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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? ūüėõ 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).


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 »


Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Brush Reviews, 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 šłł, 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  Р11500  = 5425
      MK1 (55)
      5425  / 16900  = 0.321006
      32% of 9500  = 3040
      Mixed 20-2
      9500  Р3030  = 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 Рon 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. ūüėõ 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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G-S2 Flat Eyeshadow Brush by Houkodou – Short Review, Thoughts & Pics

JFC. This draft has been sitting untouched for a month because i was so busy. I was really excited about it in my pre-haul post. My god, was that really 3+¬†months ago? I’ve been using the G-S2 for a long while now and it’s time i share the love. Finally.


I just ordered another one because it’s just THAT good for the price. (Oops? Spoiler alert?) Damn you CDJapan, why didn’t you add Houkodou brushes to your offerings earlier. I could have gotten this brush sooner and saved goat-loads of money by never buying another eye brush again. No that’s not a typo: i could have saved goat-loads … as in “boat loads” of money…¬†Because most of my eye brushes are made from goat hair?


In addition to being terrible at jokes, my Paint Penmanship is pretty bad too.

Well anyhow,¬†we all know that’s not true ūüėõ I would have bought more eye brushes regardless of how happy i am with a certain brush¬†because SCIENCE. Sorta. Hey it’s brush science okay?

This brush is from the Houkodou’s “Brilliant Gold Series” which are their nicest looking ones. I would put them on par with the Chikuhodo Z Series and Hakuhodo S Black Series as all these lines¬†utilize expensive, fine materials. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on July 9, 2016 in Brush Reviews


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My Next CDJapan Brush Haul(s)… ft. Houkodou! Price Review, Thoughts & Research

I normally don’t do anticipatory posts, but shit am i excited. Side note, shame on me for getting crazy excited enough about these brushes to post this rather than any¬†of the numerous¬†actual brush¬†reviews+comparisons in my insane backlog (120 and counting, thanks for asking).

Anyhow. ¬†What is this prodigal daughter shopping for this time? Well, CDJapan recently added Houkodou brushes . Hou-what? Houkodou, another Kumano fude company. Their most famous/popular one is probably their BZ1 Dome Foundation Brush, a round kabuki looking thing that has been well received on SMUT and IG but I’m way more interested in the following brushes from the “Brilliant Gold” Series which i never knew about, but are now a new obsession:

  • G-S1 Flat Eye Shadow Brush (large)¬†– 3,500 yen – a slightly pointed flat paddle, rather large, looks similar to my beloved Hakuhodo B127BkSL that really really needs a break.
  • G-S2 Flat Eyeshadow Brush¬†– 3,000 yen ¬†– the traditional flat blender + lay-down paddle¬†shape like the Hakuhodo J5523 (goat) and Mac 217 (also goat). **Update!¬† (Review Here!)

G-S1 (Left & Top Center) + G-S2 (Right & Bottom Center)

I’m extra giddy about getting these for several¬†reasons:

  1. I’ve been obsessed with Canadian squirrel since getting my hands on the Hakuhodo B127BkSL eye brush. The hair is so soft and silky, yet snaps back into shape.¬†These will *hopefully* whet my appetite a bit.
  2. If i throw in the T-6 (3,500 yen), which i have had on my to-get list for forever now,¬†¬†my order totals to EXACTLY 10,000 yen – the minimum for free shipping!!!!!! I feel like I’m way too excited for such a trivial detail… but seriously how often does that happen?
  3.  That elegance! Perfection. They look really similar to the Hakuhodo S100BkSl series and the Tom Ford aesthetic: gold plated ferrules w/ glossy black handles.

I’m restricting myself to getting the two above eye brushes¬†for now but my wish list is already making my wallet (and brush display shelf) nervous.¬†I will definitely be picking up the G-S3 (3,000 yen)¬†& G-S5 (2,500 yen)¬†in the future because I’m a sucker for affordable kolinsky filbert brushes.


G-S3 (Left + Top Center) & G-S5 (Right and Top Center)

Like seriously, when am I going to hit the enough point? Never, which means these babies will be joining me sometime in the near future for sure. The G-S3 might dupe my Shu Uemura #10 (can never have enough dupes for this) while the G-S5 seems more like a large concealer/lip brush with the potential for detail eye work or smaller lids.

There’s also another big kolinky eye brush (W-S1 Flat Eyeshadow Brush¬†for 3,500 yen) I’m being half tempted by, but it doesn’t have the pretty handle of the Gold Series. :/ What it does have is a nicely tapered point that makes it look capable of being the only brush I’ll need¬†for most eye looks.

