Thursday, 13 March 2014

A basic introduction to Chikuhodo makeup brushes

Based in Japan, Chikuhodo manufacture some of the world's most beautiful and luxurious hand-made makeup brushes.  Not only does Chikuhodo create selected brushes for well known companies including RMK, SUQQU, Kose, Kanebo and Shiseido - Chikuhodo also have their own line of incredible brushes.

The aim of this blog post is to present some basic information on Chikuhodo - a little about the company, and a little about Chikuhodo's own line of brushes.

Disclaimer: The below information has been adapted from the Chikuhodo website.  All images courtesy of Chikuhodo.

Chikuhodo is a long established creator of makeup brushes - according to the Chikuhodo website, the company was founded in 1952, and certified as a corporation in 1972.

"Chikuhodo Co. Ltd. is a makeup brush manufacturer, which adopts traditional Japanese brush making style and is located in Kumano, Hiroshima prefecture.  Receiving orders from many domestic and overseas client companies, Chikuhodo has been engaging in manufacturing of all types of high-quality makeup brushes.  Today Chikuhodo has grown into the No.1 company in original equipment manufacturing (OEM) of makeup brushes in Japan.  We feel so grateful to many top-ranking makeup artists both inside and outside of Japan for giving us precious opinions and knowledge, which we feel has lead us to come so far as a high-quality makeup brush manufacturer.  We will continue delivering high-quality makeup brushes and bring satisfaction to all our clients and users through an all-out effort by the whole employees in our company.  Your continued support for Chikuhodo is greatly appreciated."  Chikuhodo Co. Ltd. Chairman - Tesshu Takemori

A quick look at the business ethos of Chikuhodo

Chikuhodo manufacture makeup brushes across four areas - OEM manufacture; their wholesale line; their original line; and customised lines for makeup artists.


About the Chikuhodo makeup brush series

The above image is a basic pictorial representation of where each of the Chikuhodo brush series relates in regard to price point and unique characterisation.

Standard Lines

The Artist Series
The Chikuhodo Artist Series brushes come in two versions - Black and Red - both with silver coloured ferrules.  The Artist Black Series brushes have long handles, whereas the Artist Red Series brushes have short handles.  Both the Black and Red Artist Series have a range of brushes of varying hair types, including but not limited to kolinsky, horse, goat, and badger.

The M Series
The M Series brushes have a distinct black and white gradient handle with black ferrules, and are composed of either goat, grey squirrel, kolinsky, or sable hair.

The Y Series
A standard line with black handles and silver coloured ferrules, composed of grey squirrel, sable, kolinsky, and some synthetics. Higher price point than the Artist Black Series.

Prestige Lines

BP Series

Very short, glossy black handles with silver coloured ferrules.  Composed of squirrel, goat, kolinsky, and badger.

G Series

Short, white handles with gold coloured ferrules.  Composed of squirrel, horse, goat, kolinsky, and some synthetics.

GS Series

White handles with gold coloured ferrules - handles are longer than the G Series.  Composed of squirrel, goat, kolinsky and some synthetics.

K Series

The K Series is a stunning retractable brush range with a polished metal appearance.  The hairs are composed of goat, kolinsky, squirrel, water badger and some synthetics.

Kiwami Series

I am not 100% sure on the details of these brushes, but they have a black ferrule and a handle that reminds me of mahogany (or at least, the colour of mahogany).  Composed of squirrel, kolinsky, water badger and some synthetics.  These brushes are remarkably expensive - about ten times the price of the Z series.  They were created as a special limited edition brush set to commemerate the 60th anniversary of Chikuhodo.

Mens Series

The Mens Series comprises a range of grooming tools, including shaving brushes composed of water badger hair.

MK Series

Two unique face brushes, each with black handles/ferrules, and beautiful artwork on the handle.  Both are composed of grey squirrel.

SV Series

The SV Series have beautiful silver coloured handles with Japanese inscriptions on the ferrule.  Composed of squirrel, goat, pony, raccoon, and kolinsky.

YP Series

The YP series have champagne coloured handles, and silver coloured ferrules.  Composed of squirrel, kolinsky, horse, water badger and some synthetics.

Z Series

The Z Series has black handles and black ferrules, and are composed of squirrel, badger and kolinsky.  All of the brushes except for the Z6 and Z7 are composed of 100% grey squirrel.

My thoughts...

First, lets get price out of the way.  I know a lot of people believe that Chikuhodo brushes are obscenely expensive - however, this is not the case for all brushes.

