Home Brushes Koyudo – grey squirrel brush set – first impressions

Koyudo – grey squirrel brush set – first impressions

by Sonia G.

In the following pictures you will notice that except for 2 brushes I had already similar options in my collection so I didn’t need the full set really. When I saw that CDJapan released it and I wasn’t sure if I had to splurge. I was tempted of course but with my Japan trip arriving and the problems with our dog, my car, etc I was going to skip it. Lucky me, CDJapan appreciates that I contributed in a way to their international renown so they sometimes give me a discount or a free sample. I didn’t get this set for free, but I got a big discount, how could I say no ??

It’s a huge amount of money for a make up brush set, even though it’s an ultimate one, you still have to be very motivated and really love brushes to get it.  The great news is that they give their customers the possibility to get the brushes individually.

I picked it up at the PO this morning, opened the parcel while my BF was driving, I was patting them during 40mn until I finally arrived at work, he kept giving the look “More brushes???” and I kept giving him my innocent happy look back. Every time he asked me “When will you have enough brushes?”  He always got the same reply in return “How could I know…?! ” but today he finally understood that this day is far, far away…

In order to be able to take the pictures with their after-wash shape, I washed them during my break at work, then let them dry in a corner… Today my close colleagues know what my secret passion is, they kept on asking me why I was going to Japan so at the end I confessed. However, they do not suspect the magnitude of my obsession so pssschhhhhht!!!!


This set contains 8 brushes, they come with a pouch and in a wooden box. If you hop to this link, you will see the description of the contents and the details of the brushes, material, price and size. They are all made with grey squirrel hair except for the lip brush (Siberian weasel), and the eyebrow (water badger). I will show you what I received in the set but just remember they mention the pouch can change.

Sizes in cm :

Brushes Full length Hair length Base of ferrule Ferrule (sideways) Widest point Widest point (sideways)
Finishing 16,5 5 2,8 1,5 5 3
Powder 16,5 5 1,8 1,8 4 4
Cheek 16 3,7 2 1 3 2
Eyeshadow L 14,2 1,8 1,2 0,4 1,5 0,7
Eyeshadow M 14 1,5 0,8 0,3 1 0,5
Eyeshadow S 14,2 1,5 0,4 0,4 0,5 0,5
Eyebrow 13 0,6 0,5 0,2 0,5 0,2
Lip 11,5 1 0,5 0,3 0,5 0,3

I won’t go into much details, these are basically just first impressions since I just got them but I think you may currently be a little bit excited by this release and some pics may already help you decide if that could be something you may desire. You may need to wait to get them, they are hand made and they have a small production site.

The handles are exactly the same red as the Koyudo red squirrel brush, but when paired with a different ferrule, the color is misleading, it looks darker in this set but it’s just exactly the same. In my opinion the shiny black ferrules paired with the shiny red handles make them look more sexy and vampirish.  I have to say I really love this combination, right up my alley and beyond.

The handles seem solid and I cannot find any flaws. The face brushes shed 1 or 2 hairs depending on the brush but I just couldn’t stop patting them and abusing them 🙁  A great way to torture me would me to show me beautiful brushes and tight my arms in my back 😀 pure evil agony !!!

Some red handle brushes to compare :


The finishing brush

These Koyudo set face brushes are actually all extremely soft and often less dense than any other similar brush.

The Hakuhodo B501 (blue squirrel/goat) is extremely dense in comparison, less soft but still very very soft.
The Hakuhodo K002 is softer than the B501 but compared to the Koyudo from this set it just doesn’t feel as soft, the K002 has more precision (firmness) and a tiny little bit more density.
The Z-9 is my go-to bronzer brush, again more density than the Koyudo finishing but the shape is different too, it’s flatter at the top and that’s why I love it so much for bronzer, it’s quite dense and the application is natural and even.
Of these 4, the Koyudo finishing is the softest and more delicate, if that’s what you are looking for, you will be delighted. It feels like a breeze on the skin. Still picks a fair amount of product but you won’t be able to push it as much as with other denser options.





My thoughts

Even on it’s own it’s an investment, it’s an expensive brush. It’s floppy, not dense and not very directional. I will not use it for bronzer because for bronzer I need something a bit more dense and more firm with better blending capabilities but I use it with pressed powder to set my make up or with pressed highlighter powder. It works like a breeze on the skin. I pat the product and do very small sideways motions (a bit like applying a mascara if that has some more sense).

It has shed a few hairs this morning, nothing alarming so far, my brushes always shed a few hairs since I can stop abusing them. Now I need to wash it again and see how it endures the process.

