Sonia G Brushes Review (Builder One, Worker One, Base One, Sculpt Three)

Today I'm so excited to share with you the one and only - Sonia G brushes! I've gotten some questions are these brushes worth the splurge, but I gave it a few weeks to properly try, test and play with these brushes for the review. I wanted to make sure I've washed them several times and tried with different makeup before giving you my final verdict, they're valuable after all. I've followed Sonia's blog for years and her Brush Temple has been a tremendous help when first purchasing Japanese 'fude' or brushes. I'm so glad she got her own line!!

 Sonia G Brushes

Sonia G Brushes Introduction

Sonia aka the mastermind behind Sweet Makeup Temptations blog is a Japanese fude/brush connoisseur with a collection of +2000 brushes! She's not only a brush collector but truly passionate about the craft. Her devotion, love and passion for brushes and Japanese craftmanship can be read from her immaculate, fun and informational brush reviews and articles. Sonia has travelled many times to Japan and Kumano, where Japanese hand-crafted brushes are made. She is also a friend of Wayne Goss, a well-known Makeup Artist and Youtuber, whose brushes are also sold exclusively on Beautylish. In her Switzerland home Sonia has a room called the "Brush Boudoir" devoted to store and display her beautifully crafted brush collection.

Sonia's brushes are exclusive to Beautylish, hand-made in Japan. Her Fundamental Brush Set retails for $362/~€302,60 (8 brushes), also sold individually from January 2018. Right now her collection consists of 16 individual brushes retailing between $28/€23.4 and $75/€62.7 per brush.

 Sonia G Brushes
 Sonia G Brushes

Sonia G Brush Handles

Now to me - these handles are pure art except for the typography which isn't hundred percent my cup of tea (but I'm picky when it comes to typefaces). The wood is sustainably harvested maplee wood and coated with four layers of pigment and lacquer for a rich color and glossy finish. I love different color handles and the gradient just gives another level of luxury to the brushes. I'm very glad that Beautylish states the wood and lacquer technique, as these are a huge part of the Japanese craftsmanship that's put in Kumano Fude brushes. As the ends of the handles are rounded, I've experienced no dents or chipping of the coating (unlike with Hakuhodo S-series).

I personally like medium length handles. So far the handle length has been okay, but sometimes I find the ferules a bit chunky. For the Base One I would've preferred a shorter handle for more precision and control, but I'll talk more about it later. These handles look modern and chic, I only wish the typeface and logo (bottom of the handles) was different.. Some of you might like it though, can't please everyone!

Thoughts on the collection

The set and collection are definitely interesting. I feel Sonia created brushes that she wanted, needed or didn't already have for her purpose. I can imagine her playing with makeup and wondering "Why don't I have the perfect brush for my Natasha Denona glitters..." haha. Of course this is just my imagination! But her original set didn't make a complete brush collection in my opinion if you're a working makeup artist or just a brush enthusiast. I think Sonia's brushes are well-catered to people who are missing something or looking for a brush to special product or use. In my opinion you should research your existing stash both in makeup and brushes: is there a makeup product you've been dying to use but didn't have the right tool? Are you always reaching for a brush you don't have? I think Sonia's unique collection has you covered. There's such creativity and knowledge behind the design combined with beautiful Japanese craftsmanship.

 Sonia G Brushes

My picks: Builder One, Worker One, Sculpt Three and Base One

I wanted to test Sonia's brushes without breaking my bank account, so I asked her some recommendations on Instagram. I have no experience with fan brushes so I probably wouldn't have picked up Sculpt Three without her suggestion. I immediately knew I wanted Base One; Sonia has always talked about how sensitive her skin is and previously duo-fibre stippling brushes have been too much for my dry skin. I had high hopes Base One would be soft and gentle (spoiler alert: it is)! Builder One looked very unique type of brush, firm and very narrow, but perhaps "finger-like" to pack on glitters where as Worker One seemed like a good alternative for Hakuhodo J5523.

