Home Brushes THREE brushes – Foundation, Face S, Blend In

THREE brushes – Foundation, Face S, Blend In

by Sonia G.

When I ordered these brushes some days ago I did not know I was going to Japan in June. I had planned that trip but due to the house works it got postponed to at least September. I am not going into the details but thanks to some recent news and even though it was late for booking, we found not only the time to do it but a super offer that just made my dream come possible.  If I knew I would be going to Japan so soon, I would have skipped this online order with Ichibankao.

When I was at the Three counter last year I wasn’t very much tempted by the Three brushes and I had to make a choice, I could not buy every single brush I wanted in Japan! I found they were nice but I had other softer dreams and wishes at the time…  Today I am still looking for soft brushes, but I have new needs for less soft options too.

I got the Blend In, the Foundation and the Face S.


Material Price (excl. tax) Total length Hair length Ferrule width
Foundation brush Goat and PBT (polyester) 5000 yen 15.5 cm 2.8 cm 2×1.4 cm/ 2.5×1.5cm
Surface 2.5×1.5cm
Face brush S Canadian squirrel 3600 yen 16 cm 2 cm 1 cm
Blend in brush Weasel/horse 3000 yen 15 cm 1 cm 0.7 cm

More details and link to the Three website  here.

THREE Foundation Brush


This brush is meant to be used either with foundation or with their shimmering glow duo.

It’s a stippling brush with the particularity of… not being round! Kind of original to say the least…  At first I was very happy, I was thinking of all the possibilities it could offer: foundation, contouring, precision with blending capabilities and that sounded really promising!

After some uses here are the pros and cons I found:

  • Pros : unique shape, proper size, longer handle than the RMK
  • Cons: not enough density, weird beigy/grey color of the synthetic bristles

The size and shape allows you to use it around the nose/eyes more easily but although it blends enough to not have to use any other brush afterwards, I think it still lacks density. It is firm compared to the big Mac 187, at the base it has thickness but starting in the middle of the head it gets thinner and when you have product on it, it narrows even more. More density at the surface would be fantastic, just like the Mac 130 has. The Mac 130 is shorter, firmer and denser so in terms of blending and diffusing I find it is a much better candidate, still small but more efficient.


The handles are heavier and longer than RMK brushes, so that’s a great thing for me since I prefer longer handles. The material feels more solid although the ferrule looks very similar. Both brands are made by Chikuhodo.


I saw it with the stamp “new” on the site but on the pics I did not see that it wasn’t round, it’s slanted and with a flattened ferrule.

When I first used it, I used a paddle/swipe/stipple/confused technique. Not sure how to drive that thing because I was feeling like I was missing on something and… that was density. So I read the instructions and it said something like that (beware, that has been googlelized from Japanese):

  1. To the back of the hand, I take the Fluid Foundation.

  2. Hold the brush vertically in the hands of two reverse, and they hit the back of the hand and the break even point of a brush, and let you be familiar with the uniform foundation .

  3. In the sense that from the inside to the outside of the face 3 , to whip Unplug the power , extending while drawing a large spiral.

  4. In the details , such as the side of the ridge of the nose and wings of the nose and let you be familiar while moving from side to side brush, a foundation which remained to hair destination

So I tried it again as they instructed:

Point 1 and 2, easy, you pick the product with the brush after you placed it on the back of your hand, so that it’s evenly distributed on the surface of the brush

Point 3 is to apply from the center of the face with large spiral motions towards the sides.

Point 4 is to finish and blend and not forget the more difficult to reach areas like the side of the nose …. using the remaining foundation on the back of your hand.

I am 100% sure of my translation but either way, if you get it wrong hopefully it’s not going to be that critical, worst case, you’ll use it differently until you find the best way for you.

I don’t place the foundation on the back of my hand unless I have no choice, if I can directly place little dots on my face and then use the brush just to blend them it is just faster, sometimes I even use a cotton bud to do that, more hygienic. So, once I finish blending in large spiral motions as they recommend, I don’t need to do more buffing with a different brush, this one gets the job done, but as I said before, I would be happier if it was denser, for some of us it will clearly lack buffing power, for others it will be just fine. I have more buffing power with the Rae Morris 23, the base of the shield is dense to help with the blending, which is not the case at all with this Three foundation brush, the top of the darker goat hair do not really offer a strong base to blend.

So I thought it would be nice for contouring and I have been using it with the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate, again, I prefer when the brush is denser to pick and blend more efficiently. I do use it but for  me it lacks precision and blending power.

Otherwise for cream highlight it is better because that is more a surface application that should absolutely not alter the foundation underneath so I don’t mind that it is less dense at all, it is actually a good thing, it will be gentle and work without messing with anything.

