FUDE COLLECTION PART 2

This is my third post about Japanese brushes, but the first two were combined into part one, which can be viewed here. Unlike my past posts, this one includes brands that are not strictly from Kumano.
I’d also like to note that now that I’m familiar with the different sales and discounts offered among the retailers, I didn’t pay full price for any of these brushes from VisageUSA or CDJapan. Even though I think they’re priced fairly for their rarity of bristles and the craftsmanship, I still recommend signing up for those sites’ email lists to be notified of sale events and promo codes to get the most for your money!

As a reminder, when I have “width” listed in the brush specifications, I’m referring to the widest part of the brush when laid flat.

*DISCLAIMER: All products in this post were purchased by me with my own money and prior to me being part of any affiliate program. Unhighlighted 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

Chikuhodo FO-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

  • Full Length: 145mm / 5.7 in
  • Hair Length: 35mm / 1.4 in
  • Hair Width: *35mm / 1.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Silver Fox
  • Handle: Maple Wood
  • Ferrule: Aluminum

Certain brush styles, like angled cheek brushes, are shaped in a way that doesn’t suit how I like to apply my face products. However, the width, thickness, and density of this brush allows me to easily and quickly sweep the perfect amount of blush onto my cheeks. The soft bristles make this such a joy to use that I don’t mind the fact that I have to change how I typically apply blush and bronzer. The way the bristles splay is in a smaller area than the FO-3 Cheek, so it can feel like you’re getting a smaller brush for the same price. However, I get the added ability to use this with bronzer, which I wouldn’t use with the FO-3. I know many people that like to use a large fluffy blush with their bronzers, but I prefer something small and precise with light to medium density so I can build up the color to the intensity I desire.

This brush is 10500 YEN and available here.

Chikuhodo Z-11

  • Full Length: 135mm / 5.3 in
  • Hair Length: 20mm / 0.8 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel

This performs exactly the way I expected. It’s a soft brush between light and medium density. I would only use this with eyeshadows I know are easy to blend or with pigments I want deposited as a light wash of color. Since it’s a squirrel hair brush, the bristles are too soft for serious blending, but the slightly pointed tip helps to blend edges better than it would with a more rounded top.

This brush is 3600 YEN and available here.

Chikuhodo T-4

  • Full Length: 150mm / 5.9 in
  • Hair Length: 35mm / 1.4 in
  • Hair Width: 16mm / 0.6 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat

This brush, part of the Takumi series, feels like I’m applying blush with a bunny tail! It’s so soft and springy! It’s also larger than I expected, considering the price, which was a nice surprise! It’s fully round, which makes this excellent for buffing. Although goat hair is the better of the animal hairs to use with harder pressed powder products, I don’t like to use this one for that. This works amazingly with regular pressed products and picks up a ton of powder from baked blushes. I love it so much that I even bought a second one as a backup brush. It knocked my Koyudo Pine Squirrel brush back out of my top three favorite blush brushes!

This brush is 5400 YEN and available here.

Sonia G

Sonia G Cheek Pro

  • Full Length: 165mm / 6.5 in
  • Hair Length: 30mm / 1.2 in
  • Hair Width: *21mm / 0.8 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat

This is very small, but at least I knew that prior to purchasing. It’s slightly smaller in width to the KZ-04 and much shorter in height. The pinched ferrule creates more pressure in the center of the bristles and lighter pressure on the outer rim, which makes this great for concentrating color precisely to a given area. This helps to create an airbrushed look. This is also a workhorse type of brush I use for blushes that are harder to blend on the skin or harder pressed in the pan. I can still get a very light airy look with this brush, but I prefer to use it in tougher circumstances since it can do what many other brushes in my collection cannot. As time went on, this brush also became part of my top 3 favorite blush brushes and rank either #1 or #2 for me.

Sonia G Keyaki Brush Set

This limited edition brush set is special because of the Japanese Keyaki wood, which is “prized for its durability and beautiful grain” and has been used to build temples, shrines, and altars. It’s not common for an entire house to be made of that wood, but it’s more popular in smaller forms like countertops and lacquerware. I had been debating getting another Jumbo Blender and Mini Booster, plus I wanted the Flat Definer, so I reasoned that getting a set like this made sense for me. There’s no denying that these brushes are tiny (all 5 fit easily in the palm of my hand) but they aren’t so small as to make me question if this purchase was worth it.

Classic Face Brush

  • Full Length: 128mm / 5 in
  • Hair Length: 33mm / 1.3 in
  • Hair Width: *30mm / 1.2 in
  • Bristle Type: White and Dyed Saikoho Goat

The bristles are loosely packed and will give a sheer finish. It’s meant to be an all over face powder brush when traveling, but for everyday use, the head width is about the size of a small blush brush, so I use it as one sometimes. This brush is best suited for picking up loose or very lightly pressed powders.

Mini Base Brush

  • Full Length: 123mm / 4.8 in
  • Hair Length: 23mm / 0.9 in
  • Hair Width: *19mm / 0.7 in
  • Bristle Type: White Sokoho Goat and Synthetic Hair Mix

This is intended for applying foundation. The addition of synthetic fibers makes it especially suited for liquids and creams. The bristles are soft but I can feel a slight drag/resistance when I’m gliding this over my skin using a liquid. I have a big face, so I thought it would take an extraordinarily long time to use this all over, but it only takes an extra minute or two because of how well it blends. Besides foundation, I’ve used this as a large concealer brush to quickly cover a bigger area, though a little imprecisely. It works with all cream blushes, but with the Lys Cream Blush it’s a match made in heaven! With most other creams I rub the product in, but with the Lys, I actually stipple the product on and it looks so incredibly natural! This brush is also great with cream bronzer, cream contour, and even with cream highlighter (though it covers a wider area so I put the highlighter first before the blush). If I took this on a trip, I would still want to bring my Blendiful because that product gives me a blended base so quickly, but I would use this for all other cream products.

I’m normally not interested in angled brushes, but I would love to buy an angled brush or fan brush with this exact density and bristle combination for sharper contouring and bronzing. I also wanted a larger version, so I bought the Smashbox Cream Cheek Brush. I was surprised to find out it wasn’t that much larger than the Mini Base. The Smashbox brush isn’t as densely packed and has more of a domed top, so I have to swirl my brush around to coat all the tips in product. The Sonia G Mini Base applies more product to the cheek. The Smashbox bristles actually picked the product back off my face the way a damp Beautyblender can soak up excess cream and liquid off the skin. For my preferences, the Sonia G is superior because it gives me the maximum color payoff which I can blend down. The Smashbox brush is better for applying lightly as first and building up.

Jumbo Blender Brush

  • Full Length: 125mm / 4.9 in
  • Hair Length: 12mm / 0.5 in
  • Hair Width: *12mm / 0.5 in
  • Bristle Type: White Saikoho Goat

I’ve already reviewed the Jumbo blender so I’ll keep this brief. Despite the smaller handle, I don’t notice any differences between the full size and this one because the brush heads are the same size. These bristles are undyed whereas the original has dyed goat hair, but I don’t notice a difference in the feel of them either. You’re just better able to use cream and liquid eyeshadows with this one.

Mini Booster Brush

  • Full Length: 129mm / 5.1 in
  • Hair Length: 14mm / 0.55 in
  • Hair Width: *8mm / 0.3 in
  • Bristle Type: White Saikoho Goat

Once again, I reviewed this previously and notice no difference in performance between the Keyaki version and original version despite the shorter handle and undyed bristles. The brush heads are the same size. If you have hooded eyes, small lid space, or like precision brushes, I highly recommend getting some form of this brush!

Flat Definer Brush

  • Full Length: 123mm / 4.8 in
  • Hair Length: 8mm / 0.3 in
  • Hair Width: *7mm / 0.27 in
  • Bristle Type: White Saikoho Goat

This brush is available with a larger handle in the original line, but I do not own it. It’s great for applying shadows to my lower lash line, lining the eyelid, and applying shadow to anywhere small like the inner corner and highlighting the brow.

Koyudo Brushes

I mentioned in my “Updated Fude Post” that I was unable to get Kolinsky brushes from CDJapan. Somehow, one month later, I was able to process the order! Koyudo has discontinued many of their brushes and the ones still available will have a price increase, so I bought these at the perfect time. In fact, I bought the last available BP031 from CDJapan.

Koyudo BP027 Large Eye Shadow Brush

  • Full Length: 142mm / 5.6 in
  • Hair Length: 17mm / 0.6 in
  • Hair Width: *14mm / 0.5 in
  • Bristle Type: Kolinsky

Koyudo BP031 Medium Eyeshadow

  • Full Length: 140mm / 5.5 in
  • Hair Length: 15mm / 0.6 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Kolinsky

These two brushes perform the same way, they’re just different sizes. I was under the impression that these would be very soft, but I didn’t realize that it was “very soft” comparatively speaking to weasel and sable hair. These are firm brushes, but not scratchy. They’re stiff, but still have some give as to make them more comfortable to use than other brushes of a similar nature and purpose. What I like about these is the immediate color payoff deposited to my eyes. These are fantastic for cut crease work and creating defined lines, even with the large shadow brush because it is wide but nearly as thin as the medium brush. I also like using these to pack multichromes onto the lid because the bristles can handle being patted onto a layer of glitter glue/primer that I use to keep the shimmer on my eyes.

These brushes are not restricted to just eyeshadows, as the bristle type is fantastic to use with highlighter or creams and liquids like applying concealers and contours and cleaning up edges, but I have only used them for the purpose of applying powder eyeshadow. These would be great with liquid shadows as well.

Koyudo Kakishibuzome Series KSZ-03 Cheek Brush

What makes this brush special and the meaning behind the name is that “Kakishibuzome” is the technique used to dye the tips of the bristles. Kakishibu dye is created from the oxidation of two or more year old fermented unripe persimmons. It supposedly has antibacterial properties from the dye and the color will naturally fade with continued washing of the bristles over time. According to FudeJapan, the handles are made of “mizume-zakura” (cherry blossom wood).

