14 Best Face Mask Brushes, Applicators, & Mask Bowls of 2021
PUBLISHED: 07/16/2019 | UPDATED: 07/05/2021
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.
Price : $30
A must-have luxury face mask brush crafted with vegan-friendly taklon fibers, recyclable aluminum ferrule and real sustainable wood. Ideal for creating your perfect facial treatment experience, this face mask brush makes application easier without the possibility of contaminating your face with bacteria through the use of your hands. Precise application allows you to use less of your favorite mask. The wood of the brush naturally swells when exposed to water, so drying properly is important.
Shop *MAY LINDSTROM – LUXURY FACIAL MASK BRUSH
Price : $18
A beautifully designed face mask brush from a Hawaiian based artisanal skincare line. This mask brush is soft, easy to clean, fantastic for applying liquid masks and the perfect tool to complete your masking ritual. The wooden brush fits comfortably in your hands and glides on effortlessly across your face. True to Leahlani Skincare, this mask brush is eco-friendly and vegan. It's also great for applying facial peels, serums, and other treatments.
Shop *LEAHLANI SKINCARE – LEAHLANI MASK BRUSH
Price : $6
An affordable, yet effective dual ended multitasking tool that’s perfect for applying moisturizers, masks, cleansers and scrubs while also gently cleansing the skin. This face mask brush provides mess free application so you can save more of your mask for later use. The silicone spatula can also be used to apply foundation, and the pore refining brush can be used for blending color to create a flawless finish. To deeply cleanse pores, massage the face with the bottom brush using circular motions.
Shop *ELF COSMETICS – PORE REFINING FACE MASK TOOL
Price : $15
A lovely fan face mask applicator brush that makes mixing and applying a mask a breeze. It's well designed, beautifully crafted, and won't break on you over time. The fan brush can also be used to apply serums, facial treatments, and even a touch of blush. It's not too big, not too small, and very easy to use. While there are certainly other mask brushes out there, MV Organic Skin Care is a reputable organic brand that has a history of making top quality products.
Shop *MV ORGANIC SKIN CARE – FACE MASK APPLICATOR BRUSH
Price : $50
This mask treatment bowl and face mask brush set is beautifully handmade by a pottery artist out of Berkley, CA. Each bowl is hand stained and completely different from the next. Using this bowl feels so special and luxurious every time. Each mask treatment bowl is packaged in a gift box and attached to an applicator brush. The bowl is nice and big and allows for mess-free mask mixing. The applicator brush is made from vegan materials and has a fan shape to allow for smooth and easy application.
Shop *ANNMARIE – FACE MASK APPLICATOR BRUSH & TREATMENT BOWL SET
Price : $18
A nice and sturdy face mask brush made with vegan-friendly synthetic bristles. This mask brush helps apply product accurately and smoothly for even and hygienic application. The bristles are super soft, yet rigid enough to paint on a thick mask. When used to apply peels and other treatments, the brush enhances the experience and makes it feel like a true self-care ritual. It's also stunning! The rose gold hardware, burnt orange bristles, and eggshell handle are pretty enough to put on display!
Shop *VOLITION – FACIAL MASK PAINTBRUSH
Price : $20
A vegan and cruelty free taklon bristle brush that’s as durable as it is elegant. LILFOX aims to transform your skincare routine with contemporary and elegant aesthetic. This face mask brush was crafted with a thick wood handle, making mask mixing easy and allowing for precise application so you can enjoy a soothing and mess-free mask. The brush measures 6 inches long by 1 inch wide and feels soft when applying to the skin. Use it to apply mask in smooth strokes to face, neck and chest area.
Shop LILFOX – FACE MASK BRUSH
Price : $40
The ideal mask bowl to bring your skin potions to life. Stamped with a 24K gold May Lindstrom logo in the center, this bowl spares no expense. It's a well-sized mask bowl with a curved top which makes it easy to properly mix your mask without without spilling and creating a mess. It's weighty, beautiful, and something you'll want to display on your bathroom counter. This bowl can even be used a pretty little tea mug. It's handcrafted and should be washed after each use and handled with care.
Shop MAY LINDSTROM – FACE MASK TREATMENT BOWL
Price : $28
A soft and luxurious dual mask brush that will make you feel like you’re at the spa. One side of the brush has larger bristles, making it perfect for applying product evenly to your face, while the other side of the brush is smaller and perfect for gently distributing product around the eyes and lips. The synthetic bristles allow easy application and are less likely to harbor bacteria. Get inspired to start a zen-like ritual with this gorgeous face mask brush. Cleanse the brush and air dry.
Shop SORELLA APOTHECARY – FACE MASK BRUSH
Price : $14.25
An extremely soft face mask brush that feels luxurious on the skin. Anne Semonin is known for developing luxurious, highly effective skincare products and this brush is no different. Experience a silky application that’s kind to your skin without irritation. There will be no product to waste when using this brush as it helps evenly spread mask treatments without lumpy spots. With its super soft bristles that won’t fall out and a long, comfortable handle, this brush is the ideal mask treatment tool.
Shop ANNE SEMONIN – BRUSH APPLICATOR FOR FACE MASKS
Price : $27
One of our favorite brushes for facial peel application! It's sturdy, uniquely designed for easy handling, and the vegan bristles are super soft and angled for a smooth mask application every time. It's a great brush for mixing masks because the bristles are sturdy and structured to allow for even mixing of the product. The only downside is that odd-colored masks may tint the white brush bristles after extended use. To avoid this soak or clean thoroughly after each use.
Shop *ODACITE – FACIAL MASK APPLICATOR BRUSH
Price : $13
A high quality, yet affordable mask brush and bowl set. This set includes a durable bamboo mixing bowl, a bamboo measuring spoon and a bamboo brush applicator, all of which are vegan. This eco-friendly bamboo utensil set takes the mess and hassle out of your skincare routine. The bamboo mixing bowl is ideal for mixing your mask, while the bamboo brush makes application a breeze. If you have any mask left over, you can cover and store your mixing bowl for up to 5 days in your refrigerator.
Shop TRUSELF ORGANICS – BAMBOO MASK BRUSH & BOWL SET
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