Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes -- Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9
Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes — Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9

Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes are a luxurious brush indulgence. There are ten brushes in the range, and for the past few weeks, I’ve been testing five of them: the Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, and Z-9. (Other brushes include the Z-2, Z-3, Z-6, Z-7, and Z-8.) Chikuhodo is a Japanese brush manufacturer under their own brand as well as working with such brands as Shiseido, SUQQU, and Kanebo through original equipment manucaturing (OEM) (you can see their client list here). If softness is one of the key metrics you use to determine how much you love a brush, Chikuhodo’s Z-Series are the softest brushes I’ve experienced using. They don’t even feel like individual bristles, as they move and feel as one. The Z-Series is made out of gray or blue squirrel hair, and they’re designed to be used with powder products.

All five brushes I tried have held up well to multiple washings; they’ve retained their overall shape (but the face brushes are a little fluffier than they look initially), haven’t shed, and the larger face brushes didn’t take as long to dry as I expected (but overnight is still best). The ferrules on the Z-Series brushes seems very, very well-connected (almost like one-piece), which is different from a lot of the other brushes I have (Hourglass #2 was the only one at a glance that seemed similar). The major difference I found between gray squirrel and goat hair applications were that gray squirrel brushes tended to naturally diffuse and soften edges while applying the initial color/product, whereas goat gave a more precise, harsher edge, but both can blend and diffuse the product (so the end results were the same regardless of the hair type). I always do a blind test with several brushes (in this case, five different brands) with each brush with my husband–he closes his eyes, and we spend far more time than he’d like having him tell me what seems the softest to him, and yes, these brushes tended to come out on top, but the degree of softness is still very comparable to high-end brushes like Hakuhodo and Tom Ford.

Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush ($45.00) is a small, tapered brush that comes to a very fine, pointed tip. Its shape is much like a pencil brush, but it’s a little larger and feels a bit more like a tapered crease brush. The brush head is made using gray squirrel, and it is 10mm in length, 5mm in thickness, and 5mm in width. It had a total length of 5 inches or 12.5 centimeters with an open, round ferrule. The handle is well-balanced but lightweight, and the handle is shorter than the average brush. The one characteristic about that stood out to me about this is is it never felt sharp, whether held vertically or horizontally, at an angle or straight-on. It’s dense but not too firm, so it has some give, which means that despite its very fine tip, it is not as precise as a firmer, denser pencil brush. I really loved it for applying crease color, blending out crease colors, and applying color to the inner tear duct/inner lid with more precision than my typical dome-shaped go-tos.

NARS #12 ($27.00) is a little skinnier, and it is more of a small, tapered crease brush in overall shape, but I felt like it applied and felt similar in terms of density, though it isn’t as soft as the Z-10. MAC’s 226 ($26.00) is larger with a more severe tapered edge and a greater variety in lengths, and it is, unsurprisingly, has a rougher texture (and there is a lot of variance in the shape, density, and texture between versions of the 226).

Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush ($56.00) is a large, dome-shaped brush. The brush is made out of gray squirrel hairs, and the brush head is 16mm in length, 19mm in width, and 6mm in thickness. It had a total length of just over 5 inches or 13 centimeters with a lightly pinched ferrule. I think the larger size will make it great for some, but then a shape others would rarely reach for; I fall into the latter camp. If you were applying a single color all-over the lid, it absolutely works well for that. It picks up color well and applies a lot of color from the get-go, and it’s particularly nice for those sub-par eyeshadows in one’s stash, as you don’t have to pack on the eyeshadow for quite as long. It also seems to diffuse the color along the edges where it’s been placed, as if you blended it, but all you did was pat it on. The bristles aren’t all the same length, as they shorten as you move to the sides of the brush, it also works well to blend out edges and fade colors upwards towards the brow bone. I also liked it for patting on setting powder underneath the eyes (to set concealer).

Inglot #27P ($21.00) is the most similar in shape, size, and density, but it is wider and has more rounded edges. shu uemura #11 ($140.00) is slightly narrower and significantly longer, but it has a somewhat similar density (not quite as dense throughout), and because it is longer, it has more give. OCC #007 Large Shader Brush ($22.00) is smaller, more tapered along the edge, and half as thick. MAC 252 ($32.00) is similar in shape along the edge and at a glance, but it is significantly less thick and dense. Tom Ford #11 ($55.00) is a little more flared at the edge with a more rounded dome shape, and it is also less thick and less dense.

Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush ($92.00) medium-sized, blush brush with a domed edge and tapered bristles (so the lengths get shorter as you move outward from the center). It’s not a rounded brush, more flattened, but it is not really thin or flat. The brush is made out of gray squirrel, and the brush head is 35mm in length, 28mm in width, and 15mm in thickness. The brush had a total length of just under 6 inches or 15 centimeters with an open ferrule. It’s excellent for applying soft, even color along the cheeks with minimal blending required. Sometimes, after swatching five or six blushes on my cheeks back-to-back, I pay for it the next day with irritated, reddened skin that can result in drier patches, and this brush is very forgiving on the skin without further irritating it–and it manages to make color apply more evenly than many other brushes I own despite the rougher surface. It feels like silk, and it feels like a single swish across the face; you never feel the individual bristles. It’s dense without being too heavily packed with bristles but doesn’t feel wispy against the skin; just right for versatility, so it can be used with heavily pigmented blushes, sheerer ones, and it can work well with highlighters and bronzers, too.

Hakuhodo G5545 ($48.00) is very comparable in terms of softness and general application, but it is flatter and wider with a more feathery, lighter feel against the skin as it is not as dense. shu uemura #20 ($50.00) is a little more square-ish in shape and flatter, not quite as soft. Sephora #73 Pro Precision Brush ($32.00) is more tapered at the edge, a little squatter, and it is not as soft, though I wouldn’t describe it as rough either. MAC 116 ($35.00) is thicker and more rounded at the edge, and it is a lot less soft.

Z-1 Powder Brush ($226.00) is a large, rounded, slightly tapered brush. It is one of the larger brushes I’ve come across and have in my brush treasure trove. The brush is made out of gray squirrel hair, and the brush head is 45mm in length, 35mm in width, and 35mm in thickness. It had a total length of just over 6 inches or 16 centimeters with an open ferrule. The lightly rounded, large edge makes blending powder products a breeze. I used this a lot like a kabuki brush but with a longer handle; it does a fantastic job of just finishing and setting everything into place. To that end, it also works well with finishing and setting powders, and even powder foundation (which I only tried a few times just to see how it performed). I really liked applying all-over highlighting powders with this (think Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders or Guerlain Meteorites, the latter was particularly lovely with this, as the brush fits well into the container). It’s incredibly soft and feels nice against the skin, but it is very effective.

MAC 138 ($53.00) is slightly skinnier and much more tapered. This was the only comparable brush I could think of, aside from the Z-9 below (which is not really the same shape but more similar than not).

Z-9 Powder Brush ($226.00) is large, rounded, slightly flat brush with medium-full density. The brush is made out of gray squirrel hair, and the brush head is 55mm in length, 40mm in width, and 26mm in thickness. It had a total length of 6.5 inches or 16 centimeters with an open ferrule. When it came to apply setting powder, I preferred this slightly more than the Z-1, because of the flatter shape, which enabled me to press the setting powder against the skin, rather than with more sweeping motion. For setting powders, I prefer pressing and patting, and for finishing powders, I like the more feathery, sweeping motions. The end result is very similar, though, regardless of the brush used. The Z-9 can be used in sweeping, patting, or pressing applications, and it feels like silk against the skin.

Compared to the Z-1, the Z-9 is larger, more dome-shaped, longer, flatter, and has more spring and give (so it is less dense and firm). Otherwise, I didn’t feel like any brushes I have were all that comparable in shape–most were significantly flatter. I feel like I should mention Tom Ford’s Bronzer Brush ($115.00), but the shape is significantly wider and the brush much denser and firmer, so I don’t think they’re comparable.

Chikuhodo brushes can be purchase at Now-e Project.  Brushes ship from Japan, so shipping isn’t cheap ($35), but there is free shipping on $300+ purchase with code VALENTINE2014.  Or you can save 10% with code TEMPTALIA (so orders under $300 would benefit best from this code).  All valid coupons cannot be used with other coupons (one per order), discounts, or special value offers.