Since I have very dry skin I have to apply a lot of moisturizer, depending on the days the brushes will absorb more or less moisture on the bristles. There is nothing I can do about that, if I don’t have that slightly greasy looking skin before and after I apply foundation, my skin will be suffering all day. Therefore I need to wash my squirrel brushes more often than any other person I believe,  after 2 or 3 days even nice squirrel brushes start to look “oily” that’s also why I love to use soft goat brushes (the will absorb less moisture). That problem happens with any squirrel brush, I have to wash them quite regularly at this moment. In summer I won’t need that much cream so I won’t experience the same issue.   The powder I need to set my makeup is minimum, that brush helps me achieve the result I want, remove the slightly greasy aspect without removing the glow that my skin loves to keep.

Powder brush

The one I use the most (so far) is the Tanseido YSC 17, for the application of blush. I wanted to get its big Tanseido sister but I decided to wait until I am in Japan. The Koyudo powder is the same idea as this Tanseido but much bigger. It’s difficult to confirm 100% but it feels softer than the MK-2 and the Tanseido. We will see how it evolves with washes. The MK-2 has a bit more density and is more directional. The Koyudo is more spread out and honestly you can barely feel it on the skin, it’s just fantastic. Just keep in mind it’s not a precise brush and it’s very flexible – 2 strokes and you covered half of your face !





My thoughts

All the face brushes in this set aren’t dense but this one picks the meteorites powder quite nicely, one dip -very little swirl- and it got enough product on, I don’t know, I thought that maybe since it’s not as dense as some other brushes, the balls go in between the bristles and the bristles can touch the top and the bottom ones (OMG is that sentence creepy or is it just me???)

My go-to is the Z-9 for bronzer, this will also be great with bronzer but delivers a softer wash of color. Recently I have been loving big flat brushes a lot, this and my Z-9 are my daily brushes for the Tom Ford  Terra bronzer, I just wish this one was slightly more dense for the application of bronzer.

It’s a shape I was ignoring for many years but after having tried the Tanseido in the pic for blush, now it’s one of my favorites shapes, at least at this moment 🙂  Probably because the sensation is heaven and provides some kind of calming therapy in the process …

Cheek brush

Below are brushes that I love, all of them are absolutely divine. I still think there is nothing like the Koyudo Red Squirrel, not only because it’s soft but the density is greater than the Koyudo cheek and it’s more directional, more firm.

If the Koyudo cheek is not as soft as the red squirrel, it can’t be far … I don’t feel a big difference. Where it differs the most it’s in the density. The density of the Koyudo Cheek is between the Tanseido YSQ 17 and the Koyudo Red Squirrel.

The Kyureido, the Suqqu and the Chikuhodo Z-4 are more dense and more directional too, the Koyudo cheek will be fantastic with very pigmented products and for those of us who have a very heavy hand.




My thoughts

It’s just a very soft brush to apply very pigmented blushes, I have tried it with Tom Ford Wicked and with RBR Florita thinking that I had to pack it on the bristles but you don’t need to, it picks enough product without having to insist. I prefer the Koyudo red squirrel because it combines density, precision and the most insane softness, this one is just a bit less dense. They are very similar in size and the handle is the same except for the black ferrule.

If I really have to say how they differ, I’d say that the Red Squirrel has more firmness and more blending capabilities but the layers of hair start at the same point in the two brushes, I have recently started to use my brushes at different angles, I think I was using these flat brushes without enough angle actually, now I use them more close to 45° than to a flat-ish and the application i’s easier and faster. I like to place the product at 45° on the high point of the cheek then very softly wiggle and bring upwards, if you have a technique that you love to use, please share !

It’s a very forgiving brush, unless you pack too much product because that is possible with bold colors 😀  then, to blend the excess, better pick a different brush or the foundation brush to cover the mess 😀

Eye shadow L

This brush is the most similar to the Chikuhodo Z-5 but it’s a bit thinner, it has many layers so it picks a nice quantity of product, no worries to apply a nice wash of color all over the eye area, base or blend the whole application. It feels as soft as the Z-5, but the Z-5 is shorter and thicker so the blending capabilities will be higher.





My thoughts

It’s just a very nice base brush, it applies a soft wash of color, no problems at all picking up any kind of powder product. It’s thinner and a bit longer than the Z-5 from Chikuhodo but the result is similar, I cannot see a difference. The Z-5 will do a better blending but for the price, this brush is a fantastic deal in my opinion, specially today with the low JPY.

Since I am THE craziest person with the blending, I don’t have enough eye brushes in the set for my needs : missing a big strong blending brush and a precision pencil brush.

