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Category Archives: On the Fence

To splurge or to save? My reviews and thoughts on beauty and body products (and possible dupes).
If you’re on the fence about buying something, read through the review that corresponds to the product you are interested in. It may help you decide.

Afters Ice Cream (Irvine, Diamond Plaza on Jamboree & Alton) – Review & Thoughts on the Flavors

Like with all restaurant and eating extrablishment posts, I’ll be updating this periodically as things change and as I try new flavors to give my thoughts on them. 

The Store

The first thing I noticed is that their ice cream is very…. vividly coloed. Florid almost. They don’t even attempt to hide the fact that colorant is poured in with a liberal hand. 

There are two display cases but only one is in operation. The staff behind the counter wait on each group one by one because of the way the queue works.  even if you go in knowing what you want, you still have to wait in a line behind the unbearable people who DON’T know what they want and are asking for samples of aaaallll the interesting things. *waves sheeishly* It takes a very, very long time basically. 

The three people behind the counter could only handle so much. My peeve is that the other half of the store ()along with the other ice cream case was not being used except as standing space for people who had already gotten their treats. 

I like to consider myself a patient person, but the inefficiency here was ridiculous. they should have had one case open for taking orders and the other open for sampling and backup service. It’s also all sound reflective surfaces in there so it gets unbearably loud very quickly. That probably contributed a bunch to my crankinesss.

Also of note: either the owner of the place is young or the management in general is very young, or the owners have kids that have some role in the store. There were several small flocks of 2-3 people my age going in between the front and back of the store. (Behind and in front of service counter)

The Edibles

The Milky Bun – basically just a glazed doughnut without a hole. I got a milky bun with two flavors, AKA “split” which was an extra 50 cents (so 0.50 on top of $6.00). Skip it and go for the two scoop option ($6.00) in a cone (0.50) which ends up costing the same. Maybe I’m not a fan of it because I’m just not a doughnut person in general. I’ll eat them and I enjoy them, but I won’t go out for my way to obtain one, and I certain atelier don’t crave them. To their credit it is served warm and the toasty temperature of the nread serves as a nice foil to the cool ice cream. 

Cookie Monster: This is a pretty solid choice if you’ve got a serious sweet tooth. A little on the too sweet, and thus cloying side but the ice cream is loaded with sizable, satisfying chunks of cookie pieces that are fun to munch on. 

Mint Monster: good but nothing special . maybe the too bright green color was putting me off along with the fact that it was too saccharine

Vietnamese Coffee -holy shit did they nail this flavor right on the head. it even has that slightest lick of bitterness in the finish like the espresso used as the coffee base and there’s the rich taste of condensed milk in there. if you like coffee, if you like Vietnamese coffee, you gotta try this. 

Jasmine Tea – Another pretty good flavor. tastes like the base flavoring agent was actually brewed from tea. There’s a whisper of grassy tea dust and a whopping amount of Jasmine, but it’s not so strong that it’s bitter or whomps your taste buds into submission and clogs up your nose like some places over dose on the Jasmine component of the flavoring. 

Thai Tea – Good. But the Thai tea flavor is pretty standard. Creamistry does it good too, and I like their texture better. 

In general, the center cream here has a very slick but thick mouthfeel like they’re relying on emulsifiers quite heavy for the creamy texture). It’s not rock hard hard but not whipped and soft either thank good ness.  Sadly, it does not have that slightly chewy texture I like.  

Verdict

This place is pretty expensive for what it is with no novelty factor to at least make up for the cost and long wait. 

