NARS Mie, Mizubake, Yachiyo, Kudoki Kabuki Brushes Reviews & Photos

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “multi-functional tool designed for defining cheekbones, highlighting the complexion, and blending and diffusing color on or around the eye area.” It’s a slightly smaller-than-medium-sized blush brush that flares outwards from the base and then tapers gradually to a point at the tip. It’s 1.5 inches / 4 centimeters in length, 0.75 inches / 2.5 centimeters in width (at its widest) and thickness. It has a total length of 6.25 inches / just over 16 centimeters. It has a fair amount of spring and moderate density. I liked it best with under-pigmented blushes or blushes with stiffer, drier consistencies, because the bristles aren’t as soft, so they seem to disturb the surface of tougher powder blushes better, but it’s a brush that doesn’t feel as nice on the skin at times. When I use a feathery touch, I don’t notice that it’s lacking some softness and smoothness to the bristles, but if I try to buff or really blend and diffuse color, it’s less comfortable. I remember hearing a lot of raves for this brush over the years, so when I received it, I was disappointed by the texture and feel of the brushes. It actually prompted me to try Hakuhodo’s Large Yachiyo brush ($50), which is softer but not as soft as other face brushes.

NARS Mie Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “soft, allover face powder” brush that uses goat hair bristles. 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’s nicely weighted with slightly more weight towards the brush head end, but it feels comfortable in the hand. The brush head is 1.75 inches / 5 centimeters in length, 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in width (at its widest point) and thickness. It had a total length of 7 inches / 17.5 centimeters. The bottom half (towards the base) is dense, and as it moves up, it has more of a moderate density and moderate spring. The bristles are somewhat rough/scratchy against the skin, especially if you use any tapping or stippling motion, and it is less noticeable if you use slow, sweeping motions. It is about double the size of the Yachiyo with greater density, but it is similar in overall shape.

NARS Mizubake Kabuki Brush ($55.00) is described as a “contour and sculpt” brush with goat hair bristles that can be used with blush as well. It is a short-handled, flat-topped brush that flares out from the base. The brush head was just short of 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in length, and 1.25 inches / 3 centimeters in width (at its widest point) and thickness. It had a total length of 4/5 inches / 11 centimeters. It could have a better cut–the bristles are a bit uneven, but it was significantly softer, smoother, and nicer to use on the skin compared to the other two brushes above. It had moderate density with light spring, so it worked well for buffing product into the skin, stippling, blending, and sweeping. Of the four, this was the only one I liked, though the shape itself isn’t one that I use in my regular routine, but it is a nice alternative to a buffer brush for someone looking for a longer handle (compared to most buffer brushes, that is!) and less density (it is easier to clean and dries faster than your typical buffer brush, since it is less dense).

NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush ($40.00) is described as a “sable and pony hair” brush used to “contour the eye for impeccable crease definition.” It is a medium-large-sized, sharply angled eye brush. The brush head measured 0.5 inches / just over 1 centimeter in length, 0.4 inches / 9mm in width, 1/8 of an inch / 3mm in thickness. It had a total 6.5 length of inches / almost 17 centimeters. It’s a firmer, denser brush that is very precise, so if you like a soft, diffused crease, this isn’t an appropriate brush. This seems like a brush you’d use to create a cut crease look. It could be used to apply eyeliner as well, but it is a thicker angled brush, so it would be for a more specific look/application or perhaps smudging out eyeliner. The bristles were fairly soft, but the shape is “sharper” in a way, so use a light pressure when applying to find your comfort zone. The cut could be better, as the edge is noticeably uneven.

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See more photos!

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush
NARS Yachiyo 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 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 Kudoki Kabuki Brush
NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush

NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush
NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush

NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush
NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush

NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush
NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush

NARS Kudoki Kabuki Brush
NARS Kudoki Kabuki 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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79 Comments

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No, the handles didn’t flimsy! I’ve washed each of these at least a dozen times (the Yachiyo even more, since I’ve had that for awhile now) but didn’t have any issues with washing. I just do the same as I do for my regular brushes, which is only run water along the lower portion of the brush and let the water naturally work its way closer to the base, then rinse in a similar way – but basically avoiding getting lots of water right up at the base. Inevitably, some water has touched the base, but I haven’t seen any issues with it.

