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

Preface
To those of you who think I’ve died, you’re not too far off. This blog is on hibernating mode and I’m 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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Artistique Face Brush by Surratt Beauty – Review, Thoughts, Pictures Galore, and Comparison to the Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

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

20170411_110026

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

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

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

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

 

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

Picture1.png

Paper Sleeve, Box, Back of Sleeve

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

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

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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Brush Reviews

 

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

I lied. I do not own the eyebrow brush (T-9, Badger Hair, 3,000 yen) and lip brush (T-10, Kolinsky Hair, 2,300 yen) and thus will not be reviewing them, but who cares about those? 😛 Other than those,  I will be reviewing all of the goat-hair brushes in the Takumi Series by Tesshyu Takemori of Chikuhodo fame. The T-1 Powder brush (12,000 yen) (Large), T-2  Powder Brush (8,000 yen) (Small), T-3 Foundation Brush (6,000 yen), T-4 Blush Brush (5,000 yen), T-5 Highlight Brush (5,000 yen)T-6 Eye Brush (3,500 yen) (Large), T-7 Eye Brush (2,500 yen) (Medium), T-8 Eye Brush (2,200 yen) (Small).

all-2

Takumi Series in incandescent lighting

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

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

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

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

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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 丸, which they also use to describe the shape of other completely round ferrules like the ones found on the R-C2.” So it is fairly safe to say that the GSN-4 is a proper match.

[Beautylish price analysis coming soon]

Now for the other one:

The Violet Set

The Violet Set (15,500 yen) is the second, smaller set that CDJapan is also taking pre-orders for and has a shimmery violet theme with the same chain-of-stars accents. There are 400 sets available.  It contains three brushes that form a pretty well rounded set for face, cheeks and eye.

  • Powder/Blush Brush: Gray Squirrel + Saikoho Goat Dyed
  • Highlight Brush: Goat Saikoho Dyed
    • Hair length approx. 30 mm
    • Closest match i can find is the Takumi T-5 (5,000) yen and even this one is really off. 8 mm off to be exact. The Violet highlight brush starts tapering much earlier (lower down on the ferrule end) and ends in a finer point)
  • Eye shadow Brush: Gray Squirrel
    • Hair length approx. 12 mm
    • It’s either a clone of the M-5 (2,600) or G-4 (2,400 yen) both of which are pure grey sq. and 12 mm long. The M-5 is dc’d but the G-4 is here to stay. I mentioned the M-5 because it was the other grey sq. brush by Chikuhodo with 12 mm bristles

There is no brush  case with this set

I’ll be doing several combination comparisons because i have no effing clue which powder brush is the closest. To make my life easier I’m taking the average of the eye brushes and using 2,500 yen for my calculations. I’m assigning a value of 3,900 yen to the highlight brush. See note #3 for how i came up with this number. I came up with a value for a hypothetical mixed bristle Artist 20-2 brush.  See note #4 to see how I arrived at the value I used in my calculation. **Edit Oct 28, 2016: I did not think the original version of my first chart through enough. The chart has since been updated to reflect adjust prices for the G-8, MK-3 and GSN-1 (to approximate their values as if they were 45 mm long rather than 55 mm long as the original chart was based off of). I will not be showing calculations for these since they were simple proportions like in note #3.

The reason why i did these adjustments is because the length differences between the violet brushes and the permanent ones are quite significant and hair length is correlated with price. I consider anything more than 3 mm in difference to be significant as it is readily visible. I was not able to properly adjust for the cost of having saikoho mixed in rather than sokoho, which would increase the value of the brush some, so takes these calculations with a grain of salt.

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

**Edit Oct 30, 2016: We owe many thanks to the reader who gave me this critical information:

I’ve tried to calculate the width of the powder brushes using Chikuhodo’s website description that I printed. For the purple powder: the hair is 45 mm long, this equals 30 mm on the printed paper. On the printed paper, the hair at the base of the ferrule has a width of 17 mm on my ruler, making it 25,5 mm on the real brush. For the Azur powder, my calculations give a 27.5 mm width at the base of the ferule on the real brush. But I don’t have the thickness.

This would mean that the closest brush (without knowing the thickness), at 26 mm wide is the MK-3 powder brush. You would hypothetically be saving 9% by getting the set, but it is really hard to give a value to an all-new brushes.

This set is intriguing due to the never-seen-before brushes (and that gorgeous purple color), but i woudn’t cry over missing out if my credit-card fu ends up being rusty and too slow to snag a set.

