- Are you a sucker for fragrant woods?
- Have you been eyeing the Red Squirrel Yakusugi Set for the handles but cant get it because of the prohibitive total cost?
- Did you miss out on the Saibikoho Yakusugi Cheek brush but still want to smell the divine-ness that is Yakusugi?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may be suffering from Japanese brush addiction. I have some good and bad news. There’s a cure for you on CDJapan for less than 100 USD, but there it will have negative side effects on your bank account. The name of your medication is CB Gray Squirrel Blush Brush (Yakusugi: Japanese Cedar Handles) and it retails for 9,800 yen.
It’s a limited collaboration between CDJ Beauty and Koyudo. Instead of featuring absurdly expensive, silken-tofu-pudding-soft saibikoho or red squirrel this time, the bristles are make of soft … well… grey squirrel (obviously) and the price is much more affordable, reflecting that. Crap. now i want some pandan 豆花 (tofu pudding). To see my opinions of the softness of saibikoho compared to grey squirrel, please refer to the last third of this review on the Saibikoho Yakusugi Blush Brush (25,000 yen).
They basically took the BP018 (8,250 yen), stuck on on a stick of yakusugi for the handle, and made the bristles 2mm longer (39 mm for the CB Yakusugi Brush vs 37 for the BP018). From the pictures, the CB Yakusigi does look fuller; it seems like it contains more hair and would be denser! It’s actually a pretty good deal. I like griping about how Koyudo’s BP High Class Series’ handles look anything BUT high class because they are stark, clown white. They have answered with a prettier handle, at a reasonable upgrade cost.
If you were eyeing the BP018 already, you could pay 1,550 yen (12-15 USD) more to upgrade the handle into super awesome smelling cedar. Like the Yakusugi Saibikoho Blush brush, this Yakusugi Grey Squirrel brush comes in a wooden storage box while the BP018 only comes in a plastic resealable sleeve. So with the extra 1,550 yen, it’s like you’re upgrading the handle of the BP018 and they give you the box for free, or you bought the BP018 and a box, then they upgraded the handle of the BP018 for free. Tomato, tomato. Wait that didn’t come out right.
Anyways, from my Saibikoho Yakusugi review, here is a run down of the smell of yakusugi. I’m going to self plagiarize without the citation. Wonder if i could get kicked out of uni for this…
The logo on the handle is printed on in a way that’s slightly raised above the surface of the handle. There is no lacquer so I’m pretty sure that Koyudo logo is going to get rubbed off sooner or later. The lack of lacquer also allows the smell to propagate on the surfaces the wood touches (like the box, paper or hands) and waft through the air in its immediate vicinity.
To me, the handle has a sweet, delicate, peppery smell like a combination of white pepper and cardamon with a slight citrus-like tang like violin polish on top of the typical American cedar smell you find on planks in Home Depot. I love it so but it’s not for everybody. You have to like spicy, woody, unisex-to-slightly masculine smells. It strongly resembles the dry finish of B. by Balenciaga Eau de Parfum after I’ve been wearing it for a while and the lily-of-the-valley notes have died down but still present.
Side note, they made a minor fuck up in the product description:
These brushes provide the perfect finish to your makeup as they use high-quality red squirrel hair. Please enjoy the perfect handles and bristles.
Nope. Sorry to get your hopes up. They use grey squirrel.
Koyudo and their summer specials… Last years they had super slashed prices on unmarked BP009’s and BP033’s. I was disappointed that they didn’t have something like that this year, but they have what seems like a Hakuhodo G543 Powder Round (98 uSD) dupe in the form of the limited Flat Top Kabuki Brush at less than half the price (4,100 yen or about 35-40 USD) with a hot pink handle. The bristles on the Hakuhodo 543 are 18mm long while the ones on the Koyudo FT Kabuki are 20mm. The H010 Flat Top Kabuki in Koyudo’s permanent line is 2mm longer and costs 6,000 yen (1,900 yen or 46% more). The handle for that comes in baby pink and black.
They also gave the White Mushroom a evil twin: a Black Mushroom (8,500) made of Grey Squirrel rather than goat. I’m not particularly keen on this one because i prefer my finishing brushes to be made of firmer material but considering the White Mushroom is made of saikoho goat and 13,200 yen (4,700 yen or 55% more), the deal hunter in me is having a hard time dismissing it.
Also, the exact same brush was released last year and sold for 20,000 yen. That’s more than 200% of the squirrel kabuki’s price this year. The specs are exactly the same too: 45 mm long hair and 40 mm wide.
But I already have a wonderful domed, grey squirrel powder/finishing brush in the Chikuhodo Z-1 (16,000 yen). I would feel like buying this would be equivalent to paying a shiny stripper and cheating on my waifu. If this Black Mushroom had an ebony handle like this version of the white mushroom does, i would buy it in a heartbeat. I might have even pulled the trigger if the cherry wood handle was lacquered with clear rather than black because i love looking at the natural wood grains. As it stands, I’m tempted but not at Tantalus levels. Might get there eventually as i watch the stock numbers drop, and drop, and drop….