I thought it could be a fun idea to start the year with some pictures of the most exceptional brushes I have come across during 2012. I have tried to narrow down the list to the minimum but there are still so many of them !
I wanted to pick the most exceptional and unique, the ones that have surprised me the most, not exactly the most necessary. I will make sure I share at least one link where you can find them in order to get more details on the brushes. They are not in preference order, just brand by brand. You will see the picture of the brush(es) and below the picture a small comment on each.
The most lovable brush !
Koyudo designed the most creative and tempting brushes I have seen this year, I am nearly scared when they release new brushes because I know there is a big chance than an order will follow. This macaron has been released in 3 colors, there is also an orange and a purple, it’s adorable, incredibly soft, tiny, very densely packed and firm, not the most necessary brush I admit but I have to say that this one is one of the most beautiful brushes to look at.
I use it to apply powder or blush, the surface covers approx 4cm and it’s only 5cm tall.
The most spellbinding brush.
It can drive you crazy believe me. One touch and you are under… It feels so insanely soft. It’s extremely densely packed, little flexibility on the tips but it’s perfect to apply powder in a stippling motion. It’s actually very small but the surface covers 3.5cm diameter which is perfect for me, not too big not too small for powder application. You can see more details here. I really enjoy it and I am glad the quality is outstanding, the price is quite high but no problems whatsoever, no shedding, no flaws.
An outstanding achievement.
When goat hair becomes so soft that it blows your mind away. This brush is the reason why I got so addicted to Koyudo brushes, I was mesmerized with the quality of the hair, with the smoothness. This brush is my favorite of all. You can read more details here, the material is : “100% top-quality baby goat chest hair” if that doesn’t make you want it, I don’t know what does… 😛 It’s densely packed but flexible, the surface is quite flat but rounded on the sides, the softness remains even all around. The surface it covers is huge, 5cm diameter, feels like surreal angel hair on your skin…
The most perfectly balanced kabuki brush.
This brush has the softest combination of goat and squirrel hair with the perfect density and grip for a flawless application of bronzer… I was going to skip it but I am glad I didn’t, my sweet friend and follower Nikoleta ordered it and gave me a great feedback on it, I am really happy when you share your thoughts on the brushes, so I don’t miss out on them 🙂
It covers approx 4cm with the surface and is 6.8cm tall, they have the same one with different colored handles (black, white, pink and wood).
The softest brush EVER.
It’s a limited edition brush, it’s as soft as a brush can be. Works miracles with highly pigmented blushes but the tips of the hair have also a great capacity in picking up a decent quantity of blush so I love it with any blush actually, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Burberry, etc. If you are looking for the softest brush ever this is it. I have tried 2 other red squirrel brushes but nothing compares to this one, Piccasso also creates nice red squirrel brushes but they are darker and not as soft in comparison to this one.
I got this one when I ordered the Koyudo Christmas set but now it’s also available individually.
If you are looking for results that could come close to the Rae Morris Radiance, this brush is what comes the closest. In terms of specs, the hair length is the same, it’s more densely packed and of higher quality than the Radiance, sometimes softer does not mean better for blending so in terms of results, I prefer the Radiance but the Radiance will not work with everything, this Koyudo will and the result is amazing.
Since I got it, I haven’t even used the Radiance brush. This Fu-pa feels great on the skin, works with any foundation I tried and it’s just so easy to use. Nothing else to add, it’s a must-have brush. The surface covers 4cmx2cm, if that’s too big, well they made a smaller version of it : 2cmx3xm, or an angled one if you prefer to have a mixed flexibility on the bristles.
When I ordered it I was expecting a dupe for the Tom Ford bronze brush, it’s not at all. Not the same softness and the hair is thicker. I would say the hair is more similar to the Radiance than the Tom Ford.
I wasn’t thrilled by this brush when I received it but when I started using it a few days (or weeks) later I was sincerely impressed. I don’t use it with powder products just with foundation, on the website it’s actually mentioned it’s a foundation brush. The day I used it with thicker foundations I was hooked, I love when the foundation application is totally invisible and flawless and that is not easy to achieve for me when I use thicker products, this one just does the job for me.
A gigantic success.
There is nothing like it, there are similar brushes but this is a horse, I was using it every single day but then Koyudo happened and stole the show but this one remains in my top top favorite foundations brushes. I prefer it to the Koyudo fu-pa07 but the Koyudo is much more easy and straight forward to use, as I am often in a rush I automatically grab the Koyudo but I LOVE this Radiance brush, it’s a huge success and I don’t want to live without it, which brings me to the quality topic, I am just a bit worried about the quality and about the regular and increasing shedding, I think it’s a high price for the brush but I have to say that they got the hair quality/density/flexibility right, just worried about the solidity and the durability of the entire brush.
The link to the store is here, it’s sold out but there is a waiting list, you can email them and they will put you on it.
Great quality but at high price. If you are a kabuki lover these will hypnotize you, so nicely bundled, dense soft and firm at the same time. Hakuhodo released the maple ones just a few weeks ago and when you look at the handle quality you think it just cannot get better. It doesn’t.
The link to their Saikoho brushes is here.
Excellence in design and performance.
Hakuhodo released the J Series this year, ALL the J Series are amazing, truly great value for price and they all deserve a huge award. I love so many of them that a post on my favorite ones would take me ages to prepare. I have to say that the “stippling” brushes from these series are just so insanely good that they need a special mention just for them.
I really wanted to use more stippling brushes because I love what you can do with them when they are good, I had a few already but didn’t care at all for them, now that I have these J Series I do seriously care and use them very regularly. They are great with so many products, foundation, cream bronzer, wiping excess off, concealing, blending, etc etc etc. Soooo worth it.