I agree with you Christine. I’ve owned my Yachiyo brush for 3 years now and I do a similar type of washing. The brush is still in great form after regular washing and the handle is very sturdy.

I just see pictures of these and my heart gets mushy! These look so exotic but I will never have it in me to spend so much! 😛

The quality isn’t there in two of them for the price, IMO, so if you ever *were* going to, you should at least get the best.

Mine isn’t that recent (I think I got it 6-9 months ago) for the Yachiyo! But definitely well before NARS redid their brush range.

I’ve read alot of posts/comments about that brush being amazing for heavily pigmented products, due to it being super soft… I thought about checking it out, but the price always stopped me, LOL! I love NARS, and amwilling tto pay for the actual makeup, but for some reason, I can’t bring myself to pay over $20 for a brush.

You can definitely get nice brushes for less than $50+ for a face brush, and at this price point, these should be better cut and softer (it’s one thing not to be the softest brush of all time forever and ever… because softness isn’t always desired, but there’s kind of like a standard level of softness just for comfort against the skin itself vs. a brush that irritates the skin because of roughness or uneven bristles).

The shape always caught my eye in photos, and when I looked up reviews/opinions, I read how soft it was, and was very curious how it would work for contouring. I actually touched it on a display, and it just felt kind of cheap… I thought maybe it was because of constant touching/manipulating, but your review describes what I thought (and thos was a couple of years ago).

I want to add, I like brushes of all textures, which is partly why I have far too many, but because of the shape, I wanted it to be soft (for my needs).

I don’t think she’s talking about months, she’s talking about years. I’ve had mine years and I’ve heard complaints about the new ones for a while. For well over a year. The older ones are amazingly soft. You couldn’t think of calling them scratchy, no matter how you poke them at your face or how many times you wash them. Many HE brands are cutting corners these days though.

I love my Nars Yachiyo. How I use it I have mo problem with, but I wouldn’t get any other. I think for the price, they should seriously upgrade their brushes. I mean, Japanese style brushes made in China with very dubious bristles? Nope… I pass. I am much happier eith my Hourglass Peta approved, totally cruelty free and super doft brushes.

I was surprised to see that their brushes weren’t made in Japan, since that is often where brands go for high-quality brush making (kind of like Germany for eyeliners).

Oh wow. I never bought NARS brushes, but I’ve always loved the traditional Japanese styling of the Yachiyo and the Botan brushes. I automatically assumed that they were made in Japan based on name, design, and price point. I feel slightly deceived at knowing they are made in China.

I always wonder if I should be investing more $ into brushes. Mind you I do own a few more expensive ones, but I don’t usually go for the higher end. I love the look of these brushes but don’t think I’d actually buy one. That being said, the Bobbi Brown Bronzer brush is on my wish list hehe.

It really just depends on the type of brush, material you prefer, and how happy you are with what you have. I don’t think you have to spend a fortune to have good brushes – but you can!

These look so interesting! Although the naming of these brushes may be harder for people to remember/follow. 😛 But agreed with everyone else that the price point hurts!

I went to Sephora this weekend and actually held the first brush, and I definitely wasn’t a fan of how thin the handle was. The price is also too high for what it is, in my opinion.

I own a Sonia Kashuk dupe of the Kudoki Kabuki brush. It was about $15 and works very well for what you describe as the function for this brush.

NARS is just too expensive for brushes that can be found elsewhere for less. I do own some of Hakuhodo but I’ve lately found the Sephora ones to be greatly improved over what they were a few years ago.

Sonia Kashuk is a nice brand for brushes!

Sephora’s Pro range is nice – some are better than others – but in general, I like the range.

I’ve ofter wondered if they slaughter the ponies, goats, sables, etc. for the brush hair. Or do they shave them for the fur? Do you know? I don’t buy natural hair brushes anymore because I can’t stand the thought of ponies being killed for makeup brushes. But, if I knew for sure the animals aren’t killed and allowed to roam outside, I would buy them. I wish companies were more transparent about this.