For cream blush it does work as well, but my cream blushes are often quite hard, the sparse bristles on the brush won’t really pick the product evenly, it will blend ok but once more, my preference goes for denser brushes for cream blush application.

In terms of aesthetics, I don’t find this brush to be very appealing, the color of the hair does not look “fresh”, it’s kind of yellow/grey/beige, the brush in the pictures is clean, it’s just the way it looks clean, not white. If you use it on models, they may think it’s dirty, but it’s not. The darker goat bristles are greyish/brown/black so that’s ok and normal but the other bristles that I would have preferred white, are in my opinion too dark to appear clean, I don’t know if it is supposed to look like that but since I will be in Japan soon at the Three counter I can check that out 🙂

Sometimes we attach too much importance to things that on the counters they consider as “just a detail and not relevant” but the detail also matters to me and if I have to use this brush on someone I don’t want to have to think about my client’s reaction when he or she sees the color of the brush and could even think I am using dirty brushes on them!

A clean dry brush :



A clean wet brush :




A dirty brush (so so sorry but I think it’s  useful that you can see the shape with product on) :




With other brushes (here it’s clean so you can see that the white bristles are not white), maybe we are too used to see white and black stippling brushes and this is why I find it weird 😛



Here you can see better, but it’s clean!!!







THREE Face brush S

Official description (translated from google):

Around the eyes and the part which is covered with a concealer, such as when the wings of the nose, face brush shape slim to use when overlaying the powder in the details. Well, per skin feel comfortable is also a sensitive part such as the eyes good include flour, is a soft light quality of hair

“Soft light quality of hair” yes indeed, it’s soft, airy, difficult to believe this is a face brush since it’s very small for it’s for detailed powder placement.





It’s not firm like the Takeda here, with the Takeda you can blend more efficiently. Reminds me of the Suqqu L, similar kind of flexibility, not as soft but you can also notice it is canadian squirrel hair and not pine squirrel hair. If you have the choice, I’d go for the Takeda.



The Mac 239 is here for size reference.



I used it for the pink shade from the Three compact shown further down, when tried with the brown shade it did pick up enough color but it’s just a bit too flexible to consider using it for eyeshadow placement but I don’t see the problem also using it for blending. If you can blend with the Suqqu L you will blend with this eyeshadow. I think this is a nice price for this brush and if you like tiny little face brushes or huge eyeshadow brushes you will enjoy this one if you get it at the Japanese price.

THREE blend in brush (round)

Description on the site (transgooglelized from Japanese):

“Can easily make undertone, brush excellent compatibility and sub-tone Redefining eye pencil. The bristles trimmed to a dome-shaped round, well, per skin is feeling kind to delicate eyes. To make a brush, and trace the line drawn in the eye hole, eyes a shade easily is completed.”



  • Pros: perfect to use with Three cream type shadows, nice size and handle
  • Cons : not pokey but rough, you can see that these are probably cut (trimmed?) bristles.


The shape is quite similar to the Bobbi Brown smudger, a bit more precise because it’s firmer.
This brush is fantastic to use with their cream shadows, much easier to grab product than with a goat, or a 100% weasel or synthetic brush but you will feel it is much rougher and may be quite unpleasant, won’t poke but won’t caress you either. It’s like my bf’s “dynamic” back massages, you won’t feel any pleasure during the process but you will be very satisfied with the results 😀

This is 4D palette Star Guitar, review post here.


I applied a swatch with the Three Blend in and another with the Evgeny eyeshadow (it’s not pictured here but it’s a flat brush made of sable),  the Three brush will deliver a heavier application. The Three brush and the Three cream shadow are made for each other, I did not find any other option that applied it as good. Also on the bottom lash line, it’s a bit too large but still ok to smudge some cream shadow with just enough precision for a gradient sultry and application.

I wouldn’t have considered it before but with the training coming up, I forced myself and lowered my skin tolerance and now “accept” more rougher options into my collection, sometimes it makes the process less enjoyable and I suffer but it offers different results and a new view and opinion on the brushes. I will always prefer a softer brush and I will always tell you the softness of a brush versus its efficiency so… this brush is not really soft (5/10) but it’s very efficient and every time I will use the Three cream shadows I will use that brush, despite not necessarily enjoying the process, I adore the results. Here our french quote is very true “Il faut souffrir pour être belle” 😀


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Jessica 15 May, 2014 - 1:57 am

I wanna have that 3 blend in brush. It seems a useful one.

