Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set Review, Photos, Comparisons

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo Sakura Set (Beautylish) ($245.00) includes six brushes that come in a brush roll with a zippered pocket and several slots for brushes that ties together for traveling. They have shorter handles than some might be used to, though they are in line with most Japanese branded brushes (and are consistent with Chikuhodo’s Z-series). The brushes feature a metallic red ferrule and a glossy red handle with cherry blossoms.

The brushes are good quality, and I had no issues with using them thus far. I can’t comment on how the brushes will hold up over time, so the durability ratings you’ll find on these brushes are based on initial washings (I washed each brush six times) as well as my experience with Chikuhodo’s brushes in general (including durability of last year’s Sakura set, which is fully intact and I still use some brushes from that set). I do, however, like Chikuhodo’s brushes a lot, though I tend to lean toward the Z series for brushes I personally use and reach for (but I have some favorites from the GSN range, and I am not well-versed in the Passions series).

I like the set, but I’m not keen on the inclusion of the brow and lip brush–I feel like they are a way to increase the number of brushes but without adding a lot of cost, and these are both brushes that can be easily replaced with a number of other brushes at lower price points. The brow brush is also substantially thicker than the majority of brow brushes on the market, making it less than ideal for doing detail work, creating individual “hairs,” or brushing product through the tail of the brow (depends on how thick the tail of your brow is, of course). The lip brush is functional, but it is synthetic, and there are many quality synthetics available at lower price points.

Thoughts on Value

In assessing value, I think it’s obviously there relative to purchasing comparable brushes individually, but as with all sets, value is truly subjective, because if you would only use two of the brushes, you are better off getting individual brushes that really fit your needs. I find that the softness and feel of the bristles (particularly of the goat hair) are most comparable to Chikuhodo’s Takumi series, where the T-1 Powder Brush is made out of Saikoho goat and retails for $125; T-5 Highlight is made out of Saikoho goat hair and retails for $52; T-3 Foundation is made out of Saikoho goat hair and retails for $65 — and these align the closest to the face brushes in the set. I’d say that Chikuhodo’s GSN-10 is closer to the Blending Brush included in the set but not quite the same in size, but it is made out of goat hair and retails for $21. Chikuhodo’s lip brushes run around $30 (both the Passion and Z series), while the Passion PS-5 Eyebrow brush is also made out of badger hair and retails for $22.

If you bought these individually, they would run you $315. That being said, the Takumi T-1 Powder Brush is much, much larger and fuller (it’s a huge brush), and I think that a fairer assessment of value would be closer to $70-85 for the Powder Brush included in the Sakura set as a result. The T-5 Highlight is fuller as well (19mm vs. 16.5mm) but not as significantly different than the powder brushes, so I think it would be similarly priced. There’s a little value to getting them together, but I don’t think it’s enough if you won’t love all of them.

If you are more inclined to purchase your brushes individually, these are the ones I would recommend in lieu of the Sakura set but having similar shapes and functionality for the four goat hair brushes in the set. Please note, I might reach for other brushes not listed below due to personally preferring slightly different shapes or styles (that aren’t similar enough to the ones in the set). All of the brushes listed below are high-quality brushes that I’ve tried and tested over long periods of time. I tried to include synthetic options as well, for those who prefer synthetics.

* Indicates the brush I personally reach for MOST often for this function. ** Indicates the brush I personally reach for the second most often for this function.

