Home BrushesBest of year Fav powder brushes of 2014

Fav powder brushes of 2014

by Sonia G.

It took me some time to select the most loved face brushes in my collection because I love a brush beyond its functionality, I see those who made it and those who’ll use it and all those images, dedication and craftsmanship overwhelms me deeply. You have to see it to feel it, I saw it -twice- and it just gets to you, then you see behind the brush, the love that the artisan puts into his work, it changes your perception. I had no idea that it would change me like it did, I certainly traveled to Kumano driven by my passion and love for brushes but part of me never came back. There are other reasons to that, it felt a bit like home.

Until I was 11, I grew up in Spain with my grandparents in the tiniest poorest village, only elderly people lived there and when you needed something, you had to build it. I spent my childhood watching people build their homes, their tools, we would grow our own food, make our flour, our bread, our soap, our wine, we didn’t have running water, today it just sounds crazy but we wouldn’t buy things, we would make them for a living and I would sit there and watch them or help. Kumano is of course technically more advanced but it felt so familiar to see elderly people working in the fields or creating things, always working with such a joyful and humble attitude. Meeting the artisans who often were my grandparents age, spending time with them and discovering their values and customs reminded me of the past, I felt even closer to them. Today I feel much closer to Kumano than Geneva.

We all have our criteria to rate and select the best brushes: the functionality, the efficiency, the softness, the quality, the uniqueness, etc etc, once you go to Kumano, you definitely see the artisan and you will never forget the respect and love they have for their work.

Functionality is truly important, it should be your first criteria, once you get that covered you can adventure yourself into other territories. It’s how I proceeded, my priority are the brushes that rock my speedy daily routines, then I have the ones that I use for comfort on those special demanding days and I have the others that I have chosen just for the sake of love.

I can show you today some of my 2014 favorites powder/bronzer brushes but as always keep in mind I have even more that I adore, selection shouldn’t be permitted as it puts a negative accent on the ones that aren’t shown here, but I can’t show you all of them either… so anyway, let’s start with my very TOP 6 crazy beautiful tools, I am warning you, these are often expensive but often for a good reason:


Kashoen WA powder, Hakuhodo Kokutan H3980, Koyudo Yakusugi powder, Koyudo Saibikoho powder, Chikuhodo Z-9, Hakuhodo S 106


I will comment them below, from left to right.

The Kashoen WA powder


It’s made with goat hair, costs approx 190$, the length of the bristles is 5cm, the thickest part of the head is 4cm wide, it is round and just slightly tapered.

What’s special about it

Kashoen wanted unique and high quality goat hair for these WA series. They never told me which type of hair it was (Sokoho, Saikoho, Saibikodo, Ototsuho, etc…) we have no idea because they don’t want to reveal their secrets but they told me it was a special time consuming process for the selection, bristle by bristle. They just label their goat bristles with “S class” or “A class”  so pay attention to that label when you order, S class is better than A, I didn’t find A class soft enough for my delicate skin. “SS class” is reserved for their Royal series and it is goat & squirrel, the Royal series are insane works of art (by famous artisans) but one face brush is approx 1’000$ so… not for me.
When I was having tea with the vice-president at their Ginza boutique I had the opportunity to watch customers purchase their Royal series, this is how close I will ever get to purchasing those series, just watching! 😀 Each time it only took them 2mn so at least my torture didn’t last long 😀 I think they just asked what their most valuable brush was! oh it would be fun to shop like that from time to time! No limits… what a dream 😛

Let’s come back to the still expensive but somehow more affordable WA series. Although being dyed, they do feel softer than any other goat dyed brush I have. If you are familiar with goat hair and its naming convention, it is softer than Sokoho, less soft than Saikoho, much less soft than Saibikoho. It that doesn’t speak to you, let’s say it is much more pleasant and clearly softer than Mac brushes.

I had a discussion with their President and she says that they focus more on the functionality -with quality- than on softness and I agree with her that their WA goat series are very efficient, soft enough for delicate skin but not the softest brushes you can get in Kumano if that is what you are looking for.

Why I love it

Because I truly deeply love goat brushes -seriously- and when I can find a goat brush that I can use on my sensitive skin, I hear angels. The application is effortless, I can use this brush with anything, bronzer, powder, it picks any product and you have a lot of control and no fear as it’s not too dense, not too tapered which is often the case with similar brushes.  I wake up very early, apply my make-up while still partially sleeping but I know I can trust this brush, it will never disappoint. It did disappoint at the beginning because the gorgeous Kashoen logo started rubbing of in the first weeks that I had it, they changed my brushes and enhanced something that wasn’t going perfectly right in the process with one of their products and after more than a year, the logos are still fully visible and no signs of fading.

The Hakuhodo Kokutan H3980


I have been told by Hakuhodo that this is a combination of goat and synthetic, I paid 85 Euros for it as it was bought in an expo in Paris (thank you Noémie!). The length of the bristles is 5cm, the widest points are 4.5 and 3.5 sideways, it’s not completely round but not flat either. Just like the Kashoen, not too dense, not too directional. That’s my fav shape pattern for powder/bronzer brushes. For blush it’s a different story but I’ll show you in my next post.

