Hakuhodo's Kokutan Series of brushes all feature luxurious ebony wood handles and matte black ferrules. According to Hakuhodo, "the more you touch a Kokutan handle, the nicer the luster it attains." The handles are ergonomically tapered in such a way that they are unbelievably user-friendly and very comfortable to hold. This is a case of form following function: they are simultaneously gorgeous, highly effective, and user friendly.Kokutan MLL has a large tapered flat paddle that is made of the most luxuriously soft blue squirrel hair that feels like crushed velvet against your eyelids! This is a fantastic eye shadow brush for laying down washes of color all over the lid, and will also work as a blender brush. It is so soft that people with sensitive eyes and eyelids can rejoice in just how gentle this brush is. People with smaller eyelids may find the paddle to be too large for the application of eye shadow, but would still benefit from its ability to blend shadows flawlessly. The softness of the brush does not, however, make it a great candidate for the application of harder eyeshadow formulas- for that one would need a firmer and less soft brush instead.
Use: Eye Shadow
Hair Type: Blue Squirrel
Handle Type: Wood Handle/Kokutan (Ebony)
Ferrule: Black Chrome Matte Brass/Black Matte
Size: Full Length: 145㎜ B. Hair Length: 20.0㎜ Thickness: 5.0㎜ D. Width of the Ferrule Foot: 14.0㎜
Kokutan M is a fantastic eyeshadow brush for so many reasons. It boasts a densely packed tapered head made of the softest blue squirrel hair, but it remains flexible enough to be highly effective at applying the right amount of shadow while being able to maneuvering the eyelid area with great facility. I find that I reach for this brush on a daily basis because it is both extremely effective and positively joyous to use.
Use: Eye Shadow
Hair Type: Blue Squirrel
Handle Type: Wood Handle/Kokutan (Ebony)
Ferrule: Black Chrome Matte Brass/Black Matte
Size: Full Length: 145㎜ B. Hair Length: 14.0㎜ Thickness: 5.0㎜ D. Width of the Ferrule Foot: 15.0㎜
Overall assessment: I love both of these brushes, and am so happy that I bought them. The handles are a little shorter than most of my other Hakuhodo brushes, but I love how they feel in my small hands. There are definitely more Kokutan brushes in my future! These are expensive brushes, but well worth the price if you have caught Hakuhodo fever, and if you want the extra bit of luxury afforded by the ebony handles.
Is Hakuhodo your favorite brush brand ? Which one is your favorite face brush from them ? I'm so tempted to buy B103BkSL but am wondering if it's the same as the one with the orange handle. I couldn't find the review of that brush on your blog...but I know you have one ;) haha. Do you like it ?ReplyDelete
So far Hakuhodo has captured my heart unlike any other brush brand! I remain open minded and realize that there are other brushes out there comparable in quality, but I haven't tried them yet.
The B103BkSL and the S103 have the same exact head (in shape, size and hair type)- just different handles. I bought the B Series to save some money- to make my dollar stretch a little further on a big order-- I also think that the S103 may have been sold out at the time that I placed my order). I will review that brush for you soon! I love the B103BkSL- it is soft and very effective brush. I tend to use it for very pigmented blushes, and it does a remarkable job laying down just the right amount of pigment as well as blending it flawlessly. I also turn it on its side and use it for other blushes sometimes-- though I tend to use it mostly for highly pigmented deeply saturated powder blushes.
It's really hard to say which of their face brushes that are my favorites-- it depends on what I'm trying to do.
For foundation my favorite brush is the G5557-2mm
For powder application (and foundation) I covet the G543 Powder DR round (definitely the most unusual brush in my stash)
For harder blush formulas like the Chanel Joues Contraste (Euro baked versions) I love the G503
For everyday blushes I generally reach for the 210 (I have one for cream blushes and one for powder blushes)
For buffing powder I love my G527 or G527M (yes, I have both-- the heads are the same-- only the handles differ-- I couldn't decide which one I preferred- so I got both!!)
