Home Brushes BRUSH AWARDS OF 2015


by Sonia G.

My friend Novy tagged me on Instagram to share my 2015 brush awards, since I  already had a little post planned on this topic I’ll just publish it! 🙂 There is another post coming on specific favourite brushes of 2015, but that one will be up in a few days, I have narrowed it down to the very minimum brushes while giving both a great affordable option and a synthetic one to each one of my top favs.

Today, these brush related awards are given to the most stunning discoveries or revelations of this past year and I would love you to share your own discoveries and your awards in the comments, it’s time to share some love for our fluffies and our favourite brands!

🏆 Best Brush Set(s) of the Year Award goes to: 

I am not fan of brush sets usually, when somebody asks me “what brush set do you recommend?” I prefer when possible to make recommendations on a per brush per purpose basis. Just a few weeks ago I have received an email to help a photographer find the best brushes for her girlfriend, first thing he told me is that he did not care that the handles did not match. So, he sent me the pictures of what she was using as make-up together with his first brush selection, then I confirmed or added the names of the brushes I thought were the best for her. When she will receive her present, her first reaction will probably be “WTH?” but I warned him and he just does not care about that, then he said that for his photo equipment he did exactly the same, he just picks whatever parts are the best, not because they were from the same brand or model. This summarizes why I don’t like the question “what is your favorite brand or set?” because all brands have their best and less good options, that will depend of your technique, skin, products and preferences.

Preferably, a “brush set” should cover the most possible functionalities, from precision application to blush, powder and it’s a bonus if it also covers contour, even if not all of those tasks are 100% achieved perfectly, they should do the job nicely and cover the most basic needs with a reasonably price that matches the quality. You may have different criteria than me which is absolutely perfectly fine, but this is my criteria to define if a set is a award material.

CHIKUHODO Lumiere set Noel 2015

Chikuhodo released this limited edition set with a great combination of brushes and a gorgeous design, they aren’t (all) exact copies of the current series so I enjoyed getting something a bit different in this set this year.


Wayne Goss the Collection 

This set also includes a foundation brush and 7 additional brushes of excellent quality and multipurpose, although I even prefer the goat tea dyed bristles of his other brushes, this set is a wonderful combination.


🏆 Best brush discovery of the Year Award goes to:

LAM SAM YICK Kolinsky brush

Discovered by my friend Novy during her visit to Lam Sam Yick, a 100% Kolinsky brush that is a very uniquely crafted piece. Please check Novy’s Instagram for more info on this beauty. I wanted to get the Shu Uemura 15 but I could not find it anywhere so this will replace my lemming for that Shu. It is VERY expensive (I think approx 400 euros) but it is something really different.


KOYOMO brushes 

With their ancient goat hair, they surpass many similar grade brushes in terms of softness and quality, the design is unique, not my fav handles for a daily use but they couldn’t be more traditional, very extreme and an absolute collector’s item.

Review here.

🏆 Best Overall performance Award goes to: 

Wayne Goss

I have no words to say how much I enjoy his brushes, the material, the shape, the quality, the results, the value for money, everything about them is absolutely amazing, they should be in everyone’s collection, beginner, professional or creative nutcase, every single person should find happiness with these brushes, the eye or the face ones, all are excellent.

I have 5 reviews on his brushes so just search for wayne goss on the top right of the main page and you’ll get the links.



Brushes on steroids guys, crazy soft and dense, where softness doesn’t kill functionality. They are on the expensive side though, last year I finally splurged and I don’t regret it.

Reviews here and here and I have more since my last review but I haven’t featured them all yet.

🏆 Out of Budget Award goes to:

Kashoen Royal brushes 

We all have lemmings, sometimes way out of our budget, the probability of getting even one of these for me is below 0%, I will never be able to, but they will always be in my wildest brush dreams. Who knows, maybe one day I will get “just” one 😀 but it will be a customized Royal brush, not as expensive as the real Royal handles, I started saving for it and even if it won’t be a real Royal it will be truly amazing.

By the way, I don’t know what they recently did to their website but the Royal series are not browsable at the moment… can’t even allow myself to drool on them anymore 😀

🏆 The Must Have Award goes to:

Wayne Goss

Easy one, I still cannot understand why some of you (specially brush lovers and collectors) don’t own at least a few! These brushes are a necessary step, imho before getting a thousand dollar brush, you have to get at least some of these, these are bare necessities and we should not underestimate  them! They could be  awarded in all categories, seriously amazing.


