Hakuhodo B5521BkSL Highlight Brush Tapered ($53.00) is a small-to-medium sized brush that flares out from the base and tapers to a rounded point. It is made with a mix of blue squirrel and goat hair. The brush head measured 18.00mm in width, 32.00mm in length, and 18.00mm in thickness, and the brush had a total length of 6.77 inches / 17.20 centimeters.
The shape is comparable to many highlighter brushes available, which isn’t a bad thing, as it is versatile and is a shape many may be familiar with. It does mean that there are other options available at lower price points, including in Hakuhodo’s J-series, where it is made solely of goat hair, for $38, for those who do not need the extra silkiness that blue squirrel offers. I like blue squirrel or the mix in this brush for more shimmery and frosted highlighters, as it builds them more gradually and seems to diffuse the shimmer more evenly (just by a bit). The tapered shape enabled the brush to sweep gently across the cheek bones to lay down highlighter more precisely, and the rounded tip applied highlighter nicely down the nose and on the cupid’s bow.
Hakuhodo G5545BkSL Blush Brush Round & Flat ($63.00) is a medium-sized blush brush that is flatter in shape, so it is not as round and full, with a tapering, rounded edge. It is made with a mix of blue squirrel and goat hair. The brush head measured 33.90mm in width, 38.00mm in length, and 18.7mm in thickness, and the brush had a total length of 6.85 inches / 17.40 centimeters.
The brush seemed light-to-moderate in density, so I had some flexibility and give near the edge of the brush, but it didn’t flop around or splay too readily if I used greater pressure with it against my face. The flatter shape seemed to work best for someone who likes more sweeping motions and light circular motions, but it will not buff out color as well as a more rounded brush shape or a fuller brush head overall. The bristles felt incredibly smooth and silky against the face, and I didn’t feel any of the individual bristles despite heavy pressure and trying a variety of directions and motions. It is a bit larger than your typical highlighting brush, but I liked it for subtle to moderate highlighters as well as blush and bronzer (which is what it is designed for). The brush worked well for applying initial color and blending and diffusing the edges of the color. This brush does not seem to have a goat-hair only version in Hakuhodo’s range.
Hakuhodo B505BkSL Blush Brush Round & Flat ($98.00) is a medium-to-large blush brush that is full, thick, and fairly dense with a rounded edge and tapering bristles. It is made out of blue squirrel and goat hairs. The brush head measured 34.20mm in width, 38.25mm in length, and 22.80mm in thickness, and the brush had a total length of 7.00 inches / 17.80 centimeters.
The fullness and greater density of this brush means it packs on a lot more pigment from the get-go, but it also can blend edges more readily. While it is a flatter blush brush, it is thicker and much denser compared to the G5545 (to me, it seems double the thickness, but it’s only ~5mm thicker). I can easily do sweeping and circular motions with it, so I can buff edges or diffuse color outward. The brush is, unsurprisingly, silky and smooth with nary a loose bristle or unpleasant sharpness regardless of the amount of pressure or the direction it was used in. I like it more for sheerer formulas or more powdery ones where the denser, larger surface area means I can get an even amount of color on the brush without a lot of product getting caught in the interior of the brush. It also works well when you want to apply color to a larger part of the face, like bronzer along the forehead and the like. This brush is also available in the J-series as a mix of goat and synthetic bristles for $72.