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Definitive Overview of The Entire Chikuhodo Takumi Series

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).

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

 

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Yojiya Brushes Now Sold At CDJapan – Potential Haul + Price Comparisons & Calculations

This post is going to be a fairly quick one as I am writing it between classes instead of doing my writing assignments. ~wheeeeee~ that is the sound of irresponsibility. I already took the time to do calculations on the prices of Yojiya brushes vs similar if not identical models made and sold by Hakuhodo. I’m sharing my calculations and “research” here because I’m a nice person ;D

For the brushes that I am comparing, the specs that they give (hair length and hair type are identical). I think its fairly obvious who the OEM for Yojiya is, hm? Also, these are only the ones i am interested in. I’m obviously not comparing all of them

Let’s start with the ones I am nearly bouncing out of my chair with excitement for: The Traditional Lip Brushes. It’s well established by now that if anyone mentions “kolinsky” I’m all ears, tugging at the leash, and salivating uncontrollably.

medium-lip

Hakuhodo Left, Yojiya Right – Both heads are 15 mm long

This Medium Traditional/Pro Lip brush is a good deal though (even before throwing in CDJapan’s free shipping and no tax for international orders)

= 5.1% savings

plus it’s convenient as shit.Hell yeah I’m getting this. The handle length and color might actually be different though

large lip.png

Hakuhodo Left, Yojiya Right – Both heads are 18 mm long

The Large Traditional/Pro Lip Brush for some reason does not have the same rate applied. In fact, it is more expensive than the Hakuhodo equivalent.

=6.7% markup

At this low of a percentage, I¬†kinda don’t care anymore. convenience is king, plus i can think of it as only 3.7% markup because on CDJapan purchases, 3% of the purchase price is given back as points

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I’m also eyeing the Kokutan Eye Shadow brush with Canadian squirrel because I’m already too deep down the rabbit hole to stop. I’m doing comparisons in USD becuase this brush and the following can be found on Hakuhodo USA

CDJ is 12.78% more than H. JP

CDJ is 14% less than H. USA

H. USA is 34.2% more than H. JP’s price with today’s exchange rates, before shipping and personal shopper’s fee (which will vary but is usually above 10%).

Yikes… maybe I won’t get this one. I’m not digging that double digit mark up… between Cdjapan and Hakuhodo Japan, but compared to Hakuhodo USA (before shipping), the price is pretty nice. Plus, the 3% back of Cdjapan will technically drop the CDJ price down to 9% more than Hakuhodo JP’s price.

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I am also eyeing a most likely exact Yojiya dupe for a brush I already have (the Hakuhodo Kokutan Large Eye Shadow Brush). If they are the same, great! That will mean I’ll have a backup for a brush that I love and near abuse with frequency of use. I’m also curious to see if the quality of hair Yojiya Brushes use is as good as, better, or worse compared to Hakuhodo. Think of it as setting a baseline.

CDJ is 14% more than H. JP

CDJ is 14.9% less than H. USA

H. USA is 34% more than H. JP with today’s exchange rates before shipping and personal shopper’s fee (which will vary).

Ouch. I can’t even reasonably justify this one. Maybe when the exchange rate improves.

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Let me tell you what is a good deal though, the Yachiyo’s and equivalent of the Hakuhodo’s ¬†Itabake’s which Yojiya calls “Kokyuban-Hake.” I’m not all that interested in the itabakes, but for the lazy readers who are interested, here are all the sizes of the Yojiya -Hake’s . Just compare the prices side-by-side in seperate windows with the¬†Itabake’s from the Hakuhodo JP site. Don’t even bother checking Hakuhodo USA. They will be higher priced. The Yojiya ones are very well priced. Shockingly so at nearly 50% less! Maybe this is because contouring (what most people use the itabake’s for as a stand in for the infamous NARS contour brush) is not a trendy thing in Japan so they don’t price gouge off public interest.

Enough about that though. The one I’m interested in is the Yachiyo-hake Medium (2,112 yen)¬†which I’m pretty sure is the same as the Hakuhodo¬†Blunt Medium Yachiyo (3,348 yen)¬†rather than the¬†Pointed/Tapered Medium Yachiyo (3,564 yen), based on the shape of the heads in the pictures.

Yojiya Yachiyo-Hake (Left), Hakuhodo Blunt Yachiyo (Center), Hakuhodo Tapered Yachiyo (Right)

But hallelujah! CDJapan’s price is 40.74%¬†less than Hakuhodo JP’s!!! The only different I can see is the different color of the handle string loop. Again I’m not going to bother wasting my time comparing to Hakuhodo USA prices.

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There is one unique item that I am ready interested in as of right now. It’s this wooden Brush Case (Fude-oki)¬†which swivels!I’ll take two of the Yojiya’s.! FML nvm. They updated the pictures because i think too many people were going over to the website and being excited only to receive the actual thing and be disappointing. This is the old picture that got me excited and was taken off the website:

AAAAAANNNND, here are¬†the updated pics that better represent the product…. it’s just one, segmented box.

Maybe they’re stack-able? (referencing the one that got me so hyped). Welp, now i have a potential wood-working project to waste my time on!

Nevertheless, I think is a pretty reasonable price at 1,908 yen or approximately $17. Yes, it is simple, but the materials + time:labor costs if I were to make this myself would far outstrip the cost of this. Plus, consider that a plain lift-top box like this velvet-lined box by Koyomo here is selling for 3,000 yen.

 

Why am i not buying them right away even though I’m so excited? Why is this a potential haul instead of a haul I’m waiting on to arrive? Well, I’ve been a very bad girl this month. I’ve already bought¬†invested too much in gear for my upcoming ski weekend @ Tahoe. Financial responsibility above all else, children. (Which is funny because I’m probably a fetus compared to most of the people reading)

Thanks to haneulhouseki for posting the news over at /r/Fude!

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in 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
       BL/RE-20-2
      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.

 
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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?

neokud-507_108

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!

neokud-512_108

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.

neokud-510

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.

neokud-495

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

yakus.png

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).

sds.png

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.

neokud-481_106

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.

yaku1.png

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

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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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!)
houkoudo.png

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.

houkolinsky

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
face.png

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

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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Heads Up: CDJapan Free Shipping on Makeup Brushes

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

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

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

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

Anyways, if you’re all Koyudo’d out, here are some brushes from other brands to consider getting during this promo period.
Koyomo Setsugekka Pink Pearl (Nadeshiko) Set Р15,000 yen / $123- 128 USD
The upfront price for a set of only three brushes may seem rather high, but the investment is well worth it. The otoshuho hairs are all delightfully silky, with really good spring. They have enough “push back” to be effective at blending color but still soft enough not to disturb other makeup.¬†Though Otosuho is not from the chest area of the goat, the hair that these brushes use is¬†really soft and never prickly. I would say that the hair quality is better than my saikoho Chikuhodo T-4. The handles are rather short, so ppl with larger hands may find themselves disgruntled but all three as a set, used together, are really good for touch ups and toting around if you keep them in a pouch. All of them are sold separately (only diff is you dont get a display/storage box.


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

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

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

One brush that i think is absolutely freaking awesome and a must have is the MB133 Liner Brush (1400 yen / $11 Р12.20). It has a slanted tip and the hairs taper to the finest point. The brush head retain that awesomely sharp point with ease. My friend will  borrow on the blue moon she finds it clean (usually its gunked up with liner) to feather in fake brow hairs with her pomade. Definitely getting her one of her own as a gift.

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

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

 

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

 

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