Sweet make up temptations 15 May, 2014 - 11:42 pm

yes it is quite useful, not that luxurious and soft but practical and useful 🙂

laura 15 May, 2014 - 4:36 am

I’m sorry the THREE brushes weren’t all up to your standards and so happy you’ll be coming back to Japan!! I’m not too excited about THREE, I try to swatch their things and believe how gorgeous how their organic influenced skincare is, but to this day I haven’t bought anything.. I decided to get the Star Guitar as I love the colors in the pan, but it seemed too a) sheer b) glittery c) creamy (as in a creasing cream eyeshadow).

RMK ladies are funny.. either they don’t know or they won’t admit RMK is manufactured by Chikuhodo (or in Kumano). I discussed about this, and they just insist it’s all original brush (after checking behind the counter).

I see you love Addiction, RMK, Three etc. If you visit Tokyo or Yokohama, I suggest you’ll visit a shop called Isetan Mirror, my all time favorite place to shop. Not so crowded, nice staff, lots of those sample applicators (q-tips, cotton buds, sponge eyeshadow applicators and lip brushes, also make up removers free to use) if you don’t want to stick your finger into something, doesn’t seem to have an extra price tag. Check out the brands per shop here: http://www.isetanmirror.com/brandlist/index.html

Sweet make up temptations 15 May, 2014 - 11:41 pm

Hi Laura,
Star Guitar is my fav palette from Three, probably 1 that I will repurchase forever, just like Addiction Tuxedo Moon but I agree, it can be too sheer depending on how you love the finish. For me it’s just perfect, not too much but still sultry and elegant. They crease just so very little when they do so not a problem with this for me, I have more problems with the new European/Japan Chanel quads, when I told a Chanel lady today that they creased on me, she was in shock and told me “This is NOT possible” 😀 😀 😀
Lol, of course they are original, from Chikuhodo 😉
Isetan… oh that’s not the big Isetan at Shinjuku ? I’ll go check, thank you for the link!!
I want to try Tatcha but I don’t know where or if I can get them in Japan, by any chance do you know ? I will do some research before I leave anyway but just in case you know 🙂
Have a lovely day !!!

laura 19 May, 2014 - 7:43 am

Hm, maybe I give Star Guitar a one more look 😛 I wanted to check out the Addiction palettes, but I haven’t seen the older ones recently.. 🙁 I’ve been hooked on Shiseido eyeshadow trios, they’re just so buttery, but I haven’t bought one as they’re 33 dollars but 4000y! What’s the point with that? You got me also addicted to the RMK blushes, but now the old ones are not sold anymore!! What a shame…

Isetan Mirror is a separate shop, they have places all over Tokyo. It’s a beauty store and not the big one in Shinjuku, the Shinjuku shop is located in Lumine 2. So it’s not huge, like the beauty counters of a department store, but if you want to take a look of the products in a nice atmosphere and compare without anyone pushing them on you. 🙂

I looked into Tacha a little bit, but I couldn’t find a Japanese site.. I think it’s an US brand. There was mentions on Japanese websites, but I couldn’t find a store. Maybe email and ask? My Mom wanted to buy a Japanese serum brand (or at least they advertise made in Japan) that’s super expensive in EU , and I found it’s not even sold in Japan because in here skincare is too “competitive”. Lol! Hope you’ll find some Tatcha!

Bonnie 15 May, 2014 - 5:26 am

Hey lovely!! What a great review! I remember going to the THREE counter and not being impressed with them. They were sitting at the very side, not very visible, and obviously not being new, they weren’t very soft or clean! It also didn’t help that I had just gone to collect my brushes from the TAU shop and had been stroking seriously silky brushes!!!

Having said that, I actually really enjoy my RMK cheek brush! I think the one that I most want to try here is the eye brush though for use with my THREE palettes.

Sweet make up temptations 15 May, 2014 - 11:35 pm

Thank you Bonnie!
I would do anything to be able to wear the Star Guitar the best way I can, even use rougher brushes with it because the shades just look amazing 🙂
The problem is going from very soft brushes to less soft it’s just not fair 😀 but funny that I still enjoy brushes so much after so much time! unbelievable!
The 2 cheek brushes from RMK are fantastic, they work with anything, they were for long in my top 10 and even today I just don’t want to be without them, so effortless.

Buggsiebee 15 May, 2014 - 8:19 am

Thanks to you, I can totally skip these! I did have my eye on that little one, but horse hair just doesn’t excite me…..unless it’s on a horse 🙂
I have some new Chicca eye brushes on the way from Bonbon, together with the RMK shadow brushes in B & E.
Yes, I KNOW that I should be in savings mode, but old habits die hard!!
I also odered a backup of the Chicca perfect smokey brush in L. To me it is the MOST perfect and gentle brush for doing the final blending of my shadows. I find it so effective because while it really blends my shadows beautifully, it blends so gently that there is never a resulting muddiness of overblended shadows. One of my TOP faves!!

