Home Beauty Fav blush brushes of 2014

Fav blush brushes of 2014

by Sonia G.

I am very lucky to own 1’876’765 blush brushes today -just kidding (maybe not)… – anyway, just like the powder brushes, in order to select my favs I constantly go from pure pleasure to pure torture! But seriously, imagine you have 1’876’765 brushes and that you love 1’876’763 of them, not easy to make a choice, I am not complaining.

My favorite blush brushes of 2014 are all the ones that I show you in the upcoming pictures, if it’s shown, it’s a fav. Quite a lot I know but they are all sooo good!  I know some of my readers are beginners, others are pros or collectors, I do my best to write with all of you in mind but if you have any question about any brush I did not cover, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment, sometimes I can’t answer immediately as this is a hobby and I have a full time job, plus other obligations at this moment but I’ll definitely reply 🙂

My weakness: My favorite shape

Do you have a favorite cheek brush shape? I do. My heart skips a beat when I see a brush shaped like a little cotton ball. I am automatically drawn to those shapes which is fine because most of my blush products are from Three, RMK, IPSA, Suqqu, SK-II, more recently Surratt, the texture or the size of those blush pans call for small dense brushes, these little brushes are perfect for that. So with that good excuse, I don’t even think, boom I multiply them.


They are small, they often follow the same pattern: the hair is 3.3cm long, 2.5cm wide, the surface covers approx a 2cm diameter on the skin, they are dense, soft of course and flat at the top, some are more domed, but the density and shortness of the bristles allow a good buffing and polishing with a very soft touch, squirrel bristles. If your skin is super sensitive they won’t irritate it. I love to use them in round/spiral motion, starting from the center of where I want the blush to pop more and doing tiny spiral motions outwards, bringing it exactly where I want it. I have a big face, but applying that small defined pop of color that fades away to the sides of the face is frankly sexy, just don’t go over board as depending on the texture of the product they can pack a lot of pigment.

Top most used of 2014

Too much color or a too powdery or heavy finish on the cheeks will betray you, blending is key but applying the right amount will reduce the effort and save you time. It’s not the same rules for a young skin or for a more mature one, again not the same rules if you go to the office or if you are going to a photo shoot, the quality of the skin, the time of the day, etc..  it’s common sense how much coverage and product you need or can afford to build up on your skin but easy effortless brushes will fit any skin, any occasion, any product. You may have a hundred brushes but at the end of the day you’ll reach more easily for those who facilitate the most your daily routine.

The ones I reach for repeatedly are either brushes that are excellent with products I use often or effortless brushes that allow a quick and flawless application no matter what I am using. I admit I didn’t have a lot of time to play with make-up recently, not enough light -which makes experimenting a bit too dangerous-, not enough time to use all of my beloved products but I know this will change when I move my stuff to my new office/brushroom.

Here are the brushes that were used the most in 2014:


The Wayne Goss 13 is extremely soft goat hair, medium-high density. I use it every time I use SK-II or IPSA, nearly every day. The IPSA is a palette that has the 4 powders: blush, highlight, shading, finishing powder, the texture is super fine, the more you polish the application the better it looks, it’s a highly satisfying combination. The WG has more power than the little cotton balls I showed you before but it is not a mass of hair that will brutally slap pigment onto your cheeks, you still have control, I wouldn’t use it for strong pigments but instead with powders that are more fine and difficult to grab, often Japanese blushes. There are some very similar options with Hakuhodo (J210) or with Koyudo (C004P) but this WG is less dense and has more flexibility in the bristles hence more control.


The Wayne Goss 11 is the blush brush that every one should own, you cannot go wrong with it, has medium density, it’s a soft but has excellent grip and blending powder, the shape/size/softness is spot on to work with every blush you have in your collection, the dyed goat bristles will ease the maintenance, you won’t need to wash it as often as white bristles (if you use it only on yourself) so spot cleaning with a microfiber cloth will take it a long way and less water washing means a longer life span.

The Kashoen WA blush brush is like the WG 11, exactly same comments, just a more unique and expensive brush, not as soft and dense as the Wayne Goss but absolutely amazing, I love it to pieces, seriously, it’s perfect harmony in a cheek brush. You have to love goat bristles that are thicker than Saikoho (very fine soft goat bristles) but it’s absolutely soft on the skin.

The Chikuhodo GSN-04 is a mix goat/squirrel, it also has the benefit to work with all blushes, has grip, blending power and its medium density allows it to follow your face features without hurting or altering your base application.

The brushes I could not live without

The “top-most-used” category is not exactly the same as “the-ones-I-could-not-live-without”, it’s close but it’s not the same. Sometimes you don’t use a brush too much because it’s more fragile and you want to preserve it. If you feel the need to get a backup, it means you don’t see yourself living without that brush any more.  I usually don’t buy backups because that backup budget would deprive me from spending that money on new brands, but often my brushes are very similar due to manufactures producing the same OEM brushes for several companies. For example Chikuhodo, Hakuhodo or Koyudo, produce brushes for many companies so at the end you may have brushes from different brands that will look exactly the same, only they will have different handles, different logos.

