Home Brushes The Keyaki brush set

The Keyaki brush set

by Sonia G.

I love little brush sets, especially when they are unique, beautiful and functional! With that vision in mind, I worked with Japanese artisans to create this Limited Edition Keyaki brush set with short handles.

This set feels so special to me because it features Fude craftsmanship paired with traditional Japanese woodworking craftsmanship for the handles. The result is elegant, the look is traditional, understated, and it’s an effective set of brushes that allow us to achieve a complete look.


The handles are made of Keyaki Zelkova Serrata, which is native from Japan. It is a slightly harder wood and requires a longer drying period of one to two years compared to other Japanese woods. 

It is considered a strong and high-grade wood and since a very long time it has been used for the construction of temples, shrines, high-grade Buddhist altars and lacquer wares (Shikki).  Keyaki wood is also used for high quality furniture such as special tables or counters, it’s famous for its beautiful grain and for the fragrance coming from the oils contained in the wood.

The handles showcase a variety of traditional Japanese woodworking techniques.  For example, the  wood filling technique with Tonoko (polishing powder) which is used for the underneath layer to make the wood grain look so beautiful. Then, it is finished with a thin layer of urethane paint that has been meticulously applied to achieve a beautiful smooth surface on the handle.

As a result, the handles have a unique pattern and a soft matte finish. The keyaki grain can be linear, striped, wavy or a mix. Even micro dents may be apparent on the wood and although it’s rare, this is totally normal and part of its nature. The artisans worked with all the characteristics of this wood and adapted the techniques for us to appreciate its raw beauty. 

This set has been on the works for a long time as the manufacturing has presented quite a few challenges. The biggest challenge with this Keyaki handle was to apply the logo beautifully since the surface of the Keyaki is not smooth. The artisans wanted us to feel the texture of Keyaki, but for the application of the logo on such a small surface, the use of the Tonoko technique has been crucial- it allowed them to work with the raw beauty of the wood and yet achieve a flush application of the logo and brush names on the handle. 

The black matte brass ferrule pairs extremely well with the black details of the keyaki grain, while the logo remains the usual light brown colour as it matches the elegance of these handles. 

Finally, we are really excited to release this very special set and even though this will only be for a Limited Edition, it was worth the effort. We embraced all the challenges and enjoyed every step of the process. 

I add some pictures of wooden handles to give you a better idea of the shade, if you have some of these or are familiar with them, you’ll know what to expect with Keyaki.

This is a short handle brush set, the longer brush is the little crease brush which is 129 mm in total length.

Cheek PRO, Keyaki Classic Face, Designer PRO


The brushes for this set had to be brushes that we love to have with us, specially when we are on the move, and that help us achieve the biggest range of looks with the most types of products, I did my best to aim for this.

The eyeshadow brushes

With regards to the eye brushes, the ones that I believe to be very functional, that work so nicely as a team, and that I always love to have with me are the Flat Definer, the Mini Booster and the Jumbo Blender from the Sky series.

The three eyeshadow brushes that you see in this Keyaki set are simply the same as the ones in the current permanent collection, but, they have been bundled with white undyed saikoho goat bristles so that we can use them also with cream products if we wish to.

Sky brushes vs Keyaki brushes

These eyeshadow brushes are effortless and versatile and very relevant for this small set as they can easily achieve an entire look and work with many type of products, creams or powders.  

The Flat Definer takes care of the details, works closely and gently along the lash line to add definition, it can place the inner corner highlight, darken the outer V or deposit an accent shadow in the center of the lid.

Material: white saikoho goat bristles
Hair length: 8mm
Total length: 123mm
Ferrule: 4mm x 7.5mm

The Mini Booster quickly builds the application in or around the crease area, diffuses and blends with control.

Material: white saikoho goat bristles
Hair length: 14mm
Total length: 129mm
Ferrule: 5.5mm

The Jumbo Blender is the brush we can use for a one shadow look or for a quick blending. It can lay down the product with the sides but can also work as a crease brush – larger than the Mini Booster if used sideways. The tip can be used for blending, softening or to smoke out an application. 

Material: white saikoho goat bristles
Hair length: 15mm
Total length: 125mm
Ferrule: 7mm x 10mm

The face brushes

I was aiming for high versatility with these two little face brushes. They are not part of the current permanent collection. 

The Mini Base can be used with creams, liquids and powders. It is bundled with natural bristles (sokoho goat) and synthetic fibers (PBT and nylon).

