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Everything You Need to Know: Sonia G Fundamental Brush Set

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly need any more makeup brushes…. Honestly, I really did think my collection was pretty complete. Or at least, that I had all the basics covered, and anything additional would be for special treats & just for the joy of collecting. Well. One of my long-time favorite beauty bloggers, Sonia of Sweet Makeup Temptations, just surprised us all by releasing her very own brush line. Appropriately, it’s named Sonia G. Normally beauty guru product lines get a great big fat yawn from me, but this is a major exception because I honestly can’t think of anyone more qualified to create their own brushes. Sonia’s been writing on the subject for years, and has even taken trips to Japan to learn more about the process. And her personal collection? Totally drool-worthy.

Which is all a long way of saying when her Fundamental Brush Set debuted at Beautylish recently, I no time in ordering them. At $362 for the set of eight brushes it made a major dent in my makeup fund, but I have no regrets. According to the buzz on social media they should be available individually sometime in January.

If you’re paying attention to the names of the brushes in the set, it’s a little baffling – what happened to Face One and Sculpt Two, for example?  I asked her on Instagram if there are more in the works, and she says there are! I’m definitely keeping my eye out for those. She also has a couple of great posts up on her website about the process of getting the brushes manufactured, choosing the materials and balancing quality and results with value. On a side note, I’m not going to do too much guessing about who the OEM is for this line because she mentions in her post that she reserved the right to work with different manufacturers. I’m pretty excited about that because they all have areas where they really shine, so I’m glad to hear she’ll be able to go with the best every time.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – what do I think about this set? I’ll tell you what I think – it’s one of the most well-curated and beautifully constructed brush sets I’ve ever put my hands on. Even though I’ve got a few similar ones in my collection already, the Sonia G set doesn’t contain any exact dupes, and in most cases improves on the ones I already had.

Since there’s not really anywhere you can play with these hands-on, I’ve done my usual measurements and taken comparison photos with the closest shapes/sizes in my collection. If I’ve missed any vital info though, feel free to ask in the comments! Now, onto my thoughts on the individual brushes…

Pencil One

Sonia G Pencil 1

Sonia G Pencil 1 vs Hakuhodo B533

Sonia G Pencil 1 vs Hakuhodo B533

Pencil One basics:

  • Blue squirrel
  • 8mm long
  • 5mm across
  • 148mm including handle
  • Handle 10mm wide

The first time I used this brush I nearly squealed with delight. Small pencil brushes are a staple in my routine because I have fairly small eyes, and this one is the real deal. The steep taper helps it pick up plenty of product and the blue squirrel hair is soft enough to blend with too.

For comparison: Hakuhodo B533. They’re about the same length, but the Hakuhodo one is made of dyed goat (not my favorite hair from them) and is a bit more rounded.

Crease One

Sonia G Crease 1Sonia G Crease 1

Sonia G Crease 1 vs Wayne Goss 04

Sonia G Crease 1 vs Wayne Goss 04

Crease One Basics:

  • Blue squirrel
  • 15mm long
  • 7mm across
  • 155mm including handle
  • Handle 10mm wide

The SG Crease One is another of those do-it-all brushes, perfect for placing your crease color and diffusing it as you go. It feels feathery soft on the skin, and it’s a great size for the crease. The pointed shape keeps your color exactly where you want it, none of this accidentally getting shadow halfway up to your eyebrows!

For comparison: Wayne Goss 04. Both are blue squirrel and I use them the same way (apply & blend in the crease) but the shorter & pointier shape of the SG Crease One gives me a lot more control over what I’m doing.

Builder One

Sonia G Builder 1

Sonia G Builder 1

Sonia G Builder 1

Sonia G Builder 1 vs MUFE 228

Builder One basics:

  • Saikoho goat (dyed)
  • 8mm long
  • 9mm wide
  • 5mm thick
  • 155mm including handle
  • Handle 13.5mm wide

The Builder One is a funny little beast. On first glance I thought it would be great for laying down my all-over lid color. Alas, it was not to be – the extremely smooth side surfaces don’t pick up very much product. However, the tip of the brush is perfect for very precise detailed work – think cut crease or lower lash line. It’s also really nice if you want a more sheer application, like with some metallic or glitter shadows. I’m not convinced this will be an everyday brush for me – just because I tend toward simpler eye looks – but I think for a lot of people it might fill an important gap.

Update: Sonia herself dropped by to offer some advice on the Builder One brush. At her suggestion I tried wiggling it a bit while pressing it into the pan and she’s absolutely correct, it does pick up a perfect amount of product that way.