🏆 Craftsmanship Award goes to:

This is a tricky category because we know how good the artisans of Kumano (Japan) are, so all of them truly deserve an award, maybe you have also noticed that they are becoming more and more daring and creative and this is very promising.


We shall not forget that they are behind some of our fav brands even if they don’t want to make that public. I admire their craftsmanship and this past year they released some gorgeous new brushes, also extreme S100 series that I am totally crazy about. I asked them to include some of their Limited Edition holiday brushes into their current line but that seems so difficult, I wish they would have a more flexible management and even come up with more creations. I believe they have a defined bandwidth when it comes to production and maybe certain constraints which don’t allow that but I often open their website and click on “New items” just to check if some more have been added 🙂


A big gorgeous award for their handles, they are so freaking unique and I wish I could own them all! As long as you don’t want the most extreme soft brushes then you found yourself a gold mine of precious craftsmanship.


They are not known enough but they deserve love and respect, their brushes are expensive but there is true insane craftsmanship behind all of them!
I will be featuring them more in the future and if you want more reviews, please let me know.
Takeda are close to their customers and this is something we can be very grateful for.


Not only craftsmanship but creativity, when their President starts creating something unique we can already start preparing our wallets! this always end in sudden splurge!
They released a gorgeous collection of white canadian squirrel brushes, the Fuwafuwa and many other special brushes very collector oriented.  I wish they could make their handles longer though!

🏆 Innovation Award goes to:

Rae Morris, with her Magnet collection and accessories, something I thought I wouldn’t enjoy at the beginning but after having used her brushes for a long time and very regularly, I am absolutely delighted, always perform to expectations and I believe there is no one who will inspire you like she does, she is a goddess with so much power in her hands!

🏆 Ultimate Facegasm Award goes to:

Koyudo Saibikoho brushes

This is a special category just for Novy because to be very honest, I am more drawn towards efficiency and results than softness but I do need a brush to be very soft, when both specs are combined then I can admit there is facegasm!

The Saibikoho make-up brushes are the best (and most expensive) option when it comes to soft brushes…


so, with regards to results, I had them make a little round blush brush with this material and I can only say that this is my fav blush brush of all times, this one is softer than the Suqqu and still super efficient, I am so thrilled with it that I can’t even look sane when I use it or talk about it 😀 You don’t want to know the price, it’s scary, this brush is 70k JPY… (approx 600$), but there are similar options with more affordable prices, for example a Tanseido or even the Suqqu, now the Suqqu looks kinda cheap in comparison 😀


🏆 Best synthetic brush Award goes to:

With synthetic brushes I cannot say I love many from the same brand but a few of them are true gems, so even though it would be more appropriate to mention these in my fav brushes of 2015, I had to include some synthetic in my awards, more details in my upcoming reviews which will be very soon published.

I have just one issue with synthetic brushes when they have high price tags, they shouldn’t be so expensive, even though their life span may be longer than natural brushes, they still are machine made with much cheaper materials which could not even be comparable to artisan made brushes in terms of production costs.

Marc Jacobs (review in the making)

The conceal brush is a brush that I need in my life, fantastic shape, dense, follows every angle and blends softly and flawlessly. I have one for concealer and one for cream shadow.


Hourglass (review in the making)

Specially number 3, impressed and loving it to pieces. One of the rare synthetic brushes that I actually enjoy with powder but this one is a fun multipurpose.


🏆 Best “value for money” Award goes to:

Wayne Goss

Again, you cannot get any better at this price, some are featured in my top favs.


Koyomo Pink Set

Review here, such a catch! So soft, a precious little set and the great thing is that you can purchase the brushes individually!


🏆 Best “accessories” Award goes to:

The best for the end… This is not awarded to a professional brand, this is awarded to two special friends who are talented beyond imagination and who create items so beautifully crafted that they leave me speechless. Who wants or needs to purchase accessories when you can have access to their creations?? These two girls deserve such a big fat award that I have to mention them here and give them a standing ovation!


She creates with her imagination, she is inspired by the stars and all things around her. She designs clothes, she draws, paints, she even makes toys for cats! She made a toy for our cat Shadow and she also made me this stunning brush pouch:



She loves Japan and kimono fabric, she buys and recycles its fabric to create brush rolls and accessories sawn to perfection! I can’t have enough of them and she knows that! So insanely precious!


