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Brush picks for make-up artists

by Sonia G.

This post is about brushes that are more appropriate for professionals or for those of you looking for easy and efficient make-up brushes, these are more on the higher-end side. I want to emphasize that there is no need to go high-end and if you watch Youtube tutorials you’ll notice that make-up artists don’t always use expensive brushes to get amazing results, and actually even with the best make-up brushes we still need to know what we are doing…  so practice is the key. Since the question I receive over and over again is about “upgrading to higher end make-up brushes for a professional kit“, that’s what I’ll cover today.



There are several factors that make a brush more or less suitable for professional make-up artists and meeting those factors is what will make a brush best fit for purpose.

Being very close to make-up artists, to brush manufacturing companies and doing some work myself is what made me aware of that criteria, there is certainly more to consider, but the criteria here is what really matters to me. Now, I’ll leave my collector-me outside for a while and let the “more reasonable side of me” select the brushes I put in my kit explaining briefly my thoughts and preferences about each one of them.

Best criteria

I prefer when the “kit” brushes are:

  • Not white
    White brushes will get dirty very easily, even if you wipe them or sanitize them they may still look dirty and not that appealing to your clients. This is not a generality but for powder products it’s easier to work with darker hair brushes.
    That criteria changes if you are using cream  products which will be more appropriate to use with white natural bristles, weasel, kolinsky, or synthetic for example. I am not going into detail here but cream or liquid products may damage the dye and coating on the natural hair, therefore bringing damage to the bristles on the longer term. White natural brushes, which are bleached, do not have that same problem and can in general be used with any product, powder or cream.
  • Not too soft
    If too soft, you will need more time to do your work and you don’t want that unless you are paid by the hour and you can afford to take your time! Often you will have to rush and stronger brushes will get you to the destination faster, ok maybe you’ll be driving on a more bumpy road but consider it like taking a short cut, it has its benefits.
    If you find a good compromise between efficiency and softness it will be perfect. On the other hand, if you use brushes that are too rough you will have unhappy clients and you don’t want that either. They used brushes on me that I do not even want to talk about, my face was violently molested, that felt absolutely horrible and I am not going back for more! You may think I am exagerating, but only a tiny bit, she went totally nuts with the buffing, I didn’t even know that buffing could mean torture. It was probably an isolated case -I hope dear God – but still, it happened  😀
  • Not too fragile
    You will have to wash them often, sanitize them with harsher products that contain alcohol, use them many times repeatedly, so the more durable, the better.
  • Comfortable with the balance and length
    If too heavy your hand will not have the same dexterity when you get tired, if too light you may lack precision, if too thin you may not be able to hold it firmly, it too short you hand may be standing too close to the client, all these are important considerations and often until you try them, you don’t know if they will be good, it takes time and money to find the perfect tools and we all have different requirements.
  • Fool-proof (=easy to use, efficient, versatile)
    The easier the brush the better. If you look like you are performing nano-surgery when applying make-up on someone they will think you are not confident, you can experiment while learning at home but on the job better be sure about what you are doing or leave little space for science in public (specially if you are starting) or you could also learn to stay calm and look unsurprised whatever happens… (I can do that but still…)
    If you can apply make-up with a tooth brush or a mop, great! But just don’t give your clients the impression that you don’t master your tools! I personally need all the help I can get from my tools, sometimes I am so nervous that I tend to shake so don’t give me a scalpel please.
    I also personally prefer to use the same brush for several purposes because it saves on the cleaning and because it gets things done faster, even if I love brushes to the max I will not complicate my work but keeping it simple is what works best for me. A microfiber cloth to wipe the brushes in between applications with the same client is super handy.


Natural or synthetic ?

There are pros and cons for each, it depends on your own preferences and my own goes to natural, I find them more efficient and they dry much faster. On the other hand synthetic ones are often more durable and also often cheaper to replace.

Some clients may be allergic to dye or to some synthetic fibers so if you really want to cover every situation, consider both type of brushes but that won’t be often the case therefore I am not taking that into consideration at least for now.

Some random advice

Pick any brand you love and can afford, as long as you don’t have to stick to one particular brand, take the best of each. Some of you will not be able to do that because of contract reasons (schools, beauty brands, counters). I could never get married to only one brand so I will comment each brush I chose to try to give you the idea behind it, then if you are interested, you can adapt the same idea within the brand you’ll use.

If you are working with more mature models, the brushes should be a bit different, slightly softer, efficient but gentle with the skin movement, if your clients have sensitive skin and are “afraid” of make-up, if you attack them with pokey brushes there is a chance you won’t be seeing them again, and worst, there is a chance they won’t be seeing any other make-up artist at all in the future because of that experience.

If it’s for special effects or theater you’ll pick stronger brushes that will handle harder textures, you have maybe noticed that the Geisha brushes are often rougher, that’s because the makeup used is thicker and doesn’t need to be blended to an airbrush finish but to a thick and heavy coverage.

If the clients are young, used to make-up and want dramatic impact then you will have much more flexibility on what brushes you can use.

My kit

Even if I used many different type of brushes and even if I have one of the biggest brush collections in the whole world, I just recently started working on others. The brushes here are brushes that I use either on young or mature skin, dry, combination or oily skin and they fit natural or slightly dramatic tutorials but I am not planning on doing special effects other than covering scars or correcting the skin.

