I have a pretty extensive collection of Hakuhodo brushes, so over the course of the next few months I’m going to go through and review them. This post is an introduction to the review series; giving you an outline of the company and what makes their brushes so special.
Hakuhodo is a Japanese brush company based in Kumano, near Hiroshima. They have an extensive catalogue of make-up brushes, as well as more traditional Japanese writing and painting brushes.
The name Hakuhodo (白鳳堂) means ‘White Phoenix Company’, which is why on many of the brush handles there is a stylised phoenix.
The company ships internationally from its US site, but the US site is missing some brushes from the Japanese catalogue. There are still plenty to occupy yourself with though. The Japanese customer service is unparalleled, and I’ve heard similar things about the US customer service as well.
Hakuhodo is renowned in the make-up community for its high quality brushes. Most reviews you read will feature words like ‘soft’ and ‘luxurious’ about 50 times (I can’t guarantee mine will be an exception).
The brushes are so highly-regarded because an exceptional amount of care goes into their production. They are handmade, and the hairs of the brushes aren’t laser cut like those of many well-known brands, instead Hakuhodo use only the ends of each natural hair strand. This way, each brush hair naturally tapers towards the end, which results in a softer brush overall and superior blending.
Hakuhodo categorises their brushes in series. There is no difference between the series in terms of quality, they are sorted according to other characteristics. In fact often there are overlaps, ie. a brush head in the G series will also be in the Kokutan series.
- S100 – Traditional Vermillion handles, gold-plated ferrule
- S100Bk (Japan exclusive) – Same heads as S100 series, but with a black handle
- 200 – Springy brush heads that are easy to control, and many brushes for cream and liquid products
- K – Easy-to-use essential brushes
- G – ‘Modern’ brushes: brushes with a mix of hair, and many synthetic brushes. This series is home to ‘newer’ brush styles like stippling brushes. The G series has had a lot of new arrivals this year.
- Kokutan – Iconic ebony handle and new hair combinations (blue squirrel or goat + synthetic)
- Basic – Made up of the most user-friendly, essential brushes from the other series.
- Japanese Traditions
- Kinoko/Fan brush
The travel sets are the same quality as the rest of the brush series. This is because, while the handle sizes change, the brush head itself is the same for the full size brush and the travel brush. Even the tiniest sets (like the Kokutan mini set with 9cm long brush handles) have the same heads as their full-length counterparts.
A lot of people seem to be turned off Hakuhodo because the detailed cleaning instructions are too high-maintenance. In general the advice is to avoid water as much as possible and instead to wipe with tissues or soft fabric. If you have to wash with water, do it carefully.
So yes, it is a little high-maintenance, but the same advice really goes for any natural hair brush, even if the companies that make them don’t say so. Natural hair is delicate, and, just like our hair, it can be damaged easily.
Extending that, it’s up to you what you do with your hair, washing it every day, straightening it, dyeing it etc.. We make informed and personal decisions about our hair care, and the same really applies to brush care. It’s up to the customer to make a decision that fits in with their lifestyle. Hakuhodo just lets you know how to keep your brushes in the best condition, and then you can stick to it or adapt it.
Some Hakuhodo brushes are very expensive, but most aren’t, it depends on the handle and the hair. They actually have many very reasonably priced brushes.
Here are the brushes I own so far. I don’t have any particular review order; if you would like to request a review then leave a comment on this post. The same goes for if you have any Hakuhodo-related questions, comments would be better than emails though because then future readers would benefit from the information as well.
Eye brushes, Liner, Lip, Brow
And for search purposes: Kokutan Eyeshadow M, Kokutan Eyeshadow ML, G5522BKSL, S142, S146, G5533, B532BKSL, 235 Flat Rounded Eyeshadow, K004 Flat Rounded Eyeshadow, G5523, 238 Slanted Eyeshadow, G515 Slanted CM Eyeshadow, G5526BKSL, G5520BKSL, G5515BKSL, G5511BKSL, Kokutan Finishing L, H601 Slide Flat Rounded Face, B505BKSL Flat Rounded cheek, S110 Flat Rounded Cheek, S111 Flat Rounded Cheek, G5521 highlight Brush Pointed, Yachiyo Large Pointed, Yachiyo Medium Pointed, Yachiyo Small Pointed, Mizubake, G5552, G538, G540, B214BKSM, Kokutan Eyebrow W, Kokutan Eyeshadow SL, S191 round Eyeliner, Push up Lip GoS flat, Kokutan Lip RS,
K016 Slanted Eyebrow
Oh also, I’m not employed or affiliated with the company in any way (sadly).