Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush, Z-8 Cheek Brush, Z-3 Contour Brush Reviews & Photos

01/06

Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush  

Z-8 Cheek Brush

Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush ($141.00) is a medium-sized, tapered, slightly paddle-shaped, blush brush. The brush head is 1.25 inches or 3 centimeters in width, just over 1.5 inches or 4 centimeters in length, and 0.75 inches or 2 centimeters in thickness. It has an open ferrule and a total length of 6 inches or just over 15.5 centimeters. It is made out of gray squirrel hair.

It’s an impossibly soft, dense blush brush that applies both sheer and more pigmented blushes with ease, blends them almost as you apply and lay down the color, and never, ever irritates the skin. I like how dense and full the brush is, but it still has give; it doesn’t feel stiff or heavy against the skin–you still get a lot that featheriness of a less dense brush. This brush is a real multi-tasker, if you wish it to be, because it’s large enough to apply blush, bronzer, or powder as desired, but it isn’t overly large, so it could also work for dusting on a highlighter (probably one that is sheerer) or finishing powder all-over the face. I’ve had no issues with shedding over the past two months I’ve been test-driving it. I can see why some splash out for luxury brushes like this one, though that “is it worth it” question is always going to be difficult. I couldn’t think of similar brushes to this that I have; its density and roundness at its base made it hard to dupe (most of my blush brushes are flatter).

15
Product
15
Fitness
5
Durability
5
Construction
100%
Total
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01/05

Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush  

Z-2 Highlight Brush

Chikuhodo Z-2 Highlight Brush ($92.00) is a thinner, tapered brush. It is made out of gray squirrel hair. The brush head is 1.5 inches or 3.5 centimeters in length, 0.75 inches or 2 centimeters in width and thickness (it is rounded). It has an open, rounded ferrule with a total length of 6 inches or 15 centimeters.

The really tapered tip allows for highlighting with precision along the bridge of the nose particularly well, but it can easily deposit highlight onto cheek bones, forehead, or even all over (this is actually how I’ve often used it: to dust on a finishing powder like Guerlain’s Meteorites). As it is a smaller brush, it may take a few more strokes for all-over application, but it seems like the ideal size for applying a highlight to cheek bones. It’s not so large that it will overlap heavily with your blush application, but it still has a soft, feathery feel so that the highlight applies evenly, smoothly, and is diffused on the skin. The most similar brush I have to this is the Hakuhodo J5521, which is shorter and is less tapered/narrow (and it is not quite as soft, but it’s a very soft and well-made brush as well). MAC 165 is also similar, though a lot less soft and not quite as pointed at the edge. MAC’s 138 has a similar shape but is two and a half times the size.

15
Product
15
Fitness
5
Durability
5
Construction
100%
Total
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

01/06

Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  
Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush  

Z-3 Contour Brush

Chikuhodo Z-3 Contour Brush ($54.00) is small, flat circular brush that almost looks like a very, very tiny flat-topped kabuki with an elongated, thinner handle. I can’t recall having a brush shaped like this for contour (or for any other purpose in this size). It’s made out of gray squirrel hair and has a glossy black handle (slightly shorter than the average brush’s handle). The brush head measures just over 0.50 inches or 1.5 centimeters in length, just over 0.5 inches or 1.8 centimeters in width/thickness (it is round). It had an open, round ferrule and a total length of just over 5 inches or 13 centimeters.

If you prefer more precise, detailed-driven brushes, you might like this option for contouring, as it is noticeably smaller in general compared to your average face brush. It fits well underneath the cheek bone and in the hollow of the cheeks for contouring. The brush is incredibly soft, never scratchy or rough, whether used in a stippling, sweeping, or buffing motion. I really liked it for contouring, as you can get a stronger, richer contour line and then buff and blend it out without over-blending. But I really loved it for buffing concealer and applying powder beneath my under eyes and around the nose. The softness is much appreciated along the under eye area. It also worked well for buffing out the edges of cream blush or adding a bit of powder to soften an over-done blush without worrying about over-correcting as you might with a larger buffer brush.