There’s another place in the same plaza across from the Kicking Crab that has an amazing Earl Grey Ice Cream. I think I’ll be continuing to go there for my after dinner sugar fix instead. Less of a wait and less gimmicky. I might pop in once in a while for that Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream if I don’t see much of a wait, though.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in On the Fence

 

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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  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 faster to cover my whole face, but doesn’t sacrifice much coverage intensity.  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 (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).

all-2

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

 

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Yojiya Brushes Now Sold At CDJapan – Potential Haul + Price Comparisons & Calculations

This post is going to be a fairly quick one as I am writing it between classes instead of doing my writing assignments. ~wheeeeee~ that is the sound of irresponsibility. I already took the time to do calculations on the prices of Yojiya brushes vs similar if not identical models made and sold by Hakuhodo. I’m sharing my calculations and “research” here because I’m a nice person ;D

For the brushes that I am comparing, the specs that they give (hair length and hair type are identical). I think its fairly obvious who the OEM for Yojiya is, hm? Also, these are only the ones i am interested in. I’m obviously not comparing all of them

Let’s start with the ones I am nearly bouncing out of my chair with excitement for: The Traditional Lip Brushes. It’s well established by now that if anyone mentions “kolinsky” I’m all ears, tugging at the leash, and salivating uncontrollably.

medium-lip

Hakuhodo Left, Yojiya Right – Both heads are 15 mm long

This Medium Traditional/Pro Lip brush is a good deal though (even before throwing in CDJapan’s free shipping and no tax for international orders)

= 5.1% savings

plus it’s convenient as shit.Hell yeah I’m getting this. The handle length and color might actually be different though

large lip.png

Hakuhodo Left, Yojiya Right – Both heads are 18 mm long

The Large Traditional/Pro Lip Brush for some reason does not have the same rate applied. In fact, it is more expensive than the Hakuhodo equivalent.

=6.7% markup

At this low of a percentage, I kinda don’t care anymore. convenience is king, plus i can think of it as only 3.7% markup because on CDJapan purchases, 3% of the purchase price is given back as points

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I’m also eyeing the Kokutan Eye Shadow brush with Canadian squirrel because I’m already too deep down the rabbit hole to stop. I’m doing comparisons in USD becuase this brush and the following can be found on Hakuhodo USA

CDJ is 12.78% more than H. JP

CDJ is 14% less than H. USA

H. USA is 34.2% more than H. JP’s price with today’s exchange rates, before shipping and personal shopper’s fee (which will vary but is usually above 10%).

Yikes… maybe I won’t get this one. I’m not digging that double digit mark up… between Cdjapan and Hakuhodo Japan, but compared to Hakuhodo USA (before shipping), the price is pretty nice. Plus, the 3% back of Cdjapan will technically drop the CDJ price down to 9% more than Hakuhodo JP’s price.

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I am also eyeing a most likely exact Yojiya dupe for a brush I already have (the Hakuhodo Kokutan Large Eye Shadow Brush). If they are the same, great! That will mean I’ll have a backup for a brush that I love and near abuse with frequency of use. I’m also curious to see if the quality of hair Yojiya Brushes use is as good as, better, or worse compared to Hakuhodo. Think of it as setting a baseline.

CDJ is 14% more than H. JP

CDJ is 14.9% less than H. USA

H. USA is 34% more than H. JP with today’s exchange rates before shipping and personal shopper’s fee (which will vary).

Ouch. I can’t even reasonably justify this one. Maybe when the exchange rate improves.

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Let me tell you what is a good deal though, the Yachiyo’s and equivalent of the Hakuhodo’s  Itabake’s which Yojiya calls “Kokyuban-Hake.” I’m not all that interested in the itabakes, but for the lazy readers who are interested, here are all the sizes of the Yojiya -Hake’s . Just compare the prices side-by-side in seperate windows with the Itabake’s from the Hakuhodo JP site. Don’t even bother checking Hakuhodo USA. They will be higher priced. The Yojiya ones are very well priced. Shockingly so at nearly 50% less! Maybe this is because contouring (what most people use the itabake’s for as a stand in for the infamous NARS contour brush) is not a trendy thing in Japan so they don’t price gouge off public interest.