I did not buy backups of the ones I could not live without so I just hope I never loose them or damage them, I know at some point I will have to purchase a second one because brushes are items that are used and washed hence they have a life span.

If I am consistent, you will notice that the brushes that I can’t live without are selections from each upcoming category, effortless, beautiful, strong buffers, cotton balls, daily must-haves, etc…


  1. The Paula Dorf cheek: I don’t even know why this brush is so essential to me, it’s not that soft, not that pretty either but it’s a workhorse and I know that if I didn’t had it, I would miss it. There aren’t many dark bristle brushes that are angled, so easy to handle and strong like that, they managed to keep a perfect density and a very useful “softness” to it. This is also a 4×4 that I grab -not that regularly- but that I know for sure that if I loose it I would repurchase.
  2. The Suqqu cheek: I know this is not a surprise. I often get the question: Shall I get the Suqqu cheek or the Chikuhodo Z-4 or the Kyureido Fine Kalla ? Well the Fine Kalla is not available at the moment so for those of you who are looking for it, that’s not an option for now (unless you want the full Fine Kalla set). Between the Suqqu cheek and the Chikuhodo Z-4, of course I would choose the Suqqu because it’s more exclusive, softer and special and if you don’t get it, a part of you will always regret not having it. BUT, let’s be reasonable for while: The Z-4 is denser and stronger, it allows better buffing, better picking, works more easily with different textures, is more consistent in shape, the quality is also outstanding and it is cheaper, so it IS technically a better candidate but.. it’s not the Suqqu. Does that remind you of an episode of Friends? If it does, that’s right, that Z-4 is fantastic, but it’s not “Rachel”… if you are going for a brush that you will want to use with the more products possible, with better blending capabilities and you don’t mind not having the Suqqu, I would definitely tell you to go for the Z-4. That being said, if I had to choose between one or the other, I would choose the Suqqu due to its rarity.
  3. The Surratt cheek: This brush is the little cotton ball I would choose over the other cotton ball brushes I have because it is denser and stronger. I am not taking into consideration the price as it is more expensive, sometimes the double or 3 times the others but now that I have it, I honestly prefer it as it is just more densely bundled, so you get “more” buffing from an extremely soft brush. If you go for that kind of cotton ball shape and you just want the cheaper option, please refer to the section of the cheapest brushes further down in this post.
  4. The Kashoen WA cheek: how could I live without it? not possible. You have to love dark goat bristles but if you do, you have to plan this brush in your life.
  5. The Chikuhodo Kiwami: well, if I didn’t had it I wouldn’t know.. I love it like crazy, it’s probably one of the most stunning brushes I will  ever have. When I first got it I thought it wasn’t good, the bundling was irregular and not that pretty, I was so wrong to doubt it. It applies blush like a master, I already said it in my previous post but this type of bristles retain the pigment and release it gradually, it’s magic.
  6. Wayne Goss 13: just because now it has become a natural extension of my hand, always close to me and if something happens to it, I will not even wait a day to order it again.
  7. Chikuhodo GSN-04: fell in love with it, it’s a very sweet long lasting relationship, never lets me down, I still don’t know why they called it “Highlight” brush at it is a perfect blush brush and I even use it for bronzer… sure you could apply anything with it.
  8. Hakuhodo Kokutan Cheek H3981: I hope I will never be without it, it’s absolutely stunning in every way, specially the way it looks, it’s soft, fluffy, perfect density. Actually if I had to picture a Japanese style brush, this is how I would picture it, a matte black ferrule with a classy wooden handle and a head that stands out seriously in both quality and versatility.
  9. Koyudo Saibikoho: It’s the most exclusive goat hair so, not a brush to use daily, a brush more appropriate for a collector or someone who is definitely crazy about special very rare brushes.
  10. Rae Morris Deluxe Kabuki #1: I love how it looks, I love how it saved many of my blushes from doomed land, some Three blushes, Chanel, Guerlain have become too hard to use, this brush solves my issues. Some brushes have stubborn sparkles that I like to brush away -at least the most I can- because I love those powders or brushes but sometimes they are loaded with chunky glitter and I don’t like that. It’s a brush that works with many products and that remains soft and non abrasive, unlike the Nars Yachiyo for example.
  11. Kyo Sanjou blush brush: that is not a brush that you can easily get but if you go to Kyoto, to the Sakurado shop, you may see it there. It’s a sturdy brush, the handle is not the most elegant although it has silver and gold painting, but there is something really really special, it’s like a Wayne Goss 11 but with squirrel hair and it does a fantastic job. I just couldn’t leave the shop without it and I am so glad I didn’t. Not a brush for everyone, as I said, it may not appeal, I don’t know… it did to me and it has a very special place in my heart.
  12. Koyudo Yakusugi: there is a possibility that at some point you get addicted to traditional designs, to the softness of the brush and to the craftsmanship of the handle, I am very proud to own it, but again, I am a collector, for a collector it is a very special item but there are other cheaper alternatives (same material, different handle) from CDJapan.