The belt here is quite small so I keep the brushes for the session on the belt and have a separate roll in a bag with some other brushes in case of a sudden change of plans. In any case, I am not taking more than the ones featured in the pics below.

I go for brushes that have the perfect balance between softness and efficiency, that can work with several finishes and can make my work as easy as possible. It’s better to select brushes not too fragile and not too dense otherwise you may pack too much product and the blending may alter and kill your base application:  better build up and blend softly, but surely, as you go.
Size also matters, so the brushes here cover a wide range of purposes but I will explain as I go.

My fav material is either soft goat, squirrel mixed with goat, or thicker squirrel bristles. Rae Morris has a fantastic collection for the make-up artist, so has Wayne Goss, Koyudo (BP or Fu-Pa series), and Chikuhodo (GSN or RS series). I use a lot of Hakuhodo as well, specially the J series but they are not featured here since I use them mostly only on myself.

Base application, foundation, finishing, concealing




For concealing, I use either the RM 20 or when I need point precision, the RM 14. I was very pleasantly surprised by this RM 20 concealer brush, precise yet flat and doesn’t absorb product. I use the Evgeny and the RM 24 to blend larger zones of concealer, to sculpt with cream, to place the foundation, primer or other tasks that involve cream or liquids.

The RM 21 and the Koyudo Fu-Pa 14 are extreme brushes, I mean it. They have it all. If you work with mineral powders, (full face foundation or just a mineral finishing type of coverage), these two brushes are a must-have.  The RM 21 is flat but the density is spot on, it adapt to the curves of your face, delivers an even finish whatever mineral powder you use (pressed or loose), the bristles are strong but they are soft, not pokey at all. Serves several purposes because you can also use it for polishing. The more you use it towards the side of the brush (bend it), the softer and more flexible it gets which covers many situations and needs.
I use the Fu-Pa 14 more for setting the foundation with powder but it will also work for mineral foundation perfectly well. Another great option for home or professional use is the Chikuhodo Temari, it’s also a super interesting brush for mineral powders, it’s a bit big but last summer during my holiday in Spain I used that brush for 2 weeks for every thing, mineral foundation, bronzer, setting, polishing and even blush (not that kind of cheek-blush, but more of a side-of-the-face dimensional application), so it’s another gem for professional use.

The RM 23 is the brush I use on very dry and sensitive skin, with liquid and cream foundation. As I said many times, this is holy grail material. Expensive for a synthetic brush but price is aligned with the performance. I have 3, keep one for the kit and rotate my daily routine with two of them.

The Chikuhodo GSN-05 is part of the kit because it works with anything. The Koyudo Fu-Pa13p offers something quite unique, the longer side goes softly along the eye area when the shorter side offers more blending power and it’s probably a size that fits all or most of. I use the GSN-05 with any skin type, the Fu-Pa13p more with oily skin but it really doesn’t matter that much, they are all soft enough to fit most of the situations, never had a problem to use any of them on my dry and sensitive skin.

The Koyudo BP013 is also a must-have in my kit, the bristles are different than all the other brushes, thicker but absolutely soft enough, that works so well with pressed powders, only issue : it’s really big. I wish they would do this in smaller sizes. Wayne Goss 13 has the perfect size and density, but I keep the WG  for myself until I get a second one for my kit. The difference with the WG 13 is that the BP013 is a work horse and delivers more polishing power.

The RM Radiance is a staple for finishing, blending the foundation. I need this in my life for ever and I couldn’t stop recommending it for every make-up artist.

Blush and sculpting

This is where I really need versatile and easy brushes and the reason why I use all these: 



The Paula Dorf cheek is for blush, bronzer or contour, any type of powder application and with any product. The contour will not be thin with this brush but I am surprised how many people prefer a more larger contour and very very subtle, I deal with clients who are not used to wear strong looks so if I come with the full runway look it’s not that fun for them, it’s more about office appropriate looks that I am concerned and with an average age of 40.  For thinner contour I love the Chikuhodo G-2. The G-2 on the Chikuhodo website is now a bit different but I just ordered it so that I can keep one in my kit and one for myself and I will also be able to tell you if they are the same brushes or not. It seems on the pics that the one I own is a bit more angled but we’ll see when it gets here.

The winners for the fool-proof blush application are the Chikuhodo GSN-04 and Wayne Goss 11, soft, medium density, you can still buff and polish the blush application if you need to and you will not be causing an incident with your client. They will work with any type of blush, powdery or harder textures. The GSN-04 is labelled as a highlight brush, yes why not, but you can also use it for bronzer, blush and highlight. Again two multi-purpose brushes.

The Chikuhodo Special G-9 is not anymore on their website exactly as it looks here, but they have the G-16 instead. I think it’s the same brush but just the handle changes. I prefer longer handles versus the shorter ones, specially if it’s to work on others but if you prefer medium length brushes you will prefer the G-16. Yutaro Takemori is responsible for Research and Development and he is the son of Chikuhodo’s President, when I was over discussing brushes over a sushi meal, he told me that these series are the ones that the professionals prefer to use in Japan and he looked so happy and proud!! 😀  He couldn’t stop raving about them! I was so in love with the Z series that I found his raving a bit too much but now I get it. The Special G-9 is only goat hair but I have no issues at all with the softness, not as soft as Wayne’s brown goat brushes but so handy to use, it’s tapered but the point is actually very helpful, as you apply, they will fit and adapt to the sides of the nose, under the eyes, but it has a lot of surface at the top and the product is evenly applied blended across the face.  That brush is such a gem that I don’t understand why artists are not totally hook  😛

The RM 02 is for cream highlight (or powder) and for cream blush, it is dense but not too much, gets things done super quick.