It’s not easy to find beautiful brush rolls and since I love brushes so much I am really ecstatic when I receive gorgeous accessories like these.


More brands and brushes will be featured in my favorite brushes post, still working and struggling to narrow it down to the very minimum, so far I think I am doing ok 🙂

I wish you a fantastic New Year, plenty of new gorgeous brushes and I thank you for reading me 🙂

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Novy 2 January, 2016 - 7:05 pm

Wheeeeeee THANK YOUUUU my sweet Brush Queen for the ultimate Facegasm Award 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Well yeah u know me so well! When it comes to facegasm it doesn’t require much functionality for me LMAO 🙂 🙂 🙂
I can’t wait to explore 2016 discoveries!!! Hope I’ll be able to bring u some gems again soon 🙂
Love you

Sonia G. 2 January, 2016 - 7:23 pm

Oh I am so looking forward to more discoveries! can’t wait!
I am more than convinced that 2016 will be even more exciting, and you have so many trips planned already 🙂 but there is one trip you cannot miss, you have to come here!!!
love you!

Raquel 27 January, 2016 - 11:20 pm

Want to try out Artis Brushes? They look super cool!

Mindy 4 January, 2016 - 2:44 am

I do have some Wayne Goss brushes and love them to pieces! I have the 13 face brush and the 4 and 19 eye shadow crease brushes. It’s a wonderful little start for me. I use them all the time and they are just brilliant in every aspect. I couldn’t ask for anything more and what you get for the price is simply amazing. Now that I have added some Hakuhodo brushes to my collection, I really am in brush heaven!

Thanks for your wonderful reviews, your passion for makeup brushes and your detailed, informative recommendations!

You are the best!

Stacey 2 January, 2016 - 7:06 pm

Qusavi my favorite for the handles.

Jeanette 2 January, 2016 - 9:14 pm

Great review as always, Sonia!
And there are quite a few that go on my wishlist.
I’m one of the people without a Wayne Goss brush (shame on me!!!). If you should recommend three to start with, which ones would you recommend?

Sonia G. 6 January, 2016 - 8:44 pm

Hey Jeanette, hahaha 😀 it depends what products you use, for me for example I use the 13 a lot for Suqqu, RMK, IPSA blushes, then the 12 for contour (it’s very dense so the contour powder has to be lightweight, for example RMK is great, Kevin Aucoin is less good because it’s so pigmented but I do like an accentuated contour anyway so I really love the 12), the 11 is the safest one as it is less dense but more unique would be the 12 or 13.
For the eyes, all of them are absolute must-have, I would definitely start with the 17, 18, 19 first. You will really love them!!

Lisa 3 January, 2016 - 12:58 am

Happy new year, Sonia. I have Takeda’s extra fine goat foundie, CS blush and highlight. The foundie gives the best finish. I like Wayne Goss’ brush 10 too. These are the only two foundies I keep. I gave GSN-5 (it’s prickly on my skin) , Fu Pa 13p and Rae Morris’ Radiance 27 away.
I also gave most my goat powder brushes away, keeping only the pink Koyomo. I will stick with red squirrel, grey squirrel and CS. Though I was very tempted by the saibikoho set (and White CS) but I decided to forgo them. I do not like to have brushes, or anything in general, that I can’t use because they are too precious.

Sonia G. 6 January, 2016 - 8:49 pm

Thank you Lisa 🙂 Happy new year to you sweetheart!
oh I have it too the Takeda, do you have the flat-ish one ?
I get you, it’s a shame to have things that are too precious to use, then once they end their life span the feeling we have is so frustrating and sad! I consider life is short and I use every single thing I have even if it’s precious, once I was started, it gets a bit more “normal” but when I see a chip on a Hakuhodo S100 the feeling is excruciating!
Thank you for your comment, I am happy to read that you are using Takeda 🙂

Lisa 8 January, 2016 - 9:54 am

Yes, I have the takeda paddle brush. Was wondering if I should get the fuller one since I prefer to stipple. Wayne’s brush 10 does a very job of it. So may be when one of my two brushes give up on me I will get the fuller takeda one.

Shusheshe 3 January, 2016 - 3:52 am

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on Lam Sam Yick brushes…they are a Taiwanese company who started off in making calligraphy brushes but in recently started making makeup brushes. I’ve purchased their lower end 500 series before and find them fairly good value for price. Obviously you’ve gone for their higher and 900 series and I’d like to read a review before shelling out for them.

