First off, i know. I’m terrible when it comes to typos and there’s a glaring one in the title:
Azure is suppose to have an “e”. it’s not my bad this time though. That’s literally how they (Chikuhodo) spell it. Never mind. I’ve been schooled. Azur is the French spelling for azure and all past Chikuhodo holiday sets have been named in French, so it makes sense to continue the trend. Violet, being the same threw me for a good loop though.
NOTE: I will add the price comparison for Beautylish once i see their list price for the sets.
Let’s start with the bigger (and more expensive) set.
This set is available for pre-order now at CDJapan for 32,500 yen. The set contains 6 brushes and a pouch, all in a dark, shimmery cool-blue theme. There are 200 sets available. The product page says that they wont be shipped out until late November though but be prepared to buckle down for long wait.
From the pictures and comparing provided measurements, it looks like this set contains the following series of brushes
- Powder Brush: Gray Squirrel
- Hair length approx. 52 mm, 27 mm wide (tentative, see the long quote in the Violet Set section to see how the number was arrived at.)
- Looks like a MK-2 (16,000 yen) or perhaps a Z-9 (16,000 yen). Both are 52 mm long and 25 mm wide with the former being 22 mm thick and the latter being 20 mm thick. Without a thickness measurement for the Azur powder brush, i have no way of telling which one it is. Either way, both brushes have the same price and match in hair length + hair type.
- Blush Brush: Gray Squirrel + Sokoho Goat Dyed
- Hair length approx. 36 mm Full length approx. 151 mm
- Closest match is the GSN-4 (6,000 yen) w/ hair length, ferrule shape and materials matching exactly.
- Eye shadow L Brush: Brown Squirrel + Weasel
- Hair length approx. 18 mm
- This one was hard. The closest i got was finding the Y-3 (2,500 yen) and the Artist RE/BL-12-2 Eye Shadow L (2,500 yen). Both are made of pine squirrel mixed with weasel and 20 mm, so 2 mm longer. The Y-3 looks fuller and starts tapering earlier like the Azur L e/s brush. This Azur L e/s brush may actually be a twin of an eye brush that is not from Chikuhodo though.
- Eye shadow M Brush: Canadian Squirrel
- Hair length approx. 10 mm
- Closest match is the Artist BL/RE-6-6 Eye Shadow M (2,500 yen) that is also made with Cn. Squirrel, but 2mm longer than the brush in this set. However, this brush is discontinued (dc’d) and no longer available like their other pure Cn. sq eye brushes from the Artist line, the whole of which was dc’d recently.
- Eyebrow Brush: Water Badger
- Hair length approx. 9-11 mm
- Similar to the Artist RE/BL-6-4 (2,700 yen) but appears less wide, though not less slanted (the RE/BL-6-4 is 7-11 mm long). Being in the Artist series, this is now dc’d, and quickly running out of stock.
- Non-Retractable Lip Brush: Weasel
- Hair length approx. 11 mm
- Very close to the Regular Series R-L1 Lip brush (1,500 yen). It has no cap and is 10 mm long, a mere 1 mm less than the Azur lip brush
- Brush Case: opened 200 x 185 mm; closed 200 x 90 mm (not including this in price calculations)
The values of the individual brushes in this set total up to 31,200 yen while the set costs 32,500 yen. No savings at all, in fact you are paying 4% more than if you brought all of them alone, except you can’t buy some of them because they are of the dc’d Artist line. And yes i double checked my calculations because i was taken aback.
Some would argue that this isn’t fair because I didn’t include the cost of the case, but I didn’t do that last year either. And yes, the price for the Lumiere set was still a 7% savings compared to getting the equivalent brushes individually.
**Edit Oct 28, 2016: important update via a comment i received:
I’ve seen brown squirrel used for the KW-2 powder brush from their discontinued Kiwami Brush Set. A closer match might be the Eyeshadow Brush B by Addiction (a rumored Chikuhodo OEM), which also has the same combination of brown squirrel and weasel.
This would be pretty good news. The retail price of the Addiction B eye shadow brush (20 mm long, 2 mm longer) is 4,900 yen, which would push the value of this set into positive territory.
If the Addiction by Ayako brush is the closest match, the new individual total would be 33,600 yen. The difference of 1,100 yen between the individual price and the set price means a 3.4% value. Not much, but at least it’s in the green now.
This set might be worth getting if you are head over heels in love with the blue shimmers + shooting stars (?) on the handle, and don’t own any of the equivalent brushes.
Notes on Azur Set:
- I’ve no idea what brown squirrel in that large eye brush is. I’ve never seen it in Chikuhodo’s offerings until now. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know! It might be Kazan squirrel which is really expensive and thus, pushed the price up.
- Looks like they really dug deep into their more obscure brushes this year. Last year’s price comparison (here) was a breeze because i had suspects that i could name off the top of my head. Last year’s large set was 34,600 yen (2,100 yen difference or 6% more) but had 7 brushes, four of which (2 face, 2 eyes) were pure squirrel as opposed to the 1 lone, pure grey squirrel brush this year.
- I was disappointed to see that the lip brush this year is non-retractable. At least give it a cap to make it portable, please! Being able to protect the brush head makes a lip brush far more useful (for me anyways) as i can load up the brush in the morning with my lip color choice of the day, toss it in my bag willy-nilly, then pull it out and uncap for touch ups throughout the day… rather than bringing the whole tube of lipstick with me, risking the cap falling off and letting debris get in, or worse, having it get stolen, or lost. They do offer an Artist Series 4-2 Lip Brush with a cap (for 1,800 yen), which i would have preferred.
