I lied. I do not own the eyebrow brush (T-9, Badger Hair, 3,000 yen) and lip brush (T-10, Kolinsky Hair, 2,300 yen) and thus will not be reviewing them, but who cares about those? 😛 Other than those, I will be reviewing all of the goat-hair brushes in the Takumi Series by Tesshyu Takemori of Chikuhodo fame. The T-1 Powder brush (12,000 yen) (Large), T-2 Powder Brush (8,000 yen) (Small), T-3 Foundation Brush (6,000 yen), T-4 Blush Brush (5,000 yen), T-5 Highlight Brush (5,000 yen), T-6 Eye Brush (3,500 yen) (Large), T-7 Eye Brush (2,500 yen) (Medium), T-8 Eye Brush (2,200 yen) (Small).
I’ll be doing this overview a little differently. In the first section I will be giving just pure straight facts about the brushes with only minimal “feelings” and input on anything that is subjective. In the second part, the brushes will be out of order because they will be ranked from my most to least favoured. That is where you’ll get my opinions on them. So if it all sounds uninformative and bland as a wet tissue at first, keep pushing on.
All of the pictures are in slideshow format! so be sure to “scroll” through them to get the full picture (heh) of what each brush is like. Incase you are wondering what my lovely sparkly black background is /s… it’s aquarium filter foam.
Once there was an Ask Reddit Thread topic-ed, “If you could add a 0 to any number in your life, what would it be?” there was one answer that struck me as pure and utter genius: “the number of hours before I need to sleep.” In a perfect world I would be able to use all that extra awake time to take care of things that need to be done (like all the drafts for this blog). In said world, I would also have individual review + comparison posts for each brush completed and hotlinked (the comprehensive, singular focus ones that I normally do) but alas all I have are skeletons of each post. If there is one you want to see in particular, let me know! Having a request or two is usually enough to push me to move them from the back burner to the forefront.Otherwise, the next one up will be a comparison between the Surrat Artisque Face Brush and Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush. If there are any of you who think that this should not occur, speak now or forever hold you peace.
For brush veterans who know what you are getting into, feel free to skip the following section to get straight to the mini reviews.
About the Takumi Series
I’ve heard it said that the Takumi Series is Chikuhodo answer to Hakuhodo’s J Series as both series are composed of brushes that contain premium, silky-soft, undyed goat chest hair (saikoho).
- S Series = Ultimate Luxury; Hakuhodo’s cream of the crop (along with the Kokutan)
- Z Series = Chikuhodo’s Ultimate Top Line
- J Series = one step below “S”, but still Hakuhodo luxury
- Takumi Series = one step below… you get the idea…
However, I would actually say that the G Series is Hakuhodo’s 2nd tier line and that the J series is 3rd tier, the reason being that the G Series contains versions of J brushes that are more expensive because they mix squirrel with saikoho resulting a softer and $-er brush. That means the that Takumi Series in my eyes is equivalent to Hakuhodo’s 3rd tier, the J Series. However I guess the aesthetics of the Takumi brushes are beautiful enough to elevate them to second tier status. However if we want to get technical, the Takumi line is technically 3rd class, because there’s the P line that exist above the Z series.
All of this is probably distracting from the fact that the Chikuhodo Takumi Series is a more premium line, and that is reflected in the slightly wince worthy prices. Well what do you get for the price?
Beauty? Check. I have a soft spot for red-black-white themes so might be slightly biased when I say they look understatedly high-end. The snowy white bristles are just sliiightly shiny ‘n iridescent in strong light and contrast beautifully with the matte black ferrule+handles. That was something I was very pleased about. Both the ferrule and handle are the same color and texture; add in the seamless transition from ferrule to handle and you get a very eye pleasing, unified look. The lettering is a muted, medium-dark red that looks quite posh against the matte black of the handle. The color they choose is very nice as the subtle pop of red letters prevents the matte black brushes from looking plastic-ky and of course make the brushes memorable. I would do as far to say that the Takumi Series’s looks are giftworthy for significant events (weddings, graduations, milestones). A complete set or smaller, partial set would make wonderful gifts for anyone to can appreciate the finer things in life (and of course are make up enthusiasts).
