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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hakuhodo Brushes Review... and other brushes

Hi guys =)

So today will be my review for those Japanese, Hakuhodo makeup brushes

WARNING: Super, record-breaking LONG post ahead!!! (reason why I put off this review hahaha...)
This post isn't purely about Hakuhodo brushes, but I also include some information that I think is worthwhile mentioning.

I heard about Hakuhodo brushes from MissChievous

Before I purchased those Hakuhodo brushes, I never had a complete set of brushes, I only had some random brushes here and there and I really wanted a complete set of brushes where I can apply complete face makeup. Originally I was gonna purchase the Sigma brushes, but I heard really mixed reviews, then I heard about these brushes, and I was like, they're Japanese brushes, I cannot possibly be let down lol!

But before I get into my review, I want to first I talk about how you should pick out makeup brushes for your eyes.
When you're at the store, actually try patting the brushes on your eyelid, or anywhere close to your eye, instead of trying to test the softness of the brush on the back of your hand. The skin of your hand or the rest of your face is nowhere near sensitive at all compared to your eye area. To really be sure if the brushes are soft enough for your eyes, test them on your eyes.

The reason why I specifically wanted to bring this up is because I got very disappointed brush purchase from MAC. I only tested the brushes on the back of my hands, and I thought they're soft enough for my eyes. HELL NO!!!

I usually love MAC but I'd been very disappointed in their brush quality. MAC 217 and 219 scratched the hell out of my eyes, that I actually had to run them on sandpaper to get rid of the harsh brush hairs before I can even use them. For the amount of money I paid for the brushes (~$25 each), the brush quality is nowhere worth it.

After the horrible experience I was determined to buy really soft brushes for my eyes, so I decided to go ahead and buy the basic 10 pieces brush set
*** images taken from the Hakuhodo site***

This set which contains 10 brushes retails for $219.
It is VERY pricey I know, but I thought about $22 for each brush? that is not bad for good quality brushes right? Cuz one brush at MAC probably costs more than that.

In addition to the brush set, I also purchased two more eyeliner brushes. (shipping was $9 by the way)

I'd say, if you have the money and love to collect sets, sure, go for it.
However, while I am happy with my brushes, I WILL NOT recommend anyone to buy this set. I will explain as I go along.

I got these brushes about 7 months ago.
The packaging was very oriental in my opinion lol!

The brush set, plus 2 other eyeliner brushes


So here are the 10 brushes:

1. Face Powder Brush
- It's a great brush-- super soft, and picks up powder well
- As far as I know, a powder brush individually retails for $41~70+
- Is it worth it? ... well as much as I do love this brush, I honestly don't think it's worth the money if you want to purchase it individually. I owned a NARS brush, and while it wasn't not as soft as this brush, I really don't think it makes a difference cuz the skin of your face isn't as sensitive, and I honestly think if you already have a good powder brush, you don't need to invest in an extra soft one.
- When I first purchased this brush it didn't bleed at all, but for some reason it has started to bleed black
(by the way I threw away that NARS brush because it bled so bad that it actually got onto my face even when it was dry!)

2. Blush Brush
- A great brush as well. Before this brush I had a Sonia Kashuk angle blush brush which was soft but too flimsy. This brush is firm and doesn't pick up too much pigment. By the way I use blush brush for both blush and contour application.
- Individually a blush brush retails for $26+ on the website. 
- I'd say the same for this brush-- while the brush is super soft, your cheek can't tell the difference... (and I have very darn sensitive skin too) so if you have a good blush brush already, you really don't need to invest in an extra soft one.

3. Short Eye shadow brush
- Personally kind of find this brush useless... it's good for applying eye shadow on lower lash line, smudging, and highlighting, but as the set includes a pencil brush, it's kind of like having two brushes that do the same thing (except personally I like pencil brush better)

4. Flat eye shadow brush
- This is the only brush in this set that pokes my eye!!!!! Even now I can still feel that ONE hair poking at my lids!
- good for packing colors or highlight

5. Pencil brush
- This pencil brush is wayyy softer than MAC 219!!! seriously, this brush doesn't scratch my eye at all. I HATE the MAC 219...
- Individually retails for $18, which is even cheaper than MAC 219...

Here's a comparison of MAC 219 and Hakuhodo:
- You can also see Hakuhodo pencil brush is also more tapered, which allows more precision to work.
- I definitely prefer pencil brush over that short eye shadow brush cuz with this brush you can swirl and blend, whereas the other one you can't really blend with it as it create harsher lines. 

6. Concealer brush
- It is a good concealer brush, which is very soft and doesn't leave streak marks. But I just like applying concealer with fingers better.... so... yeah... another useless brush for me.

7. Brow brush
- Does its job. Only issue: it's not worth $22 =_=  you can definitely find something cheaper and does the same job.

8. Foundation brush
- I really dislike this foundation brush. Personally found this brush very useless. And I found the pic on the website very misleading-- I thought this brush was gonna be a lot denser and bigger. But this foundation brush is too small for my liking. While it's soft, it's also too thin, and the streak marks it leaves takes too much effort to blend out. A good foundation brush in my opinion has to be denser, so there will be more hairs to adhere to your face, leaving less streak marks.

***  So I contacted Hakuhodo and this brush actually turned out to be an eye shadow brush O_O sorry for the wrong information! (Updated on 1/12/2011)

*** I was pointed out this is actually highlight brush! If I'm wrong I'm sorry, cuz I cannot find a number that matches for this brush and I still don't see this brush in the cheek & highlight section. Actually I don't see this brush in foundation & concealer section either, so... I have no idea what this brush is for***

A foundation brush I like is the Sephora one
it costs like $30 though -___-
As you can see, the Sephora brush is a lot thicker, denser and bigger than the Hakuhodo. 

