Hakuhodo Brushes


54 reviews

94% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.7

Price: $$$$

Package Quality: 4.7

Price: $$$$


on 1/18/2011 1:18:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I bought six from the Kokutan series, primarily for aesthetic reasons. Some of the brush heads are repeated at different price points, but with no diminishment in quality. Unfortunately, unless you can attend a trade show, these brushes can only be purchased online. As much as possible, anticipate what you are looking for. These brushes tend to be smaller than expected. And yes, they boast an exquisite softness, from the highest quality noge, the uncut hair tips, all bundled by hand, but except for the denser brushes, keep in mind that they deposit pigment more sheerly.

The Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush T E0183 ($42) is nearly perfect as a small, pointed brush for detail work; I only wish it were a millimeter or two smaller, as I use it primarily for smoky liner (a favorite technique) rather than creasework. This little nub of blue squirrel, fragile and extremely expensive, very soft on the skin but densely packed. Only the tip picks up pigment directly, but the brush is so well tapered it softens the line even as you apply, like a liner brush with a q-tip built in for automatic smudging.

A generous amount of high-quality goat hair is carefully bundled into an unusual angled shape for the Kokutan Finishing Brush LAG E0173 ($82)—I've never seen anything quite like it elsewhere—that fits neatly into the contours of the face no matter how clumsily you manipulate it. Because of its shape, you can manipulate the surface area, whether sweeping over tight corners or broad areas. The goat hair is cut long enough to be slightly floppy, as opposed to a squat, dense kabuki brush, and the tips are extremely fine, with some synthetic fibers woven in for extra delicacy. It's best for a diffuse application, or "finishing", a so-sheer-it's-invisible layer of powder to set foundation. A full base isn't my style, but I sometimes wear Chanel Poudre Universelle on its own, for a little luminosity, and this brush makes the process all that more luxurious. Not the most functional brush, but a beautiful one.

As a basic, all-purpose eyeshadow brush, the Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush WM E0186 ($54), thinner and longer than the Shu Uemura 10, is nothing short of perfection. In general, sable or weasel is my preference for eye brushes; it's often too expensive for most brands (Shu Uemura is the most notable exception). The hair is firm but pliant, so pigment applies in even layers, but extremely fine, and so practically blends itself, no harsh edges, without lifting off pigment already applied on the skin. When angled flat against the lid, you can pack on metallic pigments, but closer to the perpendicular, using mostly the tips, you get an ethereal wash of shimmer or do a little blending, and the sides can also smudge liner and even manage fairly decent creasework. My eye shape is relatively simple—they're symmetrically almond-shaped, wide-set, with no crease, and very little lid space—so the expense is well justified by its extreme usefulness.

If it were fluffier, it might serve as a blending brush, but Kokutan Eye Shadow SG E0188 ($28) performs similarly to the WM, slightly squatter in shape. Though not as expensive, its goat hair does not handle pigment quite as deftly as the weasel, so I find myself giving preference to the WM's precision and control. It does pair excellently with cream products; it's become my favorite brush to buff in my Laura Mercier Moisturizing Foundation, not all over but selectively, like a concealer, leaving most of the skin bare. The finish is so much more refined than a synthetic brush could ever yield.

The Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush SL E0189 ($32) is thicker than most liner brushes, only crafted of the same expensive weasel as my shadow brushes, unlike the generic synthetic flat liners, with rounded, tapered edges. To my surprise, this is the perfect tightlining brush, and easily my favorite out of all the ones I bought. I didn't account for how fine the uncut tips would be, and unlike dirt-cheap synthetic fibers, the flexible weasel hairs actually maneuver pigment right between lashes, but looks perfectly soft, not harsh. If you're not so eager for the Kokutan finishings, the K005 ($15) from the K Series is the exact same brush, a brilliant deal.

I generally apply lipstick straight from the tube without difficulty, but it's nice to have the Kokutan Lip Brush RS E0194 ($32) for completeness' sake, all the same. It's quite wide, which I like in a lip brush, since it lifts off lipcolor and softens edges, if that's what you want, with a slightly pointed tip for crisp edges, if that's what you want.

For full review and images, please read my original blog post (I hope it's ok to post an outside link, I'm not sure how to show images in post): http://arsaromatica.blogspot.com/2011/01/beauty-notes-hakuhodo.html.

26 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Other, Medium

Eyes: Green

I am so impressed with the quality of this brand. I ordered the K022 Powder brush for $20 and the quality rivals MAC brushes for half the price!!! I opened it up and it was so delicately wrapped and the bristles feel like silk. I am now a loyal customer to Hakuhodo. I will try some of their more expensive brushes. I am so impressed that I just ordered a small foundation/blush brush!!! Its a cheaper dupe to the MAC 131!

P.S: Shipping is extremely fast! Expensive, yes. But fast!!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 12/21/2010 11:14:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Dark, Warm

Hair: Black, Kinky, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

Hakuhodo S103 Brush. So soft and it picks up powder easily and applies wonderfully. When I first received these brushes, I literally couldn't stop touching them. It's so dense and lush and so good for precis blush placement. If you have a small face frame (which I have) I'd definitely recommend this brush. Not only does it work for blush, but it can work for highlighting and contouring because of it's pointed tip.

