by Sonia G.

Hakuhodo is launching new brushes, a brand new mix: white saikoho goat and grey squirrel.  This new mix will replace their usual dyed goat/squirrel mixes that is being discontinued,  you will see the old brushes disappearing from their website and can read about it here.

This new mix is softer than the one containing dyed goat bristles, it results in a great compromise between softness and efficiency: when you find squirrel brushes too soft to be efficient enough for you and goat brushes too rough for your delicate skin, these should fall right in the middle. They are meant to be used only with powder, just like any brush containing squirrel bristles.

I started with 4 brushes, a blush, a powder, the fan and an eyeshadow brush:


And I had to find an excuse to order more, which was pretty easy, so I got these other 4 later on:


The result is a total of 8 new brushes to review! I was going to post this review right after I received the first 4 but I thought it would be useful to post the 8 together, it allows you to see them side by side in case you were considering an order. They have more brushes like these, this is not their whole selection.


By the way, if you don’t know that this is a new mix when you order them, you may think the brushes have aged very badly 😀 Do not worry, this mix is meant to look like this, salt and pepper 😀



  • Some of you don’t purchase white brushes because they look dirty once used, these new salt and pepper brushes won’t look as dirty after usage:


The AFTER pic is after using the brushes, if after usage I take a towel and wipe the bristles, the stain disappears almost completely! It won’t look super clean like just after a wash but the stains won’t stay as visible as they do on white brushes… should this be a concern to you. Powder stained brushes are not really an issue for me, what I really hate is dusty or oily looking bristles, specially on squirrel brushes so the best way to keep the powder, dust or oil away is to use a little towel after each use if you can, you will only improve the hygiene and longevity of your fluffies! I know you know that, but just some days ago I was thinking about my very first brush (20 years ago…) and I wish somebody had told me I could wash it or wipe it 😀  Sounds totally crazy but it’s true!

  • Just like the old mixes, you cannot use these with creams or liquids since they contain squirrel bristles.
  • There is no dye in them, it means no color bleeding during washing  and no skin reactions if you were allergic to dye.
  • The white bristles are soft goat Saikoho bristles, there is no poking involved, no irritation, the brushes feel closer to squirrel than goat.
  • In terms of efficiency, this increased softness has slightly reduced their blending power compared to the old dyed mixes. Not much difference though and only a density variation would significantly show you a different behaviour.


As I am writing, they have only one eyeshadow brush for the moment, the G5522, so not much of a big brainstorming selection there! I would have loved a pencil and a flat brush to really compare to the old mixes, I guess I have to wait, I am not good at waiting…

In my selection, there is a dense powder brush, a less dense, an angled one, a big one, a tiny one, a dense blush brush and a medium density one, one eyeshadow plus a fan, just because I love fans 🙂



This G501 (150$), exists also in the J series (goat & synthetic fibers 100$). This powder brush is extremely dense, it will apply anything heavily and has great buffing capabilities specially for a flat brush.

I am really happy with this new G501, however…, the other two are so good that it makes it really difficult for me to prefer the new version. Actually, the old G501 is so dense and so soft that it feels almost like a velvet carpet on the skin, it has a very special place in my heart, so has the J501… There is something comforting about these 2 big dense fat brushes that makes you want to hug them, stronger envy with the old G501 or the J501, a bit less strong with the new one, maybe because the new one is just a tiny bit more airy. Oh well, who hugs brushes anyway?? 😀



When I am done hugging or rubbing my face with these awesome big fat dense beauties, I use them for bronzers and powders that require heavy application, like the Dolce Gabbana powder foundation, or Clarins Cotton Flower, or Chanel Lumière d’Eté, or anything that I want to apply all over my face and don’t need precision with it, well, I say that but I was actually using the new G501 also for blush during my recent holiday, so of course, it depends on how lazy you are, or what type of blush you use, if it’s something that doesn’t require surgical precision, then no worries.

In comparison, the new one feels softer than her two sisters but not the reason why I would choose it. The new version is more versatile since it’s not as dense, it’s dense but not carpet-dense like the others, so you’ll control the application a bit better and since its blending power is not as strong as the other two, it compensates.

You’ll see at the end of the day, the difference between some brushes is mainly just a matter of taste and what look you prefer. We are not doing chemistry, when the brushes are so similar and you don’t know what to do, better choose the version that speaks to you because you will easily adapt your technique and a brush purchased with your heart will rarely be regretted.


