Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hakuhodo Brush Love

Yesterday my very first Hakuhodo brush order arrived!
I've only used them twice but i'm completely hooked - Hakuhodo has a new convert.

I first discovered these brushes through - 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 go into debt get some more!

Thanks, Sonia.  Thanks a LOT. ;)



  1. I also ordered some Hakuhodo brushes about the same time as you and just want to agree with everything you have said in this helpful post! That G5557 brush is exquisite and has transformed my experience applying tinted moisturizer--kind of like a massage for the face and the result is so natural. I, too, will go back to the site to order more and more....

    1. Hey, Gail!
      Thank you so much for commenting - you have the dubious honour of being my first commenter, so yay :).

      I'm glad you found my post helpful - i'll be sure to keep my brush purchases updated here.

      That brush IS transforming, isn't it? I never knew putting on foundation could be such a pleasurable experience until i found that brush.

      Definitely let me know what you purchase - i'm still trying to narrow it down from like 20 brushes, haha!


  2. K005 (gel eyeliner), B110BKSL (blush), K014 (Brow), J4005 (concealor), and, just for decadence, the Kinoko Brush in vermillion. I use the last one for applying bronzer and it's perfect for it. The blush brush is also a must have. I don't wear eyeshadow much but will need to get a couple of those plus a smaller concealor brush for my Bobbi Brown eye brightener, like the J214R you have... They are all such a joy to use--I feel like I have a whole new look!

    1. Oh, that Kinoko Brush is gorgeous o_O.

      I'm definitely eyeing the angled blush brush from the J series - i love the white goat-hair so hard.
      The J214R really is perfect for concealer-work - i actually enjoy applying it now :). It really is like having a whole new look, agreed!

      I'm also eyeing the Koyudo brushes...oh dear.

      It's just a question of WHEN i order some, not IF. Once you get sucked into the Japanese brush world, there's just no turning back :).

  3. Hi Twyla,
    First of all a big thank you to you :)
    You'll see how scary it gets when you start you can't stop.. today I placed another order with Hakuhodo, for this :
    S146 Eye Shadow Brush round
    Fan Brush White
    G545 Powder & Liquid M round/flat
    G5519BkSL Powder Brush

    I have been wanting these brushes forever and I couldn't wait any longer, specially the G5519, I saw it in Japan and I didn't get it because I was feeling so guilty !
    The other ones were in my basket for ages and I decided since I was ordering one... you know how it goes .. ouch :D

    I love your post and I love how our love for brushes is contagious, it brings a lot of great people together.

    Big hugs !

  4. Hi, Sonia!

    You are very welcome - but i am so grateful to YOU, for introducing me to these beautiful brushes :).
    I of course checked out the brushes you ordered - and they look wonderful - especially that powder brush! I'm in the market for a new one - my old Trish brush is on it's last legs...or bristles, lol.

    It really IS addictive - if you saw my current Hakuhodo cart, you wouldn't feel nearly so bad, i promise. :)
    I have another order planned very soon - it's simply impossible not to want ALL the brushes!

    I'm so glad you enjoyed my post - i look forward to reading more from you as well!

    Big hugs back to you xo