The biggest surprise during my 2014 trip to Kumano was the discovery of these gorgeous brushes at the TAU Shop in Hiroshima. I remember exactly that moment… I thought “Wait.. I don’t know these brushes… ” Normal, they were new and freshly released. Then I looked at my boyfriend with my eyes wide open as brush-excitement was savagely running in my veins and murmured “Waw, these are truly really very good“, he saw I could not let go, so he looked at me and told me “Well, take them“. I had to show a minimum of wallet control and discipline and took only 4 but I came back another day… 😉
It takes a lot for a brush to surprise me, I have so many that sometimes I wonder what could truly still surprise me… but it still happens, I can even confess that it happened a lot this year, but only because I certainly had easy access to many different stunning brands, hence it’s easy to be tempted.
Their whole Kumano Fude Select Shop (KFSS) collection at this moment has 14 brushes and a brush roll, 1 is new so only visible here for now . During my trip I bought 5 brushes and the brush roll, with a backup of the crease brush because we all know that hand made crease brushes can differ very slightly so I wanted to make sure I had two. The big powder brush on the right was a very recent purchase.
|In cm||Material||Total length||Hair length||Ferrule||Weight||Price JPY|
Where there’s a big fluffy powder brush, there’s my heart and my wallet…
I have used the Mac 134 for a very long time, until it just felt so rough that I stopped. Then I switched to the Louise Young LY07s, super nice and dense. I couldn’t say exactly what material the LY is since they only say “natural”, but it’s kind of Paula Dorf squirrel-type of bristles, a bit rough for extreme-delicate skin, but when you switch from this Mac you do find it quite pleasant and I still like it and use it today.
If you stipple the LY onto your skin, you definitely feel pokey bristles but you wouldn’t “stipple” with this brush, makes no sense. So it’s absolutely soft enough to use but the KFSS is softer, not as dense and thick but definitely softer and doesn’t poke if I stipple, not that I would anyway…
The RMK face powder is also a combination of squirrel and goat bristles. The RMK is not as soft, is more directional, has similar density but since the KFSS is so much more spread out, it feels less thick and less controllable, well that is clearly the case. The KFSS is a bit “all over the place” in a way, it’s so wide that it will cover half of the face in one go, if you aim to achieve your application with the fewer strokes possible, this will definitely nail it 🙂 The Fushikaden is the most similar to the SS1-1, similar in size, thickness, shape, the Fushikaden is softer though, both are a combination of squirrel/goat but in those combinations you have a ratio, the ratio of squirrel hair versus goat hair is higher in the Fushikaden.
The R-P6 is only squirrel hair, super soft but not as dense, I don’t have a review of the R-P6 yet so I thought I should mention it. If you are looking for a softer version of a SS1-1 with a similar price tag maybe I should redirect you to the R-P6. The Chikuhodo Z-9 is thicker, denser and of higher “bundling” precision quality than the R-P6 but it’s also 40$ more expensive… Still, the Z-9 is a huge love of mine and no other -similar material- brush surpasses this brush. It was the last one I got from the Z-Series -you know, just to “complete” the collection, but if I knew how amazing it was, I would have gotten it first.
The SS1-1 is so close to the Fushikaden… that little big Fushikaden was a wonderful purchase, thank you Novy for tracking this brush down with such determination… I hope it will be available again some day. I warn you, it may be discontinued right now…
With my purchase they gave me a catalogue where you can see each purpose of the brush, unfortunately the description is in Japanese but if you browse their website with Google chrome and a translator you’ll probably understand what they mean. These are their drawings and instructions :
- Large sides of the brush
- Point of the brush
This is another quite expensive brush but when I saw that, there was no way I would leave the shop without it. I prefer round blush brushes rather than flat ones, this one is a bit too domed though, but it remains round and a dream to use.
It felt a bit over-priced at first, compared to the R-C2 it is approx 25$ more expensive, so, if you don’t care about the red pearly handle, it’s better you get the R-C2 from Chikuhodo. Probably the price difference is that OEM are often more expensive, there is also more hair on the SS2-2 and it’s longer so that will certainly justify the price difference. I think it is Chikuhodo OEM because they really look like Chikuhodo DNA but I have no confirmation on that. The design is just too close to not have any relation.
The Z-4 is there for size comparison, if you love high end Japanese brushes there are big chances you have the Z-4, it’s often the first brush you purchase from those series. What I prefer about the Z-4 is that it’s flatter at the surface, nicely thick for a flat brush, well, it’s more round than flat, which is fantastic. The Z-4 is also firmer and you will get higher coverage and more blending power with it.
I believe a bristle combination is a very clever way to add power and durability to a brush and it does help with keeping a certain softness in the brush, the GSN-04 here is also squirrel/goat and one of my best functional brushes. I love nearly everything about it, well the head is a perfect efficient weapon but the handle, well, the golden ferrules… not my fav.
