One of the exciting parts of my Japan trip was being able to enter the shops and try everything ! I was afraid that they would throw me out but they didn’t, I managed to control my facial expression so that my smile still looked natural enough and I didn’t look like a total obsessed pervert drooling around their counters, you know what I mean, I hope.
Online shopping is great when you know what you expect and you know the brands well enough, when you have no idea and a limited budget it’s not so fun, spending a lot of money and then getting disappointing items is really heart breaking. It was my opportunity to see what I could expect from this brand and I was just minutes away…
So there I was in Ginza, I admit I am no good with directions, so getting lost is just a matter of minutes, it happened. After 1 hour or so walking around I finally saw the boutique. I approached their entrance in slow motion.
Ginza is not a place where I feel that comfortable, women are so elegant, walking around in high heels, their dress, the way they move around is so aerial and elegantly-posh. I was a sweaty tourist lost in Ginza and that wasn’t pretty, I was afraid they would look at me, ignore me and don’t even help me. I have experienced this attitude in London and Switzerland and was wondering how they would welcome me. Despite the way I looked, Kashoen welcomed me with respect and with a huge warm smile.
Kashoen are the oldest brush manufacturers of Kumano, they may also easily be the most expensive brushes. They have different series, some of them are extremely expensive and have very special handles, the “Royal”, hair is rated SS class, other series are more for the retail shops, Shoko, hair is rated A class, in the middle range we have the Kashoen series, hair is rated S class.
I won’t buy the Royal series because the price is way above my budget, the design is beautiful but I wasn’t that blown away by the SS hair. I won’t buy the Shoko because they aren’t soft enough for my sensitive skin. It leaves me with the Kashoen series to try. I was hesitating between the black handles and the red handles, I though the red was more appropriate and unique so I took these :
At the back of the brush it’s written “Kumano, Japan”
I will briefly show you these 4 brushes from their Kashoen collection WA series, the highlighter, foundation, blush and powder brushes:
In their boutique, they have the Royal series in a wall glass cabinet that you cannot open yourself, but they did open it for me during my first visit, during my second visit they did not open it but I did not ask either.
In the middle of the boutique they have an open display with the more affordable series, there you can easily play with them.
If you come from the Mac world directly, without going through Chikuhodo, Koyudo, etc… you will find these series really good. But you know I own very good brushes that’s why I wasn’t that much impressed with these. I love the logo, the color of the handle and the quality of the bristles is great but although I have a huge respect for them, I was expecting a little bit more for the price I paid. I will tell you why below.
It’s a great flat brush, no doubts about that, providing you love flat foundation brushes. I haven’t found a flat brush that I could achieve a great finish with, I still feel I need to use another one to blend and finish the application and paying a high price for a flat foundation brush doesn’t change my mind about this.
I thought this brush will maybe make me love flat brushes a bit more but not quite there yet, although it is more efficient than many other flat brushes since it has a higher blending powder, still not convinced by flat brushes vs goat brushes.
You can read this if you want to know why I don’t love flat brushes on their own. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind and I will happy to own this Kashoen, but for now I will stick to using a flat one to place and roughly disperse and then a goat one to finish.
The bristles of the Kashoen are firmer and shorter than other flat brushes :
When I arrived, I thought it would be easier to choose which brush I wanted. I initially just wanted one just because of their price (but I ended with 4…).
After 1 hour pondering I decided it would be the powder brush, I thought I could get much more use of this one, for bronzer, a sheer coverage of powder foundation or for finishing with a highlighting powder.
I wanted a big goat brush that made me want to use goat bristles more often, that is the case, I quite like to use it and it is efficient. I also like the shape, if like me you like to start from the center/corner of the nose it will adapt to the face really nicely. Regardless of the fact I like to use it, it’s not that mind blowing for the price. Specially because the bristles are not nicely placed in a perfectly even layer.
Kashoen insist that their goat hair is a selection of the best of the best, but on the other hand Koyudo’s goat hair is softer (I am referring to their “baby goat chest hair” ), and it’s less expensive. With regards to the quality of the “bundling”, the layering, or the finishing of the brush, Koyudo also does it better.
Here is an example of how they compare in terms of size. You can see that, compared to the Koyudo on the left, the handle of the Kashoen is narrower in the center, I like that, it’s more pleasant to hold, but the quality of the ferrule and handle is similar.
The density is spot on, it picks the perfect amount of bronzer and the application is straightforward and fool-proof. But I could just as well use the Chikuhodo special G-9 and get same results.
The bristles of the Kashoen have a special auburn-reddish color, this may be due to dye but I am actually sending them an email and enquiring, I know some of you cannot use dye therefore I want to make sure.
Nice size for blush or bronzer, less dense than the Hakuhodo S110, the application will be more natural and diffused. It is softer than the Yojiya goat brush. From this 4 brushes below my favorite is the RMK, I know it’s a squirrel brush so I shouldn’t be comparing apples with oranges, but the density and precise layering of this one makes it a great competitor against goat brushes, packs a lot of color and blends really well, so when I “need” a goat brush, I may as well pick the RMK instead and I am happy.
What bothers me (a lot) is that the Kashoen blush brush has at least 10 hair out of length (10 are approx 4 mm longer than the others). For the price I am not happy with that. I didn’t noticed it at first and the quality of the application is not altered by this but if you are a perfectionist you will not like that !
It’s not an eyeshadow brush, it’s a highlighter and contouring brush, perfect for the nose area. It’s not as soft as the others at all, but it’s not scratchy. Not as precise either, as you can see in the pics, it will apply a more diffused contouring than the others and blend really well so for that it’s much better.
If you are looking for the most precise you should pick the Hakuhodo, if you are looking for the most versatile you should pick the Koyudo, both the Hakuhodo and Koyudo are extremely soft and dense.
I found that the lacquered coat of the Kashoen highlighter brush is altered, I don’t know why, it’s like the second coat of paint is not fully finished. Maybe you can see it on the picture, maybe not… Again for the price, although it does what it says, I would be happier if it had no flaws !
Soft and efficient goat hair, doesn’t poke, the density is spot on, but not always evenly layered.
Nice and beautiful handles but the logo is already rubbing off on the powder brush. The Koyudo red ones that look similar are “engraved” with the Koyudo logo and the yellow paint of the logo is inside the engraving, so it won’t rub off as easily. I will feel sad the day the Kashoen logo disappears !
It hurts me to have to say that I expected better but I do, specially because if they didn’t have these “flaws” I would love them a lot. I do like them but for the price, I am disappointed. I have to forget how much I paid for them…
I am also sorry because I am sure they are great people and I have a huge respect for them. Unfortunately there aren’t many reviews online, I don’t know if all the brushes are like mine.
I have to say that they have big competitors in my collection and today it takes a lot to surprise me…
Do you have any of them ? if you do, please share what you think !