  • Full Length: 155mm / 6.1 in
  • Hair Length: 45mm / 1.8 in
  • Hair Width: *38mm / 1.5 in
  • Bristle Type: Sokoho Goat (Beautylish), Saikoho Goat (CD Japan and Fude Japan)
  • Handle: Cherry Blossom Wood

This is one of those brushes I prefer for the aesthetic over function. The bristles just feel a bit fragile to me. It’s light to medium density. It’s sturdy enough, thanks to the pinched ferrule, but with the amount of pressure I use with my blush, the tips of the bristles don’t all move in a uniform direction. It has a wide splay, but I’m not used to a sweeping style of brush at this size to only be great for blending in one direction. At this size, I can usually buff a little in a circular motion or at least back and forth. I can only get even blending using my normal style if I use light pressure, which would require me to switch up my application techniques, but I would rather just keep this to display. I’ve used this brush for a few months and washed it twice. Despite feeling fragile, it’s still holding up perfectly fine with hardly any shedding. I’m not saying this is a bad brush or not worth the price. It just isn’t as suited to my style as I hoped.

Also, Beautylish has this listed as Sokoho hair but CD Japan and Fude Beauty list it as Saikoho. I’m not sure if it’s just a typo on the part of Beautylish or if Beautylish was given a lower grade batch. There are a few brushes I’ve seen from Beautylish by now that have different hair type (for example the Koyudo y-8 made of tanuki versus squirrel), so I do believe Beautylish sometimes gets their own versions of brushes. The prices among the websites are still fairly similar.

This brush is 6600 YEN and available here.

Koyudo Yoshiki Series Yoshiki-005 Lip & Eyeliner Brush S

  • Full Length: 130mm / 5.1 in
  • Hair Length: 8mm / 0.31 in
  • Hair Width: *4mm / 0.16 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat (Beautylish and Fude Beauty)
  • Handle: Wood

At the time of purchase, this brush was also listed as Sokoho on the Beautylish website, but the last time I checked it was updated to Saikoho. Interestingly, CDJapan just has this listed as “Goat” but describes it as a high quality goat. Usually retailers would want to highlight if their product is Saikoho. To my knowledge, “Goat” is used to describe Sokoho at best, but it tends to be lower grades.
The brush isn’t clean in the photo above (sorry! I misplaced my original photos when I had to get my laptop repaired). I rinsed it (but didn’t wash with soap) prior to using it, but the bristles look the same as when I first got this brush. You can see the tip doesn’t come to an insanely fine point the way it appears on some retailer websites. It’s much too thick for me to use as a lip brush, but it’s perfect for what I really wanted: to gently apply shadow to my inner corner and lower lash line, as well as smoking out darker shadows and liners.

This brush is 1500 YEN and is available here.

Kihitsu Brushes

I purchased the Kihitsu Brushes from a seller on Mercari. My curiosity was piqued because the ferrule and handles looked identical to Koyudo’s BP series. Finding information on this brand was difficult, but it’s my understanding Kihitsu brushes are in fact manufactured by Koyudo. This line of Kihitsu is also called the BP series, but I have no idea what the names of these particular brushes are called.

Kihitsu Brush (Cheek? BP018?)

  • Full Length:*160mm / 6.3 in
  • Hair Length:*36mm / 1.4 in
  • Hair Width:*33mm / 1.3 in
  • Bristle Type: Squirrel (exact type unknown)

Kihitsu Brush (Eye? BP028 but not a pine squirrel version?)

  • Full Length: *140mm / 5.5 in
  • Hair Length: *14mm / 0.5 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Squirrel (exact type unknown)

The condition of these brushes are questionable. I’ve seen some hairs on the edges that look snapped off on the larger brush and it feels unusually thin as though it lost quite a bit of hair. I still use these brushes occasionally and I enjoy their softness, but for these reasons, I can’t comment on the quality of what these brushes would have been like if they were brand new and not pre-owned. I can only guess that if I think the quality is decent in this state, the new ones are probably amazing. In the case of the BP018, the Koyudo version was not dense at all, so perhaps that part is the same. I cannot find a retailer than sells Kihitsu to the US. In fact, it’s difficult to find any information about them at all. The only way I’ve seen to obtain brushes like these is through a personal shopper, like buying through Fude Japan’s website, or buying pre-owned like I did.

Muragishi Sangyo

All I know about this brand is what CDJapan states, “MURAGISHI SANGYO is a makeup brush producer with 90 years of history. MURAGISHI’s makeup brushes are created using the traditional techniques of artisans from Kumano and completed with a touch of Kyoto culture.” I was unable to find much else besides their Instagram page.

HS-2 Hana Sakura Blush Brush

  • Full Length: 145mm / 5.7 in
  • Hair Length: 35mm / 1.4 in
  • Hair Width: *30mm / 1.2 in
  • Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Sokoho Goat Mix

This is from the Hana Sakura Series. I love this brush! I purchased it in August of 2020, and for several weeks straight I exclusively used this for my blush and bronzer. Even though this is a sweeping style brush, I can use my regular buffing techniques with it. This is one of the main brushes that changed my opinion about the practicality of small blush brushes to the point where I almost favor them! I am admittedly pretty rough with this brush and have used this on some of my harder pressed powders like the Nabla Skin Glazing and Skin Bronzing line. I should treat it gentler because it still has some squirrel in it, but it is holding up very well. The Cherry Blossom design and mix of luxurious hair makes this brush well worth the price and is both effective as a brush and beautiful to display. It is one of my favorite brushes in my entire collection and I’ve purchased these to give as gifts before.

This brush is 3700 YEN and available here.

Rephr Brushes

Rephr is a brand that I was a bit hesitant to purchase from at first. Part of what makes Kumanofude so special are the artisans who have learned the brushmaking techniques that have been passed on for generations. The founders of Rephr don’t have that same experience. It is a relatively new company and although they produce their brushes in Kumano and have hired artisans of their own, the company itself doesn’t have a long-standing history to aid in their credibility. In August, I decided to get two brushes from their concept store in order to test the quality.
The concept store is where they put the brushes on sale for half off*, with the condition of getting feedback about the brushes. That feedback is supposed to be used in order to tailor and tweak future brushes to meet the demands of the customers and create brushes that the majority of people want most. I expected to get an email asking for feedback, as I couldn’t find where I was supposed to input that information on the site, but I never received a message after buying them in August 2020.

*As of March 2021, Rephr has reintroduced the concept store (with the feedback section linked in the account). Also, the concept store brushes are not automatically 50% off anymore.

Rephr 15

  • Full Length: *171mm / 6.7 in
  • Hair Length: *17mm / 0.7 in
  • Hair Width: *12mm / 0.47 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

Rephr 16

  • Full Length: *175mm / 6.9 in
  • Hair Length: *20mm / 0.8 in
  • Hair Width: *12mm / 0.47 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

Regarding the goat hair quality, it is only on the FAQ page that Rephr explains that each brush is a mix of Sokoho and Saikoho goat hair. The brushes intended to deposit more pigment lean more on the side of Sokoho and the brushes they want to be airier and give a sheerer application have more of the Saikhoho hair.

I honestly didn’t like these brushes at first. They were listed as “large” but I wasn’t expecting them to be this big for blending brushes, and I wish Rephr posted the brush stats at the time I purchased them. I tend to prefer a fluffy brush to blow out one shade in the crease, like the #15, but the tapered tip of the #16 is great for blending out a harsh edge. I would have liked them even more if they were a bit denser and sturdier so I could apply more pressure when blending. I know that many people love Rephr brushes, and while it’s a good introduction to Fude at a lower price via the concept store, I have brushes I like better and I recommend skipping the introduction and jumping straight into Sonia G for both traditional and innovative versatile styles. I still use the #15 and #16, but they’re never my first choice. I prefer the Sonia G Blender Pro to the nearly identical brush head size of the #15.

In addition, while the concept store prices make the brushes more affordable, their regular prices are not automatically cheaper. For example, Rephr’s number 23 brush for $24 is similar in size to the $14 Saikoho goat hair Koyudo Yoshiki Series Yoshiki-005 Lip & Eyeliner Brush. Rephr’s $28 #20 fan brush is pricier than the Wayne Goss #15 fan brush for $25. All the eye brushes are the same $24 regardless of how large or how tiny the brushes are, which makes it feel like it’s absolutely not worth buying a smaller brush. I’m guessing that by charging more for a small brush (leaving it to be overpriced) it offsets the cost of the larger brushes (presumably underpriced). The Sonia G Blender Pro is $10 more expensive than the #15. If the #15 was really meant to be, for example $4-10 more expensive, I would easily say the Blender Pro is more worth the money. Even with the larger brushes being underpriced, I feel like the quality somewhat matches, so it still doesn’t feel like a savings at $24. In Rephr’s own words, the cost difference is “minimal,” between the goat hair grades they use, so the bristle quality isn’t a factor. Other brushmakers charge lower prices for smaller brushes because they use less materials to make them. I prefer that model and wish Rephr gave each eye brush its own unique price.

**I completed this post in March 2021, but when Rephr reintroduced the concept store and started a point program, then scrapped it in favor of offering an outright automatic coupon of 40% off the customers’ next orders, I decided to give the brand a second try and purchased three more brushes. I also pushed back the release of this post so that I would have adequate time to test them out fairly. On the website, I was pleased to see they added better photos of the brushes and closeups of the brush heads from multiple angles, plus videos, in addition to at least listing the hair lengths of each brush.

Upon receiving my new order, it seemed to me that the bristles felt a little nicer. I was also surprised by how much tighter packed the bristles felt. Then I realized that these brushes were all matte black as opposed to the previous brushes I had with shiny metal ferrules and glossy black handles. This made me curious, so I watched a few videos on youtube to discover that some of my same brushes existed in both the matte and shiny handle forms and although I could not find an explanation, I suspect this is to differentiate between Rephr’s brushes in the concept store (that they get feedback on) from the brushes in their regular store that are usually listed at full price. I don’t know if these three brushes happen to be more of the “type 3” Saikoho hair or if the quality of the concept brushes are a tad lower than the regular store brushes. All I know is that these three brushes are more of the Fude quality I’m used to, which has caused my opinion of Rephr to improve. However, at full price they’re still more expensive than some of the prestigious brands I use, so I don’t know what the make of the situation. I would love to love them, but whether their brushes are worth buying depends on the situation. I know most brands factor future discounts/sale events into their pricing, so maybe this is why Rephr’s brushes are not that affordable at full price. It has to be working for them because businesses will do whatever works best for their company. If it doesn’t work, they’ll change it. As a consumer, I enjoy researching what else is on the market so I can feel confident that I got the best price that’s worth the money.