Names on the handles? Yes! I was ridiculously excited about this 😛 The brushes are labeled T-1, T-2… so on and so forth. It makes them easy to tell apart, though really, it is extraneous because the Takumi series is so limited, you’d easily be able to look up/remember what it is. I’ve had some of these brushes for approaching three years now and there has been no fading or chipping of the lettering (thank goodness).
Functionality? Yes for the most part….The Takumi Series is like Chikuhodo’s pocket knife series. It’s not the perfect tool set, but you can do a heck of a lot with select items from it. You don’t need the whole set to do your face. There are some brushes I would substitute with others from other brands to get more bang for your buck that do the same job and better. overall though, the brushes do what they are labeled as and some go above and beyond their intended purpose once you get past the learning curve.
Quality? Yes, sorta. I’ve noticed that the hair quality is different from brush to brush. They all feature supple goat hair with naturally-tapering, soft tips that never poke or scratch at the face. However, some brushes have more wavy & textured hairs while others have more silky straight hairs. This may be by design of the brush designer (Tesshyu Takemori) to fit/better boost the function of the brush. More textured hair “scrapes” at the product pan to loosen up pigment and powder better as you draw the brush across or swirl it around. that way you get more pigment for less effort. The handles seem to be made of some kind of lightweight wood. I want to guess bamboo because that is the character used for this series but for some reason, bamboo doesn’t seem right (because of the structure of the rod). The ferrule are metal which is nice, as expected, but they are also relatively light feeling.
Satisfaction? Yes. I’m quite happy with most of the Takumi brushes for various reasons. These brushes are not a “value” or a “deal” by any stretch of the imagination but I do feel like they live up to their prices, and most of them meet or surpass my expectations.
The Face Brushes
The Takumi series powder bruhes come in two sizes: “are you shitting me?” big and “this is a cheek color brush, right?” small.
T-1 Powder brush (12,000 yen): This one has a rather unique shape for a big powder brush. It is much longer, more sharply tapered than anything else I commonly run across. It has an oval ferrule that gets very close to being round. The brush hairs come out of it in a very pointy egg shape. You get a big, broad surface face on, but you also get something more manageable, smaller flame shape on the profile side. The T-1 is definitely a larger face brush but can be used for cheek color too.
Density is squarely in the medium category. I would say it’s on the sparse side compared to other powder brushes, but squarely medium in the overall spectrum of brush density (which is much wider and less precise than my powder-brush-only density scale). The hair on this one is slightly wavy. I can feel that not every thing is zippity-do-da smooth when I “pull” it across my face with the brush hairs practically parallel to the skin. If I’m patting powder on, I can still feel some texture because the brush gives, moving the hair tips out of the way and placing the hair body against my skin.
The brush head overall has quite a lot of give in the top half due to its tapered-ness. When I press the brush as I sweep it across the skin, it FOLDS around every curve. However, it is squire springy and reshapes well Also because it is so loose for the powder brush it is quite transformative. Imagine something 30% bigger (in volume) than what you see here. This baby gets big. I keep mine in a brush guard during the last 1/3 of the drying process to get a smaller, sleeker profile (what you see here). However if you dry it without a brush guard it will be an impressive sized poof that’s bigger than most dwarf hamsters I’ve seen. You could easily cover the face in 3-4 sweeps and neck too with another couple of passes.
T-2 Powder Brush (8,000 yen): This one is also rather unique for an angled powder brush. The ferrule is oval but the brush looks almost like a rectangle from the top. The top of the T-2 is nearly flat, with rounded edges transitioning down to the side. All of the other angled brushes i have are completely rounded from the crown of the brush down to the sides. It also has a much sharper ending at the distal, long end. Most other angled brushes have a longer, more gradual taper after the the very apex of the brush. It is also smaller in size than most other angled powder brushes allowing it to be used as both a cheek brush and face brush.
The hairs on this brush are silky straight, smooth and very soft. The bristles readily “splay” with pressure over contours of the face. The overall brush head is springy but the edges don’t reshape well. it will require a brush guard for sure to keep it in pristine shape during storage or travel.