Eye Shadow M

My Koyudo BP033 is always in my handbag (hence the damage on the ferrule…) it’s the kind of brushes that allow you to place, blend and do general touch ups if necessary. If I need to grab some eyeshadow brushes in the morning I will grab one like this and a little pencil brush.

The Koyudo eye shadow M from this set is just amazing, I like how precise it is, but still not too pointy at the top in order to blend and apply a defined layer of color. Some, like the Hakuhodo G5523, are just a tiny bit too pointy for that purpose and the J5523, although it’s fantastic, it’s too large for precise layering of color.




My thoughts

As I suspected, this is a versatile option for the base application, the crease and some blending. A bit too large for just the mobile lid but I can still use it, definitely too large for the lower lash-line. If I have to grab “one-for-all”, this will be useful – providing I also pick a precision little pencil brush. It has just enough density at the top with enough firmness to push product at a 90° angle, it’s slightly softer than the Koyudo BP033.

Eye shadow S

That’s not an usual brush, a tiny crease/precision, I feel like this one is going to replace my Nars 12… same idea : precision crease application but this time SOFT, it’s firm enough to work with the Mac eyeshadows I tested (mattes) so I feel like this is going to be big love.



A bit too big for under eye lash line


My thoughts

It is tiny and directional, not firm enough to apply color on the bottom lash line, the application on the lash line will be too wide and for the most of us it will not deliver enough precision for that part. For small precision crease application it is nice, the small precision crease brush that I dream of is still not existing out there but I will definitely use this little thing in the meantime. Much softer than the Nars 12 but the Nars is a bit more easy to use for me.

For the inner tear duct again it may be too wide but if what you apply goes a bit further around the tear duct it will be fine. Honestly for the price -if you can- and if you are tempted, I will take it. For me it’s cute and useful, either to highlight under the eyebrows or to accentuate the crease. I just hope that one day I will find my perfect little crease brush 🙁  I certainly enjoy this one but it’s missing a bit of material at the top and it’s a bit too long  to be exactly the one I am looking for.

Eye brow

It’s softer than the Hakuhodo, other than that… nothing to add, approx the same size as well, fantastic.


Lip brush

Same as the other Koyudo lip brushes in other sets, I find them fluffy enough but work with precision, they grab a great amount of product. Again nothing else to add, for me it’s the kind of lip brushes I love because they work with any texture (from gloss to matte).


The pouch

The exterior feels cheap and I have a problem with some materials, I am not in love with the exterior of this pouch but I love every thing else. I love that it doesn’t have magnets! Safe to carry!


You can place your eight brushes and on the right you have some room for more.


Were they thinking of me ? 🙂 I can’t live without the Rae Morris Radiance and, it started recently, but I can’t live without the Koyudo fan, for bronzer or blush or powder, I LOVE IT. It combines cuteness with efficiency, this will probably be an extension of my arm from now on 😀


If you push the Radiance and the fan, you can fit them nicely inside and you can slide something at the back of the brushes.


I will report back to you once I have use them for a few days but in the meantime, if you have any questions and I can help you, don’t hesitate 🙂

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Wayne Goss 14 May, 2013 - 9:34 pm

OMG! I”M SOOOOOO JEALOUS!!!!!! ARGH!!!!!!!! xx

Sweet Make Up Temptations 14 May, 2013 - 9:56 pm

😀 😀 😀 it’s agony, isn’t it ? 😉

Melissa 14 May, 2013 - 9:50 pm

Wooo hooo thank you for my late night brushgasm 🙂
Now I can have good sleep dreaming about all these gorgeous brushes!

The face brushes seem to have that ‘sharp’ corners compared to the others.

Okeeey….there goes my May AND June brush budget….sigh…..

OMG Wayne, is that really you?!?! How awesome!!! U better get yr hands on these beauties asap 🙂 🙂

Thank youuuuu dear Sonia!! Really worth the wait!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 14 May, 2013 - 9:58 pm

you are welcome Melissa !
Sharp corners is maybe due to the lack of the density compared to other alternatives, if I understand what you mean 🙂
you can start with one and see how you like it !
yes it is Wayne 😀 he loves soft brushes too…

212kiki 14 May, 2013 - 9:56 pm

Wohoo thumbs up for the very efficient sonia !!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 8:53 am

thank you 😀

Nikoleta 14 May, 2013 - 10:41 pm

I like the finishing brush the most as it seems full and soft. Your boyfriend would go crazy with all the brushes you’ll take back from Japan 🙂 My husband goes nuts with my drawers full of perfumes, brushes and beauty products, I told him “I’ll die poor but smelling good and well made up” 🙂 Well sometimes I hide a parcel or two, I don’t want him to have a heart attack prematurely