Alternatives: Medium-to-Large Powder Brushes

Alternatives: Flatter, Tapered Cheek Brushes

  • SUQQU Cheek Brush ($97.00), small-to-medium brush with low density, feathery feel, best for applying, sweeping, and blending, works well with blush and highlighters, squirrel hair (review) *
  • Chikuhodo Z-Series Z-2 Highlight ($78.00), small-to-large, tapered brush that’s more rounded in the body but comes to a tapered edge, moderate density, gray squirrel hair (review) **
  • Chikuhodo Takumi T-5 Highlight ($52.00), a small-to-medium brush with a tapered edge, saikoho goat hair, ideal for more specific placement, moderate blending
  • Hakuhodo G5545 Blush Brush ($63.00), medium blush brush with a flared, rounded edge with only a slight taper, flatter, best for sheer to moderate pigmented powder products for application, good for blending in sweeping and patting motions, blue squirrel/goat hair mix **
  • Real Techniques Blush Brush ($8.99), a medium-to-large, tapered blush brush, rather full and rounded in the body, synthetic (I have not found a lot of go-to cheek brushes that are synthetic, but this is the best thus far and I’d give it a soft recommendation)
  • Real Techniques Setting Brush ($7.99), a small, rounded and lightly tapered brush ideal for highlighting, under-eye setting, and soft blush application, synthetic

Alternatives: Dense, Rounded Foundation Brushes

Alternatives: Small-to-Medium, Tapered Crease Brushes

  • Hakuhodo J142 ($19.00), a small-to-medium sized crease brush with a tapered edge, moderate fullness in the body, goat hair (review) *
  • Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend (13) ($56.00), a small-to-medium sized crease brush with a tapered, lightly rounded edge, moderate fullness, goat hair (review)
  • Wayne Goss Brush 19 ($27.00), a small-to-medium sized crease brush with a tapered edge, moderate fullness in the body, goat hair (review) **
  • OCC Tapered Blending Brush ($22.00), a small-to-medium sized, rounded, lightly tapered brush, synthetic

The Powder Brush

The Powder Brush (Sakura 2016) is designed for use with loose powders and is made out of Saikoho goat hair. It’s a medium-to-large powder brush with a domed, tapered edge that is a little longer but didn’t feel floppy or like it had too much give. The brush head was mm in 36.00width, 51.50mm in length, and 22.00mm in thickness, while the brush had a total length of 7.09 inches / 18.00 centimeters.

The brush works well for patting, sweeping, and blending out powders on the face, particularly loose and pressed setting and finishing powders. It had moderate-to-full density, so it held its shape well and was easy to work with on the face. I liked how it was large but did not feel oversized to me, so I think it is a good size for most faces for powder application. The brush feels incredibly soft and smooth against my skin, and it is definitely softer than last year’s Sakura powder brush.

The Cheek Brush

The Cheek Brush (Sakura 2016) is supposed to be used with powder and cream blushes, bronzers, and highlighters. It is made out of Saikoho goat hair. The brush was small-to-medium in size; not the smallest but a little shy of typical medium from what I’ve seen. The shape of the brush flares out slightly from the base and then flares back in to a rounded, tapered edge with graduation of length down the front and back of the brush, which helps with blending and diffusing color across the skin. The brush head was 26.4mm in width, 39.00mm in length, and 16.5mm in thickness, while the brush had a total length of 6.57 inches / 16.70 centimeters.

I found it useful for applying blush, highlighter, and bronzer on the face, but I liked it best for powders as I find denser brushes better for cream applications (you need that extra density to get the product onto of the pan, in my experience). The brush itself is soft, smooth, and silky against the skin, and I never felt individual bristles using it, regardless of direction. It is best for blush, as the size is most suitable for that, but it can be used to apply highlighter if you keep the product concentrated on the edge and then sweep it on. The brush will work best for someone who likes to sweep and pull their powders on the face, rather than buff in circular motions.

The Foundation Brush

The Foundation Brush (Sakura 2016) was created to be used with liquid and cream foundations, as well as cream contour products, and it is made out of Saikoho goat hair. It is a smaller foundation brush with a wider shape that has a rounded edge and has some depth that gives it a flat, working surface along the edge. The brush head was 26.00mm in width, 24.50mm in length, and 19.00mm in thickness, while the brush had a total length of 6.06 inches / 15.40 centimeters.

