Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hakuhodo G5557-2mm Powder & Liquid Brush Review

Proceed with caution, people! Once you fall down the Hakuhodo Rabbit Hole (yes, in caps, because it is a very real place) there really is no turning back. While Hakuhodo makes the MAC brushes that hail from Japan- you may find it hard to pick up anything but a Hakuhodo brush once you enter the realm of Hakuhodo. 
It takes one small push before you go from casually checking out their website, to stalking it, to reading every single review in the blogosphere, to eating, breathing and sleeping Hakuhodo- so be forewarned.
Say hello to the G5557-2mm Duo Fiber Powder & Liquid Brush. This Duo Fiber brush is made up of shorter Goat hair and slightly longer Synthetic hair (polyester).

According to Hakuhodo the G5557-2mm features:

Goat hair, combined with polyester makes for a pliable application of liquid or powder foundation, spreading the product into skin quickly and easily, giving it an illuminating appearance. 2mm & 4mm = length from top of goat hair to top of polyester hair. 2mm: Shorter length has more resilience and provides more coverage. Good at coloration. 4mm: Spreads product evenly.

I chose the G5557-2mm version of this brush style because I wanted a larger head and shorter fibers for the flawless application of liquid and cream formula foundations and tinted moisturizers. This brush delivers every single time once you crack the code on how to use it properly.  If you are accustomed to traditional duo fiber brushes (MAKE UP FOR EVER 55N, MAC 187, MAC 188) then this is a different animal altogether. Think more in terms of the MAC 130 Short Duo Fiber in terms of how short the fibers are, but the Hakuhodo head is MUCH bigger and fuller.

Cracking the code: If you load up the brush with a generous amount of product the end result will be a streaky finish which will require much more work and a few extra tools to get that air-brushed second skin application because the G5557-2mm has a dense head that will grab way too much product if allowed to.

Here's the trick: I pump or scoop my foundation or tinted moisturizer onto a stainless steel makeup mixing palette (like the ones pictured below- which can be purchased through most beauty supply stores).
I then dip my brush into the product on the palette and then dab most of the product back onto a clean section of the palette leaving only the smallest amount of foundation on the brush. Then I use a variety of application techniques to apply the foundation: you can stipple, swipe, apply in circular motions, buff, or whatever method you prefer. You continually reload the brush, dab the product back onto the palette, apply to your face, and repeat.

What you end up with is an amazingly flawless streak-free finish, AND you use far less product this way. So not only do you maximize the potential of this brush, but you won't need to replace your favorite foundation nearly as often.

This brush is luxuriously soft on the skin, and since the fibers are white you won't experience any bleeding of the dye. The handle is chunky and thick and feels substantial and comfortable when held. I haven't experienced any shedding whatsoever- not even after washing! Hakuhodo brushes are handmade by artisans in Japan, and exacting standards are applied to every brush that they make. Because the head is so densely packed it takes a while to dry after washing- when I wash it in the evening it is still damp the following morning- so expect a full day dry time.

Overall assessment: Still in Awe of this brush after months and months of use! The only downside is the price, but the money that you will save in wasted foundation more than makes up for it in the long run. Additionally, the superior quality of Hakuhodo brushes in general makes this one of my all time favorite Holy Grail foundation brushes.

$69.00 from Hakuhodo 


  1. This is my favorite HAKUHODO brush (and I have 27 of them). I use it slightly differently - I dab foundation onto my forehead, cheeks, nose and chin, and then use the brush to blend it out. It gives an amazing finish. The only issue is that it needs to be washed frequently and takes an entire day to dry. I am about to order 1(or maybe 2) more so I can rotate them more often. Love, love, love HAKUHODO.

  2. Hi bgirl, Isn't it just AMAZING?! You have me beat I only have 25 of them (so far)! Hakuhodo brushes make playing with makeup such a joyous event each and every time!!I have tried your method of application and find it very effective as well. The finish is just spectacular! You are so right about needing to wash the G5557-2mm frequently and it does take so long to dry! I have often thought about getting a back up for the very same reason! The G543 takes even longer to dry!! Do you have that one in your stash? I highly recommend it, if you don't. I reviewed it here:

    I agree totally-- I am completely in love with Hakuhodo as well!!!!! I would love to have every single one of their brushes!

  3. Hi, do you think this brush would work also with mineral powder foundation? I'm just wondering if between 5557 - 2mm and 5557 - 4 mm there is so much difference. I'm pretty convinced with the 2mm, (also after reading your precious review); Actually I'm using a Mac 187 and I also own a Mac 130 so i ran in the bathroom to take a look when you've mentioned it :D , but 130 is so small and quite "rough"/ dense so I just use for coverage of little areas, for foundation I prefer the softness of 187 with his long bristles...can you give me a suggestion about the softness and use of the 2mm and 4mm G5557? Are there significant differences according to you? Please help me decide ^_^
    Thank you for this helpful post!! C.