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 8:56 am

I wasn’t going to tell him but the problem is that I will upload my hauls on the blog so he will know 🙁 maybe he will change the lock of the house to punish me and he will let me sleep under the bridges 😀
“die poor but smelling good…” I think I can start my research for a VERY strong perfume to cover the smell 😀 😀

Bea 14 May, 2013 - 10:59 pm

Waaaaaaa! I can’t, I just can’t anymore (place another brush on my wishlist) lol. I can’t decide which ones to get first. My head hurts… O_0

Bea 14 May, 2013 - 11:17 pm

Sonia, could you give the hair length x width of the face brushes? Oddly enough I don’t have any of the brushes you are comparing them to (even the Hakuhodo ones) so am not sure how large they are? No rush, just whenever you get to it, thanks! 🙂

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 8:58 am

I will give you all that tonight (plus a surprise : new invented density rating by me !!) 😀
I have already use them this morning but tonight I will definitely have more thoughts to share !

Melissa 15 May, 2013 - 11:09 am

LOL…invented a new density rating?! Will u be counting all the hairs of each brush 🙂

Im very curious abt the application result of the blush brush!! Just want to be sure that it picks up enough color comparing to the Z4 or Koyudo Red Squirrel!!


Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 7:54 pm

Of course 😀
I will keep you updated soon, sorry I didn’t have that much time today because I had no internet connection at home so I was stuck 🙁
I just took a few pictures and inserted them in the post, I will add the comments in the following days, I need to try them a bit better and compare them carefully…

Bea 15 May, 2013 - 5:11 pm

Density rating – Ha! Am really curious to see how you’re gonna do this. 😛 😛

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 8:00 pm

yep but not tonight… did not manage, internet down … but I have plans, just need time and an internet connection.. (I have an idea 🙂

Bonnie 16 May, 2013 - 2:23 pm

New density rating!? Ooooooh, I want to be here when it becomes a universal beauty standard (you know, how people ask what MAC shade you are when looking for comparisons :P)!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 May, 2013 - 2:30 pm

I am working on some kind of rating for density/softness/firmness or with other words coverage/pleasant/precise 😀 but I need some time and I want it to be helpful and fun, therefore it may take some times and be online only after my trip to Japan, I have a few ideas that I hope I will be able to give life to 🙂
I would not say it will become an universal standard though 😀 OMG if one day we get there, it will be pure and crazy happiness 😀
If you have any other criteria that may be of interest in a makeup brush, I think it’s now or never to mention, I could also try to include it !

Bonnie 16 May, 2013 - 4:31 pm

I think you’ve literally got it all “covered”!

This is so exciting, Sonia! Maybe, in Japan, you’ll even receive some help from Kumano brush makers, because I’m sure they have ways of grading the hair beyond what we can see in the final products…

Sweet Make Up Temptations 17 May, 2013 - 6:12 pm

I hope so, but if not, it might give me some ideas 🙂

Nancie 15 May, 2013 - 2:46 am

Can’t wait for you to test these new Koyudo brushes out!! I’m fairly new to the Japanese brushes. Up till now, Tom Ford, Louise Young, and Rae Morris have been my favorites. I am searching for the perfect brush to use with my kett hydro foundation. It is so thin that I tend to get streaks. If you could suggest one for me I would be FOREVER grateful! Thank you, thank you and THANK YOU for sharing your expertise.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 9:02 am

Hi Nancie,
I do have this foundation (will double check tonight since I don’t know if that’s exactly the same one I have in mind). If I do, I will give you my recommendations 🙂
and you are welcome, my pleasure 🙂

Nancie 15 May, 2013 - 2:17 pm

Yeaaaa! Your my hero

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 7:56 pm

I have tried twice to apply the Kett it just looked terrible on my skin (my skin is so dry and tired at the moment that it takes a lot to give it some oomph…)
I tried with a synthetic brush and a goat brush, the better was the Fu-pa02 from Koyudo to buff it in, but honestly the result of this foundation on my skin is so emphasizing my age that I cannot recommend you any brush safely 🙁 (I am not against this foundation but if I don’t like the final result, whatever I do to apply it, then I am not sure about which brush could be better…)
so sorry 🙁 I wish I could help you better…
Yes the best group is here, amongst us you are safe 😀

