Home Brushes CHIKUHODO KIWAMI – Possible Substitutes

CHIKUHODO KIWAMI – Possible Substitutes

by Sonia G.

This little post is about trying to find possible substitutes to the Chikuhodo Kiwami who some of you wish to be able to unsee -bit late for that- as it is now discontinued and as per Chikuhodo there are no plans for more in the near future.  That Kiwami is the most precious and efficient set ever been made, also very rare, very expensive, very everything, it’s “the” ultimate set.

Despite the high price tag [+1500$] that set found enough lucky owners. It took me a very long time before I could take the $ plunge but I am so happy I did, it’s the N°1 set in my entire collection for so many reasons! Specially because the efficiency of the Canadian Squirrel bristles is the best you could wish in make-up brushes, they may not be the most visually pretty bristles but in terms of control and efficiency it beats them all.

My Kiwami review is here just in case you still want to risk and see it, but today it’s not about that Kiwami, I am simply sharing some info on possible dupes of some of the brushes in that set and thankfully available individually in case you missed on that kick-ass Kiwami.

The brands you should be looking at are Koyudo, Yojiya, Chicca, Hakuhodo, Takeda and Three. Soon you will have Surratt brushes available and there are a few inside his collection too. The ones I am showing you here are 100% Canadian, no blends, expensive but worth it. I repeat myself but you don’t need all of them, just one or two based on your preferences would be a great addition to your collection.

I try to rotate all my brushes, use as many as I can as it helps with the longevity and it also helps with the reviews, but every time I come back to these it’s the same picture, I am blown away.  Does it reeeaaaally make a difference compared to goat/grey/blue squirrel ? I wish it didn’t but it really does. Colour pay-off, ease of application, precision, blending power, I am a bit of an IT geek but these feel like they have been programmed to work with mechanic control and the precision of mathematics.



The Face brushes

Unfortunately the Takeda appears quite small compared to the Kiwami, the Takeda face/cheek brushes aren’t as full and still remain very expensive options, I was hoping they were much denser, specially the cheek/powder [2] because 200$ is a huge lot of money for such a “medium-sized” brush…  If you hop to this post you can see the size of this brush on my face.  The other Takeda hightlight [5] doesn’t shock me as much because it’s a “highlight” brush, so you are more prepared to receive a smallish brush, it corresponds to the highlight-size standards, no surprise here.


  1. Chikuhodo Kiwami Cheek Brush [Discontinued]
  2. Takeda Cheek Brush WF16CSQU [Approx 200$]
  3. Koyudo Canadian S. Red Laquered Handle [Approx 100$]
  4. Chikuhodo Kiwami Cheek/Highlight Brush [Discontinued]
  5. Takeda Highlight Brush WF12CSQU  [Approx 120$]
  6. Chikuhodo Kiwami Eyeshadow Brush [Discontinued]




The Koyudo [3] is simply the best option, better value for money, it’s quite full and thick and remains a gorgeous maki-e painted brush. So if you had to chose one, go for the Koyudo and RUN if it’s still available.


There aren’t many big brushes available anyway and these are the only ones I know about.

The eye brushes

Here you have more options, artists know that these are great brushes and shorter bristles are a bit easier to get so you will find a few here and there within some brands.

The Chicca is a perfect size to use for the application of lid color, outer v too, perfect movement, perfect flexibility, density, etc FANTASTIC. I love it so much that I placed an order for its little sister here. There aren’t many little smudgers and the little sister may just fit the purpose beautifully. Can’t wait to receive it!!!

The Yojiya and Hakuhodo Kokutan are very similar, wider than the Chicca, they are also great but the thinner size of the Chicca is more appropriate for me and will better fit smaller lids.

The Hakuhodo S133 and 127 are nice brushes but very thin, sometimes you don’t need thicker brushes anyway, thinner brushes also have more flexibility and deliver a more natural effect (understand: “less packed with pigment”).

The Hakuhodo  S122 is a work of art, all of the brushes have a stunning bundling precision but this one is even more perfect, with the years it has never changed, the surface is totally flat and very dense, not the best for beginners but unique and a necessity for me, the edges will be very defined with this brush, either you know what you are doing or you know why you are doing it…

The Three is insanely interesting, super tapered and thick. I use it for eyeshadow base and then twist it vertically and use it for the crease, it does the work effortlessly, fits my crease like a glove. I love it so so so much it’s difficult to say this is not a necessity… it’s called a “face brush” but I couldn’t care less of the names they give to brushes in general, whatever your imagination can do with it, just do it.

