Hakuhodo Brushes


59 reviews

96% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.7

Price: $$$$

Package Quality: 4.7

Price: $$$$


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Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

These brushes are the best! They are pricey but I find that the "J Series" is the more affordable series within the brand, and even cheaper than MAC brushes. Like the MAC 217 is $25 but the comparable Hakuhodo J5523 is $19 although there is no comparing the two, because Hakuhodo is just way better quality through and through.

I love brushes and have a lot of them, but these are by far my favorite brushes, along with a couple other Japanese brands and Wayne Goss has some nice ones as well, but the Hakuhodo just remain my number one.

It is recommended you only wash these brushes about once a month especially if you have Blue Squirrel hair brushes because the natural hair can dry out so easily making the brush lose it's softness and shape. I used to freelance and I have found that these in the J Series especially to be very durable to daily washing. Now that I am not freelancing I don't wash them everyday, I only wash them when they need it, and that just depends on use. But you can keep them clean for longer by keeping a microfiber cloth on your vanity and very gently wipe them back and forth to get the makeup off everyday, you can also run them under lukewarm water to get out some of the makeup and then gently wipe back and forth on a towel until mostly dry, this works great for foundation brushes. The water is not going to clean them perfectly or disinfect them by any means but it helps them perform better between washes. NEVER use any alcohol on them is the only thing you should really stay away from and you should be fine even if you have to clean them everyday. Alcohol includes Cinema Secrets cleaner. Big no no. When it comes time to wash them Dr Bronners castile soap is excellent, it disinfects them and conditions them so they come out super soft and clean.

The best place to find Hakuhodo is on their website at Hakuhodousa(dot)com they ship worldwide.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

Once you've tried Hakuhodo brushes there is no going back.
They are super soft and handcrafted to perfection. They do not shed, they stay in shape for ages. Hakuhodo states that they are cruelty-free and do not kill animals to obtain fur that they use.
These brushes are truly Rolls Royse of the brush world. I had owned and used MAC, Sisley, Bobbi Brown, Dior, MakeUpForever, Estee Lauder, Real Techniques, ELF, Etude House, Sigma, Ecotools, Bare Minerals none of them is even remotely close to the goodness of Hakuhodo.
I find that the easiest way to get hands on your first Hakuhodo brush is to buy it on eBay directly from Japan. If you want to try a one brush I highly recommend buying a J5523. This purchase will make you forget your beloved MAC217, I promise.

P.S. In Japan Hakuhodo brushes comes in three different handle length:
Small (SL after the brush number) is too short for daily use,
Medium (ML after the brush number) is perfect for daily use or travel,
Long (LL after the brush number) is perfect for applying makeup on someone else, this is the only version available in the USA market.
Hope it helped!

6 of 6 people found this helpful.


Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Dense but soft at the same exact time. What a great brush. I apply the buffer with an angled foundation. Packaging is absolutely gorgeous. Such a great product and great brush all of the way around. Very happy with this :)

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

Best brushes ever. High quality. Expensive but the best. I own J5523, J142, G5522, SJ110, J210, Yachiyo large pointed, G5556. Love them all and will be buying some more.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Very nice brush set. I bought one set for my sis and she loves it so much.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Other, Neutral

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Bestie bought me the J110 blush brush and I have not looked back ever since. In fact, it got me to purchase more and more of Hakuhodo brushes.

J110 - Blush brush
This brush is the softest thing I have ever touched. It beats MAC, Sigma, Zoeva and Bobbi Brown hands down.

The good: it is so soft that you'll wanna use it every day. The build of the brush is very sturdy and even though the bristles are so soft, it picks up just the right amount of color.

The bad: This applies to all Hakuhodo brushes, they cannot be washed frequently but i wash them nonetheless.

G5557 (2mm) - Powder and liquid brush angled / round
I use this for my liquid foundation. It doesn't feel soft but in fact, a bit scratchy. As the synthetic fiber extends only 2mm from the natural hair, you can expect coverage to be medium to full. One word of caution, you will have layer on your foundation. If you apply a lot in one shot, it will be one big streaky mess.

The good: The diameter of this brush makes very fast and easy application. A bit too scratchy for my liking.

The bad: The sales assistant urged me not to wash this brush on a daily basis (I use to wash my stippling brush everyday after use) and it should only be washed once a month. This, to me is highly unhygienic since liquid foundation is sticky and leaving the brush unwashed will catch dust and god knows what. Against the SA's recommendation, I wash it every week which is a huge step back for me.