Now if I had to choose only the 5 that I would keep for all my life, I would choose these, the Chikuhodo GSN-04, the Suqqu cheek, the Wayne Goss 13, the Kashoen WA cheek and the Chikuhodo Kiwami:


A special award to the most effortless brushes

No need to be awake to use these, so foolproof and so easy to handle, we all need one in our collection, you probably already have yours, it is so important to be able to use any blush you have without having to look for the appropriate brush, these would fit anything:


The Wayne Goss 11, the Kashoen, the Chikuhodo GSN-04 are featured again here so please refer to my “top used” for additional comments.

The Paula Dorf cheek brush but although I got it on her website, it is not there anymore. It’s squirrel bristles but it’s not squirrily soft, it’s soft enough though. I like the shape and the density and just like the others in the same picture, works with anything, super multipurpose and super easy to use. It’s good to have one brush in your collection that you know you don’t need to struggle with, some days you just want to grab a brush and get it over with.

The Kumano Fude Select Shop SS1-3 is angled but round-angled, love the unique shape, an excellent multipurpose brush. Goat hair but it’s as soft as the Paula Dorf. Just love it, if you are looking for a nice goat blush brush that can do many jobs, get it!

For the sake of beauty

The most beautiful brushes: that’s a very personal rating, some brushes will speak to you more than others, these are the ones that I am loving the most just because I love their handles or overall harmonious look. I would love to know what brushes check that box for you, please leave me your thoughts in the comments!


I love when a handle is art painted, when it’s made with a special material, shaped or sanded with high craftsmanship, when the overall look has good proportions, well-balanced, when you hold it and it feels just right, or when you look at it from the distance and it looks classy and stands out from the crowd… oh it nearly sounds as if I am now starting to describe the perfect man 😀

The best value

I don’t have many cheap brushes, I have only a few but unfortunately they didn’t make it to the very top of my favs, some fell apart, or I gave away, or aren’t soft enough to use on my delicate skin, others I keep just for being able to do realistic comparisons or reviews. But, I have a few high end brushes that are extremely good, with really good value for what you are paying for. So I can still show you the most affordable ones of the high end. I’ll give you approximate prices but don’t quote me on that as they may change depending on when or where you purchase them.


The titles link to my reviews if I did one or to the Brushtemple if there is an entry:

  1. Rae Morris Deluxe Kabuki 1, ~35$: First of all, that price is amazing, before doing that list, I didn’t know it was actually cheaper than the others. It has saved many of my blushes because some got quite difficult to pick and some were difficult to pick already from the start, some Chanel, some Addiction could be saved because I had this strong brush that could still apply them with enough softness. Some other blushes that I love, Chanel, Nars, Addiction have too many sparkles, I like some fine sparkling but the big chunky sparkles are a no-no on my ageing skin, this brush allows me to brush them away when I want to. Also it’s a strong -white- brush, means you can use it with cream/jelly products that are a pain to grab, that will do wonders for many.
  2. “Chikuhodo” Artist 18-2, ~37$, this is such a gorgeous brush! but discontinued… or is it?? Look here. Tadaaaa. How amazing is that? It’s just like the Chikuhodo R-C2, not the same handle but the same head. If you are on a budget but love these little balls, that’s a very nice opportunity and I strongly advise you to consider it before it jumps in price. Houkodou are a bit difficult to order and their website is in Japanese, either you opt for a forwarding site, shopping services or other similar solution. I know Toshiya (www.fudejapan.com) has close contact with them and could help you with the order, if you visit his website there is a page on how to order, so drop him an email. There are charges but maybe it’s still very worth it, specially if you have several items you want from the Houkodou website or other Japanese websites. The Chikuhodo R-C2 is not far away in price…, it’s approx 49$.
  3. Kumano Fude Select Shop SS1-3, ~42$, just like the Houkodou, difficult to order but again, Toshiya can help, he has close contact with the TAU shops where they are sold. If you don’t know already, I have created a SMUT directory 🙂 you can access it here, if you search for “Kumano Fude Select Shop” you get the places where you can buy them, and that is valid for any other Japanese brand, it will return the websites or shops where you can find them (that I know of).
  4. Kihitsu PACE002W Avec Plaisir blush brush, 44$: I don’t have a review yet, but this Kihitsu is similar to the BP016, I think the Koyudo may be slightly softer but there isn’t much difference and both perform equally. I prefer the handle look of the Kihitsu but the handle length of the Koyudo… duh.
  5. Koyudo BP016, ~45$: Koyudo rose their prices recently and this brush was cheaper before.. now unfortunately it’s getting more expensive but still is a great buy.
  6. Wayne Goss 11, ~48$: For the brush you get here, this price is stunning, the quality of the bristles and the must-have factor of this brush makes it a holy grail.
  7. Wayne Goss 13, ~53$: Well, it’s 53$ well spent, I have been using it so many times, washing it, buffing, again and again.. and it still looks like it’s new.
  8. Hakuhodo J110, 54$: Fantastic quality of excellent grade goat hair, if you love white bristles jump on this one, easy to use like the WG 11 or the Kashoen, same density specs.
  9. Chikuhodo Takumi T-4, ~54$: If you go for round flat surfaces instead of paddle type, this is soft and shaped like the Chikuhodo GSN-04, the GSN-04 is more airy so more effortless but this is more beautiful and slightly more dense which will deliver a slightly more defined application.
  10. Chikuhodo GSN-04, ~64$: I have already commented that brush in my “can’t live without” category but seriously, this is supposed to be a highlight brush but I love it for blush. It’s 64$ well spent as you get a lot of use out of it and it be perfect for any one, from the beginner to the professional.
  11. CDJapan beauty CB… (don’t remember the exact name and can’t find it anymore on its own), ~74$: Don’t have a review yet, will do. It’s a very special brush but CDJapan still managed to keep their prices as low as they could, you won’t find that material quality for less anywhere else. I was sold individually but I am not sure it is still the case, I can find their set here but not the blush brush only. That set has two super nice eyeshadows included and the medium sized brush here is also very highly rated, just saying… drop them an email if you are interested by the individual brush: info@cdjapan.co.jp
  12. Koyudo Canadian Squirrel, ~98$. They sell it individually here. It’s a very extreme brush that is rarely found so densely bundled, usually they are included in very expensive sets so maybe this is the chance to try one for as affordable as you could ever find it.

