The Traditions series was first introduced during the Holiday Specials 2022 with the Special Edition Trio set.
The Keyaki wood we used to craft these handles is native to Japan, and their manufacturing showcases traditional Japanese craftsmanship techniques and components.
We loved the aesthetics and the level of craftsmanship they embedded. These handles required a lot of time from the artisans, but we really wanted to find a way to bring them back and keep them in the permanent collection, and with bristles that would match the level of craftsmanship of these handles.
We have worked with kakishibu dye for our bristles in the past, we fell in love with the history and the benefits of this dye, so it made perfect sense to combine these special keyaki handles with kakishibu dye saikoho bristles. Even though they take a long time to manufacture, using goat bristles and techniques that the artisans master in their Kumano ateliers, means that we are technically capable of restocking them should they sell out.
The Keyaki Kakishibu series are crafted by Japanese artisans in the Hiroshima prefecture. They combine luxurious Japanese materials whilst showcasing an array of traditional techniques. It’s such a privilege for me to work with these incredibly talented artisans, to say that I am grateful it’s a huge understatement. This was a wonderful journey, we enjoyed every minute and we sincerely hope that you will love these brushes!
We are aiming to keep these brushes in the permanent collection, but we just need to mention that these brushes can only be manufactured if and when the materials are obtainable- and also when the artisans are available. Due to the special skill sets and materials that these brushes require, our production capability is limited and they take a very long time to manufacture.
TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES, NOBLE MATERIALS AND UNIQUE DESIGNS
The Traditions Keyaki Kakishibu series have been manufactured in Hiroshima prefecture, Japan. They showcase a very high level of artisan craftsmanship, whether we are looking at the handles, the bristles, or the ferrules.
THE SHAPE AND LENGTH
The handle is the same length (105mm) as the PRO, FUSION, SKY, and FUNDAMENTALS.
They are well balanced and easy to hold, they showcase different aesthetics but are approximately the same weight as the PRO or SKY handles – although some Traditions handles may be around1g heavier in comparison.
They share the same keyaki wood and also the same manufacturing techniques as the Limited Edition Mini Keyaki brushes.
The wood used for these Traditions handles is Keyaki Zelkova Serrata, a luxurious native wood from Japan.
The handles may differ in hue and grain as these characteristics depend on the initial raw keyaki wood piece, and all the pieces are slightly different. They may also have little dents but this is the nature of this wood and it’s considered part of its beauty.
THE FINISHING TECHNIQUES
One of the major steps in the manufacturing process of these handles is to use the traditional Tonoko polishing powder to fill and smooth the wood. This wood is known to have tiny dents in the grain, this is part of its nature and this finishing process has the benefit to smooth the surface, although it’s normal to still see some tiny dents.
Using Tonoko powder also strengthens the wood and prevents it from moving too much – as wood moves with changes in humidity and temperature.
The whole manufacturing of the handles is a long process, I wrote a dedicated article detailing the manufacturing steps of the Fundamental handles, it’s published on the Beautylish website and available to read here in case you want to know more about the entire process. The steps and techniques used on the Fundamentals handles are similar to these Keyaki handles, however, the artisans need to add a few more steps to these, because of the characteristics of the Keyaki wood.
I sometimes receive messages from people who love woodwork or a particular type of wood, it’s really wonderful to connect with you!
These ferrules are brass and lacquered with a matte black coating, they are entirely manufactured in Japan.
The Traditions T6 has a very special ferrule, it’s arched at the top and follows the same idea as the NIJI PRO.
It’s the same ferrule and size used on the Arched Worker in the Maki-e Sunset Cranes.
In order to make this curved shape at the top, we had to create additional tools and add more processes, which involves more time and manufacturing costs. This unique ferrule is not only a fun feature, but it also adds functionality. The brush opens to the sides and allows the bristles to move with more fluidity. The way the bristles move is a top priority, we have more control with the brush, less fall out, but it’s also very satisfying.
The bristles have been dyed with kakishibu (persimmon tannin dye). This is a traditional Japanese dye method coming from the persimmon fruit, the ones used for our dye are sourced locally.
The Kakishibu dye technique dates back to the 13th century, it is credited with being an insect repellent and having anti-mold properties, a nice additional benefit to help keep our brushes safe!
The color of the bristles is a gradient beige to brown with a soft orange hue, it’s not as bright and orange as the persimmon fruit.
