Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Hakuhodo J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat
Hakuhodo J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat

Hakuhodo J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat ($20.00) is a small, dome-shaped, flat eyeshadow brush made out of goat hair. The brush head is 10mm in length, 9mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. It had a total length of 145mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. It’s incredibly soft and silky–it feels like the brush moves at once, so I never felt the individual bristles–and excellent for packing and patting on eyeshadow or blending two shades together. For me, this shape and style of brush is a workhorse, because it can be used to apply, blend, and diffuse eyeshadow all on its own, so it is a true multi-tasker.

It is the most similar brush I’ve found in terms of general shape and feel to MAC 239 ($25). The 239 has a flatter edge with a bit more firmness, while the J004G has a slightly fluffier, lighter feel and is a bit bigger overall. The J242G (reviewed in the next paragraph) is narrower and flatter in comparison to the 239. The 239 is more like a mix of the J004G and J242G, but both are worth considering as alternatives to MAC’s 239. Just for reference, the measures of the 239 are as follows: is 8.5mm in length, 9.5mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. It had a total length of 170mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. The 239 is also much longer in total, as Hakuhodo’s handles run shorter.

Hakuhodo J242G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat ($18.00) is a small, flat eyeshadow brush with a slightly tapered edge made with a mix of goat and synthetic bristles. The brush head is 9mm in length, 7mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It had a total length of 144mm with a pinched, metal ferrule. It’s a narrower eyeshadow brush that’s great for packing or patting on eyeshadow on the inner portion of the lid or for more precise color application if you’re applying more than two shades on the eyelid and want them to be more distinct. The brush is soft and silky, never rough or scratchy, so I also like it for patting on color along the lower lash line using the edge.

The Glossover

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J004G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat

For me, this shape and style of brush is a workhorse, because it can be used to apply, blend, and diffuse eyeshadow all on its own, so it is a true multi-tasker.

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J242G Eyeshadow Brush Round & Flat

It's a narrower eyeshadow brush that's great for packing or patting on eyeshadow on the inner portion of the lid or for more precise color application.

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Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Hakuhodo G5515 Pointed Eyeshadow Brush
Hakuhodo G5515 Pointed Eyeshadow Brush

Hakuhodo G5515 Pointed Eyeshadow Brush ($15.00) is a tiny, pointed pencil brush made out of horse hair. It’s a mere 5.5mm in length, 3mm in width, and 3mm in thickness. The total length of the brush is just over 6.5 inches or 14.5 centimeters with a rounded ferrule. I thought it might work really well for applying eyeshadow to the lower lash line in a thin line, but I find that I feel the pointed edge, which feels somewhat sharp, even when I’m holding (or at least, trying to) the brush horizontally to use the edge. I could use it for more detailed work on the face, and it didn’t feel sharp, but on the lash line and along the eyelid, it just wasn’t that comfortable to use. I don’t think I have any other pointed brushes this tiny!

Hakuhodo G5520 Pointed Eyeshadow Brush ($21.00) is a small, pointed pencil brush made out of blue squirrel and horse hairs. The brush head is 9mm in length, 4mm in width, and 4mm in thickness. It had a total length of 5.75 inches or just over 14.5 centimeters. This brush was more comfortable to use, as it is denser, larger, and the edge is softer. It’s comparable to MAC 219 ($25), which isn’t quite as pointed.

Hakuhodo G5522 Tapered Eyeshadow Brush ($28.00) is a large, tapered crease brush made out of blue squirrel and goat hairs. The brush head is 21mm in length, 9mm in width, and 9mm in thickness. It has a total length of inches a little over 6 inches or just over 15.5 centimeters. This brush was fantastic for diffusing color in the crease, blending, or laying down a transition color. It is a larger brush, so it’s something I tend to use with a softer look, or to really diffuse a deeper shade. It’s soft but springy, dense but not firm. It is more tapered than MAC’s 224 ($32) and Make Up For Ever #17S (discontinued).

The Glossover

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G5515 Pointed Eyeshadow Brush

If you do very fine and detailed work, you may want a brush of this size. I don't think it is a must-have for most people, as it is quite small and not as versatile as a small (but not tiny) brush of a similar style, like the G5520.

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G5520 Pointed Eyeshadow Brush

The G5520 works well to smudge eyeshadow, apply concentrated color inside the crease, and to fade out edges with more precision than a more feathery brush.