This specific blend of bristles and density can handle foundation. Although it’s a small brush (the surface at the top is 23mm diameter), it can be used for the entire foundation application and it will blend beautifully but it will take more time compared to a bigger face brush. On the other side, the benefit is that it is also more versatile and can be used for cream blush, cream contour or to diffuse concealer if you like to apply it on a larger perimeter.

This Mini Base can also be used with powder products, I use this brush to set my foundation with powder or as a mini buffer.

Material: white sokoho goat and synthetic fibers (Nylon and PBT)
Hair length: 23mm
Total length: 123mm
Ferrule: 15mm

The Classic Face is a brush to use with powder products. It is bundled with dyed and undyed natural bristles (saikoho goat).

This brush is the perfect size for the one-brush-for-all powder products. It’s small enough for blush application, big enough for bronzer application and can also handle highlight or contour application.

The shape is simple, yet quite unique.  It has an oval ferrule but when washed, it blooms to an airy, generous domed surface at the top, so it provides enough control with sheer products and prevents the harsh edges when applying more heavily pigmented products.

Material: dyed and undyed saikoko goat bristles
Hair length: 33mm
Total length: 128mm
Ferrule: 11mm x 14.3mm

Face PRO, Keyaki Classic Face, SKY Mini Cheek

These pictures will give you a better idea of its size.

We all have a slightly different interpretation of density, softness, precision, but I thought the ratings below could help understand why the Classic Face is a more multipurpose brush compared to the other brushes in that picture.

A medium density brush is going to handle a wider selection of products, whether they are more of less pigmented. If it more on the denser side it may be too aggressive with heavily pigmented products but if it’s floppy, it may not pick up the more sheer products.

A brush that has more splay out will deliver more diffused edges, if it has less splay out and more precision the application is going to be more directional.


The set will be available as a Limited Edition release, on Beautylish, starting on the 9th of December 2020, 10 am PT and it will cost 125 USD.

If you have any questions about this Keyaki set, please do not hesitate to ask me! Thank you so so much to all of you for taking the time to read and for your incredible kindness and support!!!

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Yelena Z. 4 December, 2020 - 6:46 pm

Wow! Sonia, these are stunning! And I love the thought you put into the bristles to make this
possible as a stand alone brush set that can do everything!

Something that I really like to do with my wooden handles is tap them against each other because they resonate and make musical sounds. I hope that you don’t mind that is what I have in mind for these as well as enjoying using them on my face!

Yelena Z. 4 December, 2020 - 6:59 pm

I also have a question! Is the tonoko technique the same one used for kintsugi that involves flour and lacquer to form a paste? Or are the two techniques just spelled the same way with the alphabet?

Sonia G. 7 December, 2020 - 5:50 pm

The artisan told me that there are several sorts of Tonoko, the one used for Kintsugi and the one we used are both called Tonoko,
but, there are different kinds of Tonoko and also different ways to use it. They believe that Kintsugi may be used to make lacquer paste. They sound like two different techniques or uses but that use similar spelling… not sure.

The one we used contains a mixture of stone crushed powder and wood polishing powder and with a color added to it, the purpose of our technique is to make the surface look nice and feel smooth.

Bronwyn 4 December, 2020 - 7:01 pm

Do you know how much they will cost on the Canadian site?

Tiffany 4 December, 2020 - 9:44 pm

I love the three eye brushes you chose to include in the set, but I’ve always wanted them to be undyed so I could use them with cream products. Do you plan on releasing undyed versions of your popular brushes like these as individuals in the future? Thank you!

Melissa 4 December, 2020 - 10:58 pm

Such a beautiful set! I love the story behind the brushes and the wood that is used to make them. Now I have even more of a desire to visit Japan and see and feel all the beautiful buildings made from keyaki wood.

Jo Hillhouse 4 December, 2020 - 11:17 pm

These look so wonderful and at a great price,love seeing everything sold out Sonia

CeRita 4 December, 2020 - 11:44 pm

This seems perfect. I was already going to buy another jumbo blender and mini booster as they are my favorite brushes of all time. Is there a photo of the eye brush length comparison?

Kelly 5 December, 2020 - 12:28 am

Hi Sonia/ Anyone who has used the Jumbo Blender
How firm is the Jumbo blender? Is there enough give to diffuse eyeshadow and to set eye primer with loose powder?
Thank you

Megan 5 December, 2020 - 12:42 am

These are stunning. I love the care and the thought that you put into these. Thank you!

