I don’t remember who told me about this brand in the first place or how I ended on their website, but I do remember that since the site was only in Japanese and they did not deliver internationally I just looked away and skipped them with regret. A few months later when I was finally able to purchase “in Japanese” (thank you Google Chrome…) and use a Japanese forwarding company (thank you Tenso), I decided it was time to try them.
When you order from companies that are not that well known internationally or when you cannot find any reviews about the products, there is a risk you may lose patience, time and money in the process. Sometimes it’s worth trying, we find hidden treasures like Tanseido and that gives sense to even the most difficult brush hunt adventure.
My first post about Tanseido is Tanseido brushes – First order and first impressions, later on, I published Tanseido strikes again – YSS 17, YWC 14, YSC 17, and a bit later a different one where these brushes were featured too: Seven obsessions, one weakness and one disappointment. Tanseido apparently noticed an increase in sales and they actually wrote to me just to say thank you.
Following to my planned visit to Kumano we got in contact again, they told me that their “Chief” (I don’t know if they are talking about the Director or the President or somebody else) was worried I would be disappointed. They told me their production site was very small, that they only assembled the brushes as they were receiving the orders. They were afraid I was expecting something bigger behind their brand.
I told them not to worry about that and that I would love to spend some time with them. My contacts were Jun and Natsuko, they are from an external company and they manage the Tanseido online shop, they know Tanseido very well and these two charming persons are most probably the ones who answer your emails when you write to their Tanseido contact address.
Jun and Natsuko wanted to pick me up at the hotel but since I was with Hakuhodo in the morning and therefore already in Kumano, I suggested them to pick me up at the museum at 1pm. We had also planned to have dinner together and was extremely excited about that ! It was difficult for me to get around in Hiroshima so I was happy they offered to stay with me for longer after the visit and actually I was also very interested to get to know them better, also their culture and habits.
First we started with the introductions and the business card / chocolates exchange protocol 🙂 then the visit of the manufacture, then tea. As I had been warned by Tanseido, indeed my surprise was huge, I was very surprised but not disappointed at all. It was tiny, basically a house where the rooms are used each one for its purpose. There is one for sanitizing the hair, one where they use the engraving machine, one where the artisans work (sitting on a little cute cushions), etc… but it was so far away from anything I had imagined ! This time I was emotional because without knowing what or who was behind the brand, my blog and your purchases had some financial impact on their production, little but still, unbelievable how today a little blog can help, or not. It’s not only financially, but knowing that there are passionate customers far far away made them so happy and very proud!
I am honest in my reviews, in the past I gave good and bad reviews depending on the products. Tanseido always got great reviews from me because simply the products I own from them are flawless. When I was there they asked me many questions, they wanted my opinion on many of their brushes and whatever my opinion was, it was always honest and polite (I did say what I liked and what I didn’t). It felt like my humble opinion was really taken into consideration and that they were very interested to improve even further.
They did not know there was any interest for their products outside of Japan, therefore their site in only in Japanese. They may consider international delivery in the future too, let’s wait and see 😉 I had to explain how it was working with the taxes when we receive a parcel, what kind of brushes were the most popular outside of Japan, etc.
Tanseido have a special step in their production, they UV sanitize the hair of their brushes, the brush head enters one side of this machine, stays for 3 minutes and gets out at the other side.
One flufffy bed just about to the sanitized. The UV process happens before the assembly and also before the final comb (where they remove the non-attached hair). They have several colors for the handles (red, blue, black), the brushes are assembled and finished once the order has been received.
The artisans are sitting on cushions on the floor, I haven’t seen that anywhere else in the other manufactures or maybe I didn’t notice it… They were very busy and very concentrated but they were really friendly and welcoming. It felt weird to be there at the heart of the production, specially since it was so small and traditional.
Below is the main room where the artisans are sitting, I remember my friend Estrella telling me that she made an order with Tanseido just because she was touched by this picture and she loved the cushions 🙂 Estrella saw these pics before you because I met her while I was in Japan, she was very surprised to see how traditional it was and I think she really loved that. Specially when there is such a big and modern internet website, you think there is something bigger and more industrial behind, but it’s just simple and traditional.