With my brush at least, i feel like the bundling could have been done better and more even especially around the crown and edges. This might or might not be the case for all other T-2’s as each one is hand made and a different artisan might have a different touch that lends itself to the final shape.
The density of this one is squarely in the medium category and there is enough body and strength to brush away excess powder or blend the face and cheeks for the final finishing touch. However it is no where near as dense as say, the Hakuhodo B531. This brush does have enough firmness still so that it doesn’t fold around features of the face as much as it “cushions” after splaying out under pressure).
The Foundation Brush
T-3 Foundation Brush (6,000 yen): If you remember the whinging about how the OG Wayne Goss 01 foundation brush was too small, get ready for a shock, because this one is smaller than that. Unlike the WG 01 though, the T-3 is a completely flat-topped, circular brush with rounded edges before it drops off into a straight wall of hair while most other flat top buffers have sharp edges at the drop off. This makes blending and achieving seamless edges a breeze…if you have a patience to use this for foundation on your entire face. it can easily be a cheek brush and even contour brush per the size.
The hairs used in this one are completely silky-straight and smooth. I could rub it over my face all day. I am quite impressed with the bundling on this. It is completely almost flat and smooth. The brush head is firm, but does not even begin to rank among the firmest brushes i have ever felt as it can be pinched in quite a bit. The mild flexibility combined with the super smooth hair results in a brush that yields very little to no risk of micro exfoliation if you have dry or flaking skin.
However, this brush has the tendency to “push foundation around” if you use too much pressure. To achieve a seamless blend with your products, use a light hand, otherwise you will end up with bald or thin spots. It is good for “wiping away” product though if you’ve over applied and need to take some off to get a more natural finish.
The Cheek Brushes
T-4 Blush Brush (5,000 yen):This completely round brush is best described as a flattened-dome, like the bottom side of a pompom if it is left to sit on a flat surface too long. It’s much more evident in person than in pictures. The T-4’s head starts tapering quite late towards the tip which give the brush a lot of body and resilience. The head size itself by volume is medium, but the surface area is on the large side due to the flat top which increase contact with the skin so it can be used for blush and bronzer effectively. It is larger than the Hakuhodo 210 and less dense, but the brush head is more flexible and conforming.
The head is very springy and on the slightly firmer side so it is also stable enough for wiping away excess product after initial application or doing a final blend to finish the face. The hairs on this one are slightly textured and wavy. It doesn’t matter as much for this brush because I mainly use the top of it and this only really experience the tips. I don’t drag it parallel to my skin but the waviness cause the hairs to be a bit unruly during the wash-and-dry process. This one requires a brush guard for sure when it comes to travel and storage.
This brush can get fairly large (puffy) and airy if left to dry without a guard and might function well as a small powder brush for those who want a round shape in their powder brushes rather than the standard paddle. Think of this as a smaller, shorter, slightly less dense version of the Hakuhodo 104… with a nice handle. Here’s a full review with measurements if you wish to read more.
T-5 Highlight Brush (5,000 yen): It has a oval ferrule and is very much like a much smaller version of the T-1. The flame shapes makes it easy to maneuver around the face for semi precision. It has a smaller profile as far as cheek brushes go. This makes it suitable for just about every function with powder products you can imagine.
I say only powder even though the brush is made of out goat hair because the head is rather flexible and bendy due to the taper. It’s density borders on the lower side of medium and it is t not as springy as more traditionally shaped cheek and highlight brushes (rounded-crown, flat paddles & round, flame shapes respectively). The t-5 has the straightest, silkiest hair along with the T-6. The bristles are absolutely smooth on this brush (reminds me of koyomo ototsuho hair with a smaller diameter) and pull across with minimal friction. The tips of said bristles are of course very soft and fine.
A brush guard is not absolutely necessary for this one because it reshapes well. The pics you see are actually of the T-5 washed and dried without a guard so that it is relatively fluffy. That means of course, with shaping it will be slimmer and smaller.
