Well I have a selection of these now. And I will be busy in the years to come collecting them. They probably started as artist paint/calligraphy brushes...you probably need to know the sort of brushes you really need for perfect professional makeup... but the gorgeous high art quality, the softness, the absolute polish and perfection..frankly I could be just as happy framing them and admiring them every day as using them!
I am going through a bit of a phase with collecting brushes at the moment, and will come home with something I found downtown, even comparing high end things like my daughters' MAC, well, sadly, it is rubbish compared to Hakuhodo.
Hakuhodo is perfection in cosmetic brushes. And their shipping all over the world is excellent. Even just try a small one for the same price of some 'name' brand...you will be gobsmacked!
I own one Hakuhodo (for now anyways :) ) and it's the G527 flat top. I had been searching for some time for a powder brushes and stumbled upon it when looking through MUFE archives. I had already went through 2 MUFE bukis (they both died from a cracked handle within 2 months of purchase) so I really wanted something well made that would give me a flawless airbrushed finish. I was browsing the boards here on MUA, and came across Hakuhodo brushes. It was a brand i was unfamiliar with, and after researching it further you MUA'ers talked me into it. So glad you did! Let me tell you, it was worth every penny.This really is an example of "you get what you pay for". I already own a Two Face Buki, a Sonia Kashuck loose powder brush. I like them but for a different purpose. Comparing Hakuhodo to any of these is like a pair of Nine West boots and a pair of Fryes. Both are good quality, can be used daily, look good/feel good. One will clearly outlast the other and will have more unique styles and varieties. But you pay for it.
My G527 is soft,dense and full. It buffs my Mac Pro loose invisible setting powder flawlessly into my skin without leaving a trail of black hairs all over my face. (ahem, Mac face brushes). Love, love,love. I swore I would never buy another face brush from anywhere else, but I just ordered a Loouise Young foundation brush due not only to the quality but to it's unique shape. Hakuhodo defiantly trumps every department store /sephora brush I have owned so far(Bobbi brown, Mac, Sephora Pro, Two Faced,MUFE)
I purchased few brushes before the Jan 2012 price increase. Though expensive, these brushes are worth every cent. I will review only the ones that stand out the most to me.
I was looking for a foundation brush, to buff liquid foundation. Marty, @ Hakuhodo recommended getting the G543 Powder DR round ($94). This brush is truly remarkable. The goat hair bristles work well on my oily skin, and this brush has worked wonders for me. Gives me a perfectly airbrused look. My DH didn't comment on how I looked, but he couldn't stop taking my pics on the first night I used this brush. On the downside, Hakuhodo recommends we wash their brushes once every month, and use a tissue for everyday cleanup. I'm not too comfortable reusing the brush with foundation residue on it day after day.
The S103($93) is my precious, I bought it just so I can caress my skin with it. This brush can be used to apply blush, contour and highlight. So it is a very worthy investment. It requires just a light dusting after every use, and it's ready to pick up the next product. If you can afford it, please do yourself a favor and buy this one. It's a great value for all the work it can do. This brush will make you feel like a pampered princess.
S121G($53) - the brush I use everyday to apply an eye shadow base. It's a work horse and clean up after every use is such a breeze. A must.
K004($24) - I use this again everyday to darken the outer V, the application is so even, and refined. These brushes operate on a whole another level. Great for everyday work makeup. It never makes me look like I have spent a whole lot of time, gives me an effortless eye look every single day. Great value.
G527M($66) - Great and perfect powder brush. It makes a similar brush from dior look like a toilet brush. It's densely packed and delivers a beautiful finish. Though the smashbox face and body brush #19 is a bigger brush, and contains more bristles, the G527 feels more denser and is a league apart. Another Hakuhodo brush must.
