Review: My Chikuhodo Brushes


I am always on the lookout for good makeup brushes. I have tried a lot of brands already, but it's always been my dream to buy Japanese handcrafted brushes, simply because they are the best, and are renowned for their superior craftsmanship and softness.  I watched a video of Japanese brush makers a few years back, where all these artisans from the Kumano prefecture meticulously handcrafted each brush to perfection. I was awed, and I knew I had to have them someday. For now I am still building my collection.

I got 3 brushes from the Chikuhodo Z series  (also the makers of Suqqu, RMK and Lunasol makeup brushes, to name a few).  Z-series is Chikuhodo's prestige line of makeup brushes.They are handmade by master brush craftsmen, and are made from 100% Grey Squirrel hairs.  They are insanely expensive, but the truth is, after regularly using them, they are so, so worth it. 




Left to right: Z 1 powder brush, Z 3 contour brush, and Z 10 eyeshadow brush

With the brush names:



These brushes have short handles, and they are very lightweight. For some reason I wanted these to have some heft (considering their price tags or something, I was expecting something heavy!) but these were designed for ease of use and application. They are absolutely incredible, and after using these, I'm not going  back to regular makeup brushes again!

The Z1 Powder Brush is a dense, rounded and tapered powder brush that is made from the softest hair ever. The shape is perfect! I've read that this is denser than the Suqqu Powder Brush (also made by Chikuhodo) and that works fine for me. Some prefer the Suqqu for that whisper-light softness and feel. For me, I love that the dense and super soft hair makes makeup/powder application effortlessly flawless. It deposits the finest amount of pigment to produce that skin-like, flawless finish. And I'm not kidding. It's not full coverage at all --- better consider goat hair if you want fuller coverage) but this gives the most natural-looking clean finish without being cakey. So this works great for finishing powders and full coverage powder foundations. No makeup tricks or primers necessary, this covers my pores and the makeup is undetectable. I wasn't a huge fan of this before, probably because my skin was not so good back then and I needed better coverage, but now I just appreciate the sheer, natural, glowy look.  I also found that if I want more coverage,  I can layer powder with this brush, and it will never look cakey, but it will take time  to finish my makeup.

That's where the Z3 Contour Brush comes in! Z3 is meant for contouring, but somehow I never got the hang of using this for that purpose. For contouring/bronzing, I'm more comfortable using my Rae Morris Radiance, Tom Ford Cheek Brush, or the Stila no. 21 Brush. I use my Z3 for fuller coverage of my powder foundations, and it works great! The small head is amazing for targeted application of powder, especially for areas such as the nose and under the eyes. I use this to buff powder foundation in circular motions all over my face and the coverage is full and natural. The brush is super super soft as well, and it's such a joy to use. 

The Z10 Eyeshadow Brush is a small and tapered brush meant for crease work and shading/blending around the eyes. This is the softest eyeshadown brush I own, and it kicks every single crease/contour eyeshadow brush I have! This brush is perfect to use around the eyes because of its softness, and it picks up the right amount of pigment everytime. I can do all my eye makeup with this brush alone, and it's all I use now!

Grey Squirrel vs Goat Hair

It's good to invest in high quality makeup brushes, because the right tools make application easier and the results are better. Good makeup brushes also last long, if cared for properly.
Generally grey squirrel picks up less pigment that goat hair brushes, so if you want full coverage, goat hair brushes are better. They are less softer than grey squirrel hairs though.  I've also read that grey squirrel hairs are better for people with dry skin, and goat hairs are more suited to oily skinned people, because it doesn't absorb as much oil. I have oily/combination skin though and I use grey squirrel, so it works fine with me! I also don't find that it picks up less pigment, it just kind of diffuses the pigment better, whereas goat hair brushes packs up pigment at once and gives fuller coverage. Grey squirrel hair is only suited for powder application, since the hairs are more delicate. Goat hairs are more versatile because they can used with powder or cream products. 

Brush Care

I find that with my Z-series I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to brush care. Since they are only used for powder I only wipe them after usage on a dry paper towel and that's it. I wash them once a month with mild baby shampoo and let them air dry. I use brush guards to retain their shape. 

Bottomline: Highly recommended. They are the softest brushes I own right now and they give the best makeup application results! 

I purchased my brushes at Now-eproject. They have excellent customer service and they ship the brushes directly from Japan. Answer their survey questions and get 15% off on your purchase valid from November 25 to January 15, 2014. 

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