For highlighters I love the S113
I also reach for my S110 blush brush a lot-- it's a lovely soft goat hair brush that feels amazing on the skin.
Truth be told, I don't have a single Hakuhodo that I have been disappointed by!
What are you looking for in a blush brush? Something that is multifunctional and good with a variety of formulas, or something that works best with a particular type of formula?
I don't know what I'm looking for...hahaha. It's just that every time I read about Hakuhodo, I get tempted again.Delete
And the only blush brush that I'm missing in my stash is a tulip shaped one.
I have the 201 and G503 but I don't find it *that* soft. I thought it was because of the black handle versus the orange one.
I'll wait for your review before I hit buy :)
I know just what you mean, Adelle! I have to stop myself from stalking the Hakuhodo website-- every time I do I get sucked into the vortex, and my wallet ends up considerably lighter!!Delete
I'm not familiar with the 201-- is that a discontinued brush, or did you mean the 210? The G503 definitely is more firm, but you could try a little hair conditioner next time you wash it, and that will soften it up-- same goes for the 201 or 210.
I was told that the difference between the S103 and the B103BkSL was the full length of the brushes and the materials for the handles/ferrules. The heads themselves are the identical measurements and both are Goat (Sokoho). There is also one more that is a little less expensive-- the 203, but it's Ototsuho goat hair.
The B103BkSL is much softer than the G503 and the 210-- it is a really lovely brush. I just found the pictures that I shot and don't like them-- so I will reshoot it tomorrow and get a review posted for you as soon as I edit the new pictures. If the tulip type of brush is what you are missing in your stash-- I'm betting that you would be pretty happy with this one. If you are looking for a super luxurious brush you might want the S103 because the Vermillion handle and gold plated ferrule are so gorgeous, on the other hand you can save $21.00 if you get the B103BkSL! The real difference in functionality has to do with which type of hair is chosen, and since these two brushes have the type of goat hair and the length and width of the head are identical- then either should do the trick. I usually choose the less expensive of the various versions when the head and hair are identical because then I feel more justified in splurging on one of their more unusual brushes like the G543 Powder DR round! :D
You are a temptress. I have three brushes but I haven't used them. I'm afraid of them!! They are so precious! LOLReplyDelete
These are two seriously delightful brushes!! I know just what you mean-- there is a certain level of coveting that goes on with Hakuhodo brushes that makes them feel to precious to use at times!! I keep waiting for something to break the Hakuhodo spell that I'm under, but nothing does!!!Delete
Ok the brushes are great ..... but how cool is that ruler?!?!ReplyDelete
AWESOME COMMENT, Kimmi!! The ruler is pretty cool! :DDelete
LMAO, I zeroed in first on that ruler, too. *geek alert*ReplyDelete
Those brushes look gorgeous. Thank you for the comparison. I do not yet own a Kokutan (notice the word YET), but my Suqqu eye brush arrived last week, and I haven't used it yet (keeping it pristine for its photo shoot), thought I did brush it against the back of my hand.
That's hilarious-- the ruler is a hit!! LOL!Delete
The Kokutan series brushes are really lovely. You already basically have the Kokutan M because you have the B532BkSL- the heads are identical in the measurements are both are blue squirrel. Your handle is a little longer, and the handle shapes are different, and obviously they use different woods. Yours was out of stock at the time that I was placing my order (in that year end scramble before the price increase). Oh, and yes-- I caught the "yet"!! I love your PB brush storage solution-- I think that I might have to order one of those-- I really like that you can see the handles!! I keep mine in a bamboo cutlery storage container (upright and divided), but I can't see the handles so it's often hard to locate brushes.
I cannot wait to hear about this Suqqu eye brush!!! :-)
As soon as I have some good light to take pics!Delete
I LOVE my PB storage thing. Best thing I ever bought, and the quality is really excellent--at least it was 18 months ago when I purchased it. I also keep my Ellis Faas pens and Chanel Glossimers in it. It holds so much. I really should keep my brushes in a drawer, though. But, like you said, it's hard to see what you want at a glance, and part of me wonders if I'll cause more damage pawing through them every day, as opposed to leaving them out exposed to dust. But since they get daily use not much dust can settle on them. They're only hair, after all.