Chikuhodo brushes can be purchase at Now-e Project. Starting today, they have reduced shipping up to free shipping, depending on purchase amount ($250+ = free). They also have four sets of various Z-series brushes bundled (saves a bit!) if you’re looking to buy a few at once. Or you can save 10% with code TEMPTALIA. All valid coupons cannot be used with other coupons (one per order), discounts, or special value offers.

14
Product
13
Fitness
5
Durability
5
Construction
93%
Total
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

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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46 Comments

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I might consider the contour brush but no matter how much disposable income I had, I simply could not conscience spending that much on the first 2 brushes. I’d buy MAC or RT and give the rest to charity. Honestly, as frivolous as I can be about makeup, there are times when I see the prices of things and all I can think of is the people in my city or any city who don’t have enough to eat. So I’d spend 40 bucks on a brush and give the remaining $100 to the food bank in my city! Okay, off my soap box now!

Does anybody know how the hair, most often squirrel, is obtained for manufacture of m/u brushes? Any scenario I invent is not pretty…for the squirrels. Clearly the hair is not shed + gathered by workers in clean suits. And I doubt that there’s a squirrel farm, like a sheep station, where the little guys are shorn, then regrow. I realize this is a m/u blog, and the ~hodos deserve a review. But, as with everything we use, we should consider, not just the source, but the implications of the source. I get that this is a master craftsman tradition in Japan, where making something essentially pragmatic also beautiful + exquisite is esteemed and honored. The rest of where my head is going is probably better left unsaid….even unthought!

I don’t know what Chikuhodo’s answer is, but this is what Hakuhodo wrote in response to that question:

“As you may know, some Asian counties raise goats for their food, like cattle or poultry. Our suppliers buy only hair from these butchers.

We also import squirrel and weasel (sable) hairs from suppliers in the EU and Asian countries. These suppliers have explained to us that they obtain those hairs from animals that have been exterminated for reasons other than for their hair. We do know that the squirrels and weasels were not harmed, or killed, for only the purpose of obtaining their hair: the hair is a byproduct.

All purchases of materials and supplies strictly adhere to Japan’s Welfare and Management of Animals Act, as well as any related international laws.”

thanks. gross as it may seem, i usually wear/use what i will eat…. and i do eat beef/wear leather. this is somewhat reassuring…somewhat. i don’t have a problem w/ goat hair, although i just love those naughty things. i doubt i could kill an animal anyway. if you actually know it, it would be too terrible to contemplate. one way of becoming a vegetarian. maybe they just rid an area of ‘nuisance animals.’ yeah. i guess i’m still mistrustful.

love that you had your name engraved. what a classic!

I have dry skin and in winter my skin can suffer from allergy. I love my Z series brushes (not yet bought one for powder because I am still confused of a proper final choice). I didn’t look for similar gray squirrel or squirrel/ goat mix brushes in the less expensive lines by Chikuhodo because it’s difficult to do blind shopping that way, even I know the less expensive lines can perform similarly to Z series.

I think it is a good splurge as I hate spending a large premium for a small advancement! Brushes from Tom Ford are silky and big but the price is too high for goat! Why do I pay that much on TF when I can add a small sum to buy a squirrel or squirrel -goat mix brush? Likewise, those “perfect”, fuller Suqqu brushes are too highly priced when a much less expensive brush can attain 90-100% of its result. Sometimes I would take that premium to build up the variety to include brushes of different hair like kolinsky or simply save that premium to buy a back-up so that I can wash the brushes more often without guilt/ regret.

What are your favorite Z brushes, Gladys? They are, as pretty much everyone who’s tried them have said, amazing brushes. The hard part is deciding which ones to invest in, and whether it’s an investment that would be “worth it” to each person.