The dying process of the bristles is entirely done by hand by one master artisan and takes several days from start to finish. This finish is bespoke for our bristles, when it’s completed, the final hue may differ slightly from batch to batch, this is absolutely normal and the color of the bristles is even likely to change with time, usage and sun exposure, so every brush will evolve differently.
Another benefit with this dye is that the brushes can be used with all formulas, powders but also creams and liquids. If it’s for regular use with creams and liquids I recommend the Fusion series or full synthetic brushes because they will be more durable, but for occasional use with these formulas it is totally fine to use these Kakishibu dyed brushes.
It’s good to know that the Kakishibu dye process is going to alter the structure of the bristle. As a result, the bristles may not feel as soft compared to some fine and silky undyed saikoho goat, but I think that this dye truly adds another dimension and movement to them. Having had these brushes for a long time before the production started, I found that being dyed was a wonderful plus for these designs. Also, this particular kakishibu dying process is being regarded as a precious traditional craft and has received national awards. It’s great to recognize this craft and encourage it so that it is passed down through generations.
In this set, there is a smudger brush, a laydown, 3 crease/blending brushes and an all over multifunction brush. These new Traditions are all unique designs that do not exist in my current collection.
These are essentials with a twist, wonderful as a team and valuable workhorses on their own. I will get into the details of each brush and some comparisons, this is important because maybe two brushes seem similar, but there are interesting nuances between them.
You can click on the pics to open the full size image. I use a macro lens so it’s going to show a serious close up of the bristles 🙂
The Traditions T1 is a smudger type of brush, fantastic to add definition, to smudge a pencil, ideal to place a product with precision and diffuse it effortlessly, it will get the job done so quickly!
One of the biggest challenges that we often face with a smudger brush is to consistently obtain the same strength and precision with the tip. A smudger brush should have a firm construction but still just enough flexibility on the tip to glide without surprises, we want to avoid irregular strokes, unpredictable flicks or skipping on the skin. This smudger brush was designed keeping all these challenges in mind so that it is as effective and reliable as it gets.
The two main use cases are:
– To add definition along the lash line. Since it’s quite thick at the top, we have a generous surface to work with and tackle harder formulas that are difficult to lay down in an even manner.
– When we want to smudge a pencil on the lash line, it’s so easy to even out and smooth the placement with the tip of this brush.
I see this brush not only as a pencil brush, or a smudger brush, for me this is a real time saver. My biggest challenge is to be able to achieve the same application or intensity on both eyes, most of the time I am in a rush so I need the placement and blending to be extremely effortless and fast and for these reasons this brush is such a precious helper.
Usage: Laydown, smudge, define. Compatible with all products or formulas, powders, creams, pencils.
The most similar to the Traditions T1 is the discontinued Smudger One, but it’s much bigger so it doesn’t allow the same control. With the T1 we have more precision with the placement, we can work in shorter strokes. The tip of the T1 is quite flat, the bristles move with similar resistance, this allows for a nice even placement, with similar intensity, either with the application or the smudging.
If you already own the S1 or the Flat Definer, the T1 is much thicker and has a wider and firmer tip, if you are looking for a strong reliable smudger, this is exactly the strength of the T1.
The S1 and Flat Definer are much thinner, the tip will allow a thinner placement and to keep it closer to the lashes, we can also use the sides of these two brushes to lay down product with precision as they are longer and there is more surface in comparison to the T1. We could also use the sides of the T1 but it’s a very short brush so it’s not ideal, I use the sides when I am working a shadow cream stick very close to the lashes for example.
The Traditions T2 is a laydown brush, this is the type of brush that I usually call a “builder” as it can laydown product and we can build the intensity gradually but, it’s quite different from my usual builders, I’ll explain.
The Traditions T2 has thickness but also flexibility, the bristles flow super smoothly onto the skin, they release the product steadily. We often see this functionality in larger eye brushes that apply the base shadow on the entire lid for example- this is to avoid harsh edges towards the perimeter of the application.
The idea behind this design is the same, but in a smaller size. What this brush does is that it allows us to lay down a base shadow and target the mobile lid, or the mobile lid and the crease, then we can use it to intensify the outer v with a darker shadow or to apply a lighter shadow on the brown bone area, all this without having to switch brush.
This brush is such a time saver. If we are going for a minimal look but we still want some dimension, we can apply a medium shade on the mobile lid, use the same brush perpendicularly in the crease to deepen the crease, then intensify the outer v with a slightly darker shade, and also use the tip along the bottom lash line, this will get you ready to go in 30 seconds. I do this when I am in a hurry, often with a touch of bright shadow in the center of the mobile lid, applied with the same brush.