G5556 (4mm) - Powder and liquid brush angled / round
This brush has the same function as the G5557. It looks the same but with longer synthetic fibers extending from the natural hair. This brush feels much softer during application. I haven't found its performance to be any different from the G5557 hence, if you're looking for a softer brush for application of liquid foundation, this is it.

The good: Not scratchy, fast and easy application of liquid foundation.

The bad: Cannot be washed frequently.

J4003 - Highlighter brush angled
I needed something which I can use to contour my cheeks and apply my blush. The SA recommended this to me and I love it!

The good: The size of this angled brush is just right for my small face. The bristles are as soft as the J110.

The bad: The size of this brush may not be suitable for people with a bigger face as it is really small.

J5523 - Eyeshadow brush Round and Flat
I needed something which i can use to contour my nose. I got this in set, at first i was skeptical but boy, am I in for a surprise.

The good: This brush picks up the right amount of product, doesn't leave a harsh line, perfect size for the sides of the nose and blends like a dream.

The bad: NOTHING!! I love this so much that I bought 4 of them!

I have more Hakuhodo brushes but I don't have their numbers now. Will go home, take a look and add on to this review.

19 of 19 people found this helpful.


Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I adore Hakuhodo. They handcraft every single brush and the quality is superb, unlike anything you can find here in the States. They're the Louis Vuitton of makeup brushes. Their face brushes can get pricey but they are all priced fairly according to quality. The eye brushes are perfectly priced and if you're trying to decide between MAC or these there is no contest - Hakuhodo is far better.

J5523 (eyeshadow crease brush) $19 This brush is amazing, it's great for smaller lids and is SO SOFT on the eyes and blends perfectly! Can't live without.

J5522 (eyeshadow blending brush) $20 This is a large blending brush that's great for blending everything together. Those with very small eyes may have trouble using this. Just as soft as all the others!

J163hsh (eyebrow brush) $19 This is the best eyebrow brush I've ever used! It's smaller than im used to but it made my brows look so much better than usual. Highly recommend this one, it's perfect.

G503 (angled contour brush) $60 LOVE. This brush is beautiful to look at and just as great to use. Gives great results when sculpting the cheekbones and can also be used to contour the nose. Some may not like the short handle...I think it's just gorgeous.

J5543 (flat top blush brush) $63 This is identical to the Tom Ford cheek brush. It is incredibly soft and pillowy and just a pleasure to use. You could use this for blush, bronzer or contouring. Really nice brush.

K002 (blue squirrel powder brush) $82 Is an amazing large finishing brush. It is NOT a powder brush. If you use it to set your powder, the delicate squirrel hairs will stick together becoming unusable. I use this for my meteorites and it's absolutely delightful.

K020 (blue squirrel blush brush) $68 This is a mini version of the one above. Unlike its big brother, this one is amazing even after washing! This one didn't lose its silkiness and is such a pleasure to use. It applies a light, natural wash of blush and feel incredible. It could also be used to apply highlighter. One of my favorites!

J007s (eyeliner brush) $15 Amazig eyeliner brush, works so well and great size. Really nice, love it.

All these brushes are made extremely well and seem like they will hold up for many years. The only thing I'm worried about it that the hair is so nice that it seems fragile (especially the blue squirrel) so if these bushes were to deteriorate I'm sure it would be the hair that would go first. You're supposed to wash them as little as possible and very gently with a mild soap. I'm also worried about the writing on the handles as I've heard it wears off, and this happened to my MAC brushes. Im going to put some clear nail polish over the writing to hopefully prevent it from wearing off. This is one thing Hakuhodo (and MAC, and countless other makeup brush brands) should really fix.

Overall I'm so happy with these brushes. Theyre drop dead gorgeous, sooo soft and I definitely plan to order more!

EDIT: After returning one brush I thought I should add a warning. Hakuhodo are perfectionists and this not only applies to when they're making brushes but also when making returns. They tell you to return unopened brushes packed carefully. I returned one carefully in bubble wrap and they wrote me the same day to say the way it had been packaged had damaged the wrapping (must have wrinkled it, I guess?) and it would have to be sent for repacking. They didn't charge me for it this time but next time they would. So beware of this when returning. Apparently they only want you to return them in the original box, if you ask me they should specify this. So if you're returning be careful.