Their face brushes are also tempting as hell and reasonably affordable. Their pure grey squirrel brushes face and cheek brushes are even cheaper than even Koyudo, and that’s my favorite *cheap* brand! Once upon a time, Koyudo was the King of Cheap, but then the Evil Price Increase of 2015 hit….. ¬†Now there’s a new king, with better aesthetics. I¬†much prefer the Houkoduo Gold Series’s looks to the Koyudo BP High Class Series which i have complained numerous times, do not look “high class”. They look like they were pulled out of those makeup/dress-up toy sets for little kids playing with makeup. Now that i have another affordable brand to choose from… well there’s no competition. The¬†two brands’¬†ranges barely overlap in brush shape and material, but for the ones that do… Houkodou all the way.

Anyhow I’ve been seriously checking out their G-C6 Domed Cheek brush¬†at 5,000 yen, around $42. I love domed brushes because they tend to be thicker, denser than their flat paddle counterparts, and excellent at blending stuff out w/ minimal strokes.

dome cheek

Domed Blush Brush G-C6

Here are the G-C6 brush specs:

Hair 33mm / Hair thickness: approx. 20mm / Width of ferrule: 15mm

And some popular dome cheek brush cousins, all goat:

  • ¬†Hakuhodo J210 ($45) is made of saikoho goat, 30mm long hairs.
  • Wayne Goss #13 ($53) is made of dyed goat, 30mm.
  • Chikuhodo T-4 (5,000) is made of saikoho goat, 35mm. (review here)
  • Chikuhodo Chikuhodo R-C2 (4,500)¬†is made of squirrel, 33mm and less wide. It’s not as pretty as the G-C6 but it’s cheaper ¬†by about $4 USD.

Houkodou’s Gold Series also has¬†two face powder brushes for 9,500 yen each. WHAT ?!?! Ya, I had to double check the description make sure they were, indeed pure squirrel. The G-F2 Domed Face Brush¬†¬†has the following specs:

Hair 50mm / Hair thickness: approx. 25mm / Width of ferrule: 17mm

My comparable large domed powder brushes:

  • Koyudo BP006 (9,360) is made of saikoho, 55mm
  • Koyudo BP009 (13,650) is made of squirrel, 50mm.
  • a dozen more in goat and squirrel (or a mix), all more¬†than 12,000 yen

I might or might not be more excited about the G-F3 Flat Face Brush:

Hair 50mm / Hair thickness: approx. 18mm / Width of ferrule: 23mm

because its a potential dupe for the Chikuhodo Z-9 (16,000) Рwhich measures in just 2 mm larger in all dimensions Рat a fraction of the cost.

Hair 52mm / Hair Thickness approx. 20mm / Ferrule Width approx. 25mm

G-F2 (Left + Top Center) & G-F3 (Right + Bottom Center)

The Houkodou face brushes are¬†a damned good value. I’m not sure which one to prioritize but i have an inkling that the dome powder brush would have more resistance in the body.

If I’m happy with the G-F3 when i get it, i’ll just skip getting the Z-9, crossing it off my lemming list, because paying 6,500¬†yen extra for 8 cubic mm more fluff is not worth it to me. 6,500 yen is almost¬†a whole other cheek brush i could get (see below).

Last but not least,¬†there’s G-C2 Flat Blush Brush (7,000 yen)¬†which is most similar to the Chikuhodo Z-8 , but not similar enough to be called a dupe in my book. The Z-8 is one of my favorites cheek brushes (review here) but also quite pricey.

Specs of G-C2 Flat Blush Brush @ 7,000 yen

Hair 45mm / Hair thickness: approx. 14mm / Width of ferrule: 20mm

Specs of Z-8 @ 10,000 yen (compared to the G-C2 shorter, thicker, wider = more stubby and most likely more dense)

Hair 40mm / Hair Thickness approx. 18mm / Ferrule Width approx. 23mm

It’s the closest one I can find, so the G-C2 might actually be a uniquely large blush brush that could double as a powder brush as the Hakuhodo B/K002 ($83) which is intended to be a face powder + cheek brush and measures in at 50mm. I don’t have, and can’t find, very many blush brushes (squirrel OR goat) with bristles longer than 40 mm, never mind the 45mm that the G-C2 features. Proceed carefully with this on if you like precision with your cheek product placement, but it seems like an excellent powder brush for smaller faces if the G-F3 Flat Face Brush seems to big. The G-F3 is just 5mm longer so if size doesn’t matter, get the G-C2 and save 2,500 yen. Addict that I am, I think I’m getting both eventually.

flat cheek

Flat Blush Brush G-C2

I’m not completely keen on having an affair with the BZ-1 (6,000)¬†because it is made of sokoho and I already love my current chubby, dome kabukis: Koyudo Fuwafuwa (made of Saikoho) and Fupa 14 (goat + squirrel). I also love my Fu-pa 7 to bits (I know¬†it’s a completely different shape, but it’s still for powder and cream foundation buffing). CDJapan is carrying 20 or so of the limited edition silver BZ-1’s.

gold and silver

Gold (left) & Silver LE (right)

However, I may get the BZ-2 (3,500) for detailed face work just because I think that the champagne handle and mauve-y ferrule are really nice. (Looks matter, yo!). But because it looks sorta, really small in comparison to the BZ-1 and its cousins, the BZ-2 is lower on my priority list.