The Eye Brushes
T-6 Eye Brush (3,500 yen): This is a very small face brush or a very large eye brush depending on how you want to look at it. This is like a very small T-5 or a very, very small T-1. It has the same flat, flame shape that starts steeply tapering 2/3’s of the way up — despite the fact that it may look almost completely round in my shitty pictures. It’s an oval, i promise you.
The T-6 is quite dense and has a lot of spring and buffing/wiping power. It can be used to blend things into oblivion if that is what you wish to do with it (or if you don’t pay attention and use too heavy of a hand, it will wipe away all of your work). It has very straight silky hair just like the T-5 with soft tips. The bundling on this one is not quite immaculate but it doesn’t detract from the functionality of the brush that I’ve noticed.
When I was writing the intro of this post. I had to catch myself. I almost wrote it in as the “T-6 Contour Brush” which made me go “wait a sec, that doesn’t look right…”. That’s because the T-6 is so much more than just a large eye brush (if the pics above are not evidence of so). Even if you have mono lids, or very little lid space between lash line and brow, you’ll still likely be able to find a good use for the T-6. If you intend to use this as an eye brush, you definitely will need to shape it. If you find that you prefer it for face functions, go guard free.
T-7 Eye Brush (2,500 yen): This is a standard flat, fluffy paddle eye brush. the crown of this brush is almost square and the taper up the sides don’t start until near the tip of the brush head. I actually feel like this is on the smaller size for a lay down eye brush. It’s not what I could consider a true medium size. It is definitely smaller than most flat, fluffy blending brushes. Like most paddle eye brushes you get three distinct surfaces to work with: The main face, the skinny side (profile), and the flat tip.
This brush is rather on the airy, loose side. The bundling is far from immaculate (as evident in the main face picture where the crown appears fuzzy. Of course, this could be an artifact from the semi-wavy hair which would contribute to a frizzy appearance. Smaller and less dense than the Mac 217 and Hakuhodo 5523 so i don’t think this was intended as a blending brush though i do know some people use it as such.
The T-7 and the T-8 are probably the most balanced brushes in the Takumi series due to the small heads (light handles remember?) That being said, this one is EXTREMELY light. No substantial sensation of heft what so ever.
T-8 Eye Brush (2,200 yen): This pencil brush is on the larger size for pencil/detail brushes. (Hakuhodo has some truly tiny ones, like seriously those are made by adult human hands?!) The hairs start tapering quite early on this one compared to other pencil brushes. The taper and point of this is so fine. Doing detail work or applying eyeshadow to lids with little space should not be a problem at all. It is also easy to get product close to the lash-line.
It has typical medium density in the root (part near the ferrule) but the tip is rather flexible due to the steep taper. It is not floppy though it is not firm either. The fact that it is not super dense means you’ll not have much luck smudging pencil/crayon liner or any other cream product with this unless you use a really thin – creamy, pigmented formula. Works far better with my metallic pencil liners than my matte and satin ones. It works great with smudging gel before it sets (though it’s a pain in the ass to clean up afterward) and fuzzing on shadows as liner though.
The hairs on this ones are completely straight and smooth which makes for really nice gliding across sensitive eye skin . It can be used near parallel to the skin for a lighter application of color in a broader band or use perpendicular with the tip loaded up for more intense pigment pay off. There’s not much more to say about this because it is a rather basic shape.
This whole section has been fine and all, but what about my opinions of them? That’s what the next section is for, where i tell you what i use them for, how I use them, and what i think of them. I’m doing this a little differently and listing them by my personal ranking of “get-worthiness” I won’t be showing you comparisons though I will be writing in alternative recommendations.
Takumi Top Picks
Keep in mind, these are my top picks. How do I determine what qualifies as a top pick? Well… These are the brushes where I have to use one hand to slap the other, stopping it from reaching for the fluffies after they are washed and dried.
You see, I use “sets” of brushes in rotation so that i am able to get through my collection regularly. I’ll pick out a set number of each type of brush, use them for 2 – 4 weeks, wash them, then put them away and pick out another set. No brush can be a part of back to back sets so sometimes I have to restrain myself when it comes to certain brushes. That’s my brush rule. I’m getting off topic though, we’re not here to talk about my brush habits, but it was necessary to explain: these top picks are the ones that i feel compelled to use constantly.