The WG 15 is the best little fan (just makes you look like a pro so use it even if you don’t really need it 😀 )

The Koyudo H013 is very special, I don’t know in which category to place it because I use it for finishing, blush, bronzer, contour (again thickish), I need to get a second one but honestly I want to get thousands of this and cover my desk (or bed) with them, just because I am crazy. The Koyudo H012 has a similar function but it’s a bit wider, super lovely brushes and if you love big fans, jeez you need these two. If it’s for yourself, get the H012, if it’s for a kit, get the H013, the H013 is only goat therefore more durable and even if it’s less soft, it’s absolutely adorable. Looks like a toy but it’s serious stuff.

Eyes, lips, brows

I start with the lips, the RM 19 makes my day, I need at least 3 of them because I use it for me very often and I don’t have time to wash my brushes everyday, I spot clean them with the Bobbi Brown Brush Cleaning Spray and sanitize them with alcohol but I know Rae uses this one, so I will try to get my hands on a similar formula and have it prepared for me at the pharmacy. It’s common here in Switzerland, you can ask them to make your own mixes as long as they are legal 😀



For brows, I use the BillyB eleven in order to be able to work with thinner eyebrows. On myself I use the Hokuto Ho-Gentei 4 that I bought on Rakuten, every single day of my life!

The RM 16 is for brows but not only, that brush is terrific, super soft so you can also use it to smudge pencil along the lashline, very versatile and it should be in every professional kit.

The BillyB nine is for mascara, when you want to work on tiny little hairs… then they tell you “did I had lashes THERE ???” yep you did, you just couldn’t see them 😛 you have to grab the mascara with this brush and apply it straight from the brush, takes some time at the beginning but so worth it!

The Koyudo BP036 is kolinsky hair, such a wonder (sorry if I am a bit emotionally strong on all these brushes!!)  I use it to apply cream highlighter on the inner tear duct or the brown bone (just a thin line under the brows). Powder highlight application doesn’t last very long, if you pick up some cream pencil or cream shadow it will last longer on these zones that are more demanding in terms of long-wear requirements.

For pencil I truly love the new Wayne Goss 20, I never have to correct the thickness of the application, gets the work done and doesn’t ask questions! Another one that I love is the Chanel 24, I am so pissed (is this word strongly rude in English?? not sure, sorry if I shock you, but even if it’s a strong word, it will never ever reflect how upset I am that the Chanel 24 is discontinued, seriously Chanel… you had something there that finally had gold value -unlike your quads- so why do you discontinue it??  Pic here for reference, if you find a nest of these, please send them to me 🙂 I’ll pay.

The Charlotte Tilbury smudger is a nice brush to have in a kit, I am now waiting to receive the Paula Dorf smokie lid that is finally again available on their website, we’ll see how it compares and I am truly excited to see it in person. When you need more dramatic contour along the lashline that one is very good, also to smudge pencil. It’s soft enough for me although it’s “just” soft enough for  my sensitive skin. It will not bother the models at all, totally worth it and it took a nice place in my life. I hope the Paula Dorf will be softer but really not sure about that…

For the mobile lid, I use the RM 12 and WG 18, totally surpassed the Mac 239, more fool-proof, work with all powder shadows and apply super evenly, love them to pieces and will need a few of each.

The WG 19, RM9, and PD sheer crease cover all my needs in terms of crease application, I could take a thousand crease brushes with me because I love them so much but I can get away with these 3 in my kit. Then for blending I use the RM 7.5 or the WG 16 depending on what I need, softer blending: the RM, to tone down or polish: the WG16. The WG 16 is also great for cream products so anywhere I need to apply cream or set it with powder (for example concealer) I just grab that one. It can do so many things.

The best brush ever for nose sculpting it’s the RM 7.5, could not get any better than that, the surface is just the right width, right density, it’s absolutely surreal ! I didn’t really go for nose sculpting before, didn’t had time in the morning for that additional step, now I do and it’s in the little details that you get so much credit for your work. I have several of the 7.5 so that I can make sure I always have one available for myself.

The base shadow application is something I do with the RM 10 and WG 17 depending on the products and the skin, I often apply a cream base shadow so I pick the WG 17 for that but that brush works with anything, can be a bit big for some smaller eyes but so far I had no issues at all.

The Suqqu spoolie is a gift I received from Suqqu, I don’t have many so I use that one for the moment, later on I will buy some from Hakuhodo I think, they just released very nice ones (If you go to the Hakuhodo USA website and click on New products, here, you will find a few interesting ones if you browse!

For eyeliner I use either the RM 14 or the RM 16, depending on the product. The RM 16 is great with powder-to-liquid eyeliners and that’s the one that corresponds more to what I need, there are so many possibilities, then you have to choose the one that matches the type of products you use. For gel liner I love the Hakuhodo K005 but I prefer to use powder liners for the moment, I am really not an expert, applying liner on myself is one thing, applying on others it’s not yet mastered… Eye definition is key for an amazing eye but I can handle it with the ones that I selected for now, eye lining is a very delicate thing and topic that will be very personal to each artist.