Of the four natural hair brushes in the set, this is the only one where I could sometimes feel the edges (a bit of sharpness) of some bristles when I used a moderate hand with a stippling or tapping motion. If I was only lightly stippling, it felt soft and smooth against the skin, as it did when swept, buffed, and pulled. Personally, it’s smaller than I like for foundation, as it takes longer with this brush, but if you have a smaller face, it will be a nice option for you. It soaks up more watery foundations more than I like, so I’d consider using fingertips to spread the foundation out initially and then using this brush to blend; or you can lightly spray the bristles with water (which gives it something to absorb first) and then work the foundation across the face. It is a bit harder to clean, as it is a denser brush, but the small size means it dries faster than most foundation brushes.

The Blending Brush

The Blending Brush is supposed to be used for applying and blending color in the crease and is made out of Sokoho goat hair. It’s a medium-sized crease brush that flares out from the base to a fuller mid-width and then tapers to a soft pointed edge. It had light-to-moderate density, enough that it can still deposit color with some precision but still fluffy that it can blend and diffuse color in sweeping and buffing motions. It’s a solid crease brush, but it’s one of the more popular sizes/styles, so it is also more readily duped by individual brushes. I noticed it tended to fluff up with half a dozen bristles that splayed out, so this is one you might want to use a brush guard or wrap for to help it retain its shape better.

The brush head was mm in 9.00width, 19.00mm in length, and 9.00mm in thickness, while the brush had a total length of 5.82 inches / 14.80 centimeters.

The Lip Brush

The Lip Brush (Sakura 2016) is designed for giving crisp edges and full coverage, and it can be used with concealer, too. This brush is made out of synthetic fibers. It’s a rectangular, flat synthetic brush that comes to a very flat, crisp edge. The brush head was 5.50mm in width, 11.50mm in length, and 2.30mm in thickness, while the brush had a total length of 5.55 inches / 14.10 centimeters.

I liked it best when I used downward, pulling motions on the lips for filling in my lips with color completely. When I used it more for lining and stayed primarily on the edge, I noticed some of the bristles separated from the majority of the bristles, which gave me a little less precision than I’d like. It’s also stiffer that it did not maneuver around the cupid’s bow with as much fluidity as I have experienced with other lip brushes.

The Brow Brush

The Brow Brush (Sakura 2016) is supposed to be used for depositing and blending powder or pomade brow products and is made out of water badger hair. It’s a small, angled brow brush that’s noticeable thicker and almost “fluffed” in appearance compared to the majority of angled brow brushes I’ve tried. The brush head was 5.52mm in width, 6.20mm in length, and 2.60mm in thickness, while the brush had a total length of 5.43 inches / 13.80 centimeters.

That thickness actually makes it much less suitable for working on brows for initially applying color (powder or cream), filling them in, or creating “hairs” with fine lines. I just didn’t think it worked well for depositing color, so applying color or filling in my brows with this brush often resulted in over-application of product, but I did like how it blended color after I had applied it with another brush. The thicker quality of the brush gave it the give and flexibility needed to diffuse and blend brow color without disturbing it too much, and the small size of it made it appropriate for blending within the brow’s natural shape without it being too easy to go outside the shape. I do, however, find a spoolie brush more effective and faster to use for that purpose.

13
Product
13.5
Fitness
5
Durability
4.5
Construction
90%
Total
15
Product
15
Fitness
5
Durability
5
Construction
100%
Total
14
Product
15
Fitness
5
Durability
4.5
Construction
96%
Total
12.5
Product
13
Fitness
5
Durability
4
Construction
86%
Total
14
Product
15
Fitness
4.5
Durability
4.5
Construction
95%
Total
12
Product
12
Fitness
5
Durability
4.5
Construction
84%
Total
11
Product
10
Fitness
5
Durability
5
Construction
78%
Total
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Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Holiday 2016 Sakura Brush Set

Chikuhodo The Powder Brush
Chikuhodo The Powder Brush

Chikuhodo The Powder Brush
Chikuhodo The Powder Brush

Chikuhodo The Powder Brush
Chikuhodo The Powder Brush

Chikuhodo The Powder Brush
Chikuhodo The Powder Brush

Chikuhodo The Powder Brush
Chikuhodo The Powder Brush

Chikuhodo The Powder Brush
Chikuhodo The Powder Brush

Chikuhodo The Powder Brush
Chikuhodo The Powder Brush

Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush
Chikuhodo The Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush
Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush

Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush
Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush

Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush
Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush

Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush
Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush

Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush
Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush

Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush
Chikuhodo The Foundation Brush

Chikuhodo The Crease Brush
Chikuhodo The Crease Brush

Chikuhodo The Crease Brush
Chikuhodo The Crease Brush

Chikuhodo The Crease Brush
Chikuhodo The Crease Brush

Chikuhodo The Crease Brush
Chikuhodo The Crease Brush

Chikuhodo The Crease Brush
Chikuhodo The Crease Brush

Chikuhodo The Lip Brush
Chikuhodo The Lip Brush

Chikuhodo The Lip Brush
Chikuhodo The Lip Brush

Chikuhodo The Lip Brush
Chikuhodo The Lip Brush

Chikuhodo The Lip Brush
Chikuhodo The Lip Brush

Chikuhodo The Lip Brush
Chikuhodo The Lip Brush

Chikuhodo The Lip Brush
Chikuhodo The Lip Brush

Chikuhodo The Brow Brush
Chikuhodo The Brow Brush

Chikuhodo The Brow Brush
Chikuhodo The Brow Brush

Chikuhodo The Brow Brush
Chikuhodo The Brow Brush

Chikuhodo The Brow Brush
Chikuhodo The Brow Brush

Chikuhodo The Brow Brush
Chikuhodo The Brow Brush

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Product Availability

Chikuhodo Holiday 2016 $245.00
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About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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47 Comments

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This set is really beautiful, but I too found the lip and brow brushes a turn off. I own the Goss brow brush and never use it because it’s too thick for my naturally thin brows, and a lip brush is easy to come by. Wasn’t last year’s set squirrel hair? At any rate, I’m gonna pass. I’d probably pick a couple up if they were available individually.

It’s interesting how small the brow brush in terms of width/length, but it’s so much thicker than a lot of other brow brushes! Even for someone with thicker natural brows, I think as far as technique goes, it’s usually about finer strokes to mimic brow hair, so the thinner brow brushes just make more sense to me as being *most* versatile and applicable (which I think is what one would shoot for with a brush set).

I’d rather they had included an eyeshadow shader brush and kept the set at five even, though I think they could have easily worked in an eyeshadow shader + pointed crease/pencil brush without the price fluctuating too much higher. It’s more in line with last year’s set, I suppose, which was five brushes for $215. The powder brush last year was a mix of blue squirrel and goat, while the Cheek, Crease, Shader brushes were out of gray squirrel and the Detail brush was a mix of fitch and horse. I think this year’s brush bag is nicer, though, and is probably going to be more aesthetically pleasing (overall).

Sometimes decisions come down to something as quick and simple as: I find the red ferrules entirely off putting. Nope, don’t like them at all. I think a matte black or gold..

I like the design of last year’s set more myself, as the red is too flashy for my preference. In general, I find I gravitate towards black handles, though Smith’s handles were stunning, so now I’m partial to black or wood left more natural.

Well, I’m SOOO glad I got last year’s set instead of waiting for this year’s. First, I like the cherry blossom design against the black handles more than against bright red handles, and I much prefer dark hairs over white hair, since they hide stains more easily. Second, these are expensive enough as is, and I don’t need to pay $30 more for a lip brush (which I rarely use) or a brow brush ( I need a really firm, thin one to draw in hairs and my Eco Tools does a great job). And the lip and brow brush didn’t rate that high either. And I don’t think this year’s foundation brush is going to get any use at all, since I much prefer my IT Velvet LBD one with my current foundation. Last year’s crease brush is weird (and so is this year’s), but other than that, I can easily use every brush in that set. The only thing I don’t like is that they recommend wiping with cloth and very minimal washing, so I don’t use them as often as I would like. Since I’m a germphobe and I switch colors everyday, and often use bold colors, I like to wash my brushes every time I use them. But since I use budget brushes most of the time (cheap, easy to wash, won’t cry if I ruin or lose them), I will probably only buy 1 high end set in my lifetime, so I’m glad I got last year’s set. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of my trips to Japan and it’s tradition of craftsmanship.

