I know that’s a pretty dramatic statement.
But hear me out!
Hakuhodo is a Japanese makeup brush company that is steeped in history and excellence. Founded in the city of Kumano, it is amongst renowned artisans making the finest calligraphy brushes in Japan. Hakuhodo honestly makes the best quality makeup brushes. They use the highest quality woods, the finest bristles, and the best techniques to make sure that everything stays together.
Surprisingly, if you’re a makeup junkie, you probably already use Hakuhodo brushes without even realizing it! Many of the worlds biggest brands (MAC and Tom Ford amongst others) use Hakuhodo to manufacture their brushes. Sure they’ll use different quality barrels or bristles, and the shapes will differ slightly, but you will get the quality that you are looking for in those brands – and more – with a Hakuhodo brush.
They’re like the Rolls Royce’s of makeup brushes. I know how silly that sentence sounds. But I’m sticking with it.
Frist, some brush knowledge. There are many different factors and components that go into making a brush. And when each of those components are executed masterfully, you will get a product that will last you a long time and will be a worthwhile investment in the ease of application + feelings of luxury that it offers. How do you put a price on “feelings of luxury?” You can’t. Which works well for brands like Hakuhodo. D’oh!
These are the components of a brush:
The problem with some of the makeup brushes that I’ve had are that the glue in the ferrule that keeps the bristles connected to the handle isn’t strong enough and the ferrule becomes wobbly and some of the bristles fall out. This has generally happened with my poorer quality brushes, but I’ve had some brushes for well over 10 years now that are perfectly fine, but I also paid for that quality up front – and I am SO glad that I did.
I, being a makeup junkie, have a LOT of makeup brushes. And I’ve also tried and looked at pretty much every brand of makeup brushes as well. And I can hands down say, that the softest, and most useful bristles that I’ve come across can be found in brushes from Hakuhodo.
With some makeup brushes, you want the stiffness to pack on color, for example in a contour brush, but Hakuhodo goes about that by packing in more bristles making the brush dense while still retaining the softness, which goes a long way.
A few months back I bought a few Hakuhodo brushes from their storefront near LA and I’ve kept from doing a review because I wanted to use them, wash them, and come up with my thoughts over time through use. And I’m so glad I did.
Here are the brushes I’ve purchased:
- Powder Brush Round and Flat – Blue Squirrel
- Highlight Brush Pointed – Blue Squirrel
- Angled Contour Brush
- Eye Shadow Brush Round – Goat
- Eyeliner Brush Flat – Horse
- Tiny Pointed Brush
My favorite brushes that I bought by far are my Blue Squirrel brushes. These are the brushes that I’ve used every day since I’ve purchased them and I have zero regrets about how expensive they are. They are worth every penny. The large powder brush is the softest finishing brush that I’ve ever used. Hands down. The blue squirrel is the finest, softest makeup brush that picks up powder products like a dream.
The small brush is the perfect brush for setting powder underneath your eyes. That’s what I use it for and it’s brilliant.
There is one face brush that I purchased that I am not that fond of. The good and bad part is that the handle of this brush doesn’t show exactly what brush it is. But it’s ok because it’s not a good brush so I wouldn’t recommend it anyway.
It is too thick on the toe of the bristles so it doesn’t get the precise contour line I like but can kind of look muddy. I can usually MacGyver another use for a brush but I’m a little stuck with this one. So, hard pass.
I was looking for brushes that were different and these two were definitely different. Maybe too different. I can’t seem to find a use for these guys because nothing that I wear on my eyes requires that much precision. Anyone have an idea of what I could use these for?
And last but not least – my FAVORITE – brush of them all. The next time I have access to a Hakuhodo I will be buying about two more of these brushes. Think a MAC 217 but better. This is the best all-over brush I have used. I think I appreciate it more than my MAC 217 because it is softer and I like that gliding of luxury over my eyes in the morning. It makes the experience of putting makeup on that much more enjoyable.
A few tips, use these brushes with powder formulas only – I like using synthetic brushes for cream and liquid products. Clean them well (I use the Beauty Blender Solid Cleanser) using a makeup brush cleaner of your choice and lay them flat on a towel to fully dry.
If you are in the market for a few key brushes, please take what you can from my review. If you are a makeup junkie and hoard things unnecessarily, buy these now!! You won’t regret it. 🙂