Bonnie 16 May, 2013 - 2:26 pm

If you mean…. further encouragement of your addiction 😛

Buggsiebee 15 May, 2013 - 5:30 am

Fantastic post Sonia….and FAST!! I can’t believe that you produced such an indepth comparison post in such a short time! Amazing!
I like the set up of the pouch. I don’t have one like that yet. Pity the material used for it isn’t
the greatest, but I’m sure that could be improved on. Koyudo consistantly produces excellently manufactured brushes so getting the material right for the pouch shouldn’t be a prob for them at all. I got confirmation from Koyudo yesterday that my H013 and Fupa 14 are ready to be shipped so I’m looking forward to those. You must be so excited about being able to take a peek at their production site!! ONLY 11 days till take off 😀 😀

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 11:08 am

Thank you Buggsiebee, I will give more details tonight 🙂
It’s a shame for that outside material, maybe it’s just my preference but since the set is so expensive I think the outside layer should look and feel a bit more luxurious, maybe that’s what they wanted to do when they said the pouch might change in the description 🙂 but the fact you can slide 3 flat brushes at the right is a great idea !
OOOH you got these two ?? The fan is in my top 5 brushes, I have it with me all the time, crazy ! It has become my Doudou 😀
11 days OMG *gasp*

laurence 15 May, 2013 - 6:18 am

You’re guilty of TORTURE!!!!! LOL
can you tell us what’s your plan for shopping in Japan? What do you have on your list?

Jen 15 May, 2013 - 4:49 pm

I don’t know whether to kiss you or slap you 😉 !!! I have only had my Evgeny set for a little over a week, and just FINALLY got my Rae Morris Radiance last week – but here I am about 2 seconds from placing my order for this set. I believe I have the same disease you have – I call it never ever enough!!! I thought I’d be happy once I got all my Suqqu and Chikuhodo brushes, but it doesn’t seem to ever end………and I already have the red squirrel cheek (can’t believe it’s still available!!!!) and the fan brush also in my cart at Koyudo. Helpless!!!! Luckily my husband is a music composer and has as many guitars and amps as I have makeup brushes, so he can’t say much. He still makes fun of me a little bit, but then I just look at him and he stops! He was totally fascinated with the Radiance!! Which, by the way – is AMAZING. Thank you for being you – I know I can always trust your recommendations!!!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 7:59 pm

I prefer a kiss to be honest 😀
best compliment I could dream of ! thank you ! <3 very touched !

Mimi 15 May, 2013 - 5:26 pm

Who would have ever known how many of us have this addiction without your blog to bring us together? We all need something to keep us going in life and this is a healthy happy addiction so I love all the encouragement. This set is drool worthy. Oh dear, I had hoped I was finished collecting but no………By the way, I haven’t heard from Neo since she moved to Myanmar. I’d love to hear how she’s doing and her impressions of living there. If you read this Neo, let me hear from you!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 8:02 pm

No time to add my comments tonight, so sorry… just added some pics.
The only sad thing is that even if you own the full set, you still need 1) a pencil brush 2) a goat hair eyeshadow blending brush
Just my opinion after having used these brushes, like most sets, you don’t get everything you need but at least the ones missing are “cheap to get” kind of brushes 😀
She is probably busy but I am sure she is reading us 😉

midnitedesire 15 May, 2013 - 6:43 pm

Amazing post, thanks for taking the time to do all these comparison! super detailed 🙂

I’ve had my eye on the powder brush and this has just been added to my wish list!
yeah! i’m so glad that the shop selling it individually

OH MY …only 11 more days to go 🙂

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 8:04 pm

Thank you 🙂 yep 11 and counting down …. boing boing

BooBooNinja 15 May, 2013 - 7:16 pm

Ha ha! I am grinning and silently laughing as I read the comments. We make a fine bunch. Thanks for being our leader and enabler, Sonia!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 8:06 pm

I know, that’s SOOO COOOOOL !!!

Bea 15 May, 2013 - 8:03 pm

Oh my goodness Sonia! You go waaaay above and beyond the call of duty, thank you!!! Now I know the powder brush will be mine lol. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Melissa 15 May, 2013 - 8:12 pm

Thank youuuu for the extra pics Sonia!!
I def will get the blush brush.

Question abt the S e/s brush; do u think its firm enough for placing e/s on the tear dot corner or would that be too floppy or maybe too long? Im using the Chik Z10 atm for that purpose.

Btw, which lippie is that you’re wearing? Suck a beautiful my-lips-but-better-color!

