Koyudo – CES Echizen set
This is a Limited Edition set that I ordered on the CDJapan website, containing:
- a red laquered box, I believe this is a collaboration with Echizen Urushi but to be confirmed once I receive further information from Koyudo
- a brush roll (37 cm x 19.5 cm) that can store brushes up to 17.5 cm (for example Wayne Goss cheek brushes are still fitting inside, Mac 239 or Mac 217 also ok), it has 5 small compartments and 4 larger ones for thicker brushes
- 7 brushes (3 face, 3 eyes, 1 lips).
An expensive set it is… (approx 983 usd) but with a clever combination since this will allow you to create a complete look, I appreciate that it concentrates on brushes that we often use instead of another brow or spooly brush that we don’t need or want to be as soft and exclusive.
If you are still with me and haven’t clicked away when you saw the price then you will see here some pics and my thoughts on this very special set. It feels like owing an expensive painting, at this price we are not talking make-up anymore, we are talking art. Despite the high price, I don’t feel like I am paying for a luxury brand’s name, I feel like I am paying for something “kawaii” and that whoever created this, he or she wanted it to be loved for its beauty. The price tag looks obvious: there is both huge work and expensive material.
I was not tempted by the set a few months ago, when I saw Canadian squirrel hair brushes in person I thought it did not look as nice as grey or red, or even goat. The color of the hair is goldish caramel and black, at first you think you can not distinguish it from Pine squirrel but yes you can easily once you see both side to side, also when you use them you can clearly feel the difference, the canadian offers you a lot more control and efficiency for blending. Actually more than any other variety of squirrel hair brushes and it is the most praised of them all.
Note: Some squirrel brushes have very thick “rougher” bristles (Nars for example) so I am talking about thinner ones like Chikuhodo, Koyudo or Hakuhodo.
I did not want this kind of brushes before, now when I can find one, I get it. You will often see them in sets but some brands offer them separately and I am trying to find a few of them in case someone is interested but don’t want or can afford a full set.
It all started with the Chikuhodo Kiwami, I really wasn’t attracted by it, actually when I saw it in Chikuhodo’s office my first thought was that I found it was a shame they did not use a more attractive hair for those expensive brushes. Very recently I purchased the Chikuhodo Kiwami despite not being that thrilled at first but today I am in love with these two sets, the Kiwami and the Echizen and I will try to show you pics of both together. I am not disappointed, the brushes are much denser than the Kiwami so you get a generous set with a beautiful unique design, the handles are shorter than the Kiwami and I prefer longer handles so that’s why I am more tempted towards the Kiwami.
If you consider getting this set, you have to keep in mind it is a collector item, it doesn’t have the enduring capabilities of other series and they have to be treated with care. You don’t need to wash them too often, I’d say 3 times a year it would be enough for the big brushes (but it depends on the usage and the preferences), just wipe them with a microfiber tissue in between uses. I wash these with baby shampoo, as mild as possible, don’t use conditioner since it will not be reduce the efficiency of makeup brushes in general and their blending power.
I wash the little ones more often, every 2 weeks and the lip brush every time I use it. Be very careful not to leave water on the head for a long time and remove all excess before laying them flat to dry.
I have been using them for a while now, with many different eye or face products, if you have this set, I’d love if you can share yours in the comments as always
I should receive shortly some information about the painting on the handles and I will update this post, I just don’t want to wait any longer therefore this review focuses on usage and comparisons mostly.
The 6 brushes have the same painting but the flower is hand painted so it’s slightly different on each one of them:
The handle is not round as you can see in the “rotating” pic, it’s made of wood and the red lacquer looks darker (grey/black) on the edges. On the other side the Koyudo logo is engraved :
|Material||Total Length cm||Hair Lenth cm||Ferrule width cm|
|Face Powder L||Canadian Squirrel||15,5||5,5||3,1|
|Face Powder S||Canadian Squirrel||13,8||4,3||2,9|
|Cheek Brush||Canadian Squirrel||13,2||3,5||2|
|Eyeshadow L||Canadian Squirrel||11,5||1,7||1,2|
|Eyeshadow S||Canadian Squirrel||11,3||1,4||0,8|
|Liner Brush||Canadian Squirrel||10,7||0,8||0,6|
|N°7 Lip brush||Kolinsky||11,5||1||0,5|
The face powder L
Compared to the Face powder S, this one is bigger but less dense and less directional. I don’t use it from bronzer or powders when I want medium to heavy coverage because it’s way too floppy for that, this is more for setting the foundation with powder, removing excess powder away, or for all over glow, this L version will be gentle and will not alter whatever application you have underneath. It is stronger than similar grey squirrel brushes that have same size and density because this hair is just more powerful for blending, so if you had to compare similar brushes, canadian hair will definitely be more efficient. I could use it with bronzer if I had to, no worries but for that I prefer the smaller version which is denser and has a more adapted shape for that.