There are many other great and easy to use brands but these are my favorites so far, I couldn’t pick them all but if you have a special question, please leave it below and I can share my thoughts on them in the comments. For example, I am also liking Sue Devitt but as I said I cannot walk with 300 brushes in my belt… 😀

Other tools

Muji makes little bottles like these, I fill one with alcohol and the other with setting water or anything else I need.

Of course there is a sponge or two…

The Paula Dorf is a sweep away pencil, I apply this very lightly on a cotton bud to correct mascara, or liner, or shadow.

I need to get other curlers but curlers are a very important tool and a good curler reduces the risk of accidents. This is the Chanel one but I will hunt for new curlers when I go to Japan.

The make-up remover that I use is the Bobbi Brown Long-wear, I couldn’t find anything else that worked so well, maybe I will someday but so far, this one has been with me for so many years and everytime I try to change brand I am disappointed.




Bottom line 

There are many brands that professionals love to use and many brands yet to discover. If I help you discover some that will make me very happy!

I know that a few make-up artists follow me, if you have any comments to add or any recommendation of others brands, please don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts below, I would really truly appreciate that. There are many of you who wrote to me recently and who are really eager to start with higher end brushes for their kit.

If you are not a make-up artist and want to share your fool-proof staples, I would love to know which ones they are.


Personal information

Good news… tomorrow they will work on my studio, I will have a second window installed and since I knew it only yesterday, today I have to empty the room to avoid accidents and to avoid covering the make-up with dust.. so I’ll have a busy rest of the day! I had other plans (complete the other pending posts!!!)  but since I was waiting for a year to finally get them make the renovations in this room, I certainly don’t want to cause any more delay!

For those of you who just recently joined, thank you soooo much! I am so excited! Sincerely thank you and a very warm welcome!! Love you all! I can safely say I have found the most amazing friends thanks to this blog and our passion for brushes!




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Gladys L. 13 April, 2014 - 4:27 pm

Wow, another very good list for professionals this time! We just love lists ; )

Happy to look at your training related progress as well, you make me think of Duntin Hunter and Wayne’s professional kit reviews, I think I might see your trolley pic in instagram in the near future.

I enjoy all your posts.

Sweet make up temptations 13 April, 2014 - 9:16 pm

Hi Gladys,
thank you! waw… I make you think of Wayne and Dustin ? jeez how cool is that!! 🙂

Holly Tam 18 April, 2014 - 3:26 am

where is the black makeup case from shown in blog “makeup brushes and decision making”

Sweet make up temptations 18 April, 2014 - 11:36 am

Hi Holly,
it is from here : http://www.piccasso.co.kr/shop/shopdetail.html?branduid=463323&xcode=&mcode=&scode=&GfDT=bm11W1w%3D
but now the site is not in English anymore, I tried to order it but did not manage to do it at all.
Sent them an email to ask if they delivered internationally and they said yes, but still, site is in Korean and I don’t understand how to proceed so…
Before it was in English and super easy to order, now it’s not.
If somebody finds a way to order them, I am interested 🙂

Bonnie 13 April, 2014 - 4:43 pm

What a FABULOUS, DETAILED REVIEW AS ALWAYS!!! I can see this being another “Brush Bible” for many of us! What a beautiful mix of brushes you have there and even though I’m not a MUA, I agree with every one of your criteria for the kit! I know of your love for white goat hair brushes, so it was very interesting seeing how that criteria separated your J series 🙂

Sweet make up temptations 13 April, 2014 - 9:18 pm

Hi Bonnie!! How is your Japan haul doing? being unwrapped ?
I am really happy you agree! for sure you know of my love for white brushes 😀 enjoying the J series for home use but I may get a few for cream products. So far I am really happy with this selection and it will last me a while !!
thank you!! gosh you are all leaving so nice comments I don’t know what to say! o_O

Ann C. 13 April, 2014 - 5:04 pm

Thank you for sharing these tips for a professional kit Sonia! As always, superb details. Im excited for your new/renovated studio as well.. It will go well for your training!

Sweet make up temptations 13 April, 2014 - 9:20 pm

I am really excited too, finally! I have been waiting for a year and now it’s only a few days away (well then I can start doing the walls and the roof… but at least I can start and it will only depend on myself – and my bf…)
I am also starting to look at the pro magazines for furniture ! it’s really overwhelming!

argiro 13 April, 2014 - 6:39 pm

Sonia!! I love your blog,i trust your review. I really like your work.I love to have a cup of coffee with you and a “brush talk”.i see you as my friend.

Sweet make up temptations 13 April, 2014 - 9:22 pm

Hi Argiro, anytime you want! where do you live ? maybe I will be close since I will be travelling quite a lot this year 🙂

argiro 14 April, 2014 - 5:42 pm

I live in Greece(town:thessaloniki).And …..Summer is close!!!

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 9:21 pm

ok so I hope I am travelling to Greece one of these days but if you come to Switzerland before let me know 🙂

Kathi 13 April, 2014 - 6:45 pm

Not my first time visiting your wonderful site by far, but
first time commenting. At seventy one, I am gaining
so much from you, and am delighted that you mention
brushes for very tender skin like mine. I have no problems
except for extremely dry and sensitive skin. Brushes are
very important, and I appreciate your suggestions.
Bless your little heart….you are a wealth of information,
and a complete joy.
Thank you, Sonia

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 12:25 pm

Hi Kathi,
how sweet of you, thank you very much for your comment! I am very happy that you commented because you are the reason why I want to take this passion one step further and do the professional training.
I want to help and meet people like you so you cannot even imagine how much your reaction means to me.
When I met the school director and told her why I wanted to do it, she was very touched and told me it was a beautiful reason 🙂
bless you for being here with us!
much love to you and warm hugs from Switzerland!

