I first heard about Hakuhodo from a beauty YouTuber, The Raeviewer, whose channel is mostly devoted to higher end beauty brands. They sounded so nice, but at the time I was just beginning to get more into makeup and had recently acquired the Sigma Essential Brush Kit after also hearing about the brand from several other YouTubers. I’ve accumulated several more brushes since that time, ranging from e.l.f. to Bobbi Brown. More recently, I’ve been interested in investing more into my makeup brushes because I haven’t been as happy with the quality of some of my older brushes. From loose ferrules to discolored bristles, I was really just starting to get annoyed. I think the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ was when I actually had to throw away my Sigma Tapered Face Brush because the last time I washed it there was a ridiculous amount of shedding. That brush actually shed from the moment I got it. I decided then that I wanted to try Hakuhodo.
I actually did a lot of research before purchasing because I knew these brushes would be an investment. Hakuhodo is a Japanese brand that handcrafts each makeup brush and uses only the natural ends of each hair strand (versus laser cutting each end). This allows the brush to taper more naturally resulting in a softer brush with improved blending ability. Their brushes also have a pretty wide price range, there are actually some brushes that are close to MAC in price point and some that are up there around Tom Ford (the company is actually rumored to manufacture his brushes). Most of the information I learned about Hakuhodo came from Glossed in Translation, definitely refer to her site for more help on which brushes to choose, the different types of brush hairs, and the difference between the brush series. Some of the information is a bit dated, but overall I feel like she provides a good guide.
The brushes are packaged in a pretty lavender box with orange band wrapped around it’s center. Each brush is wrapped individually in plastic and labeled accordingly.
Enclosed is an instructional leaflet with brush care on one side and a tutorial on how to use a few makeup brushes. I did find it helpful that a care guide was included because I was curious if there was any special method I should use. It actually recommends combing the brush after washing which, honestly I didn’t do (yes, I was so excited I washed them right away so I could use them the next day). It also recommends wiping down each brush with a tissue so you won’t have to wash as frequently, but I usually wash mine once a week. They don’t recommend cleansers containing alcohol based solvents to clean the brushes as they can damage the hairs. The brush ‘how-to’ guide recommends using the brushes horizontally, “stroking along with the flow of the hair”. This is supposed to enhance makeup application and make the brush last longer. Honestly, I feel like I usually hold my makeup brushes at more of a diagonal to my face, I’m wondering if that’s what they meant? But, I think the guide would be helpful for beginners and has some useful tips.
Here are the brushes I chose, all descriptions are taken from the Hakuhodo USA website and each brush is linked accordingly.
G503 Blush Brush L angled: Elastic and dense to shade or blend colors. This brush has a uniform body and good controllability. Perfect for creating contours.
I wanted this brush to contour and blend at the same time, as well as use for bronzer. My Nars Ita is great for contouring, but I usually switch to my Ecotools bronzer brush to blend it after application. It’s probably not narrow enough for around the nose, but we’ll see.
G5556-4mm Powder & Liquid Brush round/angled: Quick and easy makeup application to achieve a flawless finish. Carefully arranged bristles create an angled brush surface and synthetic fibers extend slightly further than the goat hair. This specification means that the bristles have more spring and it enables them to pick up just the right amount of product. This helps create a smooth finish to your makeup, while also helping it last even longer. The brush works perfectly with any type of foundation – liquid, cream and even powder.
I mainly got this for powder foundation, I’d been using the e.l.f. kabuki brush for a long time and I think it’s ready to be retired. I chose the 4mm over the 2mm version because it’s supposed to give a lighter coverage, which I actually prefer with a powder foundation. I was finding my flat top kabuki from Crown was laying down too much product.
J103 Powder/Blush/Contour Brush Tapered: Thanks to the pointed shape of the densely packed bristles, this brush will help you create dramatic color on your cheeks. Perfect for those who prefer a stronger, less sheer look. Also can be used as a highlight brush.
I wanted this for my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders to finish my makeup. I’m actually not that happy with my Bobbi Brown Sheer Powder Brush because it’s not as soft as I expected. Especially for a more expensive brush. I probably would have returned it because Nordstrom has such an awesome return policy, but I think I was just hoping I’d change my mind about it. I also think this would be great for highlighting and a more diffuse contour.
J210 Blush Brush round: Our must-have blusher brush! This roundish brush head provides a smoother and more even application of makeup. It creates great color and holds powder well, helping you achieve your desired finish.
I’d read so many good things about this blush brush I couldn’t resist it. I am happy with the Bobbi Brown, but it’s the only one I’ve been using as of late because the application with my others is just not as smooth and even. I wanted another so I could start to rotate them.
Can you guys tell I have a thing for eye shadow blending brushes?
S142 Eye Shadow Brush round: Smudging and blending colors can be easily achieved. Also ideal for highlighter.
The S142 is very popular and many have spoken it’s praises. The brushes in the S100 series are the most expensive, they also have this same brush with a black handle that is more affordable. But I couldn’t resist getting this one with it’s vermillion handle. It’s perfect for laying down a transition color.
J5533 Eye Shadow Brush Tapered: The Hair used for this brush is resilient yet soft goat. Its hair length and shape enables you to achieve soft and natural coloring. With this eye shadow brush, you can naturally smudge and blend eye shadow. It also can be used with all types of products – liquid or cream base makeup and even powder.
I wanted another ‘clean’ blending brush to blend out shadows after being laid down by another brush. I learned this from Goss MUA.
J5523 Eye Shadow Brush Round & Flat: The bristles made from goat are soft on your skin and provide moderate resilience. This brush can be used for the upper eyelid area and produces great coloring and also can be used with all types of products, liquid or cream base makeup and even powder.
This is basically like a MAC 217. I think that says it all. I can’t get enough of these, especially for applying a more concentrated crease color or as a ‘clean’ blending brush.
J533 Eye Shadow Brush Tapered: This eye shadow brush can be used to naturally smudge liquid eye liner and for blending colors. Try not to apply color quickly. Softly glide the brush little by little; this will help you to achieve a natural look.
I wanted this for precise application of darker crease/outer V colors when doing a smoky eye and as a general pencil brush for my upper and lower lash line.
As I write this post, I have yet to try any of these brushes out, but I will say they are OMG soft. My Bobbi Brown blush brush is the softest I own and these are just as amazing, if not better. I just stood there and ran them across my forearm for awhile in a new makeup brush induced daze. I would have run them across my face if I didn’t have makeup on already (and if they were clean). They feel sturdy and have a nice weight to them. The believe company is in the process of numbering all their brushes, I got a couple that haven’t been yet.
I’m so excited to start using these and once I’ve had enough time with them I’ll definitely be doing a review! If you’ve tried Hakuhodo makeup brushes, I’d love to hear your thoughts!