I've always admired the Brush Queen of Sweet Make Up Temptations and her brush award posts have been my favorites to read. I feel brushes are more timeless than make up and these type of posts one can refer time and time again. My brush collection is smallish and humble, but I've been wanting to post my own favorites!
These categories are completely arbitrary to my own preferences. I gathered the brushes I've reached the most or have left me the biggest impression this year. There are still other beauties I love and adore equally, but these deserve an extra mention. I hope you enjoy!
Best luxury brush
Koyomo Tsuki Cheek brush is one expensive pup, but oh, so divine. Extremely soft saikoho hair with deep red handle coated with aizu urushi lacquer. I love the contrast with white hair, black ferule and deep red handle. For me this brush is a perfect marriage of design, divine user experience and Japanese craftsmanship. The hairs are all white, my brush is just in use and I try avoid washing it too frequently.
I can't live one day without you brush
Old readers might have guessed this: Chikuhodo Z-2. I have a blog post dedicated to this brush and my favorite finishing powder here. Although Wayne Goss Air Brush is a great challenger for versatile and precise powder application, I've used Z-2 the most. Soft and tapered tip has more body than the WG, which I enjoy.
The perfect eye blender brush
When my friend recommended this brush I was dubious, thinking it would be the same as Hakuhodo's J142. If you don't want to splurge on TF, is J142 a good option, but Tom Ford Eye Blender Brush 13 is denser, fuller, less tapered has more body to it. I can't resist sexy the gold and black combination and I love the long length and perfect weight of the brush. You wouldn't guess how pleasant using a brush can be before you find the optimal handle weight for you. I will never part with this brush.
Eyeshadow laydown brush
My essential brush every morning. I prime my eyelids with an eyeshadow primer and a nude powder shadow 99% time I do my make up, so an effective brush for a quick laying down the base color is an essential. My go-to brush has been the Houkudou gold & black series brush G-S1. Made of Canadian squirrel hair, it's larger and feels softer than Chikuhodo G-03, my old favorite for the same purpose.
Blush brush of the year
Hakuhodo J110. Now, she's not a new acquisition whatsoever, but I find my hand reaching for this blush brush more than frequently. Although I love my round pom-pom shaped blush brushes, softness of squirrel hair and the flexibility of Kyureido or SUQQU, the Hakuhodo J110 is a true multitasker. Dab, swirl or buff - this brush has got your back with both medium and sheer pigmentation blushes. The handle sits perfectly into my hand, I love the length of the hair as well.
Contour brush of the year
Now, I dislike it when people online say you "need" an item. Nobody needs make up or brushes, but with the lack of better verbalisation I'd want to say: if you contour your cheeks you need this brush. It's soft but not ultra soft, has the perfect density and strength for applying and blending any harsh contour lines. The angled shape fits under jaw line or cheek bones beautifully. The experience won't get much better than this. If you have been umming and ahing between the RMK (harder) and Chikuhodo (slimmer) contour brushes I say go for Surratt.
When I was in the Koyudo factory store I found an unfamiliar looking bunch of brushes in a jar, made of squirrel hair and priced very reasonably. I don't know other purpose of this brush, except it was limited to the factory store. Maybe a prototype of sorts? The long hairs make this brush feel ultra soft and it diffuses color beautifully. I'm very glad I picked this one up as it's a beautiful brush and brings me back lovely memories from my Kumano trip.
The Set of the year
This could have been the Chikuhodo Lumière set from last year, but the award has to go to Koyomo Hana Gradation set. Ultra soft goat hair, super cute and efficient. One of the best priced fude sets out there. Personally I love pink and using these brushes with tulip shaped handles make me happy every time. Here are more pictures and my full review.
I don't have many humongous face brushes, but Chikuhodo Lumière needs to be mentioned here. I love the whole Lumière holiday set, but the powder brush with super long hair is like a huge kitten's paw caressing your face. It has a nice amount of density and width for applying finishing powder. The golden handle is simply beautiful and the glitter stars haven't come off at all.
Hakuhodo spoolie S194 and B015 eyebrow brushes are something I reach for every day and simply can't live without. I remember when I asked the SA at Hakuhodo Aoyama store for their best eyebrow brush and without thinking she handed me B015. She was right. B015 is small but not tiny, very precise and comfortable for drawing eyebrows with a powder. Long time I used a disposable mascara wands to comb my brow hairs. Although it works, I would never go back - not after trying a proper quality spoolie like Hakuhodo S194. They're both small investments you'll use and enjoy every day.
Now this is a tough one, were getting to the 'selecting your favorite child' territory, as I tried Koyomo, Kyureido, Tanseido and Shaquda first time this year. I deeply adore all of these brands, and if I had to choose, I'd go for Shaquda's handles, Koyomo's goat hair, Tanseido's brush shapes and Kyureido's softness. In the end, I think I'd have to pick Tanseido although I love the other brands equally. Insane softness, long handles and interesting shapes just stole my heart completely. Read more about my Tanseido face brushes in this post.
The Most beautiful brush roll
I was presented the most gorgeous brush roll hand-made by the lovely Sarah aka 212kiki. She has recycled old kimonos for the outer fabric and lined the inside is with a dirt-resistant material that can be wiped clean. Perfectly sewn, practical and beautiful. This is certainly one the most unique and thoughtful gifts a brush nut can receive! Sarah is also a Brush Goddess with a divine collection, make sure to check her Instagram account!