Melissa 15 May, 2013 - 8:14 pm

Oooops typo not ‘suck’ but SUCH …. This damn touch screen 🙂

Sweet Make Up Temptations 15 May, 2013 - 8:26 pm

I have applied TF Wicked on the cheeks and I just applied too much as usual… it will pick up enough product that’s for sure 😛
For the lower lash line it’s definitely too floppy, for the inner corner it works because I apply on a large zone but it will be better with the Koyudo C011 for example, more adapted for that purpose, more firm and directional.
I am wearing Mac Elegant Accent applied lightly with the Lip brush from this set and on top By Terry gloss in Honeymoon, thank you 😀
Since I had no internet connection tonight (still not working fine…), I changed my hair color, blond color washes me out too much I think… anyway…. L’Oreal casting in 600 is my new color 😀 😀

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 May, 2013 - 9:28 am

I have added some thoughts after the pics under each face and eye brush 🙂

Jen 16 May, 2013 - 2:56 am

Okay, a kiss it is. And a big hug, too 🙂

I have actually emailed with Neo, she’s doing well in Myanmar, just adjusting. I think she’s staying away because not much ships there, she is having a little withdrawl I think! I know she was thinking of contacting Evgeny. I’m sure she’ll check in sometime soon, but she is there, safe and looking for a house.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 May, 2013 - 7:03 am

cool, happy to hear that, thank you Jen !

Felcie 16 May, 2013 - 3:04 am

CDJapan no longer shows fu-pa 14

Devin 16 May, 2013 - 5:17 am

Thank you so much for this review. I love it when you put the brushes next to your face, it is amazingly helpful. I think one or two of the eye brushes might be must haves for me.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 16 May, 2013 - 7:04 am

you are welcome 🙂

Jen 16 May, 2013 - 3:48 pm

Well, I just caved and ordered this set plus the pink fan brush. It didn’t take me very long to cave! However, sometime between yesterday and today they sold out of the red squirrel brush ;( ! I wonder if others saw my post and went ahead and ordered, boo hoo!!! Oh well, I’m the one that procrastinated all this time. I have the Suqqu, and Evgeny, plus this one…..so I suppose I’ll survive. I’ll just have to be sad for a little while!

Also, I saw your updated note that you have trouble with your squirrel brushes getting sort of oily. I got this tip from Neo actually, and it’s fabulous. You know those microfiber dust cloths? I bought a bunch of those, and after I use the brush I swirl it around on one of the dust cloths. It really helps with taking off both the remaining powder or whatever you’re using and the oil, I have to wash them much less frequently than I did before. Just something to maybe try so you don’t have to wash them so much and maybe be able to use them a little more!

Have you experimented at all with face oils? I’ve developed dry patches out of nowhere in the last few years and I’ve become obsessed with oils. This one in particular, I actually learned about it from the Non Blonde, I’m not sure where she ships (the woman that invented it makes it all by hand) but I thought I’d share anyway for others – it’s the Best Face Forward oil, it’s made of all natural oils. It’s amazing and has been an absolute godsend for my face. It helped my dry patches, my oily patches, my breakouts – everything. I’ve also gotten several people (Neo included!) hooked on it. I think she bought 3 bottles before she went to Myanmar!
Link –

Bea 16 May, 2013 - 5:25 pm

Blergh…I wanted to try that BFF oil but $22 to ship 1oz. 🙁

Melissa 16 May, 2013 - 7:28 pm

The BFF oil sounds great! Yeah shipping cost sucks. Maybe I should buy a gallon and have it shipped over to Europe by 1 of my company’s ship….LOL

Sonia, thank u for adding yr thoughts!! I’ll skip the powder brush this time and go for the blush brush instead. So far my Chik MK2 and A&A SGP-020 are my HG powder/finishing brushes!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 17 May, 2013 - 6:12 pm


Sweet Make Up Temptations 17 May, 2013 - 6:11 pm

Hey Jen, waw, you got the whole set ? I hope you love it, my only regret is that I wish they were a bit denser so that they could keep the shape a bit better but unlike several sets I bought in the past, this one I will use all the brushes, the big finishing less than the others I know because I am not much a powder person but honestly the others are in the front row, please do let me know what you think of them, I am a bit worried you don’t love them because sometimes I am so passionate that I feel like I push you to get things…
I hope you don’t take it like that, and please please please feel free to report back your opinion, whatever it is, positive or not !!
The pink fan for me I can’t say enough how much I love it, please also share your thoughts 🙂
If you wanted the red squirrel brush and if I find it for you in Japan I could take it for you, just let me know !

Your tip is gold, thank you very much, I will try I hope during this weekend (I think I have some microfiber cloths) I am glad to share with you all because I get (we get all) many advice tips ! fantastic !!!
I will need to try this oil then, but my skin is really really terrible, I usually don’t get very excited because almost everything I try fails 🙁 but I’ll see if and how I can try that one ! thank you again x1000
On my “need to try” it goes 🙂

Sylvia 17 May, 2013 - 9:53 pm

I’ll second the appreciation of that micro fibre cloth tip.