If you are looking to start a brush collection and consider buying quality brushes an investment, look no further than hakuhodo. I am pleasantly shocked by the results these brushes have given me, from the same ole make up products. I have MAC, Laura Mercier, Smashbox and other high end brand brushes. None of the brands remotely compare to the Hakuhodo performance. One exception is the MAC 217, another must for me.
If I'd have to revamp my brush collection and keep only the ones that make a difference to my face - I'd keep just the - Hakuhodo's S103, S121G, S142, G527, G543, K004, K005, G5512BKSL, G5515BKSL, Kokutan T, B163BKSL, MAC 239, MAC 217, and Nars Yachiyo.
Hakuhodo CS is great as well. A huge shout out to Marty, he is an Hakuhodo encyclopedia, and can answer any and all of my brush questions. His insight always helps me make informed purchase decisions.
Update: Sadly it was not to be. I called the owner of te online store to ask about the sales tax issue and she very nicely and quite apologetically told me that she hadn't been able to update the website info regarding the availability of the brushes. She said that due to the recent earthquake in Japan, she doesn't know when she'll be able to get more brushes. So now I just have to wait until the Hakuhodo website restocks their inventory, and pay the increased prices. Sigh.
I was waiting for some Hakuhodo brushes to be re-stocked on their website when I chanced upon another website that is selling some of these brushes at 2011 prices. She doesn't carry the whole line, but I still managed to order 6 S-series and 2 K-series brushes at a savings of $101 as compared to the new 2012 prices. The website is misamakeup.com. The only concern I have is that I live in Texas and the business is in California, so I don't think I should have been charged the sales tax, so e-mailed her and I'll see what happens. It's still a good deal. Just putting the info out there in case anyone is interested. I'll update with the sales tax issue.
I got two brushes and have 5 more on its way to me. So this review is for the two brushes that I have and used.
This blush brush is made of blue squirrel and is the softest brush that I have. I know that softness is something that is widely known with this brand, but softness in this brush allows for softer application of color. When I first received this brush, I felt like it was too floppy for any precise application of color on my cheeks, but after playing with it for some time, I figured out a way to distribute color softly and evenly around the apple of my cheek. Even on the website, they recommend you to use the brush in the natural direction of the brush hair. So what I like to do is get some product on the brush and sweep across my cheeks in one direction at a time. This brush really helps with blending and soft diffuse of color, so I definitely love this brush. I initially thought it to floppy but now I think it's great for certain looks.
This brush is also made of blue squirrel and is extremely soft, perfect for when your eyes are a bit sensitive. I like this brush because it isn't too skinny or floppy but not too resilient either. it's a good balance in between. However, I use this brush like I use my 226 and the effortless way of diffusing color makes this brush one of my favorites. I also can't leave out the fact that this brush is beautiful to look at, with the red handle and 24k gold plated ferrule. I'd recommend this brush for anyone looking for a great blending brush.
overall, I like Hakuhodo and would go there before going to any other places for brushes
I have 3 Hakuhodo brushes that I bought a 4 months ago and I've been using them everyday. They are excellent brushes and make makeup application so easy. Here are the ones I have:
This is a dense contouring brush with a small round head, ever so slightly bigger than MAC 109. Its made of goat hair and its pretty soft. Although it would be nice to have an even softer brush such as a blue squirrel brush, the goat hairs are just the right firmness to apply contour. Anything lighter would give a more sheer application imo, and i'd rather do my makeup in less time.
G5528BkSL eye shadow brush, round:
this is a very dense, domed pencil brush made of blue squirrel. I'm glad the hairs are so soft b/c the denseness of the brush would make any other hairs too harsh on the lid. Its great for deepening your crease colour, although I'm disappointed that the tip is so rounded and blunt (which is my fault, i didn't read the description correctly, it clearly said round). Its just that the photo for the brush made the tip look pointier than it actually is. I actually wanted a smaller, pointier pencil brush to precisely apply my crease colour and define my outer-V which i can't do with this brush b/c its too broad and blunt for my small asian lid. I still use it though since it was pretty pricey at $28. I'm willing to swap this brush if anyone reading this is interested (just PM me). For my next order, I plan on getting the G5520BkSL blue squirrel/horse pointed brush instead.