Jun wanted them to show me how they made the Danseido IGC-01 but there wasn’t enough hair for a brush so they couldn’t 🙁
They have little quantities of hair, they make the brushes when they can, depending on hair availability. That’s also why often companies don’t have control on how many they will be able to create for a specific deadline.
The Danseido brush is meant for men to use with shampoo on their scalp, or wherever they want 😀 just kidding 😀
They offered me a brush as a present, assembled it in front of me and they engraved something on it in order for me to see how it was done 🙂
On the right (not very visible), there is a computer where they write the text, then they put the brush in the machine and print.
The process is not finished there, she still has to cover the engraving with white paint (I think she has to apply two coats), wait till it’s dry and then the finish is perfect. I was impressed !
Natsuko, Mayuko, then there is me, and Mrs Keiko Yamada (Keiko is the Director and President’s wife). Mayuko is Keiko’s daughter and she is the Product Manager.
The second girl does the engraving, the assembling of your orders, the packing, etc… she is full of energy and adorable !
The tour took quite a while, then we went to Mrs Yamada’s house to have tea and talk brushes. Jun was translating for me 🙂
I know some of you have already seen these brushes below…. the Cleopatra brushes are extremely expensive, there are only these shown here (I believe!) and unless you are extremely rich, there is no point in asking the price… they are made with gold, silver and some also with expensive stones. The two crystal brushes at the back are for mineral powder or foundation, you actually store the product inside.
These series below (red and black) are not for sale, they are unique collections created by their artisans, they have gold decorations, designs or special paintings or decorations on them. They asked if there was interest for that kind of brushes and I said a big yes. Although making them with gold would be too expensive to even hit our little blog market, but anyway, I guess they got the idea 😉
I had the pleasure of holding the gold Cleopatra brush (I understood the hair was a sort of weasel type) and lifting them (very heavy) but was scared to drop them, I would never ever be able to pay even a single one of these…
“Brushes and tea” at Tanseido’s with the Director… what else ??
Then it was time to leave, Jun and Natsuko had an appointment (to have future brushes photographed for their site, yeahhh!) so they dropped me at the hotel but I met them both afterwards for dinner. They invited me to a place that had a lot of life, like a pub I would say. They ordered a few different things from the menu and it really looked like Tapas but Japanese-style 🙂
I enjoyed our dinner very much, we talked about everything, they told me what their hobbies were, Natsuko loves to wear the traditional Kimono and Jun loves VTT, they also have some other hobbies or passions, it was really fun to spend some time with them ! They were amazing and treated me like a queen !
The day after, I had to go by myself to Kumano and they helped me with instructions how to get there, that was really nice because it’s not easy to travel to Kumano if you don’t get some help. If you have read my previous post “Enjoying Japan” you know already that later I went to Miyajima and met Natsuko’s lovely sister 🙂
It was a very long day, full of activities and both my body and my brain were about to give up 😀
I hope this helped you understand why they don’t have (yet) a big international structure behind and why sometimes some companies are out of stock for some products, they don’t have big stocks but they work very hard, when you own a Japanese brush you know you own something made with honour and pride.
I really feel so incredibly moved by your entire experience & so proud that I own some, very much appreciated & adored, Tanseido brushes! When I read this post I realise why they have become my top favourites. They are carefully handmade masterpieces!!! Thank you Tanseido & thank you Sonia for letting us take a peek at this most special & traditional brush manufacturing company!.
Hi Buggsiebee, happy you love them too !
You are welcome 🙂 it was such a crazy adventure, at all moments I wished you were there !
Oh My God, i LOVE reading this. Thank you Sonia.
I don’t own any Tanseido brush yet, but would love to purchase some. Out of all the awesome brushes that you made reviews on, Tanseido’s are the one i adore the most-just from the pictures and your descriptions. YAQ 17 and YWC 17 are on my wish list since you posted your purchase (among others lol). But to be honest i somehow fail to order, i guess i don’t have patience to go through the whole process of ordering. I hope they make international shipping on their web page soon, i will be looking forward.
If I discover they ship internationally I keep you posted ! by the way, I will send them an email from time to time 😉
Sonia you are a worldwide ambassadour for a tiny traditional Japanese craft! Amazing! And thank you, thank you for opening that world to us!!!! I am very touched and grateful – I appreciate crafts like this made with passion and dilligence so much.