    1. Hi C,

      You are so welcome! I definitely think that the 5557 2mm would work for mineral foundation, but I tend to only use it for liquid and cream formulas myself. This is denser and with shorter bristles that the MAC 187, and in terms of MAC it's closer to the 130, but this blows the MAC 130 away. It is denser, has a much bigger head, and isn't at all rough or scratchy. Plus the 130's head is so small that it would take about a month to cover your whole face with product. In terms of the 5557 2mm vs. 4mm-- I would go for the 2mm because you have much more control than you would with the longer 4mm synthetic hairs. If you are looking for something that is better with powder all the way around- then I would probably get the G527 0r G527M reviewed here:

      This brush is amazing with powder and buffing-- I just can't say enough good things about it.

      The other brush that I use for powder and also liquid and cream is the G543 Powder DR Round reviewed here:

      The G543 is an AMAZING brush for powder as well as liquid and cream products. It is so densely packed that you will get a flawless finish every time with your mineral foundation. It is so densely packed that it takes a good solid day to dry after washing it.

      Of course it is a matter of preference, but none of these brushes that I mentioned will be in the least bit scratchy. They are all incredibly soft to the touch, and joyous to use.

      I guess if it were me- If I were looking to apply only powder products- like you mineral foundation then I would choose between the G543 or the G527 or G527M. If I were looking for a brush to apply liquid, cream and powder then I would get either the G5557 2mm or the G543.

      I hope that this is helpful. Please let me know what you decided-- or let me know if you need any more help trying to figure out which one will work best for you.


  4. how often would you wash it? after every use? i tend to wash my foundation brushes after every use. i'm afraid to break out.

    1. Hi Louise, I usually wash it about once a week, if it has been getting heavy use. Sometimes I just rinse it with water mid-week as well. I know a lot of people who wash theirs after every use for the same reason that you do-- I don't because I just don't want to over-wash this brush.

  5. do you also experience a lot of shedding with this brush? in the end i bought it and do like it, but it still sheds after multiple washings.

    1. Hi there, I actually don't get any shedding with this brush. If it continues to shed, and it seems like more than a normal amount-- then I would recommend emailing Hakuhodo. However, if it's only a few hairs after washing-- my guess is that it will stop shedding soon. This is definitely a Holy Grail brush for me. Keep me posted! :-)

  6. HI new to your addicting blog. Im so astonished at the few reviews out there for this wonderful line; but im not disappointed as finding you has been more thorough & helpful then Hakuhodo's own customer service! I had a few questions for you as I am about to put in my first order before the holiday season:
    1. Do you own the J4001 duo fibre stippling brush? if so do you find this to be better/same/worse then the G5557? Im looking for ONE foundation brush for now. Also is the G5555 the same as this one? just with a smaller width of hairs/ferrule it seems? I dont like thick handles.
    2. I want just ONE contour brush for chiseled very defined sculpted cheeks. Would the J5521 or the J212 be better for that in your opinion?
    3. Lastly did I understand it correctly that blue squirrel hair is more dense/stiffly packed allowing for better control then the fluffier goat hair?
    Please get back to me soon as I am eager about completing my order asap. Im really new to the blogging world so have no idea how to follow but you can email me? Thanks again & waiting for your guidance :)

    1. Hi Naz,

      Thank you for stopping by, and for saying such nice things! :-)

      Unfortunately I do not own a single brush from the J-Series so I can't comment on how any of the J Series brushes compare to other Hakuhodo brushes.

      1) I can't comment on how the J4001 compares to the Hakuhodo G5557, and I don't own the G5555. However the G5557 is a bigger brush than the G5555, and it has a pretty thick handle.

      2) The Only Hakuhodo contour brush that I have is the G503- which I love-- and I reviewed it here:

      Since I don't have either the J5521 or the J212 I couldn't tell you which is better.

      3) According to Hakuhodo, Blue Squirrel "The tip of blue squirrels' hair is very soft and delicate. It has one of the most pleasant textures among natural hairs. It is used in finishing brushes, powder brushes, blush brushes, and the like. It applies powder softly, but when blended with goat's hair, it applies powder products firmly."

      To follow me by email all you have to do is scroll toward the top of this page and in the left column you will see a place to input your email address in order to subscribe via email.

      Thanks again for stopping by :-)

    2. Hi again Naz,

      I just saw your additional questions and will answer them here:

      1. J4001 vs G5555- I don't have either of thee, but I have the G5557 2mm which is larger than the G5555. I love the G5557--and think that it is a fantastic foundation brush.

      2. J212 vs G5521- I don't have the J212, but I have and love the G5521BkSL-- I use it for very pigmented blushes more than anything else.

      3. J5523 vs G5523- I don't have either, but have been meaning to get the G5523 for some time.

      4. G5512 vs G5514 (for tightlining & smudging shadow under lower lash line)- For tightening and for a crisp winged liner I love the G5512BkSL. I also really love the K005 for this purpose, but the G5512BkSL has a smaller head and offers a it more control and precision in my view (it is stiffer because the hairs are short). I like brushes like the G5514BkSL for smudging in the lower or upper lash line when I don't want a finer point/harder line.

      I wish that I could have offered you feedback on the J-Series brushes, but since I don't own any of them I don't have any useful information about them.

      I hope that this was helpful to you.

      Have a lovely evening! :-)


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