S146 eyeshadow brush, round.
The picture for this blue squirrel brush is quite misleading too. I had to do many google image searches to determine that this brush is NOT pointy. It is actually a slightly smaller version of the S142, which is perfect for me b/c of my small lids. This is my favourite brush. Its very multi-functional. You could easily do a complete 3-4 colour eye look with just this one brush. My fav thing about this brush is that it doesn't hold on to your eyeshadows. What i mean is it deposits almost 100% of your product onto your lid! This is why you can use only this brush to complete an entire eye look. You just flick the bristles with your fingers to dust off any residual and dip it into your next eye colour or blend out harsh edges without depositing colour where you didn't want it. An extreme example: I used this brush to deepen my crease colour with a very dark brown. After flicking the brush off on my fingers, I dipped the same brush into my light brow highlighter and NONE of the previous dark brown transfered to my brow! Wow. This was what convinced me that high end brushes really ARE worth the investment (and these aren't all ridiculously expensive anyways).
I actually made quite the leap with Hakuhodo. Up until this first purchase, i was content with using ELF, EcoTools, and Quo brushes. With those brushes, it would take me at least 4 different brushes to do my eye makeup. My travel makeup bag actually has room for Makeup now...who would have though eh?
Tips for taking care of your Hakuhodo brushes: don't wash them. Gently swiping them across a clean paper towel is all you need to do. I keep a clean shower cap over my brushes so they don't collect dust. DO NOT use your blue squirrel eye brushes for cream eyeshadows, i read that can ruin the hairs. Goat hair brushes are okay for cream products.
I'm so excited about these brushes. I plan on getting B168BkSL water badger eyebrow brush, B133BkSL Canadian squirrel round flat eyeshadow brush, and the G5542BkSL blue squirrel/goat angled powder brush, and the K020 blue squirrel blush brush. They all look so decadent and i can't wait to try them!
I have three Hakuhodo eyeshadow brushes--the quality is fabulous.
I plan to write a longer review at some point, but, for now, I couldn't resist the temptation to respond to the woman who keeps posting inane reviews here.
I see you like Cover Girl's Lash Blast! That's a fantastic mascara. You know that Proctor and Gamble, the company that owns Cover Girl, tests on animals, right? Imagine an adorable kitty with caustic chemicals being poured into his eyes. That's not a pretty sight, is it? So let me try to get to the root of your vociferous hypocrisy: you aren't for killing animals, only for having them agonize for the sake of your eyelashes?
I had recently purchased some Hakuhodo eye brushes and all with the exception of one was a WIN.
The S142 windshield wiper brush is ridiculously soft & wonderful to apply to the crease, and I would have no problem repurchasing this brush should I ever need to.
Their B533BkSL Eye Brush (black handled big pencil brush) is total crap however. It poked my eye area no matter how I used it. Tried salvaging it as a brow bone highlighter brush & even that was a no go *sad face*.
Packaging was decent overall. The first time I ordered, it arrived in a beautiful box. Nice lol. The second time, the items arrived in their pretty orange/red paper wrapping.
This is a company worth looking into price-wise and quality-wise for most of their products.
add: It turns out that the B533BkSL Eye Brush is made of horse hair, which explains why it was not comfortable to use an eye brush as some of Hakuhodo's other eye brushes.
After trying it out several more times. I have figured out a way to use it. It's not supposed to be used to stipple or to buff even though it looks similar to stippling brush. The way I find best is to use it like a paddle type foundation brush. I used the flat top to distribute product evenly throughout the skin and then lightly go over to buff out all the edges that might have. I find that as if to use this brush, dip in products, then buff right into the skin, would not work. Doing this way, the product will be concentrated, and patchy, rather than being blended out evenly (fyi, I use bb cream). After several usage, I like it more and more. And it has become a very unique brush to me. It is great if you know how to use it, it's not the same like any other brush that I've seen on market. By the way, if you go for bigger size like the G5556 or G5557, you might feel the bristles are softer or more flexible (b/c the top surface is wider). I hope it helps.