The ONE I was waiting for : one of the biggest surprises of 2012, arrived on the 31st of December 😛
I was looking for the perfect contour/blush, small but dense, and with exactly that shape (fluffy-ish but with flat surface) so that I could do both applications. I just got it 2 days ago and the reason why I did not order it before it’s because it’s written “eye shadow” in the description, too big for any eyeshadow application but perfect for my cheeks. I can’t believe how good it is ! The hair length is 2.5cm, it covers 2.3cmx1.5cm at the tip of the head. Perfection and with this handle is double the hit. Totally and deeply utterly in love !!!!!
You are probably going to be disappointed since this brush is only available on the Hakuhodo Japanese website therefore not available to the rest of the world but I still had to talk about it here. It looks like a sword, it has all qualities that you could dream of in a flat concealer brush, or so I think. It’s firm yet soft and even though it’s flat it feels “fluffy”-flat, the hair bristles are placed in soft layers and then end to a point. Love it to pieces.
One of its kind.
It’s quite dense but still has flexibility and it allows a controlled application, so soft that it will not alter your base makeup underneath. I just think that even though it’s not a necessary brush, it’s really unique and one of the softest brushes you will ever find.
Excellence in design.
A beautiful brush and extremely soft, but it’s Chikuhodo after all, so the best is to expect. The head of this brush is incredibly full and soft, the application of pigmented bronzers is a dream. It’s expensive but I think it’s worth it’s price, it’s art in a brush, well, Chikuhodo brushes are already art on their own but with this Kaga Maki-e decoration it’s even more unique.
An outstanding performance with an outstanding and perfect design.
This is what I was hoping the Suqqu powder brush to be : dense and soft. The Suqqu is a bit too soft and doesn’t pick as much product as this one does. Insanely soft and so efficient !
The size of the head is a bit similar to the Koyudo H005 kabuki, of course softer since it’s only grey squirrel but sizewise similar.
The best ensemble has to be awarded to the Z series.
All the Z-Series are truly amazing, my favorite are the Z-1 and this Z-8 for its versatility and its shape. Once more, perfection.
This is the shape I was looking for, it’s like we are made for each other 🙂 It’s pointy and fluffy, goat hair but it feels soft and it’s amazing for applying, blending and reaching also the sides of the nose. It’s goat so don’t expect an insanely soft brush this time but it still is soft enough and very efficient. When I saw it on the website I knew I had to have it and I don’t regret it at all, one of the best purchases I made.
When I first got this brush, the Hakuhodo J Series weren’t out yet and I did not know about the Koyudo White Mushroom yet so this was a first in softness, fluffyness and remains a huge winner.
Two days ago, together with my Kokutan eyeshadow L, I received the J531 that reminded me of this Tom Ford, the J531 is also a great fluffy brush and incredibly soft too, it’s angled but it’s also a great option and slightly less expensive than this Tom Ford.
Another outstanding achievement !
When I saw this brush at the TF counter I was afraid it would not last because they all looked terrible (dirty and damaged by the surrounding elements, normal when they are tested so many times a day), but actually it does last, it’s solid, it’s as good as the first day, for me it’s just the best crease brush ever.
Yet another masterpiece, an expensive one though.
I have tried to find dupes but this one has all the qualities you could wish for and can do so many things that I think it’s better to go for the real one instead of getting other alternatives in which you might just waste your money. Just my opinion though.
Not available on the USA website but I can show you a link here.
Most Promising Newcomer.
I got mine here, it’s actually very similar to the Suqqu cheek brush, pics and little review here. It’s actually even better for me but it looks like I have a weird Suqqu anyway… this Kyureido deserves all our attention and beyond !
I have always experienced a very efficient customer service with Hakuhodo, always replying fast and clearly to my emails. The shipping is also very fast and consistent, I select the 12$ option for overseas delivery and it’s always here in less than a week.
Since Chikuhodo do not deliver outside of Japan, Malin from Kohlindo has been helping us to get these amazing brushes and I want to thank her for her honest and friendly help. It’s very important to trust where you are getting these brushes from and I have no worries in trusting the Kohlindo services 100%. I heard that their site will soon be in english.
I wish they could process the orders faster than they do today but the packaging is absolutely to die for ! Once the items arrive in their premises the shipping is fast, takes approx 3 to 5 days to reach me in Switzerland.
CDJapan (Koyudo brushes)
Their customer service is friendly and helpful, they can get you any Koyudo brush you want (or so I think…) if you ask them by email. I believe it’s a bit faster than Koyudo but I might be wrong, don’t have much experience ordering with them so I can’t give you a consistent statistic 🙂
Just a few days ago CDJapan contacted me and they thanked me for “spreading the word” about the Koyudo brushes, they are extremely happy that today their brushes are a bit more known internationally and they told me they also want to help me by providing me with samples of their brushes. So far all the brushes I have reviewed have been purchased by myself but in the future I might also review some sample ones, either way, I will always remain honest about ALL the products and ALL the brands I review and that does not mean that they can “buy” my opinion.
I just appreciate that this happened specially with Koyudo brushes because if there is a brand that has a special and dear place in my heart it’s Koyudo. I have told you what I think about most of their brushes well before they contacted me, if you know me by now, you know that I am a honest person, I feel much closer to my readers than to any company and my readers will always be my priority.
It looks like the brush market is opening new interesting opportunities and since I am very curious I will carry on exploring it ! I would love to know which ones have been the most amazing discoveries in 2012 for you !!!
I also want to thank you for your amazing collaboration and for the trust you have placed in this little blog, I hope I can continue sharing more with you in 2013 and wish you all the very best ! <3