In helping two loved ones find some new brushes, it sent me into my own spiral of wanting to try even more natural hair brushes from Japan. I brought them with me on my trip to Germany, as I figured that would give me ample time to test them out. While on vacation, I ended up buying two more*!
*Note: I learned the hard way via CDJapan that shipping from Japan to the US does not incur additional charges, but the 10500 YEN/ 82 Euro/ $97 USD (paypal conversion fee added) order I had shipped from Japan to Germany resulted in me having to pay an extra 35 Euros/ $42 USD (paypal conversion fee added again) between Customs and DHL Express for VAT, Freight, and service fees even though CDJapan only mentions the 19% VAT on their website. There went my $35 savings between coupons, points earned, and “free shipping” discount! Had I known, I would have had it shipped to the US instead or I would not have placed an order at all. The “Express” DHL is the reason for such high additional charges in Germany.
If this is your first time visiting my blog, I’d like to welcome you and also direct you to other fude posts you might enjoy which can be found linked from this page.
Regarding my measurements, “hair width” is measured from the widest part, regardless of the overall brush shape. I don’t measure thickness. Anything with an asterisk indicates that I had to measure that one myself as those numbers were not listed on the website. All figures listed in inches are converted estimates.
*DISCLAIMER: All products in this post were purchased by me with my own money and prior to me being part of any affiliate program. Non-highlighted links in bold blue font (Example) are non-affiliate links that will not generate commission. The vast majority of links on this blog are traditional non-affiliate ones. Links marked in bold black font with a light blue background (Example) are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to get a commission if purchases are made directly using my links. The price of the product is not affected by these links, and anyone who uses them would be supporting this blog. Whether you click to shop through them or not, I appreciate you visiting and I hope you find the information I’ve provided helpful!
Chikuhodo Kirameki Purple (Murasaki) Set
It has become a tradition for Chikuhodo to release holiday sets each year. I did not purchase the larger Blue (Ao) Kirameki set, nor have I purchased any of the previous collections. I believe the Purple trio had quite a high value for a great price. Considering the handles are Yamanaka lacquerware in Maki-e style and the largest brush in the set comprises of Saikoho goat hair, I expected the powder/blush brush alone to cost what all three did together. This may be the reason this set sold out within hours at every retailer, though it’s my understanding that only 300 Purple Sets were made. At the time that I am working on this post, a restock has yet to happen. Toshiya from Fude Japan mentioned that Chikuhodo was considering restocking it, but the current listing descriptions on CDJapan and Beautylish’s websites lead me to believe it may not happen anymore. However, Visage USA still has a waitlist on the product page so perhaps it will. I personally wouldn’t hold out hope considering the supply shortage going on and Chikuhodo raising prices on all but a few products, which would mean raising the price of this set too.
What I like about the 2021 holiday offerings over last year’s is the star pattern, which makes the design even more festive. I believe “kirameki” means sparkle, which is why it was named this way. In addition, purple is my favorite color and I have been wishing for so long to have brushes with handles in the shades of purple I like. So, I absolutely had to get this set! The most similar release to this one was Chikuhodo’s 2016 Violet Noel Collection, which is the only set that would have been even more perfect for me. Since I missed out on that one, I’m glad I was able to get this one.
I’ve purchased from CDJapan, Beautylish, and Visage USA, but this was my first time ordering with Fude Japan (not to be confused with Fude Beauty). Toshiya of Fude Japan lives in Japan and offers a personal shopping experience. You can order via a form/email or directly from the website. I did not get a confirmation email after my purchase, so if you’re ordering from the website, just be prepared for that. I was able to see my order status via my website account though. I also didn’t get communication about my order until the time it was going to ship, which took nearly two weeks. In this case, the Purple Set had delayed shipping at other retailers, so this may be the reason it took a while. I’m not certain if this is the norm. Once it did ship via my choice of FedEx or DHL (I chose DHL), it was delivered within a few days. I spent $20 for shipping, but it arrived to me before my trip, so I could bring the brushes with me. Ordering from Beautylish would have been free, but I would have had to wait til I returned home six weeks later in order to finally get my hands on them. So, it was still worth buying via Fude Japan for me. Also, Toshiya included a snack from Japan, which was a nice touch, and secured the package in a Suqqu bag with the pretty Chikuhodo box that the set comes in.
