Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Brush by Brand - Koyudo Collection Eye and Cheek Brushes

It's getting really cold here so let me dig out some of the April sunshine and pink backdrop. I still need to go through reviewing all the brushes I got during the great nation-wide sale (ok I guess I can't call it the great recession of Japan) that went on last year...At least I know I won't be adding more any time soon.
While this brush house might not be as well-known (especially in the western world) as the other big two,  Koyudo Collection is a special presence (I am not talking about the messy website) among fude-lovers. Not only does Koyudo have an extensive range of brushes, the brand also dabbles in all sorts of gimmicks: Mushroom head kinoko dyed various colors, Kumamon (the creepy-cute mascot of Kumamoto prefecture) collection with the bear on the handles and/or on the brush head or the pink buttock heart shaped cheek brushes...They have it all. 

Underneath all those colorful gimmicks, there lays the extensive yet no-frill range, at a very reasonable price point (when you compare them to same material/size brushes from other brands). I have collected a few since mid-2015 and have been using them as much as I could (well, I guess not much since Lunasol and Majolica make great sponge-tip applicators). Here is a review for five eyeshadow brushes and a cheek brush.
The BP are in the High Class series. With moderately chubby wooden handles that's painted white, smooth, well-balanced and very easy to hold. The ferrules are black hence more resistant against regular wear and tear.

 BP027 Large Shader Brush (4800 yen) - This is a big paddle shaped lay-down brush made with 100% kolinsky. As expected with this hair type, it feels comfortably smooth on the lid while being firm. The grabbage is a bit better than gray squirrel brushes and it deposits most of what it grabs, instead of holding powder between the hair. Kolinsky is also a hair type suitable for cream product but I prefer using my fingertips anyway.

For my need, BP027 does a good job giving an even layer of color, blending and you can use it to build on intensity bit by bit. Taking advantage of the large size, I mainly use it to quickly dust over the whole lids with a smooth layer of matt base...then layer other colors on top, finishing up the whole look because I am too lazy to switch brush.

BP035 Medium Eyeshadow Brush Pine Squirrel (2730yen). There is another BP032 in the range that looks very similar but is a tad longer and more expensive by a few hundred yens.

This is the first and only pine squirrel brush I have tried so I can't speak for the hair type. Compared to Canadian squirrel,  there is less golden highlight in the hair and in terms of texture, the hair in this brush does have a finer texture/ siliker coat, resulting a smoother glide, softer touch and dimished ability to dig an onto shadow. In a way, it probaby works similarly as gray squirrel eyeshadow brush but isn't as high maintenance.

I like the slightly pointier round end of this. One simple little thing I like about Koyudo is that the handles hold up to (what I call average daily) wear very well: No dulled handle, not scratched paint on ferrule and the print on the brush never wears off (Hakuhodo, I am talking about you). 
Slideway top view of C006P, BP027 and BP 035. To show amount of fluff. 

Now to three brushes in the standard series. These come with shorter handle, plain aluminium ferrule and either glimmering light pink (I don't like pink but I can deal with this) or rubbery black handles (do not want) . 
C006 P (Standard Series) medium eyeshadow brush 2880 yen - This is a full kolinsky eyeshadow brush that's both smaller and thinner. Aside from laying down a small dose of color, it's stiffer and offers more precision when you want to get the colors under the eyes or at the crease. With less hair bundled, the brush feels rather stiff and a little pokey.

Technically, unless you are jabbing the brush perpendicular to your eyes (why yes I am, for the crease part), a firm brush shouldn't cause any nuisance or discomfort...But I prefer a softer and bendy option over the gentle poke.

By the way, it grinds my gear when I hear  bloggers using smooth(amount of friction between brush and skin) and soft (degree of fluff and airyness as it touches the skin) interchangeably in the same review. It starts to get all confusing when things are described as soft then with little to no yield. I can see that to describe baby skin but how can you that thing soft like cotton AND super firm at the same time? 

"Try saying that on a date?!" (This is what I got after telling a friend we had matching greasy hair. I have removed the expletive in the original quote).  That's enough derailment for the day, I wish had taken some side view pictures to use as page break.

C010P Eyeshadow R (Standard Series) Pony  1680 yen. This is a standard size pencil brush. The thicker pony hair not only holds its conical shape very well, it's also great at grabbing-dispensing powder shadow while remaining non-scratchy. It's a very effective little brush that's great for crease and detail. 

C012 Eyeliner Brush 1200 yen - A springy fine liner brush that's perfect for dampened powder (which I am too lazy to do) or gel/cream liner. The frosted plastic/semi gummy handle is annoying and I find Shu Uemura 2R more versatile with its tapered point. When it comes to eyeliner, I find that most single-digit slanted brushes by western drugstore brands (elf, ecotools, essence etc.) work just fine. 
Close up of the handles. Maybe you can see the silver shimmer here?
The standard series is just a bit shorter than high class series (not that you can tell from the way the picture is cropped -_-...) and both are quite travel-friendly. 

Lastly, here is the most precious brush in my collection and the most expensive one that I could ever justify buying. 
The Canadian squirrel cheek brush was a limited edition run last year  (the black one is sold out but there are a few red one available ). At 12000 yens, this might sounds scary-expensive but I picked it up while the exchange rate was at its most favorable point (120yens to a dollar) plus the brand was 25% off (and free shipping) on CDJapan. 

It rounded up to 78 bucks a piece, which was quite a bargain given how well-made it is. Admittedly the makie is run of the mill,  it's neat with clean edge everywhere.
If you have read some of my earlier reviews, you would know that Canadian squirrel is my favorite hair type (next to kolinsky/sable) for eyeshadow brush. It's has the perfect balance of smooth glide, soft touch, traction to hold onto powder and level of bounce for precision. All without being princessy like gray squirrel. 

On the cheeks, the brush gives the same pleasant sensation. The hair are of good quality (in my stash, Surratt eyes brushes are the two with slightly inferior hair than all the rest) and well bundled. The small paddle is great diffusing strong color and precise placement. 

Larger brushes like these are a joy to use but not exactly a nessesities. They feel great on the skin but don't make as big of a diffrence on application as good eye brushes. You can get similar effect with Too Faced flatbuki that's like 12 bucks but that won't make you feel like a pampered princess. 
The color of the hair reminds me of some #badombres I have seen on Asian gansta-wannabes.

Overall: I am very happy with the quality and can find use for all of the brushes.  BP027(large kolinsky shader), C010P (pony pencil brush) and the Canadian squirrel (at the price I paid) are great value for the money and what I reach for the most. I might get a cheek brush from the high class series, iff there is a really good sale.


  1. LOL I say that all the time! xD Because some of my brushes are truly that way, the hair tips are super soft against my skin, and yet the brush-head as a whole has less give due to all the hair being so densely packed, and therefore firm. I should probably clarify in future posts if I wasn't so clear in the past.

    Also, kolinsky hair is famous for having soft (natural and un-cut) tips but firm body.

  2. Kuri:
    Yes,it's totally worth the 16 bucks! I love the idea of pencil brush but I am too lazy to use them. Most of the time I use a single small laydown for a whole look. Plus or minus a figer...

    Yes. You are guilty! I get what you mean though. I think the confusion also come from review of (other's bloggers) gray squirrel brushes that have been used for a while, the tips would start to get coarser but technically the whole body is still soft and fluffy...I guess brush is so multi-variable (hair type, grade, bundling, shaping etc) that there isn't a true scientific way to look at it...And I just like to complain (the whole point of my blog).


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