I really have to make the splurge now – I have figured out some of the brushes that I’d like, but haven’t purchased due to the trouble of a forwarding company, but I think I will look into how to do that now.
I too like the red brushes in your pictures above, the colour and form of the handles are very beautiful.
Regarding the new red brushes, I adore the colour, so if they would make their existing brush range available in that colour, I would choose that over the other colours. (Hope Tanseido reads this :-))
yes they do 🙂
you are welcome Jeanette, glad to see so much enthousiasme from brush lovers, they will be very happy to read your comments !
Another amazing post! I am just so charmed and endeared by the small production site, it really hits home regarding the craftsmanship that goes in to each brush. It really just makes me love my brushes so much more :). The cushions really are cute! I am so glad you were able to meet such wonderful people, and yes: international shipping would be so great!
I’ve been meaning to order some Tanseido brushes but they have quite a number to choose from! I don’t wear eyeshadow so all my brushes are mostly highlighting and blush brushes. I like very dense brushes, and it is hard to tell how dense they are from a picture. Which ones would you recommend?
Thanks again for your incredible dedication and I hope your home reno is going well!!
They are not the denser brushes and that is something I told them, that I would love if some were denser 🙂 I still have a few to try from them though.
That said, my favorite blush brush is YSC17, I use it everyday at the moment, there is something about the way it applies blush and the way I apply blush that fits perfectly well together ! I hold it flat against my cheek and with round motions I buff the blush, it picks just the right quantity of blush and the finish is beautiful. Since I have that brush now I am on a kick for similar shaped brushes to use same technique 🙂 -as you may have seen in my recent haul pics. So maybe that one is a great one to start with, then I am loving all the other ones that I bought, specially the AQ14 and the SS14 🙂
Reno is going ok, too much to do ! today is a big day !
The Tanseido manufacturing facility is exactly as I imagined it. Isn’t it wonderful to know
that some of the finest brushes in the world are truly “handmade”. Sonia, can you supply
the link to Tanseido. I’m not having success finding their catalogue on line. I need, want
some brushes with short handles.
Hi Felcie, sure here it is http://www.tanseidoshop.com/
and for some info here is a post :
if you open their shop site with google chrome you can translate as you go… if you need help let me know ! 🙂
Thank you so much for another brush fairy tale story! I enjoyed reading as well as looking at those cleopatra brush jewels!!! I thought that they are just intricately designed but with simple materials until you mentioned gold, silver, stones and “extremely rich”! Very much an eye candy.
Btw, I contacted Tanseido and they said they have a simple store (not their manufacture) in Kumano where we can see all line up of their brushes, but its by appointment and you have to pay with cash only. If my plan to go back to Japan pushed through, I will contact them again to book an appointment.
Thank you for introducing the Tanseido brushes to us!
Thank you for such an amazing post (and the others in this series), Sonia! It’s truly lovely to find out about the origins and makings of the brushes that we have all come to love through your recommendations. (:
you are welcome Bernice ! still two posts like this to go… phewwww
so happy it brings joy to this little brush community 😉
Another terrific post! Sonia it’s just so wonderful to be able to see!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂 🙂 🙂
you are welcome my dear Bea 🙂
Hi Sonia, I still have some needs that I don’t yet have brushes for (so I have justification for ordering :-D). I have tried to figure out which brushes may fulfil those needs, and have tried to find out from your reviews. I’d like very much to hear your opinion. I am thinking of ordering these brushes:
For softening eyeliner: Tanseido YWQ7, (I Have the Paula Dorf smudge brush, but it feels on my lids like one of the hairs is made out of a steel wire).
For outer V: Tanseido YWQ9
I prefer the shorter handles, but many of Tanseido’s brushes seem only to be made with long handles. Do you know if they can be ordered with short handles?