Rephr 05

  • Full Length: *170mm / 6.7 in
  • Hair Length: 38mm / 1.5 in
  • Hair Width: *30mm / 1.2 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

This brush is ideal for sweeping, but I can easily use circular motions to swirl on the product. It works surprisingly well for that considering its oval shape and pinched ferrule. After washing it for the first time, I discovered that this brush blooms to a dramatically different shape, though I noticed it while it was half dried and was able to return it to the shape I wanted by putting a brush guard on it. The belly of the brush is still puffed out more than before, making this brush less oval and more of a round shape on the top. This explains how I was able to use circular motions so easily with a paddle shaped brush.

I thought using the brush on its toes would be great to chisel on bronzer and/or contour, but the tips come to a taper, so it doesn’t distribute as much pigment per swipe as it would if it had a flatter top. I can still use the brush on its side to apply bronzer, but I prefer to just use this as a blush brush. It picks up a decent amount of blush and distributes a soft, but not too sheer, wash of color to the cheeks. It also works to dust on a light layer of powder all over the face. For $34, I have no regrets getting this. I don’t want to keep harping on Rephr’s prices but rather than spending $57 for the #5, I would say the Chikuhodo T-4 for $52 is so worth it. It has more bristles and is softer and similar in size, though the brush head shape is fully round. The T-4 is in my top favorite blush brushes and is such a joy to use. Rephr’s #5 is nice, and I would definitely recommend it at the price I paid, but I wouldn’t recommend it if it was priced above $45 when I can list several other brushes I prefer for blush that’s under $57. I’m still curious about brush #24 from Rephr, but I’ve never caught that one in stock.

Rephr 12

  • Full Length: *145mm / 5.7 in
  • Hair Length: 11mm / 0.4 in
  • Hair Width: *7mm / 0.3 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

This brush reminded me of a smaller version of a Real Techniques brush I used to love for crease work. That brush could apply and blend almost at the same time, but with continued use it eventually lost some of its shape and became less effective at blending. Because the Rephr 12 is smaller than that one and has a pointed tip, I can use it like a regular pencil brush to apply shadow below my lower lash line with precision despite how wide it looks. I also turn it slightly to the side to use the side of the bristles to blend out the edges of shadows. It also does what the #13 can do in terms of being great for precise crease work, and more precise than my Real Techniques brush was capable of doing. So far, I’m impressed with this brush and will continue to use it. This is the only brush I’ve tried from Rephr that I think is actually worth purchasing at full price.

Rephr 13

  • Full Length: *152mm / 6 in
  • Hair Length: 13mm / 0.5 in
  • Hair Width: *7mm / 0.3 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

This brush is a hair smaller than the Sonia G Mini Booster. I have photos comparing the shape of this to several other similar brushes at the end of this post. This is the kind of shape that is my favorite for doing any precise crease work and deepening the outer corner of the eye by building up and blending out. The brush is dense enough to blend stubborn shadows, yet still soft enough to avoid tugging the skin in the process. While I do like this brush and find it useful, the Sonia G Mini Booster can do the same while being even softer on the eye. For this reason, I consider this more of a backup brush, useful but not my first choice. The Sonia G brush is $26 and has never gone on sale. Since this is regularly $24, if you don’t have the one from Sonia G and can get this on sale, it may be worth purchasing.

After both orders, I’ve come to believe that Rephr would not be getting this much hype without the concept store/deep discounts. Customers get decent to nice quality handmade uncut brushes from Kumano, but the sale price is the only reason I’d recommend looking into Rephr. The customer feedback aspect is where Rephr has potential. If their future releases are innovative shapes and styles of brushes, I think that would really make them a company to keep your eye on. On their “About us” page, they mentioned expanding to “products related to makeup, skincare & home,” which would also help them to really stand out as a company. I know that would certainly excite me! My experience with them is mixed, but I’m still keeping tabs on their future releases.

Tsubokawa Mouhitsu

Koyomo Nadeshiko Pearl Pink Shadow Brush

Tsubokawa Mohitsu is the actual brush manufacturer. I’m going to splice together what CDJapan has to say about this particular brush and the line overall because there is extra information depending on which page of the site you’re reading:

“Haku-ototsuho Yomo is hair from around the shoulder area of goats, which has a moderate firmness. The highest-quality hair for brushes, known as “Koyomo,” is hair that has been taken from goats living in the Yangtze region of China, in the 1970s or before, and is precious due to its rarity. Brushes using “Koyomo” confirmed as being from this period, are coated in cuticles up to the hair tip and have delicate tips, which means that they feel smooth on the skin and have no friction. The brushes also last a long time, becoming more adapted the more they are used, and as make-up brushes they are unparalleled.”

The fact that “Koyomo” is continually used in quotation marks on the website leads me to believe that this is somewhat of an umbrella term, especially when it just has goat next to it on the distributor page (shown in the screenshot below).
The main takeaway of Koyomo is that it’s intended to signify the source of the hair (specific goats from a specific region and period of time). The term alone does not distinguish the grade.
A Koyomo version of Saikoho is supposed to be better than Saikoho from a goat today. Sokoho grade Koyomo is said to be stronger and softer than modern Sokoho hair, and so on. So, if you have an opportunity to get a Hakuototsuho Koyomo brush or a modern Saikoho hair brush, you can expect the modern Saikoho brush to be softer because it’s still a higher grade.

Also, “highest quality” could mean strength of the bristle relative to its softness and doesn’t always mean it will be the softest brush, like the way Kolinsky is highly prized but they don’t all feel the same. I mention this because I made this assumption and I wouldn’t want someone to be disappointed with what they get. Even though this brush is technically a lower grade than most of my other natural hair brushes, it’s surprisingly soft considering the firmness of the bristles. On the softness scale it’s perhaps on par with modern Sokoho. All of the pink series are made of Hakuototsuho Koyomo, but the company also produces higher grade Koyomo in their Tsuki and Hana lines. However, those are naturally more expensive.

I don’t mind using small brushes, but because this is so tiny it gets lost in the sea of my brushes. However, I continually seek this out because the bristles are so resilient and densely packed, yet small enough to use with hooded eyes that I absolutely love using this brush to blend the outer corners of my eyeshadow. I didn’t think it was worth buying at first, but after the first few uses I started to appreciate it a lot more and it’s one of my favorite brushes now.

  • Full Length: *110mm / 4.3 in
  • Hair Length: *15mm / 0.6 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Haku-ototsuho Yomo Goat

This brush is 2500 YEN and available here.

Bisyodo

Uyeda Bisyodo is an OEM like Koyudo, Chikuhodo, and Hakuhodo but I don’t know which brands they create brushes for. While the other 3 OEMs I’m familiar with are located in Kumano, Bisyodo is based in Osaka. I’ve always been curious about this brand, but after The Fancy Face on Youtube raved about them, I couldn’t resist them any longer! I love the feel of whatever conditioning or treating agent they use on the bristles. I can’t definitively say which Fude company is my third favorite, but this one is definitely in the running for that spot!

BISYODO alba Series Powder Brush

  • Full Length: 180mm / 7.1 in
  • Hair Length: 50mm / 2 in
  • Hair Width: *38mm / 1.5 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat
  • Handle: Wood
  • Ferrule: Aluminum

I love the way this gently glides across my skin. The size and shape allows me to quickly and evenly apply a light dusting of power all over my face. I believe it is the softest goat brush in my collection, more than the Chikuhodo T-4, Koyudo Saikoho Powder Brush, and Sonia G Cheek Pro. I don’t use powder all over my face as much anymore, but whenever I do with this brush, it is an absolute pleasure to use. I was surprised to discover such mixed reviews about this brush and the Alba series as a whole. I don’t know if i just got lucky or others received some defective ones, but the quality of mine is phenomenal. It’s a great tool with a beautiful wood handle that appears to have some kind of coating to make it feel like it’s ceramic. The aluminum ferrule isn’t pinched, but it has an oval shape, yet the width and splay of the bristles allow me to both sweep the powder and buff in a circular motion if I want.

This brush is 7200 YEN and available here.

B-C-01 Highlight / Cheek Brush

  • Full Length: 167mm / 6.8 in
  • Hair Length: 38mm / 1.5 in
  • Hair Width: *32mm / 1.26 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat
  • Handle: African Rose Wood
  • Ferrule: 24 Karat Gold plated Brass

Most of my points with CDJapan were going to expire, but I waited for the Valentine’s Day coupon before making this purchase. This also makes it one of the three newest brushes to my collection. Besides loving Saikoho goat hair, the biggest lure of this brush to me is the beautiful polished African Rose Wood handle (from a legume tree) with the brass ferrule plated in 24KG. I was able to get the last one before it went on backorder. The bristles are so soft that it doesn’t even feel natural to me. It reminds me of my softest, silkiest, smoothest synthetic brushes. The way it’s shaped, especially with a very pinched ferrule, makes this brush a definitely intended for sweeping applications of blush or turned on the side to use with bronzers and contours. It’s lighter at the top and a bit more dense in the middle, but I still find it to be a floppy brush. It has such a wide splay area that adds to my statement about it working best as a sweeping cheek brush.

This brush is 6400 YEN and available here.