These white Kokutan are not on the Hakuhodo website and are more rare to obtain, you may want to ask Hakuhodo or Toshiya (www.fudejapan.com) if they know where to get them, I think Toshiya could find some in Japan.

What’s special about it

The combination of a gorgeous wood handle, matte black ferrule and white bristles, holy molly, you will have trouble finding a more beautiful brush, this is a serious grown up design.

Why I love it

Because just like the Kashoen, it’s an effortless brush, plus those handles and the whole look of the brush is pure luxury. I already have many Kokutans but this (and the similar blush one) are within my very top favs.

Koyudo Yakusugi powder


It’s a red squirrel brush with a handle made with very special Yakusugi wood. The handle is just the most incredible feature on this brush, only some know the value of such a treasure. It’s a brush from a set, the link to the set is here or here and costs approx 900$. Due to the high grade of the material and the very unique handle its cost is high but understandable.

It is super mega soft, dense enough, applies product like a breeze, for us with super delicate skin this is a dream come true. I wouldn’t use it on a daily basis but I use it regularly.

What’s special about it

Everything. My friend Frankie,  luv2luv77 on Youtube and Instagram, when he saw my pictures of these brushes on Instagram it made him react with such passion and admiration for Koyudo. He sent me this comment:

The yakusugi wood is so fascinating.  Some of these trees are like 700 or 800 years old. They only grow like a centimeter per year I believe. This wood is so complex; there are so many different Japanese names, for the different types used.  Awakobu means patchy pattern that occurs in a portion that could not grow normally due to disease. Komyo is sort of a graded shiny pattern that occurs when the tree could not grow straight for some reason. There are many different types of names depending on what type of wood, or how it grew. Vases, plates, and other things are made from this wood.  It’s so special that this wood was used to make this set of brushes.

The scent is so extraordinary, sometimes I catch my bf red-handed sniffing the handles. He has a very sensitive nose so it’s enough for him to open the display cabinet and he can already smell them, then he looks at me and says “We need to go back to Japan”.  Yes we do. When we were visiting, sometimes we would feel that Yakusugi wasn’t far… so we competed to find the source. Omg, we love it so much.

Today the handle still has this scent, if my hand is holding the brush and is too close to the nose it alters the scent and I cannot smell it, if I take away my hand then I can clearly notice it, the best way is to breath in slowly for as long as you can as the intensity of the scent gets higher the longer you breath in, after 3-4 sec is when the intensity peaks, the more sensitive the nose the easier it is.

This is some information I got from Koyudo :

About YAKUSUGI(Ancient Cedar Trees)

 UNESCO to add Yakushima island to the list of natural World Heritage sites in 1993 and it was registered for Japan’s first World Natural Heritage.

 The ancient Japanese cedar trees on Yakushima island grows from an altitude of more than 500 meters above sea level on the island. More than 1,000 years old cedar is only called “Yakusugi (Yaku cedar tree) “.


  • Sublime fragrance of natural wood. (Contains resins of more than general cedar.)
  • Durability to be kept after hundreds of years. (A high antibacterial action and effectively avoid decay from good conditions.)
  • Beautiful and elegant grain. (The same pattern does not exist as one in the world.)

and so on.

This luxurious cedar is used for make-up brush’s handle.

 ※Regarding to Yakusugi, which is used for make-up brush’s handle; Yakushima island is registered the World Heritage sites and it is strictly prohibited to cut down Yakusugi。Therefore, this product is made from stumps of previously felled trees and trees that fell naturally in typhoons in Yakushima. These trees are called 「Domaiboku」,which literally means buried trees in the ground

Why I love it

Because it’s unique and because the person who made it -Koyudo’s President- is as nuts as I am about brushes and his creativity has no limits. You have to meet him to really see his love for unique things, when we talked there was no language barrier at all, he didn’t speak English, my bf and I didn’t speak Japanese but how easy we could understand each other was pure magic. Whatever I asked he would understand, when I asked if he could do a brush “like that” showing him with my hands, he would pick a random brush and explain what he would change so that it would fit my ideas. It was so much fun. He is such a serious and classy person, then he started to open up and gosh it was extreme fun. We spent the afternoon and the evening with him, he took us out for a Sushi dinner but it was more a Sushi orgy, my bf and I had never so much Sushi in our entire lives – we can sum up all the Sushi we had in our past and we wouldn’t come close to what he offered us that evening, it has hilarious to see my bf give up on Sushi, never thought that possible!

I think the President was really pleased to meet someone as passionate as him, the hours he puts into his creations are countless. He showed us some other brushes that aren’t produced (yet) or that he did for special events and before he could explain his work, my bf was already telling him why such work was so complex and that it was unbelievable that he achieved that. Thumbs up for a President so passionate about his work, he takes it a bit beyond “functional” 😀

The Koyudo Saibikoho powder


This is part of a set but CDJapan recently started to sell some individually, even though individually the price is still very very extreme. This is the finest goat hair in the world: Saibikoho. It comes from Saikoho bristles but only a very very little selection of Saikoho bristles can be labeled Saibikoho quality. Saikoho is located from the neck to the chest of the goat. It is softer than squirrel, softer than anything you can imagine. It has the price of gold though. You pay here for the material but also for the handle as it is maki-e painted.

I have the set but I bought one brush at a time… took me two years and a half. I think the price for the set now is approx 1650$. More details here.

