Monday, August 24, 2015

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura Collection Review and Photos

Despite my love of well crafted make-up brushes, I've only recently began exploring the world of Japanese fude (brushes). I own only one brand name Hakuhodo, kindly picked up for me by Catherine at IMATS Toronto last year, though in reality probably several of my other brand brushes (Wayne Goss, Shu Uemura, SUQUU etc.) are made by the same company. As most beauty junkies know, Japanese brands aren't the easiest to access, so when I heard about the Chikuhodo x Beautylish collaboration my interest was piqued.

The Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura brush set collaboration ($215.00 US, LE) was highly anticipated in part because Beautylish promised that customers would be "pleasantly surprised" by the price point. Considering that similar Makie (large) powder brushes from Chikuhodo retail for $127.00 - 178.00 US for one brush, the price tag of $215.00 US for a set of five, including a large powder brush, seems like a killer deal!

The brushes themselves are beautiful, and feature gold, silver and rose gold sakura blossoms on the handle. The set comes in a lovely box, which is itself packaged in a Beautylish zippered cloth bag. Inside the box is a gunmetal plastic brush roll with the brushes inside.

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura Collection

The brushes themselves have short, travel sized handles. All of the brushes are hand crafted from grey squirrel hair with the exception of the large powder brush which contains a mixture of goat and grey squirrel and the detail (pencil) brush which is made out of fitch and horse hair.

I've been using these brushes for over a month and so can share my long-term user thoughts.

The Powder Brush is in my opinion, the star of the set and the most unique brush in terms of shape. It has a large head (about 2" at the widest point, 2" long) and is cut on a sloping rounded angle on one side. It is extremely soft and fluffy, though the brush head is flat (not round like most powder brushes.) Though I usually prefer smaller headed powder brushes such as Charlotte Tilbury's Powder & Sculpt Brush, the angle on this brush makes it possible to get into small spaces such as the under eye area. This brush really feels and performs like a luxury brush! Grade: A+

The Cheek Brush is the other superstar of the set. Again, it has a flat shape and a rounded "cats paw" shaped end. This brush is incredibly soft yet manages to deliver a high concentration of product if needed. Temptalia in her review of this set compared this brush favourably to the famed, expensive and very hard to get SUQUU Cheek brush, and I agree with her comparison. The two major ways this brush differs from the SUQUU brush is that this brush is flatter in shape and denser. In terms of application they both do a superb job. If you like to wear blush in a very light, diffuse way, a grey squirrel brush like this is for you. Grade: A+

The Shader Brush is a medium sized flat shader with a rounded head and is very similar to many flat shaders on the market. It is good for both patting on shadow as well as for lining and crease cutting when turned on its edge. It's very soft and performs well. Grade: A

The Crease Brush was the wildcard of the set because of it's unusual shape. A lot of beauty bloggers expressed scepticism about how well this brush would perform because the tip is extremely tapered and pointy. It is definitely uniquely shaped (I have nothing like it in my brush collection) and it does require some practice. The brush is very feathery which makes the head extremely flexible, this in turn means that to use it effectively you need to be delicate. On my shallow creased lids, I find this brush surprisingly effective at doing a precise cut crease. If you have a light touch, this brush will work for you - conversely if you use your brushes very vigorously I don't think you will find this suitable. I would be very interested to hear how this brush performs on those with very deep eye sockets. Grade: B+

The Detail Brush is a cross between a lip brush and a pencil brush. It is small, flat and very pointed and has the stiffest hairs of all the brushes. The brush is designed for spot concealing, lipstick and/or eye liner application. Again, a delicate touch is needed with this brush as the stiffness of the bristles can start to feel scratchy if pressed too hard against the skin. I used this brush to apply shadow to the lower lash line and did not experience any irritation. I plan to play with this brush further to see how well it performs with concealer and gel eye liner. Grade: B/B+

The Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura Collection is currently sold out, though due to it's success I imagine Beautylish will do another collaboration in the near future. If you are interested in Japanese fude, then a set like this is a great introduction to these brushes. Overall a solid luxury purchase.

Overall Grade: A


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