This T2 is not a packer type of brush, not the ideal brush to use with shimmer shadows because these formulas often need a firmer brush. On the other hand, it fills a need that is just as fun, it’s going to facilitate the application of darker shadows or just be an awesome time saver when we just want a minimal look but still want to enjoy the process.
Usage: Laydown, smoke, define, diffuse. Compatible with all product formulas, powders, liquids, creams.
The Traditions T2 has thickness and a very predictable flow, it allows the tip to smoothly smoke a shadow on the lash line.
The Traditions T1 is going to offer a more intense opaque application, the T2 is going to be softer, more diffused but because of the shape and the flexibility of the bristles, the T2 is an amazing brush to use along the lash line.
We can use one brush or the other depending on what we want to achieve or for example combine both: we can smudge a pencil with the T1, then grab the T2 to layer a different shadow on top and smoke it out.
The Builder M is a “packer” type of brush, it has a different construction with more strength and firmness, it’s amazing to pair with shadows that you want to concentrate within a perimeter, while the T2 is more for shadows that you want to diffuse.
The T3 is a multipurpose brush, a versatile hybrid that has laydown, crease, and blending abilities.
It has an oval shape and the tip is where the strength of the brush is situated.
This is a strategic crease or blending brush, we can aim with confidence: we know exactly where the strength of the brush is and where it’s doing the blending. The bristles flow so smoothly, it’s super stable, predictable, there is no need to use too much pressure with these kakishibu dyed saikoho brushes because these bristles are so incredibly effective.
I love this shape and this density, it’s a very convenient size for multi-tasking, a gem when we want to intensity a placement, or target a blending. It’s another time saver brush, we will spend less time adjusting the results, less blending, because of the control that it allows in the first place.
I will compare the Traditions T3, T4 and T5 further down in this post, please click here to directly jump to the comparison. The comparison between the 3 brushes will help you understand the nuances between them.
Usage: Laydown, crease work, blending. Compatible with all product formulas.
I don’t have anything similar in the current collection but the previous S3 special edition from 2022 is similar in size and shape. The T3 feels much more denser.
The discontinued Crease One is more tapered, this T3 is a bit similar in idea but more rounded at the tip.
The Traditions T4 is a medium size crease/blending brush with a flat surface at the top. It’s a wonderful brush for transition shades, for work just above the crease.
It’s airy but with substantial density, not floppy at all.
The bristles work with similar strength, this allows us to build the intensity very consistently, no patches or uneven areas.
A tapered brush has more strength towards the tip of the bristles, while a brush with a flatter tip is going to apply the same blending power across its surface. What I love the most about this brush is that it splays out, but the bristles retain their shape, they bounce back and work together, no bristles are doing their own thing 3 miles apart.
The size and density of the T4 are very relevant, not too big, not too small, a good compromise that allows us to have control, but that still delivers an even diffused result.
Usage: Laydown, crease, transition, blending. Compatible with all product formulas.
The closest is the Mini Booster from the SKY series, this Mini Booster is going to have more strength towards the point of the brush, while the Traditions T4 has a flat-ish surface with the strength more evenly distributed across its surface.
The Traditions T5 is a crease brush with a pinched ferrule, it has medium density, it’s fluffy but very disciplined: the bristles flex and work together. The strength is higher at the tip but it’s still so nicely distributed, it’s as if the bristles give you constant feedback on what is happening, it’s very consistent with the application and this shape is super easy to work with.
If you are interested in these Traditions brushes and want to get one to see how these bristles would work for you, the T5 would be a fantastic one to start with. The cost per use ratio is great because these type of crease brushes are heroes in our collections and often get the most use.
Usage: Laydown, crease work, blending. Compatible with all formulas.
The Worker M is close in size to the T5 but they are two very different brushes. The Worker M is more densely packed in comparison to the T5. We can obtain more intensity and we can work on a smaller perimeter with the Worker M because the bristles won’t move and splay out as much.
This is my good old Mac 217 next to the T5, these two are a bit similar in proportions but they don’t have the same size ferrule. The shape is also not exactly like the Mac here but in terms of functionality it is the same idea: work in the crease, blending, all-over placement.
TRADITIONS T3 VS TRADITIONS T4 VS TRADITIONS T5
These three brushes are quite similar in size so this will give you a better idea of how these 3 brushes compare.
