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Chikuhodo Top 10: My Must Have Chikuhodo Brushes with Mini Reviews and Video

Another year, another price increase. This time it’s Chikuhodo on the rise. Just like before the Hakuhodo price increase, I’m posting a list of my top 10 brushes from Chikuhodo that I consider must haves and my go to gifting brushes. 

This list is going to start with the small brushes and end with the large face brushes. Two of the brushes on this list are on their “rest rotation” and I won’t be showing them in the video because I have them packed away and can’t easily retrieve them (I’m in the process of moving). However I will pull media from my other sources to show them.


Read the announcement on CDJapan here. Prices go up on Sept 26, 2019.

The Brushes

1. Z-7 Retractable Lip Brush

I love square tip lip brushes and the retractable feature of this one makes it even more lovable to me. When it has been loaded up with product you can pinch the brush head so that the tips taper to a fine point. This allows me to precisely outline the lip shape I want with the brush tip, then quickly fill in the rest of my lips by painting with the broad side.

The weasel bristles are very easy to clean. The type of hair, combined with the length and thickness of the brush makes it easy to control and versatile. I’ve used this brush for eyeliner in a pinch, wiped it clean with bioderma, then used it for lipstick. The brush retracts automatically via a spring which is pretty slick (as opposed to a fixed brush that you cover with cap).

If you’re a bullet lipstick wearer who does touch ups during the day, you’ll love this. I load up the brush with the lipstick that I’m wearing for the day and use the product on the brush for touch ups. This is advantageous over carrying the full tube around for several reasons:

I don’t accumulate an ungodly number of lipsticks in my bag.
No more half-melted and broken lipstick bullets. The lipstick won’t melt off the brush.
Easy to stick in a pocket (again, no melting) or the typical women’s wallet. I don’t like carrying a purse when I go out to eat. I’ll bring my phone in my wallet, along with the Z-7 for lipstick touch up and blotting sheets for my face makeup.

If this all this makes the Z-7 sound like a brush you’d love, you may also want to check out the MK-15 Retractable Lip Brush Retractable Lip Brush.

2. GSN-9 Eye Brush or G-4 Eye Brush

The GSN-9 and G-4 are what I consider luxury basics. Gray squirrel is so very soft and flexible, sometimes too much so. The gray squirrel bristles in these brushes have been molded into a flat-paddle shape with a thick body that lends to a very nice plush feeling and strength for blending and smudging.

It is an incredibly versatile eye brush if you don’t have eyelids large enough to have their own zip codes and use primarily powder eye shadows. (Squirrel doesn’t play well with creams and liquids.) I use it for eyeshadow laydown, gradient blending (blending between two areas of color), precision application and lower lashline smudging.

These two, smaller sized eye brushes have the same brush head (confirmed by Mr. Takemori at Chikuhodo) with different handles and by me. I own both but I like the G-4 more due to the short handle. It makes it easier to stick in my favorite makeup pouch. If you’re going to get one eyeshadow brush made of gray squirrel, get this one. Yes, even over the ones by Hakuhodo, as much as I love mine.

3. Z-11 Blending Eye Brush

This brush is incredibly brainless to use. It blends with minimal effort from the user. Simply pat or roll the brush in the pan, tap a few times on a surface (back of hand or tissue) to more evenly disperse the product and then apply the product to your face.
I like to sculpt my orbital area then continue the shading from the inner corner socket down the nose and contour it too in one fell swoop. This does it beautifully and is just the right size for the job. Speaking of size, it’s squarely in the medium category so it’s usable for a lot of people.

If you’re a collector, you probably don’t need this brush because you have a bajillion other round blending brushes, but you’ll probably want to experience it. Round blending brushes with a domed top made of 100% squirrel are really hard to come by because they’re usually much less efficient compared to the same brush made out of goat hair. The Z-11 defies that stereotype. The strength at which it blends eyeshadow will likely surprise and delight you. It certainly did me. I got it only so that I would have a full Z Series set. I didn’t expect to like and use it as much as I do!