Whether you believe it or not (or to the degree that one believes it), most companies say that the animal isn’t killed for its hair (e.g. it was killed for some other purpose by someone else, and the hair is more of a by-product), or in some cases, such as pony or goat hair, that it’s shaved/cut off. Just to be clear, I couldn’t tell you how true these statements are. You would have to inquire with the company in particular that you were interested in buying from to see what they said.

This is what NARS has on their website: “Please note: no animals are harmed in any way while collecting the natural hair used in many of our brushes.”

That is helpful to know, thank you. As someone who only buys cruelty free cosmetics it is important to me to know my brushes are cruelty free also. I wish all companies had that information on their websites. I am interested in Hakuhodu brushes, so I guess I will write to them and ask about this.
P.S.-Your blog is my definitive source for products reviews. You do an amazing job and I trust your opinions.

I don’t like the look of these. I think if I shelled out more money for brushes it’ll be Hakuhodo or Mac for me from now on!

For the price, Hakuhodo is just so much better 90% of the time so it’s hard to pay this much and get *inferior* quality.

I bought Mie and Mizubake and I totally agree with you. Mie is one of the worst powder brushes I’ve ever had. I mean it’s really scratchy even more than Yachiyo. I’m really disappointed and it’s not worth the money. And Mizubake is quite soft, but I think there’re many alternatives which are cheaper and better qualities. I’m a big fan of NARS and like their Kabuki brushes, but I’m really disappointed this time. 🙁

I’m in love with the design. I’m not in love with the prices when I have brushes that work just fine, but I do want them. 🙂

I was tempted to get the first brush but a lot of reviews say the same thing about scratchiness. Realistically, how often would you reach for a brush that irritated your cheek vs one that didn’t?

Just curious if you think you’ll find yourself using these first two brushes in the future? (now you don’t have to review them)

Haha, realistically? Not really for any other reason than to finish up testing it, but anything that I can’t just use easily and have to sweep in one directly or use with only the lightest touch to avoid the scratchiness isn’t something I want to bother with since I have better quality brushes in my stash.

None of these made it into my permanent storage! Mizubake would be the only one I’d consider, but it’s just not a shape/style that I really use regularly. I was so disappointed in the Yachiyo after using it for a week, I bought Hakuhodo’s version, which I don’t love, but that’s the one I use.

I’ve had my Yachiyo kabuki brush for at least a year now and like it a lot. I use it for a soft blush look especially with heavy pigmented blushes. Mine is soft and has worn well. Also like Nars Ita Kabuki brush for highlighting and contouring.

I like the design/appearance aspect of these quite a lot, but I’d need to go do my usual brush fondling thing at the NARS counter in Mecca Cosmetica before deciding. I cant imagine what the prices are here though, so perhaps I’d better not in case I like one, LOL!

i realize that HG items are always pretty subjective, and that the quality of a brand or specific product can vary significantly over time. that said, i am looking for an EXCELLENT eyeshadow blending brush that is available right now. can you recommend one or two, christine? i don’t know enough about brushes to chose a really good one and would be grateful for advice from you or your readers. since i am only looking for this one item, price is not really an issue for this. thanks much!

Definitely have had a very different experience with the Yachiyo. Yours looks a bit different from mine, too. Mine is super soft and seems to work best with my overly pigmented blushes and just airbrushes them on. The only two NARS brushes that I like are this one and the Ita.

I wonder what’s up with the Yachiyo – did it change? or is it inconsistent?

I just remember it being a very raved-about, well-loved brush, so when I started doing more brush reviews, I wanted to see how it stacked up.

I bought mine probably 3 years ago, I think. I bought it because of all the hype, too. Now, my Ita felt a tiny bit scratchy at first, but it def has never felt rough or harsh.