What’s special about it

Well, it’s a brush for collectors, not the brush you would use on a daily basis, you have to buy a display cabinet to go with it! I do use it with powder but most of the time, it’s just to touch and admire.

Why I love it

Because it’s gold for a collector, the most extreme material that only Koyudo is crazy enough to invest on and to think it would sell… 😀 and some of us are crazy enough to buy them… Just let me tell you one more thing, they don’t keep this material on their work desks 😀 it is safely protected and secure!

The Chikuhodo Z-9


It’s a grey squirrel, is part of Chikuhodo Z-series, if you own one of them you know what quality it is, stunning. Bristles are 5cm long, at the widest point it is 5cm wide and sideways 3.5cm. The surface that touches your skin to apply the product is 4cmx 2.5cm, flat surface and dense, not floppy like most of the squirrel brushes out there, it’s a firm cushion that I call a lion’s paw, it applies the product with determination while keeping it gentle and with equal pressure from side to side of the brush. I can’t believe it’s the last brush I got from the Z-series because it’s my top fav from the lot. You cannot take this brush away from me ever.

You can now also buy them at Beautylish, this brush is 178$.

What’s special about it

We have a quote in french “Une main de fer dans un gant de velours“, I believe in English it goes like that: “An iron fist in a velvet glove“: this brush is pure strength and power delivered by you with the most delicate diplomatic approach.

Why I love it

Because I use bronzer nearly on a daily basis and this brush is simply perfect for that, for bronzer I usually prefer goat brushes over squirrel brushes but this brush works for me like no other, I use it with all my bronzers, specially Tom Ford Terra.


The Hakuhodo S 106


If you love the Hakuhodo S series you may be familiar with this brush. It’s a goat brush sold at 125$. You can get it here. The bristles are 4.5 cm long, quite firm and dense but soft. If you have powders or bronzers that require a more strong brush to pick up the product and blend it easily, that’s the one to go for.

What’s special about it

The brass ferrule is 24-karat gold plated with clear coating.

Why I love it

Because it looks gorgeous and it’s very efficient, I truly deeply love it, they should do more vermilion brushes with white bristles, they look so special. I love the angled shape, the fact that you can put more strength on the shorter side, or play with the surface and the angle to achieve many different applications, from heavier applications to more lightweight.

Bottom line: if somebody comes home and asks me to show them a beautiful make-up brush, I think I would pick the S 106, or the White Kokutan, the Yakusugi or the Saibikoho… or maybe the Chikuhodo Noel 2014 sets… which brings us the the second part of the post, my other very loved powder/bronzer brushes!


2014 was an insane year for brushes, when I thought I had seen it all Chikuhodo released their two Noel sets… a brown/burgundy and a blue that looked like this:


The 2014 icing on the cake! That’s what I call ending the year with a bold statement, I remember I was sitting in front of my computer when I saw these sets I was literally seeing stars and the most spectacular fireworks. Need.all. These two sets Etoile and Neige were screaming my name.

2014 was almost a spooky year for brush evolution, I had the feeling that in response to the sudden rise in customers interested by Kumano brushes, more competition, more challenges and more creativity rose within the manufactures. Competition is good as it gives customers better products but demand will make prices increase as material becomes more difficult to purchase, so when you see something you love, specially if it is LE, don’t hesitate, you’ll thank me later 🙂

I didn’t really bother about blue brushes before, this is a different story. The white/blue one here from their Noel set called Neige is shaped like the Kokutan white that you saw above, similar size, softness and usage. Felt like winning the lottery twice, not only both brush shapes are spot on for me but the handles of both Chikuhodo Noel sets are breathtaking.

The brown/burgundy brush here is from their Etoile set, it is similar to the Chikuhodo Z-9 but less dense, less firm but similar-ish quality. I rate the Z-9 hair quality a 10/10, this Etoile is a 9.5/10.  I just love it to pieces.

If you didn’t miss those sets, good! if you missed them, then consider the Chikuhodo Z-9 as a very good (best) dupe candidate for the Noel Etoile powder brush, or you could consider the MK-2 or the R-P6. The MK-2 is rounder but full and nicely balanced, not floppy at all. The R-P6 is less dense and not quite as full but it is cheaper (130$), approx 50$ cheaper than the Z-9.

Bottom line: Always keep an eye on the Noel releases! I definitely will.


Z-9, Noel Etoile, R-P6, MK-2


The Takumi T-2, the Hakuhodo J531, the Hakuhodo S 106


Chikuhodo T-2, Hakuhodo J531, Hakuhodo S106

If you love brushes and you haven’t heard of the Chikuhodo Takumi yet, there is certainly at least one or maybe a few that you will want to try. The Takumi are made with Saikoho hair, hence super soft, the shapes and material of the Takumi are different to what they create in their other series. This T-2 is less dense and softer than the S 106, the T-2 is more airy and delivers a more lightweight application. I love to use it with powder or bronzer or also with dimensional blush. I call dimensional blush when you use just one pinky-brown powder to roughly sculpt the cheeks and the face, without the need of using a blush/contour/bronzer/highlight but instead just one product for the whole face. I have a few products that allow that fresh healthy looking non-make-up look in one swipe, but basically a satin pinky-brown powder, bronzer or blush will do the trick. I don’t usually wear make-up on the weekend, unless I am playing with make-up or brushes, so if I need an urgent fix, just gimme a angled brush like this, a pinky-brown powder and 10 seconds!

