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I am actually very excited to write this little post about the Chikuhodo Z Series, I discovered them not that long ago, I started with the Z-8, Z-5 and Z-10 and today, the Z-1, Z-2 and Z-4 also joined my collection, I also have the intention to get the rest of the Z-Series, some day. I know, I clearly don’t need that many eye or face brushes since I only have 2 eyes and 2 cheeks, but I am a crazy brush fan and collector and I actually do use them all.
It’s good to know that Chikuhodo is the manufacturer of Suqqu, RMK, Lunasol and many other great Japanese brands, then you understand even better where the quality and handcraft of these brands comes from.
When I tried these Chikuhodo Z Series for the first time, I was wondering how I could still give some love to my older brushes. There are only a few makeup related items that make me feel like a Gollum, not only because they are so hard to get your hands on, but these Z Series are the best quality brushes I have ever had. I am preparing a new “favorite brushes” post since my collection has dramatically changed from last year, these Chikuhodo will all figure on my favorite brushes post.
They are all grey squirrel and are meant for powder products. I am not going to repeat myself under each brush description, but, they all are HG to me and they all are worth their price tag.
One of my colleagues bought a few brushes for me directly at their shop in Japan. I kept the business card of the shop, although I don’t understand much :
These brushes are very difficult to get if you don’t have direct access to Japan shops, there are a few online shops that do import them, I am probably going to order some more at Kohlindo (based in Europe). Malin from Kohlindo has been very helpful with my friend Dena and I even think that if you are interested in some brushes that are not available on their site, you can contact them and Malin may be able to get them for you. If you have any questions for Kohlindo, maybe you could write them on the comments below and Malin might get in touch with you.
The Chikuhodo brushes are very expensive, but I am willing to pay for that quality.
Where I am not willing for pay a high price is for example for Claudio Riaz, this is just to mention a brand that I really don’t understand their pricing at all. But I will come back on the Claudio Riaz topic in a few weeks, as I may have some info for you.
Z-1 Powder Brush 15,750 yen
Hair length : 5cm
Base of the ferrule : 2.5cm
Width of the hair at the widest point : 4cm
Competed against the Suqqu Powder and the Trish. The Z-1 is much denser, the impression of “less-densely-packed hair” of the other Suqqu or Trish may give you the feeling that the others are softer on the skin but although the density on the Z-1 is so high, the softness of the hair feels similar’ish’ to me. Also the hair quality of the Z series seem somehow thicker and more resilient than the Suqqu, but maybe it’s just a misleading impression because the Z Series are so much denser…
I prefer the Z-1, the reason why I love it so much it’s because although it’s a big brush and covers a lot of surface, it will allow much more control on the application but still apply the product (bronzer, blush, powder) without streaky lines.
I use the Z-1 with many different powder products. Guerlain Meteorites, TF bronzer, the Suqqu finishing powder , Chanel Lumières d’artifices, RBR highlighting powder Sweet to touch, Mac Msf’s, etc… this is just to mention a few products that I tend to use with this amazing brush. My favorite usage with this brush is to finish the blending once you have applied blush/contour/highlight, just to blend seamlessly all the products together.
Z-2 highlights brush 6,825 yen
Hair length : 4cm
Base of the ferrule : 1.5cm
Width of the hair at the widest point : 2.5cm
The Hakuhodo S103 is a goat Sokoho brush so you cannot expect the same softness of the hair of course, it is on the picture so that you can see a bit more the size difference of the two side by side.
The Hakuhodo G5521 is a blend of Goat and Squirrel, of course it doesn’t feel as soft as the full squirrel Z-2.
The Hakuhodo J5521 is only goat, fantastic goat hair quality, packs a lot of color on the bristles but again not as soft as the Z-2 which is totally normal.
The Trish is miles away from the Z-2 in terms of hair quality.
Z-2 wins again because of it’s quality, it’s also softer and much pointier than any other here. But I have to say I cannot live without the J5521, I am just a bit sad it’s not slightly pointier like the Z-2.
It’s an amazing brush for powder highlight and contouring and even blush (RMK for example). The layers of the bristles are so beautifully arranged and regular that it packs the color and deposits evenly without fall-outs. I use either just the pointiest part of the bristles for a more precise application or I also use it slightly sideways.
Z-4 Cheek / Highlight Brush 6,300 yen
Hair length : 3.8cm
Base of the ferrule : 1.8cm
Width of the hair at the widest point : 3.3cm
The RMK Cheek S is not as soft because the hair is a blend of goat and squirrel, but sizewise it is a bit similar to the Z-4.
You are probably wondering if it’s as soft as the raved Suqqu Cheek. I am very tempted to say yes here. It may not seem like it, since it’s denser and firmer but you will really have difficulties asserting that the Suqqu is softer, if it is, it is very very slightly softer and anyway to me it does not justify to get the Suqqu if you have the Z-4.
Due to the higher density and the perfectly arranged layers of this brush, the Z-4 picks more product than the other similar ones, and the result is always perfect (precise, even, non-streaky) and that, whatever the blush, pigmented or not.
The Z-4 wins again.
This is how it compares to the Z-8 :
Here is to have an idea of all the cheek brushes and their size :
Z-5 Eye Shadow Brush 3,990 yen
Hair length : 1.8cm
Base of the ferrule : 1.3cm
Width of the hair at the widest point (sideways): 1cm
Perfect for an application of a base color but, since half-way through the brush, the hair density suddenly reduces and and the head gets much pointier, this brush allows me to apply also the crease color and blend… and it actually blends extremely well ! This Z-5 is very soft but very firm and dense, slightly softer than the Hakuhodo S 121G.
The Z-5 doesn’t have as much flexibility as the Suqqu L, again it’s difficult to say which one of these two is softer because the density is different and can be misleading, I believe the Suqqu is softer but it’s just slightly noticeable but actually the Z-5 is way better for me for packing on the color and blending.
Z-8 Cheek Brush 9,450 yen
Hair length : 4.3cm
Base of the ferrule : 2cm
Width of the hair at the widest point : 3.5cm
I am not going to say much about this brush, just imagine the best quality, best density, best everything. I am already saying here how much I love it. It hasn’t changed.
The most similar brush that I have is the Addiction Cheek, but the Z-8 is even softer and more densely packed.
I love the Z-8 not only for the amazing quality, but also because if I had to pick only one from the face Z-Series, this would be the most multipurpose (bronzer, blush, powder).
Again the bristles and layers are so densely packed and beautifully arranged that it makes this brush a stunning blender.
Hair length : 1.3cm
Base of the ferrule : 0.7cm
Amazing pencil brush, the pointiest and softest I have ever seen.
I wanted to compare the Z-10 to the Rae Morris 8 because the size is a bit close. You are probably wondering why I have two Rae Morris 8, one is from the first set I received and the other is from the second (that was supposed to replace the first terrible one). One RM brush is ok but the other RM is so unevenly layered that it’s scary.
I only use mild shampoo to wash them and from time to time some conditioner, with these delicate brushes, I do not want to use any other products. Keep in mind that when you wash them, due to their high density, they will take longer to dry, so remove the excess water with a towel and lay them flat to dry.
I store them in brush cups and I use them nearly on a daily basis, using these brushes daily is the best way to keep them in good condition.
I hope this helps and gives you a better idea of their size and quality. To me they are all HG, all worth the price, unfortunately very high.
I have to say that my favorite brands today are these Chikuhodo Z Series and the Hakuhodo J Series. It’s going to be difficult to find better brushes out there, if you have any suggestions, please let me know 🙂