Young Kim 13 April, 2014 - 7:05 pm

Hi Sonia. Im girl from Korea and I visit here very often. Despite of my broken english, I couldnt resist commenting. Ur informations are very helpful and exclusive.i purchased every single brush based on ur recommendation and loving them so much. U brought such joy to my life. Am waiting for ur new hg list of brushes! Thank u so much <3

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 12:28 pm

you make my day! I did not know I could bring joy to so many of you, I am really grateful 🙂
The hg list changes every day so I will have to split them into several categories, this was the professional kit one!
my pleasure!! <3

212kiki 13 April, 2014 - 7:21 pm

i’m so excited for you to become a make-up artist.
And yes i think what feels the best for yourself (squirrel) can’t be used that much for professional work because it can’t blend that good and can’t stand too harsh cleaning,
For yourself its often more a brush therapy when you use ultra soft brushes. But also they can often do a nice work too.
But I think in your kit are a lot of brushes which you like for yourself too because they do awesome work because they are the perfect middle and do fast good work in the morning too 😀
I wish you the best and have fun with becoming a prof. artist.

212kiki 13 April, 2014 - 8:46 pm

Ohh and your room !!! Hope its ready soon i want pics when its ready 😀 Are your furnishings and “color concept” for this room ready planned ? I love love to do things like that for my room.
I also do this a bit at work but sadly only hospitals not nice brush addict rooms hahahah 😀
Go go bring all your brushes in safety !

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 12:50 pm

ok… I will take pics before and after, I told them not to come today because I couldn’t manage to move the dresser so I still have tonight to take a pic.. it’s absolutely horrible (no walls and cables going everywhere) so so scary!

color concept, you know the site banner green (like a lime green) well since I have a few things that color, it could be laquered white, with some of that green and maybe lacquered red (but I think it’s too italian hahhaha) so maybe purple ?
either way, Japanese style with a lot of white and green but this can change 😀 I haven’t chosen the roof yet neither the wall painting..
I am having my bf customize some shelves for the brushes, that’s for sure, the shelves are often too deep so I want them to be just deep enough for one range of brushes then add some lights 🙂
Can you use color-concept in the hospital rooms ? 🙂 what is a very calming color ?

212kiki 14 April, 2014 - 6:02 pm

Oh cool your BF will make some customized brush furniture for you that sounds awesome !
I think I would go for a simple color for them like white and go for some eyepatch parts on the wall with lime green and decoration in red ?
But a lime brush furniture also sounds great and keep the rest simple. But since changing the wall color is more easy than with your furniture i you may better go the safe way …
If you need any help in drawing your furniture or room sketches into CAD let me know I would be glad if I can help but I think your both skills are great with that 😀

Most green colors are calming. When I moved to my small apartment last year I painted a wall in dark jade green, looks nice and “elegant” but I wouldn’t choose too dark colors for a smaller room.
I was very worried if it looks too dark but with one wall it’s ok 😉

The lime green is very popular at moment. Our last hospital project was a operation area and we made it with a lime green and grey floor, white and light yellow walls and gloss white furniture and two areas with lime green wall tiles 😉
Often there is a “special taste” and we can’t decide much how it should look…

Julia Laidler 13 April, 2014 - 8:07 pm

Dear Sonia, thank you for this! Although not a professional, my personal interest is in luxury makeup and therefore in the very best brushes to apply it with. Your comprehensive blog-guide is a wonderfully unique and useful encyclopaedia. And thank YOU for your friendship. cautiousferocious xx

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 12:33 pm

hey hello Julia!! I know who you are now 😀
my collection took a monster dimension! sometimes I am scared of it but I am glad I can help you all 😉
yep, working on a sort of encyclopaedia 😀 I wish I had more time but that is quite the problem right now… sad!
it’s my pleasure, you are truly amazing!

midnitedesire 13 April, 2014 - 8:28 pm

Great choice of brushes and great tips, you have amazing eyes, Sonia 😉

Have fun and good luck may the makeup gods be with you! 
Please share more of your talent and pics with us if you can! 😉

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 12:35 pm

Thank you Tesla, I wish I could calm down and go forward without loosing my mind, I am so excited that it’s probably going to be a very crazy funny process!
Of course I will share 😀

Christy 13 April, 2014 - 9:54 pm

This is really helpful–thank you! “pissed” is pretty mild in American English, at least in the Northeast. I believe it means “drunk”/”intoxicated” in Great Britain, though 😀

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 12:55 pm

you’re welcome!
all right! in that case the word pissed wasn’t strong enough 😀
how many times I told my UK friends I was “pissed” !! maybe they think I was just drunk or on drugs o_O oh well… 😀 I probably should add a “off” after “pissed” to make it correct!!
I knew this blog would help me with my English! yeah!!

Kay 13 April, 2014 - 10:49 pm

Amazing post and list of brushes! I appreciate the reasons why you selected each, so very thorough and thoughtful of you. 🙂

Although I do makeup only on myself, now I want to get some of the brushes you selected for your kit….and I thought my collection was complete! LOL

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 12:57 pm

Glad it helps Kay!
I know! I can be a bit evil sometimes! sorry 😉 let me know if you add some!