With many of these brushes, you have to love short handles, I have a small problem with that so the brush has to be really good for me to go live with this disadvantage. I prefer long and sturdy brushes, I know many of you prefer shorter handles, you’ll  have to make your own choices as to what compromises you are ready to incur, if any at all, for some is the price tag, others the handles, others the materials, the shapes, etc.

When I am applying make-up on someone, or someone is applying make-up on me, I’d rather use a long brush and keep some distance between us for our own comfort zone 🙂 But a brush that is too long and heavy may lack in precision for some but think of it as a painter, sometimes it is a matter of getting used to a new tool and it will open new doors and new possibilities.

The softest

You know it is difficult to keep the same consistency across materials, both with machine made and hand made brushes, the batches of hair are gathered from different animals and mixed to match similar softness across the same brush but due to the variety or bristles, even with all the attention and care devoted to that process, it is the most difficult thing to achieve,  some times you find them not quite as soft, others you get a slightly better batch and it’s a win situation. You can’t “touch” the bristles before you purchase them (for hygiene reason) but some boutiques, for example Yojiya, they let you see them, compare the handles and choose the pattern that you prefer.

These are all big goat favs (white and tea dyed) and they are arranged from the softest on the left, to the less soft on the right but less soft is not a bad thing here, that allows this Rae brush to do things that others couldn’t do and without hurting your skin:


  1. Koyudo Saibikoho
  2. Wayne Goss 13
  3. Wayne Goss 11
  4. Chikuhodo Takumi T-4
  5. Hakuhodo Kokutan H3981 (this one contains synthetic bristles too)
  6. Tom Ford 06, I love the look of it and the softness and the fantastic quality of the hair but I am really deeply confused with this one. First issue: when you look at the TF 06 on the website it looks more tapered, more like the Hakuhodo J110 or the Kashoen WA cheek, but this brush is super dense and super flat at the top, at first I thought they had sent me the wrong brush. Second issue: now try to apply TF blushes with it… hmmmm… very confusing, it’s ok with TF Frantic Pink, Love Lust, but with Narcissist, Flush, etc it doesn’t allow a lot of gradual application and control, it’s a bit of a heavy brutal density for such intense powders, it is feasible of course but it’s a bit tough to handle. Although I love this brush paired with less pigmented products I don’t think this brush is matching the TF blush line, it’s like an elephant in a porcelain shop, you have to be so extremely careful, you will make it through, but something more light in density would be a lot more safe and appropriate. When I am asked if I recommend it: yes I do, but just not in a porcelain shop.
  7. Koyudo BP016
  8. Hakuhodo J110
  9. Hakuhodo SJ110 (this is a tiny portable version… but there is the full size now on their website)
  10. Chikuhodo Neige set
  11. Kihitsu PACE002W Avec Plaisir
  12. Rae Morris Deluxe Kabuki #1

The TF 06 in action with Narcissist


The squirrel cheek brushes are also arranged from the softest on the left, to the less soft on the right but please note the one at the very left is not squirrel (it’s goat!) but I still wanted to say that this Saibikoho goat hair is the softest of all, even softer than squirrel bristles:


  1. Koyudo Saibikoho
  2. Koyudo Yakusugi
  3. CDJapan CB… (don’t know the number, today it’s part of the set on their website)
  4. Suqqu cheek,  mine seems to be flatter at the top than others I saw on other blogs, it’s ok for me because I prefer flatter surfaces so I won’t complain 🙂
  5. Tanseido YSC17, got it a long time ago, still loving the delicate bristles and how gentle it is with strong pigmented blushes, and of course the long handle is great for me, it is a bit less dense than the Suqqu cheek.
  6. Kyureido Fine Kalla KK-002, the closest dupe of the Suqqu cheek but that one is not easy to find if findable at all, I got mine on Rakuten a long time ago, if you want to look for it (but you might only find the set or other “KK” brushes, open http://search.rakuten.co.jp and search for 九嶺堂のこだわり  This handle is to die for, it has multicolored sparkles and just makes my heart melt with desire, more than Suqqu, more than Z series. I have some details in the Brushtemple here.
  7. Surratt Cheek
  8. Yojiya cheek blush brush has similar softness than the Kyureido, actually from #6 to #11 there is barely any difference at all and I would put them in the same range
  9. Chikuhodo Z-4
  10. Chikuhodo R-C2
  11. Kumano Fude Select Shop SS2-2, it’s a more tapered version of the little cotton balls, bigger too, but insanely soft and unique.
  12. Kyo Sanjou
  13. Koyudo Canadian Echizen