CH-HC Highlight Cheek Brush (Round)

  • Full Length: 163mm / 6.4 in
  • Hair Length: 35mm / 1.4 in
  • Hair Width: 21mm / 0.8 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat* (Sokoho)
  • Handle: Wood
  • Ferrule: Silver Plated

This brush is pretty, but I honestly just bought it to reach the free shipping minimum with CDJapan. This was part of my Valentine’s day order in 2021, and since then it became my number one favorite highlighter brush! I love the size of the tip and that point allows me to precisely place highlighter in a quantity that rare overdoes it. I can softly blend it out as well. The head is very similar to the Hakuhodo B5521, so essentially I have a duplicate of an amazing brush for a fraction of the cost. The Hakuhodo brush is $63 today but in Dec 2014 it used to be $35. While the squirrel-goat mix makes the Hakuhodo brush softer, I would say someone is much better off buying the Bisyodo brush instead at the current pricing. As soft as the Hakuhodo brush is, I like this brush better because of the resilience of the bristle for blending in highlighter formulas that might need a little help in getting them to look smooth on the face!

The handle of this brush doesn’t have the same coated finish as the African Rose Wood or Alba brush line. The bristles are most important to me, so I don’t mind. I love that I can get Saikoho goat at this price.

*At the time that I bought this brush, it was listed as Saikoho Goat. At the time I am updating, it is now listed as Sokoho Goat. I’m not sure if this is to correct an original mistake or if certain batches are made of different types of goat hair depending on what is available. Perhaps there was a shortage of Saikoho or rather than increasing the price of this brush for this shape, they decided to switch to Sokoho from now on. I’m not certain which one is the case, but after learning that another Bisyodo brush had been mislabeled on CDJapan (in 2022), it is quite possible that the brush was incorrectly listed as Saikoho. I am also inclined to believe this after I purchased a second one of these and the quality was quite similar to the one I bought at the time that it was supposed to be Saikoho. So, I do believe it was always supposed to be listed as Sokoho. In any case, this is a great reminder to always check the seller’s descriptions and the descriptions at other retail websites for the most up-to-date information about each brush before purchasing.

This brush is 2500 YEN and available here.

Houkodou

Houkodou is another Kumanofude company. Although they have been in business since 1900, I don’t know much about them other than what I’ve read here. I’ve been waiting for years for my go-to Fude brands to have an affordable Canadian Squirrel brush for sale to try. I grew tired of waiting, which is why I finally bought this brush from CDJapan. The two brushes are labeled GS-1 and GS-2 but these are different from the identically named brushes from Eihodo that are also available from CDJapan. Also, I could have sworn I read that these were gold plated, but I cannot find that information any longer. It’s possible the gold plated ones were a limited edition release or they used to be but no longer are. I think mine are beautiful regardless.

Houkodou Brilliant Gold Series Flat Eye Shadow Brush G-S1

  • Full Length: 148mm / 5.8 in
  • Hair Length: 20mm / 0.78 in
  • Hair Width: *15mm / 0.6 in
  • Bristle Type: Canadian Squirrel

This brush brings out the best in the eyeshadows I use with it. Whenever I’m doing a blown out look, this blends my shadows so well! It’s a positive experience every time! The bristles are nearly as soft as grey squirrel, yet they deposit significantly more color with one dip onto the eyes. This brush reignited my curiosity and interest in Canadian Squirrel so much that I had to buy the G-S2 later on as well.

This brush is 3700 YEN and available here.

Houkodou Brilliant Gold Series Flat Eye Shadow Brush G-S2

  • Full Length: 148mm / 5.8 in
  • Hair Length: 14mm / 0.55 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Canadian Squirrel

This was another Valentine’s day purchase. It’s significantly smaller than the G-S1, but it allows me to do more detailed work. If you like the G-S1, I see no reason why someone would not like this as well.

This brush is 3200 YEN and available here.

ADDITIONAL COMPARISONS

That’s all! Thank you as always for reading!

-Lili

FUDE COLLECTION: Japanese Makeup Brushes Part 1

*LAST UPDATED APRIL 2022.

**DISCLAIMER: All products in this post were purchased by me with my own money and prior to me being part of any affiliate program. Unhighlighted 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!

What Makes These Brushes Special?

Kumano is called the world’s brush making capital and it is where all the brushes I’ll be talking about today were created. Chikuhodo has a detailed explanation of the process that artisans go through to handmake these brushes. For generations, the brush makers in Kumano have been honing their craft, making world-renown calligraphy brushes, paintbrushes, and then segued into makeup brushes. The finest hairs are chosen, and nothing is machine cut. The tips are left on, which adds to the silky-soft feel. These brushes are never scratchy! Although most of these companies use natural hair, especially for their elite lines, there are some brands like Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, and Wayne Goss who have some synthetic brushes in their lineup.

BLUE vs GREY SQUIRREL and CRUELTY-FREE STATUS

Before we get into the review, I’d like to address the discrepancies that are sure to come up, such as some brushes being listed as Blue Squirrel on one website and then Grey squirrel for the same brush on another site. Red squirrels and Grey squirrels are confirmed to be different, but I’ve seen conflicting information as to whether blue and grey are the same.* It ultimately is up to the manufacturer to decide what it is and how it should be listed. I thought perhaps it came down to the location the hair came from, the color of the bristle, or the quality of the hair. The ones listed as blue that I have seen tend to be darker, almost black. Whereas those listed as grey when I bought them look dark brown. However, the tail colors of actual grey squirrels fluctuate seasonally between brown, black, and silvery gray, so I realized that couldn’t be the right answer.

I have only found one source that specifically lists a name for a blue squirrel (or at least a squirrel with blue-black tail hair) which is called Saccamina or Sacamena.

Even on Sonia G’s blog in 2012, she makes a distinction between the two types, but in her Surratt review from 2015, she calls them the same.

I contacted Beautylish asking if blue squirrel comes from a grey squirrel or if they are different, and the customer service representative told me they are not the same. That they feel the same but grey is less expensive than blue. I contacted FudeJapan and they told me the opposite information. That they are the same. So finally, I emailed Chikuhodo and the representative wrote back that blue and grey are the same. That in Japan it is usually marked as grey and that western markets tend to call it blue. This makes sense to me when I thought about how Beautylish and the US Hakuhodo website are the only ones I’ve seen with blue squirrel brushes, compared to what is available on CDJapan or Fude Beauty’s websites. So, from this point forward I will consider grey squirrel and blue squirrel to be the same.  

*UPDATE: 04/2022 According to this source, red squirrel hair is the red hair from a grey squirrel.

As for the cruelty-free status, there is this idea that has been going around for years that the fur from wild animals have been gathered from catching, brushing, and then letting them go, or that they were humanely kept in cages to be brushed. This is a concept that retailers like for us to believe because it’s a much sweeter tale than the reality of the situation. This might sound feasible for domesticated animals in abundance, such as goats and ponies which their hair can be combed, sheered, or cut, but this concept for rarer hairs like squirrel and silver fox isn’t realistic. Even with goats, the quality of hair isn’t the same across the entire animal. The chest is the coveted area, but the quality is different even within that section: Saibikoho, Saikoho, and Sokoho. If squirrels had to be brushed every day to produce a few loose strands that haven’t already fallen off while they ran around, it would take years to make just one hundred brushes and the cost would be astronomical.

While combing/brushing, sheering, and cutting hair is cruelty-free, if the animal was killed for their meat or as pest/population control in a region, the procured hairs are considered a by-product of the industry, which allows them to also be labeled cruelty-free. Meaning, if the animal was not killed specifically for its fur, it is considered cruelty free. I don’t remember all my sources, as some of my research was done in 2017, but I came across this comment from Temptalia where Hakuhodo mentions that even goat hair is obtained from “butchers.” This further supports my belief that most cruelty-free natural hair fibers are not obtained from brushing or sheering. The majority are sourced when the animal is no longer alive.

It is quite a messy topic that I don’t feel informed enough to debate the ethics of the situation. I’m just providing the information I’ve obtained over the years, though I feel my information is still just as limited.

BRUSH SPECIFICATIONS

As these are all handmade (although I’m not sure about the Hakuhodo / Sephora ones) the measurements vary slightly among the brushes. Any number I measured myself in millimeters will have an asterisk next to it. All inch numbers were calculated by me as well. Regarding the width, the numbers are based on post-wash which will typically be wider than straight out of the package. My width measurements are the widest part of the brush hair.

Also, this post took several weeks to work on. So, some of the photos of the brushes look clean (as they’ve just been washed) and in other photos there is leftover product on them because I took more pictures later on. Natural hair brushes should not be washed as often as synthetic, so to preserve the integrity of my brushes, I did not want to wash these multiple times in a month when I normally only deep clean them once a month.

As to how durable these brushes are, I’ve been using all the Hakuhodo brushes for years and they still look to be in great shape. All of my Wayne Goss brushes I’ve used for years as well, excluding the original Holiday brush (but it’s pre-owned and probably used a lot) and the Holiday 2019 brush. The Chikuhodo Z-3 is the only Chikuhodo brush I’ve had for years, although I barely used it. So, I would consider my overall Chikuhodo brush use timeline to be a few months to a few weeks. My Sonia G brushes, I’ve also only used for a few months.

And my final note is that even though I broke this post into separate sections by brand, it’s difficult to discuss these brushes without comparing them to each other. So, if you’re only interested in learning about the Chikuhodo FO series, for example, just note that additional information might be included in the comparison to the Z series or Wayne Goss brushes. And I will include additional photo comparisons at the very end.

Hakuhodo

Hakuhodo is an OEM, an original equipment manufacturer. OEMs purchase supplies from other companies (for example: fibers, wood, paint, metal, etc.) to create their own products. But generally, the product they make becomes part of another company’s unique creation.

Hakuhodo has its own series of brushes, but they also create brushes for other companies. This is not necessarily the same as private labeling, though OEMs can offer that as well. Private labeling would be keeping the brush identical with just a different label or color. The most basic of changes. Some OEMs offer even more, where their customers can request modifications to their exact specifications: handle size, weight, and width, bristle length, density, hair type, ferrule metal type, pinched or unpinched ferrules, etc. This is done in bulk to make it worth their time and effort. The further the specifications stray from an OEM’s template, the more expensive it will be. Larger companies may work out a deal to keep their unique specifications from being used by anyone else, but others might see the ones they came up with become a new template. The Lunar Beauty vs Makeup Revolution prism highlighter component comes to mind. 

