The Sheer Buffer has been specially designed for those of us who love a lightweight diffused application of cream bronzers – or other cream products.
It’s a stippling brush with two layers of bristles, the top layer picks up the product and the bottom layer buffs the product seamlessly onto the skin.
Whether you are stippling or buffing, this brush feels extremely silky. It was a challenge to create a soft, yet strong enough stippling brush and I am extremely happy with the outcome, I think that this brush beautifully fullfills the purpose that it was designed for. I will explain further down what I was aiming for, and what those challenges were in case you are interested.
These are the topics that you will find in this post, please feel free to continue reading or directly jump to the section you are most interested in:
- THE PURPOSE OF THE SHEER BUFFER
- THE BUILD OF THE SHEER BUFFER
- FUNCTIONALITY AND TECHNIQUE WITH THE SHEER BUFFER
- THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
- ADDITIONAL DETAILS AND COMPARISONS
- PAIRING THE SHEER BUFFER WITH PRODUCTS – WHAT TO EXPECT
- IN A NUTSHELL
- AVAILABILITY AND PRICE
THE PURPOSE OF THE SHEER BUFFER
Some stippling brushes are too firm or too directional, others have way too much give or flexibility and we don’t really know how or where the bristles are working. For the intented purpose of this Sheer Buffer brush I needed something just in between.
I have always been looking for a soft stippling brush but that allowed enough control right at the surface, with bristles that splayed out nicely and evenly but still with discipline in the movement.
When we want a soft diffused application, but we love to be in control of the bristles’ flow, this is where the Sheer Buffer is a time saver, it can for example apply a sheer veil of cream bronzer all over, effortlessly, super fast, and without interfering with the foundation application underneath.
I also thought that this more unique design could be of help in specific situations. So many products are incredibly gorgeous but sometimes we miss out on them because the application isn’t straightforward, maybe we need the right brush to facilitate their application and allow us to enjoy those products on a more regular basis.
This was exactly the reason why I wanted this kind of stippling brush: its purpose is to apply, diffuse and blend a cream product when we aim for a sheer application – without the effort of having to tone down or be too cautious with the technique. It’s not a brush for precision application, it’s for a diffused, natural result.
THE BUILD OF THE SHEER BUFFER
The thin bristles that extend further are synthetic fibers developped and manufactured in Japan, they are soft and flexible. This synthetic layer is the stippling surface.
The bristles that are shorter are a mix of synthetic and goat bristles, this layer of bristles is the buffing surface. This buffing surface has a diameter of approx 34mm.
FUNCTIONALITY AND TECHNIQUE
The technique depends on the products you are using, how pigmented or close to your skintone they are, or the placement that you are aiming for.
If the product is much darker than your skintone, you may want to start by touching your product with the stippling surface of the brush just once, then stipple the product onto the skin and check how much product has been deposited. You may need to go back for more product, but upon first use, you need to assess how much product is picked up with one stipple.
If the product is on the dryer side, not very creamy, not very pigmented or not much darker than your skintone, then you can directly swirl the brush onto the product and even put some pressure, this will allow both the stippling and the buffing surface to work with the product and load it onto the brush. Some formulas are drier and need more friction, we just need to adapt the technique and the pressure to suit the product.
The layer of synthetic stippling bristles won’t pick up as much product in comparison to a denser or a flatter brush, but it’s intentional, this is to allow us to apply only the amount of product that we need, gradually build and diffuse the application.
To place or distribute the product onto the skin, we can either stipple or “stipple downwards” (see video below), or directly use circular movements, it depends on the product’s formula and pigmentation.
To blend or buff, we can stipple or do circular movements with the brush, adjust the buffing strength to the product used by using more or less pressure onto the skin.
To place and distribute the product we can stipple it onto the skin.
Or we can stipple the product while making little “downwards” strokes.
We can do circular movements to blend or buff.
The need for a brush like this in my personal routine was really very high and I know many who are looking for this exact functionality too, hopefuly this brush will meet your expectations and fill a gap in your collection!
I have been using this Sheer Buffer almost every single day since I received the final prototype and honestly, today I could not imagine my life without it. Many products that I loved, but didn’t care to use regularly, are now everyday staples just because they have become so effortless to apply.
THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
I have many stippling brushes in my collection, they are wonderful and fun to use, but I needed something slightly different.
I had a clear vision of the results that I wanted to achieve with it, but the whole design process took us a very long time.
For this Sheer Buffer to work the way it does, it has to be just the right amount of stippling bristles, just the right give and density, it needs to flow but the strength of the buffing surface has to be exactly where it needs to be, the bristles need to splay out but only that much, the stippling bristles need to be effective but they also need to flex to let the buffing surface do the buffing.