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G5522 Tapered Eyeshadow Brush

This is a brush I would get multiples of, personally, as it is incredibly soft and feathery to use on the eye and works incredibly well to apply, diffuse, and blend out color into the crease.

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Monday, November 4th, 2013

Hakuhodo G5545 Blush Brush
Hakuhodo G5545 Blush Brush

Hakuhodo G5545 Blush Brush ($48.00) is a rounded, flat blush brush made out of blue squirrel and goat hair. It’s 38mm in length, 30mm in width, and 18mm in thickness. It has a total length of just under 7 inches or just over 17.5 centimeters with a pinched ferrule. Prior to my aggressive try-all-the-brushes campaign, I don’t think I had a brush like this–it is a lot flatter than I’m used to. It’s somewhat dense, flat, and just a little rounded around the upper half of the brush head. If you tend to pat your blush on, it’s a good option. It feels incredibly soft against the skin, doesn’t apply too much or too little product in a go, and can softly blend color together. I liked it best with powders. Sephora Pro Precision Blush Brush ($32) is shorter and has a more angled/tapered edge, but it is similar in flatness and overall application; the G5545 is much, much softer (feels like water, almost, against the skin). MAC 116 ($35) is thicker and fluffier overall–and feels much rougher in comparison. Shu Uemura #20 Natural Brush ($50) is the most comparable, though it has a flatter edge, so it is not as rounded, but it has a similar flatness and overall size; it is almost as soft as Hakuhodo’s but not quite (I don’t think you’d notice unless you had both).

Hakuhodo G5556 Powder & Liquid Brush ($69.00) is a blend of goat hair and synthetic fibers. This particular shape of brush is available in a few sizes (and you’ll also find a few in the S series with the red-orange handle if you prefer that aesthetic), there is the G5552-4mm ($45), G5553-2mm ($45), G5554-4mm ($54), G5555-2mm ($54), G5557-2mm ($69). Since I have a history of choosing a brush that’s just slightly smaller than I actually want, I went for what I hoped would be one of the larger versions! From what I’ve seen from readers, this shape/style is supposed to be similar to Shiseido’s Perfect Foundation Brush (which, apparently, is $30, and I had in my mind that it was going to be a $50+ brush, go figure! This also means I’ll probably cave and buy it!). I don’t have Shiseido’s to compare at this time, so I can’t weigh in on that debate.

The G5556 is 28mm in length (from the tallest edge), 28mm in width, and 28mm in thickness. It’s just under 6 inches or 15.5 centimeters in total lenght. It has a round, open ferrule. The brush handle is also very, very thick and round–about 3/4 in diameter and a wide as 1 inch at its widest point. It’s a round, dense brush with a slanted, angled edge that goes flat across (but at an angle). That angle makes it easier to pull the brush into crevices and curves, like around the nose, around the eyes, and along the jaw line. The mix of synthetic and natural bristles makes it work well for liquid as well as powder, so for cream and liquid foundations, this is a nice option. I really liked it for foundation application, but I don’t reach for it over some of my other favorites! It does take a little longer to dry due to its density. This is one of the only angled foundation brushes I own, I think!

Hakuhodo J511 Angled Highlighter Brush ($33.00) is a small-to-medium angled brush made out of goat hair (it is also available with a combination of blue squirrel and goat hair, with black bristles, for $42 as the G511). It’s 28 mm in length, 28mm in width, and 18mm in thickness. It has a total length of 6.25 inches or 16 centimeters. It has a pinched ferrule. The size makes it workable for highlighting, as you can delicately feather a shimmery product on without applying too much or getting it everywhere. For contouring, it works for those with smaller faces or who want a more precise contour. I also thought it was better for applying cream or liquid contours, as I find more precision in placement is more crucial with those textures than with powders. I noticed that this brush also fluffed up quite a bit after an initial wash, so it is more feathery and not as dense as it appears when it first arrives (not really a bad thing!). It is smaller than MAC 168 ($35) and Sephora’s Pro Angled Blush Brush ($32).