Enough about that though. The one I’m interested in is the Yachiyo-hake Medium (2,112 yen) which I’m pretty sure is the same as the Hakuhodo Blunt Medium Yachiyo (3,348 yen) rather than the Pointed/Tapered Medium Yachiyo (3,564 yen), based on the shape of the heads in the pictures.

Yojiya Yachiyo-Hake (Left), Hakuhodo Blunt Yachiyo (Center), Hakuhodo Tapered Yachiyo (Right)

But hallelujah! CDJapan’s price is 40.74% less than Hakuhodo JP’s!!! The only different I can see is the different color of the handle string loop. Again I’m not going to bother wasting my time comparing to Hakuhodo USA prices.

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There is one unique item that I am ready interested in as of right now. It’s this wooden Brush Case (Fude-oki) which swivels!I’ll take two of the Yojiya’s.! FML nvm. They updated the pictures because i think too many people were going over to the website and being excited only to receive the actual thing and be disappointing. This is the old picture that got me excited and was taken off the website:

AAAAAANNNND, here are the updated pics that better represent the product…. it’s just one, segmented box.

Maybe they’re stack-able? (referencing the one that got me so hyped). Welp, now i have a potential wood-working project to waste my time on!

Nevertheless, I think is a pretty reasonable price at 1,908 yen or approximately $17. Yes, it is simple, but the materials + time:labor costs if I were to make this myself would far outstrip the cost of this. Plus, consider that a plain lift-top box like this velvet-lined box by Koyomo here is selling for 3,000 yen.

 

Why am i not buying them right away even though I’m so excited? Why is this a potential haul instead of a haul I’m waiting on to arrive? Well, I’ve been a very bad girl this month. I’ve already bought invested too much in gear for my upcoming ski weekend @ Tahoe. Financial responsibility above all else, children. (Which is funny because I’m probably a fetus compared to most of the people reading)

Thanks to haneulhouseki for posting the news over at /r/Fude!

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in On the Fence

 

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Chikuhodo Violet Noel and Azur Noel Collection for Holiday 2016 Available for Pre-Order: Value Calculations

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.

Azur 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
  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  • 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
    • Hair length approx. 12 mm
    • It’s either a clone of the M-5 (2,600) or G-4 (2,400 yen) both of which are pure grey sq. and 12 mm long. The M-5 is dc’d but the G-4 is here to stay. I mentioned the M-5 because it was the other grey sq. brush by Chikuhodo with 12 mm bristles

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.

Mx 20-2 G-8 MK-3 GSN-1
Powder brush 6470 7400 9400 9800
Highlight brush 5000
Eye brush 2500
Individual Total 13970 14900 16900 17300
Violet Set Total 15500
Difference -1530 -600 1400 1800
Percent Savings -9.87097 -3.87097 9.032258 11.6129

**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.

Violet Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. **
    T-5 Violet HL
    38 30
    5000 3947.368  = 30*5000/38
  4. ** To calculate what a mixed bristled Artist BL/RE-20-2  (9,500 yen) would cost, i compared the MK-1 and MK-3
    1. the MK-1 is 52mm long, pure squirrel and costs 16,000 yen
    2. the MK-3 is 55 mm long, mixed and costs 11,500 yen
    3. if the MK-1 was 55 mm long it would cost 16,900 yen proportionally
    4. Now that the brushes are “equals”, we can see that using mixed hairs translates to a 32% decrease in value compared to pure sq.
    5. 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.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2016 in Grab It Before It's Gone, On the Fence

 

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Koyudo LE Collector Level Brushes – 2016 Edition: Thoughts and Price Comparisons

FML. No wonder CDJapan extended free shipping – on brush only purchases over 12,000 yen (details here). They were planning on releasing these 5 limited brushes.

