Here is the Koyudo BP010 that I wanted to compare to other very similar but more expensive options and I know you are very curious about them, just like I was!
These pictures will shed some light about the shapes, the material is mainly goat hair although I will show some other options, the softness and density within the goat hair brushes slightly differs.
First of all, a few precisions : I enjoy goat hair brushes as much as other more pricey materials. Each material has its pros and cons. Goat brushes tend to be fast and furious, if your skin can tolerate them there is a chance you will reach for them regularly, they will last you longer, endure more regular washes, work more efficiently with some stubborn products. You will see me splurging on goat brushes as much as I will on others, they are cheaper but also interesting, softness can be an issue though and they have to be soft enough. I have very sensitive skin, some days I won’t even be able to use any goat brushes at all, I have a little collection of “last resort” brushes so I can apply makeup even when I won’t stand wind on my face!
During the normal days, which is thankfully nearly every day, I can use these brushes without any problem at all, they don’t poke or hurt or irritate. I understand the pain of having very delicate skin so if you have only the possibility to get one candle or tapered shaped brush, then better pick a squirrel brush that can fit the same purpose more comfortably.
About the Shape
My shape preference goes towards the Chikuhodo Special G-9, for a few reasons: the different pointed shape and the larger surface at the tip of the brush, it’s a bit like the adverts about the men razors that follow the shape of your face/chin covering every angle. Simple brush, professional and fun.
On myself I use it for bronzer or for powders but not for heavy coverage, more to even out the skin in combination with a sheer liquid foundation application. My dry skin doesn’t allow me a medium or heavy coverage solely with powder so when I want a more matte finish I use a very sheer liquid application first, then a very sheer powder foundation application, this pairing will deliver a matte yet lightweight result and my skin won’t generate any dry patches. If I try to achieve the same level of coverage only with powder, then I will see patches just after a few hours specially in winter. This Chikuhodo brush has been discontinued but they have a similar one here with a different handle but the dimensions of the head are similar.
The Mac 138 and the Koyudo BP010 are similar in shape but the Koyudo is slightly softer. This Mac is not bad at all, one of my favorite Mac face brushes, behind the 116 and the 165. Shame the 116 is not slightly softer, the shape is fabulous.
The Hakuhodo S103 is more tapered, firm and directional. It’s a beautiful brush, I wish it was a mix of goat/squirrel just to make it stand out more amongst the others.
The Wayne Goss Holiday LE brush is more splayed out than the Koyudo or the Hakuhodo, you see two of them because one is my mum’s. The story is that she was here visiting and I showed her videos of Wayne on how to apply makeup and she was blown away “I can learn how to apply makeup on the internet ? I want to learn “internet”!!!” She watched Wayne, she couldn’t understand a word but she loved that men can work and can love makeup, she is very open minded as long as she can have fun, she is on!!
My mum doesn’t apply much makeup but she looks very young for her age anyway, she uses lipstick, eye pencil, 1 eyeshadow eventually and on the face just one product that can act as 3 products in one => blush, powder, bronzer. She cannot use brushes that are too directional or that deliver a heavy coverage or that cannot pick enough product or unevenly, it has to be 100% fool-proof and painless.
I thought this WG Holiday brush was just what she needed, the “3 in 1″ product application matches with that brush. I ordered one for her because she just has no clue how to order things and I wanted to check it before she got it :) Then I read some of you had an issue with the washing so I wanted to wash it and check it. I did not experience any issues at all, neither shedding, nor bleeding, the shape as you see is totally fine and the softness is normal for a goat brush, it’s softer than many others here. Both brushes are. Wayne sent me the second one you see here for me, he is always making sure I have enough brushes LOOOL It’s never enough!
I took a macro picture to have a closer look at the hair of the WG brushes with the Hakuhodo and the Koyudo.
About the Softness
It took me a while to decide which brush was the softest, I wanted to do the blind test but then the density would be misleading. The Chikuhodo feels more pleasant but the difference is not that striking. If you can use goat brushes on a regular basis, that should not block you in getting one towards another. What should matter is the purpose, the density, firmness or price.
I took the picture and placed the brushes from the softest on the left to the less soft on the right. I changed my mind a few times because sometimes I could not feel any clear difference. The Koyudo is between the Mac and the others.
Today is a bad day (really sensitive), the Mac feels like needles if I stipple it on my cheekbones, so it’s not a day where I will enjoy goat brushes anyway :)
Please keep in mind that these brushes are not meant to be used in stippling motions, only “stippling” brushes should be rated while stippling with them :) Stippling just helps a bit defining the softness of the bristles but with a normal usage, they don’t hurt, they just aren’t as soft as squirrel or blends with squirrel hair.
The two here are softer versions of 100% goat hair brushes, the Z-2 is grey squirrel, the G5521 is a mix of squirrel and goat, unfortunately they are smaller -can be good if you just want precision. The Z-2′s shape is perfection, very evenly bundled, it’s dense and extremely soft.
About the Precision
Whatever the brush, ideally your selection should not be based on the price but on what you will be able to achieve with it, basically: does it answer your needs? A brush that is great but doesn’t answer my needs won’t be as precious as the one that does, even if it’s expensive and gorgeous. If you want precision, don’t take the Chikuhodo G-9 here, if you want a sheer all over application, don’t take the Hakuhodo S103 since it’s the most directional of the bunch, instead if you want precision do take it.
On the left, the less dense and less directional, on the right the brush with the most firmness.
About the Price Tag
It depends how easy your access to them is. Hakuhodo USA have their website available to all of us : hakuhodousa.com. Koyudo have easy international delivery with CDJapan (link here). Chikuhodo Japan do not deliver internationally, well they do but you will have to contact them directly and the process is very expensive. Chikuhodo have Kohlindo.se who sell their brushes to any country around the world but you will pay a higher price (it’s normal, they have fees too) and Now-eproject.com (even more fees). Mac is super expensive in Switzerland but it’s cheaper in the USA. Wayne Goss has a seller in the USA (Beautylish.com) and one in the UK (Love-Makeup.co.uk).
The price of the Chikuhodo here is the price you would pay in Japan, it has been converted to JPY.
- Chikuhodo Special G-9 : bronzer, sheer application of foundation powder or finishing powder
- Wayne Goss Holiday : bronzer, blush, healthy powder or finishing powder
- Koyudo BP010 : sculpting bronzer (specially with powders that aren’t much pigmented, at this moment using it a lot with Bobby Brown Antigua)
- Mac 138 : I don’t use it at the moment, I keep it for comparisons with others when I receive questions.
- Hakuhodo S 103 : sculpting bronzer, blush, setting with powder or finishing powder.
The firmer ones will deliver more blending power, the less dense will be more fool-proof.
The Wayne Goss shape and density is the most versatile of them since you can use it for all those applications, but with the others you don’t always have that versatility, it depends on the brush. Some of you have easy access to Mac and at the USA original price, here in Switzerland this brush is approx 80$ (and you can’t even find it, the price of 80$ is based on the price of a Mac 134 that is also 53$, that correspond of the scale difference between the USA prices and the Swiss ones).
I will show you now some other candle shaped brushes, the J103 is the white version of the S103, if you still want goat hair but softer goat than the others, definitely pick the J103, the only issue is the white bristles don’t stay white for a long time -duh It is not as full and splayed out as the WG Holiday brush. The J103 softness is better than the Koyudo but it’s 84$… which is nearly double the Koyudo…
I hope this was helpful to you, if you have questions, don’t hesitate
UPDATE 11th of February 2014
Since I just received the Rae Morris #22 here is a pic …