The Glossover

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Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush

The one characteristic about that stood out to me about this is is it never felt sharp, whether held verticlaly or horizontally, at an angle or straight-on. It's dense but not too firm, so it has some give, which means that despite its very fine tip, it is not as precise as a firmer, denser pencil brush. I really loved it for applying crease color, blending out crease colors, and applying color to the inner tear duct/inner lid with more precision than my typical dome-shaped go-tos.
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Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

I think the larger size will make it great for some, but then a shape others would rarely reach for; I fall into the latter camp. If you were applying a single color all-over the lid, it absolutely works well for that. It picks up color well and applies a lot of color from the get-go, and it's particularly nice for those subpar eyeshadows in one's stash, as you don't have to pack on the eyeshadow for quite as long.
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Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

It's excellent for applying soft, even color along the cheeks with minimal blending required. Sometimes, after swatching five or six blushes on my cheeks back-to-back, I pay for it the next day with irritated, reddened skin that can result in drier patches, and this brush is very forgiving on the skin without further irritating it--and it manages to make color apply more evenly than many other brushes I own despite the rougher surface.
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Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes -- Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9
Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes — Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9

Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes -- Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9
Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes — Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9

Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes -- Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9
Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes — Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9

Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes -- Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9
Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes — Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9

Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes -- Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9
Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes — Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9

Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-10 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 Eyeshadow Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush
Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush
Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush
Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush
Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush
Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush
Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush
Chikuhodo Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush

Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush
Chikuhodo Z-9 Powder Brush

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86 thoughts on “Chikuhodo Z-Series Brushes in Z-10, Z-5, Z-4, Z-1, Z-9 Reviews & Photos

  1. I might actually consider getting the first one (the Z 10) but the prices of the rest of them are, to me, prohibitive, particularly when I can get perfectly adequate brushes from Real Techniques for something like 1/10th the price or lash out a bit more on some really good brushes from Sephora. If I were to win them or be given them, I’d be thrilled but to spend that much is simply out of the question for me.

    • I totally understand, Mariella! As far as brushes go, these are definitely towards the top (but they can get more expensive!), so they’re not just functional/usable but likely a collector’s item as well and a general sense of luxury (like buying Tom Ford).

  2. I really like the Z-9 Powder Brush. :)

  3. Charlotte

    I would love to see you using brushes when you do reviews of them. Even just posing with the brush in an appropriate place would be really useful. I know you show them in your hand, but for cheek and eye brushes especially I’d like to see how much of your face they cover.

    • Hi Charlotte!

      I measure each brush to give you an idea of how large the brush head is since my face shape/size likely isn’t the same as everyone else’s! :) Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Avatar of Wwendy Wwendalynne

    I’m loving the Z10 brush. Pencil brushes are usually too dense and firm for my tastes so this one has really peaked my interest. I like using them for eyeshadow under the eye since I have a roomy lower lid.

    • I feel like it’s somewhere between pencil brush and crease brush (in terms of the average shape you see for both types), so it was a particularly welcome shape/brush into the stash!

  5. Sabrina

    I love the look of this, especially the Z-10 one, but i highly doubt i’ll be able to get hold of this brand. Is there any good dome-shaped eye brushes you would recommend as an alternative, Christine? Its been something i’ve been looking for for the last year or so, so any help would be very welcome!

    • Hi Sabrina!

      Are you looking for something like the Z-10 or something dome-shaped (which is more like the Z-5)? I tried to list all the brushes I could think of that were somewhat similar with each brush I reviewed in the post, but if you are looking for a smaller, dome-shaped eye brush, I still really like the MAC 239.

  6. Is it weird that I’ve never even heard of this brand? Thank you for the in-depth review though, this is so helpful, even though I’ll probably never be able to get my hands on these brushes anyway from here, lol.

    • I don’t think it’s weird! Their distribution is primarily online and only in the past couple of years has it been (slightly) easier to get them. I had heard the name once or twice over the years, but it wasn’t until I started doing research into Japanese brushes that I learned more about them.

  7. Cassandra

    i’m sorry but no brush is worth that much! that is CRAZY.

