Today’s review is a long time coming. Bear with me as it is a long one with plenty of pictures.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or aren’t that into brushes, you will know from the image that today’s review is on the Chikuhodo Z-1 Powder Brush. I bought mine off Visage USA while there was a sale on last year (which made it super cheap and also the Aussie dollar wasn’t doing so poorly).
Since the time I purchased mine, Beautylish now stocks it for a hefty USD$178, which is roughly AUD$241, while Visage USA sells it for USD$174, about AUD$235. Another place that it is available is CDJapan where it retails for ¥16,000, about AUD$175.
While contemplating which site to get it off, note that Beautylish has free shipping over USD$100 and stocks other beauty brands, but it does not stock the entire Chikuhodo range of brushes and will charge USD$20 shipping for orders under USD$100. Visage USA will charge USD$5 shipping for orders over USD$100 and USD$15 for orders under this threshold. CDJapan’s shipping rates depend on the weight of each item and start from roughly AUD$5, increasing with each item added to your basket. There are options with tracking, without tracking etc. They also have a point system in place.
Materials + Uses
The handle is made of a sturdy material, I can’t find any information on what it is exactly, and has a glossy finish that is prone to finger prints marks. It has a very solid feel to it, and doesn’t sound hollow inside, which makes me think that it might be wood rather than plastic.
The bristles are 100% uncut, grey squirrel, one of the softest hairs you can find. I liken its feel to a gentle caress of the wind on your face or the sunlight as it tickles your skin on an early autumn day.
In other words, it’s unbelievably, amazingly soft.
Squirrel hair brushes are apparently meant to be used for those with dry skin since it won’t aggravate the skin and disrupt the makeup. The reason it’s not suited for those of us with oily skin is because it sucks up the oil in our skin, which can damage the bristles as a result. BUT, this oily-skinned girl uses it and the bristles are still as perfect as the day I got them and has only shed a few hairs since last August.
The actual brush head has a rounded, slightly tapered tip that measures in at 45mm long and 35mm wide. It is a dense brush that has a lot of resistance so you’ll find that it isn’t floppy and won’t splay out when in use, which makes it ideal for setting makeup as it does not move any creams/liquids on the face.
I use this with powder products to set my makeup, bronze my face, and blend out any harsh edges as it gives a sheerer, diffused application that isn’t heavy or appears cakey. I find that because it isn’t as tapered it is difficult to set the undereye area precisely. Using the very tips of the brush, I’ve also successfully applied blush on my rather ample cheek area. With an even greater amount of precision, it could also be used to apply highlighter.
Some brushes I own that have a ‘similar’ shape include the Real Techniques Blush brush and the MAC 138 Tapered Face brush. I’ve thrown in the Chikuhodo RC-1 brush, one of the earlier Chikuhodo brushes I bought, just because.
The RT Blush brush is made of synthetic hairs and isn’t as soft, yet still soft considering its bristle material. It isn’t as dense as the Z-1 so it has a tendency to flop and splay about. It also provides a sheerer veil of powder due to its sparser bristle density so building up bronzer/blush is necessary.
The MAC 138 is made of natural hairs, I surmise it’s goat and is dyed black. I have a love/hate relationship with this brush. It bleeds, it sheds like a moulting animal, and is superbly scratchy, thanks in part to its *cut* bristles. I love its shape (tapered to a nice point so I can fit it under my eyes) and density, which makes me continually question on whether or not I’m going to get rid of it. I can’t believe they sell this for AUD$105. You’re better off getting a high-grade goat bristled brush from Hakuhodo or Chikuhodo for that price.
The RC-1 is made of capra (goat) and is fatter, fluffier and a little longer than the Z-1. It’s softer than the 138 and RT Blush brush, but no where near the angelic pillowy goodness of the Z-1. Side-on this has a more tapered tip than the Z-1, which fits under my eyes. It isn’t as dense as the Z-1, but has longer bristles so it splays about on the face. Due to the goat hair it is great for a slightly heavier, but not cakey, application of powder and bronzer, if that’s your thang.
I want to own every single brush in the Z-Series. So far I’ve also acquired the Z-4, which I will be doing an in-depth review on and a comparison to the Suqqu Cheek, which I’ve reviewed here. Since there are more retailer options now, I just might buy them slowly. I’m eyeing the Z-2 and several eye brushes from both the Z-Series and the Takumi Series.
Have you guys used this or any Chikuhodo brushes? Do you love them or hate them? What other brushes do you recommend?
If you have any questions let me know in the comments!