Last week when I reviewed the new Estee Lauder sculpting brush I realized that I never talked about Chanel Foundation Brush #6, though I've had it since around its US release (Chanel redesigned and improved their entire makeup brush line about two years ago).
I don't have many paddle-shaped synthetic foundation brush, probably because I usually prefer buffing, stippling, or using a damp sponge when going for full face coverage. But this is a classic brush shape/type for a reason. These brushes don't soak up a lot of product, and are very flexible. Paddle brushes easily conform to the shape of your face, and you can maneuver them around tricky areas like nose and mouth. Their two disadvantage is that certain foundation texture tend to streak when used with a paddle brush, and they're not the most efficient for blending under the chin/neck and can cause visible demarcation lines.
That said, a good paddle brush is still an essential, because sometimes that's the right tool for the task or product on hand, and Chanel Foundation Brush #6 is an excellent specimen. I love the handle and the heft of the rebooted Chanel brushes, and #6 is no different. It has a good balance, a pleasant finish that feels very nice in my hand and also gives a good grip.
The shape of the head is better crafted than my old Smashbox #13, which compared to Chanel has a certain unevenness and a less precise cut. The closest brush in my collection to the #6 is the classic foundation brush from No.7. It's the older version (I think No.7 redid their brush range about a year or two ago) which I bought back in 2010 after Lisa Eldridge included it in her Favorite Brushes video, and have loved ever since. The No.7 head is actually a bit thicker and longer than Chanel, but they're easily interchangeable.
Chanel #6 as well as the brushes in this comparison are made in China, except for the Shu Uemura #14 which is made in Japan. I wish all luxury brands would offer Japanese or French made brushes. As for cleaning, synthetic hair stains easily, but using oil cleansers (yes, the one you use on your face) does wonders for these brushes, as you can see above: I've had all of them for years, but other than slight yellowing there's no telling. After using an oil cleanser I wash them with Dr. Bronner soap. Extreme cases also require a dish soap (I use Caldrea, but if you're very sensitive look for something unscented).
Bottom Line: a classic.
Chanel Foundation Brush #6 ($45) is available at Chanel counters and from chanel.com.