Dena 13 April, 2014 - 11:16 pm

Brilliant post, Sonia!

I also find I use different brushes in my kit than on myself, and I agree that kit brushes need to be more efficient and have all-round functionality.

I use a lot of the brushes you talk about in my kit. Other brushes I use regularly on other people are the 12 & 13 blending brushes by Nars, the Illamasqua blending brushes, smudger brush and eyeshadow brush, the Charlotte Tilbury blending brush, the Smashbox blending brush 10 and definer brush 15, and quite a few Bobbi Brown eye brushes (all except the large blending brush). I also use most of the Real Techniques brushes for jobs, and several MAC 217s. Oh, and I have a few super-cheap C135 brushes by Crown Brush!

The brushes that would be perfect for my kit, but which I can’t bear to part with yet, are the face and eye sets by Wayne Goss.

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 1:02 pm

thank you Dena!
I know! I have to order additional Wayne Goss and additional Rae Morris … not that many but at least to have one for myself…
Thanks for sharing! have you tried the new Nars ? I saw the one that looks like the 12 or 13 and I was tempted but not sure I can stand the roughness, did you try the new crease one?

Dena 17 April, 2014 - 10:36 am

Not yet! Will keep you posted 😉

Carlyn 14 April, 2014 - 5:32 am

Thanks Sonia, I’ve always wanted the Smokie Lid brush and when I saw your tweet that it was again available, I immediately placed my order. It arrived a few days ago and I’m so happy with it. It’s very, very soft but perfectly dense and precise. Just awesome. Thanks for the info.

Great post, I’m excited to hear how your MUA training goes. One day I hope to do the same for fun.

So exciting about your studio too. Hope it progressed quickly and smoothly.

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 1:05 pm

oh is it ?? how cool! I was scared it wouldn’t be…
when I get it I will post comparison pics to the very similar ones 🙂
I am doing it specially for fun because I love my other job that pays for my passion… even if some days… I would switch with pleasure!
will share pics of the studio 🙂 thank you!!

Jeanette 14 April, 2014 - 1:54 pm

I too like the PD smoke lid brush.. It is very soft and a little bit more pointy than the Suqqu S, so you can make a slightly narrower line with it. Just like the Koyudo C011 is a little bit wider than the Suqqu S. But I don’t get the brush hairs in my eyes when I smudge eyeshadow with the PD near my bottom lashes as I do with the other two brushes. That is because I don’t want too thick a line of shadow under the eyes, so I try to put it close to the lashes. And the narrower point on the PD brush makes it easier.

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 9:20 pm

Oh now you kill me! really ? That is going to be amazing!! sounds just perfect 🙂 thank you for the feedback Jeanette!

Jeanette 24 April, 2014 - 11:37 pm

I still prefer the Koyudo BP039 which is thinner and more controllable to me.
I actually just learned that Tamage, which it is made of, means cat hair (hope you cannot get allergy problems from it!): https://en.hakuho-do.co.jp/user_data/learn_material.php

Sweet make up temptations 27 April, 2014 - 9:00 pm

yes it is Tamage, yes some people can be allergic to natural bristles and to some particular ones more than others. That’s a risk of course.

Marlene Maher 14 April, 2014 - 5:38 am

Sonia, thank you so much for the detailed information you post about makeup brushes. I’m 65 and never knew there was so much to learn about the brushes. I enjoy reading all your blogs and certainly trust your opinion. Thanks again! You’re wonderful!

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 1:08 pm

Thank you for being here Marlene, please stay with me! it’s a real pleasure that this passion is shared by so many wonderful souls 🙂
lots of love!

Audrea 14 April, 2014 - 7:00 am

Im not a professional I just play one at home!! Ha Ha! Im new to face brushes. Always used my fingers. But niw my skin is maturing (dont like it one bit!)& my fingers are not cutting it. I’ve got large pores an blackheads seem to be drawn to me! My skin is dry an I have sun spots pretty bad from my younger days of stupidity using tanning beds. 🙁 So I’m very interested in your blogg. Could you maybe sometime do a post on specific skin kinds like dry, oily, combo,an brushes for those types. I dont know if you talk about foundations but that would be another great post. Also what brushes are good for lrg pores an good coverage for sun spots? Always questions! Love your blog!! Thankyou for sharing.
Lynn fr Tx.

Sweet make up temptations 14 April, 2014 - 9:33 pm

I totally get you, I have been there too! silly me!
Actually that’s the whole point of the deeper training that I will follow, to be able to help when it comes to a different type of skin than mine, so I hope that this upcoming training does not benefit only to me, but in a way also to all of you 🙂
I hope I will learn a lot of things, we’ll see… 😀 and I will of course share as I go!

laura 14 April, 2014 - 12:16 pm

Awesome post!! I love how informative your posts are, done with care, much more giving than thousands of other blogs. I love my Chikuhodo G-16. Bought it a couple of weeks ago in Hiroshima, and it’s a great work horse! The bristles are so long I don’t mind the shorter handle, since it’s no the shortest fortunately. I get a good grip of it 😀 Can’t stop wanting Hakuhodo Yachiyo though. G-2 or similar I also neeeed!

