Reviews, tools
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Hakuhodo Brush Update: An Overview

It was love at first touch at the sole Hakuhodo counter in all of Osaka. It was crowded when we got there, and all of the brushes I listed down to purchase weren’t available, except for one: the H601, which is a portable retractable powder brush.

Hakuhodo H610

It wasn’t high up on my list of priorities, but it was so bleeping soft. It’s been six months since then, and I’ve finally decided to jump the gun and just buy the damn brushes, since I know I’m going to buy them eventually anyway.

I was initially looking at Sigma brushes, but then I knew that I’d just be purchasing those to fill a gap that I would actually like to be filled ASAP. The gap is Hakuhodo-shape, predictably.

While looking at the brushes, I considered getting one of the sets, since they cost less than individual brushes. But, like I said in a previous post, I ended up just choosing some of the brushes that seemed would fit my makeup “style” and routine the best, since you can’t pick and choose what goes into a set. Here’s what I ended up getting:

Hakuhodo Brushes

G5519BkSL Powder Brush ($132)
G5522BkSL Eye Shadow Brush Tapered ($28)
G5515BkSL Eye Shadow Brush pointed ($15)
G521 Eyeliner Brush D1 ($20)
Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush T ($42)

Does that look crazy? A part of it feels crazy… but that’s the part I tend to ignore. :p

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to get some Hakuhodo brushes and these seem to fit me well. No orange handles to be found here yet, though, I’m afraid. Maybe in the future, when I have extra cash to burn. Here’s a brief overview on all of them:

Hakuhodo Brushes - Powder Brush

Ah, the G5519BkSL Powder Brush. What my crazy dreams are made of. The day after I placed my order, I experienced a panic attack. Did I really buy this brush? Who have I become? But then I got over it. It is a beautiful brush with legendary softness. The bristles are made of “100% blue squirrel hair,” which probably explains the price. The Internet wasn’t kidding, though—this is the softest brush ever.

The G5519BkSL is great for overall application of powder. The hairs pick up just enough product to sweep all over the place, but the application isn’t streaky or uneven. This is excellent for blending, too. What’s great bout this brush, at least for me, is that it is small enough for somewhat precise blush application.

I don’t own a comparable brush, in terms of size, shape, and softness. I’m also a bit disappointed that this is the brush that has been shedding on me. It’s not a crazy amount, but it’s still more hairs lost than I expected from a super expensive brush.

Hakuhodo Brushes - Tapered Blending Brush

The G5522BkSL, or Eye Shadow Brush Tapered, is another brush that has a shape that I don’t currently own. The closest is probably the MAC 217, but as you can see the shape is quite far from each other. I have been having a hard time using this brush, because the shape is new to me, so I have to figure out how best to use it. So far, I like it for crease work and as a super-blender. This turns the sharpest edge into the most beautiful haze.

It is a great brush, made of blue squirrel and goat hair, and has been doing a great job with crease colors and transition shades.

Hakuhodo Brushes - Pointy Liner Brush

My next brush purchase is the G5515BkSL or pointed eyeshadow brush. It’s made of horse hair. The only brush in my collection that I can compare it to is the MAC 211. The G5515BkSL is denser with a more rounded point, though still fine. It’s primarily for detail work, but I use it for liner or smudging out the lower lash line liner with the tiniest amount of transition shadow. It’s also great for precise, detail work, like for a touch of color here and there, as well as a neat inner corner application.

I haven’t used this enough times to assess it properly, but so far, I am enjoying it.

Hakuhodo Brushes - Liner Brush

The G521 Eyeliner Brush D1 is a very, very tiny push liner brush. With the shortest bristles I have ever seen in my life (made of weasel hair), it is the best one I’ve used for tightlining my super sensitive upper lash line. It has a cover/cap for on the go people, too. This is one of my favorites, so far. Tightlining really makes a difference to my small eyes, and this brush makes tightlining easy for me.

Hakuhodo Brushes - Kokutan T

Lastly, I got myself a Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush T, which is a super dense pencil brush with a rounded tip. It is comparable to, though not similar enough to be compared either (go figure out what I meant by that!), the Marionnaud N°38 I think. At least in terms of visual shape.

Kokutan T Brush

It’s got a beautiful wooden handle (Kokutan series) and Blue Squirrel hair. This is another favorite of mine, as it’s perfect for the outer corner, minimal blending, and even patting on eyeshadow, much like a flat shader brush, just because it’s so dense. I love this brush. I wish it wasn’t $42 because I want to swim in an ocean of Kokutan Ts. It’s a damn good looking brush, and it gets the job done well, too.

