Few things make more sense than retractable foundation brushes, yet not all companies offer them . Just like every makeup brush you use with cream and liquid product, when you tuck it in a makeup bag you don't want stuff sticking to the bristles. And when it comes to foundation, I'm even more of a germaphobe, hence a covered retractable brush is a travel essential.
Hourglass Retractable Foundation Brush is synthetic and PETA-approved. It has an almost flat full head, yet it's considerably smaller than the regular size foundation brushes of similar shape and far less dense, for better and for worse. It's much softer, though, and would delight anyone who finds brushes such as Sephora Platinum #55 and #56 too stiff and unpleasant to use on their ultra-sensitive skin. This also means that the Hourglass brush is floppy, which can be good or bad, depending on your foundation and preferences. I find that it's great for runny and liquid products, which makes sense as one of Hourglass top products is their tinted moisturizers. I've been using this brush successfully with LMdB Peau Vierge and Burberry Sheer Foundation, but find that Chanel Vitalumiere needs a firmer hand, such as the Louise Young Super Foundation LY34 (review coming soon). It doesn't do a very good job at buffing foundations, but it's still less streaky than traditional paddle-shaped brushes.
You need to remember to wash this brush after every use, otherwise it gets too gunky. I've found that gentle hand soap does the work, and since the brush isn't very dense it dries more quickly than the full-sized ones so it's ready for use the same night or next morning.
Bottom Line: a reliable travel companion.
Hourglass Retractable Foundation Brush ($42) available at Barneys and Sephora, in store and online. This brush was sent for my consideration by the company.
All photos are mine.