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.