Sonia G. 6 January, 2016 - 9:00 pm

Hi Shusheshe,
I don’t have that many thoughts to be honest on the rest of their collection, one day I was about to order a few “lower end” and for some reason the website was not working for some reason, not taking me to my basket, then I just abandoned. I have some friends who have a few and they seem to like them.
I met Koyudo and they are kind of related, I understood their presidents are very good friends… actually LSY has some of their brushes made by Koyudo but I would have to go deeper into the investigation because I haven’t been that informed on what series are made where.
You may want to connect with Novy (I mentioned her instagram account in this post) as she has visited them during her Taiwan trip and she knows them quite well now. I have a 900 series that I got at Koyudo’s by the way.
If I managed to place an order I will definitely post about them 🙂

Silvia 8 January, 2016 - 2:53 pm

Sonia, there is a Koyudo Makie 7-Brush Set Special in CD Japan available from today made with Squirrel and rabbit. To my eyes looks very similar to LYS 902 face brush :)) Nice set but the makie flowers dunno…not my cup of tea.

Silvia 3 January, 2016 - 9:31 am

Ohh I was so waiting for this post! XD my 2015 award is for your blog, a great discovery except for my wallet hehe I checked for the Shu 15 online for you, but in SHA they don’t have the kolinky brushes available online, will check in stores and will keep you in mind if I find it 🙂
Its very hard to pick my favourites in 2015…probably Tanseido YSC17 and EQ28 (love Tanseido full stop), Koyudo Red squirrel (can’t beat red squirrel softness), Koyudo BP006 (simple look but awesome great value brush) and Tom Ford bronzer (the only brush my mom said: esta brocha sí es bonita. Maybe cause I didn’t tell her the price tag hahaha) Can’t wait for 2016 new brushes 🙂 Happy 2016 to all brush lovers!!

Sonia G. 6 January, 2016 - 9:05 pm

Silvia, let me tell you if you find that brush (even a sample or an old one) them I will make sure that you will be duly compensated !!!
I would like to order more Tanseido, that YSC17 is just fantastic!
hahaha yeah… don’t tell your parents how much they cost, they may not be so supportive 😀
one day my mum saw my drawers and she asked my dad to guess how many brushes I had (with her eyes like big plates) : “SABES CUANTAS BROCHAS TIENE!!???”
my dad : “No sé…. 10 ??? ” ya ves… mejor que piense que solo tiengo diez…

Happy New year to you sweetie !!! <3

zu 3 January, 2016 - 6:53 pm

Sonia, what a great post. I just discovered your blog and I am so happy for that. Very informative and I love your style of reviews. Fun reading with just enough details and never boring. I am not a MUA I am just a makeup junkie who has a fulltime job as an Information Technology professional. Makeup takes my mind off of my busy profession, and it’s like a therapy for me. Lately my interest for brushes increased a lot. I am almost 50. I don’t know if one’s sensitivity to brushes increases with age or not but mine definitely did. Until this year I used sigma (natural), real techniques and IT cosmetics brushes. Some of the brushes were feeling little scratchy and I was still not really planning to get anything else. Then I came across Viseart eye shadow palettes on holiday special with 3 ESUM brushes for free on Muse Beauty Pro website. Once I tried those brushes I couldn’t go back to anything else. They had an eye shadow brush set on special later and I also purchased that. They are expensive with their original price but not as expensive as any of the Japanese brand brushes. When they were on holiday special it looked like a steal and I grabbed a set. Since then I also added a few face brushes to my set. I don’t have any other high end brushes and definitely no Japanese brushes so I can’t compare but they are extremely soft and grab and apply powder products like a dream. I couldn’t find a lot of reviews for them and thinking probably because they were mostly being used by professionals. Wondering if you know that brand and have any opinion. Wayne Goss brushes are in my wish list and cost a little more than I want to spend on makeup brushes. I gambled a $80 dollar this year on a Beautylish lucky bag and hoping I will see some quality brushes including Wayne Goss in it.

I do have a question: Sarah’s and Olga’s brush bags look awesome and they really deserve that award. Do they sell their products?