I use my SUQQU cheek brush for too many needs and only have one. So I’d like a small brush for powder, e.g. a flat brush like the Sue Devitt brush (I have dry skin so don’t use much powder), and I am thinking about Tanseido AQ14 which has the same hair length as the Sue Devitt one and is probably a lot softer. For powder contour I’d like the SUQQU in a slightly smaller version, so I thought that it could be either the YSC14, WC14 or Hakuhodo J or S 5521. The Tanseidos don’t seem to be equally pointed as the SUQQU blush brush, but the Hakuhodo may be to dense and thus apply too much product. I am very fair, so I need to apply a little at a time and build up. I have the Shu 18 for cream, but could also use a smaller SUQQU blush brush for cream contour. What do you think of my considerations?
I would like a couple of Hakuhodo and Koyudo brushes as well (the S and BP series look so nice), but at this point I want to focus first on which functions I need the most and to get the loveliest and most effective brushes for that. So the brand is less important than the effectiveness and feel of the brushes. And then hope that I will find other needs that can be met by these brands afterwards …
I would love to hear your thoughts 🙂
Hi Jeanette, what kind of eyeliner will you use ? cream, gel or powder ?
is it to set your gel eyeliner with powder afterwards ? If it’s for gel, I am not sure this one will be the best option since it’s very soft and flexible.
For the outer V, the YWQ 9 is flat, maybe more adapted for the eyelid application, it is for me. For the outer V I prefer a round one.
If you just want a laydown brush that is very very soft then the YWQ 9 will work, for the outer v since I apply there mostly darker colors I prefer a round brush, dense but not too much, something that allows me to apply and softly but efficiently blend, the YWQ9 is very soft and for blending not the best. For me these two YWQ are HG but because when I apply powder on the eyelids I do it with precision (definition and framing are very important and smaller brushes like these help me not load my eyes with too much product -which could sometimes appear cakey if overloaded. I don’t know if this has sense or if it helps at all.
I am trying to explain how I chose my brushes on an upcoming post, I hope this will help you.
The AQ14 will be perfect for powder if you have dry skin and like me you don’t powder too much.
For soft contour there are many options, the YSC14 seems perfect, I think you should take that one (I will too).
There are always many (great) options possible, you just need to go with your heart 😉
Sonia thank you, let us know if theres any news 🙂
SO FREAKING AWESOME. I lovelovelove this post.Thank you for sharing!!
Hi Carina 🙂 my pleasure to share 🙂 and so happy it interests so many of you, I am pleasantly surprised 🙂
Thank you Sonia.
I apply gel eyeliner with the SUQQU eyeliner brush which is phenomenal. And I would like a small, soft smudge brush to soften the line both with and without powder eyeshadow on top. It sounds that the Tanseido YWQ7 is soft and small enough for that.
I will try to apply shadow to the outer V with a round brush, I haven’t tried that. I usually lay down product with flat brushes like MAC 239, so I thought I’d need a smaller version of that one for the outer V. I do have the SUQQU flat eyeshadow brush, but I don’t find it as effective as the MAC 239, because it is too soft. I know you like the MAC 239 as well, so if you find the YWQ9 effective for smaller areas, I trust that it is good 🙂
I just consulted your post with your HG brushes, and I can see that you wrote that it is for detailed lay down application. What is the difference between the YWQ9 and the YCQ 12s. Is it mainly the size?
I will order the AQ14 and YSC14 for powder and contour then. (I will have to wait till I return from holiday though, as I may otherwise not be home to receive the parcel. Looking so much forward).
Jeanette, there is a fantastic one for the outer v from Tom Ford (between flat and round…) I totally recommend you to get it if you like to work that way. It’s the TOM FORD 12. http://sweetmakeuptemptations.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/tf12.jpg
Need to check about the other questions since I don’t have access to most of my brushes at the moment 🙁
Busy family day, a short fans reply here before my lengthy response:
I love Tanseido very much! Their squirrel brush and goat brushes are amazing (I am slowly replacing all my goat brushes by Tanseido ones).
I think the scale of a small house won’t diminish my love for Tanseido but make me feel the brand is more seriously crafted with special affection (like the slogan printed on the Tanseido plastic bag, genius). I had seen quite a number of brush making photos everywhere, but I am particularly attracted to those of the engraving machine.
I like the not-for-sale red handles (I don’t need gold paint for the price concern but the red color is appealing).