- Full Length: 157mm / 6.18 in
- Hair Length: 42mm / 1.65 in
- Hair Width: *42mm / 1.65 in
- Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat
This brush is quite large for blush, but I pick up the product from the tips to the belly of the brush and swipe it onto my cheeks as if it was a paddle brush, and that gives me the precision I desire. It’s quite thick and dense for a sweeping style of brush, but I really like that! It feels more unique to my collection when used in this way. Of course, this also makes for a nice finishing powder brush. Because of its large size, I don’t use it for other purposes. And because mine is still somewhat flat even post-wash, I don’t apply products in a circular motion or use this for buffing either. I usually don’t care for sweeping brushes, but this is now in my top favorites for that category. The special handle, hair quality, and performance makes it a favorite brush overall.
Other things to note is that this brush is quite similar to the Bisyodo B-C-01 Highlight / Cheek Brush, just larger.
The handles in this set are lightweight, and although the bottoms have a flat edge, they’re too top heavy to stay in an upright position if placed on a flat surface. Lastly, although I’ve been using my brush on and off for months, mine hasn’t become more rounded in shape or even fully ovular. The ferrule shape indicates that it is supposed to be an oval shaped brush, so it’s possible with even more time that my brush may bloom into a shape that I would switch from a sweeping to a swirling application in the future. I think I would still love this brush either way.
Eyeshadow Brush (Packing)
- Full Length: 133mm / 5.24 in
- Hair Length: 18mm / 0.71 in
- Hair Width: *16mm / 0.63 in
- Bristle Type: Sokoho Goat
The head of this brush is a common shape among many of Chikuhodo’s lines like the FO-5 and R-S1/RR-S1. It’s a bit big for my preference unless I’m just using it in the crease and sticking to an uncomplicated eye look. I can both pack and blend a single shadow in the crease. Other than the aesthetic, there isn’t anything particularly special about the brush. It’s nice and works just fine, but I likely would only reach for this one if my favorite eye brushes were dirty.
Eyeshadow Brush (Pencil)
- Full Length: 127mm / 1.06 in
- Hair Length: 12mm / 0.47 in
- Hair Width: *7mm / 0.28 in
- Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat
I don’t have the best luck with pencil brushes, but this is made of very soft bristles, grips color well, is fairly flexible and isn’t too dense. I do like this brush for use on the lower lash line and outer corner work, but for the inner corner, the tapered tip is a bit too large for my eye shape. So, if I’m applying an inner corner of the eye highlight, I switch to my long time favorite (and unfortunately discontinued) Smashbox Double Ended Smudger Brush #20. I do see myself continuing to use this and I consider it to be my new favorite pencil brush! I certainly like it a lot more than the Sonia G Lotus Soft Definer that’s intended for a similar purpose!
This set, for my brush preferences, was definitely worth the purchase!
rephr brushes number 17, 19, 24, and 32
The only one of these I actually bought during the holidays was brush 32, along with the brush soap and component D. The rest I purchased during a sale many months prior, so I have a lot more experience with them. However, rather than make a dedicated post, I figured I would include them here.
- Full Length: *147mm/ 5.79 in
- Hair Length: 17mm / 0.67 in
- Hair Width: *22mm / 0.87 in
- Bristle Type: Goat
I bought this brush during my cream blush phase, trying to find something as amazing as the Sonia G Mini Base. I should have taken my preferences into account. I tend to not like using natural hair brushes with creams, even though undyed goat hair brushes are supposed to be fine for that task. It’s the same way that I generally don’t like the performance of synthetic bristle brushes with powders. Brush 17 blends cream products in a way that is okay, but not perfect. I tend to not like the finish. If I do use it with blushes, they tend to be powder formulas that I can buff onto the cheeks.
Considering this flat top shape, it makes sense that it works well as a bronzer and contour brush. I tend to use this brush mostly for those purposes. It’s very tiny in surface area, so I don’t use it as an all-over face brush.
The hairs are fairly short and not all that dense, so it has a wider splay that doesn’t make for as precise of a bronzer and contour brush. It can be fine most of the time, but if I’m working with a sculpting product that’s a bit dark for me, I have to be careful how I blend with #17 so that it doesn’t spread too widely of a stripe on my face.
- Full Length: *170mm / 6.7 in
- Hair Length: 38mm / 1.5 in
- Hair Width: *24mm / 0.95 in
- Bristle Type: Goat
I was definitely unprepared for a highlighting brush of this size, especially in thickness. I only use it with highlighters that are subtle or buildable. If I use it with a blinding one or a shade that’s a bit light for me, even taking a tiny amount will lead to overapplying. I still like this brush though, and I’ve even been able to use it to softly apply bronzers, though it’s a bit too sheer of an application for my current contour products. Fans of the Wayne Goss Air Brush might like this one because of the wide but flat width of the brush. #19 is just thicker. The Air Brush has a tapered tip but this one is even sharper in a candle flame shaped tip.