4. T-6 Large Eye Brush

My absolute favorite face detail brush even though it’s labeled for use as a very large, blending brush for eyes. The saikoho goat hair blends powder products into seamless perfection. It’s made in an oval, candle-flame shape with medium density. These properties give the T-6 strength, precision and thus versatility.

It’s one of defaults for contouring the face, jawline, nose, eye socket, temple due to the shape and user-friendly nature. What’s more? The T-6 is fantastic for applying and blending highlight too. The goat bristles polishes most highlight powder to an ethereal glean on the skin. Chikuhodo offers the Z-2 highlight brush, but I prefer the T-6. The T-6 is also cheaper.

I would have three of these if I didn’t give two away to people who also really loved it when I used it on them. They were blown away by how soft, yet efficient it was. More details and pictures of the T-6 are available on my blog post about the T- series here. Instagram post on the brush here.

5. T-5 Highlight Brush

I love my multi-use brushes and this saikoho goat brush is as unique as it is versatile. It has the same oval, candle-flame shape as the T-6, but bigger and with more taper. It’s density is on the lower side of medium and the tapered shape means more flexibility to the brush as the tip. Thus, it works best with patting and sliding motions for application of product. If you like to buff and blend product in circular motions, this is not for you.

I use the flat side for applying blush or setting powder to target areas, the edge for applying contour, and the tip for applying highlight to various areas of my face. The T-5 cheek brush fills in for a lot of functions. It’s great to have as a primary or as a backup if your favorite brush for a certain function is already dirty.

More details and pictures of the T-5 are available on my blog post about the T- series here and pictures of me demoing it on my face.

6. Z-4 Cheek & Highlight Brush

The Z-4 is famous as a Suqqu Cheek Brush Not-Really-Dupe that has gained its own reputation and following, with good reason. It is a wonderful target cheek brush that practically blends product as you apply it. It has the great, plush, silkiness of gray squirrel and strength to blend face color seamlessly into the skin thanks to the density at which the hairs have been bundled.

The Z-4 excels at controlled application of cheek color (blush, bronzer) and a good size for shading the face to give it dimension. Different from contour, in my book. I want a contour brush to be stronger and really chisel out features. The Z-4 is too soft for that. It gives you a makeup look as softly blended and delicate as the brush feels.

I rarely use the Z-4 for highlight because I reach for the T-6 or another large eye brush instead. If you’re going to use it for highlight, I recommend keeping it in a brush guard to contain the floof. See my Instagram post showing it and using it here. I have a review of the Z-4 and a comparison of it to the other blush brush in the Z Series, the Z-8 Cheek Brush, here with more pictures.

7. RCC-2 Cheek Brush (Red Handle) or RC-2 Cheek Brush (Black Handle)

If you love round cheek brushes and you love squirrel hair, this is an excellent brush to have. Actually, if you like soft, efficient blush brushes in general, this is a must have. Plus, it’s a good size for almost everyone’s cheeks. It is a goldilocks blush brush.

Chikuhodo really nailed this one. So much so, I’m puzzled as to why they do not add it to the Z-Series. It deserves to be elevated into Chikuhodo’s top tier, yet here it remains in the artist’s series. I already said it was soft and efficient, but I feel like I need to drive that point home. The RCC-2 and RC-2 are meant to be used and adored. It seems fairly ordinary, a brush shape you’ve seen countless times before, but it performs extraordinary.

The red handle RCC-2 is much prettier in person than the picture shows. It’s got miniscule shimmers for semi-pearlized finish that gleams. I can’t speak for the Black RC-2. Check out my instagram showcase and demo of the RCC-2 here.

8. Z-8 Cheek Brush

My absolute favorite cheek brush from Chikuhodo. Using this brush is pure bliss. Plush, dense, soft. The only hard thing about the Z-8 is the ferrule and handle… and putting it away to give other, less used brushes a chance to play (what I call the “rest rotation”).