- According to a commenter (thanks a bunch by the way) “Chikuhodo lists the shape of the Azur blush brush as 丸, which they also use to describe the shape of other completely round ferrules like the ones found on the R-C2.” So it is fairly safe to say that the GSN-4 is a proper match.
[Beautylish price analysis coming soon]
Now for the other one:
The Violet Set
The Violet Set (15,500 yen) is the second, smaller set that CDJapan is also taking pre-orders for and has a shimmery violet theme with the same chain-of-stars accents. There are 400 sets available. It contains three brushes that form a pretty well rounded set for face, cheeks and eye.
- Powder/Blush Brush: Gray Squirrel + Saikoho Goat Dyed
- Hair length approx. 45 mm
- No perfect match but these are the close-ish ones I’ve found:
- Closest hair length match: Artist BL/RE-20-2 (9,500 yen) with 100% grey sq. and 45 mm long; dc’d now, but there’s the Regular Series R-P7 (9,500 yen) that is 48 mm long if you are interested
- Hair type near matches, all of which are gray squirrel + sokoho goat and 55 mm long (a full cm longer… can barely say that they are equivalents X_X):
- Highlight Brush: Goat Saikoho Dyed
- Hair length approx. 30 mm
- Closest match i can find is the Takumi T-5 (5,000) yen and even this one is really off. 8 mm off to be exact. The Violet highlight brush starts tapering much earlier (lower down on the ferrule end) and ends in a finer point)
- Eye shadow Brush: Gray Squirrel
There is no brush case with this set
I’ll be doing several combination comparisons because i have no effing clue which powder brush is the closest. To make my life easier I’m taking the average of the eye brushes and using 2,500 yen for my calculations. I’m assigning a value of 3,900 yen to the highlight brush. See note #3 for how i came up with this number. I came up with a value for a hypothetical mixed bristle Artist 20-2 brush. See note #4 to see how I arrived at the value I used in my calculation. **Edit Oct 28, 2016: I did not think the original version of my first chart through enough. The chart has since been updated to reflect adjust prices for the G-8, MK-3 and GSN-1 (to approximate their values as if they were 45 mm long rather than 55 mm long as the original chart was based off of). I will not be showing calculations for these since they were simple proportions like in note #3.
The reason why i did these adjustments is because the length differences between the violet brushes and the permanent ones are quite significant and hair length is correlated with price. I consider anything more than 3 mm in difference to be significant as it is readily visible. I was not able to properly adjust for the cost of having saikoho mixed in rather than sokoho, which would increase the value of the brush some, so takes these calculations with a grain of salt.
|Violet Set Total||15500||“||“||“|
**Edit Oct 30, 2016: We owe many thanks to the reader who gave me this critical information:
I’ve tried to calculate the width of the powder brushes using Chikuhodo’s website description that I printed. For the purple powder: the hair is 45 mm long, this equals 30 mm on the printed paper. On the printed paper, the hair at the base of the ferrule has a width of 17 mm on my ruler, making it 25,5 mm on the real brush. For the Azur powder, my calculations give a 27.5 mm width at the base of the ferule on the real brush. But I don’t have the thickness.
This would mean that the closest brush (without knowing the thickness), at 26 mm wide is the MK-3 powder brush. You would hypothetically be saving 9% by getting the set, but it is really hard to give a value to an all-new brushes.
This set is intriguing due to the never-seen-before brushes (and that gorgeous purple color), but i woudn’t cry over missing out if my credit-card fu ends up being rusty and too slow to snag a set.
- These brushes seem to be novel Chikuhodo offerings. They usually do gray sq + sokoho combos. There are no brushes with grey sq + saikoho in their current line up. They don’t have a goat (saikoho or sokoho) highlight brush as short as the one in the azure set either.
- I really wish they have given width measurements so that i could narrow down and select the closest powder brush in their regular brushes available all year round. If anyone gets this set, please let me know the width of the ferrule on the face brush!
T-5 Violet HL 38 30 5000 3947.368 = 30*5000/38
- ** To calculate what a mixed bristled Artist BL/RE-20-2 (9,500 yen) would cost, i compared the MK-1 and MK-3
- the MK-1 is 52mm long, pure squirrel and costs 16,000 yen
- the MK-3 is 55 mm long, mixed and costs 11,500 yen
- if the MK-1 was 55 mm long it would cost 16,900 yen proportionally
- Now that the brushes are “equals”, we can see that using mixed hairs translates to a 32% decrease in value compared to pure sq.
- here’s a visual
MK1 MK3 MK1 (55) MK3 52 55 55 55 16000 11500 16923.08 – 11500 = 5425 MK1 (55) 5425 / 16900 = 0.321006 BL/RE-20-2 32% of 9500 = 3040 Mixed 20-2 9500 – 3030 = 6470
[Beautylish Price Analysis Coming Soon]
Maybe they got pissed at me price snooping last year and decided to make my life hard this year. (Ha! As if they even know who i am, or read my price analysis). The more logical explanation is that they are testing the market strength of the Chikuhodo name and trying to gauge general consumer interest toward their brand and less popular brushes.