Violet Notes

  1. These brushes seem to be novel Chikuhodo offerings. They usually do gray sq + sokoho combos. There are no brushes with grey sq + saikoho in their current line up. They don’t have a goat (saikoho or sokoho) highlight brush as short as the one in the azure set either.
  2. I really wish they have given width measurements so that i could narrow down and select the closest powder brush in their regular brushes available all year round. If anyone gets this set, please let me know the width of the ferrule on the face brush!
  3. **
    T-5 Violet HL
    38 30
    5000 3947.368  = 30*5000/38
  4. ** To calculate what a mixed bristled Artist BL/RE-20-2  (9,500 yen) would cost, i compared the MK-1 and MK-3
    1. the MK-1 is 52mm long, pure squirrel and costs 16,000 yen
    2. the MK-3 is 55 mm long, mixed and costs 11,500 yen
    3. if the MK-1 was 55 mm long it would cost 16,900 yen proportionally
    4. Now that the brushes are “equals”, we can see that using mixed hairs translates to a 32% decrease in value compared to pure sq.
    5. here’s a visual
      MK1 MK3 MK1 (55) MK3
      52 55 55 55
      16000 11500 16923.08  – 11500  = 5425
      MK1 (55)
      5425  / 16900  = 0.321006
       BL/RE-20-2
      32% of 9500  = 3040
      Mixed 20-2
      9500  – 3030  = 6470

[Beautylish Price Analysis Coming Soon]

Maybe they got pissed at me price snooping last year and decided to make my life hard this year. (Ha! As if they even know who i am, or read my price analysis).  The more logical explanation is that they are testing the market strength of the Chikuhodo name and trying to gauge general consumer interest toward their brand and  less popular brushes.

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

 

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G-S2 Flat Eyeshadow Brush by Houkodou – Short Review, Thoughts & Pics

Preface
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.

20160701_153610

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?

Untitled

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

Well anyhow, we all know that’s not true 😛 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 »

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2016 in Brush Reviews

 

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Saibikoho Yakusugi Blush Brush by Koyudo – Review, Comparisons, and Possible Substitutions

I feel like a shitty human being for reviewing an item that is no longer available and has been unobtainable since it sold out within a week of its release. I am of course talking about the Saibikoho w/ Yakusugi Handle Blush Brush that was released by Koyudo and sold on CDJapan in January of 2016.

ss cover

So why am I bothering with this post anyways?

  1. To show off  To provide information in case you are lucky enough to run across someone selling theirs later on and you are contemplating dropping your hard earned money on it.
  2. To provide suggestions for possible replacement / substitutions / dupes.

What makes this blush brush so special is a combination of the hair and handle materials. Saibikoho hair is the cream of the saikoho hair crop. Saikoho is already soft and fine (premium brushes are made out of this stuff). However, the softest and finest Saikoho hairs are sorted out and categorized as Saibikoho. If that doesn’t make any sense, think about how there are differences in hair quality between humans thanks to genetics. Same applies to goats. Genetic differences result in some goats, just like people, that provide better quality hair (diameter, silkiness/coarseness) than other goats. So take the hair from the goats that provide the best saikoho, and select finest hairs from that pool. The resulting selection of batches are saibikoho. That is the softest goat hair you can get  your hands on.

The handle is made of yakusugi wood, or 1000+ year old Japanese cedar. Wait isn’t that going to be protected?! Yes, the live trees are. The felled ones are fair game to be collected and used in items. (i’ll let wiki explain here). TLDR on why it’s special: it has history and smells divine. I’m a sucker for long history.

For the sake of my sanity, I’m going to shorten the name to Saibisugi. I don’t have the patience to type out Saibikoho Yakusugi every time. I’m a lazy person. (in case that fact was not already evident from my very erratica post “schedule” and giant time gaps.)

Oh yeah, and the saibisugi is dirty with blush (MAC’s Frankly Scarlet) in most pictures because if i were to wait to catch it clean and dry for photos, this review would never happen.

The Brush + Details
What else do I say besides it’s gorgeous? I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves and try not to interrupt to much along the way. Just kidding. It’s not a review of mine unless it’s long winded.

ss out

The Saibisugi, like most of Koyudo’s premium LE brushes, comes in a presentation box made of Palouwina wood. More on the box at the end of the post because lets face it, the brush is what you’re here for. The brush arrived sheathed in a protective plastic sleeve, and cradled on a bed of shredded paper that strongly reminds me of the shredded daikon beds that sashimi is presented on. (Am i the only one that enjoys eating that? The shredded daikon, not paper…) The box and paper shreds eventually become imbued with the Yakusugi scent despite the handle not being overpowering in smell at all.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Brush Reviews, 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.

Untitled

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.

 

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

 

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