Foundation, M.A.C, Make-Up 101 Series, Make-up Brushes / Tools

The ins and outs of Stippling

The stippling technique for make-up application is quite popular at the moment. I was asked by a reader to explain the ins and outs of stippling and what I use.

Just in case your new to make-up, stippling is a blending technique used to blend make-up. Many of us have stippling brushes in our make-up collection but you don’t actually need one to stipple. Stippling is really just patting so you can stipple with a make-up sponge or even your fingers.

My preference is to use a sponge. I love the black ones from Make Up For Ever (think they’re called Ellipse sponges), I repurchase these over and over again. I searched google images for a picture of one and could only find the light coloured version. I would have photographed my own except I poured boiling water on it and it shrivelled up :)

It’s a great technique for blending foundation, concealer. I like to use a stippling brush to blend the edges of concealer into the rest of my make-up.

The technique is also useful for layering one product over another. You could stipple on some foundation over your concealer (or vice versa) without disrupting the bottom layer.

As many of you know stippling brushes are also available. These are duo fibre brushes – they contain two different types of brush hairs, in two layers of different length. Some people swear by these and use them religiously to apply their foundation. For me they involve more work for a perfect finish. On an occasion where I have plenty of time to perfect my make-up then I might but on a daily basis I use my fingers or a stippling sponge.


I have the MAC 187. I have also had the Sigma version (F15) €11 , which I have since given to my sister. In my opinion, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two and the Sigma is cheaper so I recommend that one.

A stippling brush is also great for applying cream cheek products like blush, bronzer and highlighters. Although I’m not a huge fan of stippling on foundation, I always used a stippling brush to apply cream blush. It gives that glow from within effect and it looks very natural.

Sigma Brushes

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  • google news

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  • Monica

    I like using my fingers for my foundation too…. Everyone praises about the stippling brush, so I got one to try. I used it with my Nars Sheer Glow foundation and noticed I had to stipple another layer on to achieve the (medium) coverage I get using my fingers…. I only use the stippling brush for contouring or bronzers now! x

  • Jo

    I SWEAR by the 187…I use it for foundation, blending concealer into foundation, contour and blush!! I might buy the 188 for highlight but at the moment I’m using a traditional foundation brush for my highlight. It’s a must have brush I believe!! Definitely so worth the £30 I paid for it!!

  • Kat

    I’ve got back into using a traditional foundation brush and then using my ‘stippling’ brush to buff out any streaks x

  • Lyndsey

    I have been considering purchasing a stipple brush for a while and after reading all the above info I have decided I will. I use a sponge or brush normally and sometimes the foundation goes on a little heavier than I would like.

  • Saturine

    I prefer my fingers, too. Before I was always using a stippling brush with liquid foundation until I learned that depending on the consistency of the foundation, I may not want to use one. Would you say the same when using a sponge?

  • Lieenie

    I just use my stippling brush thingy for concealer or for my highly pigmented super pink brush which if I used a normal blusher brush would look very clown like but this type brush and it’s “airbrush” bits does a nice rosy glo. Oh I got mine in Boots it’s a Jemma Kidd & got to use a €7.50 off voucher that you get when buying boring er I mean practical things like a toothbrush & deodorant.

  • Orla

    I love my 187, I’m faster putting my make up on with it than using my fingers! xx

  • Joy

    Stippling is the very best way to apply foundations, tinted moisturizers, creme blush, achieve a light, natural finish. I like skunk brushes best and have been using e.l.f.’s US$3 studio skunk brush for the last couple of months. It’s much less dense than the 187, but cheap and good.

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