I love dense angled brushes, the Hakuhodo S106 is simply divine, an iron fist in a velvet glove. There is a huge lot to love, in both the handle and the head, it’s not cheap but it’s an accomplishment. Compared to the S106, the J531 is a bit softer and even cheaper, but I still prefer the S106, it has superior strength, makes applications faster, easier to pick, distribute, buff, etc etc …



The Chikuhodo/Beautylish powder brush was underrated, it’s not 100% squirrel though that doesn’t make it less good, I can travel with it, it keeps its shape and it’s foolproof. You can see the angled shape is not as strongly cut but you can still benefit from the performance of the shorter and longer sides.

The new G5542 (95$) is much softer than all these. I don’t have any other ANGLED brush that is as soft as this one, the main purpose of an angled brush is to be strong enough to deliver a medium to heavy application or a polished finish, making one of 100% squirrel would not only cost an arm and a leg but would probably defeat the purpose and not have the capabilities we can expect from those type of brushes. The G5542 is significantly softer than any of the angled brushes here but still remains appropriate for medium to heavy coverage. I use mine mostly for bronzer or finishing powder, or on top of my liquid foundation application, just to add a little bit more coverage with powder.




Another of my favorite shapes for a powder brush!



If you had to get only one, I would immediately tell you to go for the Hakuhodo SJ104, just for the beauty of it, it’s incredibly soft and using it feels like rubbing the face against the clouds. I know because I’ve been there, feels refreshing and it could seriously lead to pleasure coma!

You won’t get precision out of these brushes, depending on the firmness of the head they will offer more of less coverage. The J104 is the firmest of all, offering the strongest application, if you have some tough powders or meteorites, that one is more adapted for them.

The S105 is a bit on the floppy side due to the length of the bristles but still has some density and some firmness at the surface, it’s extremely soft and, if your powders are not solid stubborn blocks, it will be exceptional to use and a serious option to consider.

The B509 (119$)is the best compromise between squirrel and goat, you benefit from its softness and still get some strength out of it, definitely the most versatile. Also a good size to use with meteorites.


The B505 (98$) is a very tricky brush, it says it’s meant for beginners but I think you have to know what you are doing. It’s very dense, almost like a cotton ball or a sponge applicator, the application will be directional and medium to heavy.. or too heavy, that’s why the first time you use it you have to take it easy. Test it, pick up the powder gradually and use the best angle. The word “angle” is the key, it can go from a total insane inappropriate brush to a very special one, I use it at an angle to apply highlighter on top of the cheeks or a rosy-brown blush as contour, the application is precise and once you master it, very controllable, but mastering the right angle and the right pressure is important, I am not saying it’s not great for beginners but a more airy brush would be easier to handle.

It’s the same thing about the three similar brushes here, same kind of behaviour and same thoughts, once you know what to do then it’s a great brush, not the most versatile but it does offer a different approach and multiple ways of using it: placing, blending, stippling, loading hugs quantities of setting powder, buffing undesired make-up lines, etc etc

The B505 in the middle won’t be anymore but I loved the evenness of the shape, there is something very satisfying by just looking at it. (Except for the dirty little bristles that landed on top, if you can ignore, please do).

The G5519 is the same shape, just 100% squirrel therefore more delicate and not offering as much buffing power but a great option to pat powder just where you need it, it’s very dense and directional and you’ll notice in the picture that it’s less airy and less splayed out than the new B505.




The G5545 (63$) is the typical or standard blush brush, the most versatile type, airy yet directional, offers from light to heavy application.


I tried to add as many blush brushes as I could in that pic for size reference. It is much softer than S110, also softer than the BP016, the J110 or the Sj110 but not by much. The shape is very similar to the Koyudo or CDjapan standing on its right hand side, of course not as soft but this Hakuhodo G5545 is more functional, offers better blending capabilities. It’s the type of brush that you will throw in your make-up bag and that will work with anything.

Hakuhodo has also some other handles available in Japan for these new brushes, if you are familiar with Hakuhodobrushes in Japan, these would be the champagne colored ones. My only issue is that I love long handles and those champagne handles do not always come in the long version, they are prettier and worth the hassle if you like them 😛



The G511 (44$) is the definitive hot hatch in my humble opinion. This is the brush that everyone should have, if you had to get one or start with something, get this.

Phenomenal capabilities for sculpting, for highlight, for anything that requires a flawless, even and controlled application. It’s small, so it’ll do what you want only where you want it to! I also use it for blush because I love tiny brushes but that’s my personal preference, might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t think I need to insist more, you could get a pointy brush for more precision but if you enjoy little and flat brushes you will love its accuracy. Seriously nails it.

I use mine with any type of contour powders, from difficult to pick (Natasha Denona), to more volatile or powdery ones (Kevyn Aucoin) and if you want a 3-layered application: highlighter on top, blush in centre, sculpting below, you can achieve that and blend each powder into the next, it’s a delight.