Good to know about the Kokutan. I actually like shorter handles now. As I get older, I find myself leaning closer to that mirror. ;)
I can't wait!!Delete
I think that I will order one-- that's brilliant to put your glossers and EF pens in there too! I know- I should keep my brushes in a drawer as well, but it's just not convenient- and a makeup brush roll is pointless because I have far too many brushes at this point. I agree about the dust. I do store mine in a cabinet, but it gets opened all of the time- so it's not really impervious to dust.
Kokutan brushes feel amazing in the hand, and I know just what you mean about the shorter handles when I scootch up so close to the mirror!!
So hypothetically speaking, if one unnamed person were to embark upon a Chantecaille journey-- what e/s would you recommend-- outside of your beloved discontinued agate? Are you still in love with Meteorite?
Meteorite is exquisite. When I had my color analysis done, Maytee swooned and used it in my final look. Perle is also a keeper because it's excellent for the inner corners, brow bone, and can be used as facial highlighter, too!Delete
If you take a look insides the Palette d'Olivia, I think you'll be headed in right direction, as most (if not all?) can be purchased as singles. The palette contains such beauties as Granite, the aforementioned Perle, Obsidian (which Chante spells as Obsedian), Quartz, Peony, Tanzanite, and Zinc. The blush is Joy, a cool coral rose. Nordies has a very good picture.
Your swatch of Meteorite made me swoon!! As soon as I saw your comment to PP about Palette d'Olivia- I looked at it online at Nordies. Do you have the palette, or is it that you already have many of the colors already? Oh no- I fear that I might just get myself in some trouble here!!!Delete
Did I not answer about the palette? I guess not. I do own it, and every color in it is made for a cool-toned person with shades from pale pink and duochrome ivory to taupes and purples to near black. It's actually a really good deal. I think I figured out that if you bought the shadows and palette a la carte, it would come to over $250. But—and here's the shocker—I am very likely going to let it go in the blog sale in July. I seriously have way too many eyeshadows that I almost never use. I need more eyes or I need to let them go. The really silly thing is I am still using two eyeshadows I first purchased in 1989. Not the EXACT same, obviously (eeeeuw) but they are still made. Yes, sigh, the lowly Prescriptives, but since the brand was started by Sylvia Chantecaille under EL I can feel a tiny bit smug. ;DDelete
Meanwhile, I FINALLY took pictures of the Suqqu Large Eyeshadow brush, and now I need to test it for a few days before I review it. Wee!
Oh, and $crap$ $crap$ $crap$. I just bought a Hakuhodo Kokutan Finishing Brush L and the G5523BkSL, the latter in an attempt to come as close to the MAC 217 as possible. I already have the 5533, and it's a bit too fluffy and splayed at the end to do the creasework I want, and my G5522 and S142 are excellent but very pointed at the tip. Gaia's review of both the G5533 and G5523 leads me to believe that 5523 might be as close to the 217 as it gets.Delete
REALLY?! If I can swatch it and love it- then consider it sold, seriously!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It looks absolutely gorgeous, but to add 8 new colors to my stash (or 7 shadows, rather)- I need to be reasonably certain that I will use them. I, too, have way too many e/s & even if I had 12 pairs of eyes (horrifying image) I would still never be able to use them up in a lifetime!!! Hey-- Prescriptives was hardly lowly back in the day, and I loved the shadows that I had from them-- it's even more lovely that it was S. Chantecaille's baby-- even though it was part of the now WAY TOO LARGE EL monopoly!Delete
I'm dying to see your Suqqu review!!
