One of the 2016 holiday sets from Chikuhodo is this AZUR below, unfortunately I missed the VIOLET one, not that I need it… but I usually enjoy their sets and am devoted to both collecting them, and using them. I appreciate the fact they have different designs and often very pretty but the main reason of my devotion is because they end up also being very functional.
Since this set is almost sold out everywhere, I will just hurry and post first impressions. It will be a brief post but hopefully will help you decide before it’s too late.
After having it for just 36 hours I can honestly say I am happy with it. Not because it’s cheap. Clearly it’s not. Costs 32500 JPY (approx 285$), would you be saving some costs because you are buying these brushes as a set? Yes but not by much. My feeling is that what is adding extra costs here is something we can’t estimate: the painting, the colour, the logo continuing to the ferrule, eventually the time preparing this design. Whatever they are, it has to be taken into consideration.
So what should be making you splurge?
- The color
That color for me it’s spot on! So much that last September I had already planned my wedding theme around this type of blue and gold! I think it’s elegant. On the handles it looks stunning. Wedding pics using these brushes ? yes definitely planned! If you love this colour combination it’s a good reason to run.
- The shapes
These shapes are clever and more unique than expected. Unfortunately most of us already have a lip brush or a brow brush, buying sets just adds more of these in our drawers that we don’t necessarily require.
- The functionality
Will you really use them ? if not, why waste your money, get instead just the brushes you will use. I will comment each brush but it’s important that if you have a budget, you get exactly what you need for your every day routine. I love pretty brushes but if they aren’t functional their value won’t be that high to me.
- The little thing extra that you “need”
I don’t need any more brushes in my collection but I still find details on this set that make me trigger. For this set, it’s the handles and some similarities to other brushes that I love.
In the set you get 6 brushes and a pouch, since I want to post these pics before it’s sold out, you will find details here (CDJapan) or here (Chikuhodo), my set comes from CDJapan. On those two links you will find details on measurements and materials. If you are browsing Chikuhodo you will need a web translator but you still get the info clear enough in most cases.
And the usual pouch!
The color of the handles is darker than the Neige set from the Noel Collection 2015, with a shiny sparkly finish.
A close up:
THE POWDER BRUSH
To me the Noel brush that really made an entrance was the one from the Lumiere set (the golden one), this one really is amazing. The AZUR is not as thick at the base, it’s not floppy but not as dense as the other two.
Sideways you see it has a thinner ferrule, means less hair, less thickness. The hair is the same (100% squirrel), soft and same quality but since it’s thinner, it doesn’t feel as dense (strong) as the other two, still has a nice density for its ferrule’s size and still perfectly good to apply bronzer and powder, just not as strong to buff it, should you want to buff with squirrel bristles…
Vs Etoile Powder from 2015, it’s basically the same brush, the AZUR appears a bit more tapered and maybe a bit less dense but barely noticeable.
THE CHEEK BRUSH
It matches the GSN-4 that is part of their regular line, same material: squirrel and goat, similar softness and efficiency. The AZUR is also a bit more directional but also airy and so multipurpose. The GSN-4 is one of my favs due to its functionality, getting a dupe with a more gorgeous handle is the icing on the cake!
If you love super soft brushes, the ones from the Noel set 2013 and the Lumière set 2015 are must-have material, those two are similar to the Chikuhodo RC-2.
THE LARGE EYESHADOW BRUSH
I was very excited about this one, it’s brown squirrel and weasel, and I have a few weasel brushes that I love using.
The closest in material is the Addiction (weasel and squirrel, same type), but it’s different in size and shape. The Addiction B is longer and has a thicker more flexible body, makes it more fluffy but less precise. The Addiction is a nice blender brush, big, but nice and unique.
The Reiko is only weasel, also thicker and fluffier but the benefit from this Reiko is that you can use it with creams and liquids too and it’s a much cheaper version of the Shu 12. I found mine in a mall in Japan, don’t remember which mall, either Mitsukoshi, Isetan or Takashimaya, in a little corner in the beauty floor.
The issue with the weasel and squirrel combo is that you should not be using them with liquids or creams, unless you are told otherwise.
The Shu Uemura 12 is the closest in shape, actually the AZUR is its dupe, except you shouldn’t use it with liquids and creams. Other than that it’s really close in application, I tested one eye using the Shu and the other using the AZUR and it didn’t make a huge difference, you feel more control and direction with the Shu but the results are really similar.
Compared to the Shu 11 and 12, the Shu 12 is the most firm and directional of the 3.
THE SMALL EYESHADOW BRUSH
It’s canadian squirrel, just like the Kimawi… similar size and they performed almost the same on my eyes. With this type of shape I can manage the outer corner, the bottom lashline (with its tip) and the whole mobile lid. I got more control and defined application with the AZUR which makes it even better for me. Sideways you can see it has a thicker body, more bristles and it is bundled more in layers than the Kiwami.
VS Etoile set from 2015 there is no much difference, the Etoile is a tiny bit denser and less tapered.
Compared to the Mac 239 these is the size of the AZUR brushes:
THE LIP BRUSH
I usually don’t care a lot when lip brushes are added into sets, this time it’s different, here it’s with the Suqqu lip brush and the retractable lip brush from the Lumiere set.
It’s weasel. It’s so much bigger than any other lip brush! I love that, I don’t think I have such big wide lip brushes. It’s not only wider than the Suqqu but it’s a tad thicker. When I used it, I didn’t need to go over the lips that many times… I felt more evenness when I applied my dark lipstick, with equal pressure from side to side. Some lip brushes will apply the lipstick very uneven and you have a lot of work correcting the application when it “bleeds” near the borders of the lip brush. This lip brush is perfect for me, well, it’s not retractable which would help but for that kind of lip brushes I am ready to make an effort and find a way to clean it after use.
Not sure this type of big lip brushes will please every one, for me it adds to the reasons why I love this set so much.
THE EYEBROW BRUSH
Nothing particular to say about this brush, it has the right size, it’s not too big, not too small, fits most of us who either need precision or require some filling but not something unique. I wish they had instead put a pencil in here.
The AZUR and Lumiere are the ones that allow more control and a finer line:
I hope this helps even though it’s a quick post. Maybe you found a reason that will make you trigger or safely skip it without regrets! If you love the handles and you will get some use out of these brushes, then it’s a great buy. If you don’t find the brushes that rock your world in this set, you could head for the Chikuhodo MK-2 and the GSN-4 (if that mix is something you were interested in) and then add any other that suit your routine, for 280$ you have a few options you can consider! If you want to get this set for your partner, if I was your partner, I would definitely be very grateful 😀