This review is for foundation round/angled brush G5554-4mm
I think this brush is fairly new to Hakuhodo collection, that's why I couldn't find any review before purchasing it. So I bought it for $52 (+tax & shipping). My verdict is I'm not impressed. Before it got to my door, I imagined that I would like to use it a lot. However, it was not as good as I expected. I did a brush comparison side by side with the Real Technique Stippling Brush by Samantha Chapman. And surprisingly, the real technique performed clearly better than Hakuhodo G5554-4mm did. Here are the features that I like and I don't like.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: I want to mention it first because they're truly good. Very responsive and courteous in helping customers with any question. Shipping is very fast.
GENERAL BRUSH CONSTRUCTION:
Excellent. It feels solid and very well made in your hand. Has a shiny, polish look to it.
On this particular brush, I like that the handle is not too long. It's easy to maneuver, and doesn't get in the way between my face and the mirror. Weight is evenly distributed and and easy to control. Bottom line, it gives a feeling that you're very special as you hold and look at it! :)
BRUSH BRISTLES AND ITS STRUCTURE:
It's somewhat like a stippling brush. It's like a duofiber brush because it's constructed with goat hair and synthetic hair.
Brush is densely packed with synthetic hair is 4mm longer than goat hair.
Synthetic hair is not pokey, soft, but firm. The soft goat hair (which Hakuhodo is known for by using natural un-cut hair) can only touch my face at the very tip (b/c it's shorter than synthetic one). So mainly, I felt the synthetic hair the most on my skin.
I'm sadly to say that it's not good for me. I really want it to be all over a wonder brush since I heard nothing but good things about Hakuhodo brushes though they're expensive. And I believe others' comments that the powder and the eyeshadow brushes are wonderful. However, this particular one is not.
The diameter is about the size of a quarter. It's about the same length as the Real Technique stippling brush measuring from the very top of the bristles, but arranged at an angle. It's small, so it's easier to get to small areas like corners around nose, area around eyes, etc.
And here is the main reason why I don't like it. Synthetic hair is too firm. It spreads liquid, cream foundation quickly but at the same time, it takes off makeup from my skin. I have dry skin, and it seems like the stiff bristles kindda flakes up my skin. As a result, my foundation application looked dull. In addition, the brush felt just ok on skin, but nothing spectacular. I compared side by side the application using Real Technique Stippling brush, and this brush gave a more even, polished look, and the brush felt better on skin as well.
I purchased a large number of brushes from Hakuhodo and my only regret is that I did not do this sooner. Most of my brushes are from the G series which have the shorter handles. For the quality of product I I don't think these brushes are exorbitantly priced. If you find the S, Basic or G series more than you want to spend you can go with the 200 series which are more economical but still very good quality. This is a review for some of the brushes and I will do a review for the remainder at another time.
G504 Angled blush brush/blue squirrel & horse/$72.00 - I did not like this brush at first until I learned how to put it to use. This brush has a narrower and somewhat tighter head than the MAC 168 angled blush brush. I have never been able to learn to use an angled blush brush and obtain the desired results. However this is the perfect brush for contouring below the cheek bones, sides of the nose, temples and forehead hairline. It is perfectly angled and with a slight flick of the wrist you can either use the entire brush head for a wider color swatch application or just use the tip of the brush for color application in smaller areas like the sides of the nose. Can also be used for blush if you like angled blush brushes. A very versatile brush. I contour every time I wear blush so this is indispensable for me. Not to firm or not to soft.