Another excellent option is the Hakuhodo J531, it’s a goat brush too, I find it softer than the S106, denser, softer and fuller than the T-2, the J531 is Saikoho too, some of the regular J series from Hakuhodo are of higher grade and those are flagged as Saikoho.  When you see Saikoho near “goat” you’ll know you are looking at their high goat grade. Just search for Saikoho on the Hakuhodo website, here for example, you will see a selection of their softest J series!

I nearly forgot that I had the CDJapan CB100, I had to quickly wash it before I took this pic but I really want you to see it as it is a very affordable brush, I think today is approx 33$, it’s not as soft as the Takumi but it gets the job done nicely, it’s not pokey, allows a lot of different applications, it’s more airy than the S106 but not floppy at all and nearly as soft! If you are looking for a cheaper and good alternative this CDJapan is the one.


The Tom Ford 05 remains a fav brush of mine, one of the biggest brushes I own and I looove big brushes, the bigger the brush the happier I am 😀  It’s funny, today when you look at the other similar brushes in the market, suddenly the price of the Tom Ford (115$) doesn’t sound that expensive, when it was first released the price sounded surreal, today great brushes are all getting quite expensive anyway, so why not splurge in THE ONE that you really dream to have? Could be the TF or any other, but if the brush is good and hand made it will anyway be an investment.


J501, TF 05, J531, S106, T-2

Speaking of big mamas… did you see the size of the Chikuhodo T-1 and the Koyudo BP006? I have a review of the BP006, but seriously how cool is it to find huge brushes like that? It’s insane, the Koyudo BP006 is softer than the T-1, there is only one thing that I would change, I think we have a paradox situation here. The BP006 extreme hair quality just does not match the handle which is a bit more common. That BP006 deserves a gorgeous handle or something that stands out a bit more but I saw that same situation with several brands, the head just doesn’t match the body, my expectations are that the quality of the head is aligned with the looks of the body… 😀 of course it’s great that they keep them affordable, not complaining, just dreaming of a most unique combination, specially for this one. That BP006 I want to display it in my cabinet because when you see it  you are naturally drawn to it like Gollum to the Ring but then the handle is a bit too ordinary… anyway, it is an insane brush.


Chikuhodo T-1, Koyudo BP006


I couldn’t finish this post without mentioning the canadian hair brushes, I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter the shape of the brush, it barely matters if the brush is dense, it just works, does the job, doesn’t ask questions, I have my clumsy days but they never let me down, they have a soft of autopilot that allows them to be used with pretty much anything, highly pigmented or not, they do the work and ask for more, you can’t stop using it. Since I discovered it, I have tried different shapes, densities, I could apply make-up with my feet and still succeed, seriously, it’s magic. It doesn’t slap the pigment onto your face, it retains it within the bristles and gently takes it along spreading it without irregularities. The Kiwami brushes aren’t available any more for now but any other brush would be a fantastic option. Here is the Chikuhodo Kiwami and the Koyudo Echizen, on the right the Takeda:


Another one that has a huge place in my heart: the Wayne Goss White Holiday brush that he released at Christmas. The shape, the shape and the shape… it’s spot on! I hate when big tapered brushes are too tight at the point, too directional or too dense, it’s ok for the smaller ones but big ones should allow a bit more flexibility and airiness, just like this one. That’s how you get the most out of it, you can reach the corners of your face without making a directional mess with your product, I can give it to a few people around me who never heard the word make-up and they will get the hand of it immediately. It is 100% goat, probably nice Sokoho, the Kashoen feels slightly softer but it’s also much more expensive.


Wayne Goss holiday, Kashoen WA powder

If you visit Japan and the Kumano Fude Select Shops, you will come across very special brushes, either you like them or not, since I love big mamas, the Kyuka Sangyo here is so soft and sturdy, it makes me think of a bear in a tuxedo, I don’t know, I love sturdy huge brushes so this was meant to come with me 🙂


Kyuka Sangyo, Fu-Shikaden powder

The bottom brush is a Fu-shikaden but not sure if this is still available, some details here, if you really want it, you may try to ask Fude Japan or search on Rakuten but I am really not sure it’s still manufactured. I love when a brush is mixed goat/squirrel, it remains soft but has much more strength and blending power and mixes are better if you have oily skin, even though I don’t like short handles, sometimes I can totally live with them.

The Fu-shikaden reminds me of the Kumano Fude Select Shop (second from the left in the next picture), the KFSS is not as soft but has similar fullness. Another brush that surprised me in 2014 and made it to my favs is the CD Japan powder, their collection is small but it’s absolutely lovely, it’s very soft, extremely pleasant for dry and delicate skin. If your skin is really oily you may prefer goat brushes or a mix of goat/squirrel bristles, with oily skin you may need to clean your very fine brushes more regularly, a microfiber cloth is often enough to maintain them dry and spot clean them.


Kyuka Sangyo, KFSS, CDJapan powder, Fu-Shikaden

Did I mention I love goat brushes ? yes I did but I really truly do, they are very efficient, more enduring. When I was using Mac brushes, some of the Mac I had were a pain to use and the more my skin was aging, the more painful they were becoming. I was dreaming for softer options and today it’s easily possible, there are a few 100% goat that really deserve out attention.

