Hakuhodo starter sets: my must-have recommendations
Lately this question has come up on a couple of beauty forums – “What Hakuhodo brushes should I buy on a [$X] budget?” Hakuhodo is one of my favorite brush brands, but I’ll be the first to admit their website is a little confusing and hard to navigate. When I first started researching, I found a ton of helpful information on blogs like Sweet Makeup Temptations and Drivel About Frivol, and I’ve also learned quite a bit through trial and error. So, I thought I would pay it forward and put together some ‘Hakuhodo starter sets’ for different budgets.
Before I start though, I do have to warn you that some of my recommendations depend a lot on my personal preferences. For example, I have sensitive skin and like to use the softest brush that will do the job, so I pretty much always will pick a white goat or squirrel blend over black goat. I’m also a fan of the standard black handles, so you won’t really see anything from the S or Kokutan series in here.
- J5523 ($18) – I’m sure this is probably the most-recommended Hakuhodo brush of them all! It’s very similar in shape and size to the MAC 217, but it’s softer and doesn’t shed (at least, neither of mine have). It’s really efficient for blending and crease work, and I’ve heard of folks using it for concealer too.
- G5507 ($18) – This is a great laydown brush, even for my small lids. It’s dense with a flat, tapered tip, so it picks up a ton of shadow and holds onto it well – which means less fallout.
- J521 D1 ($14) – Possibly the itty-bittiest brush I’ve ever seen. I love this one for tightlining, and it also works for smudgy liner and wings.
All of the above, plus-
- J210 ($44) – Yes, it’s kind of pricey, but it’s also really versatile. The white goat hair means you can use it with powder or cream products, and it stands up really well to frequent washing. I use it mostly for blush, but it’s also good for contouring. I know some folks like it for liquid foundation too, but it’s a little more flexible than I like for that.
Again, everything above, with these additions-
- G5514 ($16) – A great, tiny little pencil brush for really precise detail work.
- J5529 ($16) – Even though it’s tapered, with use the end fluffs out to a more rounded shape, which makes it great for blending in smaller areas.
- S146Bk ($23) – Ok, so I have to disclaim here – this is the only one on this list that I don’t actually own. But as far as I can tell, the brush head is a perfect dupe for the Wayne Goss 04, which I reach for just about every day because it’s perfect for applying and blending my crease color all at the same time. And who doesn’t want to save time?
- G5521 ($34) – This uber-soft squirrel/goat blend is great for powder contours and highlighters. I’ve also used it for blush on occasion, though it’s just a tiny bit to soft to use with harder or less-pigmented blushes.
- Black Fan ($60) – Another absolutely lovely squirrel/goat brush. I got this one to use with my Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, and it picks up the perfect amount. It also works really nicely with loose setting/finishing powders, as long as you make sure to tap off the excess product.
Also nice to have
If you’re really just planning to go all-out on upgrading your brush wardrobe, here are some others that I wouldn’t consider strictly essential, but they are pretty great.
- G5528 ($29) – Even though it’s blue squirrel (and therefore really soft), this brush is so dense that it picks up a lot of eyeshadow in one swipe. It’s one of my favorites for placing my crease color.
- J532 ($27) – Now, you might think “What would I possibly do with an eyeshadow brush this big?” And it’s a valid question. I got it because I wanted a flat brush that would cover my whole eye area (lash line to brow) in a couple swipes, since I like to use a neutral eyeshadow base before I start in with my other colors. I was not disappointed! It’s also really nice for spreading eye primer.
- J104 ($80) – This is a huge, incredibly fluffy, super-soft powder brush. It will work with pressed powders, but it really shines with loose powder. I will say, though, that this is my only Hakuhodo that has slight issues with shedding. It’s really minor – it’ll lose maybe 3-4 hairs over a month – but I felt I should mention it anyway.
What are your favorite Hakuhodos? If I left out any of your must-haves, tell us about them in the comments!