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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).

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Takumi Series in incandescent lighting

I’ll be doing this overview a little differently. In the first section I will be giving just pure straight facts about the brushes with only minimal “feelings” and input on anything that is subjective. In the second part, the brushes will be out of order ¬†because they will be ranked from my most to least favoured. That is where you’ll get my opinions on them. So if it all sounds uninformative and bland as a wet tissue at first, keep pushing on.

All of the pictures are in slideshow format! so be sure to “scroll” through them to get the full picture (heh) of what each brush is like. Incase you are wondering what my lovely sparkly black background is /s… it’s aquarium filter foam.

Once there was an Ask Reddit Thread topic-ed, “If you could add a 0 to any number in your life, what would it be?” there was one answer that struck me as pure and utter genius: “the number of hours before I need to sleep.” In a perfect world I would be able to use all that extra awake time to take care of things that need to be done (like all the drafts for this blog). In said world, I would also have individual review + comparison posts for each brush completed and hotlinked (the comprehensive, singular focus ones that I normally do) but alas all I have are skeletons of each post. If there is one you want to see in particular, let me know! Having a request or two is usually enough to push me to move them from the back burner to the forefront.Otherwise, the next one up will be a comparison between the Surrat Artisque Face Brush and Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush. If there are any of you who think that this should not occur, speak now or forever hold you peace.

For brush veterans who know what you are getting into, feel free to skip the following section to get straight to the mini reviews.

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

 

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Screen shot from July 2016

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

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Here are it’s specs:

Hair length: 51 mm

Thickness: 18 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

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

Hair length: 52 mm

Thickness: 22 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

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

Hair length: 52 mm

Thickness: 20 mm

Ferrule Width: 25 mm

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

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

 

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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.

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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 ŤĪÜŤäĪ (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.

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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.

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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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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!)
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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in On the Fence

 

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Takumi T-4 Cheek Brush vs BP016 Blush Brush Review and Comparison

Preface
Are you guys sick of brush posts yet? Too bad! That was a rhetorical question. Onward! This post features reviews and my thoughts on two Japanese made cheek/blush brushes: the Takumi Series T-4 Cheek Brush by Chikuhodo and the BP High Class Series BP016 Blush Brush by Koyudo.

If you are looking into buying a high quality makeup tool but have no idea where to start, I would recommend starting with these two. Both are cheek/detail-face tools that feature heads made from saikoho (a high grade of white goat hair) which is a pretty fuss free material (unlike squirrel). The two brushes are similar in function but they still different tools, hence the comparison component.

Is it necessary to have both? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Is it nice to have both? Hell yes. Which one is better? That’s for you to decide based on your personal preference. I’ll just be helping you decide by¬†providing¬†all the information you could need or want (hopefully). If i manage to convince you that you *need* both… well, oops.

Chikuhodo T-4 (top) - it's a little dirty) Koyudo BP016 (bottom)

Chikuhodo T-4 (top) – it’s a little dirty) Koyudo BP016 (bottom)

I’m a human with opinions so I will be making comments and sprinkling some bias here and there. Regardless of which brush you think that i like better, the best tool for you is the one that fits your needs and completes your arsenal by doing core duties, be¬†it a full face multitasker or cheek only brush.

As always, click on the pictures to enlarge them and feel free to ask any questions or give feedback. My measurements may not be identical to another source’s. Two reasons for that: human error and human error. Huh? Aren’t those the same reasons? Let me explain a bit. Human Error 1: these¬†brushes are hand-made so there will be a window of variance. Human Error 2:¬†¬†I wash-dry my brushes in brush guards (they end up being not as flared) then measure them with a ruler so it’s sort of eyeballed to the closest mark rather then super precise like caliper measurements¬†would be. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2015 in Brush Reviews, On the Fence

 

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