This Mac 138 has remained really soft for a goat brush, seriously I am very impressed! A very good goat brush is the Chikuhodo Special G-9, details here as it is discontinued and replaced with a similar brush but with a shorter handle, the Chikuhodo G-16 is the replacement.  The shape of the special G-9 is so clever, it’s pointy but the upper part of the head has more surface to pick up the product and to better fit our faces, it doesn’t heart my skin and I am literally crazy about it.


Mac 138, Chikuhodo Special G-9


Other softer-than-Mac brushes are the Bifudedo and the Koyudo BP series, some are better than others but I use these two and find them super comfy.

Bifudedo are quite difficult to find, I got mine on Rakuten, once more you may want to ask Toshiya (www.fudejapan.com) if you are interested.


Koyudo BP019, Bifudedo powder

If you still love the efficiency of goat brushes but they are definitely too rough for you, try the mixes. Here the Kumano Fude Select Shop and the Hakuhodo B501 are two of my favs with mixed bristles, the B501 is more directional, denser and softer than the KFSS.



KFSS SS1-1, Hakuhodo B501

When I was in Kyoto, Houkodou were displaying some of their brushes in a shopping mall and when I saw this peach Houkodou it had to come back with me! It’s 100% Sokoho goat hair, it’s so dense, so nicely bundled and nearly as soft as the Kashoen, it costs approx 6000JPY, only issue for me it’s the shorter handle, it’s 136mm in total but I’d rather use longer handles, but I love it! That’s how I actually imagine goat brushes should feel.


KFSS SS1-1, Houkodou P-F2


That’s it for today… these were my most loved and reached for face brushes. Next post if all goes as planned is the cheek brushes… Sorry if that is taking me so long, I still haven’t moved into my new office and the lighting here is catastrophic, I was hoping that I could take better pictures but for now, it’s all I can do. I know these brushes are quite expensive so I am looking for the cheapest alternatives and will post them in a separate upcoming post.

If you are wondering were my synthetic face brushes are, I have a few, I don’t reach for them very often but I have a dedicated post coming up after the move! 🙂

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Mirna 8 March, 2015 - 6:45 pm

Dear Sonia,
I have only recently discovered the beautiful world of brushes, and now I’m stuck in it, and very large credit for this goes to you! 🙂
I’m a newcomer, so forgive me if my question is impolite; I was just wondering how far behind this selection of your favourite powder brushes lies the Rae Morris Pro Powder?
Unfortunately, my resources are limited, so I have to pick my brushes with care. I have already made a decision to treat myself with Pro Powder, and now I’m a little bit puzzled…

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion with us, cordial greetings!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 8 March, 2015 - 8:10 pm

Hi Mirna,
thank you! I hope you will stick around for a long time then! 🙂
Why would you think your question is impolite? of course not! I will try to explain. It is a very nice brush and I do love it, it is super soft, you can press it against your skin and you can softly apply and blend, I enjoy using it on sensitive days or to set my foundation (but I don’t do that very often). It is rare to find a tapered brush like this that is so soft on the skin, very rare, so if you are going for that kind shape but in a softer version, you found the one. I think it is a personal choice, when it comes to a softer version I prefer the flat type of brush or completely flat at the surface, for a tapered brush I prefer when I have more strength on the bristles, but don’t get me wrong, you can still push the product into your skin.

If you compare this brush to the others that made it to my very top favs, the other tapered brushes are firmer and denser (Kashoen, WG, Chikuhodo Special G-9, …) or have a flat surface (Z-9), I personally prefer when I can apply and then polish the application with more strength, if it was firmer and denser that shape would work better for me, it would just be perfect for me if it was a bigger version of the Deluxe Kabuki #1, for example in her first release, that one was just spot on, it had the most appropriate shape for me and the perfect firmness, you can see her previous ones here: http://sweetmakeuptemptations.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/rm22all.jpg
I have bad skin, specially at this moment, I have fine lines, big pores, fine hair along the face…, I need a brush with polish power and discipline power to really finish the application and leave both order and little residue behind 😀
So you see, it’s very personal at the end, I am very happy with her brush as I can use it on other people and they always thank me and are so impressed! 🙂 I couldn’t select them all …

Karla 8 March, 2015 - 8:17 pm

Increíble post!!! No dejo de pensar el la MK 2, eske esta tan bonita! A lo mejor el otro año la compro para usarla con el nars light reflecting loose powder y reemplazar con esta la mac 150 ke la compre en agosto del año pasado pero sufro cada vez ke la uso está cada vez más rasposa 🙁 Otra brocha ke nomás no me puedo sacar de la cabeza es la Tom Ford no5, eske por donde la veas esta bonita, no le duele nada, a lo mejor luego me animo y me la compro ya ke no tengo ninguna brocha para aplicar polvos bronceadores. El otro día estando en el internet viendo brochas me puse a pensar ke hay tantas brochas con el pelo tan bonito y de tan buena calidad pero ke el mango como ke no les va mucho… Por ejemplo la J501, me encanta la forma ke tiene pero el mango como ke ya no me atrae tanto pero imagínate si tuviera el mango de la kokutan o de las chikuhodo Z ke hermosura de brocha sería!!! O.o ke padre sería ke pudiéramos escoger así no?