I think the crease brush in this year’s set is actually super common – it is probably the most typical crease brush shape I’ve seen, and it’s not too large or too small – I feel like it’s super easy to find alternatives to as a result, but it didn’t seem weird to me. I find that though I love the effect and use of a lot of natural hair foundation brushes, I like that I can really put my synthetics through the paces and wash liberally, and “save” the natural brushes and reach for the synthetics. IT’s LBD Foundation Brush is fab (didn’t include it in my list, since the shape is quite different) – definitely a go-to for me as well.

I know some baby their brushes and adhere to washing only a handful of times through the year and use microfiber clothes for cleaning brushes between colors… I just find I prefer washing more often myself. So, I have just resolved that yes, I might have to replace some of those luxury brushes someday – but if they last me a solid 5-10 years, I’ll be happy. They still lasted awhile and were very useful, and I’ll be okay replacing every decade or so, if necessary. Who knows — I might prefer different shapes or even want a change by then 😉

This year’s set is more resilient and should be able to withstand more frequent washings than last year’s set, though!

I preordered this and I’m absolutely in love with it. I didn’t get last year’s set, but I’m very happy I ended up with this year’s set. The red is definitely a standout! I have a few squirrel-haired brushes but I think I still end up reaching for my goat-haired brushes more – the squirrel can be a bit too floppy/soft at times. The white hairs are also just so clean looking.

Even if the price didn’t stop me, the use of goat hair most assuredly did. Why oh why must I have a dang allergy to goats??? Goat hair blending brushes work the absolute BEST for blending, buffing and giving eyeshadows that blown out look. The one brush I really need is a great synthetic eyeshadow blending brush! *rant over*
That all said and done, I ADORE those beautiful handles!!! And handle size is perfect for me, too!

In lieu of a goat hair brush and needing something in the meantime as I look for a better option; e.l.f. blending brushes or the blending end of several UD double ended brushes that have come in around 5 palettes. Both do a decent job, but not a truly great job. I know that e.l.f.’s are $1-2 a piece, animal, but definitely not goat.

I’m with you 100% Nancy on buying e.l.f. brushes because they are not bad (within reason) and cheap! I use them to try out all my new Colourpop eyeshadows and any and all new or revised formulations of shadows from my regular brands.
If a product can be worked with an e.l.f. brush then I can certainly do wonders with it by using my better brushes!

Their Studio line (black) brushes are quite good, in particular; the C Eyeshadow Brush, Small Stipple Brush and the Angled Blush Brush. The regular line blending brush isn’t *bad*, but not the greatest either. I might order the Studio Blending brush or see if I can find something in Real Techniques or Eco Tools.

Oh okay, I didn’t realize the different colored handles meant different lines. Most of what I have are the black ones- with a recent purchase of a couple of their contour brushes and I already have a few of the big, fluffy type. Not sure what brushes those are tho- I don’t see any info on them.

I already use their small stipple brush and am happy with them too. I use them for blush exclusivly and I did have a few of their angled brushes, but it seems they grew legs and walked off! Is the C brush their concealor brush? I’ve used that to buff shadow with and also like it a lot- never used it for concealor tho.

Surprisingly or not- my local e.l.f. carousel is pretty much always picked clean of their brushes. I’m in heaven when I find it freshly stocked!

I really wanted these brushes, because I love wasting money on pretty brushes that I don’t need, especially with white hair, but that shade of red was a game changer. So damn bright, almost lurid. So, no pretty floral brushes for me. I think I will treat myself to a Suqqu face brush instead.