Hakuhodo S116 Brush. I didn't expect the brush hair to be so big and long to be honest, but maybe because I have very small almond shaped eyes and face frame which is why it seems so large for me. I can use this for a highlight underneath the eyebrow or for an all over wash.

Hakuhodo S133 Brush. This eyeshadow brush is my favorite of the brushes. It's stiff but it still flexible and small enough for my small eyes. I've also notice that I never get any fallout, and I mean never. Even with my glitter shadows. One I pat it down is stay down.

Hakuhodo S142 Brush. A blending brush. It didn't come with my set and so for a while I had to make do before I could get this brush. I'm so glad I did. Before my makeup looked a bit choppy bit this makes everything gradually blend into each other. I barely knew where my eyeshadow started and ended. It was really nice.

Hakuhodo S143 Brush. I love using this one when it comes to eyeliner.

Hakuhodo S162 Brush. I know this is supposed to be used as a eyebrow brush, but I don't like filling in my eyebrows because they're pretty thick .So I never used it for it intended purposes, but I instead used it when I wanted to place some eyeshadow on the outer corner of my eye. Personally, I like it better this way.

Hakuhodo K019 Eyelash Comb. I've never purchased an eyelash comb before. I used to think it was a stupid idea, but now I can really see the power of using one. It great for getting top and bottom lashes full and even. It also stops the horrible flaking from my mascara! I hate flaking, the flakes would get under my contacts and irritate my eyes. I think I had too much mascara on, but the comb gets rid of the excess and and makes sure that my eyelashes don't stick together either. This is my second favorite makeup tool after my S133 brush.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 10/26/2010 2:50:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Would I buy this product again?!?!?! I'm placing my 5th order now!


I am building my collection of the Hakuhodo Japanese Tradition Brushes. I bought my first three brushes to compare with the NARS Artisan Brushes (Ita, Ita Kabuki, and Yachiyo...Hakuhodo does not have an answer to the NARS Botan Brush in it's Japanese Tradition line...yet). So...here I am with my Itabake (Small, Medium, Large) Brushes and Yachiyo Pointed (Small, Medium, Large) Brushes, and my amazing little Mizubake (which is what would happen if the Botan and Yachiyo got together and had an albino baby-fude), and I am so happy with this line of brushes.

Imagine my JOY when I discovered that there is an even wider Itabake! It is called Gidayu Bake, and it should cover a lot of surface area at a time (for body painting, broad-area-of-the-face painting, etc.)

So...I use all of my multiple sets of NARS Ita/Ita Kabuki/Yachiyo/Botan brushes for my non-white body paints (MAC Chromacake, Face & Body, etc.; MUFE Flash Paint, Aquarelle,etc.; NARS Multiples, etc., etc.) or powders (one set each for Cool/Deep, Cool/Light, Warm/Deep, Warm/Light, Neutral/Deep, and Neutral Light)...and I use the Hakuhodo Brushes for the traditional application of WHITE.

These brushes are so beautifully made, and the hairs are soft and high-quality...and DENSE.

The design is efficient and beautiful. Brushes fit well in-hand with not much extra material, so do not expect any more handle than what is needed to do the job. This makes the Artist feel more at ease to get in close to do fine detail work as well as perfect one's existing brush technique!

Prices are GREAT, all things considered! This line is simple and cleanly executed wooden binding or exquisitely wrapped brush handles. If you're going to do what you love with this brushes, you may as well love your brushes, too!

Make It Pretty, Y'All!


4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 9/20/2010 9:21:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

This review is for the S142 shadow brush & the G529 highlight brush.
In a word - Perfection! I can't believe how amazing these brushes are. I can create perfectly blended smokey eyes with the S142 in under 1 minute - it usually takes me 10 to get it just right!
I really can't describe how easy it is to apply makeup with these brushes, & the fact that they are beautiful to look at is just an added bonus. This is the Bentley of makeup brushes, girls! I can't wait to stock up at the IMATS show!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 7/2/2010 9:42:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

never will i buy another mac brush again. what i love most about these brushes is that are both dense and soft at the same time. i got the buffer, (which i use to apply and buff foundation) and an angled cheek brush. i can't imagine anyone not being completely satisfied with these products, and they arrived in a couple of days beautifully packaged.
very classy.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

on 7/1/2010 9:45:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I have about 9 brushes in the S100 series...Hakuhodo's flagship brush. These really are the softest brushes that I have ever used. Sure, you can get the same results with less expensive brushes. However, the feel of these on your skin is in a league of their own. One of my favorite things about the brushes is that after you wash them they retain their look and feel..so many brushes start look haggard after washings...not my Hakuhodo's. My only complaint is that they only sell these online or at Makeup Shows.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 6/30/2010 7:22:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

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!

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 6/27/2010 10:37:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

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.

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

on 3/3/2010 10:38:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Tan, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

**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.

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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