Year of the Rat Powder Brush
Beautylish Year of the Rat Powder Brush ($125.00) is a new, limited edition powder brush made with blue squirrel hair paired with a specially-designed handle to celebrate the Lunar New Year. I’ve only used it a half a dozen times and washed it once, but it was consistent with previous collaborations between Beautylish and Chikuhodo, though this year’s is without Chikuhodo as a collaborator but was manufactured in the same type of way (by Japanese artisans and all that entails). For the detail on the handle, the brush head size, and the material type, the price is a little lower than I would have guessed. The bristles felt as silky and smooth as I’d expect from blue squirrel hair as compared to Chikuhodo, Hakuhodo, and SUQQU.
The brush head was moderately dense and incredibly silky to the touch, which was expected based on the type of hair used in this brush. The brush head was 50mm in length and 40mm in width. It flared outward from the ferrule for two-thirds of the length before tapering inward for a more dome-shaped edge–slightly rounded–with tapering bristles in the front and back. It was not quite perfectly round but was thick enough that it wasn’t “flat” in shape either.
Blue squirrel hair picks up less product than synthetic fibers or goat hair, so it lends itself to a sheerer application of products, regardless of what it is used with. I would say this would work well for dusting all-over powders, whether translucent or a finishing powder, along with some setting powder. If you have a larger highlighter, bronzer, or blush pan, it could work for applying any of those for a more buildable application of product (particularly for those who apply in larger areas). One of the nicer parts about working with such fine bristles is that it is hard to disturb base products because it really does move like silk over the skin.
For those who are unfamiliar: blue squirrel hair is one of the more fragile hair types, so it is often recommended to wash as little as possible; whether one adheres to that or not is one’s prerogative, of course! I wash my brushes at similar intervals and go by how often I’ve used it, and I haven’t found that to be a major detriment to my natural hair brushes, including blue squirrel brushes. That being said, I’m okay with having to replace a few brushes at some point down the line (in like a decade or longer) if it means I can clean my brushes when I want to!
When used for setting powder over a cream/liquid base, I find that powder brushes need to be washed routinely as there is, inherently, some transfer of the base to the bristles (that touch of dewiness from still-drying foundation or a luminous base), which is why I wanted to make sure newcomers were aware of what they might be getting themselves into!