S127Bk Eye Shadow Brush
Hakuhodo S127Bk Eye Shadow Brush ($38.00) is a medium, flat eyeshadow brush with a tapered edge. It is made out of Canadian squirrel, and the brush head is 15.20mm in height, 11.25mm in width, and 4.50mm in depth with a total length of 15.70cm. Unsurprisingly, it was incredibly soft and smooth, and I could use it any direction and never feel the point of an individual bristle. It washed well and held its shape upon drying, though it is not recommended to wash this brush frequently due to the type of hair.
Against my eye, it ended up being rather large, so it did not find its way into my personal must-haves, but it is a great brush for all-over lid color application, especially for those who prefer medium, buildable pigmentation than true-to-pan, one layer opacity. It also worked well for diffusing edges and gently layering one eyeshadow over another when they had more powdery textures. The flatter shape, which had no fluffiness, did work best for laying down color over blending. I liked it for patting on loose powder underneath my eyes (over concealer), though I would likely reach for a larger brush normally.
This brush would be best for someone with medium or larger eyes (particularly someone who has a lot of lid space) and wants something incredibly smooth and soft to the touch for laying down sheer to medium coverage powders.
S133Bk Eye Shadow Brush
Hakuhodo S133Bk Eye Shadow Brush ($35.00) is a medium, dome-shaped eyeshadow brush with light fluffiness and moderate density. It was similar in overall width compared to the S127 but ultimately has a fluffier feel, thicker edge, and is shorter, which also made it more manageable on my eye size. It is made out of Canadian squirrel, and the brush head is 15.70mm in height, 11.00mm in width, and 4.80mm in depth with a total length of 15.70cm.
The bristles always felt soft regardless of the direction I used it in, which made for a comfortable application. The brush was smooth, soft, and easy on the eyes for laying down color on the lid, blending along the edges, and even applying color into the crease or on the brow bone. It might be a little larger for some eye shapes, and it would be more of a go-to brush if it was smaller for me.
S5523BBk Eye Shadow Brush
Hakuhodo S5523BBk Eye Shadow Brush ($24.00) is a flat, medium-sized eye brush that has nearly the same width from base to edge with a subtle rounding a few millimeters before the edge. It is made out of goat and horse hairs, and the brush head is 16.90mm in length, 10.90mm in width, and 6.20mm in depth with a total length of 15.15cm.
The brush was much denser than the goat version of the same style and lacks the give of the goat version that makes it excellent for blending and diffusing out color. I struggled to find ways to use this effectively, as it just seemed to drag color around too quickly or harshly rather than getting a more gradient-like blend. When I tried using it to deposit color into the crease, it did a good job of initially laying down the color, but it did not blend it out well, so I had to reach for another tool for that purpose. I had the best luck using it to blend out cream eyeshadows, where the firmer, denser brush made more sense. I did not find it worked that well for applying brow bone color or blending out eyeshadows after they have been packed on–it was adequate but the same shape but in goat hair does a significantly better job all-around.
S5521BBk Highlight Brush Tapered
Hakuhodo S5521BBk Highlight Brush Tapered ($47.00) is a medium, tapered highlighting brush that flares out from the ferrule and then tapers to a rounded edge about two-thirds from the base. It is made out of goat and horse hairs, and the brush head is 32.00mm in length, 22.35mm in width and depth with a total length of 16.50cm.
The combination of goat and horse hairs makes it a much more resilient brush, giving it more spring and more effortless blending while able to take more washings with ease. It had moderate density with some fluffiness, but it wasn’t so fluffy that it lost precision or its ability to sweep on color where one wanted it. The texture of the bristles was still soft without being pointy or scratchy, but it was not as soft or as smooth compared to the same brush in goat or squirrel, which was expected and not a downside/con to the product. This one worked better with firmer or denser products compared to a softer natural hair (like squirrel), and it picked up a lot more color/product.
I find this shape to be great for applying highlighter, blush, and for subtle bronzing. It’s one of my favorite shapes and a style that I like across ranges. It can lay down color, sweep it upward, or blend and diffuse edges. The more tapered edge makes it usable for contouring the cheeks as well. If you are someone who is heavy handed and needs to be lighter, I would recommend trying goat or squirrel in this shape rather than this one, but if you are light-to-medium handed or have a lot of sheer, buildable products, this one would work well.