24 of 24 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I had never tried these brushes, but came across the brand while trying to find a blush brush that worked for me. Wow, it's a lot of work, a lot of data, and a lot of information to go through. Since the company has a very strict return policy, you have to do the work, otherwise you could get stuck with something you don't like. I highly suggest the website hakuhodousa.wordpress.com, to see the different brushes lined up against each other - even though there were several that weren't available on the order site, it was still a very helpful tool for me. Additionally, I went on many forums, blogs, and looked at a ton of google images, because while I/m not someone who has a ton of makeup (mostly, because I/m so sensitive, nothing works for me), I do believe in good brushes.

B110 vs J110 - I was going to order the J110, but as crazy-in-love as everyone is with this brush, when looking online, it looked like it really explodes once it's washed. And while some people love that, that's not what I want. I ordered the B110BKLSL, since dyed goat hair can be soft without the fluff. The B110, from what others have said, is not quite as soft, but still softer than most brushes, and in the package I could see it's not quite as dense as the J110. The shape of both, is a little flatter at the top, than say the MAC 116, and a little larger, but not as big as the MAC 129. If you want fluffy and big, go for the J110, if you want something similar to the 116, but a little bigger, go for the B110. I ended up sticking with my 116, because it is the perfect size for me.

J142 -Once washed, I found this to be very similar to J5523 in size, only round at the base and tapered at the tip. It exploded when washed and got quite large and fluffy, making it more of blender, than an applicator. It's beautiful, but I wanted it to apply in the crease, and this is too fluffy for that purpose. If you have larger eyes, this might be a great applicator.

S142 - This is the squirrel version, of the above, and I have to say, I really hated this brush - it was too flimsy, and didn't have any depth to the bristles, it seemed very thin. It-s the right size and shape, and had they done this in the goat/squirrel mix, it might have been perfect, but the squirrel is too soft to be of any use. You can-t use it for concealer, because squirrel can-t really be used for cream/liquid. What a waste of $30.

J146 - Many people say that if the J142 is too large for your crease, this will give a more precise application, because it's smaller. It's much smaller, probably half the thickness of the J142. It doesn't have a lot of "body", and I found I really hated this one, too.

J242G - I love the MAC 239, but it's a bit wide for me, and this is narrower and thinner - which is what I wanted . I like it very much for the outer "v". It's a mix of goat and synthetic, and the 239 is not. I didn't find it replaced my 239's, but it's has it's own purpose and bought 2.

J004G - Longer than the 239 in length and wider, but narrower. I'm on this fence with this one, it's a little too flimsy, but it's okay for crease color that I want more diffused, but I rarely reach for this one.

G5523 - I ordered this because I was thinking about a paddle brush for my crease, and since its goat and blue squirrel, it's soft, but not as fluffy as its J counterpart. This is a bit wide for that, and I returned this one, without opening the package, since I could see it would be too wide for what I wanted.

J5523 - Some say it's more tapered or fluffier or softer than the 217, but it really depends on the individual brushes you are comparing. I would say, they are generally almost identical, this has finer hairs, and therefore, is a little fluffier, but at the same time, it is a bit flatter, but only a tiny bit. If you have a 217 you love, this is probably not better.

G5533 - This is goat and squirrel, and is similar to the above, but a more rounded tip, versus the taper the S142 has. This is not as wonderful as it appears in the images I've seen. It's not as dense as you would think and the tip is somewhat raggedy. I wasn't impressed.

In the end, I think their brushes are okay, but when reading all the blogs and reviews, it's easy to get caught up in everyone's enthusiasm, and I found myself thinking, I have to have these brushes! While they are fantastic in their quality, I didn't find them to be much better than other brushes, and honestly, if I could, I would probably return all but the J242G. They're almost too soft, and not dense enough, to be functional for me. What they offer, is a tremendous selection with shapes, types, versions, and materials, which makes this brand awesome when looking for something specific or different - but be prepared to be overwhelmed. If you need a particular brush because you're not happy with what you have, then yes, you might want to see what they have. It also sounds like the quality is more consistent, from brush to brush, although I did see one or two reviews that talked about a little bit of shedding, which I think can be expected with any brand. Finally, I don't use face brushes, so I don't know personally, but from what I've read, their face brushes are probably what sets them apart from other brands and might be worth the expense of replacing what you have.

