14 Best Face Mask Brushes, Applicators, & Mask Bowls of 2021
PUBLISHED: 07/16/2019 | UPDATED: 1/17/2020
Once used only in professional spa settings, face mask brushes and mask applicator tools are now popular staples in many home skin care routines. It’s no surprise that face mask brushes have become mainstream because they can make your life (and skin) better in so many ways.
Similar to makeup and foundation brushes (many makeup brushes can be used as a mask brush), a face mask brush is made out of silicon or fiber-based bristles and aids in the application of certain facial treatments. Not only do face mask brushes make the application of facial treatments such as masks and moisturizers a breeze, they also help to mitigate bacteria growth inside of your skin care products.
Before the face mask brush we all used our good old fashioned fingers to apply various products. The finger is the obvious choice; after all, it’s convenient, durable, heated, and (best of all) free! The problem with using your fingers to apply jarred skin care products is the potential for bacterial contamination (1). Even if you wash your hands thoroughly before use, there are still ways for your products to become contaminated and for bacteria to thrive. For example, the smallest traces of dirt under your nails can harbor bacteria and moisture from your hands after washing combined with warm humid bathroom conditions could also lead to bacterial growth (2).
A well designed mask applicator, on the other hand, combats these issues by crafting their bristles out of materials that are either antimicrobial or materials which do not encourage bacterial growth. Face mask applicators typically come in two different types; bristle brushes or silicone wands. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages.
- Brushes: Face mask brush bristles are made with either synthetic or animal fibers. Synthetic fibers are typically better at preventing bacterial growth than animal fiber brushes. Brushes can be used to mix and apply just about any skin treatment. A good mask brush is so soft on the skin and should feel like you are using a paintbrush. Because of the tiny bristles, face mask brushes require a little extra work to completely clean after each use. To make cleaning easier, you can leave your brush to soak in an organic makeup remover, organic cleanser, or DIY organic soap solution overnight.
- Silicone Wands: Silicone wand face mask applicators come in single or dual-sided varieties. The main applicator is typically a flat piece of silicone shaped like a 2D brush. Some silicone brushes also have a massing end which helps stimulate the skin; not only a great stress reliever, but also collagen boosting (3). Silicone wands are much easier to clean than face mask brushes and are better at fighting bacterial growth. Because of this, they are better choices when multi-masking (applying 2 or more masks to different areas of your face) or using the wand to apply different skin care treatments in a single session. The biggest downside of silicone wands is that they simply do not feel as luxurious on the skin as face mask brushes.
The Best Face Mask Brushes & Applicators
When our team of beauty experts set out to find the best face mask brushes and applicators we determined that in order to be truly considered “the best” applicators must meet the following criteria: 1) Be well-crafted from high-quality materials 2) effective at preparing and applying various skin treatments such as masks, peels, and serums 3) Have positive reviews from our testers and online reviewers from across the web. In addition to that criteria, we also made sure to include cruelty free and vegan mask brushes as well.
In our opinion, no face mask applicator is complete without a masking bowl. A good-sized and smartly designed masking bowl combined with the perfect applicator can truly transform your everyday skin treatments into spa rituals. Thus, we included a few of our favorite masking bowls in this list as well.
Q: Can you use a makeup brush for face masks?
A: You can certainly use a makeup brush to apply a face mask; however, some makeup brushes are really meant for that purpose. Additionally, to prevent cross-contamination and potential bacterial growth, it may be best to have a separate brush for your makeup and for your face masks.
Q: What do you use to apply a face mask?
A: Many people simply use their fingers to apply a face mask. While using your finger is the easiest (and most affordable) option, it may not be the most hygienic. Some of the risks of using your fingers to apply face masks are the potential for cross contaminating your face mask with bacteria from your hands, uneven product application, and unnecessary product waste.
Q: How do you clean a mask brush?
A: Cleaning a mask brush is quite simple. You can use a facial cleanser, gentle soap, or dedicated makeup brush cleanser to gently loosen mask residue and other grime from the brush. Follow by rinsing and drying thoroughly. Store your brush in a dry location (away from the humidity of the shower) to prevent bacterial growth.
1. Microbiological Safety and Cosmetics
2. (2008) Bacteriological quality of skin‐moisturizing creams and lotions distributed in a tropical developing country
3. (2018) Ready for a close-up: The science behind face massage rollers