 My fav tough goat brushes or… “improved Mac’s”

Since I started collecting brushes, my first objective was to find dupes for the Mac brushes that I could use more easily on my delicate skin, I love the ease of maintenance of the Mac, you don’t need to wash them as often as white or tea colored brushes, they have rougher bristles so any product will be easy to work with. I am sure many of you enjoy Mac brushes but some are just wishing they would be a tad softer.

My research was successful, I found brushes that were softer than Mac and just as easy to use, they are very important to me and I also have my favorite category for these! I could mention a lot of them here but I am just going to pick the black dyed ones, 100% goat hair that are as thick and resilient as Mac but just softer.

They are arranged from the softest on the left to the less soft on the right but all are pleasant to work with!


  1. Kashoen WA cheek (no surprise here) ~115$
  2. Kumano Fude Select Shop SS1-3 ~42$
  3. Houkodou P-F2, ~49$, same softness as the KFSS on its left but the Houkodou is super dense and much bigger, it’s a powder brush that I also use as big blush brush.
  4. Hakuhodo S110 ~70$
  5. Yojiya cheek goat ~42$
  6. Koyudo BP019  ~37$

This is a nice selection if you are aiming to replace your rougher goat black dyed brushes with softer versions, I use them all, they don’t irritate my skin and I believe every one needs at least one strong workhorse like that in their kits. I kept some Mac brushes that are soft enough, I think I can count 3 of them, the 138, 165 and 168sh, I also have the Mac 116 because I love its proportions and I am trying to find a softer goat hair dupe for it, the closest I found to the 116 is the Yojiya here but it’s a bit bigger.

Can I just add that in 2015 I have ordered the Mizuho MB102, that is Sokoho goat and it is really going to join this little fav group! It’s the closest option to the Kashoen and it’s only ~37$, what else? No pics today as this is a 2015 brush but since I got more Mizuho brushes I will do a review of them all soon.

Fav mix hair brushes

If goat bristles are too rough and squirrel bristles don’t have enough buffing power for you, you can try the brushes that are blended with both type of bristles: goat/squirrel, they add the goat bristles for more density, durability and strength and as a general rule it also reduces the price of the brush while giving it more efficiency. My favs mixed are:


  1. The Chikuhodo GSN-04 (here it goes again)
  2. The RMK goat/squirrel cheek brush, loved it from the first day, I also adore its sister the “S” that has only squirrel bristles but the mixed is the one I reach for the most, goes well with RMK blushes.
  3. The Hakuhodo B505, 88$, I also have the 100% squirrel (B5019: 138$) but the mixed one is a more efficient brush.


You can clearly notice that sideways the goat bristles give them more fullness and will definitely deliver a more polished application


My first recommendations


You have to start with safe brushes that work with many products and allow as many purposes as possible.

My first recommendation is the Wayne Goss 11, then any of others:

beginnerFrom left to right:

  1. Wayne Goss 11
  2. Hakuhodo J110
  3. Chikuhodo GSN-04
  4. Koyudo BP016
  5. Kumano Fude Select Shop SS1-3
  6. Kihitsu PACE002W Avec Plaisir
  7. Paula Dorf cheek
  8. Yoyiya goat cheek

Make-up enthusiast

When you have already nice brushes and you want to take it to the next level, you have to choose with your heart, there are so many options that I am not surprised if you are overwhelmed.

It’s really a matter of preference, you already know what function and material you want so go for the one that you’ll love to grab for the most.

Some recommendations would be to try Wayne Goss first because these are excellent and some are absolute must-haves for any kind of person who will ever apply blush, if you like goat brushes and you are not afraid of the price, try Kashoen and Surratt, Hakuhodo Kokutans or S100 series are great brushes with traditional handles, Koyudo make special sets, Suqqu have their cheek brush that in my opinion is difficult to skip, Chikuhodo Takumi or Z series are an excellent way to take it to the higher level, Yojiya is again very traditional, Rae Morris has gems in her collection, Tom Ford may give you the impression to own a very special tool, there are so many choices, of course also the Christmas special releases (or spring, or summer…) !



The collector has also to keep an eye on Limited Edition releases and sets that are made for special occasions or with special materials or with special designs. The best way to keep informed and have the heads up is to hop to the forum, because I have passionate friends who are brush agents and who always manage to find the most unique special brushes and when we do, we post it there.

There are many special brushes, but I certainly don’t have them all… Hakuhodo have series that aren’t even on their website, don’t forget you can talk to these manufactures, you can contact them and ask them what type of brushes you are looking for and they can inform you, sometimes they have brushes or sets that aren’t displayed on the international websites and the only way to know about them is to ask them or to attend special events like the one Hakuhodo had recently in Paris at LeBonMarché.