G528/HIghlight brush/BlueSquirrel & Synthetic/$54.00 - While this is labeled a highlight brush I just can't see this being used for that purpose as it is a small sized incredibly soft flat top kabuki brush. I am using this brush to buff in mineral foundation around the eye area. I use just a bit of corrector, small amount of BB concealer and a fine layer of mineral powder and this brush blends that powder in flawlessly. Feels wonderful around the eye area even though it has synthetic fibers mixed in with the blue squirrel. Very soft.
G5519BkSL/Blush brush/Blue Squirrel/132.00 - This is the worlds softest brush, uncut blue squirrel hair! Because this hair is so soft it doesn't pick up too much pigment. So it is spectacular for heavy pigmented blush as well as for applying all over powder face illuminator. Applies the pigment just as evenly as the Nars Yahciyo but ten times softer. It does not deposit concentrated color in one spot which makes for very evenly dispersed color and blends out well. Of note is that since it is all blue squirrel hair it does not place concentrated color in one spot (unless there is a concerted effort to pick up lots of pigment) and thus there is no need for extensive blending out which is something I don't see this uber soft hair brush being able to do as well as goat hair. Glad I purchased two so that I don't have to wash as frequently.
G5518/HIghlight round brush/Kazan squirrel/$90.00 - This brush like a mini MAC 138 brush but of course many many times softer. This brush is tapered thus rendering it very versatile. Some of the uses I have found are for contouring, blush (for those with smaller faces) and my favorite dedicated use is it to apply & buff mineral foundation powder around the eye on top of concealer for an airbrushed look. Again uber soft.
G515/Angled Eye shadow brush/Canada Squirrel/$36.00 - Awesome awesome brush. Versatility and softness. The tip of the brush creates the perfect cut of color in the crease just by holding the brush with the slant side facing up and using the tip only. Turn the brush over and it can be used to apply shadow all over the eye, lid or in just the crease. However of note is that it does not blend out darker crease colors very well since the brush is so soft, the brush head is not firm at all. I have not checked if hakuhodo makes a MAC 226 version but the 226, similar Mercier or McEvoy blend out perfectly.
G5524BkSL/Pointed eye shadow/Kazan Squirrel/$57.00. Great brush for crease color although not a sharp cut crease color but a softer more dispersed color. It also does the outer V quite well. It is the perfect size for applying a shimmer/highlighter wash in the inner corner of the as well as the sides of the upper bridge of the nose if you do this type of application. Yes, uber soft!
G5527BkSl/Pointed Eye shadow brush/Kazan Squirrel/$57.00 - This brush is just a somewhat thicker/wider version of the G5524. Great for all over eye or lid color and with just a slight upward flick of the fingers when holding the brush you can do the lid and go into the crease perfectly. Again due to its softness you can either pick up lots of dark pigmented color for heavy application as well as applying a softer wash of dark color, but not the ideal brush for blending out heavy/dark pigment.
G531/Angled Powder brush/Sokoho Goat/$48.00 - The perfect sized brush for either finishing powder and or bronzer. Its shape allows for versatility in that you can turn the brush over and use it to powder the temple area with the narrow edge without going into the hairline.
G527/Powder brush/Ototsuho Goat/$54.00 - This is a flat top kabuki type brush and I don't know that I would use it as a finishing powder brush because it might apply just a little too much finishing powder. I have used this brush to apply mineral powder foundation as well as buffing it out and it did the job to perfection. This brush has a slightly larger brush head the the McEvoy flat top kabuki brush which I don't believe is made anymore.
Not a single one of these brushes bled, shed a hair or had unpleasant odors. The basic series are the same as the G series but just have longer handles. All Hakuhodo brushes have uncut hair tips which make even the goat hair brushes feel like squirrel hair. On days that I will be wearing makeup I look forward to sitting at my vanity and treating my skin by using these super soft brushes. BTW, Hakuhodo offers superb customer service and lightning fast shipping.