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 8 March, 2015 - 8:27 pm

Gracias Karla 🙂
He usado la Mac 150 durante un cierto tiempo y es que se ma caia la piel… Me temo que pensamos de la misma manera, una brocha tan buena tiene que destacar un poco mas con el mango, es que es una pena, menos mas que Hakuhodo tienen varias con los mangos diferentes, que pena que la J no las tengan todas con otro mango, serian divinas. La MK2 y la TF 5 serian una preciosa pareja, a ellas dos hazen milagros y son tan unicas! ya me diras cuales te coges vale? a que te coges las dos!! jeje

Tatjana 8 March, 2015 - 8:46 pm

Thank you Sonia for explaining your favourites!
After reading your post, I ordered both of the CD Japan brushes for my travel kit 🙂
Now I’m a bit afraid of the fav cheek brushes 2015 (but can’t wait) 😉

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 8 March, 2015 - 10:55 pm

My pleasure! oh cool I hope you love them! well the cheek ones I am even more crazy about and they are often the centre of interest for brush lovers so I can’t wait 🙂

Tatjana 8 March, 2015 - 8:48 pm

Haha – I mean 2014, but I’m sure you already have quarterly favourites for this year.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 8 March, 2015 - 10:56 pm

hmmmm not really, well yes just ONE, but there are a few new candidates for 2015 on their way to me as I speak 😉

Karla 8 March, 2015 - 9:12 pm

Jajaja si, y ni me voy a molestar en buscar brochas “dupe” más baratas porke me conozco y si me compro otras nadamas porke estén más económicas voy a seguir pensando “pero no me compre la ke yo de verdad keria” no, ke necesidad de torturarme a mi misma así y como decía mi abuelita ke en paz descanse “Si vas a hacer el gasto hazlo bien hecho, ke sea en algo bueno” 🙂

Argiro 8 March, 2015 - 9:19 pm

Greet post Sonia!!!conclusion ….I have to buy all the Kumano fude select shop brushes.i have already the two blush and some eyebrushes and I LOVE them.i get the two powder now!!!!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 8 March, 2015 - 10:58 pm

haha ok, I see 😉 that powder one wasn’t cheap 🙁 but I love everything about them!

Cat 8 March, 2015 - 9:28 pm

Holy mother of big mamma brush posts!!!!! H Y P E R V E N T I L A T I N G Ermergheeerrddddddd.
I loved everything about this post, especially the nostalgic recount of your experience as a child… how fascinating, I never knew that about you! Well this is why I need to get my butt to Japan and see you there too, so I can hear more of these stories <3 <3 <3

Oh, I feel so very lucky to own a few of the gems you mention here, all thanks to your, and fellow smuts' recommendations of course. But I cannot stop dreaming of that Yakusugi…. the scent, the red squirrel, the gorgeous pattern on the wood…. AAAAhhhhhh!!! It is too much to handle for such a brush nut *wails*. So funny Richard sniffing them haha! Japan has changed him forever, has it not?! That Kashoen has always been on my list as well, but other stuff always knocks it down into lower priority. Maybe this year I will finally be able to get it, but not for now.

I always get so excited to see new posts Sonia, thank you for this drool worthy treat! Sending you big big hugs and love!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 8 March, 2015 - 11:06 pm

Stay with me Cat! breath!!!
Ok, then it’s a very good excuse to come meet me there! if you like those stories I have a ton more 😛 I miss my childhood… everything was so simple..

Richard, yes it did, he was ok about my passion before the trip, but now he is really involved! When we landed in Tokyo, we were still travelling from the airport, he saw the fields, he met just a few people and he already asked “When are we coming back”, he had no idea what was waiting for him in Kumano 😀 he loved every minute and every single person we met! It changed us both a lot.
Things that aren’t LE can wait LOOOL
I hope I can move into my new office soon so that I can get to work on posts on a regular basis, today Richard painted the ceiling!!! it’s getting close…
Sending you lots of warm hugs and I hope I’ll meet you in Kumano!

Jeanette 8 March, 2015 - 11:14 pm

Thank you for the review and for your personal reflections! You are a very good story teller – I could totally see you as a child in that little village!

Your selection really shows me that I am not a face brush person. I own 1, ONE, of your selected face brushes (the Étoile one).

I really agree with you about some gorgeous brush heads having bland, sometimes even ugly handles. It’s such a shame. If only the handles could be chosen among!

The Koyodo BP006 got my attention; it looks so beautiful (the head :-D). Does anyone know how it compares to the Koyomo brushes regarding size and softness?

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:05 pm

Thank you Jeanette!
As soon as I get the Koyomo I will be able to tell you, so far they are not here but I think they are probably quite similar (to be checked…) 🙂 the BP006 is really very soft, one of my softest Koyudo!