 

So I mentioned in my review of the new #SoniaG brushes (link in bio) that the Builder One didn’t pick up as much product as I would have liked. Well, @sweetmakeuptemptations was kind enough to drop by with some personal advice on how to use it, and it was a game changer! I made a quick clip showing how to get the most versatility out of it: 1: Swiping over the shadow – picks up a very small amount of product, great for when you want a really sheer application 2: Wiggle the brush in the pan – this loads the brush up making it really easy to pack on the color #SoniaG #fude #makeupbrushes #makeupswatches #brushporn #japanesebrushes #beautyreviews #makeupreview #rmua #redditmua #discoverunder100k #bbloggers #beautycommunity #beautylish #makeuphaul #makeupreview

A post shared by nicci | beauty & travel blog (@lipsticklatitude) on

For comparison: Make Up For Ever 228 shader. The size & paddle shape are similar, but the MUFE version is very flat, and synthetic. This is a shape I normally use for cream shadows, so I’ll probably try the SG Builder One for that too.

Worker One

Sonia G Worker One

Sonia G Worker 1Sonia G Worker 1

Sonia G Worker 1 vs Hakuhodo J5523

Sonia G Worker 1 vs Hakuhodo J5523

Worker One basics:

  • Saikoho goat (dyed)
  • 16mm long
  • 9mm wide
  • 6mm thick
  • 166mm including handle
  • Handle 11mm wide

Going into this, I was a little iffy about the dyed goat eye brushes, because in my experience they haven’t felt as soft and smooth as white goat. I’m glad to report that for the Sonia G brushes – the ones in this set, anyway – the dyed brushes are still superior hair quality. The Worker One is a big, fluffy blending brush for diffusing color over larger areas, and it works a charm.

For comparison: Hakuhodo J5523. The texture of these two brushes is similar, but you can see how much bigger the Worker One is vs the J5523. The size makes it even more efficient at blending, which I wouldn’t have thought possible.

Sculpt One

Sonia G Sculpt 1

Sonia G Sculpt 1

Sonia G Sculpt 1

Sonia G Sculpt 1 vs Sephora Pro #54

Sonia G Sculpt 1 vs Sephora Pro #54

Sculpt One basics:

  • Hakutotsuho goat
  • 33mm long (measured at center)
  • 24mm across (foot)
  • 72mm across (widest part)
  • 21mm thick
  • 179mm including handle
  • Handle 19.5mm wide

This is the big, fluffy, mega-luxe star of the set. It’s wonderfully soft, and the springy hairs move product effortlessly. I found that if I dab my contour powder just onto the center of the brush, that leaves plenty of clean space to blend with. The goat hair does pick up quite a bit of powder, so just don’t forget the ol’ less is more rule with this one. I also think it will be incredible for applying bronzer around the edges of my face, though I haven’t done that yet.

For comparison: Sephora Pro #54. This brush has a similar shape, but the synthetic bristles mean it doesn’t even come close to the Sculpt One in performance or feel.

Sculpt Three

Sonia G Sculpt 3

Sonia G Sculpt 3

Sonia G Sculpt 3

Sculpt Three basics:

  • Saikoho goat (dyed)
  • 19mm long measured at center
  • 11mm wide (foot)
  • 39mm wide (widest part)
  • 8mm thick
  • 164mm including handle
  • Handle 10mm wide

The Sculpt Three is the only brush in the set that I don’t own anything even close to similar, so apologies for the lack of comparison photos. Obviously I had a gap in my collection though, and I can’t think of a better brush to fill it. This one is much smaller and wispier than the Sculpt One, but still a workhorse in its own way. The size and shape make for very precise placement, which is so so important for highlighting! It’s thicker than some fans I’ve seen, and it picks up the ideal amount of powder product. You can certainly use this to make yourself look like a disco ball, but you won’t do it by accident.

Face Two

Sonia G Face 2

Sonia G Face 2

Sonia G Face 2 vs Hakuhodo J210

Sonia G Face 2 vs Hakuhodo J210

Face Two basics:

  • Saikoho goat
  • 31mm long
  • 14mm across (foot)
  • 23mm across (widest part)
  • 173mm including handle
  • Handle 17mm wide

People with small features rejoice! This is the small white goat blush brush we’ve been waiting for. The small footprint helps your blush go exactly where you want it, and nowhere else. It does pick up plenty of product, so as usual with dense goat blush brushes, be sure start with a light hand with your more pigmented products.

For comparison: Hakuhodo J210. These are pretty similar actually – the J210 is a bit wider and more dome-shaped, but the density and flexibility are pretty close. I think the SG Face Two might be just a tiny bit softer/silkier than the J210, but then again, my J210 is nearly five years old at this point.

Base One

Sonia G Face 2 vs Hakuhodo J210

Sonia G Base 1

Sonia G Base 1 vs Wayne Goss 01

Sonia G Base 1 vs Wayne Goss 01

Base One basics:

  • Hakutotsuho goat & PBT (synthetic)
  • 19mm long
  • 23mm across (foot)
  • 28mm across (widest part)
  • 169mm including handle
  • Handle 19.5mm wide

A duo-fiber foundation brush is a must-have for anyone who’s prone to flaky skin, so getting this in the midst of our first really cold snap felt appropriate. The slightly longer synthetic bristles mixed in make it easy to buff in foundation with irritating the skin or pulling up flakes, and the goat hair spreads it around like a champ. This one gives a really nice airbrushed finish.