  8. These look really good but Squirrel hair :o. That is a no go for me.

  9. Avatar of Emi Emi

    Lately my skin has been really sensitive, so much so that buffing with a goat hair brush irritates it (even a Hakuhodo one with good quality hair). I’m not *quite* ready to upgrade all of my face brushes to squirrel (so pricey!), but it’s on the list. Thanks for the review!
    Emi Recently Posted: Graphic Winged Eyeliner For Hooded Eyes

    • I’ve noticed that my skin is less forgiving now than it was ten years ago when it comes to certain brush types. My best advice is probably to pick up one or two more workhorse type brushes that would be softer to your skin (so you don’t have to upgrade ALL of your brushes), and hopefully your skin is just going through a phase and will bounce back soon!

      • Avatar of Emi Emi

        That makes sense! I’m thinking about getting the Suqqu cheek, since it’s supposed to be a very soft, excellent quality smaller blush brush plus a large blush brush or small powder brush from Hakuhodo, maybe the B505Bksl, which is a mix of squirrel and goat but I’ve heard it’s very soft.

        And unfortunately, I think my skin is just a little thinner / more sensitive than it used to be due to age – I’ve really noticed that it’s been changing in the past year or two (turning 30 this summer!).
        Emi Recently Posted: Graphic Winged Eyeliner For Hooded Eyes

        • Sounds like a good plan!

          Mine is doing the same thing… not thinner yet, but seemingly more sensitive. I can’t do as many blush swatches back-to-back, LOL!

        • Carlyn

          The SUQQU cheek is great, so happy to have it. I have the Haku B505 and yes, it is soft but I mush prefer the G5519. It is practically the same size and shape but much silkier and they’re equally effective. I just enjoy using the G5519 more, works great for blush or powder.

  10. The quality sounds amazing! I don’t know about the prices but I’m definitely interested in trying them out one day. At least one brush lol

  11. I’ve heard a few raves for SUQQU brushes so it’s nice to see this review on the parent line. ;)
    Ani_BEE Recently Posted: Dare to Compare: White Bases for Eyeshadow ~ NYX Eye Shadow Base in White and MAC Chromaline Pure White

    • It seems like they’re certainly very comparable in terms of quality, but preference depends on what one is looking for in the shape and brush (density, shape, thickness, size, etc.). Reminds me of the debate between Nikon and Canon; both high quality, can’t really go wrong, just a matter of which seems to work best for you!

  12. Avatar of furandlace furandlace

    Strange timing! I’ve had $300 worth of Chikuhodo brushes in my cart for a few days but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I have two Suqqu brushes and a whole bunch of Hakuhodo and I’m just SO curious as to how these compare. I have the Suqqu face brush and the cheek brush. For that reason, even though I’m curious how they compare, I don’t really want to get the Z4, Z1 or Z9. The brush hairs and overall aesthetic look very similar.

    I have Z2, Z3, Z5, Z6 and Z10 in my cart.

    • Curiosity is an expensive trait, no? After trying Hakuhodo, I was really, really curious how the Z-series and Suqqu brush everyone raves about are in comparison. The whole free shipping on $300+ orders is not a bad deal, given that there aren’t really deals to be had on these things, lol! Z-2 and Z-8 have me curious (but I loveee highlighting/cheek brushes), followed by the Z-3, which looks interesting but I don’t do a LOT of contouring.

      • Avatar of furandlace furandlace

        Yes, it is!! I’m trying to curb my ‘curious’ tendencies for 2014 lol. So far, I’ve been doing well. But brushes are a weakness. The way you describe the Chikuhodo brushes is very similar to how I describe my Suqqu brushes. With Suqqu, you don’t feel bristles…more like a cool airy sensation on the face.

        I just love Z3 because I have nothing like it. I imagine it would be good for buffing out as well as contouring. The Z8 seems like it might be very similar in shape to Hakuhodo Kokutan Blush brush S which I own and LOVE. But the Chikuhodo is 100% gray squirrel whereas the Hakuhodo is a blend of blue squirrel and synethic fibres (and half the price).

