For the past century, the Chikuhodo team has worked from its workshop in Kumano, Japan, slowly and steadily building a reputation as one of the world’s most respected makeup brush makers. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the line to Beautylish—and make these sought-after tools more accessible to all of you.
So what exactly goes into making Chikuhodo brushes the softest, most easy-to-use on earth? Handpicked hairs of only the highest quality, a meticulous 60-step weeklong production process, and the careful work of more than 100 individual artisans. There are plenty of collectors out there who are probably already scrambling to get their hands on as many of these brushes as they can (you know who you are!). But for those new to the brand, or to Japanese makeup brushes in general, navigating Chikuhodo’s vast selection, which is organized into different series, can be daunting. That’s where we come in.
We know that brushes are a big investment, and an essential one for any kit. Our team is ready to help, so you fully understand which will best suit your needs (see how to contact us at the bottom of this page). Start here, as we run down the different features of three of the brand’s best-selling series—Passion, GSN, and Z—with the help of Yutaro Takemori, a third-generation brush maker at Chikuhodo.
Best for: those who are new to Japanese brushes or on a budget
The hairs: All Passion Series brushes are made from soft, natural hairs that are never cut (goat, water badger, or weasel).
About: If you’re new to Japanese makeup brushes, Takemori says the Passion Series is a great entry point. All seven brushes are “easy to use, easy to handle, and easy to take care of,” he says. Budget shoppers, take note: if you want to experience high-end brushes but can’t afford the more deluxe GSN or Z series, these are for you! Every Passion brush is constructed using the same meticulous 60-step process Chikuhodo is known for, with soft, hand-picked hairs and a time-tested shape and design. Takemori also notes that they went with a fun color (which he describes as “kawaii pink”) for the series to give these a more accessible feel. Together, the magenta metal ferrule and pink acrylic handles (which have a bit of sparkle), is just whimsical enough.
Individuals, $19–$64: PS-1 powder, PS-2 blush, PS-3 highlight, PS-4, eye shadow, PS-5, brow, PS-6 liner, PS-7 lip
Seven-Piece: 1 powder, 1 blush, 1 highlight, 1 eye shadow, 1 brow, 1 liner, and 1 lip brush, and a brush case, $295 | shop now
Best for: professionals and everyday users
The hairs: The GSN series brushes incorporate a variety of the highest quality hand-picked hairs (gray squirrel, goat, weasel, fitch, raccoon, nylon, badger, and horse). Squirrel is among the softest you can get—which means it’s more expensive to source than other natural hairs.
About: Takemori’s pick for professionals, the GSN Series is the largest of the three, with 16 versatile all-around brushes. “We designed them to work seamlessly with a variety of makeup brands and products,” he says. “And they’re easy to grip and use thanks to the extra-long handles, so both pros and novices have been really happy with them,” he says.
Individuals, $12–$127: GSN-1 powder, GSN-2 powder, GSN-3 blush, GSN-4 highlight, GSN-5 liquid, GSN-6 liquid, GSN-7 eye shadow, GSN-8 eye shadow, GSN-9 eye shadow, GSN-10 eye shadow, GSN-11 liner, GSN-12 brow, GSN-13 brow, GSN-14 brow, GSN-15 brow, GSN-16 lip
Nine-Piece: 1 powder, 1 blush, 1 highlight, 3 eye shadow, 1 liner, 1 brow, and 1 lip brush, and a brush roll, $520 | shop now
Six-Piece: 1 powder, 1 highlight, 2 eye shadow, 1 brow, and 1 lip brush, and a brush roll, $356 | shop now
Four-Piece: 1 blush, 1 eye shadow, 1 brow, and 1 lip brush, and a brush roll, $209 | shop now
Best for: collectors and those with hypersensitive skin
The hairs: Except for the brow and lip brush, every brush in the Z Series is made of gray squirrel, the softest, most fine natural hair available, and therefore the priciest. “As with all of our brushes, every single hair is hand-picked by trained professionals. The tips are never cut, to ensure they’re as soft as they can possibly be,” says Takemori.
About: Of all the high-end brushes Chikuhodo makes, the Z series is the most luxurious. “The Z brushes are made from the softest hair, which won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin,” explains Takemori. The Z brushes are the brand’s bestseller overseas, and they consider this their flagship collection.
Individuals, $30–$178: Z-1 powder, Z-2 highlight, Z-3 contour, Z-4 blush/highlight, Z-5 eye shadow, Z-6 brow, Z-7 lip, Z-8 blush, Z-9 powder, Z-10 eye shadow
Eight-Piece: 1 powder, 1 highlight, 1 contour, 1 blush/highlight, 1 eye shadow, 1 brow, 1 lip, and 1 blush brush, and a brush roll, $839 | shop now
Six-Piece: 1 powder, 1 blush/highlight, 2 eye shadow, 1 brow, and 1 lip brush, $396| shop now
Four-Piece: 1 powder, 1 blush/highlight, 1 eye shadow, and 1 lip brush, $323 | shop now