I am thrilled for the news of new brush! If they are eye brush, I will be even happier.
I got my Japanese parcel with the help of Goyokikiya finally! I am very happy with my itachi or kolinsky brushes, I also get a YMQ 10 from Tanseido out of curiosity, to see how the hot models addressed look (we fellow readers have shown the TKQ 12S). Yes, I am a devotee. I got the Takeda catalog by online request as well! It’s the best of the bunch, because it gives real sized photos of all brushes, it has gained a place in my treasure box. I feel that I am better experienced with online purchase at Japanese online stores now.
Tanseido is a Japanese brands more popular among makeup artists, but I hope they will gain more love they deserve from general customers in the future.
thank you for your thoughts.
i was lucky to get so close to them and see the techniques they use 🙂
Me too, those red handles are amazing, the balance and the shape !
I have to check if there is another online catalog, maybe I missed it 🙁
Oh, I mean I filled in the online form to ask for a catalog from Takeda, it mails the catalog to my forwarding service address (free of charge and free postage). So that I can ship it to my home in HK. Hakuhodo provides a similar catalog mailing service as well.
Again, I have to say, the website of Takeda is native oriented but the catalog is so worth collecting.
I have taken some photos of the YMQ 10 with the other Tanseido brushes and the Shu U 12, inspired by the very warm and helpful (as always) email reply from Tanseido about my model picking question (I was very confused about the brush selection between size 9 and S version of 12/10).
p.s. People are crazily sharing the photos of the Suqqu eye palette, it seems UK would launch them at the end of August (display/ products available now).
I’ve bought Tanseido brushes via Tommy Setsu and was happy with her service.
I love my Tanseido brushes even more after seeing your lovely post, Sonia.
Sylvia, did you see Tanseido’s pic reply to you on facebook before?
Glad you do Sylvia.
I was scared to be disappointed and if I was, my interest for make up brushes would disappear but it’s the total opposite. I love them even more.
I think we first talked about Tanseido around September last year and every brush we bought are so perfectly crafted, we ended up owning more and more! 😀
Just wanna share that I got the Danseido IGC-01 brush for my hubby and he LOVES it! He has oily scalp and this baby cleans well. That actually saves me from explanation on why I have bought so many Tanseido brushes.. 😉
The dining establishment the lovely Tanseido staffs brought you to is called Izakaya. Just thought you’d love to know that. 🙂
That’s a nice strategy CC !! clever girl !! 😀
I’ll do the same with cleaning/shaving brushes, I am sure he will ask for more !
For the scalp I don’t know, he has very long hair, don’t know if that would work… maybe it will 🙂
thanks for the info about the Izakaya ! better when we can name the places !!!
Thank for this charming post. I’ve enjoyed your discussions on brushes and how I wish Tanseido would put up an online shop in English so we could order these beautiful brushes in the US as well. I am going to visit Japan in late Sept./Oct. and would love to get my hands on some of these beauties. Do you know if they have a retail shop in Tokyo?
Elle, I have a few questions for them at the moment, will ask that one too and see how they could help 🙂 will keep you updated.
Sonia, since you will be sending Tanseido some questions, could you ask them about handles and brush forms as well?
As they only make brushes on request, we should be able to order the length of the handle as well as the colour. I prefer short handles, but most of their brushes are only offered with long handles.
I sure hope they will sell the new red colour soon 😉
And I do wonder why Tanseido’s round brushes aren’t very tapered/pointed, like i.e. the SUQQU blush brush. Will that be part of the new collection of brushes?
I’m drooling!!!! Sonia, I’m so touched by your whole experience. They have always been on my radar, but due to the difficulty in ordering I have stayed away. Seeing their shop makes me want all of their brushes, I just love smaller handmade manufacturers. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!! Tell them I look forward to their shipping to the US 🙂 !
Love to read your blog. It is not small. I found blogger have more details than any other company info. And for brushes… I love to stick with brushes lover like you 😉 thanks for sharing
Hope Tanseido will make it easier to ship outside of Japan. Love the red handles and the cleopatra ones seem so decadent 🙂
Thank you Sonia!
You were treated like a queen by all brands how sweet 🙂
Why has tanseido only the practically and normal handles (for me they are looking a bit cheap) when they can produce such beautiful handles like on the first pic.
