edit 02/21/11. still in lo-ov-v- e with these brushes! it's a small joy everytime i use them.
few months ago decided to get a powder brush that was everything i wanted in one product. didn't know if it existed but started to research.found hakuhodo site but seeemed to be online order only in the US.i need to see/touch product, especially at the prices listed.As luck would have it, they would be at the makeup show in LA in June-and tax-free.no shipping fee,i can examine product in person,and not pay high CA sales tax? i'm there.
seems to me i use my loose powder brush the most and was looking for a "nice" one to make it more of a luxury to use than simply utilitarian, since it touches the most area of skin and almost daily.wanted the natural hairs to be pleasingly soft on my skin yet apply powder in a way that it would blur pores. thought this meant it had to be a big fluffy heavier hair brush. the salesperson at the trade show presented a couple of things to me to consider. i wasn't seeing the product of my dreams.this is b/c up til now, i didn't know the crafting of the hairs/brush made that much of a difference.still don't get it but now experienced the difference.
the line of brushes that has a brilliant orange handle with gold metal at the neck where they cinch the hairs ( idk the technical term for that part..)caught my eye. i had to get one from that collection. tho, i wasn't seeing one that fit the bill.
studied the website info prior to the show, so i was prepared for the prices.knew the quality of the blue squirrel was uber soft and premium.but didn't see one i thought could lay loose powder with a bit of heft to blur pores. but i had to have ONE from that collection.Got the S113. tried it this week. IT BLEW ME AWAY at the first sweep on my cheek. ohmygoodness.i've been using loose powder for.. forever, and never, NEVER had an experience like this. ok, maybe b/c it's so gloriously pretty, but it's more..the way it lay the powder, the way the hairs move together imperceptibly when you pat or sweep ..it was simply flawless.and the shape is for a blusher/highlighter applicator. but i wanted one brush for the entire face w/o changing.i can go around my nose and along the edge of eye/bridge of nose w/this w/o getting powder everywhere else.it is far and away spectacular, and an experience.
I have been using a MAC that's shaped like a cotton puff.my prior fave was T mcevoy that was tapered for blush.the hakuhodo blue squirrel hair is in another hemisphere.and, i also picked up a long tapered brush brought in for especially for the trade show.it's like a crease e/s brush on steroids. use this for a product by Sofina Primavista- it's a non-sheen no shimmer highlighter/contour. i go from my eyelids,swoop along the inner corner, along the upper cheek in a circle to brighten up the whole eye area. it's magical and soft against the skin.
also got a reddish glossy wood handle blush type brush. use it for loose powder too.this one has larger circumference than S113.luv it!
I started seeing these brushes through various youtubers and an awesome mua-er honeyjr has an amazing collection of hakuhodo brushes so she was nice enough to answer my questions about these brushes!
I only got 4 brushes to start off with since they are a bit pricey but the quality is worth it. All the handles of the brushes I bought are short but it doesn't bother me. (More travel friendly)
B214BkSL Highlight Brush round (E1118) ($18.00) - I mainly got this brush for applying my concealer because I watched a youtube guru use it for that purpose. I love a fluffy eyeshadow brush to apply my concealer but sometimes I would like it to be more firm. This brush is really firm and dense. I can apply my concealer precisely where I want it and it blends wonderfully. It feels incredibly soft. I would definitely recommend this brush for concealer.
210 Blush Brush round (E0108) ($26.00) - I heard this was a MAC 109 dupe. I don't own a 109 brush but its a pretty good brush for contouring and has only shed a few hairs. I haven't tried it for liquid foundation yet but if I do, I will update this review. Its very soft and dense... perfect for contouring and buffing in color. I really like this brush!
G545 Powder & Liquid M round/flat (E1422) ($24.00) - I heard it was a dupe for the MAC 131... dont own the 131. I thought it was going to much bigger but the G544 is the bigger one for like $6 more. I wanted it more highlighting and blush so I got the smaller one. Its really great for applying those products. Loving it with my NARS multiple tints! Extremely soft and a really nice brush. I don't regret getting it in the smaller size as I have many foundation brushes that I love already.
