Thursday, 15 December 2011

Chikuhodo Z-series set and Z-10 brush

Chikuhodo is a Japanese brush company based, like Hakuhodo, in the town of Kumano with a long tradition of calligraphy brush manufacture. They provide makeup brushes for Suqqu, RMK, Lunasol and Kanebo Tesshyu among others. Of course, there are still variations in quality and price-point between the brushes from those brands, and within the various Chikuhodo own-brand lines as well. My personal favourites are without a doubt Suqqu, although the Tesshyu and Chikuhodo own-brand Z series and Artist series have proved excellent quality as well. I do not at all care for Lunasol and RMK brushes.

Currently, Chikuhodo's only brick and mortar shop is in Kumano, although they also have a travelling counter which tours various department stores around Japan (dates and locations are listed on the front page of their site). Their webshop only ships domestically within Japan -- I ordered mine from here, borrowing a kind friend's Japanese shipping address.

The Z-series is Chikuhodo's second most expensive range, all handmade and mostly consisting of uncut grey squirrel hair -- the naturally tapered shape of each hair picks up and deposits pigment far better than any laser-cut brushes. All the Z brushes are available separately, or in a set consisting of Z-1 through Z-8 and a black or white brush roll.

Another friend generously allowed me to play with and photograph her Z-series set and Z-10 brush, thus rendering me awesome by association, gotta love it.... (ed: this worked so well that no-one seems to have read the disclaimer at all so I'm bolding it.)

Chikuhodo Z series brush set Z-1, Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Z-5, Z-6, Z-7, Z-8, Z-10
Left to Right:
Z-1 grey squirrel round powder brush (brush length: 16cm // hair length: 45mm)
Z-2 grey squirrel "candle-shaped" highlight brush (15cm // 37mm)
Z-3 grey squirrel flat top contour brush (13cm // 15mm)
Z-4 grey squirrel rounded flat cheek/highlight brush (15cm // 36mm)
Z-5 grey squirrel rounded flat eyeshadow brush (13.5cm // 19mm)
Z-6 badger angled eyebrow brush (12.3cm // 5mm-8mm)
Z-7 kolinsky flat lip brush (10cm-16.5cm with cap // 10mm)
Z-8 grey squirrel rounded flat cheek brush (16cm // 40mm)
Z-10 grey squirrel "candle-shaped" eyeshadow brush (12.5cm // 11mm)

The Z-9 brush, which she doesn't own, is a rounded flat grey squirrel powder brush 16.5cm long with a hair length of 52mm; it looks to be a large version of the Z-8 around the size of the Z-1.

reverse order
Chikuhodo Z series brush set Z-1, Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Z-5, Z-6, Z-7, Z-8, Z-10

Chikuhodo Z series brush set Z-1, Z-2, Z-3, Z-4, Z-5, Z-6, Z-7, Z-8, Z-10

Some closeups
Z-5 grey squirrel eyeshadow brush
Chikuhodo Z-5 brush

Z-6 badger eyebrow brush
Chikuhodo Z-6 brush

Comparison between the Z-4, Z-8 and Z-1
Chikuhodo brush Z-4 Z-8, Z-1 comparison
Chikuhodo brush Z-4 Z-8, Z-1 comparison
Chikuhodo brush Z-4 Z-8, Z-1 comparison

Bear in mind these pictures were all taken pre-washing -- grey squirrel brushes do fluff up quite a bit after washing and a few uses.

Comparisons of Chikuhodo brushes with some others in my motley collection, including Suqqu and Hakuhodo, are still to come.


  1. An update on Suqqu S Eye Shadow. I emailed Dollyleo and they told me it had not been discontinued. Not much help at this point, since they're all out of stock, but I shall get my hands on a point squirrel detail brush!

  2. Oh wow, the brushes are to die for! They look so luxurious, I'm very envious. I would love to know how they compare with the Hakuhodo brushes.

  3. What a collection!
    I also have a few z-series and suqqu brushes, I think I still prefer suqqu as the z series are not as fluffy...would love to hear your thoughts :-)

  4. I just got a MAJOR lady boner! For real! Those. Brushes. Look. Absolutely. Amazing! No wonder you always look so beautiful! You got great bone structure and perfect tools! :*

  5. Guys! These aren't mine -- they were lent to me by a friend :D

    Dain: my Suqqu counter frequently runs out of brushes too -- probably inevitable given the handmade uniqueness thing, but very irritating all the same.

    Jacqueline: stay tuned ;) I don't have as many Hakuhodos as you but hopefully some pictures will give you an idea of sizes and shapes.

    Rei: I completely agree with you. My Suqqus are fluffier and more tapered/directional; the shapes are just better designed for my style of makeup application anyway :)

    LJ: lol! Finally my secret is out -- I need good tools to hide my lack of skillz :D

  6. :O! they look so ADORABLE! do you knoe how the red handled chikus are? they have a baby powder brush and I love small handles and it looks so fluffy :D

  7. claire, do you mean the Artist series short handled brushes? I only have eyeshadow brushes from them but am very happy with the quality. Personal preference and hair type/shape are going to be more important though :)

  8. yupp! when the e/s brushes are ok, the powder should be as well :D

  9. Come take a look at our site when you have time, we're selling Chikuhodo brushes to the US market now!