Thank you for the thorough review, Christine! Very useful in determining whether this is worth saving up for. I do love the look of the set, I think it’s beautiful, with the lacquered handles, brush bag, and even the red ferrules! However I think I’d only actually use 2 or 3 of the brushes which is terrible for how pricey it is. I think the foundation brush would suit me well as I have a small face but it’s a shame I can’t purchase that on its own. Oh well I can admire from afar!

I didn’t buy this set, neither did I buy last year’s. However, looking at both sets now, I find last year’s more attractive. I didn’t buy either set because I don’t know enough about natural hair versus synthetic ones. Can anyone please tell me what the difference is application wise? Also, which kind is better for dry skin, the goat hair or the squirrel hair? Or synthetic is better. I am very confused and obviously don’t know enough.

It depends on the products you’re applying, IMO! In general, natural hair is much better at picking up powder products and applying them for me – they hold powder better ON the bristles and kick up less product in the pan. Synthetics are better for cream and liquid products, as synthetic is much more resilient and can take deeper cleans without worrying about losing softness over time.

Good quality goat hair is sufficient in softness for most, and it is more resilient (easier to maintain, more forgiving to frequent washings) than squirrel, which is more delicate and manufactures advise washing like, twice a year! Squirrel is softer. The softer the bristles, the softer the application – it will pick up less product. Goat hair, while very soft, kind of offers the best of both worlds: good color pick-up, good blending.

I love the brush heads, the case, even the handles but really dislike the ferrules and the lip & brow brush…so after a whole weekend of debating it I’ve decided not to get it. Instead I’m going to purchase individual brushes from the Takumi series.

Another reality check for me was that I have last year’s set and barely use it! Yikes.

What ferrule color would you have liked to have seen?

I was surprised that Takumi’s pricing really wasn’t that different, and it is very comparable in materials used (for the brush heads).

Either properly match the ferrules to the handles (the handles are a much warmer red) or skip red ferrules altogether and do gold or possibly black? I don’t know what would be better – I appreciate that it was tough for them to get a good colour match.

Another thing that makes this year’s set slightly less compelling beyond the design choices is the pricing – you were definitely getting a better deal with last year’s set because of the more expensive fibres. I’m sure though whomever orders them will be pleased because in the end Chikuhodo makes great brushes.

I promised myself last year that this year I was going to bite the bullet. But straight off the bat I was taken aback by the lip and brow brushes. The inclusion of them with the price hike felt….I can’t find the right words other than it just doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like the foundation brush at all and while I’m complaining I really REALLY don’t like the bright red shade of the handles lol wow! I had a lot of pent up feelings.
The good news is I had in mind only buying this year’s brush set and the Marc Jacobs 20 eye con if he did another. Just 2 big purchases of things I would cherish instead of going nuts buying several things just because they are a good deals. Bad news is I forgot every time I plan ANYTHING the universe laughs at me 🙂 I don’t like either of this year’s offerings. Ok Christine, the coming months are crunch time lol I’m positive you will tempt me with worthy replacements hehehe

I didn’t even recall that last year’s price was $215, so I completely missed that there was a price hike as well.

If you do not LOVE the design, skippity skip! Chikuhodo makes fabulous brushes, but you should get the brushes you want and will LOVE.

I love this set, but agree that the brow and lip brush just work as fillers and aren’t really necessary, especially since they are so easy to come by. I sold the brow brush already and am trying to get rid of the lip one too.

The foundation brush really sucked as a foundation brush for me, so I’ll try it as a contour brush instead. If that doesn’t work, then I don’t know what to do!

Smart to sell the ones you don’t like 😉

What didn’t you like about it for foundation? Would it work maybe for concealer or cream blush?

I found that it felt a bit scratchy, and it also seemed to pull my foundation off instead of blending it in nicely. Also it’s so small and I felt it took way too long to get the look I wanted, while a beauty blender gets me to the look I want MUCH faster! I’m thinking I’ll try it for those things if I need to! I just ordered the Anastasia sticks and one is a contour one so I’ll try with that and see how it goes!