T-5 Highlight Brush: This is a pretty uniquely shaped brush as far as highlight brushes and flat cheek brushes go. It can be used with blush, highlight AND contour in a pinch or when traveling minimally, but i have so many brushes that i prefer using each brush for just one product. It should do without saying but here i say anyways: it makes a good powder brush if you like smaller ones or only targeting certain areas of the face. In one word: Yes. If you love multi-taskers: get it, use it, love it.
My one complain is that it could be a little more firm and springy but the limitations of saikoho prevent it from being so with this brush shape. It would be better if made of a firmer hair (like koyomo ototsuho). It may sound like i’m complaining but i still adores the T-5. To give you an idea of how much I like this brush: I have two. *gasp* I’ve also given away at least two as gifts to great success. Unfortunately, one of the recipients is now also interested in all things fude.
T-6 Eye Brush: This brush can be used for contouring the nose and eye socket, regular contouring on the cheek & temples. highlight the cheekbone and blending away eyeshadow. I know it looks absurdly large on my eye but i use it in two ways: one is the standard sweep a base all over my eye (it does so very quickly). the other is to blow out a dark shadow for an instant soft smoky effect. what i do for the latter is haphazardly apply dark shadow to my lash line. Then i take the T-6 (clean) and wipe it around on top of the shadow and “pull” it into the shape that i want. Basically what happens is the wiping reduces the darkness intensity by transferring pigment to the brush . I then take the transferred pigment on the bristles and use it to shape the corners of my eyes into the shape i want giving me a very soft, false shadow… It’s like a lazy smoky eye. It would probably make a lot more sense with an actual video demo.
I don’t need to explain how to use the T-6 to counter the nose, eye socket and cheeks, do i? Just grab your color of choice, tap it off and blend blend blend. This brush is also fantastic for applying and wiping away excess setting powder under the eyes and around the nose thanks to the smallness, the pointed shape, and most importantly, the density. If you can’t tell, I like multi-tasking brushes that actually multitask well.
I’m kind of questioning myself about why I don’t have multiples of this yet . Probably because I don’t contour as often as I blush (every time, sometimes several times again if I’m touching up/refreshing).
Probable Universal Crowd Pleasers
These are my secondary recommendations
T-4 Blush Brush: For some reason, don’t like using this brush on myself, but when i do other people’s makeup, this is one i often reach for to apply cheek color on them. I’m less inclined to use my T-5 on other people and i don’t know why, maybe because i use it to pat instead of buff the color on. Probably has something to do with the holding angles.
The density of the brush allows me to finish cheek makeup, and do the final blend to assure that everything is seamless. This surface area in combination with the density also makes the T-4 a fantastic bronzer brush if that is part of your everyday arsenal. You CAN used it with wet products, but make sure that they are very blendable “thin” formula ones or you’re going to have a heck of a lot of frustration with getting the color even.
if you are looking for a round powder brush and find the Hakuhodo 104’s to be too big, and the Setsugekka Mouhitsu Koyomo Powder brushes to be too airy, give the T-4 a try. it is smaller than both of them but in the middle in terms of density. I typically don’t use this as a powder brush but have tried it out before and it applies a pretty even layer. Just make sure you tap the brush off first or you might end up with cake face.
T-1 Powder brush: This really is a unique powder brush. However unique does not always = good, or useful. This brush does make for a magnificent bronzer brush and works well for finishing and doing the final blend, but the performance with setting powders when puffed out does leave something to be desired as it is too loose to distribute powder evenly. That’s part of why i preferred to keep it shaped smaller by a brush guard. Let’s start with what I do use it for first. Bronzer. This is my default emergency bronzer . On the days when I notice that I’ve mixed my foundation a little too pale just as I glimpse myself heading out the door, I’ll run back into my room, grab this, grab my Estee Lauder bronzer, and go to town for 20 seconds. I basically slap the pan with the broad side of the brush and apply it indiscriminately all over my face and brush it down my neck too for good measure to blend the transition between made up skin to no made up skin better. it’ll never apply anything too heavily or require extra blending to finish..
