Category Archives: Grab It Before It’s Gone

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

To those of you who think I’ve died, you’re not too far off. This blog is on hibernating mode and I’m kinda 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.

kona vs noel.png

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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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
      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.


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?


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!


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.


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.


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.

yaku set

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


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).


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.


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


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Yakusugi (even cheaper) and Limited Brushes on CDJapan, again.

  1. Are you a sucker for fragrant woods?
  2. Have you been eyeing the Red Squirrel Yakusugi Set for the handles but cant get it because of the prohibitive total cost?
  3. Did you miss out on the Saibikoho Yakusugi Cheek brush but still want to smell the divine-ness that is Yakusugi?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may be suffering from Japanese brush addiction. I have some good and bad news. There’s a cure for you on CDJapan for less than 100 USD, but there it will have negative side effects on your bank account. The name of your medication is  CB Gray Squirrel Blush Brush (Yakusugi: Japanese Cedar Handles) and it retails for 9,800 yen.


It’s a limited collaboration between CDJ Beauty and Koyudo.  Instead of featuring absurdly expensive, silken-tofu-pudding-soft saibikoho or red squirrel this time, the bristles are make of soft … well… grey squirrel (obviously) and the price is much more affordable, reflecting that. Crap. now i want some pandan 豆花 (tofu pudding). To see my opinions of the softness of saibikoho compared to grey squirrel, please refer to the last third of this review on the Saibikoho Yakusugi Blush Brush (25,000 yen).

They basically took the BP018 (8,250 yen), stuck on on a stick of yakusugi for the handle, and made the bristles 2mm longer (39 mm for the CB Yakusugi Brush vs 37 for the BP018).  From the pictures, the CB Yakusigi does look fuller; it seems like it contains more hair and would be denser! It’s actually a pretty good deal. I like griping about how Koyudo’s BP High Class Series’ handles look anything BUT high class because they are stark, clown white. They have answered with a prettier handle, at a reasonable upgrade cost.


CB Yakusugi vs BP018. My terrible zoom re-sizing aside, it’s practically copy pasta.

If you were eyeing the BP018 already, you could pay 1,550 yen (12-15 USD) more to upgrade the handle into super awesome smelling cedar. Like the Yakusugi Saibikoho Blush brush, this Yakusugi Grey Squirrel brush comes in a wooden storage box while the BP018 only comes in a plastic resealable sleeve. So with the extra 1,550 yen, it’s like you’re upgrading the handle of the BP018 and they give you the box for free, or you bought the BP018 and a box, then they upgraded the handle of the BP018 for free. Tomato, tomato. Wait that didn’t come out right.

Anyways, from my Saibikoho Yakusugi review, here is a run down of the smell of yakusugi. I’m going to self plagiarize without the citation. Wonder if i could get kicked out of uni for this…

The logo on the handle is printed on in a way that’s slightly raised above the surface of the handle. There is no lacquer so I’m  pretty sure that Koyudo logo is going to get rubbed off sooner or later. The lack of lacquer also allows the smell to propagate on the surfaces the wood touches (like the box, paper or hands) and waft through the air in its immediate vicinity.

To me, the handle has a sweet, delicate, peppery smell like a combination of white pepper and cardamon with a slight citrus-like tang like violin polish on top of the typical American cedar smell you find on planks in Home Depot. I love it so but it’s not for everybody. You have to like spicy, woody, unisex-to-slightly masculine smells. It strongly resembles the dry finish of B. by Balenciaga Eau de Parfum after I’ve been wearing it for a while and the lily-of-the-valley notes have died down but still present.


Not depicted: daikon shredded paper inside the wrapping

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Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Grab It Before It's Gone, On the Fence


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Heads Up: CDJapan Free Shipping on Makeup Brushes

CDJapan is having a free shipping promotion again. Announcement here. Too long didn’t read summary, it applies under the following conditions:

  • merchandise totals over 12,000 yen
  • order only consists of makeup brushes
  • order placed through June 24, 2016 11:59:59AM (Japan Standard Time UTC+9). The end date got extended. At this rate, they may as well offer free shipping on brush orders over 12,000 yen year round. ** LOL It’s been extended till Oct 25th.

