Two weeks, two brushes: Hakuhodo i-series
Let’s carry on with our little “two weeks, two brushes” series, shall we? I got two new Hakuhodo brushes the last time I was in Singapore. Because… well, who can restrain themselves when standing in front of a Hakuhodo counter? Not me! This time, both brushes from the i-series and I had a somehow rocky start. Here’s my Hakuhodo i-series review: An in-depth look at both eyeshadow (i-127) and blush (i-110) brush from the synthetic Hakuhodo brush line.
Let’s just take a quick detour to my attitude towards makeup brushes in general and Hakuhodo’s brushes in particular. As I said in my former reviews (here and here) at this price point, you will get incredibly well-made brushes. The question is, can you match them with the right product and incorporate them into your routine. With some brushes it’ll be easy, while others require a lot of testing and playing around. From my previous experiences with Hakuhodo brushes, I can say that I love how they’re made and love that they offer animal-friendly synthetic brushes in their portfolio. The i-series is a line of synthetic brushes whose handles are made of wood and the ferrules are nickel. They look a bit sleeker and more futuristic than the brushes from the j-series I got before.
Hakuhodo i-110 blush brush
This is what Hakuhodo says about it on their website:
“Hair: Synthetic fiber. Made of 100% synthetic fiber – which enables you to achieve natural and sheer coverage.
I series – made of 100% synthetic fiber – which enables you to achieve natural and sheer coverage. The amazing feature of synthetic fiber is less shedding and less color bleeding compared with a natural hairs. We developed to create density/softness and functional from our knowledge of natural hair. Brushes are exactly the ‘Innovative’ brushes leading new brush world.”
This one looks like a small paddle brush with a slightly domed head which should lead to a precise application of stuff on your face.
Willful creature that I am, I bought it with the intention to use this one as a highlighter brush. But alas, some makeup sessions later I saw the error of my ways. This is much to firm to be a good highlighter brush. You can use it, though, with hard-pressed powders that don’t kick up much dust. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like tinman.
Strangely, while it wasn’t all that with cream highlighters, with liquid highlighters (I used MAC’s Lustre Drops) it dealt well. I picked up the product with the tip of the brush. Distributing and blending was quite easy and yielded a nice result. Is it a better result than when I use my fingers? I’m not sure.
With contouring products
Some deep thinking made me come up with another possible use for this type of brush – contouring. I contour once in a blue moon, but when I tried this – yeah baby. So good, so easy, exactly as natural or pronounced as you want your contour to be.
I got the same results with cream contour products. Easy to blend and a very natural result. It’s definitely the best brush I own for contouring.
I needed a new blush brush as much as a new head. For applying blush – especially cream products – this yielded awesome results. (While sadly, for cream highlighters, it wasn’t that good at blending and distributing.) I used it with proper cream blushes like MAC’s Cream Colour Bases. Also with more ‚bouncy‘ type of blushes like ColourPop’s this one applies and blends cream blushes like a champ. Hakuhodo also is quite right with their description of “natural and sheer coverage”. I used it with my scariest cream blush that’s a deep wine red, and the result was a beautiful flush.
When I used it with powder blushes, it performed best with pigmented, hard-pressed products. The result is (again) very natural and hard to overdo.
I didn’t try it with bronzers, because I like my bronzer brushes fluffy and application diffused.
Hakuhodo i-127 eyeshadow brush
This is a flat shader brush along the lines of MAC’s 242, but the head is larger, with the brush hairs forming a slightly pointy end, a bit like a triangle shape. I never use my MAC 242 for cream eyeshadows, because I either use my fingers or, for more liquid textures, a fluffy domed brush like my favorite ebelin one. But if you consider how often I use cream shadows, buying a brush for them didn’t seem like the worst idea I ever had.
Nevertheless, this brush is a mystery to me as it doesn’t appear on Hakuhodo’s site at all. I seem to remember that the SA told me that it’s part of a set that she could also sell individually, but nevertheless, I’m baffled.
Like I thought, it’s an awesome brush for all kinds of cream products. Before we deal with them, though, let me just add that it’s also an awesome tool for your most glittery powder eyeshadows. You can pat them on with the flat side of the brush and bingo, zero fallout. Yay!
I tried it with a number of different cream products from bouncy ones like ColourPop shadows, mousse-y ones like Charlotte Tilbury’s Eyes to Mesmerise to rather stiff cream products in pots like MAC’s paintpots and everything in between. Pressed pigments l trialled it with are MAC’s pressed pigments, their Spellbinder shadows and L’Oreal’s Infallibles. Conclusion? It’s awesome with all of those products with one exception. The paddle-like shape of the brush is great for an even application and blending of all kinds of cream products. It’s not great at applying products in the crease due to that shape, though. But otherwise, it’s one of the most versatile eye brushes I ever used, and vastly superior to MAC’s 242 due to it’s wonderful bristles that are firm but soft.
While I needed another blush brush that’s great at contouring like a hole in my head, the i-110 is great for exactly that. It’s not my brush of choice for highlighters, sadly. It performs especially well with cream products.
The i-127 is awesome for all kinds of creamy eyeshadows. It applies said products like a dream and without any fallout, blends well, but if you want a brush for your crease, that isn’t it.