Gotcha! Yes, it didn’t seem as even/smooth/soft as the others – in general, I can use the best ones in any direction or motion and NEVER feel a single bristle poke me ever. I didn’t have the same issues applying foundation (which did you use? I tried it with Guerlain Lingerie de Peau and Tarte Rainforest of the Sea), but it did take far longer than other brushes for me. I’m probably the only person on earth who doesn’t reach for the beautyblender 99% of the time, though, lol.

I completely get you about the foundation brush! I didn’t film like mine was scratchy at all during the application of my bb cream but felt a little something while working the cream blush.
I am too used to used a really big brush for foundation. I don’t think that it will resolve my beloved The Face III!

Red lacquer brush handles? YES- more please! This is a beautiful set of brushes and I’m quite pleased with them.
First, for me personally-there is nothing on the planet better to apply foundation, powder and blush with than goat hair. I was taught to prime the brush with a light dusting of rice powder before using to apply colored cosmetics. The powder helps to maintain the barrier between the bristles & the foundation. I tend to use highly pigmented blushes so I am never concerned with my brush retaining its natural vanilla shade. Plus I more often than not apply my blush with a stippling brush, and then buff it out.
The lip brush is nice, but I did notice its tendency to separate on occasion. That’s not uncommon tho. And as someone who never applies lipstick straight from the bullet- I can assure you I have bought nearly every lippie brush ever sold and bottom line is toss the ones you dislike immediately because they only clutter up your drawer. You’ll never use them- ever!
No comment on the eyebrow brush mostly because I am still in search of my ultimate eyebrow product. I finally abandoned all hope of learning how to manage mine- so instead I simply use a growth product, then get them dyed, trimmed and shaped by an expert. Problem solved!
The crease brush I haven’t tried yet as I actually prefer synthetic bristles these days mostly due to the “wet” consistency of many of my eyeshadows. As long as the bristles aren’t wobbly I’m fine with just about any brand of synthetic. I honestly think those are all the same. I might use the crease brush for highlighting instead- maybe.

Again, for me this set is a lovely addition to my vanity. The pricing is fair, and the variety of brushes is….fine I suppose. I have learned over the years that I prefer longer handles, but I can understand that with the delicate artwork on them these aren’t meant to be jammed into a repurposed glass candle jar!
I’m happy with mine and will be using them nearly exclusively now to break them in.
Many Thanks for the review Christine and the alternatives list. Revealing your personal preferences is so helpful- I very much appreciate it as now I will definitely be trying a brand that I previously dismissed!

What synthetic crease brush do you like the most, Trish? I still struggle to find and LOVE (truly LOVE!) synthetic brushes for eyes (and in general, use with powder).

I also like using crease brushes for applying color to the brow bone, if you don’t think you’d use it in the crease!

Here in the States you can get Palladio Rice Powder at most Sally’s and online with them. It’s only $5 and it does come in different shades, but I always use the translucent.
If you live in a major city with Asian markets or drugstores they often carry some beauty items- so check there. I’ve picked up numerous brands but they all seem to work about the same.

Just make sure you buy cosmetic grade rice powder if you are looking @ online suppliers.

Easy does it tho- and work it in. You shouldn’t have any evidence that your brushes took a swim in it. Rice powder absorbs oil- so remember that when you are trying it with different bases. If your HG foundation is one of the more emollient laden ones (dewey) then the powder might alter your end result.
Clean your brushes between product applications by brushing them in one direction on a soft, natural cotton fabric & wash them as needed. Hope this helps!