The shipping services available are FedEx, EMS, Air Mail, Registered Air Mail. Info and estimated delivery windows here. I would avoid FedEx like the plague (explained here). EMS is the preferred service, though I normally choose regular Air Mail because I’m never home to sign for my packages.

The last time, they ran this free shipping promo concurrently with another promo for 20% off all Koyudo brushes. That was pretty bomb. Bomb as in pretty awesome for getting affordable brushes, and bomb as in pretty bad for my desk as I am running out of space. There are fluffies everywhere like a lovable fuzzy mushroom plague. It’s also a pity there was no free shipping promo when i got my Koyudo Saibisugi.

Anyways, if you’re all Koyudo’d out, here are some brushes from other brands to consider getting during this promo period.
Koyomo Setsugekka Pink Pearl (Nadeshiko) Set – 15,000 yen / $123- 128 USD
The upfront price for a set of only three brushes may seem rather high, but the investment is well worth it. The otoshuho hairs are all delightfully silky, with really good spring. They have enough “push back” to be effective at blending color but still soft enough not to disturb other makeup. Though Otosuho is not from the chest area of the goat, the hair that these brushes use is really soft and never prickly. I would say that the hair quality is better than my saikoho Chikuhodo T-4. The handles are rather short, so ppl with larger hands may find themselves disgruntled but all three as a set, used together, are really good for touch ups and toting around if you keep them in a pouch. All of them are sold separately (only diff is you dont get a display/storage box.

The face brush (7,500)
 is a round, dome with a good density for all over face powders. It wont deposit so much that you look cakey, nor does it pick up so little that you have to re-dip multiple times to get enough product. The eye brush’s (2,500) round bullet shape is good for smoking and blending and will fit most eye shapes/sizes. It’s about the size of my pinkie and has medium density typical of multitasker brushes. My favorite is the cheek brush (5,000 yen)so spring for that if the whole set doesn’t inspire you. The cheek brush is a rounded dome (think Takumi T-4, Hakuhodo J210 (but bigger), Wayne Goss 13) that is great for applying cheek in buffing or patting motions, and for use with sculpting products. It’s not tapered enough for highlight. I do like all three brushes, but the cheek is for sure my favorite.

They also recently added another eyeshadow brush (also 2,500 yen) in a traditional, flat paddle shape.

However, I plan to pick the Benihana handle flat eye brush (5,000 yen). Koyomo recently released all of the Nadeshiko’s Ototsuho heads in this new fancier handled set called “Benihana”. I normally dont like saturated pinks but these are beautiful and I want at least one brush from the series. All the brushes have the exact same head. Each of the Benihana face, blush,  round e/s brush and the 3 piece set is double in price respective to the Nadeshiko price. i’m not super tempted to get the Benihana versions of the Nadeshiko brushes that i already own, but I sure am interested in the flat ES Benihana.

One brush that i think is absolutely freaking awesome and a must have is the MB133 Liner Brush (1400 yen / $11 – 12.20). It has a slanted tip and the hairs taper to the finest point. The brush head retain that awesomely sharp point with ease. My friend will  borrow on the blue moon she finds it clean (usually its gunked up with liner) to feather in fake brow hairs with her pomade. Definitely getting her one of her own as a gift.

It’s also a good time to pick up Chikuhodo goodies. They recently released two retractable, makie brushes in the sleek black and gold style of the existing Z-7 Lip brush but jazzed up the cover sheath with gold sakura blossoms and shiny, fluttering petals.