It will have more blending/buffing strength than the Koyudo GES (grey squirrel set) or the biggest Chikuhodo Kiwami here, approx similar strength than the Fu-Shikaden (which is goat and squirrel), the Fu-Shikaden is denser. The Koyudo RES (red squirrel set) here will be released (if all goes well) in June, it is much softer but doesn’t have the power of Canadian hair, this big RES brush is absolutely stunning by the way. Just saying…
The other Kiwami brushes look tiny in comparison less hair, smaller size, and different shapes, so if you happen to want both sets, at least you will not be replicating the brushes.
The Kiwami are the ones with the dark handles here, the two red and black on the right are the Takeda Powder and Highlight with same material, in my opinion the Takeda are too expensive for what they are so I’d rather save and splurge on one of the other sets (Chikuhodo or Koyudo).
The very big difference between the Chikuhodo Kiwami and the Koyudo Echizen brushes is that the Echizen face brushes are firmer and denser, this will give them more power for buffing and for stronger applications and obviously it should make them more expensive, but not really…you get “nice” value actually considering this is very rare.
You may be wondering what set you should take if you had to choose between them. That is the most painful choice to do and it has to come from the heart (and the guts). Think which one would make you more sad if you missed on it and… take that one.
- Echizen pros : unique handles, high density and strength, super efficient, cheaper than Kiwami
- Kiwami pros : unique head shapes, beautiful brushes, despite being less dense they are super efficient.
See how big this face L brush is, covers nearly half of the face in one swipe It doesn’t feel soft like grey squirrel but it is clearly more efficient.
The face powder S
This is perfect for bronzer or for more difficult to pick products, like stubborn healthy glow powders, it will work so well, distribute evenly even if it is quite firm and directional they won’t be any stripes. I have the most gorgeous finish when I use it, delivers a gorgeous polished effect that I don’t always achieve so effortlessly, just as if the color becomes “one” with my skin. I may be wrong but my feeling is that the color of the product you pick gets into the cuticle of the hair and only the pigment transfers onto the skin and as you blend, the more and more you blend the more stunning it results, delivering a more natural stain on the skin. It actually stains the bristles a bit…
Please have a look at the Group picture with Echizen, Kiwami, Takeda above to see how it compares in size to the others.
When you first look at these brushes they nearly feel “rough” in comparison to grey squirrel brushes and they don’t look very appealing but to be very honest with you, when I tried them my jaw hit the dresser, “did it do that??” BINGO! that’s what I want from an application, efficient and effortless, just like if they were doing all the calculations by themselves, a brush with a cpu! (IT girl here: central processing unit, it’s the brain of your computer, capable of that many calculations.
I use it also with blush when I want the blush to be more dimensional and not only concentrated on the center of the cheeks, a neutral blush applied on a much larger zone looks stunning and this brush is the right size for that.
The cheek brush
Perfect size for a blush brush, it is flat but it has a lot of density and since it’s quite firm you can use the top of the surface of the brush to apply the blush and not only the flat sides. I like to use it at a 60° angle and buff the product with light strokes. This brush picks the most stubborn blush, it’s the most well-behaved brush ever, does just what you want it to.
Maybe it will take you a few tries to understand how it works. If the blush is very pigmented, for example red bright blushes, you swipe the brush once on the product then place and buff, don’t go back to the blush, just continue buffing gently, the color will build up and reveal gradually leaving you a big margin to stop when you feel the intensity is reached. Leaves no edges, blends as it applies. If you need more product, pick up more product and build it but it takes just a couple of applications to understand how it picks the products and how it builds on the skin, it will also depend on the technique, the best I found for me is to use short back and forward “ovaly” shaped strokes rather than long straight ones.. Start at the center of where you want the product then blend in oval back and forward motions outwards, the finish will look much more natural but this is something I do with any type of brush anyway.
