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.