Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura Brush Set ($215.00) is a five-piece brush set created as a collaboration between retailer Beautylish and Japanese brush maker Chikuhodo (see reviews here). I haven’t had much time to use the brush set, so these are first impressions (and may be the only “review” I’ll write-up, as these are almost sold out). All five brushes appeared very even across the edges upon arrival, and the brushes are incredibly soft, with the exception of the Detail brush, which isn’t scratchy but comes to such a fine point that it is a firmer brush so you’ll want to use light pressure when working with it. The price point is higher than your average brush set but seems in line with the pricing of most handmade, Japanese brushes, if not a little cheaper. The handles have cherry blossoms cascading vertically, and I tried scratching at them with my nails, and none of the sheen or color flaked off. Three of the brushes (Powder, Crease, Detail) are shapes that I don’t find my collection, so that was a nice touch. I’m not sure about the usefulness of the crease brush, but I’m certainly game to give it a try. I think the best brush in the collection is the Cheek brush, with the Powder and Shade brushes right behind it.

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Powder Brush is a large powder brush with a very rounded, angled edge that is flatter than your typical, round powder brush. The angle almost made me think it wasn’t cut right, but the angle is deliberate (described as “allows you to emphasize your most flattering features”). The angled edge is new to me, but it fits well when you brush across the cheek bones, going from the nose to the outer edge of the cheeks. It is incredibly soft and airy, and you don’t feel any of the individual bristles when using it. It is made out of a mix of grey squirrel and goat hair. The brush head is 54mm in length, 42mm in width, and 23mm in thickness. It had a total length of 6.5 inches / 17 centimeters with a lightly pinched ferrule. I compared it to Chikuhodo’s GSN-03 Cheek Brush ($127), which is made out of the same type of hairs, but the Sakura Powder brush is noticeably softer with finer bristles; they are similar in general size and shape, except the Sakura Powder brush has the angled edge and is flatter overall.

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Cheek Brushis a small-to-medium-sized cheek brush with a rounded dome shape that is flatter than some blush brushes (it isn’t rounded as a whole). The shape is perfect for patting on blush and then sweeping to blend and diffuse the edges. It will pick-up less powder than a goat-haired brush will, so the effect is subtler from the get-go and often makes applying blush more foolproof. It is very soft and smooth, and no matter the direction, it never irritates the skin. It is made out of grey squirrel hair. The brush head is 37mm in length, 28mm in width, and 16mm in thickness. It had a total length of 6 inches / 15 centimeters. I compared it to Chikuhodo’s Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush ($73), which is wider and fluffier; and SUQQU Cheek (£80.00), which is smaller, flares from the base more, and is more rounded with an airier feel overall, while the softness of the Sakura Cheek is very comparable to both.

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Crease Brush is a very long, tapered, and pointed crease brush that has hairs that start short on the exterior and get longer and longer as they taper. While it comes to a more distinct point, it doesn’t feel sharp (likely because the bristles taper, so there are only a few that reach the very tip) and is feathery (not very dense). This one is going to take some practice to work with, and it has such a light touch that it sometimes tickles to use (for me). It is made out of grey squirrel hair. The brush head is 20mm in length, 6mm in width and thickness (at its widest). It had a total length of 5.25 inches / 13.5 centimeters. I compared to Wayne Goss #04 Crease Brush ($28), mostly for size, as the way they’re designed is quite different.

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Shader Brush is a medium-sized, flat dome-shaped eye brush. This type of brush is similar to more well-known brushes like MAC’s 239, and it is good for depositing powder product on the eyelid. The flatter shape makes it ideal for patting and packing on eyeshadow, but the domed edge and ultra-soft bristles allow maneuverability along the lid as well as into the crease and for light blending. It is made out of grey squirrel hair. The brush head was 12mm in length, 11mm in width, and 5.4mm in thickness. It had a total length of 5 inches / 12.5 centimeters. The brush is wider and flatter compared to Chikuhodo’s GSN-09 ($25), which is also made out of grey squirrel (and one of my favorite brushes).