Kay 8 March, 2015 - 11:28 pm

Sonia, so many brushes to ogle! It’s truly wonderful how so many brushes are excellent ranging from reasonable to out-of-this-world prices. My favorite is one that didn’t appear on your list and some others shown are not my cup of tea…but that’s fine because I think a brush’s appeal is so very personal. Size, length, shape, color, feel, efficiency, hair quality — I find it difficult to predict whether I end up loving a brush in the long run. Sometimes I think natural hair is too unpredictable and variable despite great efforts by Japanese manufacturers to maintain quality. I’ve had saikoho I love and others I find just okay. Same with Canadian squirrel, etc. And that can make or break it for me as to whether it becomes a favorite. But luck of the draw as to which batch you are getting a brush from is something no one can control and I do treasure your judgement and study your blog often to make the best informed choices I can before purchase. I’m usually very happy with my Sonia informed choices!

Thank you for sharing your childhood memories 🙂 I grew up at a time when people made things also and I so treasure the art and craft of making something functional and beautiful at the same time. I think that is why I love brushes and also giving a second life to old kimono fabric. I try to infuse love into what I create and I think I understand what you are talking about when you describe the brush makers you meet. It’s wonderful, isn’t it?

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:08 pm

That’s absolutely right Kay, we all have different personalities hence different preferences 🙂 but yep it’s totally fine!
The value of things is so much more important when you know the people who makes them, it is wonderful indeed!!

Lillian 9 March, 2015 - 1:39 am

Love your childhood story, love your brush post, love you! Can’t wait for the cheek brushes…xoxo

Lisa 9 March, 2015 - 1:53 am

Hi Sonia,
Thank you for yet another great post. But I must say that each time I read your post I get more confused as to what I should get! These cute brushes and your posts are very dangerous because they make me want to buy and I am not even good at applying makeup.
I have always had problematic skin and all the over the counter brushes irritate my skin so it was rare to see me in makeup. Recently I bought the Fu-Pa 14, CDJapan’s red and grey squirrel brushes. They are so soft and gentle to my skin. For once my eyes are not puffy or watery (I used to give up at this point) and the powder actually get transferred from the pan to my face. The brushes are amazingly clean (all things considered) after each use. Now I am left wanting more of these Japanese brushes.
Can you please clarify for me if your reference to “face brushes” mean brushes that do powder foundation, bronzer, setting powder and may be other “face powder” that I am not aware of?
BTW, I find the Fu-pa14 a tad small to do the entire face with.

Jess 9 March, 2015 - 4:58 am

Hi Sonia,

I need to get a brush for contouring ( I use Kevyn Aucoin’s sculpting powder) and wanted to know if you’d suggest one of the brushes in this post, or whether you’ll be covering that in your cheek post? Please help! Thank you!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:16 pm

Hi Jess,
I have been very sick for some time so no access to the site and no possibility to write my posts.
I have now fully recovered and I am back!!
I will cover this product in my contour post, the thing with the Kevin is that it can easily look quite muddy and uneven depending on which brush you use, that’s why I prefer the Serge Lutens or RMK or powders that are more easily controllable. For this powder I tend to use the Wayne Goss 12 but I really tap the excess off the brush before I apply it -meaning I pick very little and remove a lot from the head of the brush to avoid heavy loading-, this brush does a great job diffusing equaly and blending, I wish it was a bit less dense but if you control the amount of product you load on the brush then it’s a fantastic candidate that you will be able to use also for many other things.

buggsiebee 9 March, 2015 - 7:40 am

I don’t see any lighting issues. Your pics are FANTASTIC!! You are such a perfectionist!
The brushes I have been using daily for bronzer are two of your faves & I ONLY got them on your recommendation. I’m not generally into slanted brushes, but since you Loved the S106 so much, I decided I had to see what was so great about it , besides the fact that it’s just darn gorgeous to look at. I haven’t looked back! Use it daily…..alternating with another brush which, to me, really didn’t appear to be worth the money. Again though, after your rave review, I caved & I love it so much that I have just ordered a second Kashoen powder brush. As you say, it’s not the softest brush we own, but It’s certainly not rough by any means. The special shape & the fact that it is not too soft make it perfect for application & blending. LOVE it!
One of the Royal series powder brushes is right at the top of my wish list, but basically just for the beauty of it. I don’t think that this powder brush could be made more effective by adding squirrel. It’s perfect as it is & I’m soooo glad that I listened to your recommendation. How could one doubt the QUEEN of brushes 😉
Happy Monday!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:22 pm

It will get better *crossing fingers* 😀
thank you <3
OMG Kashoen the splurge LOOOL that's fantastic news, I am happy that you tried, they are "the" brushes that you have to try to realize their potential!
And the S106, so beautiful and balanced!
Indeed, I don't think the Royal series will bring more efficiency but just for those who don't have budget limitations will be a treasure. The Kashoen WA are already so soft and extraordinary, you feel you pay more but they are good and don't disappoint!

Oh so funny you say that, - the "QUEEN" - because yesterday on my way home I went to a shop that was closing down and they had a big white Queen chess piece for sale half price and I bought it for the brushroom decor 😀 😀 😀 so now I will be thinking of you when I look at it 😉

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:22 pm

It will get better *crossing fingers* 😀
thank you <3
OMG Kashoen the splurge LOOOL that's fantastic news, I am happy that you tried, they are "the" brushes that you have to try to realize their potential!
And the S106, so beautiful and balanced!
Indeed, I don't think the Royal series will bring more efficiency but just for those who don't have budget limitations will be a treasure. The Kashoen WA are already so soft and extraordinary, you feel you pay more but they are good and don't disappoint!