Hakuhodo Brushes - 2

Typing this out, I’m feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse, just because that powder brush is so expansif, dammit. Deep in my heart, I know that I will get it some other time eventually, anyway, though. So, I’m trying not to dwell on it. I know some people are thinking “WHAT THE HECK?!” but truthfully, I have noticed that (usually) my more expensive brushes work better than cheaper ones. Each brush is handmade and assembled by Japanese artisans, and the hairs were obtained from the animals ethically. Thankfully, the price difference is not for naught.

To be honest, I’m glad I finally bought nice, exceptionally well-made brushes instead of some of the makeup I’ve been eyeing. A lot of people have said that it’s better to invest in tools and brushes rather than color makeup, since you get much more mileage out of the tools (some keep their brushes for decades!), especially if you treat them well and care for them. I feel pretty good about that, if I do say so myself.

Anyway. Have you tried any Hakuhodo brushes? Any thoughts? Which brands of brushes are your all-time favorites? I’d love to know!

This entry was posted in: Reviews, tools


Indoorsman. I design things for a living and I teach on Saturdays.


  1. That sounds insanely expensive, but if it works and you’ll have them forever, it’s probably worth the expense! They sound amazing 🙂

    • I love Hakuhodo brushes! My experience with the one brush I’ve had for 6 months was way more positive than my experience with the zillion other brushes I had. I figured it was time to upgrade. 🙂

  2. Oh wow. This post has been overwhelming, mostly because of the one price of that brush. I definitely believe in the more expensive the better quality train of thought, so I won’t doubt one bit that these brushes work wonders. It is actually in one of my wishlists. I think (I’m not too sure) I may have seen Hakuhodo brushes in SOGO Jakarta.

    On another note, do you plan to get any of the Goss brushes? They’re also claim to be quite middle to high end because they are specially made in Japan just like the Hakuhodo ones.

    • I know, it is insane, right? But, wow, these are super excellent. The best I’ve tried, for sure. As far as I know, they’re just found in Japan and a showroom in California, but I could be wrong!

      Hmm, not anytime soon because… well, because of this post haha. Yup, I think they were probably made/commissioned from the makers of Hakuhodo. I think he is a big fan. 🙂

      • The Suqqu Face Brush is an investment I have just made. I debated on buying it for a year. Most people do for that brush. Grey Squirrel hair is softer than Blue Squirrel hair (in my opinion). Wayne Goss’ brushes are made by Artisan and Artist, which is made by Chikuhodo. They also make Suqqu brushes. Hakuhodo and Chikuhodo are in Kumano ,Japan. The hub of brush making. Sonia from went to both manufacturing sites on her trip to Japan. Definitely worth a read.

        I myself am getting back into Hakuhodo. I own several brushes and they are amazing. The Kokutan T is great, but is not pointed enough at the tip for my taste for outer V and lower lash line. It is an amazing brush but recently acquiring the Suqqu M and Chikuhodo Z10 brush, I have set the Kokutan T aside. I will never get rid of it though (I either sell or give my sister the brushes that just don’t work out for me)…because it was one of my very first Japanese makeup brushes I purchased almost 3 years ago.

        I will say with the Kokutan brushes, keep them away from moisture. I have had two brushes that have had the ferrule come loose from being in the bathroom at my old apartment. I can’t prove anything but I think the shower moisture contributed to one of them coming loose. The other I truly think was just not glued in properly…(Kokutan Eyebrow Brush with water badger). Super glued saved the day but now I have a slight residue on the beautiful handle and I am slightly annoyed.

        Way too much rambling!
        Glad you enjoy the brushes. They are beautiful and you will get a lot of use out of them.


      • Thanks for sharing! I’m actually a big fan of Sonia’s blog. 🙂

        I love the Kokutan T for my lower lashline, but it’s a bit big for the outer v if you want precision, I agree. Glad to hear the brush held up for 3+ years. 🙂

        I keep my brushes in my room, but I live in a pretty humid country. Hopefully my brushes will be fine. 😀

    • Lala says

      Hakuhodo are outstanding brushes. The top of the line is the S100 series. But any Hakuhodo is worth it.
      They manufacture the brushes of Tom Ford & Wayne Goss. Let me correct a post that says Chikuhodo manufactures Wayne Goss Brushes. It’s Hakuhodo that manufactures for Wayne Goss.

      Chikuhodo, another excellent brand, manufactures Suqqu and RMK.

  3. ManilaJen says

    Good for you! Me, cant even spring for a $25(ish) 217 brush that I know I NEED. My frontal cortex just couldn’t justify. Sucks to be poor. LOL I shall keep dreaming. :p

    • Well, there are a lot of good blending brushes out there, too, I think that’s a bit friendlier on the pocket.

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