During the past year or two, Koyomo has been the fude (='brush') brand to know. Famous for its superior quality and interesting handle designs, Koyomo has won over the hearts of many hardcore fude-lovers.
Koyomo is manufactured by a family business called Tsubokawa in Kawajiri, a part of Kure city, near Hiroshima. From Hiroshima there's a train connection to Kure, but what I've heard it's a very slow ride to Kawajiri. One day I'd love to go and meet the Tsubokawa. Like with many brush companies, their main focus is calligraphy brushes. Therefore, their make up brush collection is rather small and catered towards customers who appreciate the special kind of hair and craftsmanship put into the brushes.
The hair of Koyomo brushes is "old lamb wool", harvested in the 70s. The meaning of Ko is old/ancient and yomo means a goat. The current goat hair used in makeup brushes is thinner and less durable, you can view microscope pictures of more "hollow" hair compared to Koyomo's on their website. The amount of 70s hair is limited, but according to Fudejapan, the President of Koyomo has confirmed there is a sufficient amount of hair is available to ensure manufacturing for another generation. You can read more about the hair and design in English on his website. This old hair is rare and expensive, but also feels far softer than regular goat hair of the same quality (=place where hair is harvested).
Let's say, for my sensitive skin I try to purchase only undyed saikoho grade brushes, which is very soft goat hair - not cheap by any means. I skip sokoho, as I try to invest in the softest brushes possible. The lowest grade of hair in Koyomo's makeup brushes is called ototsuho, a hair usually so coarse I think I've never even owned one. But Koyomo's is soft. So soft. You'd mistake it for saikoho. Today we're looking at the pink gradation Hana brushes, the newest addition to Koyomo line.
Hana gradation has an interesting design, it reminds me of a plump upside down tulip. The bottom is not flat enough to help a brush stand on its own. I wasn't sure if I was going to love or hate the design, but the beautiful pink gradation spoke to me. Cute, funny, utterly gorgeous. The ferule is hot pink and the handle has a cool pink gradation. They look stunning with the clean white heads. Mine are engraved with my first name in katakana, which didn't cost extra. If you don't care for the tulip shape or hot pink color, get the Koyomo pearl pink set with same hair - it's cheaper as well.
This is how the brushes look like after washing and drying without a brush guard. Some cheek brushes tend to puff out quite a lot after the 1st wash, but I find these kept well their original shape. In use the brushes haven't shed at all.
The big powder brush is very straightforward with a round, little bit flat top. I use it to set my make up by dusting loose powder all over my face. It's pleasantly soft, not very dense, never poke-y. The hair length is 4,5cm and it spreads evenly. I want more precision I go for something like Hakuhodo J 531, which is denser and slanted.
Who can resist a round cheek brush? Definitely not me - this is one of my favorite shapes. Old ototsuho goat hair makes it strong and durable, but so, so soft. It's less dense and more poofy than another round favorite, squirrel haired Chikuhodo RC-2. The hair is moderately lengthy, 3,6cm.
Koyomo eyeshadow brush (pencil)
Koyomo's pencil brush is the cutest thing ever. One could perhaps argue it's too large to be a called a 'pencil brush': hair length is 2cm. Not something I would use for the lash line, but it's perfect for adding color and blending the outer corner or smaller crease. The tip is round and tapered, and again so soft.
Koyomo eyeshadow brush (flat)
Finally the new addition to Koyomo's collection: the flat eyeshadow brush. It's tapered from the sides, making it easy to get close to the lash line. I use this brush for adding color on the top lid in a patting motion and the tapered tip to smudge my lower lash line. The hair length is 2cm.
My final verdict is it's amazing quality, great value - bang for your buck. Definitely a must have for any brush lover who needs basic, useful everyday workhorse brushes without compromising the softness and design. You can also read lovely Sonia's review here.
The brushes retail ¥15,000 (powder), ¥10,000 (blush), ¥5000 (each eyeshadow).