And it had to be extremely soft! Maybe you have sensitive, dry or flaky skin so you may prefer cream bronzers or cream products and you want a brush that can work with them in stealth mode: very gently and with the fewer strokes possible.
During the development phase, I explained what I wanted to do and gave the master artisan the specs for creating this brush. Depending on the results achieved with the prototypes once received, I would adjust the specs and try again.
This is a little glympe at some of the prototypes done during the development phase, they look similar yet they work in such different ways. While talking about the challenges with this design, my husband suggested that I keep track of the time spent working on this particular brush but honestly, it had been a while since I totally lost track of it.
Designing brushes can be tricky, but this one was in another level. It has so many variables, changing one variable has a direct impact on another. Then, there is all the crafstmanship behind the build of the brush, some techniques need time to be mastered and adapted to innovative designs. To add more complexity to the process, materials evolved in the meantine and offered new possibilities, which was actually really interesting, specially for this type of brush, but it was a long path to finding the one.
Although all these prototypes weren’t quite exactly what I was looking for, they are all incredible, and honestly, having so many brushes to play with is just the most dreamy playground for a fude lover!
We have done so much research and work on this one, but it was worth it, fun, enriching and such an honnor to spend time working side by side with the master artisan.
I design the products from scratch and don’t copy existing designs. This process pushes innovation and keeps the job interesting for both me and the artisans involved. We really appreciate that our customers are willing to support us in this adventure by purchasing quality and innovative products. By buying SoniaG products, you’re enabling us to further innovation and continue to bring you something different and still be here in the longer term! So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!!
I spend many hours, days and months trying to get SoniaG products just perfect – In this case, even after the brush was designed and production on its way, I had prototypes sent to me just to be sure everything was going exactly as I needed it to be.
I wanted to have a brush like this in my collection since the day I started using cream bronzers, for example products like the Chanel Soleil Tan (Bronzer Universel), this was a long time ago! The first sample of this Sheer Buffer dates back to January 2017… more than 6 years ago. I can’t even believe it’s finally here.
ADDITIONAL DETAILS AND COMPARISONS
If you are already familiar with the brushes below, these additional details will give you a better idea of the size and functionality of the Sheer Buffer in comparison to them.
THE THREE BUFFERS IN MY COLLECTION
The Buffer Pro and the Smooth Buffer are designed for the application and buffing of powder products.
The Sheer Buffer has been designed for the application and buffing of liquid and cream products.
The 3 buffer brushes share one common trait: the bristles have flexibility, the surface of these brushes follows the structure of the face and they buff without disturbing the application underneath.
|SHEER BUFFER||BUFFER PRO||SMOOTH BUFFER|
|Diameter of the surface*||~34mm||~37mm||~34mm|
- Buffer Pro and Smooth Buffer are brushes that are more geared towards the finishing sequence of a powder application: to set, to tone down, to smooth out an application for example. The Smooth Buffer is a smaller version of the Buffer Pro, it was designed for those of us who needed the same functionality as the Buffer Pro but to work within a smaller perimeter.
- The Sheer Buffer is designed for cream bronzer or cream blush application, to buff or layer those products and deliver a sheer diffused result.
SHEER BUFFER VS BUFFER PRO
When buffing with this Sheer Buffer you will notice that it adapts nicely to the structure of the face, it has movement. It will remind you of the Buffer Pro if you are familiar with it. The Buffer Pro is designed to apply and buff powder products, the Sheer Buffer is like a counterpart for creams.
The Sheer Buffer vs the Buffer Pro, the latter has just a little bit more density and the bristles are shorter.
The Buffer Pro has a larger diameter at the surface.
If you were to apply and buff creams with the Buffer Pro, its flat surface would deliver a more opaque placement, not always ideal for layering cream products.
In comparison, and depending on the technique used, the stippling surface on the Sheer Buffer only deposits little “dots” of product, then while buffing the dots disappear and the product is diffused effortlessly without moving the foundation underneath.
SHEER BUFFER VS CLASSIC BASE
When working with cream bronzers for example, the Classic Base offers more precision and delivers a heavier application, while the Sheer Buffer allows to easily achieve a more see-through application on a larger area.
SHEER BUFFER VS BASE ONE
I have released two versions of the Base One, they are now discontinued as they were replaced with the Fusion series.
The Base One brushes were both smaller and firmer in comparison to the Sheer Buffer.
OTHER STIPPLING BRUSHES
Some stippling brushes have very long bristles and they tend to splay out quite a lot, others have shorter stippling bristles but then they feel too firm and are too directional. This doesn’t mean they are bad brushes, I just wanted a different kind of stippling brush.
The Sheer Buffer has a generous surface that delivers a very diffused application, but the application still remains super controllable: you know how much you are applying and where you are working.
