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Published Sep. 9, 2021

Nothing says affordable self-care quite like a soothing, relaxing at-home face mask. Whatever your skin issue—dryness, acne, oil, sensitivity—there’s a mask that was made for the skin you’re in. But if you’ve been applying your masks with your bare hands, you’ve been doing it wrong! By using a brush to apply your mask, you assure a more evenly distributed slather—which is better for your face and your wallet, because you won’t waste any precious bits you would while applying with your fingers—as well as one that’s more hygienic. Best of all, using a brush replicates the feeling of an in-spa treatment. Think of your face as a canvas. Grab your favorite mask and a brush, and get ready for a relaxing at-home spa experience.

How We Picked the Best Face Mask Brushes

Methodology

We have decades of experience reviewing and testing beauty products. To compile our list of the best face mask brushes, we considered reviews and complaints, market research, ease of use, sturdiness, affordability, materials, and other factors:

  • Bristles vs. Spatula: You can use either to apply a mask, but there are benefits and detriments to both depending on what type of mask you’re using.
  • Price: There’s truly no need to spend a boatload of cash on a face brush—though you could spend a hefty amount on a brush, there’s no evidence that there’s any real benefit to a pricier model. So all of our picks are also affordable.
  • Design: Length and flexibility of the handle is crucial when it comes to ease of application. If the tool is too short or too flexible, it can be hard to maneuver.
  • Cruelty-Free Construction: With so many vegan options out there, we evaluated only soft-bristle man-made options (as opposed to styles made with animal fibers).

Best Overall: DEW CARE Soft Silicone Face Mask Brush

Sturdy Silicone

This compact spatula design guarantees an even, mess-free application and super-easy cleanup. I DEW CARE

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Why It Made The Cut: FDA-compliant silicone makes this lightweight, easy-to-clean beauty tool sterile for use and perfect for tossing in your bag so you have it wherever you go. 

Specs: 

  • Korean beauty staple
  • Cruelty-free
  • Hygienic
Pros:Cons:
  • Easy to clean
  • Silicone can be too stiff for certain areas of the face
  • Travel-friendly
  • Handle may feel too short for some
  • Flat surface for seamless application
  • Cost per brush
  • I Dew Care specializes in quirky, cute, dependable products, like Let’s Get Sheet Faced sheet masks and Cake My Day sprinkle wash-off mask. The brand’s spatulas work with its products as well as any others you use. The silicone style of the DEW CARE Soft Silicone Face Mask Brush (as opposed to a hairy bristle version) is especially great for mask application because it resists bacteria and is a cinch to clean. To clean it, just rinse the brush with soap and warm water. Unlike hairy bristles, it’s quick and easy to get a deep clean.

    (Whatever brush you choose, a brush is, in general, more hygienic than using your hands as dispensers: Stop and think about the process of dipping your fingers in your mask tub over and over. Yuck.)

    This one is only four inches long, which is a pro for some users and a con for others: Its compact design makes it easy to store and travel with but can be challenging for anyone with less-than-nimble fingers to operate. The spatula-like applicator guarantees precision—think of the difference between painting a wall with a bristle brush and a spatula—and cuts down on wasted product, to ultimately save you money.

    Best Value: DUcare Silicone Mask Brush Applicator

    Great for Acne-Prone Skin

    In addition to a silicone brush, you get two exfoliating facial sponges and one facial-massage brush. DUcare

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    Why It Made The Cut: This soft-touch silicone set makes for easy application and clean up. Different tools cover all your bases: The oval brush head will get into the area around your nose, while the mask brush creates clean lines around the contours of your face. 

    Specs:

    • Waterproof handle
    • 8 x 5 x 0.71 inches 
    • 2.4 Ounces
    Pros:Cons:
  • Affordable option
  • Applicator brush may feel small for some
  • Doubles as foundation and moisturizer applicator
  • May not need all items in the kit
  • Medium size for light application
  • The DUcare Silicone Mask Brush Applicator is known for its professional-grade quality despite its unbelievably low price point, along with the softness of the sponges compared to some competitors. At just 2.39 ounces, this set is super light and perfect for travel. 

