Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hakuhodo Brushes

So, Hakuhodo (白鳳堂), been lemming these brushes for ages but stayed far away until hubby and I settled down a bit from all the moving (more on that later). There are some really excellent resources out there on these brushes, so I'm not going to be redundant. Below are my personal pros and cons for investing in these brushes.

- One word: craftsmanship. 
- Big collection. By no means all encompassing but still a huge variety of hairs, shapes, sizes, and handles to choose from.
- Big price range, anywhere from $12-100+ a piece.
- All brush heads are made equal - 2 identical brush heads of the same hair, shape, and size will be of the same hair quality and craftsmanship, regardless of the standard black handle or the flagship vermillion red handle. That means a lot to me.
- Fast order turnaround, fast shipping, excellent and knowledgeable customer service. Knowledgeable is also important to me, a good indication that a company respects its customers. Just the other day Shiseido tried to pull a fast one over my head, but this is another story for another post. 

- Time investment in care and maintenance. Nothing lasts if you don't take care of it, my reason for having "make-do" brushes while moving around.
- Mostly natural hair, which I'm okay with but others may not be. I have read that Hakuhodo obtains their natural hair via cruelty-free methods. While I very much want to believe this, I will refrain from touting until there are pictures, videos, etc., that back up the cruelty-free claims. Let's face it, when it comes to animal rights and welfare, Japan isn't exactly leading the charge. 

Okie doke, just a few more notes before we move on to the brushes themselves:

1. All brushes were photographed pre-wash. My brush heads don't feel like they have been starched, nonetheless after washing, most certainly sizes and shapes will change, with some hair types fluffier than others.  
2. I bothered with measurements because sizes do matter, and it's my pet peeve that Hakuhodo only pictures the hair length and lists the rest in numbers. It's a shitload of work to take all those damn pictures, but for visual folks like me a string of numbers doesn't say much. I need to see the measurements.
3. Cameras don't have the same depth-perception as our eyes. So despite my best effort, measurements are only estimates and not so much engineer-precise. They should still give you a pretty good idea though, which is the whole point.
4. Brushes are listed by the model number, irrespective of collection, hair, or handle. 
5. I'm not a collector. All my brushes are of the standard black handles, because I don't want to have to think about care and maintenance for the handles too, jeesus crisp! For "beautiful" brushes, please consult the google instead. 
6. I prefer versatility over luxury, I use a whole lot of liquid formulas, and despite the dryness my skin isn't super sensitive. You won't see very many squirrel hair brushes in my posts. 

Brushes in this batch (not in order as pictured): K005, B/J125R, B162, J214R, J242G, B/J4001, G5509, G5510, G5511, G5512, and G5515.

- K005 Weasel, $18: I no longer see this brush on Hakuhodo's website, and I'm not sure if that means it's temporarily out of stock or discontinued. There's still a horse hair version J005 though. I use this brush to smudge pencil liners.

- B/J125R Goat & Synthetic, $27: I use this mostly to dust on the sparkly top wash, but it's also good with powder highlighting and contouring, and pretty much all liquid formulas (concealers, highlighters, eye shadows and bases, etc.). I like it enough to be lemming the full goat hair version too ^.^

- B162 Weasel, $20: my everyday eyebrow brush although I wish Hakuhodo makes one with a narrower width (at base of ferrule). It picks up a lot of color, and I learned this from having tried the Stila #6 Lip Brush for my brows once and the color difference was significant! This Hakuhodo B162 picks up a great deal more color than Stila #6!

There's also a J162 version with horse hair, and I actually don't see the B162 anymore on Hakuhodo's website :( I hope they don't discontinue this because it's such an excellent brush!

- J214R Goat & Synthetic, $27: this brush does everything the BJ125R above does, only covering a much larger area quickly due to its size and round dome shape brush head. So it's not a detailing brush but it's my everyday work goat horse. In fact, I use it so much I'm considering getting a backup and will probably get the B/J214 full goat saikoho version also.