I had a similar feeling, that there may have been a brush or two snuck in to “meat” up the set, but when it comes to Japanese brush sets, (and, really, almost every other brush set on the market) I feel like we always see this happen: the inclusion of a lip, brow, spoolie, etc. brush. Honestly, I think when it comes to this particular set, the deal-breaker for some could be those two brushes. (lip and brow) However, I currently do not own a lip brush of this shape so I am excited to use it. Additionally, this will be the first water badger brush I have ever tried, so the value is definitely there for me. Beyond that, the brushes are full size (a nice change of pace from the last collection — I have big man hands and I like full-size brushes) and even further still, the aesthetic has all but captured my heart. I do not gravitate toward ‘red’ items in my life — my favorite colors are actually blue and green — but there’s just something about the way these brushes look, honey. That stunning fiery bright red handle and that gorgeous, well-coordinated ferrule color just make me happy and definitely get me in the spirit of the holidays. My set should arrive early October and I will have just moved into my new home. These brushes represent new positive energies for me coming into the new year and I am so thrilled to use them (and take very good care of them!) for years to come.

If you don’t have a lip brush you use often or like, there’s certainly room to have one! 🙂 But that is always the problem with sets – you don’t need TONS of them after you already have a good selection of brushes.

Enjoy yours, Anime! 🙂 It’s a beautiful set.

I received my set yesterday and so far I love it!

Red is a color I love… I might not have caved it the set has been… green for example! It is definitely not the perfect set because of the lip and brow brushes but I was in need of a lip brush and the brow brush ends up being smaller than the specs I own -and rather use for gel liner-, which I enjoy. It helps that I don’t need to do much. Nevertheless, I will keep looking for a thinner brush!

Even though I knew the foundation brush would be on the smaller side… It still surprise me! I tested it wish my bb cream and it does a really good job. I loved it even more with cream blush ! It melts it into the skin perfectly and I found it smaller size to be an advantage here! Really easy to achieve a natural look. I will consider starting contouring with cream products… As soon as I figure which product could be used on my fair complexion! Lol

The powder brush is smaller than what I am used to but the size is perfect for the under eye!
The highlights brush could pick up product from my hardest highlighter (dior, spring LE 2016) and applied it with such delicatie…

I could go on for a long time like this… As you said in your analyse… If one’s can make good use of all the brushes and loves the design it is worth it. I also travel regularly. The pouch is thus a nice addition ?.

Happy to hear it, Marie-Estelle! It is a beautiful set – don’t get me wrong – especially for anyone who will use the brushes often or wants the lip/brow 🙂

Oh, my words were maybe a bit clumsy. I meant more that I understand it is not everybody’s taste ?. It seems perfect for someone who doesn’t have a lot of brushes and who wants to wet his toes in the Japanese brushes’ world.

I doubt I would cave for a similar kit anytime soon as it contains mostly basics brushes (and I understand most kits do) and will certainly now aim at brushes which are more… Unique!

Nevertheless, I would love to see them come up with a set of eyeshadow brushes in the future ?. ( Never have too many of them, right?)

For blending and crease work I tend to use either an oval MAC #3 or one of the ARTIS ovals or circle brushes. I like the ovals because I can hold the handle of the brush sideways and not block my line of vision. Price wise they are both around the same I think. Maybe I should look before I say that because my MAC’s are already a couple years old!
For laying down product I’ve been using VASANTI brand shadow/concealer brushes mostly because it’s a larger, well shaped brush that I can work with easily. And they are priced reasonable- around $18 with a discount code. Longevity is not their strong point though, and I’ve noticed that the fibers tend to break down and you’ll get strays poking out if you really work the brush. I like the shape of their long handles too. I had never heard of the brand till I saw one at my daughters house only to find out she got it in one of her monthly beauty boxes. Now I have 10 of them!
I’ve been poked more times than I care to remember by some mighty pricey brushes over the years, and nothing annoys me more than buying a brush that I’ll never use. When I find something that saves me $$ and it’s a decent product I’m in!

I think synthetics will continue to improve because the demand is there. You just have to experiment with every brand that comes along to see which one you can work with. If you had told me 7/8 years ago that I would eventually be using mostly synthetic brushes I’d have screamed in horror! But with today’s new products they tend to work better- at least I think so.
Hope this helps Christine!

Thank you so much, Trish! This is very helpful 🙂

The synthetics are definitely improving!! And there is a lot more variety to choose from, too.

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