9. Spoolie
-Issue: is a spoolie worth $22? NO. It is essentially the same thing as those free/disposable ones provided at makeup counters with nice handles =_____= even if you want to buy a nice spoolie with a nice handle it should at most only cost you only $11.

10. Brow brush
- Does the job. It's up to you if it's worth $22... the MAC #208 does the same job and costs $19.50... a tiny bit cheaper but you know, still cheaper :D

Conclusion for the brush set:
So after I actually received the brush set and thought more about it, I felt really stupid spending that much money on this brush set -___- I mean the quality of the brushes are really good, but it definitely comes with some brushes that aren't worth the value.

Another important thing is, the eye shadow brushes aren't the best in terms of the function. To me, this set cannot be called a "basic" set.  Any brush set without a fluffy blending brush is NOT complete. The most basic brush set just needs to have a blending brush, come on! And also how do you call it a basic set when it doesn't even have an eyeliner brush....?

And as I said earlier in the post, as soft as the powder/blush brushes are, the face skin isn't that sensitive so I really wouldn't say it's unnecessary to spend the money just to buy extra soft brushes  (for example, MAC 187 stipling brush is soft enough, and suffices for powder/foundation/blush application).

This is MAC #187 in case you don't know. By the way I think for foundation application this brush isn't the best cuz it's too big to get into smaller corners (yeah I am SUPER picky lol...)

However, I do LOVE the eyeliner brushes from Hakuhodo!!!
top: G522 Eyeliner Brush D2 ($15)
bottom: 291 Eyeliner Brush round ($12)
The quality of these brushes are AMAZING. Not only they're soft, they actually feel good and super comfortable on my eyes. I have used eyeliner brushes from MAC, Chanel, Bobbi Brown, iQQU, KATE, and nothing beats these brushes. (And I guarantee you they're cheaper than any MAC/Chanel/Bobbi Brown eyeliner brushes!)  At first I didn't like the 291 brush cuz I thought it was too flimsy, but I had come to really like it =) I guess it's just a matter of getting used to? However for beginners I def. recommend G522-- it's small, precise and firm =) another thing is G522 comes with a cap, which is great if you need to throw it in your bag for touch-ups =)

Conclusion for the eyeliner brushes: 
I really do recommend the eyeliner brushes-- they are AWESOME and totally worth the money. Otherwise I think you can find cheaper alternatives for the brushes for the rest of your face (can't say the same for other eye shadow brushes cuz I never tried them lol).

There are so many brushes of all kinds/grades on the website, so take a look if you're really interested :) my experience with Hakuhodo is very limited to the brush set and the two eyeliner brushes.

From my own experience, I recommend the eyeliner brushes, and the pencil brush. Those I think truly worth the money (except the only downside... shipping of $9!!!!!!  #@$%^)

Lastly, I want to mention a drugstore makeup brush that has excellent quality and as soft as Hakuhodo brush lol!

It's the Sonia Kashuk crease eye shadow brush, which is under $10 and can be found at Target
And I have to tell you and I'm not even kidding... this brush is as soft as Hakuhodo, and is actually my very favorite eye shadow brush :) (also the brush I always use for my tutorials XD)

I think that's all I have to say! Sorry for this excessively long post... but I really wanted to cover everything :) I will clap my hands for you if you actually finish reading this XD
So I hope some of you found this helpful, and tks again for taking time reading my posts :D

<3 Frances


  1. Very detailed and good review! I've never heard of this brand of brushes before. I have some Sonia Kashuk brushes and I love them! =] Still looking for a new eyeliner brush though. I was thinking of picking up the Bobbi Brown one, but it is pricey.. eh...I don't know. haha

  2. I have all the brushes that I need but I have always wondered about Hakuhodo brushes (heard about them from Mischievous as well) so thanks for the reviews.

    I agree that it's strange they don't include a fluffy brush ~_~ I use the fluffy brush the most :)!

  3. It's too bad it wasn't worth it! :( But at least you found some good eyeliner brushes :) Haha but I'm way to cheapo to even TRY brushes over like $10 lol.

  4. it really is so important to use the correct brushes...i have a few great ones that i have had for several years. and to think back when i was in high-school i would use the little sample brushes that came in the makeup case!
    xox alison

  5. thanks for ur review, i want to buy hakuhodo brushes too, but i live in France.And there're alot of lines of this brand and i don't know what to pick. And some lines are expensive though

  6. That's not a foundation brush! That is a highlight brush. You just ruined the Blue Squirrel hair! Please read each number of the brush set. Read the description of each brush. I love the Hakuhodo brushes, it is not only soft, it design as the properly usage.

  7. @ Anonymous:

    I did! But if you search B021BkSM, B004BkSM, B005BkSM, B516BkSM, you will find they do NOT have individual descriptions. So that's why I deduced it was a foundation brush. I even went to the cheek/highlight section to look this brush up, it's not there! But tks for pointing that out to me!

  8. it really is so important to use the correct brushes...i have a few great ones that i have had for several years. and to think back when i was in high-school i would use the little sample brushes that came in the makeup case!
    xox alison

  9. i agree with your opinion on their brushes, some of them are good, some of then are not so good. sometimes it's personal preference, and sometimes brushes are just too big or too small for some types of faces. question... what's the number for the pencil one? i really want it

  10. Hi there! I'm actually not sure what number it is since none of the brushes carry a number... it's either http://www.hakuhodousa.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14&products_id=102 or http://www.hakuhodousa.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14&products_id=273 both kind of look the same to me? O_O hope this helps a little???


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