The Glossover

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G5545 Blush Brush

If you tend to pat your blush on, it's a good option. It feels incredibly soft against the skin, doesn't apply too much or too little product in a go, and can softly blend color together. I liked it best with powders.
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G5556 Powder & Liquid Brush

The mix of synthetic and natural bristles makes it work well for liquid as well as powder, so for cream and liquid foundations, this is a nice option. I really liked it for foundation application, but I don't reach for it over some of my other favorites! It does take a little longer to dry due to its density.
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J511 Angled Highlighter Brush

The size makes it workable for highlighting, as you can delicately feather a shimmery product on without applying too much or getting it everywhere. For contouring, it works for those with smaller faces or who want a more precise contour. I also thought it was better for applying cream or liquid contours, as I find more precision in placement is more crucial with those textures than with powders.
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Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Must-Have Eye Brushes
Must-Have Eye Brushes

It’s been a long time coming, so I’m so excited to share with you my favorite, must-have eye brushes! I’ve categorized them into a few different groupings, and when it comes to eye brushes, well, one can never have too many duplicates. Though you can definitely use one brush with multiple shades, if given the chance, I prefer to use one brush per color. I tried to include brushes that had high quality duplicates, too, so that you could see a few options for a given style (that is my must-have), because the shape tends to dictate whether a brush is one I’ll reach for often.

I would LOVE to hear about your must-have eye brushes, if you would be so kind as to share below!

Note, I have about 30 brush reviews I’ve yet to post, so some brushes mentioned here will eventually have fully fleshed out reviews, complete with individual photos. Stay tuned!

Blending Brushes

The classic may be MAC 217, but Hakuhodo J5523 is my new favorite–so much so that I bought a second one to add to my stash.

  1. Sephora Pro Blending Brush #27 ($20.00) is a soft, lightly fluffed-up brush that works well for blending powder products together, applying highlighters to the brow bone, or dusting a sheer color all-over the lid.
  2. MAC 217 ($24.00) is a long-time favorite for myself as well as readers as a go-to brush for blending eyeshadows together, softening edges, and applying brow bone highlighters. It’s a solid choice and readily accessible for most.
  3. Hakuhodo J5523 ($18.00) is incredibly soft, lightly fluffy, and a dream to use. It outshines both the brushes mentioned above, and even better? it’s the cheapest of the bunch.

Crease Brushes

If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you’ll know that I’ve often raved about MAC’s 226 brush, which was a limited edition medium-sized, tapered crease brush (I think I have four or five of them). So long 226, for I’ve found four replacements that I love even more (who knew!). Hakuhodo J142 wins this one for quality, shape/size, and price.

  1. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Tapered Blending Brush ($22.00) is a slightly shorter, nicely rounded and tapered brush that works well for depositing color into the crease and then blending and diffusing that color. It’s incredibly soft, works well, and is synthetic, so it’s what I usually reach for when I’m using liquid or cream products.
  2. Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend (13) Brush ($55.00) is the perfect shape, density, size, and softness for depositing color into the crease with good color deposit and blends and softens the color easily. It’s a real workhorse of a brush for me. That being said…
  3. Hakuhodo J142 ($18.00) is a near-exact dupe of Tom Ford’s crease brush and a third of the cost–and because it’s nearly the same, this is my top pick. I reach for this one often, so I recently purchased a second one of these to have on-hand.
  4. Hakuhodo G5522 ($28.00) is slightly larger and a bit more tapered than the other three brushes, so it works well for really diffusing and softening color. I also like using it to lay down a mid-tone color that I’ll put in the crease first and really blend well past the crease before adding a darker color to define the crease (with a more precise brush).

Eyeshadow Brushes

Sorry, there’s only one that is the holy grail for me, and that’s MAC 239 ($25.00). It is the perfect brush for applying eyeshadow, and frankly, if I could only have one brush to do my eye makeup, I’d pick this. Over every single brush mentioned in this post. There’s a reason why I have six of them. (I’m pretty sure I have two more hiding from me.) I have tried two Hakuhodo brushes (J242 and J004) and neither are quite right to me–though I am still testing the J004 so we’ll see. The shape of the 239 is square-ish, and it’s quite dense but still has a slight fluffiness to it, so it blends out colors if desired. It deposits eyeshadow nicely onto the lid, and it can be swept on or patted and packed on.

Cream Eyeshadow Brushes

When it comes to cream (or liquid) eyeshadows and products, I like firmer, flatter brushes for application. My favorite is MAC 242, because it’s firm, flat, but not too big or too small, so it is good for laying down a lot of color at once, blending out edges, and is a versatile choice.