The Z-8 is on the larger side so those with smaller faces or those who prefer to apply blush more precisely may not like this brush as much as I do. It functions well as either a small setting powder brush, or larger cheek brush for blush and bronzer.

See more pictures of the Z-8 in my review on my blog post here where I review and compare it to the Z-4.

9. Z-1 Round Powder Brush

Here is a gray squirrel powder brush that plays well with pressed powder whether it’s been hard pressed into the pan or soft pressed. Swirling the brush into the pan to pick it up takes little effort, as if you were using a goat haired equivalent. The application and the blend of said product onto skin? Divine, both the result and the experience. It’s super soft, plush and blends like a dream. “Blends like a dream” is probably the most overused phrase in reviews after “holy grail” but The Z-1 is deserving of both terms.

Being a larger face brush, it is not as versatile as the RC-2, Z-4 and Z-8 which are also gray squirrel and equally soft, but using the Z-1 is altogether an entirely different experience that is not to be dismissed. As a face brush, the hairs are longer, the brush head is thicker and volumetrically more exuberant. The circular shape gives the brush excellent spring back (for squirrel). All of this contributes to a brush that you’ll want to endlessly stroke your face with.

I love using the Z-1 in circular motions all over my face and neck for an all over blend to finish. Sometimes I’ll have finishing powder on it, some times not. Applying bronzer with this brush is another way to use this fantastic fluffy.

See my comparison of it to the Surratt Powder Brush towards the end of this post.

10. The Makie Face Powder Brushes: MK-1 (Peonies) Powder Brush, MK-2 (Cherry Blossoms) Powder BrushMK-MO (Holographic Moon) Powder Brush

The makie brushes by Chikuhodo are collectible, functional works of art and a luxury that you can use and enjoy everyday (except washing days) it would be prudent to jump on these before the prices increase if you have been considering getting any one of them.

The breah head on the MK-MO is slightly shorter and firmer than those on the MK-1 and MK-2 which fan out more and feel looser when patted on skin. Thus if you are looking for a beautiful brush to use for setting powder and bronzer, the MK-MO would be my recommendation.

There is no appreciable difference in function between the MK-1 and MK-2 so it really comes down to which graphic you like more. There’s disagreement on this subject, but mine are similar enough that I’m going to conclude that they can be used for the same purposes interchangeably. Both are great for finishing work (finishing powder, final blend), and bronzer.

All three brushes are wonderfully soft and great face brushes to have whether you are a collector or just starting your collection.

Honorable Mention: T-3 Foundation Brush
If you use a lot of cream products because your skin is dry and irritable, this is a great brush to have for blending out cream blush and/or contour. It doesn’t move your base layer of foundation, provided you press down with only a reasonable amount of force, and the rounded edges mean that you have to do less blending work around the edges. As for foundation? Too small to apply and blend and full face of foundation for my taste. It’s as a final blender to fix and textural issues.

See my review of it in my Takumi Series Overview here for a more pictures. (even though I didn’t give it the warmest review then, I appreciate it a lot more now!)

Closing Notes

All of my brushes were purchased from CDJapan. There are a variety of places that are authorized dealers of Chikuhodo now, but CDJapan is still my default. A usual and always, they offer free shipping on makeup brush orders that total over 120,000 yen. Read my review of shopping on CDJapan here.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2019 in On the Fence

 

The “Konayuki Set” from the Kisetsu Collection: Koyudo x CDJapan Beauty Holiday Brush Set – Value Calculations and Comparisons

Preface
To those of you who think I’ve died, you’re not too far off. This blog is on hibernating mode and I’m kind of micro-blogging on Instagram now. (Yes, I made one finally…) I’m posting videos of me using my fude so y’all can see the size of the fluffies in the context of a face and examples of how i use them. Follow me @jaybirdwalking or search up #brushdemo for well, brush demos.

