Estee Lauder Sculpting Foundation Brush #2 was launched recently alongside the new Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeup (don't get me started on that name). Lauder's description of the brush confirms that you can use it with all of their other foundations, and I will add that obviously you can use any liquid foundation or tinted moisturizers.
I got the #2 foundation brush because of its shape. It looks like an oversized version of the insanely-priced Claudio Riaz Instant Smoke eye brush, and the "sculpting" part of the name hints towards the brushes ability to create shape if that's what you're after. But most of us simply seek an even coverage, which the brush allows for very easily thanks to its width and thickness. There's no special secret for working with this brush, but I do second the instructions on the Estee Lauder website:
"Pat brush into makeup.Apply with 3 quick upward motions, working from center of face out:The brush has a great balance in my hand. It's sturdy and thick, and looks like a professional tool. I find that it doesn't soak up too much product (the hair appears synthetic) and dispenses it evenly and comfortably-- it's a lot softer than it looks. The angled corners allow you to reach every nook and cranny, and the short bristles ensure no streaks in application.
1. Across cheek and up toward middle of ear. 2. Across chin and over lower jaw. 3. At center of forehead and out towards temple.
Finish with a swirling motion to blend over entire face."
Comparison to a standard paddle foundation brush (the current version of Chanel) and the outstanding Le Metier de Beaute angled brush gives you an idea how unique the Estee Lauder #2 is. I can't say that I have a real preference-- a great foundation brush is a great foundation brush, and most days I simply reach for whatever's clean. I do feel that this brush performs better with the thinnest and lightest formulas (as well as for applying a face primer), while thicker/creamier foundations often require a bit more flexibility from the brush. But it's a matter of personal preference and skin texture.
The brush is made in China (like the one from Chanel, by the way), and comes in a box with a plastic protector that makes for a good kitten toy (like everything else in the house these days).
Bottom Line: a great tool.
Estee Lauder Sculpting Foundation Brush #2 ($45) is available from most department stores as well as online (esteelauder.com).