February 04, 2014

Sonia Kashuk Couture 5-Piece Brush Set

I'm not generally a makeup snob, as anyone who's ever vacationed with me in the States can attest. (I can locate any CVS, Walgreens or Rite-Aid within a mile, with freakishly mutant-like accuracy.) I will admit to being a bit of a brush snob, however. A really great quality brush is an investment, but I have yet to regret any high-end brush purchase I've made, whereas I can't say the same for some of the discount-brand brushes I've picked up over the years.

That said, I love my Real Techniques brushes, which are a steal, so I was looking forward to trying out the Sonia Kashuk ones, especially considering how much I adore her Eye On Neutral palette (reviewed here).

The Sonia Kashuk Couture 5-Piece Brush Set came out this past fall, and is still available at some Target locations. (Assuming your Target re-stocks the cosmetics department. Mine always look like they've been ransacked by hordes of makeup junkies.)

It's a pretty set, done up in a tropical floral print with silver caps on the bottoms and matte black ferrules.

Sonia Kashuk Couture 5-Piece Brush Set

First thing - this set sells for 16.99$ USD (possibly a smudge more in CAD, though generally the prices are comparable). That's about 3.40$ per brush. Assuming all the brushes are good, that is a phenomenal deal.

So the questions is: are they all great?

Sonia Kashuk Couture 5-Piece Brush Set

The powder brush is excellent. It's soft and fluffy, moderately dense, doesn't feel scratchy, picks up powder nicely and hasn't shed after several washes. It might be a little small for some preferences, but I do tend to prefer smaller brushes so it works for me. It also doubles well as a blush brush.

Sonia Kashuk Couture 5-Piece Brush Set

The foundation brush is where I deduct some points. It's ok, but the way the bristles were cut on the edge leaves them feeling a little prickly instead of smooth. This also isn't my kind of brush for applying foundation, as I find traditional flat brushes (be they rounded or square-cut like this) tend to leave a streakier finish that needs to be buffed in. (A flat brush needs to have exceptionally smooth, rounded edging to leave behind a texture-less finish.)

Sonia Kashuk Couture 5-Piece Brush Set
top to bottom: MAC 286 and Sonia Kashuk duo-fiber brush
The duo-fiber blending brush, on the other hand, is fabulous. It blends out eyeshadow beautifully, but I love it most of applying and buffing in concealer. The duo-fibers make it optimal for picking up and distributing just the right amount of product, so it essentially does all the work for you. It's a very close dupe for the MAC 286, with a slightly more pointed end and perhaps a touch firmer. It's also one-tenth the price of the MAC one, so...you know. That's a thing.

Sonia Kashuk Couture 5-Piece Brush Set

The eyeshadow brush is a full, very dense brush with soft but firmly packed fibers. It's good at packing on powder, and with the larger size it will do so quite quickly. You won't get as much precision as your would from a smaller, flatter lay down brush, but  I personally love it most for applying a brow bone highlight. It picks up the right amount of powder and is dense enough to blend that upper edge of transition colour.

Sonia Kashuk Couture 5-Piece Brush Set

The liner brush is definitely thicker than I'm used to, but will work if you prefer a stronger, more graphic liner look. I tried to use it for applying/smudging out powder shadow as a liner, and found it was a too rigid to use like that, particularly for soft eyeshadows that tend to powder up. It's definitely best for cream liners - or as a pinpoint concealer brush. I also had good luck using it to blend out lipliner, where that firmness worked in its favour.

So overall? One really excellent brush, three good ones  (including one that I preferred for several other functions than the intended one) and one that didn't work for me. Considering I would pay double the price of the set for the closest equivalent of the awesome duo-duo-fiber brush, 4 out of 5 still puts this set far ahead.

Have you guys tried any of the Sonia Kashuk brushes? I only have one other, from years ago, but now I'll be checking out the rest of her line.

(Items were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored or compensated. All opinions are my own.)


  1. Hi Maggie, I've been reading and watching you on youtube. I was very happy to receive a notification for a video yesterday. I'm from Saguenay, so I kinda have the same cute canadian accent when I speak. You inspire me a lot and u know what? I've decided to do my esthetician course, focusing on makeup and will move to Montreal after. Please, continue with your video, you are soo interesting and your critique are not bitc*y, they are honest.

    1. You are the sweetest! Thank you!

      And I'm so happy for you - deciding on a career path can be so stressful, it's great that you've found your passion. :)


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