But don’t worry, when it comes holiday time I’ve got you. I can never pass up some good number crunching, especially when it also helps others. Massive thanks to Fude Kyun for alerting me to this set and contributing to a bunch of the following points.

Leading the pack in releases this holiday season is Koyudo! in collaboration with CDJapan Beauty or CDJ Beauty. They’re releasing their first holiday brush set together and it looks magnificent.

konayuki banner

The “Konayuki Set” (which translates to the Powdered Snow Set) is what looks to be the first of a series: the “Kisetsu Collection” or Seasons Collection. If that isn’t foreshadowing, then I don’t know what is. We can probably expect a set released with each season in the future. They also say that it is “the first” in a series of exclusive collections. R.I.P. bank account. Here is the press release. CDJapan have gotten fancy with their press-release pages lately.

Koyudo has also been on fire with special releases recently so we could really use some precipitation. (Bet you didn’t miss the bad jokes) Speaking of which, it was freaking 104 degrees here yesterday. Snow sounds heavenly. In regards to the special releases, see the ultra-collector’s dream: the Yoshiki Saibikoho Powder Brush, and the more affordable-luxury that is the White Canadian Squirrel Small Powder Brush.

The Set
Everything brush is made with saikoho, or a high grade of goat hair, which is resilient, and easy to use + maintain. At first glance, the Konayuki Set seems highly reminiscent of the Chikuhodo Noel 2015  brush set. They’re both blue with a smattering of silver decoration and feature white goat hair.

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Left: Koyudo Konayuki 2017, Right: Chikuhodo Noel 2015

However, the Konayuki’s color scheme is a warmer indigo rather than cobalt so it comes across less cold. However, it affects the color that the hair appears. Saikoho, due to its semi translucency has a yellow tinge to it. Cobalt is bright, and a cold blue which is complementary  to yellow and thus better cancels out that tint, resulting in more snowy white looking bristles.

The compositions of the two set is also quite different so for fude veterans, it could be worth owning both sets. The Noel 2015 set contained a face powder brush, a cheek brush and an eye paddle brush. The Konayuki Set comes with a over-sized foundation brush, an eye-paddle brush, and a precision eye brush (pencil brush).

Analogs & Calculations
JYP = Japanese Yen
USD = United States Dollar

kona face brushes

NOT TO SCALE! Just showing general shape

Brush Hair length Hair Thickness Ferrule Width Price Difference
CDJB x Koyudo Konayuki Foundation 40 mm 32 mm 28 mm ~
Tom Ford Bronzer Brush 05 45 mm 30 mm 30 mm 115 USD Ebony handle, Gold plated ferrule,
Koyudo BP013 Foundation Brush
40 mm 5,040 JYP Hakutotsuho goat hair
Bisyodo B-FD-01 Foundation Brush
28 mm 25 mm 10,000JYP Gold plated ferrule, Rosewood handle

Estimated Value of Konayuki Foundation Brush: 8,500 yen ???

Unfortunately, there is  no near match or clear way to determine how much the Konayuki foundation brush is worth. The Tom Ford Bronzer Brush 05 get this closest in terms of type of hair and size, but keep in mind that they price is jacked up due to the luxury elements added: the ebony handle and gold plated ferrule. he Tom Ford 05 is already pretty dense so Konayuki Foundation brush should be denser to be strong enough to blend foundation with it’s long flexible hairs. If it is similar tot he Tom Ford 05, I’d say use it as a face powder/ bronzer tool.