    DuCare has been making brushes for 30 years and highlights its handmade designs (meaning that every brush is one of a kind, if that sort of thing is important to you). The set’s main selling point is its price—you can have a spa-like experience on a budget with this pick. 

    While this brand is certainly affordable and effective, it won’t cut it for fans of more upscale tools, like  makeup artists and beauty fanatics. You’ll still get most of the benefits of skin-saving staples, like saving precious product that might otherwise absorb into your hands and reducing the risk of bacteria making it into your face masks.

    Best Soft-Bristle Applicator: My Organic Zone Face Mask Brush

    Cruelty-Free

    Synthetic bristles and a wood handle make this tiny but mighty model a great multitasker. My Organic Zone

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    Why It Made The Cut: Evenly layered bristles mean an even application of your face mask, and the synthetic material is perfect for all skin types, from sensitive and dry to combination or oily.

    Specs:  

    • 4 inches long 
    • Wooden handle 
    • Synthetic bristles
    Pros:Cons:
  • Cruelty-free
  • Wood handle may not be as durable
  • Even coverage
  • Small size can be hard to maneuver
  • Perfect shape for facial curves
  • Harder to clean than silicone
  • Your beauty-brush arsenal probably already includes soft-bristle brushes for eye shadow, blush, and foundation. Another perk of soft bristles is more utility when it comes to applying oils and serums. If you’d like to apply one of your more viscous skin products with a wand, a silicone model will be messy and nearly impossible to use. On the other hand, an oil or serum will adhere beautifully to soft bristles, making it easy to brush on and apply evenly on the skin. My Organic Zone Face Mask Brush is a great pick.

    If you do want a synthetic-bristle brush for your face masks, make sure you clean it thoroughly and frequently after use. Unlike easy-to-wash silicone, soft bristles need more frequent, heavy-duty cleansing to deter bacteria. 

    If you’ve never applied a facial mask with soft bristles, you should make sure you like the feeling: Those with any sort of tactile sensitivity issues may not love the feeling of faux-hair dipped in a thick mask on the skin.

    Best Face Mask Brush for People with Acne: REVEX Silicone Face Mask Applicator Makeup Brush

    Dual-Sided Design

    One end of this silicone model is a flat knife for slathering; the other has bristles to exfoliate and scrub. REVEX

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    Why It Made The Cut: A dual-ended model like this one makes mask application quick and easy: Slather on the mask with the flat end, let the mask dry, then use the bristled side to scrub it off.

    Specs: 

    • Non-toxic resin and silicone
    • Dishwasher-safe
    • 7 inches long 
    Pros:Cons:
  • Made from sturdy materials
  • Bristles can be difficult to clean
  • Flexible design gets into every crevice
  • Doubles as a lip exfoliant
  • If blackheads are an issue, opt for silicone bristles with the REVEX Silicone Face Mask Applicator Makeup Brush. If you’re applying an acne-fighting mask, the bristles amp up the effectiveness by getting deep into your pores. And this one-piece device (as opposed to a wand that attaches to a head) means it’s less likely to break.

    And though you can pop this one in the dishwasher, it cleans up just as easily with just water. Use, rinse, repeat. 

    When it comes to brush length, finding the right proportions will depend on your hand size. While some will feel too short, some might be too long, and others just right. At seven inches long, this one is on the taller side, so it might be hard to handle for anyone with small hands. But if you like the freedom to maneuver with a longer wand, this could be the mask brush for you. The best part of this duo may be that they’re cute as a button and come in multiple colors.