The Takeda WFSH12C is as insane as the Three, soooo thick and fluffy… and solid… and expensive… but that one is also a gem. A must-have.

The Hakuhodo G5527 is a brush that will work with definition and precision, more for cut-crease application, again, difficult to handle in a way that it will pack the pigment where you place it and concentrate it there, efficient but can be tricky, some will love it, some will hate it.

Together with my Chicca order, I also ordered the WF10CSQU from Takeda, which is the smaller version of this one, I hope it is thick and fluffy (just like they advertise) as it would be fantastic as a multipurpose eye brush.


The Chicca, the Three and the Takeda here are the eyeshadow brushes that I find the most interesting, reaaaally truly worth it.

  1. Chikuhodo Kiwami Eyeshadow Brush [Discontinued]
  2. Chikuhodo Kiwami Eyeshadow Brush [Discontinued]
  3. Chicca Perfect Ray of Light Brush  [Approx 50$]
  4. Yojiya Ebony Shadow Brush [Approx 33$]
  5. Hakuhodo Kokutan Eyeshadow Brush S [Approx 47$]
  6. Hakuhodo S133 Eyeshadow Brush Round and Flat [Approx 50$]
  7. Hakuhodo S127 Eyeshadow Brush Round and Flat [Approx 53$]
  8. Hakuhodo S127 Eyeshadow Brush Round and Flat [Approx 68$]
  9. Three Face Brush S [Approx 36$]
  10. Takeda Eyeshadow Brush WFSH12C [Approx 80$]
  11. Hakuhodo G5527 Eyeshadow Brush Pointed [Approx 60$]





There is another interesting brush that looks like canadian squirrel hair only but that could be a blend so I am not sure I should include it here, it’s the Lunasol Brush (L) N, shown in the next picture between the Takeda and the Chikuhodo. On the Lunasol website it says it’s a blend, on the Bonboncosmetics.com website, it says it’s a 100% canadian, maybe they changed it, maybe it’s a mistake.  It feels nice enough but after using it, I am not convinced it is as efficient as the big eyeshadow from Takeda, hence, I prefer the Takeda.


Lunasol Brush (L) N in the middle


If you were really looking for some alternatives to the Kiwami, then maybe this post will help and will relieve you a bit, crossing fingers that either you got the Kiwami or you can find your happiness with any of these 🙂

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212kiki 18 November, 2014 - 9:32 pm

Thanks to Anna I really want the small cheek/highlighter from the set since it seems unique but I think that would be the only brush… Still love my red set and are really happy I got it ! Maybe some day when the hair stock recovered from our crazy buying we can get our hands on some nice new ones 😉
Maybe it would worth a try to ask takeda for a round cheek brush since dear arch was able to get a customized brush from them.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 18 November, 2014 - 10:23 pm

Yes it might get better in the future but for now the demand has probably reached their reserves…
Hmmm I could do that 🙂 let me check with some companies… 😉

Jeanette 18 November, 2014 - 10:12 pm

Thanks for the review, Sonia! I had decided to get the Koyudo Canadian squirrel brush, but put it off for a while as long as the stock didn’t decrease much. But after this post of yours I don’t dare to wait any longer, as I’m afraid it could go out of stock over night *lol*.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 18 November, 2014 - 10:22 pm

You are welcome Jeanette! oh sorry! did not mean to rush you, worst case if you don’t like it you will probably find buyers… 🙂
I am loving mine and I know it’s also partially following to my personal preferences but they are so good it’s a shame to not own at least one 🙂

Bea 18 November, 2014 - 10:24 pm

So I guess I need to update my lemming list lol.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 18 November, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Hi Bea!! I need to update mine too because today I ordered 4 new brushes and wanted so many more, I am just hopeless… 😀

Jeanette 18 November, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Sarah, I wrote to Chikuhodo to ask if they would release the set again, or maybe just the cheek/highlight brush, but I never got an answer from them. It seems though from the answers others have got that they don’t have the hairs to produce anymore. Too bad *sigh*.
I am happy to hear that you love your Koyudo Canadian squirrel set. I have just ordered the single cheek brush, which should be interchangeable with the one in the set 🙂
And what a brilliant idea to ask Takeda if they would make a cheek brush!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 20 November, 2014 - 11:12 pm

Hi Jeanette, I am having some action behind the scenes right now, hoping I can find something nice, I will keep you posted 🙂 They replied so I am talking to them..