Hakuhodo was my first introduction to Fude in December 2014, upon hearing rumors that they might be the ones to make Wayne Goss brushes and some of MAC’s past older brushes. It’s just a rumor I heard; I cannot confirm anything. Though, the extreme similarities between the brush heads among Hakuhodo and WG brushes is an interesting coincidence. And the additions to Hakuhodo’s synthetic line around the time that WG started offering synthetic brushes as well…

Between getting a WG brush and Hakuhodo brush, I started with Hakuhodo as I wanted to go for the brand with the longer-standing reputation. In a sense, I have them to thank for sparking my love of Japanese brushes. Although some of their brushes have gone up in price, everything Hakuhodo makes (minus the Sephora collab) is well worth it.

Hakuho-do + Sephora Pro Fan Cheek Brush (retail $40)

  • Full Length: *169mm / 6.7 in
  • Hair Length:* 35mm / 1.4 in
  • Hair Width: *33mm / 1.3 in
  • Bristle Type: Synthetic

I didn’t purchase anything from the collection until they went on sale. I didn’t want to pay full price when I was uncertain how much I would enjoy these brushes due to their unusual shapes. I love fan brushes though, so I was curious about how this would perform. It’s soft, but I’m admittedly biased against synthetic brushes for powder products. As expected, it doesn’t feel as soft as the finest goat or squirrel hair and doesn’t pick up powder as well when using this brush on a firmly pressed or baked product. The shape is such that I would only use it for cheek and jaw contour, as well as bronzer in a sweeping motion. It’s a little too floppy for my taste as I find myself holding the brush as close to the head as possible to blend out bronzer and contour. It works fine with highlighter for a more subtle and diffused application. It’s a versatile brush, but not my favorite.

Hakuho-do + Sephora Pro Small Teardrop Pointed Highlighter Brush (retail $38)

  • Full Length: *180mm / 7.1 inch
  • Hair Length: *38mm / 1.5 in
  • Hair Width: *22mm / 0.9 in
  • Bristle Type: Synthetic

I’m not sure what other uses this brush could have, besides highlighter, but the shape of the bristles makes it just okay for applying and blending highlighter on my cheeks. It’s more precise than the fan brush above, but it still applies powder sheerly. Perhaps I could try this sometime with a liquid highlighter, but this brush ranks low in my entire brush collection, not just among the Fude.

Hakuhodo B5521

  • Full Length: 172mm / 6.8 in
  • Hair Length: 32mm / 1.26 in
  • Hair Width: 13mm / 0.5 in
  • Bristle Type: Blue Squirrel and Goat
  • Handle: Wood
  • Ferrule: Nickel plated brass

This brush used to be $35 as I remember it being the same price, if not cheaper, than the WG 02 brush. I specifically purchased the one from Hakuhodo because it has similar dimensions to the WG, but I wanted to know what a goat and blue squirrel mixture of a brush felt like. I can confirm the former price from a blog post I found dated from 2014, although the current Hakuhodo brush is a little longer. Temptalia has it listed as $53 from 2016, although the hair thickness was listed as 5mm thicker. It is $63 as of 2020.

This was my favorite highlighter brush until it was surpassed by the Wayne Goss Air Brush. It is still very pleasant to use, but the reason I prefer the Air Brush is because of the paddle shape (with its wider surface area to pick up powder). It disperses more product onto my skin and picks up harder pressed powders a little better.

Hakuhodo J142

  • Full Length: 153mm / 6 in
  • Hair Length: 18mm / 0.7 in
  • Hair Width: 6mm / 0.24 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat
  • Handle: Wood
  • Ferrule: Nickel plated brass

Certain styles of Hakuhodo Brushes, like the 142, are part of multiple series’ of brushes. For example, you can get the same Basic/J version that I have with black handles made of wood, a nickel-plated brass ferrule, and goat hair bristles. There’s also the i-142 synthetic version for $6 less, but you’re getting black plastic handles and an aluminum ferrule. The S142Bk is double the price of the B/J version, even though it also has black wooden handles, but the ferrule is made of 24-karat gold plated brass and has squirrel hair instead of goat. The final version is the S142, which has everything the same as the S124BK except that the handles are painted in a gorgeous vermilion shade with the end of the brush as an angled flat surface with the blue and white Hakuhodo logo on it, that if I remember correctly is supposed to symbolize a crane. This was one of my most used eyeshadow blending brushes until I started purchasing Sonia G brushes.

Hakuhodo J146

  • Full Length: 156mm / 6.1 in
  • Hair Length: 16mm / 0.63 in
  • Hair Width: 5mm / 0.2 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat
  • Handle: Wood
  • Ferrule: Nickel plated brass

The 146 is available in multiple series’ as well. It’s slightly shorter and thinner than the 142. Deciding which version is the best depends on the customer’s preferences. The more expensive brush doesn’t automatically make it better. Squirrel hair will give a softer wash of color, softer blend, and softer application. When it comes to eyeshadow, I want a more resilient bristle such as goat hair which is soft but also less fragile. Most of the time I want the maximum color-payoff and not a sheer application that a squirrel brush will provide. That’s not to say the squirrel brush cannot build up color. It would just take longer, especially as these brushes are meant to be used gently. It’s why I prefer squirrel hair for my powder complexion products and high-quality goat hair for eyeshadows. I used to prefer the 142 over this one, but as I got older and my eyes became even more partly hooded, I began to prefer the tip shape of this one instead.

Hakuhodo J5529

  • Full Length: 153mm / 6 in
  • Hair Length: 13mm / 0.5 in
  • Hair Width: 5mm / 0.2 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat
  • Handle: Wood
  • Ferrule: Nickel plated brass

This brush, along with the other two above, are brushes I use in my crease. I love how small they are, so I can do more complicated looks with precision. I have a tendency to carry my eyeshadow too far up, so using smaller brushes helps me with that. This brush has similar dimensions with the Sonia G Mini Booster, making it tied for smallest crease brush in my collection.

Hakuhodo J5523

  • Full Length: 151mm / 5.9 in
  • Hair Length: 16mm / 0.63 in
  • Hair Width: 4.5mm / 0.18 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat
  • Handle: Wood
  • Ferrule: Nickel plated brass

This brush is available in a variety of fibers: goat, horse, goat/horse mixture, blue squirrel, and synthetic. This brush is commonly touted as the equivalent of the MAC 217, Wayne Goss 18, and Sonia G Worker Pro. I don’t use this brush that often, as I feel more comfortable using my cheaper brushes with this head shape (until the Sonia G Builder Three). Though the shape is more beneficial for packing/patting, I sometimes use this to apply a wash of color above the crease or blow out one shade.

Chikuhodo

Chikuhodo is also an OEM, having made brushes for Suquu, RMK, Lunasol, etc. Chikuhodo is my favorite brush manufacturer. The hairs they procure and their skill at bundling and shaping their brushes is top notch. If I want a classic and traditional brush shape, there’s no one better to go to than them. In addition, their specialty handles appeal to the luxury lover in me and it makes their brushes that much more special to not only use, but also display. Many Chikuhodo brushes are like works of art. Their brushes are so sought after that counterfeit brushes started being made in 2018, so purchasing from a reputable seller is important in experiencing the true quality of their products.

A timeline of the company’s history can be found here and more in-depth information on the accomplishments of Chikuhodo and how they grew into a powerhouse can be found here.

As with most of these brushes, the price differences vary greatly between Beautylish, Fude Beauty, CDJapan, and VisageUSA. Beautylish is the most expensive, but the shipping is free in the US for orders over $35. This makes it cheaper for me, than say CDJapan whose prices might be ten or more dollars cheaper in total, but because of the pandemic, the cheapest shipping option is $24. If I spend over $112, specifically on makeup brushes, then CDJapan is cheaper. CDJapan also has a points-for-cash program, which can help, but their prices are in yen which means Paypal will charge a small international conversion fee, which could make prices about the same as other retailers. Another thing to factor is the strength of the YEN versus the currency of the customer. For example, at times when the YEN is weaker than USD, a retailer like CDJapan, Fude Beauty, and Fude Japan whose websites automatically adjust prices based on the currency value would give me a better price than Beautylish or VisageUSA which have set prices. I would suggest taking your time when deciding the most cost-effective options among these retailers. One thing I wish I knew beforehand is that Visage offers $2 engravings on some of the brushes. The engravings plus occasional sale up to 25%, depending on how much you spend, make it an alluring option.

Chikuhodo MK-KO Powder Brush (Carp Design)

  • Full Length: 167mm / 6.6 in
  • Hair Length: 52mm / 2 in
  • Hair Width: *40mm / 1.58 in
  • Bristle Type: Grey Squirrel (listed as “Ash Squirrel” only on the Beautylish website)

I jokingly refer to this as the Rolls Royce of my brush collection. This brush was released at the end of April 2020 and is part of Chikuhodo’s Makie Series. It is described as a collaboration between Chikuhodo, the lacquerware brand Yamanaka-Shikki, and mural artist Hideki Kimura for his Koi design. The subtle sparkles in the paint on this brush were caused by the Maki-e process of powdered gold, silver, and/or other precious gems being dusted onto the design while the lacquer was still wet. The brush head looks huge because the bristles are extremely long while also being the standard width of a large powder brush. However, when turned, you can see that it has a flatter side. This is not a dense buffing type of brush. I find it’s more of a finishing brush to either sweep powder all over the face or dust away any excess powder.

Another thing to note is that the handle of this brush and the Z-1 are quite chubby and feel on the verge of being too big, despite the fact that I have large hands and should have no issues with large handles. I don’t mind this handle size for the MK-KO because it doesn’t need to be practical when I may just stop using it and keep it on display instead. The Z-1 could have benefited from a slimmer handle. I like that Chikuhodo gave us smaller ones in the FO series, including indentations that show the best spot to grip each brush.

This brush is 20000 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo MKC-1 Makie Box

  • Material Surface Coating: Urethane Resin
  • Basis Material: Phenolic Plastic
  • External Dimensions: 215mm x 100mm x 50mm (8.5″ x 3.9″ x 2″)
  • Inside Dimensions: 200mm x 85mm x 30mm (7.9″ x 3.4″ x 1.2″)

This box is the tortoiseshell black color, but it’s also available in red and beige. I bought this originally for my MK-KO but I’ve since found a better storage method that won’t disturb the bristles from laying flat.