    Best Double-Sided Beauty Brush: Bare Essential Face Mask Brush

    Best of Both Worlds

    You get a flat silicone spatula and a conventional soft-bristle vegan brush on a budget. Bare Essentials Living

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    Why It Made The Cut: Spatulas are best for hard clay masks; softer bristles are better for spreading soft masks, along with moisturizer and foundation. With this one, you get both. 

    Specs: 

    • 6.7-Inch handle
    • Cruelty-free nylon bristles
    • Space-saving design
    Pros:Cons:
  • Dual-function design
  • May be more than you need
  • Affordable
  • Multiple parts may be less durable
  • Long applicator handle
  • Harder to clean
  • Soft bristles
  • You get the best of both worlds with the two-in-one Bare Essential Face Mask Brush. This tool is perfect for all kinds: The knife-edge spatula lets you dig into harder packed masks like clay and navigate angular corners of your face and body, while the bristly side lets you spread soft formulas (including body masks, which you can use this for too). The soft nylon brushes are great for getting into the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your face, like around the nose and the inner-eye area. 

    The sturdy bristles won’t fall out, leaving annoying little bits of synthetic fiber in your mask pot or on your face. And if you’re a bit of an alchemist when it comes to your beauty routine—mixing and matching various masks to get your perfect one—this one brush has all you need: The soft bristles are terrific for mixing in a mask bowl, and then you can either brush or scrape on the finished product, whichever feels better on your skin.

    Things to Consider Before Buying a Face Mask Brush

    Think about what you plan to use your brush for: Do you use one face mask religiously or will you possibly branch out to other consistencies (e.g. a harder clay mask vs. a softer one) or maybe even use it for foundation or blush? I personally like the feel of a soft silicone blade to apply my masks: It wastes the least product, slathers on seamlessly, and is a cinch to clean. Soft, cold mask on a soft-bristle brush gives me an icky feeling, but that is a highly personal preference. 

    Your skin, your choices. You may prefer the classic feel of a soft-bristle brush to apply your mask, and that’s great. If you’re not sure, can’t make up your mind, or like both types of mask, opt for a dual-sided option that gives you both, or invest in two. And if you have oily or blackhead-prone skin, buy at least one silicone brush with bumpy bristles to get that deep-down exfoliation and clean. 

    My advice: Because all the mask brushes we’ve chosen are so affordable, buy multiples and keep them on hand for different masks. That way when one is drying after washing, you always have another ready to go.

    FAQs

    Q: What is the best brush for a face mask?

    Whichever one feels best in your hand and on your face. Beyond that, consider whether you want a silicone edged applicator or soft bristles; whether you like an all-in-one tool or don’t mind a model that’s made up of distinct pieces (e.g. a wood handle and an attached bristle brush); what size brush is easiest for you to hold and manipulate; and how much you can be trusted to clean your brushes on the regular.

    Q: Are silicone brushes good for face masks?

    Yes, silicone brushes are great for face masks. They’re easy to clean and inherently hygienic, and they feel great on the skin as they apply a mask. Think of your face as a cake and a silicone brush as an icing wand, or your face as a wall and the silicone tool as the tool for plaster or wallpaper glue. Flexible silicone makes for easy, great-feeling application, with a simple cleanup to boot.

    Q: Can I use a paint brush for a face mask?

    Technically sure, but considering how cheap many brushes specifically made for masks are, there’s really no reason to. A face mask brush is made with materials that were made specifically for your skin. A painter’s brush is made for, well, paint, so it won’t necessarily be as soft or sensitive as an actual beauty product. Having said that, if you happen to have a clean painter’s brush lying around and it feels OK on your skin, give it a whirl. Make sure you pick a really fluffy one, and the second you see any signs of irritation in your skin, stop using it immediately.

    Final Thoughts

    In general, silicone face mask brushes are the most hygienic to use for applying skincare. Our pick for the best overall is the DEW CARE Soft Silicone Face Mask Brush. But there’s no reason not to use a soft-bristle brush if that’s what you prefer. Our favorite is the My Organic Zone Face Mask Brush.

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