OMG- you got the Kokutan L?! (She twirls gleefully for her friend). Please tell me what you think about it!!! I remember reading Gaia's post a while back,, and her guess about the G5523 being the closest to the MAC 217 was a really astute guess on her part. I was talking to one of my readers on one of my Hakuhodo posts and she had asked which Hakuhodo brush was closest to the MAC 217, and I told her that Gaia had guessed the G5523 was the closest, but not a dupe. So when she was placing her order she emailed Marty at Hakuhodo, and he confirmed that it was the closest that they had the the MAC 217-- which of course is one of the many MAC brushes made by Hakuhodo. The G5523BkSL is at the top of my next Hakuhodo order!!!
After a couple crazy years with makeup, I had to finally accept that I am a lipstick person, not an eyeshadow person. When it comes to my makeup, I like a sculpted, moderately bright mouth and a clean eye. So it really boils down to just the neutral eyeshadow colors for me, which i still have to whittle down! My current in-rotation stash includes: RBR Bashful Flamingo an Sweet Dust; Laura Mercier Deep Night; Chanel Lily; NARS D. Gorgeous, Violetta, Abyssinia, and Lhasa; Prescriptives Mushroom, Rose Powder, and Pewter; Chantecaille Perle, Agate, and Meteorite; Becca Chantilly; Urban Decay Illegal; and Shu Uemura M 804, 835. and 943. I know that still sounds like a HUGE number of eyeshadows, but they are my favorites, and with the exception of the 2 new RBR shadows, have been so for a long time. And notice how they are all completely neutral! Not a "color" among them. ;)Delete
Oh, I am so glad to hear that the kind folks at Hauhodo confirmed that the G5523 is the closest to 217. I love the shape and performance of that MAC brush, but it doesn't last. Mine is so scratchy now it hurts my eyes. I will keep my G5533 for gently buffing crease color.
Wait, did you say MAC brushes are made by Hakuhodo?? They must be using their lowest quality goat hair because most of my non-synthetic MAC brushes are pretty rough and scratchy, including the blush brush I got rid of last year. Some of my BB brushes are incredible, and I suspect my Jane Iredale Handi brush was made in Japan; it's every bit as soft as the G527. Maybe I am just super spoiled by the blue and Kazakhstan squirrel, hee.
I am on pins and needles waiting for my newest Hakohodo order, which should hopefully be my last!! I went through my brushes today and did some serious purging. My crystal rocks glass now contains mostly Hakuhodo, 2 Suqqu, a couple Shu Uemura, and the odd Paula Dorf/Laura Mercier/Bobbi Brown/MAC roundup. Anything remaining is either a redundant style in another brand of of lower quality so it's time to unburden myself!
I can't believe it-- I had just finished a lengthy response to you when Zeus jumped on the desk and and inadvertently clicked on a link thereby erasing EVERYTHING that I wrote to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So here goes an attempted recreation of what I said!Delete
I think that it is really amazing that you were able to make the connection that you really do prefer lipsticks to eyeshadows-- while it seems as though we should inherently know these things about ourselves consciously-- the emotional and visceral reactions that one has to beautiful makeup has a mitigating effect on our ability to think these issues through rationally. It's so easy to succumb to all of the beautiful colors, textures, etc. This can really result in becoming a curator (as you have so aptly pointed out in the past), rather than just a collector of a well-edited collection. I really salute you for having made the connection in a personal way-- hence the big purge and upcoming blog sale! I am making a very big effort to act rationally when it comes to purchases, and am trying to instill in myself a "cooling off period" before buying-- rather than buying in the frenzy of my makeup rapture!! My wallet is thankful for it! I think that your well-edited eye shadow collection is indeed a formidable list of many of the best that one can find!
The G5523 is not an exact dupe for the MAC 217, but it's the closest that Hakuhodo comes to it. Marty said that it is a conflict of interest for Hakuhodo to make exact dupes of the brushes that they make for MAC- which makes perfect sense. Even their 210 and the MAC 109 differ slightly. In all cases, however, it would definitely seem that the Hakuhodo brushes are better than the brushes that they make for MAC. I think that you are right-- it must be in the quality of the hair used. I would bet that MAC would be forced to raise their prices and Hakuhodo would have to charge MAC more if they used the quality of hair that Hakuhodo uses in their own label products.