  13. Chikuhodo brushes are AMAZING! And the grey squirrel hair is heavenly soft :D This post has made me want more brushes (not sure that is a good thing, lol). I’ll probably take advantage of the 10% off and get some more Chikuhodos. I’ve had my eyes on the P-8 for a while, crazy expensive, but the 10% would help a lot! Z-10 and Z-4 have also been on my wish list forever even though I definitely don’t need another blush brush. I currently use the MK-2 for finishing powder and I absolutely love it (although I’m terrified of ruining the pretty design!), but I think Z-9 might have a better shape. I like that it’s not quite as rounded and a bit larger. Ugh, the decisions that have to be made…

    • What are your favorite Chikuhodos (besides the MK-2)? You are a treasure, like my personal brush genie ;)

      I shouldn’t have looked at the P-8. You weren’t kidding about the price.

      • Personal brush genie, I like that, lol!

        I don’t have that many Chikuhodo brushes (at least not compared to my Hakuhodo collection), but the ones that clearly stands out are the ones from the Z series. I love Z-1, Z-5 (size and bristles are perfect for setting concealer under the sensitive eye area) and Z-3 for highlight.

        I use GS-T every single day to apply my NARS loose setting powder. It’s dense and applies a lot of product, but I have very oily skin, so to me that’s a necessity. It’s also great for quick application of powder foundations.

        G-16 is one of those pointed face brushes that are multi-tasking. Great for powders and highlighters.

        G-4 is a really good eyeshadow brush.

        I also have a few brushes from their Artist-series, but the whole series is sadly discontinued, so I guess it wouldn’t be helpful to anyone to actually mention those.

        Btw, you should check out the Kiwami Brush Set. That’s what I’m craving the most right now.

        • I am definitely going to look into the GS-T since I love a good loose powder brush… that’s a product I use on the regular, so it would make sense to have brushes for that purpose.

          Off to go find out what temptation the Kiwami Brush Set is!

  14. I want to try this brand! I love the handle!
    Rikki Recently Posted: MAKEUP 101: Setting/Translucent Powders

  15. Wow. These are crazy expensive!

  16. Avatar of Christina Christina

    Definitely my cup of tea! I live in the U.S., but try to obtain Japanese made brushes as often as possible. I have tons of Hakuhodo, but I just haven’t pulled the trigger for Chikuhodo brushes yet. I’m glad there is an easier site to purchase these than the various Asian websites I’ve been looking at. Thanks for the great review!

  17. Avatar of Amanda Amanda

    Do you feel like these apply makeup better when compared to other brushes? They are very pricey and I probably would never spend that much on a single brush personally, but just curious if you can actually SEE the price difference when they’re used in action. :)

    • You can get the same end result, but in general, better brushes just do the job faster and more efficiently – e.g. the lay down of color is more even from the get go, or it picks up pigment better so it also applies more intensely without having to layer, or it blends in a couple of sweeps. To me, these are luxury brushes, so that dollar for dollar, you aren’t getting ‘better’ brushes in the same way that a $50 lipstick isn’t necessarily $45 better than a $5 lipstick. With brushes, at least, you have more cues and insight as to where the money goes (handcrafted, artisan-level craftsmanship, types of materials, etc.).

  18. These brushes look perfect! I am loving Z-4 and Z-1 esp.! :-)
    Vineetha Recently Posted: MAC Eyeshadow X15 Warm Neutral Palette Review, Swatches

  19. Johanna

    I’m curious on if you would add these to your line up of must-have makeup brushes? I know you were impressed with a lot of the Hakuhodu brushes, did any of these unseat your previous favorites overall? I am currently in the process of upgrading my makeup brushes and the difference a quality brush makes is one of the most worthwhile investments I’ve made in my makeup stash so far. Yes, I said “investments” haha ;)

    • You know what’s funny about these is that they’re shapes I didn’t have really before. I really like the Z-10 and Z-1 – those are both in continued rotation. The others are out, but I know I’ll reach for them less.

  20. Stacey

    OMG! You finally got this brand. I have the Suqqu face brush which I hope you will soon get some Suqqu to test. I need to see the other brushes to decide which one and only one to get. This Z line. I have read from Sonia of Sweet makeup temptations is the best choice from this brand. I just bought $500 plus a RMK brush from ichibankao of Japanese makeup so I got to hold off for now.
    This is my luxury spending.

