Beautylish x Chikuhodo Sakura 2019

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Beautylish x Chikuhodo Sakura 2019

The past couple years I’ve slowed down a lot on buying makeup brushes. I’m still firmly convinced that you can never really have too many, but I’m also at a place where I don’t feel like I have any major gaps in my collection. Regardless of necessity, I’m a sucker for limited edition so I always keep my eye on the Chikuhodo holiday collections and Beautylish collabs. Lo and behold, this year the Beautylish x Chikuhodo Sakura collection not only has a gorgeous cherry blossom maki-e design (another thing I have a weakness for) but it’s something I don’t have – retractable brushes. Whaaaaat? This year’s collection has three travel brushes.

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura 2019 Travel Brushes
Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura 2019 Travel Brushes

As usual, here are all the nuts and bolts-


  • Price – $155
  • From – Kumano, Japan
  • Barrel material – I can’t tell if this is thin metal or gold-painted plastic (?)
  • Cap material – lacquered plastic
  • Mechanism – remove the lacquered cap, slide the button up, place the cap on the end


  • Hair – Gray squirrel & fitch
  • Closed length – 99.7mm
  • Full length – 137.5mm
  • Bristle length – 11.5mm
  • Width of ferrule foot – 6.6mm
  • Width of brush head at the widest part – 6.7mm


  • Hair – Gray squirrel & horse
  • Closed length – 72.6mm
  • Full length – 129.5mm
  • Bristle length –30.5mm
  • Width of ferrule foot – 15mm
  • Width of brush head at the widest part – 22mm


  • Hair – Gray squirrel & goat
  • Closed length – 106mm
  • Full length – 176mm
  • Bristle length – 38.25mm
  • Width of ferrule foot – 18.75mm
  • Width of brush head at the widest part – 28.25mm


So – did these live up to my expectations? I have mixed opinions on that, and here’s why. I never ever ever thought I’d say this about Chikuhodo, but they feel sort of cheap. Yes, I said it. I don’t have experience with any of their other travel brushes to compare with, but these just aren’t what I expected based on the quality of my other Chikuhodo brushes. Here are the overall issues as I see them-

  • The slides don’t run smoothly, and the one on the eye brush falls back down on its own.
  • There’s not a close fit between the cap and the handle once the cap is posted. Not loose enough to fall off, probably, but it doesn’t feel that secure.
  • In use, there’s a little bit of a rattle as you move the brush. Not sure if it’s the slide or the weird cap/barrel fit, but it doesn’t feel stable in the hand.
  • The handles are too light to balance the weight of the brush head.

I know that sounds like a lot of gripes, and that’s because it is. The news isn’t all bad though. The brushes themselves are consistent with Chikuhodo’s usual quality, and they’re pretty functional.

Powder – the goat & squirrel blend picks up the perfect amount of product from pressed powders, which is what I always use by traveling. It’s a little on the small side, but that’s understandable for a travel brush.

Cheek – again on the small side, but again I’m ok with that. It’s just the right size to use for blush, highlight and contouring – just be sure to wipe it off well between products. The density strikes a great balance between being firm enough to move product around, but doesn’t pick up so much product that you over-apply.

Eye – this is my least favorite one. It’s too small to be a really efficient overall lay-down brush, but not quite small enough for detail work. It’s not quite fluffy or soft enough for blending. It’s good for an all-over wash of color on the lid – which is mainly what I wear with traveling anyway – but that’s the only solid function. For a travel brush it’s not nearly versatile enough; I’d definitely need at least 3 other ones in my makeup bag to make up the difference.

All in all, I had serious thoughts about returning these right away, and I’m still not sure my mind’s entirely made up about it. I’m leaning toward keep because I’ve already used them (and I hate to be wasteful) and the two face brushes are useful enough to be good additions to my travel kit. Plus they are gorgeous.

Still, would I recommend buying them? That’s an emphatic no.

The Beautylish x Chikuhodo Sakura 2019 set ($155) is available at Beautylish


  1. Stevethemonkey

    August 2, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    They look so pretty! What a shame!

    1. Nikki

      August 2, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      Right? Chikuhodo is normally top-notch. Some other brands are notorious for lower quality on their limited edition sets *cough*MAC*cough* but I’m really really surprised to see that here.

  2. jeannie

    November 3, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    I have collected Chikuhodo sets for years. gold standard for brushes, you re right, this set is cheap, the brush portion is quality, but the handles appear to be made from another company all together, it is plastic, looks and performs like a Walmart item. I will look closely, and read reviews for this years holiday set, and hope it is up to Chikuhodo standards and hope the cherry set was a mistake, if not…I will stop collecting them altogether ….just a shame for such a trusted name to put out a product so obviously produced in cheap, mass factory…

    1. Nikki

      November 20, 2019 at 8:37 am

      I totally agree! But I’m sort of addicted to Sonia G now anyway :-D

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