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Detail Brush is a very tiny brush that is flat and tapers to a rounded tip–it looks almost like a triangle. It is made out of fitch and horse hairs. The brush head is 7mm in length, 4.3mm in width, and 2.2mm in thickness. It had a total length of 4.75 inches / 12 centimeters. It is a very small brush and best used with light pressure, as it is rather pointed, and so it will feel almost sharp if you use too much pressure. I could see it being useful for applying eyeshadow on the lower lash line, inner corner, pin point concealing, or concealing underneath the brow bone or along the lips.  More for reference, I showed it next to Chikuhodo’s Z-10 ($45), which is a more pointed crease brush, but it is quite a bit larger.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Brush Set

Beautylish has partnered with Japan’s legendary brushmaker Chikuhodo to release the first ever Beautylish collaboration project called The Sakura Collection. The Sakura Collection is a five piece brush set designed by Beautylish and handcrafted by Chikuhodo’s team of artisans in Japan. Each brush is made of the softest natural hair and constructed with a makie handle featuring cherry blossom design inspired by the Japanese tradition of sakura. The set includes two face brushes and three smaller brushes for eye and detail work with everything you need to complete an entire look. This limited edition brush set will launch on July, 2nd. The brushes will be available to ship worldwide.

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Chikuhodo GSN Brushes
Chikuhodo GSN Brushes

Chikuhodo GSN-04 Highlighting Brush ($64.00) is a medium-sized, domed brush that narrows as the base and flares upwards towards the upper third of the brush before tapering and rounding at the edge. It is made out of a mix of gray squirrel and goat hairs. The brush head is 37.5mm in length, 27mm in width and thickness at its widest point. It had a total length of 7.25 inches / 18.5 centimeters with a lightly pinched, metal ferrule. I think for most people, this is going to work better as a blush brush than a highlighting one, as it is larger than the average highlighting brush. I think it is too rounded and dense to be the best highlighting brush as well, but it does work for diffusing and blending out a highlight or for applying more of a highlighting blush where the area of coverage is larger. It is a moderately dense brush with light spring so it can be swirled and swept across the skin in all directions. The hair felt fairly soft, though at this price point, it could have been a bit softer, I think. For blush, it worked well for applying color, diffusing and blending out the applied color, and it made short work of the process.

Chikuhodo GSN-08 Eyeshadow Brush ($32.00) is a large, paddle-shaped eye brush that comes to moderately pointed tip. It’s a dense brush that tapers upwards and ends at a rounded tip, so depending on the size of your eyelid, it can actually fit almost perfectly held horizontally on the inner half of the eyelid. It’s made out of weasel hair. The brush head is 18mm in length, 12.5mm in width, and 6mm in thickness. It had a total length of just under 7.5 inches / 19 centimeters with a lightly pinched, metal ferrule. For me, this brush is fairly large for my eye area, so I don’t reach for it often, but I liked it best for applying a cream eyeshadow all-over the lid or for a wash of a powder eyeshadow, since it can cover a larger area easily. It also could be used to apply or set concealer underneath the eye, as it is dense, firm, but still soft and feels very smooth against the skin.

Chikuhodo GSN-11 Shadow/Liner Brush ($19.00) is a tiny, dome-shaped, flat, firm precision-focused brush that can be used for eyeshadow or eyeliner. It is made out of weasel hair. The brush head is 6mm in length, 5mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. It had a total length of 6.75 inches / 17.5 centimeters with a pinched, metal ferrule. I personally prefer an angled brush for eyeliner, but I liked this for applying eyeshadow on top of eyeliner, especially the lower lash line. The flat, firm shape enables you to really pat on the eyeshadow without diffusing it too much, and the small size gives you a lot more control.

