I've only used them twice but i'm completely hooked - Hakuhodo has a new convert.
I first discovered these brushes through sweetmakeuptemptations.com - the lovely and knowledgable Sonia has been sharing her love of these incredibly special brushes with her readers (as well as a couple other Japanese companies i'd never heard of until stumbling across her blog) for a while now - and after reading of her incredible trip to visit the Hakuhodo company, i finally decided to take the plunge.
The Hakuhodo brushes come in different "series" - from prices comparable to MAC all the way up to Tom Ford. For my first order, i limited myself mainly to eyeshadow brushes from the moderately priced J (which uses predominantly beautiful, natural white goat hair) and G series - as well as one foundation brush and one shadow brush that can be used to conceal around the eyes.
The more luxurious and dearly priced S100 and Kokutan series boast beautiful, artistic handles and use a lot of blue squirrel & weasel, as opposed to goat and horse.
I've heard that the quality is superb across all the series, however, and for some it's simply a matter of aesthetics to purchase the pricier lines. I have yet to put this to the test myself, but it's hard to imagine the quality and softness getting much better than the more moderately priced series!
So - with no further ado, in order from left to right in the above pic i'll take you through them one or two at a time:
1. J5522 Eye Shadow Brush Tapered: Goat hair. This brush is SO soft! I bought this one for less-defined crease-work and blending, both of which tasks it performs beautifully for me. If you have smaller lids, however, this might not work for your crease - it's a bit on the large side. I have a VAST expanse of lid-space so it works perfectly for me when i don't want such a defined crease, as well as blending out shadow.
2. G5517BkSL Eye Shadow Brush round: Horse hair. This brush has nice, stiff yet soft and densely-packed bristles with a very nicely pointed tip - perfect for more exact crease-work as it's a bit smaller than the above brush, with a more defined point. Horse hair is perfect for more dense, precise application because of it's relative stiffness.
3. G5557 2mm Powder & Liquid Brush round/angled: Goat & synthetic fibres. This is hands-down the best stippling/foundation brush i've ever used - and over the years i've used many a foundation brush. It's SUPER-soft with very densely packed hairs, with the synthetic fibres sticking out 2mm beyond the goat hair, which is perfect for absorbing and moving around liquid/cream/powder foundations. Along with the angled bristles, this provides a very smooth application - and it feels like heaven on the skin! I'm thinking of getting a smaller one for more detailed work around the eyes/nose. It can also be used for blush for a nice, diffuse and soft wash of colour. I love this brush so hard. Holy Grail and all that.
4. J220G Eye Shadow Brush Round & Flat: Goat & synthetic fibres. This is the perfect laydown-brush - it fits exactly into the area from the lash line to crease, and picks up a nice sheer wash of colour. Like all these brushes, it's incredibly soft and of excellent quality. It would be a good idea to have two of these, as it's perfect for highlight shadow under the brow-bone as well.
5. J214R Duo Fibre Eye Shadow Brush Round: Goat & synthetic fibres. The specified use is for laying down a shadow-base, as well as glitter products; i find this would be a perfect brush for cream shadows as well. I am using it for concealing around the eyes and nose; it leaves a smooth, perfect finish. I'm going to purchase another for use with my cream shadows. VERY soft, excellent brush. You can't really see from the photo, but this is a rather thick-dome shaped round brush, with the synthetic fibres extending slightly beyond the goat hair for superb grab of product.
6. G5514BkSL Eye Shadow Brush pointed: Goat hair. Excellent for gel, liquid or cream liner. You can draw a precise, thin line and thicken it out at the outer-corner for the perfect cat-eye; it also serves very well for lining with shadow on the lower-lash line. It's perfect for how i like to do my eyeliner. An HG eyeliner brush for me.
7. B5338kSL - Eye Shadow Brush pointed: Horse hair. This pencil brush is perfect for smudging along the lash line and shading the outer/inner "V"; this brush is very soft on the skin, but because it's horse hair, it has just the right amount of stiffness and "spring". It picks up colour incredibly well and is super-precise. It's also perfect for shadow-liner.
Now that i've acquired these superior brushes, i admit that my perfectly serviceable MAC and even my Trish brushes just pale in comparison. I still have respect for my other brushes; but i am so enamoured of the soft feel and incredible performance of the Hakuhodo line, i feel as if i should store them separately in their own little silk brush-roll (which they are laying upon in the above photo - my Mother in Law brought it back for me from her visit to China).
These brushes are just on a whole different level - as a makeup artist, it's sort of like finding the Holy Grail of brushes - a place formerly held by my beloved Trish McEvoy brushes.
I will still work with my other brushes, but i know right now that i've developed a hopeless addiction to the Hakuhodo line and won't be able to rest until my collection becomes MUCH more extensive.
Next i want to purchase a large angled finishing brush and a blush brush, as well as a couple more eyeshadow brushes...
My poor wallet.
Not only are Hakuhodo's creations *otherworldly* in terms of softness, the careful attention to density and length and cut just make you have to work less hard in order to achieve results with your makeup application. They feel luxurious and perform elegantly.
Another detail is that the hairs are uncut at the tips, which contributes to how incredibly soft they are.
How many times can i say these brushes are SO SOFT in one post?
But dude, they are.
SOOO bloody soft.
In summary, i am beyond thrilled and pleased with every single brush i purchased - and can't wait to
Thanks, Sonia. Thanks a LOT. ;)