 Sonia G Builder One comparison

Builder One

- Dyed saikoho goat
- Recommended use: powders

This brush is an interesting one and very unique. I can imagine Sonia created this brush to pack Natasha Denona shimmers and metalics as she's a big fan of ND. If you needed something with absolute control when you pack on your glitters or want to sharply smudge your khol liner, lower lash line etc. then this is a brush for you. To this day I've liked pencil brushes, but Builder One gives its user more control and definition. The bristles pick up any kind of shadow.

Needless to say, I still haven't got 100% hang of this brush as I make errors when I try to pack the side of the brush with shadow. I try to explain to my best: the ferule is fat compared to the hairs and I keep denting the eyeshadow pan with the edge of the ferule, which annoys me to bits. But I like to think that's me being clumsy, not exactly the brush's fault.

 Sonia G Worker One Comparison

Worker One

- Dyed saikoho goat
- Recommended use: powders

Worker one is designed to be used as an eyeshadow blending brush and it's excellent for distributing color on the lid with one swipe. It can also be used for contouring and defining the eye, thanks to it's shape that's both flat yet fluffy and oval. I like to use circular motions for buffing the color or back-and-forth "windscreen wipe" motion to evenly blend. The shape is a bit large for working in the outer 'V' area, but you could do it in a pinch. This is like Hakuhodo J5523 (MAC 217) on steroids. With my hooded eyes I think J5523 is a bit better for blending the crease or even a more tapered brush, but if you have more space than I do - there's a brush for you.

Sculpt Three

- Dyed saikoho goat
- Recommended use: powders

Originally I wasn't very interested in fan brushes as I have little experience with them - I only have some sculpting fan brushes, but not the 'traditional' kind. This brush turned out to be a surprise favorite! First, it's super soft and second, it picks up a good amount of product but lays it down with precision and control. If you have smaller features you could try this for dusting finishing powder - maybe even contour, but personally I like this with powder highlighters and even buffing (yes!) the product into the skin to make the finish the most natural. I emphasis that this brush gives you a nice amount of control and picks up the product well, doesn't feel "flimsy" at all like some fan brushes may be.

 Sonia G Base One comparison

Base One

- Hakutotsuho goat & PBT
- Recommended use: liquids and creams

I used to love the look of duo-fibre brushes but grew to dislike them as my skin was so dry and flakey. Now I'm in a pretty good condition with my skin so I decided to give this brush a go - also because I love foundation (and contouring) brushes the most. The Beautylish site describes this fude as dense but airy, which is kind of true as the base has good density, but the length of the PBT hairs is just right for buffing foundation. I feel these hairs are soft enough for dry skin, but not ultra-soft like a kitten's paw - not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to a foundation brush. I love to use this brush for buffing foundation near my nose and chin area, it fits well into crevices of the nose for example and doesn't leave a streaky finish!

But, I feel this brush works the best with more creamy foundations as with liquids the brush might absorb the product and doesn't move the foundation as seamlessly. If you only wear tinted moisturizers and serum foundations, you might give this brush a pass. My foundation favorite for this brush has been from Chantecaille, but I imagine the SUQQU Extra Rich Cream Foundation (review here) or similar would perfect combo. I wish this brush was a bit less heavy and thick, but that's a personal preference: I like more slim handles opposite to big ones - unless they are very short. I think the thickness also makes the brush less easy to control.

 Sonia G Brushes
 Sonia G Brushes

Final Thoughts on Sonia G Brushes

I've had no problems with washing the brushes, shedding, whatsoever. The handles are pure luxury, I love the weight and feel of them. My only problem has been with ferules (Builder One) and thickness (Base One), but these are personal preferences. These brushes are exquisite and I expected nothing less from Sonia. I probably wouldn't be purchasing all of the brushes, but I will certainly save up and invest in a few more. If you've ever had the moment "I wish my brush did this X" or "I wish there was a tool for that Y" then take a look at this collection and cherry-pick for your needs! You might find a new treasure.