Sonia G. 6 January, 2016 - 9:21 pm

Hi Zu, another IT here 😀 how cool!
Unfortunately I don’t know ESUM at all I am sorry! I do my best to try other brands but my budget is also limited so when I have to make a choice I often go for what I already know 🙂 … I should try some of other brands and I recently did, I will share more reviews in the near future.
Definitely if you find a true shape that you love, it’s good to see what equivalent you could find on Wayne Goss for example, and at least try one 🙂
Oh.. please let me know what was in the beauty bag! I am crossing my fingers for you!
I sent you a separate email about Sarah and Olga 🙂
Thank you for your fantastic comment, really made my day to read you!
talk to you soon!!

Silvia 8 January, 2016 - 3:04 pm

Hi Sonia! if only 10 brushes XD well…I have some news! I didn’t have time to go to Shu store in downtown, i’ve been pretty busy at work, BUT i´m a Taobao shopper (Taobao is like Alibaba with thousands of sellers with all kinds of surprising items) and I found a seller who has Shu 10. Don’t get too excited because this may turn to be a bad fake brush (this is China after all), but for 9 euro and free shipping to my doorstep, I ordered one. If any chance this is original or a good quality dupe I will send it over to you. 🙂 will update you when I get it. I keep my fingers crossed for you 🙂

Sonia G. 9 January, 2016 - 7:11 pm

Hi Silvia, omg.. do you mean the shu 15?
The one I bought on ebay was fake, paid nearly 200$ but I returned it and I got reimbursed but was worth taking the risk, it looked authentic on the pics, in real life, not that much 😀
but I will definitely buy it, worst case it may be a good dupe, THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!! crossing everything looool

Silvia 10 January, 2016 - 3:43 am

yes, I meant Shu 15, too many brush numbers in my head lol
I thought the same, for such a cheap price it is worth to see how good or bad it is. There are many brush manufacturers in China (Rae Morris brushes are manufactured here but also others) so I still have some hopes for you. I found a magnetic plate same as RM’s in Taobao for 6 euro so I decided to go for it since I ordered my first RM brushes during their 20% off sale. Cant wait to try the Radiance and Ultimate cheekbone!!! All thanks to your amazing reviews dear :)))

Ann C. 4 January, 2016 - 5:13 am

Hello my Queen! I always love reading your posts and reviews. I’m trying to behave and save for your saibikoho ball.
The highlight of my 2015 is being able to really establish friendship with you and the smutties. You know that we love you and we’ll always be here for you. Happy New Year!!!

Silvia 8 January, 2016 - 2:47 pm

Dear, have you seen the KOYUDO Yakusugi Goat saibikoho blush brush with japanese cedar handles available from today in CD Japan? go grab it, there are limited quantities and 25000 JPY, still high price but looks so promising. I cant wait to get my order soon lol

Sonia G. 9 January, 2016 - 7:18 pm

Happy New Year Ann! chatting with you on skype was amazing, just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed that and I wish we can repeat!! hey what about next weekend ? 😀

dusty 7 January, 2016 - 4:55 pm

yes yes more Takeda reviews please xD

Sonia G. 9 January, 2016 - 7:19 pm

cool, noted! on it 😀

Kiss & Make-up 14 January, 2016 - 12:21 pm

I use mainly MAC and Sigma brushes, but I’m going to Japan soon and I intend to pick up a ton of new brushes there. Been wanting to try Japanese brushes for a long time now!

Kylie 12 February, 2016 - 3:07 pm

I literally stumbled on your blog trying to find the perfect makeup brush;

Also, At the exact same minute I’m pretty sure my heart fluttered! So-Many-Choices! Who ever knew!?

So begins the journey of sifting through your blog on a quest to replace my shitty brush collection!
Thank you for your hard work! Stay Amazing! 🙂

Sonia G. 5 April, 2016 - 11:06 pm

😀 😀 hi Kylie, indeed, there are so many possibilities that writing about them could take an eternity 😀
please stay with me 😀 hugs!

Raglo 1 April, 2016 - 4:18 pm

Awww, thank you so much for the shoutout Sonia! I come back here whenever I’m feeling under-appreciated and need my ego stroked =D

Sonia G. 5 April, 2016 - 11:02 pm

hahaha 😀 thank you again!! it’s such a beauty!

Shirayuki 22 January, 2017 - 11:40 pm

Hi Sonia, please do more Takeda reviews! I love their EXS goat hair 🙂

Sonia G. 27 January, 2017 - 12:52 pm

Hi Shirayuki,

On my list it goes 🙂


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