Denise 5 December, 2020 - 1:04 am

Sonia, I just luv reading your Blog compositions! I am so happy for you to have your own Sonia G. travel-friendly brush set. I know you do much traveling! Your creative ideas and attention to detail are so evident in all you produce for us! BIG HUGS!!!! Love, Denise

Sonia G. 7 December, 2020 - 5:42 pm

Big huge gigantic hugs to you Denise!! always so happy when I can read your comments, thank you for your kind support!! Lots of love to you!!

Denise 5 December, 2020 - 1:09 am

Sonia….please check your Mini Booster hair length measurement. I believe it should be 14mm. Thanks!!! De

Sonia G. 7 December, 2020 - 5:41 pm

Thank you so much Denise, you were absolutely right!!! I did not see my typo when I posted, thank you!!! <3

Yoco Ting 5 December, 2020 - 5:07 am

Hi Sonia,

I have a smooth buffer from your range and I love this over the other Fude foundation brushes that I have. I use mineral foundation and the smooth buffer is so compatible with powders.

I am looking forward to this range and I love to try out the mini-base especially. : ) Hopefully if will work equally well on my face like how the smooth buffer does. : )

JM 5 December, 2020 - 7:29 am

Love the limited version! I think it is very practical ,smart and classic! Just one comment- will you consider to add pouch or small case to hold these beautiful brushes moving forward? I also like your new released cute brush towel. Another good one!

Sonia G. 7 December, 2020 - 5:38 pm

Hi!! yes, I actually wanted to add a pouch here, we didn’t make it on time and also, on the other hand it will make the set more accessible in terms of costs, so for those who don’t want the pouch, that’s a good thing I guess. The pouches that I designed are planned to be launched maybe next month but with the current situation, we aren’t 100% sure, let’s hope it works out! And also thank you for the comment regarding the little towel!! 😀

Ashley Ament 9 December, 2020 - 8:30 pm

Just bought the brush set, and so excited! This will be my first set of Japanese brushes! I’m always traveling, so I love the versatility and portability of this set! Fingers crossed it works out with the pouch, I would def love one to keep these protected!

Kate 5 December, 2020 - 1:27 pm

Wow! What a fabulous set and wonderful, informative article! I’m so excited to see the eye brushes in undyed so we can use them for cream eyeshadows. The mini booster is one of my favourite brushes for my small, hooded eyes. Also very intrigued by the mini base as I’m on the hunt for both a good cream blush brush as well as a liquid foundation brush The brushes are stunning and a perfect selection of functions

Sonia G. 7 December, 2020 - 5:36 pm

Thank you Kate!! I hope you will love it if you decide to get it, so happy you like the brush combination!! I thank you so much for your kind comment!!

szeebs 6 December, 2020 - 12:55 am

Gorgeous Sonia! I will leave be on Beautylish at 10:00 sharp

Sonia G. 7 December, 2020 - 5:35 pm

thank you so much!! <3

Anne-Marie 6 December, 2020 - 6:57 pm

Love the set i would love to buy this set, do you know if there a a lot of duty taxes for the brushes for coming in to the Netherlands because i bought some brushes from dude beauty and had to pay 75 euro’s duty taxes at customes… this was a surprise for me haha i am very happy with my brushes but i was wondering if the taxes are always so high or only for the brushes from Japan?

Sonia G. 7 December, 2020 - 5:34 pm

Hi Anne-Marie, I am in Switzerland, when I purchase from Beautylish there are no additional charges or fees on top of what I have paid upon checkout. Usually I have many fees but with Beautylish I understand they have an agreement that makes this extremely convenient! I have contacted one friend from the Netherlands, she says same as me, no extra fees added after what you pay at Beautylish! Taxes for me are super high when I buy from anywhere, unless the companies have that customs agreement! I hope this helps!! thank you so much!!!

FluffyFude 8 December, 2020 - 5:40 am

Hi Anne-Marie, I am not in the Netherlands but did a IG survey a few weeks ago on import taxes for different countries and was informed that the Netherlands has around a 21% import duty fee for packages over $22 USD. This amount will vary based on the shipping carrier and other possible processing fees but in general that is what others told me the import duties were for the Netherlands. Hope that helps!