The MK-12 (5,000 yen / $41-44 USD) is a round domed brush made of a grey squirrel – horse mix. for the cheeks and small areas of powder. I normally don’t go for retractable brushes, but this one is seriously tempting. The less tempting, and less expensive brush is the MK-15 (3,800 yen / $31-33 USD) is a flat, square edged retractable lip brush made of weasel. Seems far too similar to the Z-7 which i already have and i cant justify getting a shape dupe just for the decorative cap. (Both are squared and have 11 mm long heads)



Posted by on January 28, 2016 in Grab It Before It's Gone, On the Fence


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Saibikoho + Yakusugi Cheek Brush by Koyudo

Looks like my ambitions for a Koyomo Tsuki face brush are going to get put on back burner for a while. 2016 is barely a week old and I’m already off to a naughty start. Why you ask? Because i set up a 1 month brush ban. if you can’t already see where this is going, I’m seriously considering breaking my ban.

CDJapan just released some very special limited edition brushes by Koyudo. Normally Koyudo is the most affordable (read: reasonable) of the Japanese fude brands, but when they make luxury LE stuff, they go ALL out. This time they’ve made a dream hybrid: the heads are sabikoho, literally the best of the best quality hair, while the handles are made of an ancient, fragrant cedar known as Yakusugi.

I love special wood, I love hair and of course i love softness… I pulled the trigger on the cheek brush T_T These are pure collection pieces, but my inner Poke-fluffy master must have that cheek brush. Both come packaged in their signature Paulownia wood gift box that makes for beautiful presentation and storage.

saibi cheek

pics compiled from CDJapan

The cheek brush (25,000 yen) brush head looks to be approximately the same shape as the BP016 Cheek brush (review +pics here): a tapering, flattish paddle with an oval footprint. The BP016 is 38mm long, while the Saibiyaku is 39mm long. As i write this, there are only 15 pieces left.

**Edit: I’ve reviewed it. Read my thoughts and comparisons here.

16 vs saibi

BP016 with white handle, Saibiyaku with brown handle

In the dual brush set (31,250), the cheek brush is the same. For the extra 6,250 yen (or $50-53 USD) you get an medium eye brush that resembles a smaller BP033 shader (hairs shorter by 5mm). As i write this there are only 3 sets left.

saibi set

Pictures from CDjapan

Honestly? The extra money for the little eye brush is not worth it for me. I just want one piece with the yakusugi wood and sabikoho hair to experience. Saibikoho is supposed to be softer than gray and red squirrel. All the gray squirrel brushes rate an 8/10 according to CDjapan. The saibikoho brushes rate a 9/10.


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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Grab It Before It's Gone, On the Fence


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Koyudo Brushes 20% off Sale and Recommendations

Some of my favorite things are on sale… makeup brushes. Actually it looks like ALL the Koyudo brushes are on sale until Dec 16th, including the super expensive saibikoho set (120,000 –> 96,000) yen. Here’s the announcement.

In a nutshell almost anything Koyudo that’s listed and not out of print is 20% off from now until Dec. 16th.  Sadly the red squirrel cheek brushes are not included in the sale. The free shipping over 10,000 promotion only runs until Nov 24th though, so you could save a few more bucks if you order soon  lel they extended it until Dec 24th so it ends 8 days after the koyudo sale ends.  Koyudo ‘s brushes are already pretty affordable (for a Japanese brush brand) and the 20% off sale makes them even more reasonable to someone not wanting to splurge on Chikuhodo or Hakuhodo.

Get a Japanese hand-made face brush for 30 bucks?! HELL YEAHHHH. Some/most mid range brand brushes cost more!

Here are some of my recommendations and stuff I’m giving serious eye to. I like them enough to know the brushes by number code, and i SUCK at remembering numbers. Also, for those of you who haven’t ordered from CDJapan before – and want to – but have reservations, here’s a quick little guide.