Hakuhodo doesn't make all MAC brushes- only the ones made in Japan. Check out the link below:
Check under "History" 1995
I agree totally that MAC brushes can be rough and scratchy- particularly evident when compared to Hakuhodo brushes. As much as I wanted the MAC 217- for some reason I never bought it, but now that will be remedied when I order the G55523. THe one MAC brush that I have always wanted is the MAC 227-- which as I recall you have in your stash. My sister has one that she got 15-20 years ago, and I am madly in love with it. I even went so far as buying it, but then promptly returned it the next day after comparing it to my sister's and realizing that hers was by far superior!
I do think that viewing the world through blue and Kazakhstan squirrel lenses will definitely impact the way in which you evaluate brushes-- you really can't go back once you've shifted your paradigm. It would be like tossing out all of your Chantecaille & RBR eyeshadows and using only W'n'W or Maybelline. Of course those are wonderful in their own right, but hardly comparable to Chantecaille and RBR!!
I am so excited for you, and simply cannot wait to hear about your new brushes. I will definitely hold off on my next order until I hear your thoughts on your new brushes. It sounds as though you will definitely be purging a few brushes as well. I have always subscribed to the notion of upgrading and downsizing. It is far better to have a few really high quality things that you really enjoy and love than lots of things that are good or mediocre that don't really resonate with you!
I agree that the 210 and MAC 109 are different. I have both, and I much prefer the 210, which I see less as a contouring brush and more of a mini kabuki. It's great for buffing product into the skin.
Thanks for the link. I had no idea Hakuhodo's relationship went back with MAC that far! Speaking from experience, the one brush I have left from a 1996 purchase at Henri Bendel (a MAC angle brush where the numbers have completely rubbed off, maybe 143) is vastly superior to the angle brush I bought about 5 years ago. I guess the EL partnership is more about quantity over quality.
Yes I have (or had??) the MAC 227. It's a big, fluffy teddy bear of a thing, as you know, and although mine is pretty nice (I bought it in 2009?), I prefer (in order) the Hakuhodo B532BkSL and then the BB Sweep. I think I might have already sold my 227 ... haven't seen it around in a while, and certainly not yesterday.
As for brush purging, yes. I. did! After my order yesterday I went through all brushes, separated the redundant ones (e.g., same purpose) and put aside the bushes I was using daily. I am happy to say I am now down to 17 brushes with 2 on the way, and each one has a discrete purpose. I am still holding onto an embarrassing 11 other brushes, tucked away in a drawer, but if I have not used any of them within 6 months I will let them go in a future blog sale. Still, I purged around 50 brushes!
One I can't let go is the MAC 239. Even though it's scratchy as hell, it's the perfect size for patting eyeshadow onto the lower lid. I use my Shu #10 for this purpose, but the shu is springy, whereas the MAC is unyielding. Do you know anything comparable to MAC 239 in Hakuhodoland?
BTW, I knew you would understand. :) I think that, unless we are true curators or makeup artists, many of us arrive at this place sooner or later. I've spent the last three acquiring more than I could ever possibly use in this lifetime, and now I am ready to let most of it go and have, as you so adroitly put it, a cooling off period for anything new.Delete
Do you know that, with daily use, it would take more than a year to use a single eyeshadow pan for lid/crease use? A base shade would go twice as fast, but that means 1-3 new eyeshadows a year, TOPS! I think that was when I took a long, hard look at my 50+ singles and several palettes and decided it was time to feed the rest of the world, heh.
Yes, naughty Zeus for sure!!!!!!!!Delete
The 210 is an incredible brush (and well priced)- I use it for blush and buffing mostly.
As you know, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the EL quantity over quality paradigm. It really is too bad- because things could be sooooo different! I have a few VERY old MAC brushes with worn off numbers that were are still spectacular brushes 20+ years later.