These are 3800 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo KZ-04

  • Full Length: 150mm / 5.9 in
  • Hair Length: 35mm / 1.4 in
  • Hair Width: *30mm / 1.2 in
  • Bristle Type: Kazan Squirrel
  • Handle: Granadillo Wood

This brush head is completely round-shaped. I incorrectly assumed it would be the same width as the Z-8, but it’s much smaller. Although the shape is round and can be used in a circular buffing motion, the bristles aren’t very dense and flatten enough to feel like the kind of brush you’d use to sweep on blush instead. This makes the brush trickier to use the way I like to apply, as I have to hold it further back on the handle to have the bristles not squish flat from regular pressure, yet firm enough to still buff. I am impressed, though, with how soft the bristles are. I do find it to be slightly softer than grey squirrel hair, although I don’t know how much of a factor brush head density plays into that. At least this brush doesn’t flatten the way synthetic bristles with no substance do; I can still feel how springy the fibers are when bounced on the skin.

This brush is definitely made for just loose or lightly pressed powders. My favorite uses for this are with blush and bronzer. I like it and enjoy it, but I can name several blush brushes I prefer over this one. It doesn’t rank as high because of the size and thickness. If softness was the only factor, it would be #1.

Chikuhodo KZ-05

  • Full Length: 150mm / 5.9 in
  • Hair Length: 35mm / 1.4 in
  • Hair Width: *25mm / 1 in
  • Bristle Type: Kazan Squirrel
  • Handle: Granadillo Wood

Upon first glance, the brush head size reminded me of the Wayne Goss Air Brush. That brush is made of blue squirrel for $35 versus Kazan squirrel for $90. The Air Brush is a few millimeters smaller in length and width, but when I squished the bristles, the Air Brush is about half as dense as the KZ-05. If the Air Brush was double the density and twice the price, that would still show the large price gap between the two squirrel hair types.

Even though this is called the highlighter brush, I don’t actually like it with highlighter. However, I like a very natural contour, which this brush is perfect for creating because of that tapered tip. It’s also nice for bronzer.

Chikuhodo FO-1 Powder Brush

  • Full Length: 155mm / 6.1 in
  • Hair Length: 45mm / 1.8 in
  • Hair Width: *30-50mm / 1.2 – 2 in
  • Bristle Type: Silver Fox
  • Handle: Maple Wood
  • Ferrule: Aluminum

The head of this brush is described as a “round flat” shape. When you first receive the brush the bristles are much more compact (around 30mm), but after it is washed and dried the brush puffs out to be much wider (approximately 50mm at its widest point). This is not due to improper cleaning or care. This is a unique feature of silver fox fibers.

Also, the varnish or lacquer of the green ferrule still had a noticeable smell on all the FO series brushes for me, so I let them air out in a ventilated spot for about 3-7 days.

This brush is slightly softer than grey squirrel, yet the bristles are as resilient as goat hair. I absolutely love the feel of this on my skin! I initially purchased this to use as a large blush brush, but the shape of it made it clear it’s better suited for applying powder all over my face. If you’re a natural hair brush lover, I highly recommend getting one of the face brushes in this line to experience how amazing these are! Silver Fox hair in makeup brushes is so uncommon, or at least it was in 2020. To my knowledge, Chikuhodo did it first. I believe Koyudo was next and released theirs on May 15th, 2020 although the shapes of those didn’t appeal to me the way this FO series does. In 2022, there are several other brands including ones from China that are selling silver fox bristle brushes, but they are pricey and still not commonplace.

This brush is 13000 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo FO-2

  • Full Length: 131mm / 5.2 in
  • Hair Length: 21mm / 0.8 in
  • Hair Width: *29mm/ 1.1 in
  • Bristle Type: Silver Fox
  • Handle: Maple Wood
  • Ferrule: Aluminum

Flat tops are not my favorite style of brushes, but I decided to buy this one to use as a buffing blush brush, and I’m so glad I did! It’s especially handy when I have a sheer/buildable blush that I want to quickly pack onto my cheeks. It’s also nice to blend out (not apply) powder contour. Applying it would deposit too much color at once and in too large of a surface area. The Z-3 Contour brush would be better to apply with and then use the FO-2 to blend out for a quicker and more diffused look.

Although this brush is intended for foundation, I don’t want to take the chance of ruining the bristles from my liquid foundations (I don’t use powder or cream foundations), so I will not be using it for that purpose. This is my absolute favorite brush to use with my Dior Powder-No-Powder and this is overall easily my favorite flat top brush in my collection.

This brush is 11000 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo FO-3 Cheek Brush

  • Full Length: 150mm / 5.9 in
  • Hair Length: 40mm / 1.58 in
  • Hair Width: *35mm / 1.38 in
  • Bristle Type: Silver Fox
  • Handle: Maple Wood
  • Ferrule: Aluminum

After washing my Chikuhodo FO-3 and using a brush guard, it dried a bit misshapen. So, I rewet it (without cleanser) and let it dry upside down freely. I love the way it fluffed up naturally into the perfect shape for me. A brush with silver fox is the one time when I actually want my brush to be a little fluffy and rounded, especially for blush. As for brush guards, I rarely use them anyway. I prefer the aloe vera method which I describe in greater detail under the Wayne Goss 00 Original Holiday Brush section.

The FO-3 brush is very similar in size to the Chikuhodo Z-8. The bristles have incredible spring to it. When bounced on the palm, I can feel the spring back. It is not perfectly rounded, but applies as though it is. I don’t have any other blush brush that tops this, especially for use on pigmented blushes to ensure I won’t overapply the product. There are only two other blush brushes I like just as much (Chikuhodo T-4 and Sonia G Cheek Pro). I am so happy! It’s not too small and also not flat the way the majority of Japanese blush brushes are made due to the preferred technique of sweeping blush rather than patting and buffing. For about a year, this was my favorite brush in my entire collection!

This brush is 10500 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo FO-5 Eye Shadow Brush

  • Full Length: 130mm / 5.1 in
  • Hair Length: 20mm / 0.8 in
  • Hair Width: *15mm / 0.6 in
  • Bristle Type: Silver Fox
  • Handle: Maple Wood
  • Ferrule: Aluminum

Because this brush doesn’t fluff out, and is more compacted, it feels differently than the others on the skin. The rounded tip is where it feels the softest, but I would have to use it in my crease to get the full enjoyment of the way it feels while applying product to my skin. Because of the size, I bought this for the purpose of setting my undereye (which works decently) or doing a one-and-done shadow application (which is nice). It works fairly well to blend out a subtle nose contour. I probably should have skipped getting this brush, but my curiosity wouldn’t rest until I could test it out for myself. There are two other eye brushes that I did not purchase because the shapes of them are the type of eye brushes I don’t use often.

This brush is 3200 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

  • Full Length: 160mm / 6.3 in
  • Hair Length: 45mm / 1.77 in
  • Hair Width: 20mm / 0.8 in
  • Bristle Type: Grey Squirrel

From photos on the websites, I didn’t realize this brush was a fully round shape, as is my preference. I’m glad I watched several videos online before purchasing, as it stopped me from getting the wrong one! I learned that the difference between the Z-1 and Z-9 is that this brush is round whereas the Z-9 more closely resembles the heads on the Makie Series. 5 out of 7 of the Chikuhodo brushes in this post were purchased from CDJapan because they offer free shipping on brushes over 12000 yen and the listed price is less expensive than Beautylish, even with Paypal’s conversion rate. Fude Japan and Visage sometimes have their brushes priced the same or lower, but during the pandemic, the cost to ship was too expensive (or they didn’t ship at all). With CDJapan, I also purchased when they offered a discount code and was also able to use accrued points to make the purchases as cost-effective as possible.
This brush is great to use when you want to quickly cover a large surface area with powder products. However, because this brush is denser than the MK-KO and FO-3, I really enjoy using this for blushes that are harder pressed. It’s my second favorite brush to use for blush because of the head shape and how soft it is.

This brush is 19000 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush

  • Full Length: 160mm / 6.3 in
  • Hair Length: 40mm / 1.6 in
  • Hair Width: 18mm / 0.7 in
  • Bristle Type: Grey Squirrel

I bought this brush pre-owned, and it does have a flaw (a portion of the bristles that were cut for some reason), but it surprisingly has not interfered with the integrity or performance. This brush is fairly round and not quite dense enough to be a true buffing brush, yet I do find I can buff reasonably well and I am not just restricted to sweeping blush onto my cheeks. I also really enjoy using this brush to apply bronzer. It doesn’t need saying, but as with all my grey squirrel brushes, the bristles are unbelievably soft.

I plan to purchase another one at some point, but this time from CDJapan. I want to experience the perfection that is the Z-8, but the way it was intended with whole and exquisitely shaped bristles.

This brush is 12000 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo Z-3

  • Full Length: 130mm / 5.1 in
  • Hair Length: 15mm / 0.6 in
  • Hair Width: 19mm / 0.75 in
  • Bristle Type: Grey Squirrel

I specifically remember that when I bought this brush, the Z-series brushes from Chikuhodo were listed as grey squirrel on Beautylish’s website. They now say blue. From what I could find, it is only Koyudo squirrel hair brushes that are listed as grey on their website now.* I’m not sure if that was the company’s decision or if Beautylish wanted to differentiate between Chikuhodo and Koyudo, since Koyudo is generally less expensive among the comparably sized brushes. Other retailers like CDJapan and Fude Beauty still have the Z-series listed as grey squirrel as well.

*The change to “blue” was in 2020, but it’s back to “grey” as of 2022.

This is known as a contour brush, and I do exclusively use this brush for that purpose. Even though blue/grey squirrel is known for lighter applications, the fact that this brush is so dense means that I still have to be careful not to over-apply. However, the flat-top shape allows me to buff the product into my skin very well. I don’t use flat tops very often. Here are some others in my collection to compare, although there’s only one somewhat similar in head size.

