Tag Archives: saikoho

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).


Takumi Series in incandescent lighting

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this entry »


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


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Chikuhodo Violet Noel and Azur Noel Collection for Holiday 2016 Available for Pre-Order: Value Calculations

First off, i know. I’m terrible when it comes to typos and there’s a glaring one in the title: Azure is suppose to have an “e”. it’s not my bad this time though. That’s literally how they (Chikuhodo) spell it. Never mind.¬†I’ve been schooled. Azur is the French spelling for azure and all past Chikuhodo holiday sets have been named in French, so it makes sense to continue the trend. Violet, being the same threw me for a good loop though.

NOTE: I will add the price comparison for Beautylish once i see their list price for the sets.

Let’s start with the bigger (and more expensive) set.

Azur Set
This set is available for pre-order now at CDJapan for 32,500 yen. The set contains 6 brushes and a pouch, all in a dark, shimmery cool-blue theme. There are 200 sets available. The product page says that they wont be shipped out until late November though but be prepared to buckle down for long wait.

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

  • Powder Brush: Gray Squirrel
    • Hair length approx. 52 mm, 27 mm wide (tentative, see the long quote in the Violet Set section to see how the number was arrived at.)
    • Looks like a MK-2 (16,000 yen)¬†or perhaps a Z-9 (16,000 yen). Both are 52 mm long and 25 mm wide with the former being 22 mm thick and the latter being 20 mm thick. Without a¬†thickness measurement for the Azur powder brush, i have no way of telling which one it is. Either way, both brushes have the same price and match in hair length +¬†hair type.
  • Blush Brush: Gray Squirrel + Sokoho Goat Dyed
    • Hair length approx. 36 mm Full length approx. 151 mm
    • Closest match is the GSN-4 (6,000 yen)¬†w/ hair length, ferrule shape and materials matching exactly.
  • Eye shadow L Brush: Brown Squirrel + Weasel
    • Hair length approx. 18 mm
    • This one was hard. The closest i got was finding the Y-3 (2,500 yen)¬†and the Artist RE/BL-12-2 Eye Shadow L (2,500 yen). Both are made of pine squirrel mixed with weasel and 20 mm, so 2 mm longer. The Y-3 looks fuller and starts tapering earlier¬†like the Azur L e/s brush. This Azur L e/s brush may actually be a twin of an eye brush that is not from Chikuhodo though.
  • Eye shadow M Brush: Canadian Squirrel
    • Hair length approx. 10 mm
    • Closest match is the Artist BL/RE-6-6 Eye Shadow M (2,500 yen)¬†that is also ¬†made with Cn. Squirrel, but 2mm longer than the brush in this set. However, this brush is discontinued (dc’d) and no longer available like their other pure Cn. sq eye brushes from the Artist line, the whole of which was dc’d recently.
  • Eyebrow Brush: Water Badger
    • Hair length approx. 9-11 mm
    • Similar to the Artist RE/BL-6-4 (2,700 yen)¬†but appears less wide, though not less slanted (the RE/BL-6-4 is 7-11 mm long). Being in the Artist series, this is now dc’d, and quickly running out of stock.
  • Non-Retractable Lip Brush: Weasel
  • Brush Case: opened 200 x 185 mm; closed 200 x 90 mm (not including this in price calculations)

The values of the individual brushes in this set total up to 31,200 yen while the¬†set costs 32,500 yen. No savings at all, in fact you are paying 4% more than if you brought all of them alone, except you can’t buy some of them because they are of the dc’d Artist line. And yes i double checked my calculations because i was taken aback.

Some would argue that this isn’t fair because I didn’t include the cost of the case, but I didn’t do that last year either. And yes, the price for the Lumiere set was still a 7% savings compared to getting the equivalent brushes individually.

**Edit Oct 28, 2016: important update via a comment i received:

I’ve seen brown squirrel used for the KW-2 powder brush from their discontinued Kiwami Brush Set. A closer match might be the Eyeshadow Brush B by Addiction (a rumored Chikuhodo OEM), which also has the same combination of brown squirrel and weasel.

This would be pretty good news.  The retail price of the Addiction B eye shadow  brush (20 mm long, 2 mm longer) is 4,900 yen, which would push the value of this set into positive territory.