From Japanese eyelash curlers, I love using the classic Shu Uemura, since in best case scenario they make my eyelashes curl and look almost fake. But I know Shiseido makes awesome curlers too, they’re in every drugstore and more affordable, maybe the most popular. Have you decided yet when you’ll come to Japan? 🙂

Danielle 16 April, 2014 - 3:38 am

Hi Sonia! I have been reading your blog for several months now and yet this is my first comment. I have always loved makeup and especially brushes! I refer to your blog for your recomendations before purchasing. Over the past year I have acquired many brushes that I would have never known about…and for that I thank you! Even after reading this in depth and informative post I finally ordered the Paula Dorf Smokie Lid brush!!! I have been wanting that brush since first seeing it in action on Lisa Eldridge’s channel. You are an inspiration to so many. If you will be near Lake Tahoe in Northern California I have a lovely guest room with your name on it 😉
Thank you again,

Sweet make up temptations 16 April, 2014 - 7:52 pm

Hello Danielle! thanks for leaving me your comment and I hope this is the first of many 🙂
I know! me too! Lisa just made me want it so so bad!
California is on my wish list 🙂 It was on it 3 years ago and I nearly went there, even bought the travel guides but then my trip got postponed and never happened at the end.
For sure I will remember that and contact you if I go 🙂

It’s my pleasure as always 🙂

Anna 16 April, 2014 - 7:21 am

Thank you Sonia! Another great and informative post!

I’m also not a proffessional MUA, but I’ve got some brushes in my collection, which are just “effective”. Not brushes for petting the whole time, but brushes which do their work fast. T Leclerc Crease brush is one of these, if you can get your hand on – go for it, it’s cheap and great!

You really inspire us, Sonia! 15 min after reading your post, 212kiki and I ordered the pink fan – I’m not kidding! It was on my wishlist for ages…I already have the H012 (love!), so I thought I could skip the pink one, but after reading this post – I know better now 😉

212kiki 16 April, 2014 - 11:13 am

We are truly little lemmings !!
Sonia is the guru lemming which we follow over the cliff of finding the best brushes 😉
But the difference between normal lemmings and brush lemmings is a small but important fact, we will be in brush Heaven with the most awesome brushes in all ways and the normal lemmings….

Sweet make up temptations 16 April, 2014 - 8:21 pm

ok I will Ana, Leclerc is on the list 🙂
oh you did ? 😀 I had it for so so many months in my cart without purchasing it, I regret I waited so long 🙂
The pink and the other one which is a blend with squirrel/goat… waw they are both so cute and so nice to use!
thanks for the feedback and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!!

Melissa 17 April, 2014 - 8:52 am

Wooo hooooo Sonia!!! Im so freakin EXCITED abt yr new adventure!!!! It would be AWESOME if u could do a make over and pls feel free to use ALL yr brushes on me 🙂 🙂

Your kit looks divine. Who wouldnt want those babies on their face.
Your future clients are very lucky to have u as their MUA. They’d be having brushgasms all the time when you’re working on them. LOOOLL

Cant wait to see yr work!!!! Good luck and HAVE FUN girl!!

Jacqueline 19 April, 2014 - 6:05 pm

Such an awesome review and has once again ignited my lust for more brushes! I want to make an order from cdjapan and would appreciate your advice …. I am looking for a multi-purpose powder brush (to replace my scratchy mac one), a kabuki (to replace my mac kabuki), and any other novelty brush from that site… Suggestions? 🙂

Jacqueline 19 April, 2014 - 6:08 pm

Oooooh and maybe a blush brush. HEHE

Wanda 20 April, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Hi 🙂 Great review! I was just wondering is there any reason why you haven’t mentioned any of the Hakuhodo brushes? especially the very expensive S series. Thank you!

Sweet make up temptations 21 April, 2014 - 6:38 pm

Just because I wouldn’t use them on a regular basis (the S series), they are very delicate (the handles) and could get damaged if used too regularly.
The J series are fantastic, it’s absolutely not a problem to use them on a daily basis, I just prefer darker options.
The other Hakuhodo series (B and G) are really nice too but I prefer to use them for personal use, it’s just a matter of preference. There are many truly fantastic for professionals for sure!

Wanda 24 April, 2014 - 6:03 am

Hello 🙂
Thank you for your reply!
I’m a makeup artist and it’s important for me to buy brushes that will last and unfortunately a lot of brands fall apart and/or the hair becomes scratchy after few months of use.
Would you recommend purchasing Rae Morris’ new brush set for a makeup artist?

Kind regards,

Sweet make up temptations 27 April, 2014 - 9:06 pm

Hi Wanda,
yes absolutely! the Rae Morris set is fantastic for a professional. YOu have to get used to the magnets though 🙂 but the use of the brushes is effortless!

Rmeme 20 April, 2014 - 10:58 pm

Hi Sonia,

Really,really but REALLY ENJOYING YOUR POSTS!!!!
I am an ” afficciomada” to makeup and brushes ( very basic) and enjoy your attention to detail and precision when describing, I have registered in the forum too but too shy/ or inexpert ,I am afraid.
Love this topic from today,
On another topic, I would also be interested in getting or being able to get that black pouch from Picasso .
ifrom here : http://www.piccasso.co.kr/shop/shopdetail.html?branduid=463323&xcode=&mcode=&scode=&GfDT=bm11W1w%3D
I am interested too , if you know how to do /. Get it – maybe Thanks to some reader….- would you Share, please?
Hope my english doesnt sound too broken, big hugs and thank y in advance

Sweet make up temptations 21 April, 2014 - 6:34 pm

Thank you Rmeme, so sweet of you!
Ok, I count you in 🙂
Will send you all more info when I get my first “test” order, to make sure it worked and to know exactly the price and the shipping!
Big hugs to you 🙂

Freckle Gal 25 April, 2014 - 6:25 am

Are there any brushes that you’d particularly recommend for use on hooded eyes?