The Bisyodo FD-01 is one of the few saikoho foundation brushes that I know of and  the only one that is an oval shape. It is extremely dense and has a lot of high quality hair packed in there. However, the price is also higher than it would be if it had a regular wood handle and nickle-brass ferrule. Meanwhile I don’t have the other measurements for the BP013 so i can’t comment on it besides that their hair types are really different. If anyone has it and would like to contribute measurements, I would really appreciate it! Saikoho is more supple, and finer in diameter than hakuototsuho. This will mean a softer, more flexible brush that may require extra work to achieve a seamless finish.

kona eye comp.png

Again, Not to Scale. NOTE: some of the brushes are starched and not properly fluffed out like they will be with usage and thus the shape is not accurately represented.

Brush Hair length Hair Thickness Ferrule Width Price Difference
CDJB x Koyudo Eye Shadow Brush 15 mm 7 mm 10 mm ~
Hakuhodo J5523 16 mm 4.5 mm 19 USD Used to be saikoho specific
Chikuhodo Takumi Series T-7 14 mm 4 mm 9 mm 2,500 JYP
Tsubokawa Mouhitsu Koyomo Nadeshiko Flat Eye Brush 16 mm 4 mm 10 mm 2,500 JYP “ancient” Hakutotsuho hair
MAC 239 10 mm 5 mm 11 mm 25 USD Unknown goat

Estimated Value of Konayuki Eye Brush: 2,500 yen

The Konayuki eye brush is unusually thick and should make for strong, fluffy paddle this will translate into an excellent blender and buildable laydown brush. If you want a strong laydown brush that’ll pack product on, you need a thinner brush.  It will be on the larger side of medium so if you have small eyes or very little lid space, this may not be ideal as an everyday eye brush. The closest in shape seems to be the Chikuhodo Takumi T-7 (which is also made of saikoho) so i just went with that price. The specifications kind of speak for themselves otherwise.

kona eye.png

Not to Scale. NOTE: some of the brushes are starched and not properly fluffed out like they will be with usage and thus the shape is not accurately represented.

Brush Hair length Hair Thickness Ferrule Width Price Difference
CDJB x Koyudo Pencil Brush 10 mm 6 mm 5 mm ~
Koyudo C011
10.5 mm 1,560 JYP
Chikuhodo Takumi Series T-8
12 mm 6 mm 6 mm 2,200 JYP
Koyudo Mizume-zakura Medium Eye Shadow Brush
11 mm 6 mm 2,000 JYP
Hakuhodo J5529 13 mm 5 mm 5 mm 17 USD unspecified goat, prev. saikoho

Estimated Value of Konayuki Eye Brush: 1,900 yen

The pencil brush looks more like a precise blender than an actual pencil brush. It’s got a bit of a dome to it so it doesn’t look super precise. so I’d label it a crayon brush. Seemingly the closest brush (in measurements) is the Koyudo Mizume-sakura (Cherry Birch) Medium Eye Shadow Brush. However the shape is closer to the Hakuhodo J5529. The Konayuki pencil looks more like a small/precise crease brush, rather than a pencil-type brush that’s strong enough to be a smudger. It’ll be excellent for those with small creases and scarce little space.

Estimated Set Value 12,900 yen vs. Retail Price 12,000 yen, a difference of 900 = 7.5 % savings.

So the savings margin is not great. Some might say that I’m being stingy about the value of the foundation brush. Fine. We’ll bump that big fluffy’s value up to 10,000, the same as the Bisyodo B-FD-01 with the length of the hair making up for the luxury trappings (handle and ferrule). That brings up the set total to 14,400 yen, a difference of 2,400 yen which will translate to a 20% savings.

Price and Availability
As we already know, the Konayuki Set costs 12,000 yen which translates to about 103-107 USD (depending on the daily exchange rate).

The link to the set is available now on CDJapan, but stock goes live for pre-orders on the 27th, 12 PM Japan time which is 8 PM of the 26th in Pacific Standard Time. If you miss the preorder, CDJ Beauty says that the set will go live for sale sometime in November. If you are new and have questions about ordering from CDJapan, you might find this guide helpful.