BZ-2 (Left + Top Center) & BZ-1 (Right + Bottom Center)

Sadly the exchange rate from yen to USD is unfavorable compared to last year (about 5% higher than last year’s high) but 1000 yen is still less than $10 USD. The yen is slowly, but steadily getting stronger so I’m trying to get all the brushes i want before the exchange advantage for the USD is minimized further. But there’s free shipping on CDJapan for orders over 10,000 yen ¬†(more details here) and that a free bit of money you can spend somewhere else.


Posted by on February 29, 2016 in 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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Chikuhodo Lumiere Noel and Rose Collection for Holiday 2015 Available for Pre-Order: Value Calculations

Chik holiday

From CdJapan

This set is available for pre-order now at CDJapan¬†for 34,600 yen. The set contains 7 brushes and a pouch, all in a pale yellow-gold theme. The product page says that they wont be¬†shipped out until after the middle of November though. So that’s a long wait.

From the pictures and comparing provided measurements, it looks like this set contains the following series of brushes

  • Z-1 Powder Brush sister with 7mm longer bristles and slightly squashed ferrule so it’s slightly oval, but not as much as the MK-2
  • Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush sister with 3mm shorter bristles
  • Z-5 Large Eyeshadow Brush with 2mm longer bristles
  • Z-10 Small Eyeshadow Brush
  • Z-6 Eyebrow Brush w/ Weasel + Grey Squirrel mix rather than Raccoon and less wide
  • GSN-11 Shadow/Liner
  • GSN-16 Lip brush but with a retractable handle

The prices of these brushes individually on CDJapan are

  • 16,000 yen
  • 6,500 yen
  • 4,000 yen
  • 3,200 yen
  • 3,300 yen
  • 1,800 yen
  • 2,400 yen

This totals to 37,200 yen. If the conversion rate from yen to USD was 100 for 1, this bundle would cost $372. However, the recent exchange rates would place this set between $295 and $313 (based on the high-low exchange rates from the last 4 months)

The set costs 34,600 yen which translates to $274-291. That’s only a ¬†7% savings. It’s worth it if you don”t own any of the brushes and would like to try them out, but not enough to justify a duplicate if you already own one or more.

Last year the Chikuhodo Holiday brushes were available at Beautylish. The prices at Beautylish for the brushes in the set individually are

  • $178
  • $73
  • $44
  • $36
  • $37
  • $19
  • $25

Which totals to $412. If we apply the 7% set savings like CDJapan has, the¬†Lumiere set¬†should cost somewhere around $380 is available now for a surprisingly low sum of $300. That’s before tax, after it’s $327. Beautylish has free shipping though.

As of Nov 25, the Lumiere is sold out of CDJapan. Beautylish’s listed price is 9% – 3% more expensive (favorable – unfavorable exchange rate), after factoring in tax it’s 16% – 12% for expensive.

If this set does reach BL, $291 from CDJapan (upper range of exchange rate) suddenly seems like a tremendous bargain compared to $380. You’d save more than 23% because CDJapan has no sales tax and variable shipping $3-12 depending on what you choose. Right now until Dec¬†24, they have a free shipping promotion where you’re eligible if your order is over 10,000 yen and consists of only brushes. Well that ain’t hard at all.

Happy Holiday Shopping.


CDJapan is also taking pre-orders on another Chikuhodo set for 13,700 yen¬†and has a rose-pink theme. There are two dyed goat hair brushes face brushes, one pine squirrel eye brush, a retractable weasel lip brush, and a brush pouch. It should cost between $108-115 and also won’t be shipped until mid-november.¬†See edit for 11/24

  • The angled cheek is¬†2 mm shorter than the M-1 (6,000 yen)
  • The cheek brush has the same measurements as the PS-2 Passion Cheek (3,600)
  • The eye-shadow paddle is the same as the R-S6 (2,500)
  • The retractable lip brush is 0.5mm shorter than the T-10 lip brush (2,300 yen)

The individual prices total to  14,400 yen. The Rose set ( at 13,700 yen ) is a 5% saving.

Nov 24 EDIT: The Rose Noel is available for purchase¬†and will ship out in 1-2 days rather than in the middle of Dec, but there are only a dozen sets left… CDJapan has also posted a brief review and more HD pics of the Rose set (here).

It is also available on Beautylish for $120 and $129 after tax. 9% – 5% more expensive before tax, 16% – 11% after.


Do note that my none of my price calculations take the value of the carrying pouch/brush roll into account. I choose to ignore that as a gwp/freebie you get for dropping so much at once on a set.


November 3 EDIT: Visage is carrying 30 of the Lumiere sets for $301 each and 40 of the Rose set for $119 each before tax and shipping. The prices are not as marked up as their other Chikuhodo brushes, surprisingly enough.



Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Grab It Before It's Gone


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