Chikuhodo GSN-16 Lip Brush ($25.00) is a medium-sized, rectangular lip brush made out of weasel hairs. The brush head is 10mm in length, 5.75mm in width, and 1.5mm in thickness. It comes in a concealed, metal tube, where the tube is like a “cap” of sorts, and when removed, you can connect it to the bottom to elongate the brush handle, or you can hold the as-is lip brush if you prefer shorter handles. This is an easy brush to toss into a makeup bag or purse to keep with you for touch-ups during the day, if you need to. The total length if 6 inches / 15.5 centimeters. The bristles are soft enough not to poke or irritate more sensitive lips, but it’s a firm, flat brush that provides enough density to lay down lip color well while still having enough spring to maneuver around the edges of the lips easily.

I had no issues with shedding, dye, smell, or re-shaping with any of these, and I’ve been using the Chikuhodo GSN brushes for about a year now. Of these four, the GSN-11 is the one I’ll keep with my favorites, as it worked well for what I’d like to use it for. The other brushes were good, but they’re in shapes/sizes that don’t fit as well with my personal routine. I think you can get a higher quality blush brush, though. You can read reviews for the GSN-01 Powder, GSN-03 Cheek, GSN-07 Eyeshadow, GSN-09 Eyeshadow, and The Glossover

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GSN-04 Highlighting Brush

I think it is too rounded and dense to be the best highlighting brush as well, but it does work for diffusing and blending out a highlight or for applying more of a highlighting blush where the area of coverage is larger.
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GSN-08 Eyeshadow Brush

It's a dense brush that tapers upwards and ends at a rounded tip, so depending on the size of your eyelid, it can actually fit almost perfectly held horizontally on the inner half of the eyelid.
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GSN-11 Shadow/Liner Brush

The flat, firm shape enables you to really pat on the eyeshadow without diffusing it too much, and the small size gives you a lot more control.
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Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Chikuhodo Neige Brush Set for Holiday 2014
Chikuhodo Neige Brush Set for Holiday 2014

Neige Brush Set ($135.00) (Limited Edition)

This limited edition Noel Collection Neige Brush Set is a beautiful set of three handcrafted brushes featuring 100% natural, undyed goat hair and deep blue handles with a glimmering silver star Maki-e design. This set includes:

  • Powder Brush (165mm) / Goat
  • Cheek Brush (155mm) / Goat
  • Eyeshadow Brush (127mm) / Goat
  • Silver Pouch

Availability: Now at Beautylish

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Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Chikuhodo GSN-03 Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo GSN-03 Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo GSN-03 Cheek Brush ($96.00) is a large, dome-shaped face brush made out of gray squirrel and goat bristles. The brush head is 48mm in length, 38mm in width, and 22mm in thickness. It had a total length of 190mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. It’s such a large brush for cheek products; I couldn’t see this being useful for blush or highlighter for most, and only if you apply bronzer all-over would this be practical. It’s soft, well-cut, and hasn’t given me any problems with shedding or dye bleeding through over a dozen washes.

The brush head is dense but feathery against the skin, with the base being denser and firmer, and then as it tapers and flares outwards, it has more give. I’ve been using it primarily for applying loose setting powder and pressed finishing powders.  The brush is well-weighted with good weight distribution, and it feels comfortable in the hand. The way the ferrule and handle are shaped, the brush isn’t prone to rolling off a counter/desk.

Chikuhodo’s sizing for some of the GSN brushes seems off–several brushes are a lot larger than the average is. Brush size and shape is always going to be a combination of personal preference, application technique, and face/feature size, but just know that this is the size of your average powder brush.

Chikuhodo GSN-01 Powder Brush ($127.00) is a long-ish, extra large, dome-shaped powder brush with gray squirrel and goat bristles. The brush head is 56mm in length, 43mm in width, and 28mm in thickness. It had a total length of 193mm with a round, metal ferrule. It is similar in overall shape as the GSN-03, just a good deal larger. It is longer, so it had a little more flex, and it wasn’t as dense as the GSN-03, which makes sense for powder application. I’ve used this for applying powder foundation, loose and pressed finishing/setting powders, and for general blending of face products as a last step.

