Two weeks, two brushes: Hakuhodo brush review
Like I wrote in the first instalment of this little series (find it here), every time I get new brushes I test them thoroughly with every product I can think of to see with which they’re able to perform well. For two weeks, I use them every day when I do my makeup and tell you all about it. This time, I tried and tested my first Hakuhodo brushes! Exciting!
There’re a lot of very good brushes on the market. I own a lot that I really enjoy using, and they come from all price ranges. For me, it’s always more about finding the right brush for a specific product than claiming that ‘Japanese brushes are the best’. While I own both natural and synthetic hair brushes, I’ve been drawn to synthetic brushes lately. Hakuhodo claims that they don’t kill animals for their brushes, that’s not good enough for me any more – the hair has to come from somewhere, right? (If you’re interested in an overview of the synthetic versus natural hair debate, have a look here.) I got a blush brush (J505) made from synthetic and goat hair and an eyeshadow brush that’s made from synthetic fibres (J142). (I seem like the biggest hypocrite to get that blush brush, right? Bought it in some heady rush and started researching the hair issue after that. Total fail.)
Browsing Takashimada… OMG a Hakuhodo counter! OMG I could literally pet the brushes all day long! Whee! *SA smiles tiredly*: ‘We get that a lot.’
Buys blush brush and eyeshadow brush in some kind of happy drunken state of makeup buying.
Wonders about the hairs, starts researching hair, is so overcome by guilt that brushes land in a drawer and won’t be used for weeks.
Day xyz later
Well, that isn’t a solution. I should at least get some use out of the brushes now that I own them!
Eyeshadow brush J142
With powder eyeshadows
You know what people always say about the MAC 217? That they can basically do their whole eye look consisting of five different colours and one base with it? I never got that. BUT, with the J142 I totally do. It’s the best eyeshadow brush I ever used, and easily the most versatile. It performs well with every kind of powder eyeshadow I tried – pigmented, stiff, glittery, fall-out-city shadows, pressed pigments, pigments. It deposits and blends wonderfully, making it a true all-rounder brush suitable for doing your eye makeup with just one brush. Hakuhodo actually warns to wash the brushes, so I’m careful to wipe it down after every use, but nevertheless I washed both a few times now. While a few hairs splay out to the sides now, the J142 didn’t shed and is as soft and firm as before.
J142 with cream eyeshadows
You need a special kind of cream eye shadow to work well with the J142, because the brush itself isn’t to firm (it isn’t floppy either) and therefore not suited to pick up and blend stiff cream shadows like paintpots. It performs well with stick eye shadows like shadesticks and eye shadows like L’Oreal’s L’Infallibles that are basically pressed pigments. It didn’t pick those up well, but did a stellar job at blending edges. I didn’t like it that much with liquid eye shadows like Armani’s Eye Tints, I like bushier brushes for those.
Blush Brush J505
with powder blushes, highlighters, bronzing, contouring powders
I won’t stress that this blush is whisper-soft (because Hakuhodo, doh!), but it is. It has a somewhat (at least for me) counter-intuitive form for blushes, because it has a kind of tapered saddle brush shape. I’m used to domed blush brushes and found it a bit hard to use without the whole process resolving in clown cheeks, but after a few tries, I got it.
I first use the flat side of the brush to deposit the colour in one swipe down my cheekbones, and use the tapered edge to blend it. No matter what powder blush you use it with, it picks up colour easily.
It’s also really versatile – you absolutely can do blush, highlighter and bronzer with it. I wasn’t convinced about that at first, particularly with highlighters, bronzers and contouring powders, because I usually use small domed brushes for those. Thanks to the tapered head, though, you can use it for those products that require a precise application.
With cream blushes, highlighters, contouring products
Totally on board for cream blush, but not so much for cream highlighters or contouring products. It’s dreamy with cream blushes – I use my fingers to apply it to my cheeks and blend it out with the 505 and it’s wonderfully easy. When I used it with my ColourPop highlighters the results weren’t that smooth and seamless as I would’ve liked, same with my Kiko contouring and highlighting sticks. Not a fan. If you’re wondering why I don’t try it with liquid products – I don’t own any truly liquid blushes or other cheek products. Sorry!
I’m totally delighted that Hakuhodo offers synthetic brushes that are of the very highest quality. The material used for the bristles is super-soft, the brushes have a shape that makes them excellent for their intended use and both I got are very versatile. I don’t think that they’re expensive (J142 – 19$, J505 70$) – they’re more expensive than Zoeva and real techniques, but honestly – much nicer. The bristles seem to have a better quality (soft yet firm), the handles and ferrules are very well done. I especially like the short handles (I’m short-sighted and can move closely to the mirror while using these). The shape of these is also truly excellent – especially the J142 seems to be such a basic shape, but is better than any similar brush I used before. I think this one is a must-have.
The J142 eyeshadow brush in general is excellent – I think I don’t own any brush that is as versatile as this one. You can easily do your whole eye makeup with this one, and it’s good with various eyeshadow textures.
The J505 is a very good brush to use with various cheek products. I like it best with powder and cream blushes. I like it a lot, but it’s not as astonishingly good as the J142. If you’re in the market for a high-quality blush brush, though, you won’t be disappointed.