The cut off for free shipping on brushes at CDJapan is also 12,000 yen. Coincidence? I think not but I’m not complaining at all! It is very no bullshit. I hate it when companies price things juuust below free shipping so you have to add something inexpensive (that you probably don’t really want) to tip past the threshold. Good guy CDJapan.

Appraisal and Critiques
I’m very pleased that the hair being used in the Konayuki Set is saikoho goat hair. This makes them more versatile and durable. Due to the expected high quality of the hair, the brushes should be soft enough for everyone except those with the most sensitive of skin.

Overall, I’m really liking this set because there’s no filler, or what some of you might consider to be throwaways. I’m talking about stuff that you wont use on a regular basis that you know adds to the  “pieces count” and thus the total price of the set because it increases overhead. I’m talking about stuff like a brush case, lip brush, eyeliner brush, and eyebrow brush (fight me, I don’t do eyebrows everyday :P).

Thus, this set is excellent for collectors. It’s small at only three pieces, a blessing for those of us running dangerously low on space.  The brushes are fairly unique yet useful. It’ll still be interesting enough for those who nearly have it all. And of course, it’s beautiful enough to proudly display in rotation.

However  the same qualities that make it great for fude nuts make this set is not so great as a gift or introduction set for beginners. I don’t know if i would give this set to someone as an “upgrade” for their current tools.  Starting with the lack of a case.:I could be wrong, but i assume it’s going to come in Koyudo’s and CDJapan’s signature paper boxes which are nice quality, but may come across as kind of playful and not serious. The packaging is not “extra” enough to make a “WOW!” type of first impression. You might have heard of “form follows function”.  Because the form (container) does not match the level of the function (brushes inside), the person receiving the gift might not get the full impact of just how extraordinary fude are. Additionally, assuming you are giving the set as a gift, it is a rather incomplete set, because it is missing those “extras” it comes across as truncated, in complete (the lip brush, eyeliner brush, eyebrow brush). To be a fully functional set, it’s also missing a glaring essential: smaller/medium sized face brush. Hopefully the person you care to give it to are chill enough to not give a crap.

paper box

Signature paper box: stand not included

The the large foundation brush might be not that useful to the casual makeup user. Most people do not use natural hair brushes for foundation because of the perception of natural hair being more prone to harboring bacteria and needing to be washed more frequently. Though I’ve suggested using it as a face powder brush.giant powder brushes are a luxury, not a staple. I personally am a fan of  including moderately sized cheek brushes over foundation and powder brushes in a set and I would have liked to see that instead. A smaller, more reserved brush would have also made the set cost less, but I don’t blame Koyudo for wanting to make their holiday a luxury, albeit an affordable one. This is not so much a critique as much as a comment.

Something that ACTUALLY irks me (and probably only me) is the fact that the ferrule is not the same color as the handles. They are more of a violet than indigo-blueberry. SOMEONE. EXPLAIN. WHY.  Yeah the ferrule is metallic and shiny, a contrast in texture from the glossy, creme-finish handle, but they put SO much attention to detail into the brushes. Are they really in capable of color matching across different textures? I can’t be the only bugged by this… or am I?

The value of the Konayuki Set isn’t stellar so whether you decide to get the set or not should really be based on how much YOU like it and the state of your brush stash. Do you have these shapes already? If not, it might be worth getting. I know I will be despite my nit-pickings, because it intrigues me enough.

 
 

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Sun Dragon by Ohm Beads – Review, Pictures Galore, and Composition Ideas

Preface
I’m being an ass again, reviewing something that is sold out… but should you find it second hand at a non-jacked price, you really should seriously consider getting it. This review here is to provide insight that’ll hopefully guide your decision making process.

20170808_154542

This is the Ohm Beads Bead of the Month for August of 2017 in commemoration of the solar eclipse that will be taking place on the 21st which is, conicidentally, the day I start the fall semester of my M.S. program, and the day my life as I know it will cease to exist. (Similar to how if the sun was devoured and the Earth cast into darkness, life would cease to exist.) Kidding. It’s not that bad because we’re only going to be in three days of classes (rather than five) with one day of fieldwork. But we have been warned that fieldwork will be quite… intense.