That all being said, how is it for setting powder? Good. But it’s nothing to write home about or to rave about. It’s not dense & luxurious enough for me. I like to powder with a brush that makes it feel like I’m patting a mini pillow on my face to squeeze a little more enjoyment into my routine. Hopefully, you remember from the first part, this brush is on the less dense side for a powder brush. If you are looking for a less dense powder brush, great. This one will be a good fit for you. The fact that it doesn’t fit into most of my powder containers might also be part of why feel lukewarm about this as a powder brush. Well, yes it does fit into meteorites containers but i find the finish with those to be much better with a squirrel brush, so that’s another story.
T-8 Eye Brush: If you load up the brush properly by rolling the brush head in the product pan rather than wiping and dragging, and then roll it a couple times on the back of your hand, you’re in for a treat. The brush head sort of has a built in”reservoir” that allows product to be built up gradually and beautifully so you can control the intensity easily by varying the number of passes. The rolling on the back of the hand is to remove excess product so that you don’t get a huge hit of color upon first contact and panic (unless that is what you want). that way you can build up gradually. If you like simply eye looks and have small lid space, this could easily be your one brush for the who eye look (assuming you smear the lid color on with your fingers or another flat brush, using the T-8 would take too long).
There are other pointed eye brushes for less money I would recommend over this one, namely the Koyudo C011 (1,560 yen) which has less steep of a taper and is denser, but also more rounded at the tip and less pointy/precise. I would really only say it is worth it to get this if A) you want a pencil brush and are just smitten with the looks or B) a completion-ist who feels a burning need to Catch ’em All (complete the set). Don’t get me wrong it’s a good brush, but there are cheaper less nice options. That being said, compared to the rest of Fude, $20 is a penny drop in the bucket.:P
Didn’t Make Recommendations Cut
Keep in mind these aren’t bad brushes, there are just others i would recommend over them. Or i just don’t feel strongly about them. My thoughts towards them are for the most part positive, but I’m not bouncing off the walls recommending them.
T-3 Foundation Brush: This is a fantastic cream blush brush and a terrible foundation brush. two reasons for why its a terrible foundation brush. I’m going to assume most of you use liquid foundation. It will eat it up. If you use powder foundation, its great. Like, really really good finish, flawless great, but do you really want to be spending more time than necessary by using such a diminutive brush? If you use cream foundation it suffers the same om-nom-nom effect as with liquid foundation. What you WOULD use this brush for is to blend your foundation, after you have already spread it around on the skin with another (flat brush) or your fingers. However if you waat a buffing foundation brush, hmu and i’ll throw you a whole list of better recs that cost less for the size.
The size and density makes it a cream for mousse and cream blushes though, (no liquid or it will disappear into the depths of the hair). It blends in cheek product like a dream as long as the formula doesn’t dry down or sink in too fast, which my my definition is 10 seconds or less. you get a ton of control and that slightly rounded edge before the drop off means that you will never have an unsightly line between foundation and blush color.
T-2 Powder Brush: I am both decently satisfied yet underwhelmed by this one. The reason it ranks so rather low on my list is because there are better angled brushes out there. The shape could be a little more graceful and elegant/refined like the Hakuhodo J531, but i actually like the semi flat top ( i can’t really explain this part, i just like it). The long edge being so floppy because it doesn’t have a buffer bugs me a lot though.
I successfully use this for blush, and bronzer in addition to powder. I neither favor it nor ignore it compared to my other brushes that can be used for similar tasks
T-7 Eye Brush: This is absolutely my least favorite brush out of the Takumi series. If you are Stephanie Nicole, or likewise, this is one of your favorite brushes, look away because I am going to shit all over it.
It is not dense enough to make the cut as a fluffy, flat brush. It’s really quite useless compared to my other eye brushes. Of course I have a preference for laydown eye brushes getting in the way.
