NARS Kabuki Brush Set (Holiday 2014) Review, Photos, Swatches

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set ($149.00) includes three, kabuki-style brushes: Mie Kabuki, Mizubake Kabuki, and Kabuki Eye Brush. The Mie and Mizubake brushes are both $55 each, so that is $110 value there, and then $39 for the eye brush (which seems about right–the Kudoko, an eye Kabuki brush NARS released earlier this year is priced at $40). The brushes come housed in a thick, plastic rectangular box (it feels like acrylic storage containers to me). There’s a thin, removable plastic insert that holds the brushes upright in the box.

Mie Kabuki is supposed to be used for “all-over face application of loose and pressed powders.” It’s a medium-large powder brush that flares from the bottom, rounds out in the middle, then gradually tapers to a soft point at the top. It felt exactly like the full-sized version I’ve tested previously (see my original review here, and consistency is good, but the brush is unimpressive due to the rougher, scratchier bristles.

Mizubake Kabuki is supposed to be used for “contour and sculpt[ing].” It is a short-handled, flat-topped brush that flares out from the base. It had moderate density with light spring, so it worked well for buffing product into the skin, stippling, blending, and sweeping. This felt the same as the original, full-sized brush I reviewed previously (see review here). When NARS rolled out their Kabuki series brushes earlier this year, the Mizubake was the only one I liked, as it wasn’t scratchy/rough. The cutting is slightly uneven, so that could be improved.

Kabuki Eye is supposed to be used for a “soft-focus, seamless effect” for eyeshadows. It is a limited edition brush. It is a large, tapered brush that looks like a jumbo-sized crease brush. The brush head was 0.75 inches / 2 centimeters in length and 0.5 inches / 1.2 centimeters in width/thickness. The brush had a total length of 7 inches / almost 18 centimeters. It has good spring so that it flexes and diffuses powder eyeshadow easily, while it is dense enough that it still deposits color. Most of the time, it doesn’t feel scratchy (but I wouldn’t describe it as really soft or silky), but occasionally, there’s a bristle or two that seems to be scratchy/thicker. If you can, you may want to see this brush in person, as it is quite large, and that may or may not work for you depending on your routine. If it was softer, I would have liked it for diffusing and blending out concealer, but I prefer something with a silkier feeling against the under eye area.

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See more photos & swatches!

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Mie Kabuki Brush
NARS Mie Kabuki Brush

NARS Mie Kabuki Brush
NARS Mie Kabuki Brush

NARS Mie Kabuki Brush
NARS Mie Kabuki Brush

NARS Mie Kabuki Brush
NARS Mie Kabuki Brush

NARS Mie Kabuki Brush
NARS Mie Kabuki Brush

NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush
NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush

NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush
NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush

NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush
NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush

NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush
NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush

NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush
NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Eye Brush

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Eye Brush

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Eye Brush

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Eye Brush

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Eye Brush

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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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33 Comments

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I’m a fool for the packaging but for budgeting, something similar can probably be bought thst holds candles.. These brushes have been teasing me.. Getting itchy! πŸ™‚ haha if I was well enough right now, I’d find this craft project and do it. πŸ™‚

I love the look of the handle but these are way too expensive for me for the issues you’ve mentoned. If I was looking for a high end brush I would probably stick with the make up for ever brushes as I’ve had yood luck with those and they’re much softer.

Too many better brushes at this price point… and I think that the shapes, while interesting, may or may not be versatile for someone, and if they aren’t, it’s a lot to spend!

I could see some use for the eye brush, but not so much that i’d get this kit, The boc is pretty though, I think. Maybe not the reaction NARS was hoping for πŸ™‚

I have the Yachiyo brush and absolutely love it. I use it for everything some days, blush, highlighter, bronzer and sometimes even my Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder over the center of my face which I then use a larger brush to finish. Is the Mie Brush comparable as I have heard reviews that it is more scratchy than the Yachiyo? I have also heard it is softer so I don’t know what to think now.

It seems scratchier than the Yachiyo most of the time, but I don’t like the NARS Yachiyo much due to it also being on the scratchy side. (I also have Hakudho’s Yachiyo, which is softer, but it isn’t that soft.)

I always wonder what kind of bristle they are? Synthetic or natural? If natural, what kind of hair? I just can’t seem to find the information anywhere. I just heard that the Nars brushes are usually hand crafted in Japan? Is that true?

I’m really considering these brushes… I don’t have many “scratchier” brushes, but I do have some products I think may benefit from one. Plus, I *love* the box! However, if I can find the Ita brush, I may just grab that, along with the Yachiyo brush…

I find the “uses” for both face brushes a bit amusing-it would seem the flat Mizubake brush would lend itself better for all-over applications, while the tapered Mie brush would be more suitable for contouring!

Ugh..why try to copy traditional Japanese style and fail miserably. C’mon Nars. I too was a sucker and purchased his botan,ita, and yachiyo. None of them are suitable for my sensitive skin. I will use the ita and yachiyo occasionally just to not wear out my other brushes,lol. I totally should have returned that botan because I cannot use it. I think I tried a few times and put it in a drawer! I agree, better brushes can be easily acquired at this price point.

Do you have a Yachiyo style brush that you like, Nicole? I don’t like NARS’ that much, but I don’t love Hakuhodo’s either!

Unfortunately no. I too have the med yachiyo from hakuhodo as well.while I find it much more gentle on my skin,I don’t tend to reach for it much.I’d love to find one that was actually a bit softer .Love their versatility and the look of the traditional Japanese brush.I tend to reach for my chikuhodo brushes the most. Lmk. If u have any brand suggestions!

Thank you so much for doing the review!!! πŸ˜€ I am sad about what you have to say, though. Not that that’s your fault–bad on NARS! Too bad because I would have loved to pick this set up but naaaaaay to 2 of the 3 being scratchy. So sad! πŸ™

LOL, I love how so many of us are doing the toddler/cat thing and being like ‘brushesmeh LOOK AT THAT SHINEH BOX!’ πŸ˜€

I like the way the NARS brushes look with their wrapped handles (especially the eye one), but the merest mention of scratchiness turns me off. I may not be much of a brush connoisseur, but I know there’s one thing I demand! πŸ˜‰

If they performed a little better I would have considered putting this on my Christmas list. I just can’t justify spending that much on 3 brushes if the quality isn’t impeccable. It’s a shame too because I really want that box lol

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