Anyone who knows me will know that I am a brush FANATIC. I’ve always loved brushes. I love the wide variety of shapes and fibres, I love the stunning craftsmanship that goes into creating Japanese Fude – I just want to buy them all.

A Little Back Story…

Back when I was getting more into makeup I found brushes to be quite intimidating. There are so many different brands and shapes, I had no idea how to apply my makeup so how the hell was I supposed to know what brushes I needed? I started with a very random selection of brushes that I would pick up on a whim before I started to turn my attention to MAC and Bobbi Brown. Bobbi Brown in particular was helpful for getting started with brushes as they offer a lot of detail about the functions of each of their brushes, and their somewhat curated collection is slightly more manageable to digest. I still use my MAC and Bobbi Brown brushes to this day, but I now have much higher quality brushes in my collection that are far superior.

It was about two years ago now that I went down the rabbit hole that is Japanese Fude. I found Karima McKimmie’s youtube channel while I was living alone and would binge watch her videos every night. She has a passion for these incredibly soft brushes that are handmade by artisans in Japan. I would listen to her recommended brushes and think to myself “Hakuhodo who?” and “Chikuhodo what!?”. I started researching to find out more, which is when I stumbled across Sonia G’s blog Sweet Makeup Temptations. Sonia has a huge collection of over 2000 brushes. Like Karima (and myself), she is very meticulous in her reviews and is extremely finicky when it comes to finding her perfect brushes. I think these traits were paramount to her creating arguably the best makeup brushes on the market. She knew exactly what she wanted from each of her brushes and took great care when designing them. From the density to the fibres to the shapes, her brushes are very well thought out.

Now my brush collection looks somewhat pathetic compared to Sonia’s – I have around 120 brushes and counting, but in my defence I have only been collecting properly for that past couple of years. Japanese brushes may seem quite pricy, but honestly when you compare it to the quality and artistry of these handmade brushes, they are not overpriced for what you are getting and imo they are 100% worth it.

I currently have brushes from all sorts of brands: MAC, Bobbi Brown, Charlotte Tilbury, Suqqu, Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, Wayne Goss, Sonia G, the list goes on and on. Here are some places where you can buy Japanese brushes if you are interested:

  • Beautylish for Wayne Goss, Sonia G, Chikuhodo, Rae Morris, Surratt, Koyudo (if you are based in the US), and many more. Beautylish is based in the US but they offer lightening fast international shipping, which is free over a $35 spend, and include import duties and taxes in with your order so you don’t have to deal with the delays and costs when it arrives at you designated country. The customer service is also superb
  • Space NK also sells Surratt
  • cdjapan offers a wide range of Japanese brush brands and a selection of shipping options. You do have to pay import duties and tax on arrival though
  • Hakuhodo US for – you guessed it – Hakuhodo brushes. They also turn up to IMATS every year where you can buy some of their brushes as lower rates

Sonia G’s brushes are my favourite in my collection and I find myself reaching for them over all others. To give you a break from long paragraphs of brush ramblings, I’ll list some reasons why they’re top notch:

  • Fibres: the brush fibres used are mostly dyed and un-dyed Saikoho goat hairs, one of the highest grades of goat hairs, second only to Saibikoho. They are extremely soft while still offering firmness to allow for some exceptional makeup blending.
  • Handmade in Japan: They are made by Japanese artisans in Kumano using traditional methods. If you were to hold one of these brushes you would see immediately how much care and attention to detail has gone into the manufacturing process. It makes them ever so special to think they are handmade by insanely talented craftsmen who are so passionate about their work. The moulding techniques used to shape the brush heads also preserves the fine tip of the hair (as opposed to mass-produced laser-cut brush hairs) which keeps the bristles super soft.
  • Density: Now I think the reason I reach for these brushes over my Wayne Goss and Hakuhodo options is mostly to do with the higher density of fibres in the Sonia G brushes. They really do make blending to be incredibly quick and easy while still allowing control and accuracy of product placement.
  • Shapes: the shapes in this collection are incredibly unique and are always the best suited shape and density for the task at hand.
  • Handles: beautifully weighted and made from sustainably harvested maple wood, finished with about four layers of pigment and lacquer.

Sonia’s attention to detail and huge knowledge of what is already available on the market vs. what is missing when it comes to her own makeup application has resulted in this incredible collection of brushes. Now that I’ve got all of that off my chest, I’ll show you my absolute must-have brushes from her line.

Top Sonia G Brushes

Sonia G Makeup Brushes

I didn’t have a particular number of brushes that I wanted to show. Instead, I looked at my collection and chose those that really spoke to me, that are irreplaceable and that I cannot be without. All brushes are incredibly soft (obviously). There are two types of handles featured: the handles on the pro brushes are tapered which makes them better for travel, whereas the handles on the other brushes from the original line are chunkier, making them more weighted and luxurious to hold.

So in no particular order, other than the order of base makeup through to eyes…

(Please excuse my dirty brushes – I try not to wash them too often)

Base One

This duo fibre brush is my go-to for spreading and buffing in foundations that are very thin and fluid. The two types of fibre sit at different heights, but are not as significantly different in length as a lot of other duo fibre base brushes. It is excellent at buffing in foundations for a streak-free finish and is surprisingly easy to clean.