22 of 24 people found this helpful.

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Red, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

Finally I decided to purchase Hakuhodo eye shadow brushes. I have been thinking about this for a while and tried to do as much research as possible, read the online bloggers that I trust and then made my decision. I bought two, the J5533 and J5523. I wanted a pure blending brush and another one that was like the MAC 217. They are not that expensive, the J5533 at $18 and the J5523 at $19. Hakuhodo charges $9 for shipping. It seems quite expensive, but I will say that they arrived quickly, coming from California and arriving in Florida in two days. That was impressive.

My big concern is always that brushes not irritate my sensitive skin. Of course, I want quality and performance, but if a brush is going to be scratchy on my skin that it's of no use to me. The softness of these two brushes is quite exceptional. A pleasure to use on my eyes. I did not think there could possibly be a true dupe for the MAC 217, but the J5523 is that and more. I think it's shape is somewhat flatter than the MAC 217 and that provides a bit more control. It is brilliant for applying color to the crease and also for blending. It's quite extraordinary. I think with natural hair brushes, you really do get what you pay for.

The J5533 is perfect for blending color in the crease. I also use it for transition colors. I never bought the MAC 224, so I have no reference point for comparison. However, I did buy the Sigma E40 and it's not in the same league at all. Not even close. I love the ease of using this brush and its effectiveness.

I am thinking of purchasing one or two more Hakuhodo eye shadow brushes and possibly one of their face brushes. I wanted to try these out to see how they were, if they lived up to what I read about them. I can say without exception that they have exceeded my expectations. They keep their shape after washing and I make sure to use a brush guard to keep them that way.

I am extremely happy with this purchase. There is no denying the quality of these brushes. I can use them with confidence, knowing that they won't irritate the delicate skin around my eyes and that the final result will be flawless.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.


Age: 19-24

Skin: Other, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

It all started a couple of months ago when I googled 'a dupe for the MAC 222'... I was pointed in the direction of the Hakuhodo J146, developed a love affair with Hakuhodo and have now amassed a well-loved and well-used collection of brushes!

In no particular order, these are the Hakuhodo brushes I own;

G5513 - The G5513 is perfect for extremely detailed e/s placement anywhere on the eyelid. I love using this for applying e/s to my lower lashline. Compared to the MAC 228 it's more stiff and softer.

J5523 - This brush is hands down the far, far, far more superior dupe to the MAC 217! It blends e/s really nicely,is much softer, even after multiple washes. Believe the hype of this brush! It makes blending in the crease or any other area of the eye a breeze.

J5522 - I absolutely LOVE this brush for applying my transition colour and highlighter. The tapered tip allows me to perfectly position my transition colour in the crease area and blends as it applies it, resulting in a perfectly blended and diffused look, no matter if the eyeshadow is dark or light.

J5533 - This brush strongly resembles the MAC 224, but it is a thousand times better and blending! My absolute favourite blush for blending out harsh lines. Blends harsh lines away seamlessly and with ridiculously little effort. One of my absolute must-haves!

J5529 - An amazing brush for firstly applying eyeshadow to the outer corners, and then going back to blend it with the rest of the eyeshadow on the lid. If you have very small eyes, I think this would make an excellent crease brush.

J146 - The perfect brush to apply eyeshadow in a very precise placement to the crease. I apply the eyeshadow of choice to my crease area and then use windshield wiper motions to blend it in. The e/s stays exactly where I want it to. If you have smaller eyes, again, I think you would also like this brush.

J142 - This is the supposed dupe to the MAC 222, which I have never owned and always regretted not purchasing. I use this brush to deposit a stronger wash of diffused colour to my crease, thanks to it's tapered tip. Although it applies a stronger wash of colour, it never applies eyeshadow harshly.

J242G - I use this brush for everyday application of my eyeshadow to the lid - it is smaller in size than the MAC 239, which means I can't apply eyeshadow as quickly, but I can apply it more precisely to my eyelid and just below the crease.

My must-haves;


Since I bought all my brushes, I've used them all nearly every single day - my MAC brushes are all stood in the jar gathering dust! All of the brushes wash well, and have still retained their softness. I always always comb each brush head after washing - it's important to really take care of these brushes so they last!

20 of 20 people found this helpful.

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