Sonia G. 8 December, 2020 - 10:34 am

Thank you so much!! great survey topic!! 🙂 does this apply to Beautylish shipments too? I am very interested to know. I asked my friend from the Netherlands who says when ordering from Beautylish, upon reception, nothing extra is added to the fees of the amount paid at checkout, but if we could confirm it would be very helpful.
Here in Switzerland, it’s often cowboy style when paying taxes on parcels. When I order from Beautylish, Selfridges, Mytheresa or some retailers, the fees and taxes are included so I don’t need to pay additional taxes. When ordering from many other places though, it’s such a confusing taxing method! Fees are astronomical, which has highly discouraged me recently. Now on top of that, some add “covid handling fees”. Sometimes I even ask the post office here and they can’t even explain so yeah, what a painful topic.

Rocio 8 December, 2020 - 11:29 pm

Hello Sonia, I do not know if in Switzerland it will work the same as in Spain but I understand that the procedure is approximately the same in the EU and it will be similar in Switzerland.

Basically there are two options about international pourchases. Firs One, the seller processes the taxes for you and presents the form at the corresponding European customs (or Switzerland). Second, if seller Dont do it, you have to when the package arrives at its destination.

Beautylish is one of the few companies that does all the paperwork, so you don’t pay additional taxes when the package arrives. They present the customs declaration (DUA) and process the VAT and import costs. When you pay, they add an amount in this concept that is around 20% of the price of what you buy, you can see it on the invoice.
In other sites such as CD Japan or in visageusa they do not do this paperwork (and payment) for you in your destination country, so when the package arrives you have to pay. And here each country has a similar but different system for paying those taxes.

I do not want to extend myself, but in Spain, for example, you can process it directly with customs and pay only the corresponding taxes (21% VAT plus 2,5% customs) or it can be processed by the post office or the Carrier like UPS, DHL etc which in addition to taxes, those companys charges a commission, so it is much more expensive.

To sum up, Taxes are always paid, at least in the EU, it does not depend on the seller, the difference is if the seller do it for you or not, depending on the service they offer.

By the way, I love your brushes, I have practically all of them (my favorite is the face pro) and I am looking forward to having a restock of masters face, face One (I have the small buffer and I love it), and soft Cheek, Im waiting for your restock anounments.
I hope I can get this set tomorrow, and I will love if you lounch pouches, I think there is a great need of them, at least for me, and everything you do is of an undeniable quality and practicality.

Sorry for extending myself so long. a Greetings from Spain. XxX

Rocio 10 December, 2020 - 11:39 pm

Just in addition to my explanation, I think the differences in the fee you pay and the vary from each ratailer can be because of the Carrier. Not all of them have the same comission, usually post company is cheaper (EMS use post company) and UPS, DHL etc usually charges a huge fee (in Spain for Sure). Taxes can’t vary from One ratailer to other, because the amount of taxes you pay depends on the value of the purchase. The difference must be in the comission of the Carrier for carrying out customs procedures. I always do it by myself, here in Spain is very easy and we can do all telematically, and I always use the post company, Carrier charge too much fees. I do not know how it will work in Switzerland, but you can always consult the tax agency about the procedures to be carried out for imports in Internet purchases. In the post office it is very sure that they do not know but in the tax agency I am sure they will be able to inform you.

Cat 7 December, 2020 - 10:57 am

Sonia, these are beautiful and thank you so much for your thorough comparison photos! I am keeping my fingers crossed that this means a base brush perhaps larger and in a full size handle is in our future?? I remember you had remarked a while back that you wanted to create a synthetic brush/combo with natural bristles for face. Sigh!

Sonia G. 7 December, 2020 - 3:30 pm

Hi Cat, this current situation is delaying and complicating many things so we will see!! I am crossing my fingers that it gets back to normal soon, not only with regards to “work” but also to being able to finally travel again and meeting our friends and family!
Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment!! I really appreciate it!! <3 take care!!

amy haake 7 December, 2020 - 8:52 pm

Beautiful. Enjoyed the detailed post. Love reading this stuff & comparing with my brushes. Very fun to think about. Interesting. The Mini base is a synthetic/natural hair mix. This is exciting! It will be lovely to have a face brush that can be used in cream products in the collection. Finger’s crossed I’m able to purchase!!!