The sets I am the most happy about are the Chikuhodo Kiwami, the Koyudo Saibikoho, all the Chikuhodo Noel releases, the special Koyudo series and in the near future the Koyomo, a new brand that will soon be reviewed here.


Make-up artist

The cheek brushes I am loving for pro kits are again the Wayne Goss, the Chikuhodo GSN series, the Kumano Fude Select shop (specially the eye brushes but we aren’t there yet) and the Rae Morris. Some Koyudo BP Series are also fantastic, some are softer than others.

You can’t go wrong with them and you should look towards this direction if you want to build your own high end pro kit.kits

The Chikuhodo GSN series have been designed for make-up artists but the other Chikuhodo series (R) are fantastic too, I would just avoid delicate squirrel brushes as regular washing will reduce their life span and damage the delicate bristles. After asking so many people in Japan, I came to the conclusion that the best frequency to wash them is 4 months or so -depends if you see they need more regular washing-, also harsh products can dry the bristles, in between washes, clean them with a microfiber cloth. Rae Morris squirrel bristles are soft but tougher so there is much less risk, you can check the interview of Rae Morris here where I asked her how she cleaned them.

In general it’s easier to use dark brushes as they are easy to handle and maintain, but white brushes give you the possibility to use also cream/jelly textures, it’s a personal decision, maybe you are like Lisa Eldridge and enjoy using a Suqqu cheek on your clients, that is a personal choice, there is nothing wrong with that, she does it because she can 🙂 and she is such a highly talented make-up artist.

I had some issues when I was being a model for a Nars counter and the make-up artist went so crazy to blend the too-much blush she had applied that my skin reacted like it was burned to a second degree. She did the same with the eyes… when I left the counter I had to go put ice on my face and my eyes. Customers or models should not go through that -unless they can.

I was also a model for a make-up class, the teacher did my make-up and I ended up shouting STOP at her  (I have tattoos and they were less painful).  That teacher was nuts and again, we don’t need to suffer like that, it’s just blush for efs sake.

We all have a different brush softness perception and our own pain threshold, the brush and the technique used can either help or aggravate it. If you are a make-up artist just starting your career, you will notice the gap between working on a young or a mature skin and if you are gentle with those who need it, they will come back 🙂


I hope you enjoyed this post, that it gave you more details and help you discover new brushes. If you have questions please don’t hesitate, I may not be able to reply immediately but I definitely will, thank you for yours comments and your patience 🙂

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dusty 12 March, 2015 - 10:20 am

Hi Sonia, fantastic read!!! My suqque check is waiting to be shipped once Toshiya got some other brushes. This post make’s the wait even harder lol

Anyways I think the description for squirrel hair brushes in the softness order has some inconsistencies with the pic, you might wanna double check.

Dive back to the article now. 🙂

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 12 March, 2015 - 10:31 am

Sorry Dusty, thank you, I just updated (I had written this post some time ago but had to change the pics… that one I missed!)
thanks again and enjoy your Suqqu <3

Stacey 12 March, 2015 - 10:23 am

This collection. So beautiful. Must took you hours and days to write this. Love. Love. Love.

Kay 12 March, 2015 - 10:36 am

This post is totally amazing! I cannot believe how you manage to remember the quality and performance of all these brushes. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and presenting the information in such an organized and easy to read way. Your photos are also very helpful… I look at the brushes all-side-by-side and some call to me and others just don’t appeal. Makes it so much easier to choose!

Nti 12 March, 2015 - 12:30 pm

Such a beautiful all encompassing post, for readers from all aspects. Thank you!

argiro 12 March, 2015 - 1:15 pm

Amazing post…and for everyone!!!you always write the best review.i have one very stupid question…why the black goat brushes must be dyed??we have black goat here????

Jeanette 12 March, 2015 - 1:40 pm

Wow, wow, wow! What a wealth of information! And you are so generous with your time and energy to share it with us. Thank you!
I haven’t quite digested all of it, but my first impression includes:

I love your paragraph about the difference between the Suqqu cheek and the Chikuhodo Z-4. Spot on!

I was surpriced that the Kuyodo BP016 wasn’t among your most used cheek brushes.

I think I must take a closer look at the Paula Dorf, GSN-04 and Kashoen cheek brushes. They seem to be very versatile.

212kiki 12 March, 2015 - 1:56 pm

I’m a blush brush fan too and agree we can’t have enough of them !

One thing is sooo funny and confusing at the same time ! Always when I chat with my dear smuties and talk about softness of brushes … Specially goat we always talk about different things !
Like I see at your goat softness range ! My bp16 and hakuhodo mini sj110 are way more soft than the t4 and kokutan, I would say bp16 on 4 and sj110 on 5 for my brushes but I agree the WG13 is ultra soft !

ghkim9 12 March, 2015 - 2:35 pm

wonderful post! i am now needing to find the koyudo saibikoho brush. any ideas if it is still available anywhere? also the cdjapan cb one – you mentioned it is available in a set, but i don’t see it anywhere on the cdjapan website. my all time favorite has to be the suqqu cheek brush, but i do also like the hakuhodo j110 and the chikuhodo z4. i agree with you on the tom ford cheek brush – it is bizarre that it looks so different than advertised. i find it lovely on the face but way too dense for my pigmented blushes. as for the WG 11 and 13 – are they very similar to the hakuhodo J210 and J110? i have been putting off getting the WG brushes because i already have the hakuhodos, but now i’m curious.

