Last year when Hakuhodo made an appearance in Singapore (read about my brush journey and some initial selections here), it sparked off a brush frenzy (in me). Being the brush noob I was (back then), the vast selection that Hakuhodo offered was a real challenge, and I scoured the Internet for a handy “must-buy” guide, but alas there wasn’t one to be found. Sweetmakeuptemptations has many useful reviews on many Hakuhodo brushes, but then-brush-noob (me) found of them too technical, and when one (me) has zero brush knowledge, the comparisons don’t make a whole lot of sense.
Hakuhodo will be back in town coming Monday at Beauty Asia, and this time there will be brushes on sale! So, in preparation for those of you who may be looking to start a proper brush collection, I have culled recommendations from a few brush aficionados who know the brand well, as well as my own opinions (now that I’ve had the chance to try some and is hence lesser of a brush noob), to bring you my rendition of Dummy’s Round 2 Guide to Hakuhodo!
Hakuhodo has one of the widest range of brushes in their arsenal. The most distinguishable is the S100 Series, which is the premium range, striking with their vermillion handles. The ferrule is plated with 24-karat gold to give the additional luxe boost. There is also a black handled version of the S-series which is typically only sold in Japan, but was available at the last appearance.
Equally premium but unassuming in design is the Kokutan range which I’m rather fond of. This is a smaller range than the S-series, but uses the finest blue squirrel, goat and synthetic blend.
Next comes the J Series which is the mid-range with a wide selection, and the unique feature is the natural hair used are not dyed, which gives the brushes a softer feel. In contrast, you would probably be able to find the same brush style in either the G or basic range that are dyed.
A word on the G Series, bristles are made from a mix of fibers to allow the possibility for application of cream or water-based products.
Last year, Hakuhodo did not bring in the K Series, which is generally designed for ease of use.
There is a wonderful range of “Basic” brushes that are denoted by the letter B. These are not necessarily “low-end” brushes, but are equally well-made and very handy for all user experience levels.
There are also a handful of novelty brushes, including the Kinokos (aka Kabuki), fan brushes, traditional brushes (e.g. yachiyo, bake, etc), and retractable brushes for on-the-go makeup application.
Since my first encounter with Hakuhodo last year, I have gone on to acquire a few more from the family, and also experimented with other brands such as Koyudo (much love, review soon I promise!), Chomotto, a couple of Chikuhodo (not the last I’m sure), Tom Ford, and Wayne Goss. Not exhaustive, barely tip of the iceburg, but I’m convinced that no brand is strong in everything. So if you are only interested in the best Hakuhodo has to share, here goes:
Some of my favorite eyeshadow brushes are from Hakuhodo, and there are hundreds to choose from.
I have a rather small face, and I generally prefer my blush brushes to be small and flat. However, depending on how pigmented is the product I am working with, I may go with either a silkier and less dense brush for blushes like Tom Ford Narsissist; or a denser brush with greater flex for blushes like THREE. Regardless, some of my favorite cheek brushes are Hakuhodos.
Other brushes that have been recommended to me (but I have yet to own) are:
This is a category that I’m still exploring, but I have been having some success with BJ214, which some nicknamed the “finger” brush. It is a small round brush, almost resembles a smaller version of J210, and can be used to apply or blend eyeshadow. However, it is too large for my eyes, but is perfect for buffing concealor under my eyes and around the nose.
The only category of brushes that I don’t quite fancy from Hakuhodo is their foundation brushes. But I am quite unusual in that I like soft, fluffy, big brushes for my face. And depending on the type of foundation I am using (liquid, cream, cream compact), I do vary the brush as well. In general, I am not very fond of round, angled foundation brushes as it limits my movements. Also, I found Hakuhodo’s foundation brushes to be quite scratchy compared to other brands. I have been recommended to try the S5557, which is going to be my parting shot.
I have to insert this as a separate category because they come in a variety of needs, and all are exceptional despite their plastic packaging. The retractable mechanism works well, and the brushes are all high quality goat. I cannot recommend these more for those who need to apply / touch-up makeup on the go!
And here you go, my dummies’ guide to Hakuhodo shopping! Obviously, a lot of these are my personal preferences, and may not work for some others. Also, given the wide range of brushes available, this is in no way the be-all and end-all of Hakuhodo. Nonetheless, I hope it is a good starting point for those of you just beginning to explore high-end, well-made, Japanese brushes. Love to also hear from you what are your top picks!
xoxo, your friendly neighborhood brush not-so-dummy-anymore