If you want to see a size comparison with other blush brushes :
With the similar size from Kiwami set:
Here you can see how the bundling is denser and rounder on the Echizen :
just perfect size for building the color from a central point!
The eyeshadow L
I used this brush with all the powder textures I own, I had no issue at all, you can build up the base color really beautifully, if you go for the one shadow look, this will be gorgeous to use, I often apply the Tom Ford trio In the Pink with this as a base and since it’s fluffy, I reach the intensity I want with two layers. It’s thick, directional and so effortless. At the end of the application I use it to blend at 90° degrees-
Here is a size idea in comparison to the Mac 239 and the Wayne Goss 17:
Some pics that will show you the thickness of the Echizen:
- Eyeshadow L
- Mac 239
- Eyeshadow S
Perfect size for me, does not poke at all of course, it is not as soft as grey squirrel but it is not rough at all, much softer than goat hair unless we are talking about Wayne Goss recent goat brushes, which are as soft as these if not softer!!
The eyeshadow S
This brush is in between a crease and a lid shadow, multi-purpose, I would say that it acts more like a Mac 239 than a Mac 217 but it’s a bit in between, it is directional so the crease application might be quite defined, when I use dark colors, it’s done with precision, which is great depending on what look I am going for but I still can control it with no problem at all. If I use shadows that are slightly darker than my skintone to just sheerly define the eyes, the big benefit is that you will work super efficiently and you don’t need to layer again and again, even with light browns.
Compared to the Mac 239 and Mac 217:
It’s an oval shape similar to Wayne Goss 06 that I love but more directional:
Also fantastic to apply color on the mobile lid or just on the center of the lid, since it’s firm you can choose to work with it exactly where you want to, I often use it for the outer V with a very dark shade.
The liner brush
It is small, precise yet soft so no worries to use it around your eyes if you have delicate skin. I use it either for placing shadow on the lashline or near the tear duct. It has enough thickness at the top to smudge and enough body to apply shadow with the flat side if you want, it’s even big enough for an outer v application (it is for me!). When I apply powder liner on the bottom lashline, I do it with the thin side but then I twist it and drag it along with the larger side (perpendicular) to diffuse and blend out.
I very much prefer heavier and sturdier brushes but did not encounter an issue using it, I still can hold it properly. If you have to go close to the mirror this shorter handle will make it easier without knocking on the mirror as you come closer.
I started to look for similar brushes, see if I could give you some recommendations for individual purchases that resulted less expensive than a whole expensive set like this one. I am still looking for more but so far I can show you a few.
The Yojiya and Hakuhodo Kokutan S are very similar to each other but the Kokutan I have here is more square shaped, in terms of softness and efficiency they are similar, I find the Echizen to be thicker and more efficient though.
The Kokutan and Yojiya are thinner and shorter than the Echizen eyeshadow S, they both deliver a less bold, more natural and more diffused application than the Mac 239, they also feel softer.
The n°7 lip brush
It is a nice sturdy brush, veeeery gold, very James Bond bling bling
It is very similar to the other Koyudo lip brushes if you own one, but you will get a higher quality and heavier case. This gold one doesn’t have a logo on it, just plain gold coating.
Here with the red lip brush from the Red Squirrel set :
The brush roll and the box:
how the fit inside:
It says it is leather, but it feels more like velvet, the inside of the roll I don’t think it’s leather and it’s just as good because in Japan I heard they don’t like leather smell to be transferred to the brushes (that’s an answer I got when I asked why don’t you make leather brush rolls…haha)
And you get a larger pocket for the … Rae Morris Radiance for example
I hope I will be able to share more info on the set soon but hopefully this gave you an idea why I love this material, but as I said, I’d love to read your thoughts too!
I could not live without the Kiwami or the Echizen, just as I could not live without the Rae Morris or the Wayne Goss brushes or all my kabukis… I am that insane about brushes! I thought I would be a bit more reasonable now but hey, that just doesn’t happen…
Some links :