The shape of that brush … omg I just love it, even if this brush is only made of goat bristles, it is soft enough for me. If you compare it to Mac brushes, it does feel softer than most of the Mac brushes for example. You can see that the bristles are well selected. Don’t forget it’s goat, don’t expect the same softness as Kashoen WA goat series, but I am not disappointed, it’s a very unique brush, super useful for blush or anything you want. Highlighter, contour, really anything. That’s exactly its big potential compared to other flatter options. Since this is more roundish, you can use it for more purposes.
It’s not directional and firm like other flat and firmer options. Let’s you do anything effortlessly. The two Tanseido are super soft in comparison but aren’t as dense and the application with these will be sheerer.
The SS1-3 is softer than the RMK but not as soft as the Chikuhodo G-02.
A nice round shape with an angled twist, super lovely brush, interesting and I reach for it very often, when you aren’t awake in the morning, use it, it will do the job for you.
Keep in mind that with any brush, specially angled brushes like these, the way you hold the brush, the pressure, the angle, all matters, you don’t need to study physics or anything but using a brush like this can deliver a lot of different applications/results if you are creative.
There is no best price vs quality brush in brush Heaven. This is pure bad-ass, don’t even ask me if it’s worth it, go for it now. Be careful, there are two similar shaped brushes, one is raccoon (SS3-1), one is squirrel (SS4-1). The SS3-1 is for work on the face (concealer, setting) as I understood, they say this type of bristles are great for handling pigments… I could not really talk to them about this topic but next time I will. I have one raccoon eyeshadow brush (from Kose Addiction) and it is impossible to use on my eyes, feels really stiff.
This SS4-1 is super soft, nearly Z-5 type of soft (some would not notice a difference) and it’s very thick, has a large surface to blend, you will use the sides or the tips of the brush depending on what you want to do, it’s that versatile. A totally sock-knocking brush.
One of the best crease brushes ever, a super soft well balanced goat brush, totally worth the price. The only downside is that it’s white so those of you who don’t want to bother with high maintenance white bristles you may want to skip it. That said, if you are going to order any of the others, you may as well get it, I am sure you will use it.
It’s very similar to the Hakuhodo J142, same kind of softness, a bit more pointy but fluffy enough so that you can use the sides, just like the Wayne Goss 19.
Much more softer and a denser than the Chikuhodo GSN-10.
Softer and less firm than the TF13.
More directional than the WG 19, but the WG is just slightly bit more thick at the surface.
I got two because small hand made brushes can differ very slightly from each other, depending on the batch of hair or the bundling, it could result in a tiny quality or design difference. That difference may not matter to most but for a nut case like me it does. Also wanted to make sure that this quality was not a lucky batch I got but that it was truly designed to be that nice, I needed confirmation. Both brushes are great, one is pointier because of the way I dried it, with a kitchen paper guard.
A little big pencil brush, more versatile than a smaller version since you can easily use the sides for the outer V, then the point for lash line placement but it won’t be that precise and narrow, depends if you go for a smokey type of lashline or a more narrow and precise application…
It’s very similar to the Hakuhodo G5526 but this Hakuhodo is more directional and the sides are more tapered and tight towards the point, the SS4-4 is not as tightly bundled.
Personally, I wouldn’t buy it only for the bottom lash line or precision placement, you have better options for that, but the strength of this brush is more for small crease work, outer V, perfect for smokey eyes for example. Love it because it’s unique and I use it often because it’s effortless and when I want to apply darker shadow on the crease I have more control with this than a typical longer or wider crease brush.
Another thing that is worth getting, their satin red brush roll, I don’t know what material it is but it looks and feels luxurious. It costs approx 35$ and it’s even more gorgeous in real life.
I don’t know where it is at the moment (because I am moving my things all the time to protect them from the dust of houseworks) but I took this picture when I was in Japan 🙂 It has 10 compartments and you can see at the bottom of each that it as a wider sawing for more comfortable room inside each one.
As a brush maniac, I enjoy that these are unique shapes and that the handles are pearly red.
Instead of the long “Natural hair ends are used” on the back (or front?) of the brush (not exactly a necessity), I’d rather preferred if they had written the number of the brush, although this means a different treatment for each handle and maybe a higher price.
Some of their brushes are made with pony bristles or raccoon, I have touched these at the shop and although I love the shapes, I know these are not soft enough for my sensitive skin so I cannot use them. If you don’t mind stronger brushes then you may be interested in them, I wish their SS4-3 and SS3-2 were goat or squirrel, these brushes have a truly interesting and useful shape.
Here are the links for the items:
They don’t ship internationally, and their website is in Japanese. If you want to purchase them, you’ll have to:
- Purchase them at the TAU shop in Japan (Tokyo Ginza or Hiroshima) or
- Ask a friend in Japan or
- Use forwarding services or
- Use other shopping services (more info here).
I hope this was useful info for you, for additional questions you know where to find me 😉