The Standard Lines have some very reasonable priced options - eye shadow brushes start at around 1,050 Japanese Yen (JPY) - that is equivalent to about $13 USD at the current exchange rate.  Some of the grooming instruments in the Artist Series are under 1,000 JPY.

The Prestige Lines are of course more costly.  The Z Series is renowned for being one of the best Series in the Chikuhodo range, and the Z1 Powder Brush will set you back 15,750 JPY - equivalent to around $190 USD.

It is certainly worth taking a look through the different brush series and at the different options to suit your budget.

The vast choice can be a little overwhelming - but my premise behind choosing brushes can be applied to any and all brands - please see my blog post on Hakuhodo brushes.

Some of my blogger friends also have fantastic posts that I highly recommend reading:
~ Sonia from Sweet Makeup Temptations has many informative posts on Chikuhodo;
~ The Driveller Kate of Drivel about Frivol has some great posts on Chikuhodo;
~ Miss Panties of The Black Panties also has some great posts on Chikuhodo

If you are a lover of beautiful, impeccably made, hand-crafted makeup brushes - Chikuhodo brushes are a worthwhile investment.  They will bring a little luxury into your life, that will last a lifetime.

Where can Chikuhodo brushes be purchased?

Unless you live in Japan, these brushes can be quite hard to get your hands on.  However, there is a way.  I will be posting in the next day about how the general public, worldwide, can purchase Chikuhodo makeup brushes.

My Chikuhodo Brush Collection

Top to bottom: Chikuhodo Z8 | Z4 | Z10 | Z7

I currently only have four brushes from the Z Series.  However, the Z9 is on its way to me, and should arrive early next week.  I also plan on buying more from the Z Series - the next planned purchase being the Z2.

I hope this post has been informative, and stay tuned for my upcoming post on how you can get these beautiful brushes!

Thank you for reading!

Bern x


  1. Thanks for the post Bern! :)
    Are they like Hakuhodo in any way, eg the luxury lines will have equivalents in Basic / Artist / M lines?

    xx Lollikit

    1. Hello my dear lollikit ;)
      Yes and no - there are seemingly more slight variations between the Chikuhodo series, especially with regards to handle length and overall brush head shape.
      The Artist series however is quite vast - so people who are conscious of spending will always find what they need in one of the standard lines.
      The other difference is the hair used - for example, every brush in the Z Series is composed of grey squirrel (except for the eye brow brush which is badger).
      In contrast, the Artist Series has many different hair types.
      Chikuhodo also has a lot more Kolinsky brushes in contrast to Hakuhodo - and we all love Kolinsky!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Crista!
      All feedback is very much appreciated!!

  3. Hi Bern,
    First of all, thank you for the mention :)
    And thanks for this great post where you gathered all the info together.
    Chikuhodo, Hakuhodo and Koyudo have a huge place in my heart ! But the Z Series from Chikuhodo are just extraordinary, expensive but worth every penny I must say. An investment if you love makeup brushes.
    I hope you will love the Z-9, it's a real luxury to be able to use it and I am reaching for it more often that I thought.
    Wishing you a lovely day :)

  4. Sonia! I should be thanking you - your blog has been extremely helpful to me!
    I absolutely adore my Z Series brushes - I had been debating the Z10 for a while, and after only having it a few days I am in love!
    My Z9 will hopefully be here in the next few days - I can't wait!
    I have a feeling I will end up with the entire Z Series - I have the Z2 and Z3 on reserve :)
    Thank you again Sonia!

    1. You are welcome :) I am really happy it helped !
      I am only missing the lip brush but I know I should get it too, in your picture it looks so beautiful !!!

    2. I have yet to use it... I plan on trying it out tomorrow!
      Miss Panties has a wonderful post on her blog about it - she is a fan!

  5. I just bought the Z4 and I am in love, I also thinking on buying the Z2. Although they are really expensive I prefer to have fewer better brushes with this quality and craftsmanship.

    1. They are an investment, but definitely a worthy one!
      It is interesting to note, that Chikuhodo isn't expensive in comparison to brushes sold here... for example, MAC brushes are almost as expensive as the Z Series!
      The Z4 is a beauty, isn't it?! I shall be getting the Z2 very soon! Many of my blogger friends have the Z2, and they all adore it!

  6. I have never heard of this brand before, but their brushes seem great. The Z Series sounds great for me.

    1. These brushes are amazing - I highly recommend them! The Z2 and the Z8 are worth looking at as first purchases.

  7. I hadnt heard of these brushes til now-how do you find these brushes in comparison to Hakuhodo brushes? Do you like them better and if so-why?
    I can see that the handles seem to be quite a bit thicker than the Hakuhodo-are they also shorter? With that in mind-how do they feel?