Sweet make up temptations 15 May, 2014 - 11:31 pm

muarf! horse is a bit too rough when it’s cut 🙁
I am so surprised you enjoy the Chicca smokey, I will check out the L again when I will be there, the pointy tip did not really tempt me because when picking Chicca shadows with it, it did not do much… but maybe I should give it another try!
I have Chicca and Lunasol brushes on their way to me! hopefully they arrive before the weekend!

Buggsiebee 16 May, 2014 - 7:17 am

Ah, that’s the thing 😉 I don’t use the Chicca L to pick up shadows at all. I use it ONLY for the final blending. It’s so soft that you can blend & blend & neither feel that you wiping off all your shadow in the process nor that you’re scouring all the skin off your lids.
Thanks to Delicatehummingbird’s enabling, back when she was blogging, I have almost all of the Lunasol brushes, Which Chicca & Lunasol did you get?
Did you get the new Suqqu palette, or are you planing to when it arrives at Selfridges?? It sold out overnight on all the online stores which stock Suqqu – except for Bobodave who wants over $200,- for it 😀 :D!!

Sweet make up temptations 16 May, 2014 - 10:16 am

I will give it another go, maybe I should be more patient… thank you for the feedback on that one 🙂
Gosh 200usd ?
I just asked Tiziana if she will receive it 🙂

I ordered this from bonboncosmetics:

CHICCA Perfect Ray of Light Brush
IPSA Face Color Designing Palette ~ new for 2014 Spring(Color: 103PK)
Lunasol by KANEBO Eyeshadow Brush (L) N

Buggsiebee 16 May, 2014 - 9:03 pm

Ooooh, I was so tempted to oder one of those IPSA palettes, but there are so many shades to choose from. I just couldn’t decide. Look forward to your thoughts.
I also got the Chicca ray of light, and added the brow brush in S & the powder eyeliner in M. We shall see……was it money well spent, ….or NOT?!

Sweet make up temptations 16 May, 2014 - 9:26 pm

hahahaha yes we will see then!!!

about the IPSA I don’t remember well when I saw that brand what was my opinion on it, but anyway in Japan everything is very sheer so better go with the stronger colors! well I did not know I was going otherwise I would have waited 😀
This time I will be less overwhelmed so it will be easier to swatch the products and get an opinion on them.
I remember most of the things were so sheer and sparkly, I was sad! but at the end of the trip I was finally feeling better and taking better decisions on what was really worth it! I will be there for a bit longer, I hope my bf will be patient and let me “do my things” too 😀

Buggsiebee 15 May, 2014 - 8:21 am


Huge YAY for the Japan trip!!!!
Sometimes things just have a way of coming together 😉

Sweet make up temptations 15 May, 2014 - 11:28 pm

YAY 😀 one more year has passed!! time flies!!

midnitedesire 16 May, 2014 - 11:33 am

Ahhhhhhh…. I’m eyeing blend in brush (round) too but it made out of weasel and goat hairs well…. that’s what keeps me holding off on buying it. but I do love thier Color veil L and Face H brush and the packaging though. 🙂

Ana 17 May, 2014 - 8:55 am

Even though they are not your favorite brushes, I am glad to see Three featured here! I worked with the owner of Three, Rie Omoto. She is a sweetheart, a humble nice person and a talented artist. 🙂 I notice the bristle of the duo fibers are indeed naturally darker, and although some might think its dirty, I actually thought it looked cool!
I wish more japanese companies could come to the US but it seams FDA makes the process unnecessarily hard. :/ . Your blog is a good read! I always come here to read about premium brushes. xo Ana Siqueira

H.brushilogy 17 May, 2014 - 2:37 pm

Thanks Sonia for sharing your honest review.. this brand is new to me. I haven’t heard about it before. Your discoveries are quite enlightening to us.

The THREE foundation brush has a beautiful shape. Although it’s sad that it’s not dense enough and the color is not appealing at all. I’m just surprised why they didn’t pick a different materiel or bleached that section.

Karen 18 May, 2014 - 2:23 am

Hope you have LOADS of fun in Japan, Sonia! I love your blog – you have single-handedly provided me with a PhD-level education in brushes. I can’t wait to hear about your travels in the best shopping place on earth!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 18 May, 2014 - 9:12 pm

Hi Karen, thank you sweetheart! well, I will do my best to trace the best shopping map for brush lovers 😀 😀 😀


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