Home Brushes KOYUDO Yakusugi set

KOYUDO Yakusugi set

by Sonia G.

This is probably one of the most exclusive brush collector idea that you could find on the Fude market. Koyudo’s President had the crazy idea to marry ancient Japanese cedar wood handles to the most precious bristles.  If you are looking for something special, super soft and with a very unique traditional touch, it will be difficult to get any better than that.

Yakusugi is the name reserved for this ancient cedar, over 1000 years old, here is some info I received from Koyudo:

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.)

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.

I met Koyudo last year just after they had made this set, I couldn’t hide my excitement, even my boyfriend who doesn’t use brushes -for now- was in awe, Koyudo were very surprised and honoured to see how much we (me, my bf, my friends) loved their creations and that this “fude” love had crossed Japan borders.

Experts will truly recognize how precious this set is, while talking about the maintenance of this set with my friend Frankie who knows this type of wood incredibly well, I confirmed to him that it’s plain sanded wood with no coating on the handles, so if the brushes get a mark, should we want to restore them, we would need to re-sand the handle with a special paper, then Frankie told me:

Yes, since the handles are all natural, which is great, you would have to sand them after about one or two years, depending on how often you use them.  You will notice the wood getting a bit darker after a while, but that’s normal, the points where you hold them, will be a bit darker.  But with it being such a high quality wood, it’s no big deal.  If you ever do sand them, it’s extremely important choosing the right sand paper.  If you chose the wrong sand paper on a sugi tree, it won’t look the same afterwards, and it will turn flakey 🙁

I can’t believe that Koyudo would find it strange that some people adore their products.  I would bow before them in respect for creating such brushes 🙂

Koyudo’s President is a highly skilled artisan with unique ideas driven by his passion, he created this set with his own hands, he is so happy to see that there are so many passionate brush lovers who can understand it.

I have had these brushes for more than a year, they are stored inside a drawer when I don’t use them, I have a cat and a dog and this is a dangerous combination to leave around these brushes! The handles haven’t changed colour, I have used them many times but they are still like new. I have only 4 of the brushes because they were gifted to me during a special event (not for the purpose of a review).  The official set contains 2 more brushes, a brow and a lip brush. They are available here. The set is over a thousand dollars… nothing about this set is cheap but it is very special indeed.

When I open my drawer and lift the little box containing the set, I can already lightly enjoy the Yakusugi scent, then when I grab the brush and the handle is approx 7cm away from my nose I can very clearly smell it. The closest you get, the strongest it is. Even after more than a year the scent is still there, it’s fabulous, it’s much stronger than common cedar scent, sometimes while walking in Japan we could detect it’s somewhere around us, we paused and stay there for a while to enjoy it.


The powder brush



The brush with the red handle (pic below) was planned to be launched but then was replaced by this Yakusugi set.  Red squirrel bristles are not thick, they are the softest you could find so it doesn’t have the strength and the density of a Tom Ford bronzer but still is nicely dense, I use it with powder, not with meteorites balls but with softer powders, loose of pressed. It is also strong enough to be used with bronzer, the application is more lightweight than with a goat brush but still works nicely and is a dream for delicate skin.


Brush not released (Koyudo)- Yakusugi replacement- Tom Ford bronzer

Hakuhodo have the maple handles for example for the Kinokos but the Yakusugi are neither coated, nor lacquered. 

The cheek brush

Having a red squirrel blush brush is something really precious, this one is superb, again, it’s thin silky bristles but it is still quite firm and for the application of pigmented products it really is a gem.

I have been asked how this compares to a Suqqu cheek, it is softer than the Suqqu, bigger, the shape is obviously different since my Suqqu is more round. The usage of this Suqqu is better perpendicular to the skin while the Yakusugi is more at 45 degrees.


The eye brushes

The eyeshadow is similar to the Wayne Goss 06, softer but you get more firmness with the WG. I can do a base application, lid and crease with it.

I add the two Suqqu in the pic so that you can have an idea of the size, again the Yakusugi is softer.


Suqqu L, Yakusugi, Wayne Goss 06, Suqqu F



The liner

It’s just meant for powder products, if you were thinking of smudging a pencil application, it won’t be strong enough, but if you wish to set that liner with powder or just lightly line along the lash line with the softest brush ever, well, this is ok for that. I wish it was shorter and thicker so that we could benefit from more strength at the tip but it is a nice brush to have.


Suqqu liner – Hakuhodo S148 – Yakusugi


As stated before, I don’t have the two additional brushes (brows and lips) so I can’t talk about those ones, I still wanted to show you the ones I own hoping this could be helpful 🙂

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lafemmedunette 21 December, 2015 - 5:53 pm

This is such a beautiful set. Again, my favorite brushes are ones with simple wooden handles and beautiful hair. The fact that this wood is so special is just an added bonus. Although I don’t have this set, I do have 3 red squirrel brushes, 1 from Koyudo and 2 from Tanseido and they are the softest squirrel hair I’ve ever touched. I love the reddish brown color. I can imagine how wonderful these brushes smell. I have to say, Koyudo is one of my favorite brush makers. They sent me the wrong brush a few weeks back from the one I ordered and they gifted me the one they sent, which was very expensive and re-sent me the brush I purchased. They really do care for the satisfaction of their customer base. Thanks Sonia for this review. What a lovely gift. 🙂

Silvia 8 January, 2016 - 2:01 am

Hi Sonia, thanks for the review! i love this brush set. So simple and precious and the reddish brown colour is so special. Red squirrel is my favoutite because i target the softest brushes sometimes even in detriment of functionality. My dream is a red squirrel brush with rounded shape like YSC17 or RC-2.
If anybody is interested in splitting this set with me please let me know 🙂 I dont want to regret not having bought it lol


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