  1. Tom Ford Eyeshadow Brush ($55.00) is a larger, slightly fluffy, flat eyeshadow brush with a tapered edge. It’s nice for applying eyeshadow all-over the lid, so I like it a lot for creams (but it does work well with powders). The fluffy edge makes this brush work for blending the edges of cream eyeshadow, too, so you can that diffused, softened edge.
  2. MAC 242 ($25.00) is a smaller, flat and firm brush with a slightly domed edge. It’s great for applying cream products to the inner corner of the lid, and it also works well for packing out any eyeshadow (powder or cream) and helps minimize fall out.
  3. MAC 252 ($32.00) is a large, flat brush with a slightly domed/rounded edge. It’s excellent for applying cream eyeshadow all over the lid and still having enough edge to blend out the edges. It’s not as fluffy as the Tom Ford brush but is similar in size.
  4. MAC 249 ($27.00) is a firm, flat brush that gives the most streak-free finish even with more emollient products. I, of course, just learned it has been discontinued when attempting to find the current price on. I guess I’ll have to go about finding a dupe for it now!
  5. Hakuhodo J242 ($17.00) is similar in shape to the MAC 242, but it is softer and a bit fluffier, so it doesn’t pack on color as intensely, but it is softer to use on the lid and blends out color even better. It also does a nice job of applying cream products with minimal streaks.  This brush also works well for applying powder eyeshadow, but I find it a little too narrow personally so I don’t often use it for powder.

Detail Brushes

These are smaller, more precise brushes that I don’t reach for as often as the brushes above, but they’re ones used enough that they’re still worth mentioning. These may also be helpful for someone with less lid space or who needs smaller brushes for their eyes.  MAC 266 is the only one I use every day from this grouping, as the others tend to be used if the application calls for it.

  1. MAC 266 ($20.00) is my go-to for filling in my brows, which I fill in with powder eyeshadow. It has a nice slanted edge, is firm enough to apply thin, precise lines, but has enough thickness that it can gently soften those lines as necessary.
  2. Hakuhodo G5513 ($16.00) is a small, flat, dome-shaped brush that works well for patting, packing, or sweeping eyeshadow onto very small areas. It is similar to Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer (15) Brush but is slightly bigger.
  3. Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer (15) Brush ($50.00) is a small, flat, dome-shaped brush for very, very precise eyeshadow application. I also like using it to pat on eyeshadow on the lower lash line or for blending out very small areas.
  4. MAC 208 ($20.00) is similar in shape and style to the 266, it’s just thinner. It’s great for applying cream, gel, and liquid eyeliner.
  5. MAC 228 ($24.00) is a small, dome-edged brush that’s lightly fluffy. It is a lot like the 239, just much, much smaller, so it works in a similar way: for applying eyeshadow, can blend out if necessary, and can be used in a sweeping or patting motion.

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Friday, September 20th, 2013

Hakuhodo G5513 Eyeshadow Brush
Hakuhodo G5513 Eyeshadow Brush

Hakuhodo G5513 Eyeshadow Brush ($16.00) is a small, flatter eyeshadow brush with domed edge. It is made using horse hair. The brush head is 6mm in length, 7mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It has a pinched, silver metal ferrule with a total brush length of 5.75 inches or 14.5 centimeters. This type of brush shape and size is good for smaller, more precise work on the lid or underneath the eye. If you have less lid space, it can be useful for applying eyeshadow to the inner area of the lid, inner corner, and so on. It’s also nice for patting on eyeshadow underneath the lash line. In a pinch, it could be used to apply eyeliner, but it’s a bit longer and not as firm/stiff, so it wouldn’t be my go-to for that purpose.

As I mentioned in my review of Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer ($50), this brush is somewhat similar, but the G5513 is longer, and as a result, not as stiff or as firm. MAC 228 ($20) is very similar, both in shape and size; it felt slightly springier. Make Up For Ever #208 Small Precision Shader Brush ($22) is shorter and more bendable.

Hakuhodo J162 Angled Eyebrow Brush ($18.00) is a small, very slightly angled brush designed to be used for brows using horse hair. The brush head is 6mm in length, 5mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It has a pinched, silver metal ferrule with a total brush length of just over 5.5 inches or almost 14.5 centimeters. The brush is also available in the B-series ($20, weasel hair) and S-series ($36, weasel hair).

