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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Posted by on January 31, 2016 in Brush Reviews, 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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Koyudo Fuwafuwa vs Chikuhodo Z-1 Mini Reviews + Comparison (Guest Post on Of Toys and Co.)

Preface
This post is for people who want to splash out on a luxury, handmade Japanese makeup brush but have no idea where to start. I’ll be comparing two round powder brushes – the Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush and the Koyudo Fuwafuwa Powder brush – in an abbreviated form with a shoddy info-graphic and pictures.

Z-1 (left) Fuwafuwa (right)

Z-1 (left) Fuwafuwa (right)

You can find the fleshed out version of this post at Of Toys and Co. which i originally wrote this as a guest post for. That post actually has stuff written out and explained so go check it out! This post is to serve as a backup in case anything ever goes wrong at Blogger. A lot of pictures at one of my favorite blogs, Brightest Bulb in the Box (on Blogger), are broken and can’t be viewed anymore so i thought a back up was a good idea.

Summary of Post
FZ Summary ExcelAvailability
Both of these brushes were purchased from CDJapan. Shopping overview guide here if you are new to the world of Japanese makeup brushes and are considering your first purchase.

**Edit June 2016: The Fuwafuwa will run you somewhere around 115-124 USD while the Z-1 Powder will run between 152-168 USD. CDJapan is offering a free shipping promo (details here) so it’s best to make a list of things you want and get them altogether. As always, if buying form outside Japan, the purchase is tax free. The exchange rate is kind of shit right now (almost 100 yen per 1 USD and seems to be getting more unfavorable everyday… so get your fluffies while it hurts less.

 

Pictures (Backup)

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2015 in Brush Reviews, On the Fence

 

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Chikuhodo Z-4 and Z-8 Brush Review and Comparison

Preface
I had told myself that i was going to post with more consistency once the summer started but the update on Vindictus Season 3 Episode 1 totally destroyed that resolution.

Anyhow…. This post intends to provide all the information you could ever want two Chikuhodo cheek tools: the Z-4 Cheek/Highlight brush as well as the Z-8 Cheek brush. Based on the fact that you’re reading this post, I’m going to assume that you know what the Chikuhodo Z-series entails. If you don’t here’s a TL;DR version: Japanese, hand-crafted, grey squirrel hair brushes that feel sinfully soft and have hair-raising prices.

Needless to say buying impulsively/without research is a bad idea because they cost a very pretty penny and you can’t easily return them if you make a wrong choice or discover that its not for you. This post will be loosely divided into the following parts and will be fairly long.

  1. a standard review providing all the boring information you may be looking for, and then some
  2. a direct comparison of the Z-4 to the Z-8
  3. other miscellaneous information and rambles (English majors beware. grammar comes here to die)

I’ve seen countless posts comparing the Chikuhodo Z-4 to the Suqqu Cheek Brush, but where are the posts comparing the two Chikuhodo Cheek Sisters? The Z-8 needs some love too. The most commonly asked question on Chikuhodo brush reviews runs something along the lines of, “should i get the Z-4 or the Z-8?” while the answer is usually “Idk, it’s really based on your personal preference…” which roughly translates to,  “idon’twanttobeheldresponsibleifyouendupnotlikingyourchoice so good luck!”

Z-4 Top, Z-8 Bottom

I’m aware that not everyone is a comment thread staker like me so I decided to make a blog post about it and help some people out. Getting both brushes might be redundant (not to mention financially painful) for the people who want one luxury tool but aren’t sure of which one to get. The best tool is the one that fits your needs. If there are any questions you still have at the end, feel free to ask. I have tried my best to include all the information relevant to the deciding-and-buying process but I still might have overlooked some points because i have had both of these for a while now. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Brush Reviews, On the Fence

 

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Smashbox Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer Review + Test

What This Is About
This is a review and test of Smashbox’s Photo Finish 24 Hour Shadow Primer. Because you are reading this I think it’s safe to assume that you know that a lot of cosmetics companies make claims about “extended wear” or “long wear” and promise performance along the lines of, “this will make your makeup stick like gum-in-hair until you want to take it off.” I will be testing the Smashbox primer for 24 hours and reviewing how it performs with various eyeshadows. I finally got off my lazy butt to write about this product now because I’m getting ready to re-purchase it. I don’t sing from the rooftops about this product but it is the best I’ve tried so far. I only write about stuff within a month if i love it and think that the world must know about it as soon as possible.That being said,  if something is good enough for a repurchase, it deserves a thorough review.

This post  also contains bits of frustrated venting and a mini lesson about product preservation.

At the very end, I will however be comparing this primer’s performance against the performance of two others – Urban Decay’s Primer Potion in Sin – and bareMineral’s Prime Time Eyelid Primer. Since taking organic chemistry, I have been reading ingredients lists more closely and realizing, “oh hey! I can draw the chemical structures for more than half of the shit on here!” or “!!! I know what chemical properties this has and what it might be doing in this product” …. I have no life. Will i be going through all of the ingredients? Oh hells no. I”m not THAT bored. Anyhow for those of you who don’t give a crap about ingredient lists (though you really should) the actual review starts now.

First Look
My box is a little beat up because it was rolling around and getting squished in my bag all day before i finally got to photographing it.

Ingredients, Front, Claims

Ingredients, Front, Claims

The whole tube is a little over 4 inches long and relatively simplistic silvery grey with printed black text. The plastic cap is nice and solid. It makes a satisfying clicks and clacks when i knock it against hard surfaces. I thought the cap was ceramic at first because it felt cool on my fingertips whenever i picked it up and sounded like a ceramic bead when bounced on my table top. However, when i bit it to check, my incisors left dents in the cap. First lesson learned: don’t bite the packaging. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Eyeshadow, On the Fence

 

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