If there's one beauty product category I have no regrets paying top dollar for, it would be makeup brushes. Makeup expires and skincare has to be replaced frequently but brushes last a lifetime if they are high quality and well taken care of. My most prized and most reached for trio of face brushes all happen to be Japanese made and suited for the cheeks.
The Hakuhodo Yachiyo Large Pointed Brush is the most interesting looking brush in my collection by far. I acquired it at IMATS back in April and although I originally intended to use it for blush, it's become my favorite contouring brush. The tapered goat hair is incredibly soft but sturdy enough to hold its shape and not flop around when I'm buffing bronzer into my skin. The cane handle is very light but not flimsy at all. The hair on this brush is very easy to wash and even when I don't wash the bristles right away, there is no staining.
The Chikuhodo Passion Series PS-2 Cheek Brush is my preferred blush brush at the moment. You can purchase a selection of Chikuhodo brushes from Beautylish. While also made of goat hair, the PS-2 is marginally softer than the Hakuhodo Yachiyo and has slightly more give. After washing, the bristles will fan out a bit so the brush head is more round. The density of this brush makes it perfect for blushes that are not very pigmented. This brush deposits color onto my cheeks effortlessly and feels extremely gentle. The handle of this brush is quite short but I prefer short handled brushes because they are easier to travel with (not sure if I would travel with such precious brushes though) and I can get very close to the mirror. The pink handle is deep enough so it doesn't look too feminine.
The Wayne Goss #14 Brush is the perfect companion for pigmented powder highlighters. I have been using this daily with theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer because I always had trouble picking up the teeniest bit of highlight since it is so intense. This brush is tightly bound at the ferrule but the hairs are long so there is a lot of give at the brush tip. The small diameter of the brush makes it great for applying product solely to the tops of my cheekbones. Like the other two brushes, this is also comprised of goat hair. At first I was unsure how practical this brush would be. It honestly does not look as durable as the other two brushes because it is less dense and a few stray hairs splay out after washing. But so far, I have not had any shedding or hair breakage. I also use this brush to apply very pigmented blushes and it works wonderfully for that.
These three brushes are my top picks when it comes to applying powder bronzer, blush and highlighter. I tend to use synthetic brushes for cream and liquid products because I do not want to risk damaging the natural bristles.
The thought and craftsmanship that goes into each of these brushes makes each piece a work of art. I am head over heels in love with Japanese artisan crafted brushes because the quality is impeccable for the relatively affordable price. Yes, $30 might seem like a lot for a tool but these will last you years and years and you'd be hard pressed to find better brushes at a similar price point.
I already have many more brushes from these three brands on my wishlist so you can expect more raves in the future. Squirrel hair is just about the softest brush hair that I have ever felt as Wayne's eye brushes are constructed from blue squirrel. Since I'm covered on the cheek brush front for now, I have quite a few eye and powder brushes I want to try out!