Fupa 07 ~ 5,760 –>4608 yen
: this is one of my favorites for liquid, cream and other wet type foundation. It’s a dense long rectangular brush that makes an excellent buffer as the finishing step to polish out texture or streaks that sometimes form when I’m using Kevyn Aucoin’s SSE (which is super thick). If i have no time to make sure my foundation is even, i swipe product onto my face and swipe this brush all over my face to distribute. As long as i cover every square inch with at least one back and forth sweep, there is no problem with the finish/coverage being uneven. The hairs are quite soft, the body is dense but the hairs move so coverage is on the lighter side to medium-heavy depending on the foundation you use. I considered getting another one for a hot moment but i have waaaay too many foundation brushes to rotate through already.

Fupa 13 (white bristles) ~ 5,040 –> 4,032 yen
: This is one that comes highly recommended so i finally took the chance to order it. It’s the smaller of the two angled fupas (the Fupa 12 is 6,240 yen –> 4992 yen) and is more for smaller faces or detail work and shading (for all the sculptists out there). No i’m not racist, i just prefer this version over the dyed one because A) I’m compelled to wash it more often and not feel gross and B) it’s cheaper by 1,000 yen!

Macaroon Kabuki ~ 4,800 –> 3,840
: Comes in a medium pink, violet, and orange. This sale is a good time to take advantage of to get some “fun” brushes (like the macaroon) that are non-essentials but nice/fun to own. This is basically a super dense powder round like the Tarte Airbuki but more rounded in the head, dyed in pretty colors, and made from goat hair rather than synthetic bristles. It’s incredibly dense and a great value for the amount of hair that is packed into the brush. This should be a powder brush but I get more use out of it for powder foundation because of the coverage achievable. It also works well with thicker liquid/cream foundations because it buffs and blends almost like a sponge.


Face Brushes
Fuwafuwa Powder Brush ~ 120,000 –> 9,600 yen: A round, flattened dome type powder brush. I’ve already posted a rave and review on this brush (here). If you like functional, beautiful, soft, fluffy things, you need this. It’s pretty good for powder foundation if you’ve got good skin and not alot to hide. That’s not be though so I mostly use it as a finishing brush. Most days I’ll just wear sun screen and set it with this brush swirled  in a colored finishing powder that has a bit of color to even things out. It’s extremely fast and efficient with powder product application but will provide too heavy of a coverage in regards to actual setting powder (hello MUFE Micro HD ghost face).

Fupa 14 ~ 9,000 –> 7 200 yen (black handle
 or white handle):  In the same vein as the Fuwafuwa, this is a flattened dome powder round that can be used for applying powder OR foundation. Here is a direct comparison of the two. This is one of my few brushes that does not kick up a bunch of powdery bullshit when i swirl it in the Hourglass ambient lighting powders pans. It’s a squirrel-goat mix with a very low ratio of squirrel. When compared against a pure grey squirrel brush you’ll definitely be able to tell that the body has more resistance, but the brush head’s feeling itself is still uber soft and plush.

I do like the Fuwafuwa more because it is pure goat (more resilient) and because the wooden handle is so perfect. I think the black handle fupa 14 looks classier/better but that may just be me (or not because the black  handle perpetually has a lower stock count).


BP 016 ~ 5,040 –> 4,032: a very versatile fanned out paddle brush that feels like a silk pad on the cheeks. The hair are ultra fine and straight so there’s very little friction. It’s almost like a small fan brush in shape. The wide face is good for blush, bronzer and target powdering while the skinny side tapers to a rounded point that can highlight and contour. Color application is light and build-able to heavy unless your cheek color is utter crap in the pigmentation department.  Full review here.

**So the BP 016 is not only out of stock, but it seems to be out of print as well. The difference between the latter and the former is that with an ‘out of stock’ item, you can still order it, but it’ll take 2-4 weeks to be ready. Out of print means that CDJapan don’t know if they will restock. Because the BP016 is part of Koyudo’s permanent line, i imagine it will be restocked eventually but not before the sale is over.