If you own the Chanel Foundation Blender or the Hakuhodo J4001, the Sheer Buffer does not work in the same way. When you press on the surface of these two brushes, all the bristles bend and splay out. It will feel different on the Sheer Buffer as only the synthetic bristles at the top will flex to let the thicker layer underneath do the buffing.
PAIRING THE SHEER BUFFER WITH PRODUCTS AND WHAT TO EXPECT
The products that initially motivated me to create this stippling brush are cream bronzers and other cream products that I wanted to apply with a sheer coverage, diffused on a larger area.
I will share some examples below, it might help to understand what to expect from this Sheer Buffer depending on the type of products and the results that you are aiming for.
For reference, I have very dry skin, I am a usually “light” or “light+” on most foundations, in Mac I am NW20, in Estee Lauder Futurist a 2N1, Natasha Denona Face Glow a 40, Koh Gen Do Maifanshi a 113 and 123 depending on the season, Chanel N°1 B20.
Chanel Les Beiges – Healthy Glow Bronzing Cream – Soleil Tan – Bronze Universel
Let’s just call this the “Soleil Tan” even though it’s the newer formula and extended name. I have the shades 390 and 395. The shade 395 is much darker, the undertone is more red and cool which I very much prefer. I think this shade is appropriate for any light and medium skintones because you can definitely apply it sheerly and it will look very natural.
Chanel promotes these Bronzing creams paired with a dense brush similar to a foundation brush. These products can be applied with any brush because the light shades are quite sheer, easy to diffuse and even the darker shade can be easily sheered out.
When I apply the 390, I swirl the Sheer Buffer onto the product with more determination in comparison to the 395 which is much darker. With both shades I stipple the product onto the skin and make little downward strokes to diffuse it, then I use circular movements to blend. With the darker shade I will not load as much product onto the brush since it shows more easily.
I apply this Soleil Tan on top of my foundation, if I use a dense brush I need to be careful not to alter the foundation application but the Sheer Buffer will just gently hover on top of the foundation while blending the bronzer, it makes the process a bit faster and more worry free.
Nars Laguna 02 Bronzing Cream
This is a beautiful cream bronzer, it’s just perfect on my skintone, looks fabulous and natural.
I apply this bronzer on top of my foundation and the Sheer Buffer is the perfect tool for this type of bronzer formula, we can build it gradually and it won’t mess with the foundation at all.
To apply it, I touch the bronzer with the brush a couple of times gently, then I stipple it on my face and buff with circular movements. You will see that the synthetic bristles stipple and draw little “dots” with the product when you are placing and stippling the product, this is normal, once you blend the dots are blended out.
Charlotte Tilbury Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer
I have the shade 01 Fair, which is ok for my skintone but it’s a very light bronzer. I have to swirl the brush onto the pan with enough pressure so that both the stippling bristles and the buffing surface both have some product, then I will directly use circular movements to buff this bronzer onto the skin.
Danessa Myricks Waterproof Cream Palette
This is a waterproof cream palette with different shades of browns, I mix the two lighter shades in the palette and use them as a bronzer, countour and additional coverage.
My skin is super dry, I have pores and wrinkles that are easily emphasized with a medium/high coverage foundation so to avoid this issue, I apply a sheer layer of foundation and find other ways to enhance the coverage, for example with this palette.
My favorite way to achieve more coverage is to use these creams on top of my foundation. They add structure and dimension, they don’t add a lot of coverage but they truly make the skin look so much better. This is holy grail material for me. Only issue is that I have to mix the shades and play with them but it’s worth it, unfortunately I didn’t find another product in her range that has this exact same formula and finish.
To apply them, I touch the two lightest pans with the Sheer Buffer, one after the other (first the lightest then the other) and I stipple, then buff in small circular movements.
These creams have a similar feel as the Nars Laguna 02 Bronzing cream, they are not hard on the pans, they are really easy to pick up with any brush.
If you want to work with hard creams, the Sheer Buffer is not the best brush for the purpose, you would need a more firm and dense option. The Classic Base or the Jumbo Base from the Fusion series would be a better alternative.
The Sheer Buffer is not a foundation brush unless you are going for just a light wash of foundation. In that case yes, it makes sense but it depends on the type of formula you are using.
Some friends of mine do not want to wear foundation on a daily basis, it’s too much fuss and coverage for them and they would not feel comfortable. But, they are happy to wear a wash of foundation or better, cream bronzer. They just love a more lightweight application that just enhances their skin without feeling like they have a layer of make-up on, so this brush is perfect for that.
It’s also an option to wear a wash of foundation if you have extremely dry skin as this brush will just layer a subtle veil without putting pressure or friction onto the dry patches.
If you wish for a light to medium coverage, the Jumbo Base will be a better alternative to the Sheer Buffer for foundation application.