If the Addiction by Ayako brush is the closest match, the new individual total would be 33,600 yen. The difference of 1,100 yen between the individual price and the set price means a 3.4% value. Not much, but at least it’s in the green now.

This set might be worth getting¬†if you are head over heels in¬†love with the blue shimmers¬†+ shooting stars (?) on the handle, and don’t own any of the equivalent brushes.

Notes on Azur Set:

  1. I’ve no idea what brown squirrel in that large eye brush is. I’ve never seen it in Chikuhodo’s offerings until now. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know! It might be Kazan squirrel which is really expensive and thus, pushed the price up.
  2. Looks like they really dug deep into their more obscure brushes this year. Last year’s price comparison (here) was a breeze because i had suspects that i could name off the top of my head. Last year’s large set was 34,600 yen (2,100 yen difference or 6% more) but had 7 brushes, four of which ¬†(2 face, 2 eyes) were pure squirrel as opposed to the 1 lone, pure grey squirrel brush this year.
  3. I was disappointed to see that the lip brush this year is non-retractable. At least give it a cap to make it portable, please! Being able to protect the brush head makes a lip brush far more useful (for me anyways) as i can load up the¬†brush in the morning with my lip color choice of the day, toss it in my bag willy-nilly, then pull it out and uncap for touch ups throughout the day… rather than bringing the whole tube of lipstick with me, risking the cap falling off and letting debris get in, or worse, having it get stolen, or lost. They do offer an Artist Series 4-2 Lip Brush¬†with a cap (for 1,800 yen), which i would have preferred.
  4. According to a commenter (thanks a bunch by the way) “Chikuhodo lists the shape of the Azur blush brush as šłł, which they also use to describe the shape of other completely round ferrules like the ones found on the R-C2.” So it is fairly safe to say that the GSN-4 is a proper match.

[Beautylish price analysis coming soon]

Now for the other one:

The Violet Set

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

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

There is no brush  case with this set

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Violet Notes

  1. These brushes seem to be novel Chikuhodo offerings. They usually do gray sq + sokoho combos. There are no brushes with grey sq + saikoho in their current line up. They don’t have a goat (saikoho or sokoho) highlight brush as short as the one in the azure set either.
  2. I really wish they have given width measurements so that i could narrow down and select the closest powder brush in their regular brushes available all year round. If anyone gets this set, please let me know the width of the ferrule on the face brush!
  3. **
    T-5 Violet HL
    38 30
    5000 3947.368  = 30*5000/38
  4. ** To calculate what a mixed bristled Artist BL/RE-20-2  (9,500 yen) would cost, i compared the MK-1 and MK-3
    1. the MK-1 is 52mm long, pure squirrel and costs 16,000 yen
    2. the MK-3 is 55 mm long, mixed and costs 11,500 yen
    3. if the MK-1 was 55 mm long it would cost 16,900 yen proportionally
    4. Now that the brushes are¬†“equals”, we can see that using mixed hairs translates to a 32% decrease in value compared to pure sq.
    5. here’s a visual
      MK1 MK3 MK1 (55) MK3
      52 55 55 55
      16000 11500 16923.08  Р11500  = 5425
      MK1 (55)
      5425  / 16900  = 0.321006
      32% of 9500  = 3040
      Mixed 20-2
      9500  Р3030  = 6470

[Beautylish Price Analysis Coming Soon]

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


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


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

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 »


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.)

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)


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


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Top 5 Brushes Over Time – Installment 1

First Installment – June 2015 – This Is going to be a running series that i will update periodically. It’ll be interesting to see which brushes can withstand the expansion of my collection and remain in favor as i amass and learn more. Each category names 5 brushes, gives information like notes + material, and the reason that brush deserves its spot. Think of it as a mini review that doesn’t take price into consideration.¬†If i have written a full blown review on a brush, it will be linked in the brush name. Brushes are listed in no particular order for each category and may appear more than once (re-apperances alone¬†might tell you how much i adore a¬†certain brush). This post is littered with fragments to cut down on length so it’s a¬†less than ideal read¬†for Grammar Nazis.

Grab the coffee. Grab the munchies. Here we go.

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on June 8, 2015 in Brush Reviews, On the Fence


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