ANATOMY / PURPOSE
The Traditions T3 has more strength towards the center (the tip), this helps when we need more control either to intensify a placement or blend with precision. The T3 is great to pair with shadows that are not easy to build up, they may be harder formulas or close to our skintone, this brush helps to work them with more opacity in comparison to the T5.
The Traditions T4 has a more flat surface, the strength is even across its surface, this is to apply or blend a product with similar intensity, for example above the crease and/or with transition shades.
For work in the crease, the T3 or the T5 are more adequate since they have a more tapered shape.
The Traditions T5 will provide a more diffused placement in comparison to the T3. The sides can cover a large area and since it has a pinched ferrule that gives the brush a tapered shape, it will fit in the crease area easily. The T5 is effortless to apply a shadow all-over the lid, to deepen the crease, or to blend out the final result.
The Traditions T6 is a big eyeshadow brush for all-over placement or blending. It’s quite large and dense, but the arched pinched ferrule opens the bristles and allows them to flow very smoothly, they really flex and adapt to the structure of the eye area.
We can use it to layer a base shadow, to blend, to smooth out a placement, to set, for some it can also fit in the crease (sideways). It is compatible with cream products so we can also use it with concealer.
It’s fun to have a big eye brush and this is a really big one, but it remains something we can still use because the strength is at the tip of the bristles – no need to use pressure – so its rounded shape allows some control.
Usage: All-over application, blending, contour small areas, highlight with stubborn product formulas. Compatible with all product formulas.
The Maki-e Sunset Cranes Arched Worker shares a similar ferrule but the T6 feels much thicker, the surface is rounder and it is more appropriate for blending since the bristles are goat and have much more grip.
The Traditions T6 is big, it may even cover your entire lid area but sideways it has a similar width than the Jumbo Blender. The T6 is dense and strong but has more movement in comparison, the bristles flow so smoothly that it’s almost soothing and relaxing.
The T6 versus the Worker M, if you own the Worker M (or the Worker Two since it’s the same brush), you can see how they differ in shape and size.
A sideways view to show how it compares to the other team members, the T6 is also a blending brush but it’s going to cover much more area.
TRADITIONS KEYAKI KAKISHIBU – TECHNICAL SPECS
|Total length mm
|Bristles length mm
|Price in USD
|Kakishibu dyed Saikoho goat
|Kakishibu dyed Saikoho goat
|Kakishibu dyed Saikoho goat
|Kakishibu dyed Saikoho goat
|Kakishibu dyed Saikoho goat
|Kakishibu dyed Saikoho goat
If you are just starting to discover artisan-made brushes and wish to start or upgrade your tools, these Traditions series are not only unique in terms of aesthetics, but they are also effective, fun and effortless to use for any skill level.
If you are a long time Fude lover and enjoy Japanese craftsmanship, I hope that these can bring something different and be a good repository of Japanese Fude Traditions.
AVAILABILITY AND PRICE
This set will be available starting on the 23rd of January at 10am PT on Beautylish, the set will retail for USD 240. They will also be available individually upon this first launch and the prices for each brush are mentioned on the Specs table.
Beautylish have a sign up list where you can enter your details and be notified when these will be available on their website!
A LITTLE NOTE
I started launching my first series in 2017, I didn’t know that I would still be here today and I am so grateful for your loyalty and your continuous support! Having you around and being able to work with the artisans is such a blessing!
Today I am working with several manufacturers, we have amazing ongoing projects, some will finally become technically feasible in the near future. We are evolving, and we love so much what we do and where it’s taking us.
There will be some changes, the main idea is that at the end of 2024 – beginning 2025 we have a meaningful and cohesive collection in place, with amazing designs, and not have brushes that are too similar in function. This means that some brushes will change or will be discontinued as we move along, but after those changes, it will be easier to navigate the collections and find the tools that you’ll need more easily.
At this stage I cannot share what brushes will be impacted, I want to do it as soon as possible, but today it’s not clear yet. What I can confirm is that there are some restocks on the horizon and almost here (Worker L, Mini Base, Mini Booster, Mini Keyaki Buffer and Niji, Soft Concealer). At this moment I am working on restocking some of the cases, the towel, and the Wooden Brush Holder.
The Holiday Maki-e Sunset Cranes and the Holiday brush holder will also restock but I will know the dates only in the upcoming weeks as I will be in Japan with the artisans soon.