Tatjana 12 March, 2015 - 2:45 pm

Hi Sonia, thank you for the incredible detailed work.
Amazing post, what a pleasure to read and look at!! The suqqu cheek is on my wishlist since… forever, but other brushes always become more “urgent”, now I really have to rethink this 🙂
I LOVE the WG 13, it became HG status for me within a few days.

But now I’m courios about the wash frequency of the different hair… I think I should write it down when I wash my delicate brushes to check my washing habits!

Karla 12 March, 2015 - 4:47 pm

WOW. Me encantó este post, tanta información, tanto de donde escoger ! Muchísimas gracias por por el tiempo ke dedicaste a escribir este post

Karla 12 March, 2015 - 4:52 pm

Creo ke se borró todo lo demás ke escribí :(, bueno hace poco recibí mi primera brocha chikuhodo, me fui a lo grande y agarre la z8 y me encanta, tiene el tamaño perfecto y esta super suavecita, ahora la ke me llama mucho la atención es la tom ford no6 para usarla con mis rubores menos pigmentados pero primero me gustaría verla en persona a ver ke tal… También me gusta la t4 y la J110, te digo eske hay tanto de donde escoger!

dusty 12 March, 2015 - 9:38 pm

I know is off topic, but what do you think of the suqqu blushes?

Panglu 12 March, 2015 - 10:52 pm

Sonia, this is the post I’ve been waiting for all my life. Thank youuuuu. Out of all the brushes, the one my heart yearns for most is the tanseido ysc17. There is just something about that brush that makes me nuts. I just wished there was a way to get it to me here in the US. Is there a brush that might work well for rmk and three blushes?

Virginia 13 March, 2015 - 3:04 am

Sonia, thank you so much for your generosity. I have started buying Koyudo brushes for personal use and is waiting for my second shipment to arrive. I intend to buy some more from other brands based on your recommendations to add on to my collection. As I did makeup for performances on a voluntary and regular basis, what would you advise on the brand and tools so that I can make good of them and need not have to fork out a lot. Many thanks. A great fan from Singapore.

rachel 13 March, 2015 - 5:09 am

Dear Sonia, thank you all these 2014 fav posts. I enjoy a lot reading them! Looking forward to the smaller brushes articles!!!

Jess 13 March, 2015 - 8:47 am

Hi Sonia, do you use these brushes for bronzer and contouring as well as blush, or do you use one of the face brushes for that purpose? I want to get a brush for contouring +/- bronzing (both powder products) so would appreciate some guidance! Thank you

Stephanie 13 March, 2015 - 3:56 pm

Dear Sonia,
Thank you so so much for that wonderful post.
Your blog is my HG – whenever I think about buying a new brush, I first search your site. I swear my husband turns pale whenever he sees that, even though he should be relieved that there are no more regret buys 😉
I love blush and so of course I love blush brushes. For my very bright pigmented blushes I love my Suqqu blush brush, my Koyudo Red Sqirrel Cheek Brush (bought on your recommendation and loving it), my R-C2, Z 4 and Z 8 (also bought because of you and loving them 🙂
I also love paler blushes like Frantic Pink from TF. With those I use my Tom Ford cheek brush but I am searching a dupe for that (I don’t like to buy the same brush more than once). Thanks to your Brush Temple, I think the Hakuhodo J5543 is the solution. Would you recommend another one in addition to the Hakuhodo?
Now thanks to this post you have created sooo many more brushes on my wishlist 🙂
Thank you so much for your work – the photos and the comments!!!
Many many greetings from Germany

Lyanna Stark 13 March, 2015 - 6:41 pm

gah. now I think I need the Suqqu cheek after all! I never used to be a swirler, but you have me really wanting to try it.

Thanks for the extensive write-up, Sonia. I always like to know what you’re liking lately, and whether it’s different from before, how you like the new ones, you’re liking the old ones now that you have new ones, and so on.

Hope the home and the mate and the cat – hope all is perfect with you.