Sweet Make Up Temptations 19 May, 2013 - 10:54 am

and it worked 🙂 so cool !!!

Bonnie 18 May, 2013 - 11:04 am

Thank you to you and Neo for the microfibre cloth tip! I will definitely be trying it 🙂

Hazel W.H. 17 May, 2013 - 9:29 am

what lovely brushes they are!!!! i really want to pat them too!!;)))

Jen 18 May, 2013 - 9:18 pm

I did go for the whole set, and actually wanted a less dense set, so that works out! I like softer brushes for finishing powders, and my Kokutan LAG from Hakuhodo is sometimes a little too dense for what I want to do! And I’m just a brush whore! Since I wanted more than half of them so figured what the heck. It’ll be hard to be patient for it! I’m super excited for the fan brush too!

I hope everyone loves the microfiber cloth tip! It has definitely made a big difference for me.

You are SO sweet to offer that Sonia!! Please do not go out of your way, but if you happen to see it that would be amazing!!!!

Sweet Make Up Temptations 19 May, 2013 - 11:00 am

In that case, please do let me know if that’s the density you were looking for, I will be creating two brush guards for the 2 bigger brushes (or maybe I can find some in Japan that don’t damage the bristles)… we’ll see.
The microfiber tip works for me, I am really happy with it, so thank you for sharing !
If I find it, I’ll definitely get it for you.

Nancie 20 May, 2013 - 11:51 pm

So excited for you Sonia! How are you able to sleep?! I’m excited for the rest of us too….can’t wait to hear about all the new treasures you’ll be bringing home (

Sweet Make Up Temptations 23 May, 2013 - 10:34 am

well I can’t sleep much and guess what ? I have an eye problem, I had to go see the doc yesterday… feeling better with medicine, will be gone by Sunday, phew !!!
I hope it won’t be too agonizing 🙂

Nancie 23 May, 2013 - 2:18 pm

No no no no! Nothing can spoil your trip! I know that medicine will do its job.

Sylvia 21 May, 2013 - 7:33 am

About that BFF oil and the shipping to the EU. If there’s any chance of clubbing together an order to reduce the impact of the shipping, I’m in.

Jillian Hardin 15 June, 2013 - 3:57 am

I can’t thank you enough for your reviews. I just ordered the Koyudo fu-pa14, the Gray Squirrel Cheek Brush, BP016 Cheek Brush, and the Hakuhodo Kokutan Eyeshadow Brush L. Clearly, I’m having an obsession with squirrel hair.

Gladys L. 30 June, 2013 - 4:32 pm

Oh no, I didn’t log out of my brother’s account (would you please delete the msg. above?

Let me paste my original comment reply here:

Sonia, I am inspired by your recent purchase of BP036 (kolinsky) to consider buying the BP037 (gray squirrel) also.

Well, I am interested in brushes in the shape of Tom Ford 13 but wanna find a softer one and a kolinsky one (the Tom Ford 13 at counter becomes so much like MAC 217 and too coarse).

Do you think the gray squirrel can really blend appropriately and thus worth buying as a eye blending brush? Or should I stick with the Kyureido KK-003 kind of blending brush (I already own the Tanseido YWQ 12)?

Sweet Make Up Temptations 30 June, 2013 - 6:46 pm

no worries Gladys 🙂
you cannot base your opinion on the TF brushes displayed at the counter, if this is the only place you saw and touched them, please always keep in mind that they are destroyed, they do not represent the actual brush. My TF13 is still soft after a long time using it, keeps its shape and absolutely does not look like a Mac 217. I am just saying this to share my experience with my TF13, but I have only one, I know you can be very disappointed with the sample brushes at the counters but they do not look and feel like that at all 🙂
With the BP036 kolinsky you will have more control than with the grey squirrel one, and this kolinsky is incredibly soft and full at the top. The BP036 for me it’s a must-have if you want precision, control and specially if you have smaller eyes.
With time and new acquisitions my preferences change, and they change all the time ! at this moment I love efficiency, control and softness “enough”, sometimes when you get too soft brushes they aren’t efficient enough for blending. The KK-003 is really soft but not as soft as the Suqqu L, which is even better in terms of efficiency. At this moment I am enjoying something different, the Takeda with canadian squirrel hair, shown in this page at price 8400 yen : http://takeda-brush.com/ProductData/tsubaki.html It’s really expensive unfortunatelly and I am sure there are similar cheaper alternatives but that one is really dense and has a perfect shape and efficiency for blending, canadian squirrel hair is very known for its efficiency and control and its triangle shape is very appropriate for blending. Canadian squi. will blend better than grey squirrel in my opinion and experience but then it’s a matter of personal preference…
the KK-003 is a good blending brush but it’s much bigger than the TF13 at the tip, the TF for me it’s more efficient and multipurpose than the KK-003.
I also have the Hakuhodo S141 which is a bit similar than the TF13 but much more pointy, so more for application than blending. This S141 is kolinsky but I think only available at Hakuhodo Japan.
Maybe my upcoming post on “brush selection” can help you but at the end it is really a matter of personal preference and you have to choose with your heart 😉 which one will you regret more if you don’t take it ?