This was actually one of my least favorite brushes that I picked up, because I didn’t feel it had the firmness/stiffness required of a good brow brush; it is a bit floppy and too springy. The edge also tended to splay and widen, so I couldn’t get thin, precise strokes at all (like for the tail of my brow). It also meant that the color was dispersed easily and needed to be built up more often. For applying cream/gel eyeliner, I found similar issues–you just can’t get the crisp, defined line you’d expect out of an angled brush like this. I found it best for blurring and softening brow powder I applied with another brush. The brush itself feels soft and didn’t shed, though, so I wouldn’t say it’s a poor quality brush, only that it didn’t seem to function well as an angled brow brush (or eyeliner brush) in my experience.

MAC 266 ($20) has a much, much more severe angle and is a thinner, stiffer brush (this is my go-to for brows) but the overall size is similar. OCC Angle (009) Brush ($18) is a bit larger, slightly wider and more angled, not as firm as the MAC 266 but not as springy as the J162. Urban Decay Liner Brush ($24) is wider and thicker.

The Glossover

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G5513 Eyeshadow Brush

This type of brush shape and size is good for smaller, more precise work on the lid or underneath the eye. If you have less lid space, it can be useful for applying eyeshadow to the inner area of the lid, inner corner, and so on. It's also nice for patting on eyeshadow underneath the lash line.
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J162 Angled Eyebrow Brush

For applying cream/gel eyeliner, I found similar issues--you just can't get the crisp, defined line you'd expect out of an angled brush like this. I found it best for blurring and softening brow powder I applied with another brush. The brush itself feels soft and didn't shed, though, so I wouldn't say it's a poor quality brush, only that it didn't seem to function well as an angled brow brush (or eyeliner brush) in my experience.
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Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round
Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round

Hakuhodo 210 Blush Brush Round ($36.00) is a medium-sized brush with a slightly flared brush head that rounds only slightly across the top. The brush head is 28mm in length, 25mm in width, and 25mm in thickness. It has a round ferrule with no pinching at the top, and a total brush length of 6.5 inches or just over 16.5 centimeters. The weight is well-balanced between the handle and the brush head, with slightly more weight towards the top than the bottom but the handle isn’t too light.

This type of brush head shape works in a variety of ways.  It can apply blush, bronzer, highlight, and contour products, and blend any of those products as well.  It can even apply foundation, which is actually the way I’d probably most likely use this brush personally.  It works well with both powder and cream textures, and it is easy to wash out product (but is does bleed dye for several washes, see below) and doesn’t take forever to dry.  It grabs and deposits color very well and has more coverage than not, so you’ll need less product or to use a lighter hand than potentially what you do with other brushes (it just depends what you were using before).

It is also available in the J-series ($44, white goat hair). If you are really concerned about softness, then opt for the J210 instead. I compared the brush against all the other J-series brushes I had, but paid particular attention to the J511 and J5521, as both are similar in size and length, and both are softer. I would not use the words “not soft” let alone scratchy to describe the 210, but if you sweep both across the skin, there is a noticeable difference. If you plan to use this brush with the top pressed against the skin (almost like a buffer brush), you will feel the difference in softness more than if you used the brush horizontally. For example, if I make stippling motions with it with moderate pressure, I can feel some of the fibers, but if I sweep blush on, then I don’t. With the 214, I didn’t feel this except when literally jamming it against my skin with a lot of pressure (can’t say I’ve ever used even half as much in reality), but a genuinely honest-to-softness kind of brush never feels rough, no matter the pressure or direction.

This brush is very comparable to the MAC 109 ($32), and mine is several years old now, so it also appeared more flared out (which may just be the result of years of washing and use), but it does have a flatter top than the 210. The 210 is slightly softer, but it wasn’t significantly softer. Make Up For Ever #152 ($37) is also similar, softer actually, as well as slightly more rounded, and the biggest difference is that has more give and is less firm at the top–which I think works particularly in its favor if you’re applying in small circular motions, but the bristles tend to stick together with liquid so it can leave streaks behind. OCC #011 ($24) is similar in size, but it flares out more and has a more tapered/rounded top, so it is less flat. Real Techniques Buffing Brush ($17.99, part of a set) is larger and wider than any of the others mentioned here, but if you are applying product all-over or on larger areas, not just blush and the like, then it functions similarly.

214 Highlight Brush Round ($27.00) is a small, lightly rounded rectangle-ish brush. It looks a bit like a rectangle but with rounded edges and a softly rounded top edge. The brush head is 17mm in length, 15mm in width, and 15mm in thickness. It has a round, open ferrule (no pinching), and the total brush length is 5.75 inches or 15 centimeters. The handle is well balanced and not too heavy on either end. It’s also available in the J-series ($35, white goat hair), as well as a white goat hair and synthetic blend ($27).