I know the handles would be too expensive for a normal range but one point because tanseido is the last brand i will order now after koyudo chikuhodo is because how they look. AND i prefer shorter handles 😛
I told Tanseido 20 times that I would love more glamorous handles 😉 because the heads are just too good and should be paired with even better handles… In terms of balance for me they are excellent.
Sonia!!! Im so stoked reading this!!! AWESOME!! Need to do some serious catch up on yr other amazing posts.
I do miss my brush quality time 🙁
Just a quick question for now. I just saw on Youtube Tanseido uploaded a new 10 seconds movie of a brush called AQ20 and Im in love with its shape!! I couldnt find it on their website 🙁 Could it be a new brush or did I just miss something?
Also where does the “A” stand for. I know that the Q is for its shape, so A must be for material used right?
Anyway, if u know pls let me know!! Oh and does Tanseido accept Int credit card payments?
Arrrgggh….never mind!!! I found the AQ 20. I just search without the space. Duuuuhhhh….
Anyway its a new RED SQUIRREL BRUSH indeed!!!!
And of course I will not rest until I have it. Gosh…..there goes a big chunk of my Japan trip budget AGAIN!! It looks as heavenly soft as the Koyudo Red Squirrel! Too bad the handle is just “plain”. But nevertheless must have for me 🙂
Was it you Sonia ? You told them we need one right ? 😀
No, but I told them a few things though, I wonder if…. who knows… 😀
😀 yes it is !
Actually I saw this brush when I was over exactly the same day I was with them, they left me at the hotel before dinner because they had to take the photographs for this brush (these brushes since 3 different handles), anyway, they made it before my arrival so it wasn’t me 😛 it is really soft, just not as dense as the Koyudo (as reference).
isn’t it great that they make the videos now ?? 🙂
when you say plain is that it has no special drawing ? right ?
What an awesome and fantastic experience Sonia! This was fabulous read and I got all excited reading and imagining the visual of being right there with a small production. All I can think about is that many years down the line you would have made a mark in the expansion of the product internationally just from your visits and advice. Of course the right answer was smutville would be very interested in purchasing their makeup brushes.
oh hi Sanikki! thank you!!
They said some time ago that they would sell internationally but Smutville is still waiting 😀
I have to share my very new experience this year! but soon all will be back in order and I will have more time to spend here… crossing fingers 🙂
price wise how do these compare to Koyodu/Hakuhodo.
every time i re-read it , every word came to me like it was living, and it really touched me and they make me smile 🙂 after all, just makes me appreciate the brushes i do have even more!
I’m really looking forward to THEIR INTERNATIONAL SERVICES however, i hope it will be easy like Houkudou (place an order via email and payment with PayPal ,that would be great )
for the first pic’s brushes just handles without gold design ,it’s enough to make me shout again and again
thank you, thank you !!
yes me too, but for Japanese companies that are so tiny this is very complicated to put in place 🙁
I may send them an email to ask how they are doing and if they still plan it 🙂
argh girl, don’t tempt me !!! just got two from Eihodo …
This is such a lovely story! I am DYING over those red-and-gold brushes – the handles in combination with the shape of the heads, wow. I want them!!! Are you listening, Tanseido? 🙂
I know!! how gorgeous they are!! I have to contact them so I’ll remind them 😀
Haha, please do! I think they would make such a beautiful gift, they are works of art that you would keep forever, but they also look super functional. Um, when I say ‘gift’, I mean for myself, of course!
It’s like the Hakuhodo S100 series – the brush heads are not unusual, but the beautiful handles make them a collector’s piece that’s constantly sold out. And Tanseido’s brushes look even more special than the S100s!
I love your blog! I learn a lot with all the info in your post. It so many thing to lear about brushes…they are not simple brushes! I am trying to make a travel to Japan…as you did. We are distributor of brushes in Argentina and Make up Artist.
Just for the heck of it… how much for the Cleopatra brushes? Definitely fit for a Queen!
I think it was around 200’000 USD (each), I don’t know if they were joking, they sounded serious and they had to go get them from a safe, then was told I was really priviledge to hold them 😀