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).