  21. The z-10 and the z-1 sound like the perfect brushes for me! Softness is the absolute biggest priority for me and I’ve been eyeballing Suqqu stuff for ages. The price is totally unsurprising to me (from NZ – hello, almost $30 Revlon lipgloss!), but I agree that it is a luxury product. For me, therefore, the important thing is : how long does it hold up? I don’t mind paying $200 for a brush, and treating it appropriately, and not having a big collection of brushes as a result. But it needs to absolutely stand up to use! So thank you for the in depth review, Christine! I don’t know if I can get a hold of these, but they’re on my wish list!
    Sylirael Recently Posted: Beauty is Relative – The Sorceress and The Mindflayer

    • No problem!

      I think if you take care of these, you should have no issues with them lasting well. I also haven’t heard any complaints (which doesn’t mean they don’t exist, only that they seem to be minority, if at all!) about wear/tear or durability. The ferrules seem especially durable.

  22. Z-10 looks like a great addition for me because I deep set eyes with little lid space!
    Erin Recently Posted: Trendspotting: Designer Sweatshirts

  23. Stacey

    This brand also makes brushes for RMK, Lunasol, Three n Addiction is my understanding……maybe not as nice. I just know….the Japanese makeup is going to take me to the poor house.

    • If you had to recommend only one Japanese brand for makeup, which would you recommend?

      • stacey

        Love them all…each for a particular reason…and packaging is one of the reason…delicate, unique, art form (not that chunky UD packaging- like UD eyeshadows though). Unlike the French and American makeup where the design is in the powder itself…..so you lose the design once you touch the powder, the Japanese makeup design is in the packaging and how the eyeshadow is presented.
        The only eyeshadow I have really used is Majolica Majorca- and I like the eyeshadow.
        Suqqu is beloved, Three is unique in cream & powder quads, Addiction- the name itself and that the creator used to work for Nars- it also has glitter eyeshadow (glitter is my middle name) and pigmented, Elegance- the design in packaging and the eyeshadow design…so chic, Pola Muselle for selling a blusher/ face powder duo set which Christian Dior had designed over 30 years ago (current ones is blusher/ bronzer or duo blusher)-plus it’s refillable, Sonia Rykiel a French designer name- has this lip lacquer which looks like Chanel Dragon- your favorite- which I intend to try next.
        and the list goes on…each brand with its own uniqueness…..and I salivate everytime I am on that Ichibankao site.

  24. Adele

    I have and love the Z-8, and you’re right, it’s an absolute luxury. I also have one eyeshadow brush from their standard Artist line, and that one is also really high quality. They’re one of the only makers I know who have fairly reasonably priced kolinsky hair brushes.

    I actually didn’t get my two brushes from Now-E Project, because their prices were more expensive – I bought mine at Kohlindo.se. (Not affiliated with them! I think they have fewer brushes in stock, so I had to wait a while, but it did work out to be cheaper.)

  25. I wouldn’t mind having the MK -1 or MK-2 powder brushes! I’ve been lusting over them for over a year….that discount is awfully tempting.

  26. Avatar of Barbie Barbie

    These look nice but I just bought like 10 hakuhodo brushes so i’m good forever and ever and ever

  27. Mimi

    I love my Z series brushes. I really couldn’t tell you if my Suqqus are softer or not. They’re very close. Each brush is different in density, pliability etc. so you really have to experiment or know what you like and need. There is a website “SweetMakeupTemptations” that is the brush encyclopedia, so some of you may want to take a look. Now, I must go check out the P-8, heaven help me!