Raglo 13 March, 2015 - 10:06 pm

LOL, that means the Fine Kalla is the sexy paleontologist, you know, because those are so common, that was out of your league and you (Ross) blew the chance to end up with 😀

Hm, didn’t know the kk002 was now unavailable. To be honest, that kind of made me feel… Good, like I had a special treasure 🙂


Nuria M 15 March, 2015 - 8:00 pm

Hola Sonia! Me encanta tu blog ya que también soy una apasionada de las brochas ya tengo el mi colección las brochas de Wayne Goss y algunas de Hakuhodo pero me gustaría que me aconsejaras si es fácil de conseguir brochas en Japón porque tengo un amigo que va a viajar allí y me gustaría encargarle alguna brocha allí pero no se si es fácil porque al ser un chico tampoco quiero marearlo así que me puedes decir si es fácil conseguir brochas en Japón y que marcas puedo pedirle Gacias por adelantado. Saludos desde Málaga

Ade 16 March, 2015 - 8:47 am

I love that you add so many goat brush this time, Sonia!
Mostly my brushes are goat-haired brush, more preferably saikoho. I’m afraid I’ll broke the brush (and my wallet) if I go with saibikoho 😀
I’m not a vegan, obviously, but I tend to refrain my self from using squirrel brush and any other brush that comes from little critters. It’s not like I’m 100% against it though, as I have 2 undupeable squirrel brushes as well, the Koyudo Fu-Pa14 & Chikuhodo R-C2. But it’ll be heaven on earth if I can find the saikoho version of both (maybe you can help me? ;)).
I hope you’ll add more section in your brush temple, brushes classified by its material and I’ll be all over the saikoho page, night and day! Hahaha….

Btw, LOL at that Friends reference! I remember that “She’s not Rachel”–scene. #diehardfans

Carlyn 16 March, 2015 - 9:48 pm

Here’s the link dear, only 2 sets left though. I have it and love the eye brushes, especially the larger one. The cheek brush is quite a bit less dense than the Yakasugi one, so I use it for highlighters.

Carlyn 16 March, 2015 - 10:00 pm

I have now read your post for the third time and each time I see something new to absorb. I need to whip out my GSN-04 since that one was features in so many categories. I think powder and cheek brushes are my weakness, so I loved this post. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

Susan 17 March, 2015 - 6:52 am

amazing post–thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Julie L 20 March, 2015 - 5:30 am

Great post! I have learned a lot here. I am a beginner so I will take your advice. I will be trying that Wayne Goss 11.

silvita 20 March, 2015 - 1:52 pm

Thank you for such an amazing, exhaustive post. Your blog is indispensable reading before buying and investing in some of these incredible brushes, i.e. works of art. I’ve learned since becoming obsessed with brushes, it’s not just about how the brush works on the skin, but you have to factor in the compatibility of the powder product with the brush. Your exact same photo of Tom Ford blush brush with Tom Ford Narcissist blush is what happened to me-a big wad of fuchsia on a brush, it was really comical—now I just TOUCH a Wayne Goss blush brush to Narcissist and then lightly sweep onto face–I’m pasty white with dark hair and eyes–I will have Narcissist until the end of days….but of course the TF blush brush works with Love Lust, Sunday Riley Blushing, etc.
So I have learned to use certain brushes with certain products, and then my skin might be unahppy or senstive, so that’s why a brush wardrobe must be obtained 🙂

Joyce 21 March, 2015 - 11:17 am

Thanks for the incredibly informative and detailed post! I ordered the CDjapan beauty brush set and Koyudo canadian squirrel blush from cdjapan.com based on your recommendations. I received them today and they are absolutely incredible! Sooo soft and beautiful. Blush brushes are definitely my weakness. I think I have more blush brushes than blush!

On another note, I accidentally stained a white goat hair stippling brush with black eyeshadow when I put a bunch of brushes in a brush roll. I could not get the pigment off with my normal brush cleansing method using a neutral pH bar soap. I searched around on the internet and somebody recommended using baby oil. I didn’t have baby oil around so I applied a small amount of my FANCL mild cleansing oil onto the stained area and all of the pigment came off magically! Do you think it is a good idea to use an oil to get rid of stains from white goat hair brushes? Or is it bad for them? I have a few white goat hair eyeshadow brushes that don’t look so white anymore. Would love to hear your expert opinion 🙂

★Current Foundation Routine★ MAC Mineralized Skinfinish Natural & Pro Longwear Concealer! 12 April, 2015 - 11:37 pm

[…] a dense brush like a kabuki brush ( I like to use the Real Techniques Buffing Brush) or with a less dense brush like the MAC 150 Brush which will give you less coverage and which is good for setting liquid […]

Alyaka | Niche Fragrances 9 May, 2015 - 5:37 pm

Thanks for sharing your favorite collection of brushes. It really helps to use the right brushes with your choice of makeup and other cosmetics. It makes the results perfect!

Dandy Ramos 14 May, 2015 - 11:34 am

How are you Sonia? it’s been a while you haven’t written something here on your site…just checking on you 🙂

julie 28 August, 2015 - 1:09 am

Hi Sonia! All your posts are so great. Can you please let me know if the Koyudo Red squirrel blush brush is functional for most blushes? I do not use baked blushes. I have mostly hourglass, burberry, sisley and japanese blushes. I have fair skin so most blushes I have are light to medium. I’ve placed an order for the Koyudo Red Squirrel blush brush (flat handle) which has not yet arrived. I’m considering ordering another in the round handle for I love soft and functional brushes. I would greatly appreciate your input whether these brushes would work for the blushes I have. Also, would you recommend the Koyoudo Canadian Squirrel blush brush over the Red Squirrel blush brush? I’ve noticed on your blog that the Canadian blush brush is not as soft but very functional. Thank you!


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