Anyways, where was I? Oh right. Eclipse. I don’t care about that. I mean, I do REALLY want to view the total eclipse if I can swing it (ditch class maybe?) but my train of thought in getting it went more like, “I see pretty dragon. I want pretty dragon. ” Plus, it’s shiny. *cue Moana song*

The Bead
It’s obviously East Asian inspired in design with the boxy head with “antlers”, feathered tail, and lack of wings . Just about every other dragon design I’ve seen has been goofy looking, or the dragon has been given a bird-like head. No, just… no. This little guy was handsome and beautifully detailed so I “had” to have it.

 

I’d call this a charm rather than a bead. Being made of solid sterling silver, it’s pretty weighty despite the delicate, sinewy appearance. It’s a good size that will get noticed, but it is still small enough that it doesn’t take over a bracelet. it doesn’t HAVE be the focal point of a composition (as i will demo on a few bracelets later in this post.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2017 in On the Fence, Pretty, Shiny Things

 

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Artistique Face Brush by Surratt Beauty – Review, Thoughts, Pictures Galore, and Comparison to the Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

Preface
If you are interested in the Surratt Beauty Artistic Face Brush,  you are likely no stranger to high end brushes or Fude (Japanese made brushes). If you are new, I think this review will still be easy to digest for you and (hopefully) informative. I think when most people see the price tag ($230 in USD) on Sephora, or where ever there are browsing, they go “WDF, WHY?!” then move on. Brush hounds will look at the price, raise an eyebrow, look for the  brush head material (it’s squirrel) then instantly start tail wagging + salivating, and look for the magic words: made-in-Japan, artisans, hand-crafted, etc. Or maybe that’s just me. >_> As always, feel free to skip the preface to get to the review.

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I’m actually quite surprised that I can’t find that many reviews on this brush. Lately, There seems to be a culture of “@#$%^!!! $$$Obscenely-Priced-Item! See MAH REVIEW!!!!!” (Wow I’m such a hypocrite. Anyways…) It’s even more surprising considering that this brush is quite easy to stumble upon, and buy in the Western market compared to some of the other sticker-shocking brushes out there. The Surratt Brushes also aren’t brand new, though they are newer players in the world of high end brushes. It seems like most of Troy Surratt’s line is a copy pasta of Addiction Beauty’s aesthetic which is perfectly understandable because he says that his brand is inspired by Japanese cosmetics and seems to serve as the bridge between markets across continents. From Surratt Beauty’s website (I normally don’t complain about typography but I haaaate that font):

after visiting japan for the first time, troy fell in love with the unparalleled skill of japanese methods, and began a decade-long journey that led to the creation of surratt beauty, now comprised of 200 bespoke products. while developing surratt beauty, troy traveled back to japan countless times, seeking out the top tier of artisans, materials, and formulas, and then elevated each product to the next level of innovation.

I wouldn’t be surprised if his color cosmetic products have the same OEM as Addition Beauty or Three Cosmetics because things like the blushes and eyeshadows just look so darn similar. The Addiction line of brushes are OEM’d by Chikuhodo, so perhaps his makeup manufacturing contacts are the same as Addiction’s. In case you are confused, Addiction [Beauty] by Ayako is not on that list because the brand falls under the Kose Corporation umbrella. Fun fact. Troy Surratt worked under Kevyn Aucoin. And my favorite foundation from Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, the Sensual Skin Enhancer, is made in Japan. Perhaps, he retained some of his mentor’s contacts. This article suggests otherwise though,

Anyways, I didn’t get this brush at full price thanks to the winter Sephora 20% off sale and some gift cards but I will be reviewing it as if I did. If you think I am being too generous to it, please feel free to tell me off. I am not without bias though I try my best to be.