  28. Lauren

    I adore my Chikuhodo brushes! I have the Z-2, Z-3, and Z-4 right now, and I’m planning on picking up the Z-5, Z-10, and MK-II later on this year. I also have a few Suqqu brushes (M, L, and cheek), and I think the quality is exactly the same. I have noticed that the Suqqu brushes tend to be less dense, which makes them better for certain things, but I always reach for the Z-4 with a not-so-pigmented blush or the Z-2 when I’m doing some more dramatic contouring. None of them are as soft as the LE Koyudo cheek brush made of red squirrel hair, but that brush fares even more poorly with blushes that aren’t very pigmented. I find uses for all of them :)

    I also just wanted to say that I think it’s pretty rude of the people commenting here saying that buying these brushes is “crazy”… everyone has a vice, and using my squirrel hair brushes is one of the happiest moments of my day. Seriously, if my apartment building were on fire, I would save my brushes. Okay…. maybe my laptop with all of my research on it. But the brushes would be next!

    • Good to hear that you’ve found Suqqu’s quality to be the same as the Z-series!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lauren! :) They’re expensive, and for most, hard to see in person, so the more information we have about each brush, the better!

    • Mimi

      I agree Lauren, although we adore our brushes, not everyone feels the same. Oh well, each to his or her own. Isn’t the Koyudo Red Squirrel brush fabulous?! We’re so lucky to have gotten one as they only made 100 of them.

  29. Mimi

    Ok, I just checked out the Chikuhodo P-8. Extra long squirrel hair. Not sure I’d like that as it might be too floppy, not to mention the price, wow! Pretty crazy but I’m glad somebody has it. Thank you Christine for the 10% off code. I have the MK-2 and now have ordered the MK-3, thanks to you.

    • I’d have to try it before I could even THINK of purchasing it. I couldn’t do that one blind!

      Happy to hear you were able to take advantage of the code and get your MK-3!

  30. Avatar of Elizabeth Elizabeth Maiorana

    The squirrels- they might have an opinion here. There are wonderful synthetic brushes out now and they’re everywhere. At a far better price point, requiring none of the high-maintenance care, performing just as well as these (and other high-end tools) and the creatures can thrive.

  31. Hakuhodo and Chikuhodo… the linguist in me is wondering what “-kuhodo” means…!

    I was truly blown away by the price of the face brushes, which is saying something!! Living in Australia and New Zealand, you get used to seeing 3 digit prices for high-end cosmetics (hell, even the odd MAC product cracks that barrier). Even if I had no budget limitations, I don’t think I’d go for these, but oh I wish I could touch one lol…

    The Z-10 sounds like something I would dearly love to try, as I find most brushes over-blend my crease. I have the OCC Tapered Blending Brush but mine isn’t tapered enough.

  32. Avatar of Alison Alison

    I so love you for reviewing these. Thank you so much!

  33. Hi Christine,

    First of all, I think it is great that you have started exploring and reviewing Japanese makeup brushes. How the times have changed! It seemed for the longest time that MAC had a monopoly on what we thought (or I thought) were good brushes. Not saying I don’t still hold onto my holy grail brushes, and I know Hakuhodo is OEM for MAC, but that MAC wants the ends of the brush hairs cut. At least, that is how I understand it.

    Anyway, great pictures and review. What camera and lighting/set up do you use? I occasionally like to take pictures of my brushes and would like to do more reviews but my skills are amateur at best!

    I currently own Suqqu M, L, and the Cheek and Face brush. Definitely think the Face brush is not a must have. I like a firmer application of powder and use Koyudo’s Fu-Pa 14, dense and soft. Best foundation mineral brush I have come across.

    Chikuhodo Z-10, Z-3, and Z-7 are the other ones I own from the Chikuhodo family. Strangely, I have yet to use my lip brush. BUT, I absolutely adore the Z-10 and think it is the brush I was looking for for years. So happy when I found it.

    The Z-3 is interesting and I do use it for contour. Very unique in my opinion and I love the shape.

    Anyways, thanks for the review! I am glad you are enjoying the brushes.

  34. Thank you for your reviews!I’ve been hoping to get hold of these brushes for quite a long time, but it seems that they are not sold in the UK…What a pity. But i did get a SUQQU cheek brush some day ago. I have to say, it’s the softest and the most expensive brush i’ve ever had. I do want to compare those two brands some day in the future, just to see which has the softest…LOL…

    • From everything I’ve heard (in this post and elsewhere), SUQQU and Chikuhodo are both very high-quality, luxurious brushes – you can’t go wrong either way. If anything, the major difference is density and/or shape but not really quality!