Yes, I think the Hakuhodo B532BkSL, or in my case the Kokutan M are definitely superior to the MAC 227.
That's one hell of a brush purge-- you must already feel so much lighter and less cluttered! I applaud you, dear friend!!
I just went through the entire Hakuhodo website and my stash and there isn't anything too close to the MAC 239, but the closest that I did find appears (from their pictures) to be the G5507BkSL- you may already have it though.Of course the Hakuhodo is horse, not goat like the MAC 239, but it does appear to be the closest in shape. It doesn't hurt that it is only $18.00 too! I have always wanted to shape of size of the MAC 239, but it seemed to scratchy to me to buy.
Oh, yes- I really do understand. In fact, when you mentioned the length of time that it would take to use a single eyeshadow-- and then I did a mental inventory of all of my shadows- it made me imagine myself at 90 years old trying to "use up" shadows that I bought way back when!!
I fear that I have eclipsed 50 single eye shadows, but don't want to actually count them for fear of imagining how many mortgage payments it may represent (a slight exaggeration, but still). :-)
Such a beautiful post Lola! Thanks for reviewing this. Only if I could afford these Kokutan beauties. I wonder why the M is more expensive when the MLL has a longer handle and seems to have a bigger head. he price increase is saddening me but your post makes me want to get one of these instead of G5523GkSL which I was already planning on getting. :/ReplyDelete
I'm so glad that you like it!! I don't know if you saw my response to your last post -it was sooo long that it was in three parts :DDelete
In my pictures of the Kokutan M & MLL I didn't quite line the handles up perfectly-- the handles themselves are actually the same length, but the ferrule in a bit longer on the M than on the MLL. Your guess is as good as mine as to why the M costs $5.00 more than the MLL. The price increase saddened me as well!! THe brushes were not inexpensive to being with. However, as you know from your extensive research while some of the prices increased dramatically- others did not.
You have officially joined the ranks of the rest of us who toil about which brushes to get! Do you mean the G5523BkSL (which is a bit like the MAC 217) or do you mean the B532BkSL which is the B Series version of the Kokutan M? I'm betting that you will be delighted with whatever you end up getting. Keep me posted :-)
I responded on the G5512BkSL review. Sorry about that, it takes me along time to respond. I wish I can write as fast and comprehensively as you can. :D Do you own any of the angled brushes like the S122 or the G513 or G515? Hopefully, I will be happy with my purchases. :) I am not ordering right away, but ordering in the beginning of June sometime. :)ReplyDelete
:-) I don't own any of the Hakuhodo angled brushes, but certainly wouldn't mind having one! I do have an angled Eco Tools brush that came in their small travel eye brush set, and I really like that. I think that it's a good idea that you aren't ordering right away-- I think that you need a little more time to decide what you really "need" as opposed to being swept up in Hakuhodo fever and spending your rent money or tuition on brushes!!! Take it from me, I have far more brushes than is needed for one face!Delete
PBI, but I own the Hakuhodo G515, and it's quite servicable, though not necessarily my favorite Hakuhodo. It's quite soft and fluffy with a steep angle that ends at a point, making it an excellent brush for creating a defined crease and then easily blending out with the flat side. I have found it to perform best with soft eyeshadows, like Rouge Bunny Rouge, Dior, Chanel, and Chantecaille--rather than the more hard-pressed eyeshadows, like Stila, MAC, and many NARS shadows.Delete
I also agree COMPLETELY with Lola to take your time and think about what you need. Also have a ruler on hand when you order so you can see what 5mm really looks like! I have bought some Hakuhodo brushes based on the pictures on the web site and been really surprised when they arrived, considering I could use them to apply eyeliner on my cat. ;) I also have far more brushes than I need, so many I could plant then outside and have a sizable brush garden!
Thanks so much for weighing in Zuzu- invaluable insights about purchasing Hakuhodo brushes in general, and about the G515 specifically, - I, too, have wondered about this brush! Sage advice all the way around!Delete