I wouldn’t necessarily reach for this Sheer Buffer to apply this kind of hybrid formulas, baked, gelee, etc if I have a different brush at hand. However, that very red shade in the Nars On The Beach palette looks stunning applied with the Sheer Buffer – as long as you don’t want precision but diffused results, it will be just right.
I also tried the Nars baked luminous finishing powders (or other similar products) with the Sheer Buffer brush and for most of them it was a match made in heaven, it depends on the precision and the glow of the powders. I used Nars or Hourglass and the result was subtle and gorgeous but if you need precision and if the powders are too shimmery it will not work because of the large surface and the density of the brush.
To apply this kind of baked gelee formulas (like the Nars), I tap or swipe the brush onto the pan (depends on the formula) and then I stipple and buff.
It’s ok to use the Sheer Buffer with cream blushes, as long as you don’t need a precise application.
You will also need to assess how much product is picked up by the brush upon first use as this will be different with each formula.
If you deposit too much product the Sheer Buffer is not a brush that is going to be capable of sheering out a heavy application.
Its job is to build an application gradually until you are happy with the intensity, and therefore skip the effort of having to eventually sheer it out.
If you are looking for a brush that can apply cream blushes with more precision and control, the Mini Base would be the most appropriate brush from my collection.
The Sheer Buffer can be a gem with some liquid formulas. However, if the liquid formula is a highlighter with shimmer I wouldn’t recommend it at all, you would have a really large area covered with shimmer -unless this is what you are going for.
If it’s a subtle glow type of product that you want to apply on a larger area, then yes absolutely.
For a precise placement, the Mini Base will be a better brush.
I love to use the Sheer Buffer to apply the Charlotte Tilbury Contour Wand because I am not going for a super precise application, my contour area is quite wide so I dot the sponge tip applicator onto the face where I want the most of the product then blend it with the brush.
If the stick formula is hard, it will be very difficult to blend it effectively with the Sheer Buffer.
If you apply the stick directly onto the face and then try to blend, even if the stick formula is on the softer side, it might be tricky, it depends on the product.
However, (and this is one of my favorite things to do with the Sheer Buffer), if you take the stick and stipple it right on the center of the Sheer Buffer and then apply what’s on the brush onto the cheeks, the result is going to be incredibly beautiful, very natural, and automatically blended.
If you want something stronger with more density for the application of harder stick formulas, the Mini Base is the best brush for that purpose.
The Sheer Buffer is not the brush I would use with a powder blush, however, I do reach for it if I don’t have any other brush around me. I used it many times already but it only works if I want to apply a blush that doesn’t require precision, but again, not the brush I would use for powder blush.
Guerlain Meteorites (or similar)
The Sheer Buffer has enough airiness to dive into the Meteorites and pick up a good amount of product in between the bristles and onto the flatter buffing surface.
If you wish to apply a soft veil of radiance all over the face or on a generous area, this brush can do the trick.
IN A NUTSHELL
The purpose of the Sheer Buffer is to apply, diffuse and blend a cream product when we aim for a sheer application – without the effort of having to tone down or be too cautious with the technique. It’s not a brush for precision application, it’s for a diffused, natural result.
Quick and easy application of products that are very pigmented
So many products are incredibly gorgeous but sometimes we miss out on them because the application isn’t straightforward, maybe we need the right brush to facilitate their application and allow us to enjoy those products on a more regular basis.
With the Sheer Buffer their application becomes more effortless and the risk of overdoing the application is substracted from the equation.
Rediscover your stash
The Sheer Buffer may even help you rediscover products that you aren’t enjoying anymore.
Sometimes it’s worth trying a different technique or approach and adding a tool like this to your collection gives you more options and new possibilities.
Layer products safely
The stippling bristles allow the buffing surface to hover gently and blend without disturbing the layers underneath.
When we apply cream bronzers, we often love to apply them on top of primers or foundation, it can be very helpful to use a brush that won’t put too much stress on the base layers.
A gentle brush for dry, flaky or sensitive skin
We sometimes need a brush that can diffuse products in the softest way possible, with the least friction and without causing irritation.
This Sheer Buffer can really make a difference for those of us who enjoy make-up, but who struggle when the application is painful.
Not having to sheer out a heavy application will help us reduce the amount of strokes that we need, and this can truly make a difference!
AVAILABILITY AND PRICE OF THE SHEER BUFFER
The Sheer Buffer will be available on Beautylish starting on the 13th of June 2023, at 10am PT. It will retail for 65 USD. Unfortunately, at this stage I don’t know if this brush will stay in the permanent collection.
Beautylish have a dedicated page here where you can sign up and be notified when it has launched!
If you have any questions please do not hesitate! I hope that this is a brush that you also feel was missing in the Fude world and I sincerely hope that you will love the way it performs!