If you want a suitable replacement, check out the BP 015 ~ 4,440 –> 3,552 which has the same head (size/shape/measurements) as the 016 but is composed of dyed black sokoho goat bristles instead of undyed saikoho. (Sokoho is just one grade below saikoho. It is better at grabbing color product from the pan at the cost of being marginally less silky) Some people prefer the black bristles because they don’t appear “dirty” as quickly,  and it’s also a bit cheaper.

If you want a softer option, check out the BP 018 ~ 8,250 –> 6,600. Again, the same head but made of of gray squirrel rather than goat so its several degrees softer than the 016 or 015. It takes more to build up color intensity as with all gray squirrel brushes. It’s slightly denser, wider at the ferrule, and fuller/more plush than my Chikuhodo Z-4.

Gray Squirrel Blush Brush ~ 8,250 –> 6,600
: If you’re looking for a good dupe for the Chikuhodo Z-8 cheek brush try this one. It’s slightly smaller than the Z-8 (the bristles are barely longer than the Z-4). Body wise, it is thicker than the Z-4 and more dense. It is slightly flatter from the side  than the Z-8, but just as soft. the price is also lower, making it a good deal. Color application starts off sheer and builds. It can also be used as a powder brush of course. I don’t know why this is the same price as the 018 because i think this one is superior (has more hair for the money).


BP 036 ~ 2,160 –> 1,728 yen: I took advantage of this sale to buy a spare and give my poor current 036 a rest once in a while.  It’s a tapered round blender that’s ideal for smaller creases and precise v-work. The hairs can handle concealer or creamy/wet formulations. It’s stronger at blending  than most fluffy tapered blending brushes due to the more resilient nature of the hairs, but the tips are soft and never scratchy. They move color well, so if you tend to use a lot of sheerer powdery shadows, this might not be the best. If you like cream shadows or pigmented pots of unicorn poop, this is a great brush to diffuse product and mush it into other colors to create a well blended eye look. Don’t be scared by that point, it turns into a gentle dome after you wash and dry it.

C011 ~ 1,560 –> 1,248
: an indispensable pencil brush, plus it’s almost dirt cheap. Super soft, non-prickly and keeps its point well. Stick it in your outer corner, stick it in the inner corner, stick up your nose (jk don’t do that). Point is (haha, geddit? its a pointy pencil brush?) it’ll always be soft and gentle on delicate skin. Some people with larger hands might find the handle to be too short and uncomfortable to hold though…

Gray Squirrel Pointed Eyeshadow Brush ~ 2,850 –> 2,280
: is an interesting shape I’ve been meaning to try for a while. It is found in Surrat’s and Chicca’s lines and was one of the shapes in the Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura set. The Surrat ones are waaaay expensive, Chicca’s are reported to be scratchy and the Sakura is no longer available, leaving me with this one. I hope it retains that sharply tapered point.

C006 Eye Shadow M ~ 2,880 –> 2,304 yen
 or BP 034 ~ 3,600 –> 2,880 yen: Both of these are flat, compact paddle brushes of medium size and good for a variety of eye shapes and sizes. The hairs are the same length. but the BP 034 is slightly squared off while the c006 is completely round. Both provide strong coloring if you like to pat product on, rather than swipe it on. The hairs are quite soft (tip wise) and never scratchy, though the body is less flexible than goat or squirrel eye brushes. Pretty good if you only want to use one brush for a whole eye look.

BP 033 ~ 3,510 –> 2,808 yen
: A squirrel version of the above brushes, with 2 mm longer hairs. Thicker, fluffier and softer. Pretty dense for an squirrel eye brush. Larger than the Chikuhodo Z-5 and denser too. It takes more building to achieve desired color intensity than its above siblings but the hair feels like silky heaven on the lids. It’s excellent for providing a shiny wash when used with metallic eyeshadows and does great at glitter and fall out control on more shimmer packed/glitter chunky shadows. Pictures at the end of this post. It’s the one with the white handle.


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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in Grab It Before It's Gone, On the Fence


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