Izzy 18 November, 2014 - 10:40 pm

Sonja – thanks a lot for the review. I was eyeing the Hakuhodo 127 and 133 for sometime and I believe after this post I am going to get them (and it is not the first time your post “made” me buy some brushes…)

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 20 November, 2014 - 11:10 pm

Thanks for the trust you put on me Izzy, I really appreciate that, I hope you will enjoy them and as I already said in the past, these are not only brushes, there is something more about them and it’s an honour to own something that special, they put a lot of effort in their creations and they are so insanely happy and proud that we love them so much! Sending you warm hugs from Switzerland 🙂

midnitedesire 18 November, 2014 - 10:54 pm

Thank you so much for this post Sonia ,it’s very helpful ,you sure are rocking it! 😉 And I think you have created a few new lemmings for me my dear! I’m so weak lol

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 20 November, 2014 - 11:08 pm

You are welcome Tesla! Gosh, I am going to have a avalanche of brushes arriving home before Christmas so hold on tight…

Ann C. 19 November, 2014 - 5:55 am

Im forever thankful to you and Melissa for pushing me to the best direction. Thank you.
But even with Kiwami, I’m adding more eye brushes to my wishlist!!! 🙂
Thank you dearest! Another great post as always

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 20 November, 2014 - 11:03 pm

Thank you Ann, I am happy I am not the only one here with the neverending wishlist 😀 bahahaha

212kiki 19 November, 2014 - 1:00 pm

Yes I think Angela and Carlyn asked too… No Kiwami in the future…

Not sure if Koyudo has still Canadian stock but since takeda is the only one with Canadian brushes in their regular line this would be a brand to ask for a round cheek though the prizes are quite high for the brushes they have.

Argiro 19 November, 2014 - 5:02 pm

Thanks for the review Sonia.takeda chicca on my list.i always trust your review.you are never wrong

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 20 November, 2014 - 11:02 pm

If you talk to me like that I will have to come there and hug you 😀
There are still a few to uncover waiting for us … so you please hold on, I’ll be back with more info!! 🙂

bellyhead 19 November, 2014 - 5:12 pm

🙁 You are in my brains, enabling my Kiwami-Lust.

I also got the answer from visageusa that Chikuhodo has no plans of ever releasing the Kiwami again. But I’m going to keep on saving my money in the ever-futile hope that one day, one day they will re-release this set.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 20 November, 2014 - 11:00 pm

I know.. BUT, I am on a mission so hold on and save… 😉 I had some email exchanges with Takeda, let’s see how this turns out..

Lyanna Stark 20 November, 2014 - 8:22 pm

First of all, these pics just make me pine for Kiwamis even more. >:p

Secondly, now I have to get some Canadian squirrel, which I never knew I needed! >:p

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 20 November, 2014 - 10:57 pm

Hi Lyanna! 😀 that’s is funny, I hope that if you get one you will use it and love it dearly 🙂

Jeanette 23 November, 2014 - 2:48 pm

How exciting, Sonia! If somebody can pull something off, it’s you! (Are you talking to Chikuhodo or Takeda?)

Jeanette 23 November, 2014 - 3:27 pm

I had already made up my mind due to some very effective enablers in the forum 😉 I just stalled the purchase as I cannot buy everything on my wishlist at once. So I placed my order, and the stock decreased from 12 to 11. A couple of days later the stock decreased to 10, and the to 9. The day after showing 9 in stock, it showed 12 in stock. So it seems that they are still replenishing their stock.

babycake390 13 December, 2014 - 11:27 am

Sonia, if you ever find out Chikuhodo releases single Kiwami brushes I need to know. Just couldn’t spend $ on the full set. I do own the Koyudo Red Sqirrel though and reading your article about possible similar brushes, it looks like I got the right one to experience a RedSquirrel hair brush 🙂 p.s. I LOVE this post! Thanks so much for writing it!!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 21 December, 2014 - 11:58 pm

Thank you Babycake 🙂
I’ll have to write to you then, good you are in the forum!! thanks and welcome!!

Sylvia 30 December, 2014 - 12:26 am

Hi, Sonia!
Are you going to write about your favorite brushes for 2014? I am sooooo looking forward to see your post about it.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 30 December, 2014 - 12:52 am

hi Sylvia, yes of course, I am working on it 🙂 just washing my brushes before I can take the pics 😀
will be up in the upcoming days, thank you so much for your interest!!! 🙂

Sylvia 30 December, 2014 - 1:47 am

LOLLL sounds like big amount of work there! I use my eyeshadow brushes more often and I wash them once a month. It usually takes me at least half an hour to get everything settled.


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