Organisation Porn: Hakuhodo Brush Storage

 

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So Xiao recently posted about makeup storage on her blog, and I got the bug. Sadly, my actual makeup storage is a bit up in the air at the moment (still scattered between shoe boxes, makeup bags and my handbag), but I recently got my brush storage sorted out and wanted to share.

Face and Lip Brushes

I used to store all my brushes in a huge brush roll I made, but I found that the bigger brushes (for cheeks and powder) got flattened on one side and basically became misshapen. So I decided to store them upright in some tea jars I had lying around. My main issue with storing brushes upright in jars is that they tend to get dust/fluff/air-stuff on them, and powder applied with a lint-covered brush looks kind of crap. So naturally, because I am super classy, I decided to cover the jars with those free shower caps you get in hotels. While this doesn’t look too pretty it’s great because:

  • It keeps dust off
  • It clings tight to the jar, so it’s not always falling off
  • It balloons out over the top of the jar, so it’s not pressing down against the brushes, just protecting them.

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I like to keep as many brushes as possible in their original packaging and plastic tubes – partly because it helps them keep their shape, and partly because I think it may protect them …somehow. I tend to do this with my makeup as well – keeping it in the cardboard boxes it came in.

Eye Brushes

If I had an extra tea caddy, I could easily store my eye brushes in there, but

  1. I don’t and
  2. I like to be able to see them all laid out.

I have many eye brushes that can do the same thing, so it’s nice to be able to see them all at once and maybe pick a brush I haven’t used recently instead of going straight for old favourites. So I chose to put these in a brush roll. With bunnies on it.

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The brush roll is sorted with application on the left, then multipurpose, then blenders, then detail, and then liner. Then the random yachiyo because it’s too small to fit in the caddies.

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The Mizubake

Storage for the Mizubake perplexed me up until recently, it was too short to go in the tea caddies, too fluffy to go in a brush roll, and the plastic box it came in had been crushed long ago.

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I eventually decided on using an empty vitamin pot. I had to put it in the dishwasher and then soak it in Dr. Bronners solution to get rid of that strange vitamin smell, but now it makes a perfect storage container for the Mizubake.

I don’t have to worry about hairs splaying because this vitamin jar is a perfect fit, but if it were too big, I’d put some cotton pads at the bottom to lift the brush so the hairs don’t get caught under the neck of the bottle.


How do you store your makeup brushes? Or, how would you want to store your brushes if you had the time/makeup/energy? Bonus points for links to pictures!

Bleurgh (it’s French) and Brush Drying

Hello lovely people, I just thought I’d let you know that I won’t be posting until next Wednesday.

How will you live without my wisdom for a week? It’ll be hard, I suggest hibernation or extreme tea consumption.

Anyway basically I just have to get myself sorted for the new University term. I considered writing half-assed blog posts just to keep the updates going, but:

  • What if you liked them more than full-bottomed blog posts? (I would cry)
  • I’ll feel rather ashamed when I read them over in a few months time – I’d rather give you what I deem to be good content than any old stuff.

I’ll leave with you an amazing idea for drying brushes that Karen (a fellow Hakuhodo obsessive) sent me. (Thanks, Karen!)

Here’s what she says about it:

“I take a rubber band, wrap one end around my towel rod, loop that end through the other end of the rubber band, and then around the top of the brush handle a few times. The brush head will end up pointing towards the floor due to its weight. With this method, I can dry any number and any type of brush including the thick handled ones like the G543 and G527. … It works great and if you don’t have a convenient towel bar, you can loop your brushes on a clothes hanger and hang it on a drawer pull or doorknob.”

I wrote about brush-drying here, but I prefer Karen’s method because it can work for any handle size, and I don’t have to lug my rag dryer between uni and home.

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

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Eye Brushes

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Eye brushes, Liner, Lip, Brow

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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).

Drying your Brushes the Frugal Way

I’m not sure how I feel about the word ‘frugal’, really I wanted to write ‘cheapskate’ but – while I embrace the label – some people object to it.

I’m not going to go into brush cleansing any more than this:

  • The cleanser you use for your brushes seems to be a divisive issue in the beauty world. For every person who tells you to use baby shampoo, there is another who’ll tell you that baby shampoo will make your brushes explode. While those who use homemade concoctions of washing up liquid and unicorn tears may think it is the only cheap and effective way to clean brushes, those who use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap will beg to differ.
  • The most important part of washing your brushes is, in my opinion, how you wash them. The reason many brushes shed after washing is because water has penetrated the ferrules –or ‘roots’- of the brush Ferrules(where the brush hair is glued in) and has weakened the glue.  Because of this the hair starts coming out and generally things get messy.
  • So when washing your brushes, no matter which cleanser you use, try not to get water near the base of the brush head. Usually that part is not used so you’re not compromising hygiene if you try to avoid this area.  Instead, you are prolonging brush life.

(The image on the right is just a visual; the ferrules of the brush aren’t visible usually but basically they’re at the base of the brush head.)

This care extends to drying your brushes as well: if you dry your brushes upright any excess moisture will drip down into the ferrules. Ideally you should dry brushes upside down (ie. on their heads), but that can be difficult.

So the Brush Guard was invented. It protects the shape of your brushes while they dry and it allows you to turn your brushes upside down so any moisture drips out of the brush and not back into it. But if you have a lot of brushes the brush guard costs add up and all that money could be spent elsewhere: on more make-up, or brushes.

So here is a cheap way of drying brushes without paying lots of money.

First off, brush guards help brushes keep their shape so they don’t splay out and look all silly.

So here is a video by dustyohunter where he uses loo roll to protect his brushes’ shape.

Now he does use a glass to keep his brushes upside down but I found that a little ineffective so, after putting the paper around them to keep their shape, I then hang my brushes like this:Brush Drying

 

 

 

 

This is a hanger used to dry underwear on the washing line. I got mine at a 100 yen shop. They also had many more varieties, most with many more pegs than this one. Usually I don’t wash all my brushes at once so this size suits me fine, but if you have a huge arsenal of brushes bigger ones are available. If you look on the left you will see that the MAC eyeliner brush (209) is actually hanging through the metal ring of the peg, not the clasp itself. That’s what I do with thin brushes, because the clasps won’t hold them properly.

So basically drying my brushes cost me 100 yen, plus the price of loo roll (although in Japan everyone always gives out free tissues so I often just use those).