G527M Powder Brush Maple (E0964M) ($54.00) - This is the buffing brush that Pixiwoo has. I LOVE this brush!!! I have used it with liquid foundation and mineral make up and it is amazing for buffing in foundation. It makes my makeup look so natural and uses less product. Its so dense and soft.. I love how this brush feels. I like the maple handle I got because It makes it stand out. This is a very expensive brush but I like this more than my other expensive brush like my NARS yachiyo. If you like to buff in your makeup.. you will love this makeup. It has many uses. Totally worth it and I haven't experienced any shedding yet. *crosses fingers*
Final thoughts: I bought these brushes from hakuhodousa.com and they also have good customer service. Shipping was $9, which I thought was a bit expensive considering how pricey the brushes were. Shipping was quick.. i think it was only 5 days for them to process and ship my order from CA to NY. They were packaged with orange tissues paper and hakuhodo printed wrapping paper. The brushes were inside a hakuhodo box shaped like a pencil case. Inside was a pamphlet on how to care and clean their brushes.
**Holy Grail aleeeert!!**
OMG! I thought nothing could compare to my MAC, Shu Uemura and Louise Young brushes, but I was wrong... and by far. I've never been as excited as I am today about anything related to makeup! (I'm totally addicted to brushes - I own about 80ish. Yes, it's scaring - and useless! - I know. lol).
I was first introduced to Hakuhodo by MissChievous's channel on YT, and she pickep up my curiosity about this brand I've never heard of before. In Europe, every high-end brand brushes are quite expensive anyway, so I thought that I would give them a try one day. Then I watched Sam, from Pixiwoo, talking about IMATS in a video in which she raved about these beauties. I decided to order a few and I'm so glad I did!
I received the brushes carefully packed - they were put in a box wrapped with gift paper. What I can say about them is that they are beautifully handmade - the shape, the handle, the bristles - everything is assembled in the most delicate way. And when I first used them, my jaw almost dropped from astonishment (I'm a dork, I know) because they do feel very soft! For example, the G527 buffing brush is very dense and firm, yet it feels amazing on the skin and distributes the product very well.
The Hakuhodo brushes range from reasonably priced tools (about US$20-25) to very expensive ones (about US$ 110) but even the most affordable ones are of a great quality. From the 7 brushes I bought, every single one worth every penny I spent on them. I am really, really impressed!
I now own about 20-25 Hakuhodo brushes and I love every of them. As somebody who started makeup with very cheap tools and gradually invested in better quality brushes, I can confirm that, after almost a year of use, I've reached the ultimate step with Hakuhodo.
Don't get me wrong, I still use MAC (nothing can replace the awesome 217 in my heart! lol) but now, applying makeup in the morning is not only about concealing or covering - it has become a beauty ritual. With such good, soft brushes, I feel that I pamper myself every day, which a perfect way to start a day, isn't it? ;-)
Saving and investing in good brushes did change my makeup routine in a better and easier way. Some of the brushes they retail aren't affordable for everyone but the Basic and some of the K series range about the same prices as MAC and are really worth getting a few of. Their costumer service is great too, which I find to be very important, especially when I order online.
** Edit #2 - January 2014 **
My love for this brand is still going strong after all these years. I now have 60+ Hakuhodo brushes for personal and professional uses and every time I use them on clients, they always comment on how amazing they feel on their skin. I still recommend these brushes over many available brands if you are serious about what you want to do with makeup and if you're ready to take care of your beauty tools (there are actually a lot of people who don't want to wash their brushes regularly. It irks me - because whatever the price of your brushes are, they're all in contact with your skin - but if you don't want to clean them, you are better off using *very* cheap brushes.).
They now sell a fantastic range of brushes called the J-series. These are mostly goat haired brushes with un-dyed bristles which apply creams, liquids and powders easily. Most of these are affordable - especially the eye brushes - but still fantastic to the touch and at use.