It always bothered me that the ferrule of my brush was slightly misaligned and not completely flush with the handle. It didn’t impact the performance, so I just dealt with it. This was the first Chikuhodo brush I ever purchased back in January 2016, so I thought the high quality everyone mentioned about the brand’s handmade brushes was an exaggeration. It honestly kept me from wanting to purchase anymore at the time considering the expense, but now that I’ve experienced so many other brushes from them, I realized that this is absolutely not the norm and I should have emailed Beautylish since this kind of flaw is something Chikuhodo would never have wanted to end up in the hands of the consumer (unless listed as an Outlet brush). They have the reputation of being among the world’s best, and this brush did not reflect that. The flaw bothered me enough that I ended up selling this brush to someone else in 2021. I considered purchasing a new one, as I’m certain this kind of mistake from Beautylish or any other retailer would not happen again, but the Chikuhodo FO-2 is so much better suited to my style of makeup application that I’m just going to stick with using that one. In fact, the FO-2 is the reason I finally had the will to let go of the Z-3.

This brush is 5500 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo E-4 Nose Contouring

  • Full Length: 133mm / 5.2 in
  • Hair Length: 18mm / 0.7 in
  • Hair Width: *18mm / 0.7 in
  • Bristle Type: Horse

CDJapan has a softness scale rated 1-10. This brush has a softness degree of 3, which surprised me when I felt the bristles because it’s not that rough. However, when I used it on my face, I could feel that the very tips where it tapers slightly inward was a bit scratchy.

This brush was made specifically for contouring the nose, but I didn’t like the results when I tried it. Something about the way this is shaped prevents it from performing evenly. The tips create a harsh line, which takes so much longer to blend in.

Because it’s scratchy, I don’t want to use this brush for any purpose other than one-and-done eyeshadow looks. The flat side picks up a lot of product and lays color on the eye beautifully, without having to feel the sharper ends.

This brush is 2200 YEN and available HERE.

Chikuhodo R-S1/RR-S1

  • Full Length: 140mm / 5.5 in
  • Hair Length: 20mm / 0.8 in
  • Hair Width: *15mm / 0.6 in
  • Bristle Type: Horse

The R stands for “Regular” series. The brushes in this series come in either red or black handles. In order to distinguish between the two when purchasing, red handle brushes have an additional R written on receipts, though not on the actual brushes.

Unlike the previous horse brush, this one was noticeably rougher on my finger before even applying to the eye. It’s rated 2 out of 10 for softness on CDJapan, so it’s even lower than the E-4. Unfortunately, I also find it to be a less useful brush. The bristles are longer than the E-4 and flop around in multiple directions when I try to blend with it. One of the things I love about squirrel, fox, and goat hair brushes from Chikuhodo is the way the bristles glide perfectly in the direction of the movement of the brush. Even though this is made from horsehair, I thought it would move the same way as the others, but it does not. This also doesn’t pick up as much product as the E-4 so it’s not even as efficient for the one-and-done eyeshadow looks.

It does make a nice precision highlighter brush on the cheekbones and under the brows. I like the way this brush picks up shimmers.

This brush is 1800 YEN and available HERE.

Koyudo

Koyudo is another OEM that has made brushes for Kihitsu and even CDJapan’s CB line. I used to be uninterested in this brand because the majority of their brushes were not my style, but as the years have gone on I’ve bought quite a few that are beloved in my collection. A fantastic article on the brand’s beginnings, dedication to their craft, and the thought process that goes into their products can be found here. The company has a long and rich history which I have grown to respect, and they are one of the brands I always eagerly await seeing what they will produce next, even if I don’t end up purchasing them myself.

Koyudo BP Series BP018 Blush Brush

  • Full Length: 162mm / 6.4 in
  • Hair Length: 37mm / 1.46 in
  • Hair Width: *25mm / 1 in
  • Bristle Type: Grey Squirrel

Unfortunately, I had to return this as it was not the shape and size I expected. It’s barely bigger than my Wayne Goss Air-Brush (yet twice the price), and at this size, I would never think to apply blush with it. The Chikuhodo Z-8 is the smallest blush brush I would enjoy and this is smaller in width and thickness than that one. The BP018 is beautiful, with a nice weighted handle and such silky soft bristles, but I know it would never get used if I kept it. It costs too much to go unused. I thought I did enough research prior to purchasing, but apparently, it was not enough. So, I photographed all the brush comparisons I could think of before returning it to Beautylish.

Koyudo BP Series BP017 Blush Brush

  • Full Length: 162mm / 6.4 in
  • Hair Length: *37mm / 1.5 in
  • Hair Width: *38mm / 1.5 in
  • Bristle Type: Pine Squirrel

This purchase was made entirely on the recommendation of TheFancyFace. I have been curious about the feel and performance of pine squirrel, but I was waiting to find the right brush first and this became the one! I purchased this from Beautylish, as I was surprised to see this brush was slightly cheaper from them than CDJapan and FudeBeauty (plus free shipping).

I’ve used this several times now and I haven’t noticed it being any better or worse than my other squirrel brushes despite the 6 out of 10 softness degree vs the typical 9 out of 10 grey squirrel brushes get. I can feel slight texture when I feel the bristles along the side but when touching the tips I don’t notice any difference. Perhaps it’s slightly less soft than the others, but it still feels extremely nice on the skin. I really like the shape and size of this and the way my blush looks when I use it. I’m very happy I bought it and I do use it exclusively for blush, as the size prevents it from being as versatile as the others.

Also, something about these bristles don’t respond as well to my aloe vera method. It’s the first time I’ve come across that being an issue, so I thought I should mention that. A brush guard works just fine.

I believe this brush has since been discontinued, along with many brushes in Koyudo’s BP line. I am happy that I ended up buying a backup brush before that happened.

Koyudo Somell Garden Bluberry x Walnut Highlighting Brush

  • Full Length: 97mm / 3.8 in
  • Hair Length: 27mm / 1.1 in
  • Hair Width: *30mm / 1.2 in
  • Bristle Type: Hakutotsuho Goat

This brush is TINY! I should have paid attention to the dimensions listed on the website. From photos alone, I assumed it would be an average size highlighter brush. Despite being so small, this brush is very useful! Once again, I don’t use it for the intended purpose. The bristles are packed densely in a round shape and the head is quite wide considering the overall size of the brush. The surface area applies a wider patch of highlighter than is my preference, but this is perfect for packing a concentrated amount of color to one area, like blush. It gives a sheer blush more impact with one application or be used as a buffing brush.

The softness degree is 6 out of 10 on the website, which is still quite nice. I would say anyone looking for a non-scratchy brush should aim for 6 and up.

This brush is 3300 YEN and available HERE.

Koyudo Saikoho Powder Brush [OUTLET]

  • Full Length: 162mm / 6.4 in
  • Hair Length: 50mm / 2 in
  • Hair Width: *48mm / 1.9 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat Hair

Saikoho goat hair at this size for that price ($54 instead of $78) is a fantastic deal! It’s so large that the only product I’d use to apply with this is powder all over my face. My favorite use though is as an all-over finishing buffing brush because it’s fairly dense with durable enough bristles to sustain me using it a little rougher. CDJapan occasionally has outlet brushes for sale, which means there is a small flaw. I have been unable to detect any issues with this brush, which gives me confidence in purchasing more outlet brushes in the future.
Although I don’t own the Rephr 30 brush, I believe this may be identical in shape to that one. Also, although I haven’t found this brush available for sale individually, I believe it is part of a fantastically priced set.

Wayne Goss

Wayne Goss is a makeup artist, YouTuber, and has an exclusive brush line sold through Beautylish. In 2020, he released a lip collection to launch his cosmetics brand. As I mention in the Hakuhodo section, it was rumored that they make Wayne Goss brushes. If that is indeed the case, I would recommend US purchasers of Hakuhodo to buy the WG equivalents from Beautylish wherever possible because his range is either the same price or cheaper when you factor free shipping over $35. Plus, the quality of his brushes is right up there with the other Fude makeup brush brands.

WG Holiday Brush 2019

  • Full Length: *185mm / 7.3 in
  • Hair Length: *60mm / 2.4 in
  • Hair Width: *65mm / 2.6 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

This fan brush is enormous! The closest comparison to it that I have is the BH Cosmetics All Over Fan Brush 1. Despite the BH one being soft, the bristles are so flimsy and they don’t move in the same uniform direction while being used. It’s not as dense as the BH brush, but it performs way better.

I’ve used this brush to apply bronzer and highlighter. It’s surprisingly not too large to do that, as the pan size limits how much of the surface area of the brush get covered with the product. This means I can still apply highlighter with precision. And for bronzer, by dipping the center of the brush into the powder, once I apply it to the perimeter of my face, I can brush back and forth so that the bristles simultaneously blend without adding additional powder. I’ve also used this to blend out blush and contour (though not apply with them). This also makes a great finishing brush.

The only brush in my collection that’s larger than this is my Becca The One Perfecting Brush. The Becca brush is made of goat hair too, but it is much rougher to the touch and definitely a lower grade of goat hair. I believe the Wayne Goss brush has Sokoho goat hair based on how soft it is, while also factoring the price. I would like to say I get a lot of use out of this brush nowadays, but I don’t. It’s mostly around as a collector’s item now, but I’m still happy to have it.

WG 00 Powder Brush (Original Dyed Goat Hair Holiday Brush)

I purchased mine from a Third Party Seller. My brush doesn’t completely match the specifications on the site, as is normal with older brushes when hair is more abundant than other years, so I used Temptalia’s measurements based on her original review, which does match mine. When I received this brush it was considerably puffed out, which I reshaped later. I use 99% aloe vera gel (I couldn’t get 100% at the time) to shape them after being wet. I learned the trick from Tarababyz. It’s great because brush guards are only really meant for specific brush shapes. The brush guard didn’t work well enough on this brush and I felt it needed to be reconditioned anyway (I use facial oil or almond or sunflower seed oil mixed with a good cleanser) so I rewashed it using my reconditioning method, then added a small amount of aloe vera gel just on the outsides. Then I cracked it loose of the gel the next day and it was perfect! I’ve been using this method for several years and have not had any issues with it, though I would always say use caution when trying out new tricks. If you want to test it, try it on a brush you like the least.