Oh so funny you say that, - the "QUEEN" - because yesterday on my way home I went to a shop that was closing down and they had a big white Queen chess piece for sale half price and I bought it for the brushroom decor 😀 😀 😀 so now I will be thinking of you when I look at it 😉

ghkim9 10 March, 2015 - 4:35 pm

thank you for this post! of these, i only have the z9, s106, tom ford bronzer, and wayne goss holiday. i have to say that although the s106 may be one of the most beautiful brushes i own, i find it to be the least useful. i have also noticed that you did not include the suqqu face brush – do you not enjoy that one as much?

i am also thinking of purchasing the yakusugi brushes, but i am a brush enthusiast who appreciates function over form. is it practical to use the yakusugi brushes and wash them regularly? i wouldn’t want to ruin the rare wooden handles.

thanks! i look forward to reading about more of your favorites.

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:25 pm

The big Suqqu face brush ? I just find it a bit too floppy so I don’t use it that often.

I don’t wash the Yakusugi very often, i just clean them with a microfiber cloth, it is often enough so no need to use water on a regular basis. They are more fragile for sure and this is to consider… it’s like a Ferrari, it will hurt more to scrash it in the parking and you will automatically be more careful 😀 I am very extremely careful… I don’t use them on a daily basis, they are now in my display cabinet and I take them out occasionaly.

midnitedesire 10 March, 2015 - 7:59 pm

You’re amazing and a very good storyteller, Sonia! Thank you for such a wonderful post as usual, I seriously appreciate all your time ,effort and really need some popcorn 😉

You know i love your summary posts like this! Definitely a good read and so many awesome brushes are feast for the eyes wahaha I will totally keep this post handy so that I can check back if I’ll be adding any more fluffy babies on my wishlist and i’m sure there are defiantly a few more bits to add *shhhhh*

Oh and trust me, you did a great job with the photos,they are just stunning! drools drools and drools some more lol 😀

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:33 pm

You will soon have to visit me 😀 I am moving in!!!

Tara 11 March, 2015 - 2:51 am

Sonia, I really love your long posts with all the pictures and stories that go with them! I know you are so busy already, and to make time to write everything down for all of us is truly appreciated! Most of my brush choices are based on your recommendations and I am happy that of your top 6 picks, the kashoen is the only one I still don’t have, but which I intend to get when in Japan this year! I cannot wait to see your brush room too! Like all your posts, I will read this one over and over again. Many times I think of writing down my thoughts on my own brushes (just for myself! haha) but can never seem to find the time. So keep these long posts coming!!! One day, maybe you will publish a book on brush collecting!!! I will want an autographed copy of that when it comes out!!! Hugs and kisses!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:35 pm

Tara, I am moving in!!! will take a few days to get all inside organized but it’s finally happening, I am so happy that tears roll down my eyes 😀 😀 😀
You will visit Kashoen ? you have to! it’s so worth it!
A book ?? haha I wish!!

Anna 11 March, 2015 - 6:49 am

Hi Sonia,

Thank you very much for your post. For a newcomer is a huge source of information ! 🙂

Sorry for my ignorance, but how do companies like Hakuhodo to remain attractive in terms of price despite a 24 karat gold ferrule? Can they manufacture everything internally or forced to buy abroad? I know that the hair is mainly Europe and China, but I have no idea for the ferrule. I suppose that a ferrule like the S106 is very expensive!

I must admit Sonia that it attracts my curiosity and I try to learn as much as possible! As you visited their company, if you have an idea I will be delighted to hear from you!

Thank you again for all your work


Sweet Make-Up Temptations 24 March, 2015 - 1:41 pm

Hi Anna,
it’s just a coating that is very fine so for a thin coating the prices are not that extreme, but these brushes are very expensive for Japanese customers too, not that many can afford them.
Let me ask them more details and come back to you, it’s interesting so maybe they have more details to share 🙂

Mirna 15 March, 2015 - 10:59 pm

Dear Sonia,
thank you so much for your response and your explanations. You really made me think… The problem is, I’m never able to try the brushes I’m interested in buying in person, so I depend a lot on the reviews I read online. Your posts are indeed like an encyclopedia for me, so I think I shall mull over the subject for a little while… 🙂

Washingtonian 17 March, 2015 - 9:48 pm

Hello Sonia,

This is a wonderful post!

I wonder what you think about a powder brush made of goat and squirrel hairs.

I own MK-1 by Chikuhodo and that’s been my HG powder brush of 2014. I use it with pressed powders by Guerlain and Koh Gen Do.

Thank you!

Washingtonian 18 March, 2015 - 8:43 pm

oops. I meant MK-3, not MK-1.

Ade 25 March, 2015 - 4:47 am

Hi Sonia, could you give me a recommendation of saikoho-haired powder brush that is similar in shape with MUFE 128 (tapered, paddle-shaped) or Kumano Fude Select Shop SS1-1?
Because I prefer to pat my powder instead of swipe it against my face.

Thanks! 🙂

Anna 26 March, 2015 - 12:38 pm

Hi Sonia,

Thank you very much for your reply ! I will look forward to hear from you ! 🙂

I will go to Japan in May/June, do you know if they allow visits to people who aren’t working in this business?

Thank you again 🙂



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