Natalia 10 October, 2013 - 7:56 am

Hi Sonia,

Is this the same set as this one? :


Sweet make up temptations 10 October, 2013 - 8:12 am

Hi Natalia, no it’s not, the one you show me it’s another type of hair, even more expensive 🙂

ece 13 May, 2014 - 5:38 pm

Hi Sonia; I want to buy a blush brush and I cant decide which one I should buy. Can you tell me which one these brushes is the softest and more efficient? I am also heavy handed person. I always put so much blush on my face somehow.
Tanseido YAQ 17
Hakuhodo s111
Chikuhodo z4
Koyudo grey squirrel

Sweet make up temptations 14 May, 2014 - 9:03 am

Hello Ece,
i would go for the Z4, it is quite dense but you will have a lot of softness and you can dose by tapping off the excess easily, if I had to keep only one from these it would be the Z4.
What Koyudo are you talking about ? the Fu-Pa14 or the blush (red handle or white handle) or the very new one ?

ece 14 May, 2014 - 5:11 pm

not fupa one, the ones that red and white handles but I dont know the new one. Also comparing the Mac 116 and 129, what would you say about the size of Chikuhodo z4 ?Is it bigger or smaller ? the only brush I have for powder and blush is mac 129 but it is so scratchy 🙁

Sweet make up temptations 14 May, 2014 - 11:22 pm

the Z-4 is approx the same size as the Mac 116 actually, just rounder 🙂

ece 16 May, 2014 - 12:57 am

If I can stay calm and act logical, I will buy z4 instead of suqqu cheek 🙂 Thank you Sonia by the way :))))

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 9 October, 2014 - 7:53 pm

calm and logical (has been a while…)
you’re welcome 🙂

Jennifer 9 October, 2014 - 6:23 pm

Hi! Where did you purchase the Kyureido brushes? I have spent so much time searching!

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 9 October, 2014 - 7:48 pm

Hi Jennifer,
They were available on Rakuten website. http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/lifetech/item/11124257/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en
But so far I could only see the whole set and maybe the pencil… http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/lifetech/item/11120124/
once there you can try to search by “KK-” several shops in Rakuten had them but they didn’t make many 🙁

Jennifer 13 October, 2014 - 7:51 pm


You’re the best! I appreciate your help and love your guide on brushes! 🙂

Sweet Make-Up Temptations 4 November, 2014 - 8:47 pm

thank you Jennifer!! it’s my pleasure 🙂

swapnap 19 November, 2015 - 2:06 am

Hi Sonia!

I just happened to stumble upon your blog a few days ago and have been visiting ever since, hehe. It is great to see a blog dedicated to make up brushes 🙂

I have been rather late to join the Japanese brushes bandwagon but now that I am all on board with the Wayne Goss Original Collection and Face Set and other assorted Hakuhodo brushes, I was wondering whether you could help me figure out which squirrel brush set to buy- The Koyudo Grey Squirrel one or the Chikuhodo Z-series or something else? (I only own Wayne Goss and Hakuhodo- have not ventured out into other brands yet). I only have goat hair brushes from Hakuhodo and the goat/squirrel ones from Wayne Goss. If I were to get just one squirrel hair set, which one should that be? Please let me know your thoughts. I would really appreciate your insights!


Sonia G. 20 December, 2015 - 6:05 pm

Hi !
oh great news! welcome onboard !!! we are never enough brush lovers 😀
Regarding a grey squirrel set, I would go Chikuhodo Z series!
The pencil from this set is a bit flimsy at the tip but the other ones are absolute wonders, dense and luxurious. Maybe you will get a better pencil than I did, I saw some were a bit denser than mine.
The issues when getting a set is that it’s difficult to love everysingle brush, I prefer to pick the ones I want but those Z series are stunning!


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