For comparison: Wayne Goss 01. As you can see, the WG01 is much smaller than the SG Base One, meaning the Base One is a lot quicker to use. As you may have guessed by the slightly pink bristles, my WG01 has been on primary duty for liquid/cream blushes for a while now.

In Short: This is an incredible set for the collector, but it also has good essentials if you’re just getting into Japanese makeup brushes (but once you’re addicted, don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

 

The Sonia G Fundamental Brush Set ($362) is available exclusively at Beautylish

 

Sonia G Brush Review

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Joely Smith

    January 3, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    WOW! This has to be the most informative post on makeup brushes I have ever seen and your images are perfection! I do love a great set of makeup brushes but I am like you were thinking “how many do I really need?” truth is, just one GREAT set! This looks like a set I need to get my hands on!

  2. lisalisa

    January 3, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Makeup is one thing I do not know about but, my girls know a lot. I am forever asking them about the different brushes they use for applying makeup. These look like they are great and congrats to your friend for releasing her very own brush line, that has to be exciting!

  3. Melissa Dixon

    January 4, 2018 at 9:49 am

    I do love the looks of this set. I am such a newb when it comes to makeup and especially when it comes to applying it. I never know what to use for what and how much. I hope to get better at it as I age but I don’t seem to be picking anything up. I do however need to get some brushes i bet that is a big part of my problem, these look wonderful!

  4. Vanessa Palma

    January 4, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    My gosh, I’m such a newbie when it comes to makeup. I really had no idea there were so many different brushes for different things. I use one blush brush and one eyeshadow brush. I’m going to have to up my makeup game and watch a bunch of tutorials. This set looks divine though. You did a great job of explaining why it’s so high quality.

  5. Karlyn Cruz

    January 4, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Ha! Ha! I love this! Nobody could really understand my obsession with makeup brushes! But I have to give it to you because I can’t believe you’ve measured them! Fantastic!

  6. Sonia

    January 4, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Nikki!
    First of all, thank you for getting the entire set of brushes!!! And a big huge thank you for posting about them! These are beautiful pictures and they show the shapes really well, your details and explanations are spot on! I am so happy that you are enjoying them :)
    I love what you say about each brush, specially about the Sculpt Three.. and I totally agree with you! :D
    You will see with time they will get better, the bristles will reach their final position, feel a bit more airy and flexible and they will become easier to handle. With regards to the Builder One, I know it’s a tricky brush, I use it on a daily basis for placing shimmers in the center of the mobile lid, the technique to pick and deposit the product is better to press-wiggle with the flat sides of the brush on the product and then use same movement on the lid. I wish I could do a video but I really truly deeply suck at that. Maybe you already tried this technique, I just wanted to mention just in case!! I would be delighted to do a skype call :) I was wondering if there is something we can try together to give it more versatility.
    Again, many many thanks for this wonderful detailed post, I hope we can talk soon! <3

    1. Nikki

      January 9, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words and your advice! I tried the ‘wiggle method’ with the Builder One and you’re absolutely right, of course :-) I updated with a little instagram clip I made showing the difference between a swipe and a wiggle – I think that’ll be really important info for anyone considering that brush.

    2. Julie

      February 10, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Hi Sonia I’d just like to say a great big congratulations on your beautiful and well thought out brush set. I have received the the large fan brush and the foundation brush. I adore the foundation brush so much so my beloved Rae Morris liquid foundation brush which I have used constantly for the past two years hasn’t seen the light of day since I received yours, it’s amazing. Love the fan brush,I do not have another brush in my collection like this one and it’s fantastic. I am in the process of collecting all of your brushes. You truly deserve all the luck and best wishes in the world, you have helped me buy some exceptional brushes over the years and will never purchase one without reading your posts first. Well done you x

  7. Ali || Veggies by Candlelight

    January 4, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    I really love how you broke down everything in specifications of this brush set. Even though I love my brushes I always use particular brushes from one brush set. Great breakdown!

  8. Nadalie

    January 4, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Wow what a gorgeous set of brushes! Really makes me want to get one, as my mix and match of a set from Mac and a few other places just doesn’t seem enough anymore. Also, didn’t realize there was such detail and difference in brushes before, but I suppose knowing the specs can really help you make the most of your makeup.

  9. Bites for Foodies

    January 5, 2018 at 3:43 am

    I love the beginning of this post…because I think they same thing all the time. I have so many make-up brushes yet I find that I defer back to the old ones. Force of habit! I do love the look of these!

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