The small brush head enables maximum precision when applying any product. It was designed for apply highlighters (or, apparently, your eyeshadow base), and that was the primary way I tried use it. I didn’t love it. I actually felt like it was too firm and dense to really apply a highlighter for an ethereal, natural-looking glow. It tended to pack on too much product with results always veering towards emphasizing pores, even if that product didn’t normally do so. It’s moderately soft, but it’s not the kind of brush that will make you swoon. I think one of the elements that tends to impress people about Hakuhodo is how much softer the brushes can feel compared to many other high-end brands. Softness isn’t, of course, always a good thing (to a degree) and may not be appropriate in all brush types–here a softer brush with even thinner bristles would deposit less product, and for a highlighter, I think that’s a good thing. Unlike the 210, though, it had the same softness when I swirled, buffed, stippled, or swept–only when I was practically jamming the brush against my face did I feel any of the individual bristles (and I don’t think anyone’s using that much pressure during their application!). Because of the small, rounded brush head, it could be used to place a more defined contour (but I would blend out the contour with another tool), possibly around the nose but it felt too large for my nose for that purpose.

I didn’t have any brush that was comparable to this in my stash. I tried looking across a few of the more popular brush ranges, but it did not prove too fruitful. I think Sephora’s PRO Airbrush Concealer Brush ($24) might be similar in size but seems like it flares out more (looks more like a mini 210). Illamasqua Highlighter Brush ($37.50) seems much longer/taller, but without having it to compare, it’s hard to say by how much.

Some Thoughts on 200-Series vs. J-Series

Both of these brushes are from the 200-series. A lot of the brushes I bought from Hakuhodo were either from the J or G-series with primarily white goat hair, but I know that the dyed goat hair brushes are all slightly less expensive (about 30% less), so I thought I would choose a few in that series to get a better idea of the brand’s ranges. I also know that some are concerned about keeping white brushes white and may opt for dyed hair instead. Both brushes are also available in the J-series with white goat hair (and again, those are more expensive).

When I washed these, the water was noticeably tinged gray for the first dozen washes or so. Eventually, the dye seemed to hold and stopped bleeding, which seems to be considered normal, as one of the distinguishing features of the J-series is, “The natural hair used in this range has not been dyed so keeps its original color” (from Hakuhodo’s website), which seems to imply that dyed goat hair will, in fact, lose color over time. I had noticeable shedding with the 210 over the first week and a half of use, but it has since gone down to about one hair every few uses. On the upside, though, they deposit more color more readily, particularly for products that are not intensely pigmented but are buildable. Oddly enough, the lettering on the handle of the 200-series brushes, though, holds up and doesn’t scratch away like the J-series brushes’ letterings do. There are no numbers on them, though.

I was not really impressed by either brush. The difference in softness between the MAC 109 and the 210 was negligible, and I didn’t have issues with the dye bleeding with MAC’s brush. I also didn’t have any shedding issues with the one I initially purchased, but the second one I purchased sometime later did have some shedding in the first dozen or so uses but no longer sheds (except for a stray hair periodically). I might purchase the J210 and J214 (possibly the J214R–I like the idea of a blend of natural and synthetic for this brush) in the future, but I don’t usually reach for the brush head shape/style of the 210 all that often any more so I’m not sure yet. I worry the J210 will be too soft for the type of multi-use that I normally see out of the shape, while I think the softness of the J214/J214R would be right up my alley in terms of application style and preferences for highlighters.

The Glossover

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210 Blush Brush Round

If you plan to use this brush with the top pressed against the skin (almost like a buffer brush), you will feel the difference in softness more than if you used the brush horizontally. For example, if I make stippling motions with it with moderate pressure, I can feel some of the fibers, but if I sweep blush on, then I don't.

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214 Highlight Brush Round

The small brush head enables maximum precision when applying any product. It was designed for apply highlighters (or, apparently, your eyeshadow base), and that was the primary way I tried use it. I didn't love it. I actually felt like it was too firm and dense to really apply a highlighter for an ethereal, natural-looking glow. It tended to pack on too much product with results always veering towards emphasizing pores, even if that product didn't normally do so. It's moderately soft, but it's not the kind of brush that will make you swoon.

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