I have a somewhat older Yachiyo (maybe a year or so old?) and while I don’t find it that scratchy, I can’t get used to the size and weight of the brush to use it regularly. It’s really more of a “lack thereof” thing – the brush hair is clearly the heaviest thing about it, and the handle is so much lighter, shorter, and thinner than my other blush brushes that I almost don’t know how to hold it. I love the shape of the bristles, but that doesn’t make me reach for the Yachiyo more often. Instead, it has me keeping an eye out for a brush with the same shape and size head on a more substantial handle. 🙂

I could see the thinner handle being one of those hate/love things! I didn’t really notice it when I used it myself, surprisingly!

My NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Brush sheds like crazy , a big disappointment , because Nars is not available in Greece. If I had the opportunity to search my purchase, I would spend my money ( don’t forget , the big bad wolf , the crisis ) somewhere else.

i have 2 NARS yachiyo, one I purchased myself and the 2nd one was a gift. I think I have the first one for about 1 1/2 years and the 2nd one around 1 year. NARS was scratchy and pokey and just felt terrible for something so expensive. I was expecting a soft and non scratchy brush but that wasn’t the case. Both brushes I have feels the same so I doubt it’s a batch issue.

I have 2 hakuhodo’s yachiyo and they felt so much better on my face! Was it worth the splurge? Yes!

Much better than NARS anytime.

Hakuhodo’s isn’t really that much more expensive, I don’t think (depending on the size). I don’t love my Hakuhodo Yachiyo–I still find it rougher than other blush brushes–but it is a lot softer than NARS’!

for me it’s because of the international shipping charges that makes Haku so much more expensive, as I don’t live in the US. NARS is readily available so they are much cheaper in comparison.

Haku other range of brushes maybe softer since the yachiyo is made of goat, so I doubt it’s the softest of the lot. I have a Lunasol cheek brush that’s made of grey squirrel (if not mistaken) and that’s really soft! Some of Koyudo brushes which is made of goat hair is pretty nice too!

Ahh, gotcha! I think of Hakuhodo has a more international brand for some reason, so I didn’t even think it would cost more because of shipping, but it makes sense since they’re not a dominant U.S. brand, they’re not a truly global brand (not in the way that NARS is).

I remember about 3-4 years ago (might even have been longer it was when they first came out) when I got my first Nars Yachiyo brush. I was in love it was soooooo precise BUT so soft and just wonderful I had to buy another (because it was said they were limited edt) I still have both now and they are fantastic no shedding, great when washed and Oh Soooooo soft. BUT it seems like their standard has gone down and the price has gone up. From what I can gather they are not as soft as they used to be and the quality TBH doesn’t look as good (just my opinion) Maybe it was because they were trialling them to see how people would react to them (at first people were a bit unsure about buying them the things you could do with them seemed to good to be true Lol) I use to use one for my liquid/cream foundation and one for powder/blush. I have bought some great brushes over the years (ranging from cheap to mid range) BUT now (because I’m getting older I WANT quality over quantity Lol) Christmas is just 3 months away (YIKES) and my mum has said I have £300 to buy what i want (which means I buy the items and give them to her to give to me for Christmas as she doesn’t have the internet and knows I like mid-expensive beauty products Lol) So last night i told her I was going to buy some Hakuhodo brushes (probably just about $150-$220/£90-£140) but that will buy me quite a few eyeshadow ones, one of their Yachiyo and mizubake (the $55 one) I can’t wait to order and get them as I have heard such good things about them and yesterday on ebay (yes ebay) I bought the Hakuhodo 200 powder brush (for just £15) it had been used but looked in perfect condition. Can anyone tell me are Hakuhodo as good as everyone says? What are the best eyeshadow brushes and what brushes are a MUST HAVE???? Your comments would be much appreciated xxxx

Hey Natasha!

Hakuhodo brushes are quite nice. They have a lot of variety, and some of their brushes are even less than NARS and the like.

I know I’m posting this very late but I bought the Mie Kabuki brush during the Sephora VIBsale. I wish I would’ve read your review before purchasing it. Honestly, I have many brushes and this is a truly , awful, brush. It just seems way too flimsy and loose if that makes sense. they say you can use it for contouring and blush but it’s way too big . It seems like one, overpriced, powder brush .I’m definitely returning it.

So sorry to hear you had such a poor experience with it 🙁 NARS’ brushes have been really disappointing (even more so at the price point).

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