TMI Time: For sheer lay down, and pretty much my everyday “shit-shit-shit i’m late” eye shadow application, i prefer round, domed (aka “bullet”) brushes of varying densities (depending on the shadow i choose) because the edge will be seamless and self blended thanks to the rounded taper of the bristles. For intense packing of color or loose eyeshadows/pigments, i prefer densely packed, thin, flat brushes. For blending, I prefer denser packed brushes, whether they are fat, flat paddles or round & pointed/domed. The T-7, to remind you, is fat, flat and airy. which makes it super useless for me. Literally the only reason i keep it around is to have a complete Takumi set. (I have problems, send help.)
Hair Quality Comparisons
Overall hair quality ranking: Koyudo > Hakuhodo > Chikuhodo
I feel like Koyudo has the most consistently good saikoho hair. then again I have a smaller sample size of Koyudo compared to Hakuhodo so I may have gotten lucky. But Koyudo has consistently impressed me while there have been some Hakuhodo brushes that I have been less than thrilled by for various reasons relating to the hair feel.
Silkiness: Koyudo > Hakuhodo > Chikuhodo
The silkiest examples from all three brands are all equally excellent, however going by percentages in my stash at least, Koyudo wins by having the most smooth spcimens.
Spirnginess: Hakuhodo > Koyudo > Chikuhodo
Chikuhodo easily has the least “bounce back” in the hairs. Now I’m not talking about bout the resilience of the brush head which is determined by density, the shape, and bundling. I’m talking about the individual hairs (which I test by messing with the hairs on the edge and observing their ability to bounce back to where they were.
Softness: Koyudo > Hakuhodo > Chikuhodo
Again, the best examples of all three brands are equally excellent, but I have more excellent ones from Koyudo and Hakuhodo. Then AGAIN, the goat brushes I have the least of is Chikuhodo (Setsugekka’s Koyomo don’t count).
Brush Quality Consistency: Koyudo > Chikuhodo > Hakuhodo
I have yet to be let down by a koyudo goat brush, really. I’ve had some Hakuhodo goat fude that were meh. Too frizzy, too many blunt hairs, more shedding that I was comfortable with, etc. With Chikuhodo, several of the brushes in the Takumi series alone have meh hair but to their credit, they shed less than some Hakuhodo brushes I’ve owned. I have not tried their undyed goat brushes in the GSN series. I’ve seriously contemplated returning some Hakuhodo’s before but didn’t because the process is a pain in the ass to do, so I sold them. I’ve never had that urge with Chikuhodo brushes minus the T-7 which I literally never use.
Color: Hakuhodo > Chikuhodo > Koyudo
Koyudo has the most jaundiced hair when wet. They are not attractive when they get bathed. Chikuhodo generally is better but it can still be hard to tell if the color is coming from residual pigment or the inherent slight translucency of the hair itself. This is especially annoying with the T-3. Somehow, many Hakuhodo’s do not have this problem.
Outside Opinion of general softness: Koyudo > Hakuhodo > Chikuhodo
I didn’t do this ranking. I asked other people to rank them for me and the results were consistent with Koyudo placing at the top.(External validation). Between Hakuhodo and Koyudo most people couldn’t tell but I forced them to choose a #1 and #2 instead of tie-ing them. I also threw a couple Chinese made goat brushes from a good manufacturer into the mix for fun and a couple of them beat out the T-4 but not the T-5 and T-6 in softness of the hairs!
At this time I do not have have Takeda or Tanseido brushes to compare to. Someone what to lend me some in the name of science? ^_^
Takumi Series Critiques
Many of the larger, denser brushes are not balanced due to the handle wood being so light and thus are top heavy. Proper length was sacrificed to make the handle lengths more uniform, but this issue could have been rectified if they inserted proper weights into the handles. Heavier handles would have also made them feel more luxurious. Minor nit pick, but let’s face it, the tactile component is an important supplement to the aesthetic part of the expirenice of luxury.
The sizing and lack of intermediate sizing. There is no goldilocks brush (except the T-5 which is perfect imo). The powder brushes go from really large to questionable as a face brush. The eye brushes go from huge to super humble. The foundation brush is also of questionable status as I have literally not used it for foundation in years (it gets used mostly for wet blushes remember?). I would also say that the T-4 is slightly too large but that’s on me because my preference is for more control when it comes to blush application. Size matters hue.