I wouldn’t pay significantly more for packaging, but Tom Ford’s aesthetic appeals to me more than many other brush handles, so for a few dollars difference, I would probably still go TF. Double the price, less so.

I understand your point about brush handle and the sturdiness issue! I guess I will pick up the bronzer brush by TF someday. Considering that Chikuhodo has a Kiwami series above this Z series, TF is still staying far away from the super luxury choices.

Sorry for the long reply. But before individual brush comment, I would say, for oily skin plx go for a squirrel/ goat mix at the very least

My favorite will go to Z4 and Z10. I try not to multitask gray squirrel brushes because they don’t stand cleaning well, so I went for Z4 instead of Z8 for blush. If Rae Morris/ Wayne Goss offers their latest range sooner, I may get their squirrel crease brushes instead of Z10, but still Z10 is a delight to me.

Z2 -3 may be too small for some people. Z5 is a good brush but it depends on whether people like to apple base color or apply & blend with a bigger paddle shaped brush. I DO think Z6- 7 are not that crucial/ too big. Z1 or Z9 are the best picks in the line, but people including me is indecisive to determine which one is the personal pick!

It’s SO hard to pick, and for most, it’s not practical to get them all, so you have to be very certain of the ones you do invest in. Not being able to handle them, use them, etc. in advance always makes that even more challenging.

What do you use to clean your brushes, Gladys?

I clean with baby shampoo. Although I wanna do some santinizing work, but none can be found (UV light, tea tree oil, vinegar, …) safe for use without damaging the hair.

Some people kindly tell me to wipe off the dirt with micro-fibre cloth every time after use. Unfortunately, I don’t know what to get within the huge basket of selections available in the stores. So I use tissue paper or muslin cloth.

Some other people use MAC wipes to clean brushes, I don’t like it.

Have you heard of conditioning or santinizing with diluted vinegar solution?

Is this true? I tried to do some research on these brushes before I purchase more. I didn’t find anything saying the company was not cruelty free. Could you direct me to your source? This is important to me on whether I purchase anymore in the future.

You rock! Though I wish I haven’t seen this. I said to myself no buy in June and July. Now I think I won’t able to keep this goal. Beautiful brushes!! And you have them engraved too. Is it $2 for each letter Christine?

It’s technically May, does that help at all? 😉

When I read their FAQ on engraving, it sounds like $2 for engraving up to 10 or 16 letters, depending on brush handle length!

I dont think there is any brush that is worth that amount of money unless it can literally do everything for your entire face. It just seems so unreasonable to charge that much for one brush! Im currently using the real techniques brushes and I love them!

Hehe, you should see the prices MAC charges here – almost $80 for a 217, anyone? 😉 RT is definitely much more affordable, even in NZ. I think it’s only ~$30 for one of the bigger powder brushes, which is a definite improvement!

Just generally (price aside), I think these brushes look really lovely and soft. I also like your name embossing on the handle 😉

Not synthetic = no thanks. I have enough problem with cat hair getting stuck to my face, I don’t need squirrel hair on top of that.

A high quality brush, synthetic or otherwise, shouldn’t shed or leave hair on your face (these won’t, but just in general, they shouldn’t!).

stila makes a double ended brush that looks just like the z-3 on one of the ends. i can’t recall the brush number and i’m sure it is no where near as nice as the chikuhodo (the stila is a little scratchy), but if someone was interested in trying the shape for way less $$$$ it would be an option.

don’t forget to check out the wayne goss brushes on beautylish. there are rumors that they were crafted to his specs in Japan, + some say by hakuhodo. i’m going there + starting small. the eye set is only 148 USD. i think i’ll start with #5,7, and 8. the those 3 plus the eye set for both would run a little over 200. i think his prices come down from the stratosphere. not cheap, but doable, when you consider how much most of us spend on product.

The pricing seems similar to some of Hakuhodos brushes, but I think it depends if you get a set vs. individuals.

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