- Full Length: *160mm / 6.3 in
- Hair Length: 33mm / 1.3 in
- Hair Width: *31mm / 1.22 in
- Bristle Type: Goat
This is easily the favorite rephr brush in my collection. It’s perfect for buffing on bronzer, but I have been enjoying using blushes with it, along with pressed finishing powders. Whenever I wash the brush, I make sure to keep it in a brush guard or do the aloe vera trick to keep the shape compact and dense. I don’t like the performance of the brush in the intended bloom post-wash state, so my methods of drying keeps it the way it originally comes in all its densely packed glory. I believe the head shape on this one is supposed to be a dupe for the famous Tom Ford 06 Cheek brush, although today’s Tom Ford brushes are fully synthetic. Those who missed out on buying the original goat hair Tom Ford brushes may be interested in this alternative.
Rephr’s 05 brush is my second favorite from the brand. The main differences between the 05 and 24 (considering the fact that I keep both in a state that doesn’t allow for blooming) is that the 05 is less dense, picks up less product, and is shaped with the intention of being used specifically for blush. The 24 is more versatile, but I would only use sheer to the heavy side of medium pigmented products with this. Although the brush buffs nicely, I don’t use it with heavily pigmented products.
- Full Length: *144mm / 5.67 in
- Hair Length: 13mm / 0.5 in
- Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
- Bristle Type: Goat
This is one of only three brushes that were launched from rephr in 2021 and part of their holiday collection. I was curious to see how it applies concealer, spreads eyeshadow primer, and blends eyeshadows in the crease. I hate it with my concealers because it doesn’t spread it evenly. I switched right back to my Sonia G Jumbo Concealer brush to finish the job. Brush 32 works okay to spread MAC Paint Pot, but when I wanted to blend out the MAC Foundation Stick, which I sometimes use as primer, it didn’t work as well. That product is too thick for the bristles and is tough to blend across my eyes. So, the only use I have for this brush is for eyeshadows, particularly in the crease when I’m doing a more blown out look, and it’s just okay. I find myself still reaching for other brushes to smooth out the edges and blend over what I just did with that brush. It’s one of those brushes that are fine with good quality eyeshadows, but certainly will not help the situation if the eyeshadow quality isn’t the smoothest. I already have brushes that can do this job, plus more, so this feels like a fail purchase and just solidifies for me that I am never a fan of rephr’s eye brushes. They aren’t the styles, thickness and density, or softness that ever suits what I want from an eye brush.
While I do recommend rephr’s face brushes if their shapes and sizes are appealing, I can’t ever recommend them at full price; and I don’t believe, based on their business structure, that they’re ever expected to be sold to customers at full price. However, even at 40% off or more, whether I think the brushes are worth it depends on each particular one. In terms of quality, the face brushes are well constructed with soft enough goat hair to keep me still interested in the brand. Their hair is never softer than other fude brands I’ve purchased from though, which is why I always struggle with saying they’re worth buying or not. There tends to be cases where even if it’s worth the price, I personally recommend spending a few extra dollars to get a softer brush with an even more luxurious handle from Sonia G, Chikuhodo, etc. The best of rephr is great. For $4-$20 more than rephr charges, one could easily find fude elsewhere that’s phenomenal. But great is still great, which is why I somehow keep making rephr orders.
Bisyodo Cheri Series CH-P-03 Powder Brush (Round)
- Full Length: 173mm / 6.8 in
- Hair Length: 50mm / 1.97 in
- Hair Width: 36mm / 1.4 in
- Bristle Type: Sokoho Goat
- Handle: Wood
- Ferrule: Silver Plated
According to the description on CDJapan, the ferrules in the Cheri series are silver plated (without saying what it’s plated on), which I hadn’t realized was the case until now. The bristles on this brush are perfectly round and very long without a pinched ferrule, which means the application of product will be light to medium depending on the amount of pressure used. I initially thought I would only be able to use this brush for buffing in face powders because with added pressure it has a very large splay of the bristles. However, if I apply less pressure, dab the tips into a blush, and use a sweeping motion, I can happily use this to apply my blush. The bristles feel very nice to the touch with my fingers, as one of the softest hairs of this goat grade I’ve felt. It’s really not far off from some of my Saikoho brushes, but I can tell that it’s Sokoho hair if I buff it into the skin too fast. There are a few strands in the bundle that are slightly rougher than the rest. I think the price for this brush is fantastic and I will definitely get use out of it, even if it’s not the absolute softest in my collection.
This brush is 3800 YEN and available here.