Hair inconsistency (this is also present in the Hakuhodo J Series I’ve noticed but is expecially flagrant in the Takumi series). The T-5, T-3 and T-6 have exceptionally smooth and silky hairs, right up there with Hakuhodo best and Koyudo saikoho. I was less than thrilled with the T-1, T-4 and T-7. Less because less unthrilled with the T-1 & T-4, but it they didn’t sit right with me for a while because they are expensive. Heck, deep down in me, it probably still doesn’t sit right because I couldn’t put it up there as one of my top picks even though I quite like the shapes! For all I know though, the use of wavy hair could be by design as more textured hair “scrapes” at the pan better when you swirl it around to pick up pigment more efficiently. The tips are no problem though. They are very soft, as to beexpected and that’s what really matters for the T-3 and down where the brush is most likely to be used perpendicular or close to perpendicular to the skin and most likely to prick ‘n poke. For the T-1, I use it a lot on the sides and can feel minimal amounts of “drag” when I draw the brush head across.
There are 2-3 trusted websites from which you can get the Chikuhodo Takumi Brushes from if you live in the US. I’m just going to skip straight to the cheapest – CDJapan – but i will cover other options as well because different suppliers offer policies and services (duh). All information is linked for you lazy butts.
I get all my Chikuhodo brushes from CDJapan. i’m too damn lazy to explain CDJapan to you here after this
monster wall of text overview so here you go: all you ever wanted to know about buying from CDJapan. Their return policy is strict, so if that is your make or break point, avoid them. That being said, because the yen is weak against the dollar, CDJapan prices are hella cheap even with shipping (which you can get quite easily for free with their promo. 12,000 yen ain’t that hard to hit when it comes to fude). Here are all the prices and listings.
- T-1 Powder brush (12,000 yen) (Large)
- T-2 Powder Brush (8,000 yen) (Small)
- T-3 Foundation Brush (6,000 yen)
- T-4 Blush Brush (5,000 yen)
- T-5 Highlight Brush (5,000 yen)
- T-6 Eye Brush (3,500 yen) (Large)
- T-7 Eye Brush (2,500 yen) (Medium)
- T-8 Eye Brush (2,200 yen) (Small)
With Visage, you can request a customized engraving for an additional $2 (per brush).There is a shipping fee on top of the brush price and sales tax. Visage will take a while because they place a order with Chikuhodo then forward it to you once it is ready. Add that delay to shipping time and you’re looking at a couple of weeks on the conservative end. Visage has a very strict 7-day return policy. Basically, you cant return the item if it’s been opened unless it was sent in already damaged condition.
- T-1 Powder brush ($120) (Large)
- T-2 Powder Brush ($80) (Small)
- T-3 Foundation Brush ($60)
- T-4 Blush Brush ($50)
- T-5 Highlight Brush ($50)
- T-6 Eye Brush ($35) (Large)
- T-7 Eye Brush ($25) (Medium)
- T-8 Eye Brush ($22) (Small)
Honestly, unless you have your heart set on getting customized brushes, Beautylish would be the better option at this price point. Beautylish is the fastest and most expensive (hooray for markups!) but they offer free two day shipping on orders above $35. If the item is in stock, BL is fantastically speedy, shipping out the same or next day depending on what time you place your order. BL also has a generous 30 day return policy.
- T-1 Powder brush ($125) (Large)
- T-2 Powder Brush ($85) (Small)
- T-3 Foundation Brush ($65)
- T-4 Blush Brush ($52)
- T-5 Highlight Brush ($52)
- T-6 Eye Brush ($38) (Large)
- T-7 Eye Brush ($2) (Medium)
- T-8 Eye Brush ($24) (Small)
I will eventually have full fledged reviews and comparisons of all of these brushes up. Again if you want a specific review and comparison up sooner, let me know. Now it is time for me to hole, up, take a nap and not publish anything for another half year, but wait. I promised myself I would spit something out at least twice a month.
If there is still anything you would like to know, leave a comment and i’ll answer it as soon as i can (and possibly add the information to the overview) Thanks for reading through this monster and i hope i helped in your decision making process.