I have decided to go outside of my “Japanese comfort zone” and try a few different brands that are rarely reviewed on beauty blogs. Every time I’ll find a new brand and try it I will share it with you. I won’t have that many brushes but it might already give us an idea about the brand.
This first part, and my first attempt to conquer a new world of magnificent brushes, was made with the Rakuten website. This site is in several languages, you can of course order in English, then I received my emails in a mixed Japanese/English text but it is not a real problem since you can translate them with your email client or with Google translator. The order was placed on December the 20th and arrived here in Switzerland on the 28th, not bad at all ! Rakuten have access to several brands, like Fine Kalla, Tauhaus, Miyao, etc… I don’t always know what brand they are exactly, since it’s written “Fine Kalla” on the handle I believe this is the brand name but honestly I am a bit confused.
These are the brushes I ordered, I have selected two grey squirrel brushes and two goat kabukis :
I had no idea what to expect as I had never heard or read about them, I knew it was a risk but I had to try, it also helps to be able to better compare with other brands like Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo or Koyudo.
Fine Kalla cheek (KK-002) JPY 7350
The best of these 4 brushes is this Fine Kalla KK-002, we have here THE dupe for the Suqqu cheek brush, to me it’s even better, the Suqqu I own is quite flat, when I look at it on other blogs, it looks like they had a more tapered version of it, for example here. Mine is not bad at all but just not tapered. When I saw this brush, it reminded me of the Suqqu, but the Suqqu is actually nearly double the price tag.
Same type of handle same sleek finish but the Fine Kalla has multi-colored sparkles inside it, it’s … GORGEOUS, it looks kind of magic. The hair has the same softness as the Suqqu, you cannot tell a difference and if you can, it’s soooo micro small that it’s not worth going for the Suqqu.
Expect the same quality as a Suqqu brush if not even better, same softness, same density. The Fina Kalla is slightly more firm at the tip of the brushes but that’s also why I love it more than the Suqqu. It’s a perfect luxurious and incredibly soft brush. This brush was a gigantic discovery. They also have the bigger version that looks similar to the big Suqqu powder brush and is less expensive.
Miyao cheek MB-5 (grey squirrel) JPY 6825
The Miyao blush brush reminds me of the Lunasol. The ferrule is not that well finished, I prefer when the ferrules don’t have “crimps” (more like the Suqqu or Lunasol) but it’s just a personal preference.
The size is between the Lunasol blush brush and the powder brush but the Miyao is flatter, thinner, less densely packed and feels even softer. I prefer the Lunasol brushes but this one feels incredibly soft on the skin. I will use it more like a fan brush or to lightly apply powder.
Tauhaus Pink kabuki T-SB-02 (goat) JPY 3675
This pink kabuki reminds me of the Koyudo H005 but the Koyudo is a mix of squirrel and goat, therefore softer for sure but also more nicely bundled. Not the same quality at all, well not the same price too (the Tauhaus is nearly half the price). I also own the R&R kabuki, it’s bigger but it’s much softer than the Tauhaus kabuki.
This Tauhaus kabuki doesn’t hurt, well, it’s not incredibly pleasant to use but it doesn’t hurt.
Bottom line : I prefer to pay a bit more and get a softer kabuki, the Koyudo is one of the best kabukis you will ever find, it’s very dense and very soft, maybe that’s actually the perfect balance between density and softness that help to apply the perfect amount of bronzer and flawlessly blend and it’s insanely easy to use. The Hakuhodo is a great -extremely dense- kabuki but really really expensive. The R&R is also softer than the Tauhaus and I also prefer it.
Fine Kalla White Kabuki KN-004 (goat) JPY 5250
This white kabuki is not good I am afraid, it’s difficult to believe that it’s the same brand as the first brush shown at the top of this post, The hair feels terrible against the skin, I don’t even want to use it at all, I tried but I just don’t want to do it again until I wash it over and over again, maybe it will improve. The hair are very thick and rough, I imagine that thicker hair are great for foundation/liquid products but the day I find the courage to try it, I’ll tell you. It has a very strong smell that was sticking to the room for more than 1 day, well until it dried completely. You would know in which room it was because you could follow it with your nose. I will wash it a few times and then I will try it.
Recently I ordered a Koyudo with thicker hair (BP013), it really has much thicker bristles than many blush brushes but the bristles are still soft and amazing for applying foundation. The Koyudo white mushroom is here just for size reference because it is nothing like the Fine Kalla kabuki. The Hakuhodo Maple kabuki is also just truly amazing but the price is much higher, at least you can see that the hair are very different.
This Fine Kalla kabuki is terrible and for that price I could expect so much better.
The handle of the Hakuhodo is so much nicer but again, not the same price range !
I have also ordered some Piccasso and some Tanseido brushes and I will show you soon what these other brands look like 🙂