First up is a brush made of cotton candy from dreams,  err… i meant goat, fine goat. There’s an Echizen Saibikoho Powder brush being offered for 83,400 yen. Why did they have to make  it a face brush ;_; and thus so expensive. They could have done the $500 cheek brush again but noooo, $800+ face powder brush it is. As if 500 is affordable, hahaha. Everything is relative?

neokud-507_108

Stock was 5 but has since the time of writing this has dropped to 4. Maybe it’ll last until holiday time when stuff goes on 20% sale and is decreased to 66,820 yen?  Maybe I’ll win the lotto in the mean time? A girl can dream… JFK. It’s already sold out! No more fantasies.

In case you dont already know, CDJ offers a lower priced Fupa 14 and a Fupa 02, which are the products of a collaboration between CDJapan Beauty and Koyudo. The handles are matte black rather than glossy-lacquered with minuscule sparkles, and have a practical flat bottom rather than a rounded butt, which i approve really hard of since they can stand up on their own.

le p2.png

and now the newest one. They are offering another Koyudo Fupa style brush at a lower price in an LE black, matte handle: the LE Matte Black Fuwa Fuwa.

le pic

LE MB Fuwa Fuwa (left) & Permanent Fuwa Fuwa (right)

Anyways, back on track, the LE Fuwa Fuwa still has a golden ferrule which looks really classy. It’s a pretty good deal, better than the other CDJ collabs in looks, if you want a Fuwa Fuwa just for the brush head. It the most economical Fupa yet. Yes, i consider the Fuwa Fuwa to be a member of the Fupa Family because it has the same, general chubster shape.

I personally would skip this cheaper Fuwa Fuwa (even though it looks really nice already) because i looove wood. Some people would say that this LE version looks better, but I’s rather save my money until I had enough for the permanent version of the Fuwa Fuwa (12,000 yen) which features a maple, ebony and rosewood parquetry handle. The craftsmanship is THAT good, and yet, it might not be worth it for everyone. I’m a handle snob. 😛 If you’re like me and  the handle matters, cross your fingers and pray that Koyudo is 20% off across the board again come this holiday season because that’ll drop prices to 9,600 yen for the Fuwa Fuwa (a mere 6.7% more expensive than LE Black Fuwa Fuwa). Here’s a review if the looks of the handle doesn’t deter you and you want to know more about it.

Stock: 25. This stock probably wont last until holiday season, during which if they do the 20% sale, the price would drop to 7,200 yen.

My favorite of the LE brushes is a version of the famed White Mushroom (13,200 yen). This year’s LE is a White Mushroom with Red & Black Wajima Lacquer handle. That labor intensive skill work for the handle ain’t cheap. Plus that red fade to black is dead sexy. and sexy aint cheap. It rings in at 20,000 yen. The last LE mushroom – which featured an ebony handle (18,000 yen) – i hemmed and hawed over a little to long and one day, it was sold out, never to return. It took about 8 months from release to sell out from an original stock of 20, so i anticipate this one (being more expensive) might be around until sale time even though stock starts at 10. The people who are crazy about brushes already have a white mushroom, which they got long ago and would not get another one. The people who want a White Mushroom but don’t care about aesthetics would get just the regular, permanent white mushroom during a 20% sale (it’ll drop to 9,600 yen). And then there’s my type of the people: the ones who have pined for a white mushroom but have held out on getting one waiting for THE ONE.  This brush is really only for a collector who doesn’t already have a white mushroom or a really crazy collector who must catch own them all. After all, it is 52% more expensive than the regular white mushroom!

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Permanent White Mushroom(Left) & Wajima Mushrooms (Right)

Some expert IG snooping by another brush crazy friend has found price discrepancies though. The same brush is available from Koyudo directly through FudeJapan for 15,000 yen. He doesn’t charge tax or service fees for Koyudo, but add dont forget to add 2,000 yen for EMS shipping, bringing it up to 17,000 yen (15% savings compared to the CDJ price w/ free shipping). The Kihitsu one is the exact same thing, but for 22,500 yen… and that’s before shipping.