I've only used translucent powder and never bothered with base makeup before, not because I don't have imperfections to cover up but because I was lazy ^.^" It's only in the past few months that I've started wearing BB creams as concealers (will review those soon), and only around the nose, mouth, and under eye areas. This brush is perfect for that purpose, getting into the corners of my nose with ease. It's also perfect for eye bases as it covers my entire upper lid in 2 strokes flat, and 3 strokes will cover my brow bone too. Actually, it's just perfect for all formulas of concealers, highlighters, bases for eyes or otherwise, and sparkly top washes. Perfection for $27 - BUY IT!

- J242G Goat & Synthetic, $17: I mistakenly bought this instead of the much larger J220G, oops. Nonetheless, I do use it for all formulas of eye shadow. Despite being duo fiber it does produce great coloring with powder shadows. Definitely not a lay-down brush though, it's too small for that purpose.

- B/J4001 Goat & Synthetic, $54: This brush is much fluffier after the wash and expands a good cm or so! Feels like a cloud on my skin and delivers a perfect dusting of highlighter over the cheeks, chin, across the forehead, and down the temples. Another one of my everyday brush and I'm never ever going back to that balding Lancome #3 again xD

- G5509 Horse, $24: another one of my everyday brush and I use it to blend NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk over my brow bone to highlight. The width plus the flat and round brush head actually paves the way for the eyebrow drawing later. You can use this brush to lay-down, but the short length of the horse hair makes it a little too firm for me for that purpose and I prefer something with more give. It does taper to a nice point from the side (see below) and draws nice smudgy lines too, which I like.

- G5510 Horse, $20: another one of my everyday brush and I use it to line with powder shadows. It's also a perfect "eraser" for eyebrow-oops ^.^ Again, like the G5509 above the short length horse hair makes it too firm for eye shadows, at least for me.

- G5511 Horse, $16: a great brush for tight-lining. 

- G5512 Horse, $15: a fine detailing brush, although be aware it's horse hair and might be a bit pokey for some people. 

- G5515 Horse, $15: another fine detailing brush. Despite being horse hair this brush is nice and soft due to its round and tapering shape.

More to come! ^.^


Julia said...


I have a couple of Everyday Minerals brushes... but they're guaranteed cruelty-free. X'D
While Hakuhodo is definitely not in my budget right now, your post reminded me to get a smaller brush for highlighting the inner corner of my eyes. And you also made me think for the first time to consider a small foundation brush. I apply foundation with my hands (or a flat-top brush if it's mineral foundation) and tend to get some product build-up in little creases around my nose, so maybe a brush would help.

How much did you pay for the entire haul?

D. said...

Hi Julia!

Everyday Mineral brushes are excellent cruelty-free brushes!!! They're very well rated, reviewed, and loved!

Hakuhodo is not as outrageously priced as you would think, unless you're going all out for the vermillion handles and blue squirrel hair ^.^ And given that all their brush heads are made with the same quality hair and craftsmanship regardless of the handle grade, I actually wouldn't recommend the vermillion handles unless you're a collector and you'll care well for that gorgeous wood. I don't abuse my brushes or anything, but I'm definitely a user LOL

I've updated the post to show US retail for each of the brush, and I'll keep doing that for future reference.

You should totally give a small foundation brush a try. I've used the J214R so much that I went and purchased a second runner up Koyudo fu-pa11 (, just to give it a break on the bb creams and save it for the eye shadow bases instead xD

This Koyudo fu-pa11 is also duo fiber, about the same size as J214R only flat and angled at the crown, made for the precise purpose of detailed foundation, concealing, highlighting, contouring, and bases, and it's actually 20% CHEAPER than Hakuhodo and is just as well made ^.^ I'll review Koyudo brushes soon!


P.S. I found some Rouge Essence Bars and Moist Melting Rouge on E(vil)bay. Check out the below 2 sellers:

Julia said...

Wow, thank you for that long reply!!!

I still have some CD Japan points, so maybe I'll try that brush!
And thank you for the links. Unfortunately, none of the colours are for me. :(

D. said...

Hi Julia,

What are your colors? So I'll keep an eye out for them for you ^.^

Leave me your email, although spell it out so you won't get spammed.


Julia said...

It's mostly just RD-4.

Btw, I just went on Everyday Minerals's website and they are having a sale on brushes today!!! I just ordered two. :D

D. said...

Scored! Love it when that happens!!

Okay, RD-4. I'll take note ^.^

Julia said...

Thank you!!!

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