Hakuhodo Brushes Series: Introduction

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.

The Brand

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.

White Phoenix CompanyThe 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.

The Brushes

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.

Skip to 2.12 for how they make the brushes

The Series

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.

Kokutan Mini Series

The Care

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.

The Price

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.

The Collection

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.

Full Collection

Full Collection

Face Brushes

Face Brushes


Eye Brushes



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).

12 comments on “Hakuhodo Brushes Series: Introduction

  1. Wowowow… What a collection!

    I’m an excited Hakuhodo begginer – just received my brushes ( crazy fast shipment btw, order Saturday midnight and received Wednesday afternoon in Indonesia).

    Am searching on what to use to wash for the initial washing I’ll do tonight. Noted their suggestion on the woll powder soap, however we don’t have those here.

    What do you use to wash your collection?


    • Wow that is crazy fast shipping, good to know their international service is good too.

      I don’t often deep clean my brushes, unless they are ones I use on my face. When I do, I either use Shu Uemura’s Brush Cleaner (but it is quite expensive in some countries) if I’m feeling lazy or I use Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap but that may also not be available in Indonesia, so you could try any baby shampoo (nothing that is extra conditioning, just basic baby shampoo).

      To wash your Hakuhodo brushes with Dr. B or baby shampoo:
      Put a small amount into a bowl and then mix it with water. It’s better if the mixture isn’t too concentrated, so go easy on the soap/shampoo.
      Once the soap and water have mixed I put just the tip of my brush in the soapy water.
      Then I take the brush and kind of ‘wipe’ it in the palm of my hand to get the mixture bubbly. A lot of people swirl but a Hakuhodo representative told me that swirling brushes can damage the hair long-term so I avoid it. I don’t think it would be such a big deal if you swirled though, I just tend to be cautious.
      As you are wiping the brush against your hand, the mixture should come out as a colour (ie. of your foundation or your blush etc.). When the mixture comes out clear then your brush is clean. If the mixture won’t come out clean then rinse it out of the brush and then start the process over.
      Get as much mixture out of the brush as you can out of by wiping some more, or squeezing the brush a little.
      Rinse it in clean water (make sure not to get the water near the ferrule!) to make sure all the soapy mixture is out.
      Lay it on a towel.(See my other post http://glossedintranslation.com/2010/11/24/drying-your-brushes-the-frugal-way/ for how to dry brushes)

      Sorry if that was overly detailed, I find it better to be too specific than too vague! Have fun with your brushes, which ones did you get? Let me know how you like them!

      Thanks for reading,

      • Hi.. Thanks for the reply!

        The next AM after I received the brushes I had a short trip abroad so washing was postponed until am back. Good thing I was able to pick one of those plastic hangers to hang the brushes.

        Am glad someone agrees on the basic baby shampoo as a cleaner -that’s what I’ve been using as most suggested option is not available in Indonesia. Will look for the Shu Uemura’s brush cleaner tho’.
        Btw, have you ever done the brush combing washing technique recommended by Hakuhodo? I don’t feel it’s necessary but just wondering.

        I got S103 ( love – great for intense blushes), K002 ( yes sooooft – but may be too soft for me for loose powder application?), S142, B214BKsL, G527M, K007, K005, K019 (all loves), G5515BKsL (haven’t use yet).

        Need to play around esp. with the face brushes more but skin is not cooperating lately so may not be the best reference for performance right now.

        I just recently read up more on Hakuhodo which is a shame as I was in Japan this past spring – even in Hiroshima. I would’ve gone to brush heaven then knowing what I know now. Haha.. Nevermind gonna go again within the next year, trying to hold off on more purchase till then. A tough one!

    • Oh great to hear!

      I plan to order it too, to Thailand. I wanted to know if they declared the actual value of the brushes on the product declaration form? This is because I’m afraid I’ll get taxed (which could mean paying an additional 100% of the cost of the brushes) if they declared the actual value of $100+…

      Thanks in advance!

      • I’ve never ordered from the US site unfortunately, I’d imagine they’d mark the form correctly; but maybe you could email them in advance and ask – I hear their Customer Service is very good.

  2. Hello Elizabeth!

    I was searching information because I am planning to make my first purchase at hakuhodo, and I discovered your blog. Congratulations for the entry!.

    The brushes I have chosen so far are:

    G5529BkSL Eye Shadow Brush round -> To blend color
    B532BkSL Eye Shadow Brush round and flat -> To apply eyeshadow all over the lid in one stroke
    210 Blush Brush round -> To contour and apply bronzer

    and my doubt is: I want a brush to put eyeshadow in the outer v and to blend color near the waterline, shall I get both G5514BkSL Eye Shadow Brush pointed Horse and G5520BkSL Eye Shadow Brush pointed or do you think that with just one of them is enough?

    Thanks in advance,
    Best Wishes,

    • Hi Marie!
      I’d say just get one for now, the brushes are too similar to need both (wanting them both is a different matter!). Personally I would choose the G5520BkSL; the addition of the blue squirrel hair makes it better at blending than just plain horse.
      Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Elizabeth
    I just want to say that I blame you. I am waiting on my 4th Hakuhodo order, which contains 11 brushes. That brings my total Hakuhodo brush count to 24 – all since December! I think I need a twelve step program for this!
    I now have G5557, G540, G531, B206BkSL, G5519BkSL, 210, G5521BkSL, Kokutan eye shadow brush S, Kokutan eye shadow brush WM, Kokutan eye shadow brush T, S121G, G515, B132BkSL, G5523BkSL, S142, S146, G5529bksl, G5533 BkSL, Kokutan eye shadow brush SL, K005, Kokutan brow comb brush, Kokutan Eye Brow Brush, Kokutan Lip Brush RS, Portable Kokutan Lip Brush. I also have 4 more brushes on my wish list (S100, S103, B214BkSL, G504 OR G503 (undecided which – do you have any advice?)).
    Love your Hakuhodo reviews – keep them coming if you can!!

  4. Hello Elizabeth!
    I am so glad that I found your posts.
    I laughed when I read you comment “Oh also, I’m not employed or affiliated with the company in any way (sadly).”
    They really should consider. You are doing such a superb work. Thanks to you they will get so many new customers. I am one of them. Yesterday placed my first order with 6 brushes:
    I have a question about G5521BkSL. Can you please do review on it or link me if you had it done. I didn’t have a chance to review all your previous posts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s