Stock started at 10 but has dropped to 9 since i started writing. If i stare at it anymore, it’s gonna drop to 8. Must…. resist … @_@ but i have points… Aw, fuck it. I’ve just ordered the Wajima Mushroom.  I’VE ALREADY LOST YOU ONCE (le ebony mushroom), I’M NOT GOING TO LOSE YOU AGAIN!

**Edit August 11, 2016 – holy shit i was embarasingly wrong. They are selling. There are only 4 left in stock. And i didn’t even open my big mouth on a blog post about how much I’m enjoying mine >->

New year also means new iteration of the Echizen Red Squirrel Blush brush (Gen IV) – this time, there’s a kolinsky lip brush bundled in – for 13,500 yen. Once again it comes with a box. It looks denser and more thickly bundled than the Gen II (no echizen; 8,000 yen) and Gen III (echizen) Square Handle (8,800 yen)  Red Squirrel brushes. There was a Gen III Round Handle (8,800) from the same year that people claimed was more densely packed than the Square version.  This might be the same as the Gen III Round brush from 2015, but with a 2016 price tag.

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Assuming that the lip brush costs 2,500 yen like this M015 Lip brush – this is the closest one i could find in specs – the blush brush alone would cost 11,000 yen. Holy hell. That’s a 25% markup in price from last year’s model, and that’s IF the blush brush was sold alone… which it is not. This year’s brush, sold in a set, has a total cost of 53.4% more. Unless you’re really, really frickin desperately lust for a Red Squirrel brush (and need a lip brush really badly), i would skip this. There is a Canadian Squirrel Blush Brush (with echizen handle too, no lip brush) for 12,000 yen  which i think is a better deal because Cn Sq. is generally regarded as superior though general consensus says red squirrel is the softest of the squirrel hairs, and thus, more luxurious feeling.

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To supplement this blush brush and lip brush, they also released a Echizen Trio set with a Powder Brush and Medium Eye brush made of red squirrel, along side a liner brush made of weasel. This set costs 49,450 yen. This is a rather expensive supplement… A full set of these echizen red sq Face, Cheek, Eye, Lip and Liner brushes would be 62,950 yen.

Red Squirrel seems to be getting more and more exorbitantly expensive. The Yakusugi Red Squirrel set used to cost 100,000 yen but has been upped to 150,000 yen… -_-” Remember kiddos, take screen shots. They might come in handy for price comparisons.

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Screenshot taken from The Non Blonde’s blog entry  titled “Want: Koyudo Brush Set” written in 2014

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Screen shot from July 2016

Anyways, speaking of yakusugi, the last LE special brush is a Gray Squirrel Face Brush with Yakusugi handle (16,000 yen). Damn, there must have been a lot of storms last season to fell trees left and right. Earlier this year, there were the Yakusugi Saibikoho blush brush (review here) and the Yakusugi Gray Squirrel Blush Brush for 9,800 yen which is essentially a BP018 on a fancy handle. Anyways, it resembles some of our favorite Chikuhodo luxury brushes, but at the same price. A pretty good deal. The only one in this batch of LE brushes, in fact (besides the Matte Black Fuwa Fuwa).

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Here are it’s specs:

Hair length: 51 mm

Thickness: 18 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

In comparison to the Chikuhodo MK-2 (16,000 yen) which also has a special handle.

Hair length: 52 mm

Thickness: 22 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

and the Chikuhodo Z-9 (16,000 yen) is 2 mm more in thickness and literally just a hair longer. It is closer to the Yakusugi Gray Sq. Face brush, but doesn’t have a special handle.

Hair length: 52 mm

Thickness: 20 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

This brush had the largest starting stock at 30 and has dropped to 27 in two days. It is unlikely that this will last until 20% sale season (Nov-ish) but you can always pray. If stock does last, it will drop to 12,800 yen.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Grab It Before It's Gone, On the Fence

 

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