I HIGHLY recommend the J5523 ($18) and the J004G ($20) which are cheaper - but better IMO - dupes of the MAC 217 ($24) and MAC 239 ($25). Still individually HANDMADE by Japanese artisans, which make these brushes an incredible value for the price, even more when compared to such brands like Sigma that are mass-produced in China - theirs are less expensive yes, but not so much in regards of quality and longevity (bristles won't be as soft, ferrules are most likely to detach from handles in a year or so. Trust me, I've been sucked into the Sigma hype when they came into the market many years ago, but honestly, their brushes don't last. They're quite good, but not for very long). What I want to say is that for a few dollars more, you get much better quality products that will truly last for years and years. In the end, it's much more economical than buying the brushes over and over again.
***I got my brushes from Hakuhodo Japan, which varies slightly from the Hakuhodo USA site***
This is a review for the saikoho goat hair/maple handle large kabuki (the company calls them kinoko, or mushroom) brush and blue squirrel/goat hair fan brush. The kinoko brush apparently costs around $140US and the fan brush around $60US. Which is insanely pricey; I was lucky enough to receive them as gifts.
Even crazier is the recommendation in the pamphlet that you replace them every five years (due to hairs being worn down)!! To that, I say: "um..yeah, we'll see".
However, even considering the craziness, I would have to say that it's worth its cost and that I would repurchase these (probably after wearing them down to a nub!). First off, the brushes are of craftsman quality and truly a thing of beauty. The density of the mushroom brush is so thick that it looks and feels like one whole piece rather than a brush made up of individual hairs. Performance-wise, the first day I used this brush with my usual powder foundation, my makeup started off looking more natural and glowy than usual and stayed this way THE ENTIRE DAY (I usually need to blot/re-powder after 5-6 hours)! This brush seriously raised the performance level of my makeup many times over.
As for the fan brush, I use this to apply finishing/mattifying loose powder. It does a wonderful job of applying a thin, even veil of powder and even though the results aren't as dramatic as the mushroom brush, it has reduced unevenness and the cakiness near my nostrils that I used to end up with.
According to instructions, you're supposed to brush them off with the palm of your hand after each use and brush them on tissue paper to get rid of powder buildup. They should be washed ONLY when they start to develop an odour and/or when the hairs start to get tangled due to buildup. Also, long periods of disuse causes the hairs to decay; the key to making them last as long as possible is using the brushes every day.
I think the value of these hakuhodo brushes lies not only in the performance and results they produce but also in the few minutes of sublime luxury that the weight and feel of the wooden handle and silky texture of the brush lets you indulge in each morning. Thanks to these brushes, putting on my foundation feels more like a ritual than a chore.
P.S. They also have a neat little option of personalizing your brush with gold or silver lettering for a couple of dollars.
These are the best makeup brushes out there right now! Hakuhodo is the manufacturer of MAC brushes, but their own line of brushes is superior in quality because MAC commissions less expensive materials so they can have a higher mark up. These brushes are a trade secret, but if you can afford it, give them a try. They are the best quality hair! The Basics series makes some brushes at a more affordable price point, without reducing quality. I love them!!
This is by far the best brushes I have ever come across. I am a huge fan of soft brushes. I do not mind paying for that have tried different brands but they all disappoint me. . . Right now I have 10 brushes from them. I love the Kobutan series and S100 series just because of their appearance. Ok their brushes aren't cheap (only a few) but if you want to compare quality and the price you are paying for it..these definitely worth every penny you spend..
I heard about these brushes while watching a youtube haul video from the NYC Makeup Show last year. I googled the name and found out this company is the OEM supplier of MAC brushes.
I went on the website and my jaw dropped at all the different brushes and the expensive prices...gulp.
Anyway I bit the bullet and put in an order and have never looked back. These brushes are THE BEST anywhere. No wonder pro makeup artists rave about them. I am slowly building my personal collection. I met the proprietor of the US site at the Canadian Makeup Show last fall. He kindly brought in some specific brushes for me that weren't available here from their Tokyo HQ. These Japanese brushes really do make a difference with makeup application. So much easier for me to put on makeup now. I got my girlfriend hooked on them as well. She curses me for it due to how expensive they are, but just like me, can't stop herself from buying them lol.