For example, this is how the Wayne Goss Holiday 2019 brush arrived with the outer sections bent like that. But from the other photos you see of this brush, they’re straightened out due to the aloe vera method.
  • Full Length: *175mm / 6.9 in
  • Hair Length: 44mm – *50mm / 1.7 – 1.97 in
  • Hair Width: 20mm – *25mm / 0.8 – 1 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

WG Air-Brush

  • Full Length: 170mm /6.7 in
  • Hair Length: 37.5mm / 1.5 in
  • Hair Width: *25mm / 1 in
  • Bristle Type: Blue Squirrel

This was my absolute favorite highlighter brush for years, though I also liked to use it to lightly set concealer with powder under my eyes before discovering the Real Techniques Setting Brush. It was also my favorite brush to lightly sweep bronzer precisely around the perimeter of my face. It’s the perfect thickness and even though the bristles are very soft, they’re still able to pick up harder pressed powders such as the Nabla Skin Glazing Highlighters. I bought it for $35, but in 2021 the price was raised to $45.

WG 15 Fan Brush

  • Full Length: *166mm / 6.54 in
  • Hair Length: *35mm / 1.38 in
  • Hair Width: *55mm / 2.17 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

This dyed goat hair version of the brush is discontinued, though they sell the white undyed version now. I got rid of many other fan brushes because they couldn’t compete with this one. I’ve discussed it before on this blog, but I love how thick it is because the top portion picks up the perfect amount of highlighter. It’s also great for dusting away excess powder if you like to bake under the eyes.

I used to consider this a big fan brush, but compared to the Wayne Goss Holiday 2019 Brush, this is so much smaller!

WG 06 Eye Shadow Blending Brush

  • Full Length: 145mm /*150mm / 5.9 in
  • Hair Length: 15mm / 0.6 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Blue Squirrel

I used this brush off and on throughout the years when I’ve just wanted a light wash of color on my lids. Now that I have similar shaped brushes through Sonia G, this brush gets even less love. I still do like it and it has its place, albeit limited, in my collection.

WG 19 Eye Shadow Precision Blending Brush

  • Full Length: *154mm / 6.06 in
  • Hair Length: *16mm / 0.63 in
  • Hair Width: *8mm / 0.31 in
  • Bristle Type: Goat

This brush has a similar head shape and dimensions as the Hakuhodo J146, so I use it for the same purpose of precision blending.

WG 08 Eyeliner Brush

  • Full Length: 130mm / 5.12 in
  • Hair Length: 2mm / 0.08 in
  • Hair Width: *4mm / 0.16 in
  • Bristle Type: Listed as “Natural” with no specifics. It does not feel like Water Badger, so I’m unsure which of the more water-resistant natural hairs this could be. Perhaps sable, tree squirrel, or Yano goat (tail). I’m leaning towards sable of some kind.

This brush is so useful for stamping on a super-thin line across the lid or to use in my waterline. It’s the smallest brush that I own and it affords me the most control. It is also much softer than the Wayne Goss 21 eyebrow brush, which also adds to the comfort of using this brush in such a sensitive area as the eye.

WG Brow Set $55 (Purchased discounted from someone’s Lucky Bag)

WG 21 Eyebrow Brush Out of the set, I get the most use out of this brush. It works very well, but it’s a bit bigger than I prefer. All my other angled brow/liner brushes are smaller, so I have to be careful using this. Also, water badger hair isn’t all that soft. Just forewarning, since natural hair brushes are usually associated with softness. This brush is stiff.

  • Full Length: 140mm / 5.5 in
  • Hair Length: 4mm / 0.2 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Water Badger

WG 22 Dual Ended Brow Brush I’ve only used this tool a few times. I like the fact that this has natural bristles when all other tools of this style that I’ve seen are made of synthetic material. Because the brush portion is also made with water badger hair, it’s stiff but not as hard as synthetic ones I’ve had in the past. It’s fantastic if you have a need for this type of brush. However, I do not.

  • Full Length: 155mm / 6.1 in
  • Hair Length: 23mm / 0.9 in
  • Hair Width: *25mm / 1 in
  • Bristle Type: Water Badger

WG 23 Spoolie Brush $12. I prefer using brow products that already have a spoolie attached. I don’t notice any difference among spoolies. They all feel the same to me, so I don’t see this as being anything special, especially for $12.

  • Full Length: 153mm / 6 in
  • Hair Length: 23mm / 0.9 in
  • Hair Width: not applicable
  • Bristle Type: Synthetic

Wayne Goss The Artist Large

  • Full Length: 7.24 in / *184mm
  • Hair Length: 1.5 in / *40mm
  • Hair Width: *28mm / 1.1 in
  • Bristle Type: Grey Squirrel and Saikoho Goat

I purchased this brush from a reseller, as I did not want to buy the full Artist Collection set. This brush is way more useful than I thought! It almost surpassed the Wayne Goss Air Brush as one of my favorite bronzer brushes.

The bristles pick up a lot of product, but the application is still sheer because the bristles don’t deposit the powder on the skin all at once. Every time I used it, I would blend until I didn’t think there was anything left, and then I’d look at the brush and see certain spots that still had colored powder on it. This can be seen as a good thing depending on your needs. It nearly guarantees that overapplying won’t be an issue. It’s amazing for bronzer and contour, both products I’d want to build up and blend for an airbrushed finish. It also deposits the perfect amount of highlighter, but it’s time-consuming with blush. The shape of this looks good for precision blush work but I’d rather use other brushes for that purpose. Three standout uses is still impressive.

I have to note, though, that there are a few strands within this brush that feel a little sharp. I can’t feel it when I touch the brush with my fingers, but I feel it on my face when I move the brush back and forth to blend. I’m guessing a few bristles of rougher goat hair was accidentally mixed into this Saikoho-Squirrel bundle. I’m not sure how else to explain it, but I still really like this brush.

Sonia G

Sonia G is an avid brush collector and is considered an authority on makeup brushes because of the wealth of knowledge she has shared on her Sweet Makeup Temptations blog. I discovered that she is a great source for comparing brush sizes while doing my own research to try and figure out which brushes from her line I wanted to purchase. Her series’ of brushes are a combination of traditional and innovative shapes. It’s astounding how the slightest tweaks between her brushes and others regarding their shape or bundling can make such a difference in performance. Her eye brushes in particular have surpassed all other brands’ brushes for the top spots in my collection. My favorite hair type in her line are actually the dyed Saikoho goat bristles. The feel of them and the product pickup ability is fantastic! Chikuhodo is my favorite brand, followed closely by Sonia G.

Sonia G Mini Booster

  • Full Length: 154mm / 6.06 in
  • Hair Length: 14mm / 0.55 in
  • Hair Width: *6mm / 0.24 in
  • Bristle Type: Brown Saikoho Goat

I use this brush as often as my Hakuhodo J5529 though I like this one more. This brush is a little softer (due to the type of goat hair), and therefore more expensive, but I don’t notice a difference in performance. I love how small this is for precision work and it is described as a miniature version of the blender pro.

Sonia G Builder Three

  • Full Length: 150mm / 5.9 in
  • Hair Length: 10mm / 0.4 in
  • Hair Width: *10mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Dyed Saikoho Goat

I’ve never really liked this shape of packing brush until I started using this one. It’s the only one I’ve used that I noticed actually performs differently—performs better. It came from my 2020 Beautylish Lucky Bag. Loving this one so much prompted my need to buy more! I could do an entire eye look using this brush alone if I really wanted.

Sonia G Worker Three

  • Full Length: 154mm / 6.06 in
  • Hair Length: 14mm / 0.55 in
  • Hair Width: *12mm / 0.47 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat

This reminds me of the Hakuhodo J5523, but it’s a bit fluffier. It works well to pack on eyeshadow but I sometimes use it in the crease as well to apply and blend transition shades. Among all my Sonia G eye brushes, I get the least use out of this one. I tend to just use my multi-tasking eye brushes to complete a look.

Sonia G Worker Pro

  • Full Length: 154mm / 6.06 in
  • Hair Length: 14mm / 0.55 in
  • Hair Width: *9mm / 0.35 in
  • Bristle Type: Saikoho Goat

Whenever I see this brush, I instantly think of yet another packing brush. It is a smaller and slightly thinner version of the Worker Three. Because I have so many other brushes to apply color to my lid or use in the crease, this brush ends up being used to blend my brow highlight with the transition or crease shade. When a beauty guru says to, “Take a clean brush with no additional product on it to blend,” it ends up being either this brush or a different fluffy one from my collection.

Sonia G Blender Pro

  • Full Length: 158mm / 6.22 in
  • Hair Length: 18mm / 0.7 in
  • Hair Width: *9mm / 0.35 in
  • Bristle Type: Dyed Saikoho Goat

This blending brush has a pointed tip, which prevents it from feeling as soft on the eye, even though it is soft when I touch it with my fingers. It is on the larger side of eyeshadow brushes, but the pointy tip allows for a little precision, though not as much as the other brushes I use in the crease. What this brush is great for is blending out harsh edges. The point allows concentrated pressure onto the line, without blending too much of the color away.

Sonia G Jumbo Blender

  • Full Length: 160mm / 6.3 in
  • Hair Length: 15mm / 0.6 in
  • Hair Width: *11mm / 0.4 in
  • Bristle Type: Brown Saikoho Goat Hair

This was a preowned purchase, as I was tired of waiting for the restock. The brush’s condition is in like-new state as the owner took very good care of this (unlike my Chikuhodo Z-8). The size makes it great for applying a single shade quickly, as it covers a large area of space, but I can also blend with it.

The Jumbo Blender works as well as the other Sonia G brushes of this shape; it’s just bigger. It’s everything I wanted the Chikuhodo FO-5 to be, but better.

ADDITIONAL COMPARISONS

There are so many more unique styles of brushes that I don’t own. As much as I love brushes, I thankfully don’t feel the urge to buy complete sets. Japanese brushes are truly amazing, and I don’t think any of them are bad. It all comes down to preferences of how the individual likes to apply makeup.

Thank you for reading!

-Lili