 

Presentation
Yup, presentation gets it’s own section. The brush may be Japanese made, but the packaging is everything you’d expect from a luxury beauty brand: cardboard. French cardboard to be specific. Hey, an actual box is miles better than the plastic slip that most Japanese brands deliver their brushes in, but I can’t help but wonder how much the fancy box added to the end cost. Then again, Surratt is targeting the Western markets and people here expect a certain level of niceness in presentation when shelling out any more than $50. Let’s be honest. I do too. The brush still comes with the plastic slip that keeps all the hairs in place and prevents the head from rubbing against the lining of the box and getting frizzy when it is brand new. I’ve had mine for near half a year before I even got around to taking pictures so that plastic slip is long gone. These pictures are heavily edited because I took these non-essential pics in the shittiest lighting possible. Sorry.

Picture1.png

Paper Sleeve, Box, Back of Sleeve

Anyhow, the box has a cover that slides off to reveal a velvet lined, slightly plush, removable insert equipped with an elastic band to hold the brush in place, should you choose to store and travel with it. I personally do not use the box because it’s too bulky and takes up too much space on my already chaotic vanity. It’s stored away in an obscure corner of somewhere, probably getting chewed up by moths. The only boxes I use and keep on display are the recycled-paper-shell-with-fabric-lining Koyomo ones and the wooden ones from some special Koyudo’s.

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Brush Specs
The Artistique Face Brush is a medium size powder brush made of grey squirrel hair. On my cheeks, it works as a blush brush. The brush head completely round from the ferrule, starts tapering from around halfway up the brush head, and ends in dome crown.  I’ve previously described the Chikuhodo Z-1 powder brush as an egg on a stick. Well the Surratt Face brush is even more like an egg on a stick as it is more tapered tip and has a pointed dome, like what you would find on the apex end of an egg. (See comparison section) Do keep in mind that I store and wash my brushes with a brush guard so it will be have a smaller width measurement than many other people’s. The Artisque Face Brush can puff up to about 30% more volume if you allow it to air-dry naked.

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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Brush Reviews

 

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Spotted at Costco: Jumbo Bottle of SK-II First Treatment Essence

Found in the Costco between Barranca and Alton in the South of Irvine, California. This same sized bottle is $290 at Sephora so you save 35% on this.

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I’m seriously considering finding people to split it with then going back to get it.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in On the Fence

 

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Fall of the Tarte Airbuki: Why the Queen has been Overthrown

I raved about the Tarte Airbuki a while ago. I called it my favorite foundation brush. And it was for the longest time! As often is the case, only time will tell how well a brush is made and how durable it is.

The problem is… it just hasn’t held up well.

Here is what the brush head originally looked like:

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Quite a far cry isn’t it?

I noticed that this unevenness/deterioration started happening in August or September of 2016. Granted I wash my foundation brushes very, very often, but that is some weak shit glue in the handle if it wasn’t able to hold down the bristles well enough to survive even three years of terror.  Luckily just two months earlier, I had discovered the Tarte Airbrush Foundation Brush and I loooove the hell out of that one even more. Why? it’s bigger and thus, faster to cover my whole face, but doesn’t sacrifice much coverage intensity even though it is no where near as dense.  That has been my (almost daily) foundation brush since.

RIP Little Dude: November 2014 – May 2017

It’s time to retire you, my dear Airbuki. You served me so very well. I just wish your lifespan could have been longer.

I can’t bear to throw Airbuki away so I’m going to tuck it away in a brush case to admire once in a while, and remind me of all the wonderful rushed mornings we had getting my face ready.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in On the Fence

 

Definitive Overview of The Entire Chikuhodo Takumi Series – Brief Review and Pictures of Each Brush

I lied. I do not own the eyebrow brush and lip brush 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).

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Takumi Series in incandescent lighting

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.

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Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Brush Reviews, On the Fence

 

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