Sonia Kashuk NEW makeup brushes: a guide

A pretty spring jacket

I’ve been a fan of Sonia Kashuk makeup brushes for many years. They are great quality and can easily be picked up on one of the many Target runs we all go on throughout the month! A few weeks ago I noticed some changes happening to the display at Target and I feared the entire line was being eliminated, but a few people in the know messaged me on Instagram and told me the line was just rebranding! Then I learned the makeup was being eliminated, and they were relaunching with only brushes, tools, and makeup bags.

Not that it matters what I think, but I think this is a very smart move for the brand.

The new brushes are beautiful, and feel softer than ever. The display makes it easy to shop, and allows you to touch each brush before picking out which one you want from the boxes! I needed new makeup brushes like I need another lipstick (in other words, it’s the literal last thing that I could need) but in the spirit of giving YOU a bit of guidance I decided to replace some old favorites with the new designs.

They are almost too pretty to use, and I’ve kept their little plastic protective covers on until I took photos of the brushes for this post!

I realize makeup brushes can be a daunting topic for those of you who are new to makeup or generally like to keep it simple. I thought I’d break down the brushes into 3 sections: a starter set, an expanded set, and a full set.

Three brushes that you’ll get the most use out of, and that would also make a perfect “starter set” are the Tapered Powder, Tapered Finishing, and Medium Eyeshadow.

The powder brush should be used for loose or pressed powder, and the finishing brush can be used for blush or bronzer. The medium eyeshadow brush is a perfect size for swiping eyeshadow all across your lid. You could also turn the brush on its side and use it at an angle to press a darker shadow into your crease.

If you want a slightly larger collection, and like to experiment with makeup beyond just the basics, these brushes would be a great addition to the “starter set.” I’m calling this the “expanded set.”

The flat-top foundation brush is great for liquid or cream foundation. It wouldn’t be a great option for powder, but you already have a powder brush in this set so you shouldn’t need to use it for that anyway! The tapered blending brush on the far right is perfect for blending shadows together, as well as adding a bit of depth softly into the crease. This brush could also be used for dusting a slight bit of powder under your eyes to set concealer, or around your nose to keep you from getting shiny.

If you love makeup brushes and want a good range of brushes to work with, here is a great mix that I would call a “full set.”

In this set I’ve added a wide angle contour brush for bronzer or a contour shade. I’ve also added an angled brow and spoolie for applying product to your brows, a buffing concealer brush for blending concealer under your eyes and also around your nose, a detail smudge brush for smudging eyeliner, and an angled crease brush for adding eyeshadow onto the outer corner and crease area of your eye.

There are certainly more brushes that one could use in applying makeup, like an additional tapered finishing brush so you don’t need to clean that brush between blush and bronzer, but this many brushes should allow you to achieve lots of different makeup looks with different products!

I also picked up a brush cleaner, a dry brush spray that I’m very excited to put to the test, a few smaller versions of the beauty blender, and tweezers.

Have you tried any of these brushes out yet? Do you have a favorite?


ONE. What is the deal with the sponge-like eyeshadow applicators that come in some eyeshadow containers?

Those are fine, and they will get the job done, but generally you’ll have a much easier time using a brush to blend the shadow in and keep it from leaving a strong line between your eyeshadow and skin. If you use the sponge-like applicators, I’d recommend using your finger to blend out the edges of the eyeshadow so it looks softer!

TWO. How often should I clean my brushes?

The best, A+ answer is to wash your brushes after every use. I realize this isn’t a reality for everyone and usually I don’t even do this. So, my real-life answer is as follows: a lot of this will depend on your skin. If you have problem skin, you should wash your brushes after every single use to keep from spreading bacteria and sebum around your face. If you do not have problem skin, and are using the same products on the same brushes every day, I think it’s okay to go a few days. Make it a goal to wash your brushes once a week. It doesn’t take long, and let them dry overnight so you can use them in the morning.

THREE. Will my makeup last longer if I use a brush instead of my fingers? 

A lot of this will depend on the products and how your skin is prepped for the makeup. For example, eyeshadow primer will help eyeshadow last longer no matter whether you use your finger or a brush. Generally, you should see an improvement in longevity when using brushes as they are designed to pick up product, and apply it without adding any oil or dirt that may be on your fingers.

In case it’s helpful, here is a list of all the items I’ve mentioned in this blog post! 

-Tapered Finishing

-Wide Angled Contour

-Flat-top Foundation

-Tapered Powder

-Angled Crease

-Buffing Concealer

-Angled Brow & Spoolie

-Medium Eyeshadow

-Tapered Blending

-Detail Smudge

-Mini Makeup Blender Trio

-Dry Brush Spray

-Makeup Brush and Sponge Cleansing Balm

-Slanted Tweezers


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Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 02.26.18

I’ve actually never heard of Sonia Kashuk before! Their brushes sound so good. Thanks for the guide and review! 🙂

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Nipa says · 02.26.18

Hi Kate,
For foundation, I never know if I should use a blender sponge, foundation brush or my fingers. Does each one create a different finish? Or should you use a particular one for different types of foundation ? Or does it depend on your skin type? Lately I’ve been using Mineral Fusion’s BB cream which has very light coverage. I don’t have problem skin, but it does get dry in the winter so I use a moisture serum and an oil blend to keep my skin hydrated. Would appreciate your advice!

Sherry says · 02.26.18

When/why would you use a brush for concealer instead of a Beauty Blender (or any sponge)? I used a sponge yesterday and it enhanced all fine lines and looked like I had the opposite of raccoon eyes. 😐

Betty says · 02.26.18

What brush cleaner do you use?

