T-zone and the discoloration in certain spots. Aren’t brushes for those who want heavy, all-over coverage? (Spoiler alert: nope.) And sometimes I can actually see brush strokes left behind of the makeup on skin. That doesn’t exactly say natural.

 

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So, when Makeup.com asked me to test out the Clarisonic Sonic Foundation Brush, a brush head attachment that uses the same oscillating technology as the cleansing brushes (only instead of cleaning, it pumps out 18,000 micro-blends per minute), I thought, sure, I’ll try it, but I probably won’t use it beyond my initial trial. (Spoiler alert: I was wrong.)

How does it work? You can use it with any liquid or cream foundation, concealer, highlighter, contour cream, tinted primer, even cream blush. You put a dot of the makeup (or highlighter or blush) where you need it. Then turn it on and buff the makeup into your skin (the brush head easily attaches to any of their device handles). It takes less than a minute to do your whole face. Here’s the full step-by-step:

 

Step 1: Start with clean skin

Ok, this one is a given. Before I gave it a whirl, I used the Clarisonic Mia FIT with the Radiance Brush Head to give my skin a good cleansing. Because let’s face it, no one’s makeup looks good when it’s clinging to dry, flaky bits of skin. I then moved on to my serum and moisturizing routine.

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Step 2: Dot your foundation around your face

When it was time for makeup, I reached for my go-to: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation. It makes my skin look like, well, skin. I dabbed it on my forehead, cheeks, chin and bridge of my nose.

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Step 3: Blend and buff

I powered up the brush on low (Clarisonic suggests starting with the lowest setting and adjusting if needed) and blended each dot into the area using circular motions. The brand suggests using it for 20 seconds on each cheek, 10 seconds on your forehead, and 10 seconds on your nose and chin.

It feels even lighter against my skin than the cleanser brush does -- like someone is gently swirling a paint brush across my face. I watched as the foundation seemed to melt into my skin without a line of demarcation in sight. And here’s the really cool thing: There was barely any makeup left on the bristles, which means they don’t soak up (and waste) makeup, and it wasn’t a total hassle to clean (I’ll get to that part). 

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Step 4: Conceal

You’re supposed to avoid the eye area, so I applied my under eye concealer the way I normally do, tapping it on with my fingertip. But for spots that require a little extra coverage (like broken capillaries), I dabbed on my Lancôme Maquicomplet concealer and blended with the brush.

Step 5: Add blush, highlighter, etc. 

I popped a small dot of L’Oréal Visible Lift Blur Blush in Soft Pink on the apples of each cheek and turned on the brush. The result: well-blended, rosy blush that looks like a natural flush. You can also add highlighter to the high points of face: the tops of the cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and your forehead using a creamy formula like Maybelline Face Studio Master Strobing Liquid Illuminating Highlighter.

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 Step 6: Clean up

Truth: It wasn’t so bad. Just rinse the brush head with water and gentle soap (I used my facial cleanser) and let it dry before your next use. (The brush head features anti-microbial fibers to help it stay clean--germ and bacteria free!)

 So, will I use it again? You bet. I can’t say it was time consuming (seriously, it took less than 60 seconds); I can’t say I looked overly made up; and because the brush didn’t get all gunked up with makeup, I can’t even say it was a pain to clean. But, I can say my foundation was not at all streaky. Even my husband noticed that my makeup looked “different—in a good way.”

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Would you give this brush head a whirl? Tell us in the comments below!

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    About the Author:The daughter of a hairdresser, Krista Bennett DeMaio likes to say she has beauty in her blood. She has well over a decade of beauty editorial experience. The former magazine-editor-turned-freelance writer has covered all things beauty from anti-aging skincare to NYFW runway trends. Her work has appeared in national publications and websites including Women’s Health, Redbook, Shape, Dr. Oz The Good Life, bhg.com, and prevention.com. She lives in Greenlawn, New York with her husband and two interns, er, daughters.