Kristine 8 December, 2020 - 4:40 am

This set is beautiful. I am new to your brand and was wondering how you suggest cleaning these brushes? I want to order these but want to make sure I take good care of them. Thank you!

dainaa 8 December, 2020 - 3:54 pm

Hi Sonia! Money is a bit tight for me right now.. after the first launch will you be making more than one release? Say, in a month (with the pouch)?

Julie 9 December, 2020 - 2:15 am

Is it ok to clean these after each use (if used with creams)? Lovely set, sending well wishes from Sweden!

Gloria 9 December, 2020 - 3:39 am

Congratulations on another beautiful release, Sonia! I’ve been a devoted follower of your brushes since your fundamental set after seeing Michele Wang use your brushes. I think I have enough of your brushes now to last me a lifetime, but you keep coming out with more amazing brushes that I just cannot pass up. Thank you for your attention to detail and always releasing the highest quality products. You are so kind and helpful with our customer questions, I cannot think of a better brand to support. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to see what you release next!

Gloria 9 December, 2020 - 3:43 am

+1 to what another commenter said, I’d love to purchase the travel pouch for the limited edition and/or current line of brushes. I’m always afraid of damaging your brushes when I travel.

Heidi Bingham 10 December, 2020 - 2:33 am

This is my first Sonia G brush purchase as I thought this would be a wonderful introduction into your brushes. I was VERY intrigued after watching Alicia (kinkysweat) and Kelsee Briana Jai review them on YouTube! Alicia ALWAYS features your brushes and gives SUCH good recommendations for how to use them; she is a fount of knowledge and a fantastic ambassador for your brushes. Thank you for making this beautiful brush set!

Mya Alexander 10 December, 2020 - 4:18 am

I bought 2 sets at 10:02 AM! I can’t wait for the pouch!! So glad to hear it’s coming. Will there be a pro eye set restock before Christmas? I want to get my mom as addicted to your brushes as I am!

Ashley 10 December, 2020 - 4:27 am

How do you pack brushes when you travel? I always worry about putting them in the bag 🙁

jebl 10 December, 2020 - 9:26 pm

May try out the Mini Booster. Blenders that size are so right for me crease-wise.

Carolynn stewart 29 December, 2020 - 6:44 pm

Does the 5 piece keyoki mini brush set come with longer handles? 4 in seem really short, I have big hands
Thank you

Sonia G. 14 January, 2021 - 2:22 pm

Hi Carolynn,
The eyeshadow brushes do come with longer handles, for the others, I don’t have confirmation at the stage how this will evolve… let’s see! Thank you for asking!

Dayra 11 May, 2021 - 4:19 am

Those look amazing, beautiful. The details and the versatility is what calls me. Until when will those be available?

Deborah 3 August, 2021 - 7:06 am

How do you travel with your Keyaki set? All my brush rolls and travel makeup bags (with brush slots) are much longer than the keyaki brushes. I feel like I’m not taking advantage of their compact size when I could take full size brushes instead in my travel makeup bags. Any recommendations for a small brush roll or makeup bag? I want them to be protected so I don’t want to throw them in a makeup bag loose. Maybe I need to get a short little brush roll custom made

Lulu 30 June, 2021 - 2:10 pm

I have a question. What is the difference between dyed and undyed bristles besides the later bring able to handle creams? I ask because if there is no other difference, why not make everything with undyed hair and it will just be more versatile?

Sonia G. 30 June, 2021 - 4:05 pm

Hi Lulu,
To me, there is a difference in how they apply, how they function and how they look, I will explain.
If we compare the same brush and same grade of bristles, dyed versus undyed, the same brush with dyed bristles will function with more discipline and strength and the way the bristles move is also different. Because of the treatment on the cuticle, the brush with dyed bristles will feel fuller, often deliver a more effective blend, it will move with a more analog smooth movement (versus a more binary movement with undyed bristles which may cause more fallout). The difference is small and many would not really mind or have a preference.
I prefer the application that a dyed bristle offers even if it is not as versatile as an undyed bristle.
For powders, I very much prefer to opt for a dyed bristle, because it does offer a more consistent application and a more effective blend, but if you need your brushes to work both with creams and powders, then pick undyed.
I am sure that in the future the dyes will allow for a usage with creams too but at this moment the manufacturers don’t like to recommend using dyed bristles with creams or liquids as it may alter the dye and the bristle.
Also many prefer darker bristles because they won’t look as obviously dirty, even though they are, so it is also related to preferences. I hope this helps!


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