The brush feels soft against the skin and moves more as one, so it feels like silk, when you sweep it across the face. I haven’t had any issues with the overall quality of the brush after washing it over a dozen times. It does take awhile to dry, because it is a larger brush (though not as dense as the GSN-03, it’s still moderately dense).  Like the GSN-03, this brush has good weight distributed and feels balanced in the hand, so it is comfortable to hold and use.  It reminded me somewhat of Hakuhodo’s J104, which isn’t quite as soft, but is a fuller, rounder, less dense brush.

Neither are brushes that I’ve fallen in love with personally, as the GSN-03 is too large for blush but too dense for how I like to apply my loose setting/finishing powders. The GSN-01 is larger than I’d like, and I really love my Make Up For Ever #128 for a large brush and use it for loose setting powder application.

The Glossover

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GSN-03 Cheek Brush

The brush head is dense but feathery against the skin, with the base being denser and firmer, and then as it tapers and flares outwards, it has more give. I've been using it primarily for applying loose setting powder and pressed finishing powders.

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GSN-01 Powder Brush

I've used this for applying powder foundation, loose and pressed finishing/setting powders, and for general blending of face products as a last step. The brush feels soft against the skin and moves more as one, so it feels like silk, when you sweep it across the face.

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Monday, August 25th, 2014

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush ($25.00) is a small-medium, dome-shaped eyeshadow brush made out of gray squirrel hair. The brush head had a length of 12mm, width of 6.5mm, and thickness of 2.5mm. It had a total length of 182mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. Of all the GSN brushes I’ve tried, this is easily my favorite, and I could see getting multiples of it, because it’s a really versatile brush for eyeshadow application. It’s narrower than my go-to MAC 239, but it is softer with a more domed edge. The narrower width allows it to apply color more precisely, which is helpful if you’re using more than two or three colors on the lid. It packs on, sweeps, and diffuses eyeshadow beautifully. The edge also fits into the crease area well and can apply color there, too, if you don’t have a go-to crease brush (or sometimes get lazy, in my case). It’s incredibly soft and silky against the skin, but it still picks up plenty of product, so you don’t sacrifice color payoff in your application.

Chikuhodo GSN-07 Eyeshadow Brush ($40.00) is a large, paddle-shaped eyeshadow brush made out of gray squirrel and fitch hair. The brush head a length of 21mm, width of 16.5mm, and thickness of 8mm. It had a total length of 190mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. As an eyeshadow brush, I think it’s very much over-sized and couldn’t incorporate it into an eyeshadow routine at all. I mostly found use for it in applying concealer underneath the eye or using it to press loose powder underneath the eye to set powder over concealer. The bristles are soft, while it had a dense, firm texture with light spring.

Chikuhodo GSN-12 Eyebrow Brush ($29.00) is a medium-sized, angled brush made out of raccoon hair. The brush head had a length of 7.5mm, width of 6mm, and thickness of 2mm. It had a total length of 177mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. The brush head is firm with a little give, and it’s a thicker brow brush so it actually gives a really soft brow color when used. You can get more precise edges, but the brow powder can be diffused and evened out throughout the brow. I like this for getting a defined but not harsh brow using powder eyeshadow. For gels and creams, it picks up too much product, but I liked it for blending out those formulas. I’ve been reaching for this over a lot of my other go-tos for brows, just because I really like how it blends out my brow powder.

The Glossover

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GSN-09 Eyeshadow Brush

Temptalia Recommends
Of all the GSN brushes I've tried, this is easily my favorite, and I could see getting multiples of it, because it's a really versatile brush for eyeshadow application.
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GSN-07 Eyeshadow Brush

This is going to be a brush that someone picks up because they're specifically looking for a larger, paddle-shaped brush for eyes or smaller areas of the face.
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GSN-12 Eyebrow Brush

I like this for getting a defined but not harsh brow using powder eyeshadow. For gels and creams, it picks up too much product, but I liked it for blending out those formulas. I've been reaching for this over a lot of my other go-tos for brows, just because I really like how it blends out my brow powder.
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