Sweet make up temptations 27 April, 2014 - 8:59 pm

I love this video, it’s very helpful, then you can maybe try to find softer brushes but with similar shapes.
I love the wayne Goss and Rae Morris, both options are the ones I use with my hooded and sensitive eyes…

Jeanette 30 April, 2014 - 8:20 am

Here is a link to a video of Lisa Eldridge where she mentions best brushes for hooded eyes: http://www.lisaeldridge.com/video/25422/smokey-look-for-hoodedmature-eyes/#.U2CVv_l_uBY
I personally like to also have some smaller brushes to do detail work to get the right colour in “the folds” 😉

icegirl ventura 2 May, 2014 - 2:31 pm

Yo soy una enamorada del maquillaje y las brochas y creo firmemente que las buenas herramientas hacen lucir una sombra low cost como si fuera de alta gama. Además de cuidar la piel y hacer las aplicaciones más fáciles. Me encanta independientemente que sea para profesionales o personales pero si que es importante que un profesional cuente con todas las opciones que has comentado. Desde natural y sintético por el tema de las alergias que comentabas, es verdad también que la excesiva suavidad hace más difícil muchas veces el trabajo y eso lo he notado cuando uno una 217 que raspa un poco más. Sin embargo siempre tiro ya por lo suave, me hace muchísimo daño una brocha dura y rasposa. Me he apuntado varias, lo que no me ha quedado claro es la herramienta final, el lápiz de Paula Dorf, le pones el algodón o es una cera correctora?


Sanikki 13 May, 2014 - 6:09 am

I am not a professional mua but I value your opinion in choosing the right brush to give me a flawless finish and create a great look.

Sweet make up temptations 14 May, 2014 - 8:55 am

Thank you Sanikki, very very much appreciated <3

Tracy 28 August, 2014 - 11:28 am

Hi Sonia,

About the Chikuhodo G2…..is the new version’s brush head exactly the same as the old one?

Really wish I bought the G2 since I am not a fan of short handles. If the new one is not the same as before, then I can consider that money saved.

Much appreciated for sharing your time and knowledge with us.


Sweet Make-Up Temptations 31 August, 2014 - 8:46 pm

Hello Tracy, thank you !! my pleasure to share 🙂
It’s not exactly the same brush and I am like you, I much prefer longer handles.
I have some pics on facebook so you can have a closer look:

Emily 5 January, 2015 - 12:59 am


I am a professional and I’ve found this list extremely helpful in stocking brushes for my kit. However, do you have any suggestions for professionals who set with translucent loose powders? We generally use powder puffs or cosmetic wedges to press the powder into the skin, but with those applicators it can be difficult to control the amount of product picked up and deposited. It’s very frustrating for me, as I work in a very humid climate where setting powder is absolutely necessary but too much can easily cake throughout the day. If you can think of any brush suggestions to help, I’d very much appreciate it.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 5 January, 2015 - 9:41 am

Hi Emily,

I get you 100%, I experience the same issue and I have puffs mostly for deco… 😉
My recommendations would go towards this brush http://raemorris.com/products/brush-21-mineral-buffer
I feel it’s the perfect brush for your needs, it’s dense but controllable, doesn’t pack too much and is still aery and flexible enough to allow control on the product. It’s also easy to tap off any excess or to either use as stippling or buffing or even flicking away the excess product, only issue is if you have to use it in very small corners since it’s quite big, I have no issues with it at all but we are all different so I hope you see what I mean 🙂
There are many other similar ones (flat or concave shapes) but I often find them way to dense to work in stages, if too dense it would pack way too much to start with.
I hope this helps you, please keep me posted 🙂

Emily 6 January, 2015 - 5:21 am

Thank you for the response! I’m a little concerned about including a 100% squirrel brush in my professional kit because it would need to be deep cleaned and sanitized pretty frequently, as well as the cost and extra care that needs to be taken to avoid contact with oil…as of right now I don’t include any squirrel fibers in my kit. I hate to trouble you. I really value your opinion as someone with first hand experience with a huge variety of brushes, and I’d appreciate a suggestion that’s more durable if you can provide it.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 18 January, 2015 - 8:08 pm

Hi Emily, thanks for your feedback, sorry for the delay, just a few more weeks and my life will be back to normal!
Well, you should not be worried since Rae Morris is a make-up artist and she uses it for her work, these are thicker-type and more enduring squirrel bristles, not the same kind you find on Chikuhodo Z-series or other very delicate series. But I understand you, if you want something for example with goat brisltes, check the Koyudo Purin series, http://sweetmakeuptemptations.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/purin.jpg full post here with more pics: http://sweetmakeuptemptations.com/2012/12/28/a-few-koyudo-brushes/
I prefer to use flat brushes that aren’t overly dense for setting with powder, and in your case, I would definitely go for that pink Koyudo then.
Other options that are also really good for professionals are the Chikuhodo G or GSN series, for example this : http://www.visageusa.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&manufacturers_id=14&products_id=127 although it won’t be as soft as the Koyudo or the Rae but it’s nice goat hair and these series are meant to be designed for make-up artists.
I hope this helps you … 🙂


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