Houkodou Brilliant Gold Series Domed Blush Brush G-C6
- Full Length: 130mm / 5.12 in
- Hair Length: 33mm / 1.3 in
- Hair Width: 20mm / 0.79 in
- Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel
The brush head shown on CDJapan’s website looks much larger/wider than what I received. I was quite surprised it was so small, but it is made entirely of grey squirrel hair, so I should have expected this considering the $56 price. Then again, even after I washed mine (which the photo above is post wash), it still didn’t look anywhere near as full as it does in CDJapan’s product photos. This brush is on the firmer side of medium regarding how tightly the hair is packed. Since most of the squirrel hair brushes I have are intended for sheer applications, it is a bit nice to have a brush with hair that’s bundled a little tight so I can get the soft feel of squirrel on my skin with the bonus of having some blending power.
The G-C6 looks more like a highlighting brush than a blush brush, but those tips aren’t as precise as I prefer, so I actually apply the highlighter to my cheekbones first before blush. I have to blend by the tips with highlighter and contour, but for blush and bronzer that takes too long for my patience, so I pick up the product on the side of the brush so the product covers more surface area and sweep it across my cheeks. Because this brush is intended to be a multi-tasker, it’s rounder and larger than a highlighter brush, while being smaller than all my other blush brushes. This sacrifices the highlighter precision in favor of specific blush placement, which is something I don’t need. I have a large face, so I like medium to large head sizes for blush brushes. Because of the tiny size, I don’t see myself seeking out this specific brush when I want to apply makeup, though I would grab it whenever it was easily within view.
I already have highlighter brushes I can apply with a more precise tip and I’d rather reach for a long handle brush over a short one. So, this wasn’t the best purchase for me purely because of the size and my preferences. I should have paid more attention to the specifications on CDJapan’s website because the measurements are exactly as listed. Perhaps someone with a smaller face would appreciate the versatility specifically because of its size. A brush like this is also ideal for traveling for the compact size and multi-tasking abilities, though I’d rather bring my favorite brushes on a trip regardless of how big they may be (as long as they aren’t too heavy). I personally still think it’s overpriced, even with the (I believe) gold plated ferrule and 100% grey squirrel hair. Fude Beauty just calls it, “a luminous gold hue,” which if it’s not plated then it’s definitely overpriced.
This brush is 6500 YEN and available here.
Houkodou Nagi Series Powder Brush N-F1
- Full Length: 150mm / 5.9 in
- Hair Length: 40mm / 1.57 in
- Hair Width: *34mm / 1.34 in
- Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Sokoho Goat
This is the size I assumed the Houkodou G-C6 brush would be. This brush is slightly less soft than that one due to the Sokoho part of the mixture, but it feels like full squirrel hair to the touch. The N-F1 is packed at close to the same density as the G-C6, but because it has longer bristles it gets wispier towards the tips for medium firmness. It feels like a Goldilocks sort of brush where it picks up just the right amount of blush that I like in order to build up the product in 1-2 layers without taking a long time. It fits perfectly along my cheeks in both sweeping and buffing motions. Although this is listed as a powder brush and not a cheek brush, I’d only use it with blush since it’s so perfectly shaped to my preferences for that task. For someone who wants versatility, I recommend the G-C6, but for anyone who would like a dedicated blush brush at a medium range price ($60) for a Japanese made brush, I recommend the N-F1.
This brush is 7000 YEN and available here.
Muragishi Sangyo HS-1 Hana Sakura Powder Brush
- Full Length: 160mm / 6.3 in
- Hair Length: 55mm / 2.16 in
- Hair Width: *47mm / 1.85 in
- Bristle Type: Sokoho Goat
I wasn’t initially interested in this brush shape until I saw a photo someone posted of it on Instagram and I noted how full and fluffy (for a round-flat/oval shaped brush) it looked. In this case, how it appears in person is even nicer than CDJapan’s photos, especially post wash when it blooms even more. The HS-2 is a mix of gray squirrel and sokoho goat and is very soft. The HS-1 is supposed to be full Sokoho, but because the hairs are so long and in abundance, the brush has an overall softer feel to it than the typical Sokoho. It would be soft enough for most people, but perhaps not for those with sensitive skin.
I know many people like big brushes like this for bronzer, but I ordered this to use exclusively as a sweeping and buffing finishing powder brush and love it for this task between the soft airy medium dense bristles and its large size to cover most of my face very quickly. This brush is perfect for loose powders, but I need several passes to pick up enough product in pressed powder forms. This brush is a winner for anyone wanting a sheer to light application of powder and those who love big powder brushes. I’ve had the Koyudo BP003 Finishing Brush from the High Class series on my wishlist since August 2020, but now that I have this one, I no longer feel the need to get another goat hair finishing brush in this style.
If Muragishi Sangyo had more long handle options, I would look into getting even more of their brushes because I like what I have from them and I think they are nicely priced.
This brush is 5800 YEN and available here.
That’s all for today! Thank you for reading!