Key features:

  • Fibres: a mixture of Hakutotsuho Goat Hair & PBT
  • Round Ferule
  • Total length: 170 mm
  • Hair Length: 20 mm
  • Ferrule Width: 23 mm
Sonia G Base One Brush
Sonia G Base One Brush

Face One

A perfect brush for buffing in setting and finishing powders, without being too dense or firm that it disturbs foundation underneath. It can also be used to apply mineral foundations.

Key features:

  • Fibres: Dyed Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Round Ferule
  • Total length: 170 mm
  • Hair Length: 30 mm
  • Ferrule Width: 20 mm
Sonia G Face One Brush
Sonia G Face One Brush

Sculpt Four

My must-have for applying and subtly blending out powder contours, although it can be used with cream products as well. The bristles are slightly longer on one side, so I tend to apply my contour to the hollows of my cheeks with the shorter side and then swipe the brush across to allow the longer bristles to blend out the product. The fibres are nicely tapered for a subtle “believable” contour. Most other brushes of this style tend to come in the form of a Kinoko (Kabuki) brush without a long handle. I prefer the Sculpt Four as I like to use brushes with a full handle.

Key Features:

  • Fibres: Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Total length: 163 mm
  • Hair Length: 23 mm
  • Ferrule Width: 18 mm
Sonia G Sculpt Four Brush

Cheek Pro

Does anyone else have blushers in their collection that have such tiny pans that they never get used? This brush is the solution. It is small enough to fit into the tiniest of pans, it picks up and applies blush beautifully without overloading your cheeks, and works great for blending out the blusher too. With most other blush brushes in my collection, I either use them to apply blusher or to blend blusher, so the multitasking abilities of the Cheek Pro make this my ride-or-die.

Key Features:

  • Fibres: Dyed Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Pinched Ferule
  • Total length: 165 mm
  • Hair length: 30 mm
  • Ferrule width: 16 x 10 mm
Sonia G Cheek Pro Brush

Blender Pro

Hands down the best eye blender brush ever. It has the perfect domed shape, not too pointy, and has the perfect density to offer precision and fool-proof blending without blowing out your eyeshadow too far.

Key features:

  • Fibres: Dyed Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Domed top
  • Round Ferule
  • Total length: 158 mm
  • Hair length: 18 mm
  • Ferrule width: 7 mm
Sonia G Blender Pro Eye Brush
Sonia G Blender Pro Eye Brush

Builder Pro

This super dense builder brush fits my eyelids perfectly. It’s my top pick for packing shimmer eyeshadows on the lid, and does a pretty good job of blending them in too! I also like to use this for patting on a deeper colour around my outer-v.

Key Features:

  • Fibres: Dyed Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Pinched Ferule
  • Total length: 152 mm
  • Hair length: 12 mm
  • Ferrule width: 8.5 x 5 mm
Sonia G Builder Pro Eye Brush

Pencil Pro

Never have I ever found a firm, dense pencil brush that doesn’t irritate my eyes until this came into my life. If I want to apply a fairly opaque amount of shadow near my lash line and then blend it without making my eyes water, this is my hero.

Key Features:

  • Fibres: Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Domed top
  • Round Ferule
  • Total length: 149 mm
  • Hair length: 9 mm
  • Ferrule width: 7 mm
Sonia G Pencil Pro Brush

Worker Two

I am terrible at applying cream eyeshadow to my eyelids with my fingers. I wasn’t sure what purpose this brush was going to fill when I first purchased it as I generally prefer round blender brushes vs. pinched MAC 217 style brushes. This quickly became the brush I reach for when applying and blending cream eyeshadows and now I don’t want to be without it.

Key Features:

  • Fibres: Saikoho Goat Hair
  • Pinched Ferule
  • Total length: 160 mm
  • Hair Length: 15 mm
  • Ferrule Width: 10 x 7 mm
Sonia G Worker Two Brush

And that is it! This isn’t to say that I don’t love all of my other Sonia G brushes because I really do. I use all of them on a regular basis and there are no misses for me in the line. These just happen to be my top top picks, ones that are irreplaceable for me. There are only five Sonia G brushes that I have not yet purchased, but I’m waiting for the next Beautylish gift card event so that I can complete my collection.

All of Sonia G’s brushes are sold exclusively on the Beautylish website – hoorah!

Let me know your favourite brush brands! Have you had the pleasure of owning any of Sonia G’s brushes? If so, what are your favourites?


This is not a sponsored post. All products mentioned in this post have been purchased by me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. barbara n goldberg
    February 27, 2021 / 8:16 pm

    I have 3 brushes of yours that I purchased from you some time ago. Love them. Where can I purchase more of the best of your brushes? What is the best way to clean them? I don’t care for any of the brush cleaners I have used so far. thank you

    • lydiamkirkham
      February 28, 2021 / 9:21 pm

      Hi Barbara! Thank you for visiting my blog 🙏

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean as I don’t sell brushes, but you can purchase Sonia G brushes on! Let me know if you’d like any specific recommendations 😊 hoping to get an updated brush post soon as I’ve acquired quite a few more since I first wrote this!

      As for cleaning, I’d recommend a solid brush cleanser such as the “BEAUTYBLENDER blendercleanser solid”. Using clean running water, first wet the bristles of the brush, then swirl into the cleanser bar, lather up against your palm, then rinse. Try to keep the brush pointing downwards to avoid getting water up into the ferrule (which can damage the adhesive that keeps the bristles in place). Gently squeeze out excess water, then place on a flat surface with the tips over the edge to air dry. You can also use a brush guard to keep the bristles in a tighter shape if you prefer.

      Lydia xx