MariaE says · 02.26.18

This post is super helpful! Thank you. It’s great to see the three different recommended sets as well as an explanation of each brush. I have only been using a blush brush, and a short handled brush with stiffer tips to finish blending powder and foundation.

Keva says · 02.26.18

Hi Kate!
Do you have a preference between the black handle ones or “professional” line versus the gold handle ones or “essential” line? I noticed the gold handle ones are a bit cheaper. Does that speak to their quality in your opinion? Thanks!

Kate says · 02.26.18

To me there isn’t a noticeable difference between the two!

Keva says · 02.28.18

Thank you! I just bought three of the Essential brushes. Can’t wait to try them! What did you think of her beauty blender?

Kim says · 02.26.18

Those brushes are beautiful! You’re right, almost too pretty to use! I also now feel bad that I haven’t washed my brushes in at least a month hahah… oops.

Kim .. Velvet dress in NYC!

Allie says · 02.26.18

I wonder if the impetus for the rebrand is that Sonia is no longer part of the brand? Anyways, these brushes look beautiful! Next time I need a new one I’m definitely going to look here instead of the department store! xAllie

Nancy A. says · 02.26.18

I have been a fan on Sonia Kashuk products since they first appeared in Target stores years ago. Found them to be quality products at a great price. Thanks so much for the makeup brush tutorial. I found it to be very helpful.

Hildy says · 02.26.18

This post is so helpful! Apparently I’ve been using the flat liquid foundation brush for powder, which now explains why it hasn’t been blending well. Oops! I may have to make a Target run to update my mix-and-match brush collection. Some are pretty old and sad looking. Thanks again for breaking it all down for us!

Kate says · 02.26.18

you are welcome!

Siovhan says · 02.26.18

I bought her big beauty blender to see how it compares and I love it!! I think it’s my new favorite. I love that it’s so big but also has the tapered edge.

A Woman Of A Certain Age says · 02.26.18

I love my Zoeva Rose Gold Luxury brush set. Useful and beautiful!

Sheri says · 02.26.18

I started cleaning my brushes every day after I use them in the morning. I put a very small amount of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in my palm, wet the brush and rub it around in the shampoo. It cleans so quickly and easily, the makeup comes right off! Then I rinse and leave them out to dry during the day and they’re ready for me the next morning. I’ve noticed a difference in my skin too since I’ve been cleaning them, which I never used to do.

Michele says · 02.27.18

Any hints on how to apply liquid foundation with a brush? I use IT Cosmetics CC cream (ps-thank your sister for me. I’d do it myself myself but her page gives me a super hard time commenting! Hi, Lauren!) And I tried using a brush, but it felt like it dragged across my face and left awkward deposits everywhere. Sorry if you’ve already done a post on it! I usually try most of your tricks at least once.

Christie says · 02.27.18

This post is so helpful! I really love how you break it up into different “sets” and explain how to use each brush. Thanks for sharing some affordable options that are accessible to so many (who doesn’t live near a Target or two?!).

Kate says · 02.27.18

you are welcome!

Tk says · 02.28.18

I’m so sad that I can’t get the no 29 brush anymore!! Which one would you say is the most similar?

Anna says · 03.01.18

Hi kate, Look good!
Which one you use the most?
and what do you think about this one?

Tammy says · 03.04.18

About a year ago I purchased a Sonia Kashuk blush brush and am very disappointed in the quality. Every time I use it it leaves long hairs on my face. I thought the shedding would eventually subside, but that’s not been the case.

Hopefully the new brush line is better quality.

RI says · 03.12.18

Hey Kate! Thank you for all of this great info! These are some beautiful brushes! Have you seen this offer for a free Mieko Brush?

Tracy says · 04.28.18

Great review as I’ve been looking to add to these to my collection for some time now .
I recently purchased these along with the Mieko Kabuki brush : grest
Both great additions.

Sebastian says · 05.06.18

There are giving this brush away for free and I wanted to know of anyone has used it before I buy it (yeah it’s free but why have it clutter my space if I dont use it?)
Thank you guys ^_^

Givoni Brushes says · 05.24.18

Great blog having such a wonderful information . Makeup Brushes

Sissi says · 05.25.18

This post is super useful! Thank you, Kate. It’s awesome to see the three different recommended sets 🙂 Why don’t you try the Mieoko Kabuki Makeup Brush – ?

SANGHAMITRA says · 07.19.18

Thank you for this detailed information. It is great. I have all the black handled brushes.
I did not know that Sonia-Kashuk had introduced the new soft ones, till I read your blog. These brushes are good and comparatively cheap and here are the other people are using

Emma says · 10.14.18

Check this makeup brushes they are giving them for free

Michelle Carter says · 11.23.18

I’ve tried many brushes in my life, and for me nothing compares to Sonia Kashuk brushs accept brushes on this website . You can never go wrong with a free brush. Plus you will love your application with this brush. It’s soft and the perfect shape to create the most natural looking blush. Need to own a couple of these.

Mary says · 06.05.19

Once upon a time you did a great tutorial about cleaning your brushes! Is it still on your blog or gone✌🏼

Thank You So Much for all your hard work♥️

Mary in Mad City Wisconsin

Lori says · 07.06.19

Real Techniques brushes for me! They are fantastic and their brush cleaner smells so amazing, you’ll want to clean your brushes often!

Vanessa says · 03.26.20

Very informative. I love my Sonia brushes I recently picked up and I was looking for reviews. I also kept the plastic lids.

Grace says · 08.08.20

I may be an idiot but how do you take off the lids? I received some brushes for my birthday and I’m trying to use them but the kids seem stuck on there.

Reply says · 12.29.21

How do I get the plastic covers off the angled brow brush?