The old G511 did not had that thickness, it’s more directional and less splayed out. The others are here just for size reference, they are great too, just bigger options. When it comes to little or medium angled brushes there is so much to choose from! all densities, materials and angles! By the way, the BP026 is also a gem, may appear rough in the pics but the flat surface is like velvet, I have many powders that are a pain to pick up, the BP026 is my secret weapon! It’s made with soft goat bristles, maybe not quite as soft as saikoho bristles but definitely not pokey. Mine is very old, I wonder if the recent ones are just as soft, hopefully they continued to use the same quality of bristles.



This H4453 fan costs 110$. there is something special about fans that appeals to me, they aren’t the most versatile or easy to handle brushes but I can’t help it!

My best excuse is that if I get it I can at least compare it!


Compared to the other fans, it’s right in the middle in terms of thickness, I have been applying my contour with it during my two week holiday, I placed it and then blended the application moving sideways and bringing it upwards a little, always looked good but does not allow the same precision as other smaller brushes so just keep that in mind. I am right handed, my right cheek placement was always good, but the placement on my left cheek was a bit tricky and required some focus and wrist coordination.

What I really love them for is to wipe any fallout under the eyes, when my face is still setting, the fallout sticks and I need a bad ass fan to wipe any fallout particles away, even when I have applied a powder beforehand this type of fan works better than smaller thinner ones to wipe every unwanted powder speck away.

The thicker and fuller fan versions are excellent to buff the finished face application, but the same can be done with thinner ones, maybe one thing to consider is to use goat bristles if you have oily to combination skin and squirrel bristles if you have dry skin. The goat bristles will also remove the excess oil on the skin so that’s another good reason to use it… should you want or need to.





This G5522 (30$) will replace the old G5522 but I do regret it, my good old G5522  was so nicely shaped that it makes me sad not being able to get an exact replacement.  The difference between the new and old is minor, and yet big enough for me to prefer the old if I had to keep only one. The old one has such a dense body and a more tapered point, it applies and blends without dragging the skin or disturbing anything around. The new one works almost the exact same way, the difference is barely there, there is no floppiness in the replacement brush either, just a slightly more airy bundling result due to the softer saikoho bristles and a tiny bit less precision.

For some of you the old would be too rough or too dense, it comes to a personal preference

The J5522 is a lovely efficient blender but has a less tapered point, drags the skin a bit in comparison and when it blends, it may blend a bit where you did not want to.  On the plus side, it’s stronger and you can use it with creams too.

The new G5522 feels softer than the old, still blends like the old but you just loose a bit in precision and direction.



The quality remains outstanding, I had very little shedding with mine, a couple of bristles which is absolutely normal.  The salt and pepper look is daring, I like it, and it’s great that they actually managed to release brushes with that kind of mix and not containing any dye!

Did you already get any of these? any of these tempting you? Hakuhodo have so many options that it’s tricky to choose, can be overwhelming!

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Devin 19 November, 2016 - 10:24 pm

I love these brushes! I got the G5542, B509, G5545, B5521, and G5522 in Japan in March/April. It was right before they increased the prices of these so I was very lucky. My B509 has the white shimmer handle and I think it looks even better with the salt and pepper bristles than the champagne handles do. I will definitely get G511, it looks lovely and similar to the J4003 which I cannot live without. I also like that they got rid of all of the full dyed goat brushes too. I much prefer white goat and will be buying some of those too.

Kiss & Make-up 20 November, 2016 - 2:10 pm

Hmmmm I haven’t decided yet whether I like the salt and pepper color of the bristles, but as long as the quality is there – and it sure seems to be! – it’s good for me!

AMY MIRANDA 5 May, 2017 - 4:13 am

omg i am going to have a heart attack.. a website dedicated just for brushes? wow.. i am a brush addict and you have hakuhodos and chikuhodos.. I was looking for the new brand (new to me) the fu-pa02 Foundation Brush / Koyudo fu-pa Series Pink when I did a search and landed on your website. You have captivated me and I subbed right away to you and am following you on instagram as well. more to follow..

Sonia G. 19 June, 2017 - 10:42 pm

Hi Amy, yes obviously you also love make-up brushes.. it’s a small world after all 🙂
Looking forward to chatting more!

Yihua Zhang 6 December, 2017 - 12:26 pm

Dear Sonia, you mentioned B505 is dense, so do you think I can use it as bronzer brush? Love

Sonia G. 16 December, 2017 - 3:05 pm

Hi Yihua,
I would not because it’s quite densely packed so unless the bronzer is not very pigmented, you may end up with a too directional application. I’d rather advise you to use the G5542 angled because it’s still dense but more airy and more forgiving. 🙂


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