Best Concealer Brushes For Every Need (Japanese Fude)

I've shared with you my acne journey, Accutane and acne scars in the past, but now to my favorite topic: brushes! These are the fude or brushes I use for concealing the under eyes, discoloration, spots and blemishes. Since my acne cleared up I haven’t purchased many new concealer brushes, but I still reach one or two every single day. You might think concealer brushes aren’t as exciting and sexy as bigger fluffs, but they are multi-purpose workhorse brushes and something everyone should have in their makeup kit. This post is most likely going to be a long one, so sit back, relax and enjoy!

 Best Concealer Brushes | Japanese Brushes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Choosing The Right concealer brush

Concealers come in many forms and textures: creams, liquids, waxes. Choosing a brush depends on which type of concealer works best for your skin, concern and technique, it might take a trial and error to find the perfect product and the perfect tool. Some of the brushes I introduce in this post are designated concealer brushes (コンシーラー if you search Japanese sites), but basically any small brush resilient to cream/liquid textures can work for you. This means repurposing lip and eyeliner brushes, but also small cream eyeshadow brushes will do the trick! Maybe you already own something that’s too stiff for blending the eyeshadow, but could be used for cream concealer or corrector. I follow these guidelines:

  • Eyeliner and lip brushes for pinpoint concealing blemishes, scars, pimples

  • Paddle brushes for correctors, creams and liquids under the eyes

  • Oval and stippling brushes for blending around blemishes or covering redness

Personally I don’t use much goat hair for my concealers as I like more firmness and control from kolinsky or synthetic hair, they also absorb less product. Never use delicate hairs such as squirrel for cream/liquid concealers as they might damage the brush. All brush hairs below are kolinsky or weasel unless otherwise stated.

Fine and small concealer brushes

Kyureido Fine Kalla eyeliner

I love this eyeliner brush, to read more about the Fine Kalla series click this post. This liner brush is very precise, but not quite as tiny as Hakuhodo B007. Kyureido has firmness and control for pinpoint concealing, and it picks up the perfect amount of product in my opinion. Since the brush hairs are semi-long, you shouldn’t add too much pressure.

Hakuhodo B007

For the tiniest pinpoint concealing work (such as sunspots, scars). The brush is very tapered; there are only few of longer hairs, so you can have the precision and add only the smallest amount of product. If you wish to blend or perhaps conceal a larger area, I’d go for Kyureido. Same if you want the brush to double as a liner brush, I prefer Kyureido as it can hold more product and cover a larger area.

Hakuhodo S148

One of my newest brushes and pure perfection in craftsmanship. It’s similar to Chikuhodo GSN-11, but has a bit longer hairs and less density, also feels much softer than Chiku. Perfect for applying and blending concealer on blemishes, carving out eyebrows or perhaps fading some discoloration around the nose. I have a sentimental attachment to this brush, but I love its performance as well.

Unknown

Brush I got as a GWP or a gift when I visited Kumano. It’s very close to Chikuhodo’s Limited Edition Noel Lumiere 2015 concealer/eyeliner brush, maybe a tiny bit more tapered. I’d keep an eye on Koyudo if they come out with something like this in their permanent collection.

Chikuhodo Noel Lumiere 2015 (LE)

Tapered brush made of kolinsky, has nice firmness and control for both sharp wing eyeliner as well as applying cream concealer on spots or blemishes. The point is rounded, which makes it unique in my book (just like the Unknown one). I think it’s a shame this particular brush was a limited edition. I prefer it over the Beautylish Sakura brush.

Chikuhodo x Beautylish Sakura eyeliner (LE)

This brush is an odd one: it’s not long enough to be a good lip brush, a bit too floppy for applying eyeliner. If you do pinpoint concealing, let’s say with Haku or Kyureido, you might use this for blending the edges. I must say I haven’t given this brush much love.

Hakuhodo eyeliner B005

This Haku brush is labelled as an eyeliner brush. Its hairs are very short, dense, and has sort of oval shape on the sides. Perfection for gel eyeliner, but if you’re in a pinch this would work for concealing small areas or carving out eyebrows. For concealing alone I do prefer Hakuhodo S148 or Chikuhodo GSN-11.

Chikuhodo GSN-11

This is one of my oldest brushes and has held up very well. I’ve used it for eyeliner, concealer and smudging eyeshadow near the lower lash line. The hair density is light, length excellent for precision and control, but the feel isn’t as stiff as with Hakuhodo B005. Hakuhodo B005 is sharper, which makes it better for eyeliner, GSN-11 gives softer edges.

Hakuhodo J214R (goat and synthetic)

This mini duo-fibre stippling brush picks up cream products very nicely and works well for blending. For example, if you conceal under eye darkness but also suffer some minor redness underneath, you can take the conceal further by stippling with J214R. Most of us have discoloration around the nose and J214R fits nicely in nooks and crannies for buffing and blending product. The feel is not overly dense but very soft. With a stippling brush I like to go over the covered areas with a finger or a sponge to make sure there is no brush marks. I don’t use this brush for cream eyeshadow as I want the edges to be more blurred and there are better options.

Koyudo Purin (synthetic)

When checking the brushes for this post, I sadly didn’t see the Purin line on Koyudo’s website, so this brush may be discontinued. The Purin (sounds like ‘pudding’ in Japanese) concealer brush is one of my favorites as it has a nice rounded paddle shape and similar stippling qualities (a mix of longer and shorter hairs) as the Hakuhodo J214R. The body of the brush is somewhat dense, but the very tip is soft and bendy, making it easy for tapping and blending product, such as under eye concealer. One of my favorites.

Hakuhodo G538 (synthetic)

Synthetic version of one of my all-time favorite brushes. The difference with G538 and G537 is how the hais splay: with synthetic hairs the shape is very straight and sword-like. Good for dabbing on product, easy to clean, not much bad to say about this brush, but I do prefer my kolinsky G537.

Hakuhodo G537

This brush is a pure gem to me, I reach it almost daily for concealing my under eye area. It covers a nice amount of surface, picks up a good amount of product and has a great control. The brush has a good bend to it, which makes it feel firm yet soft on the skin. It’s a multi-purpose brush for concealing and I love it to bits.

Koyudo BP036

On the Koyudo website images this brush looks very tapered and ‘sharp’, but it does splay after washing. I think this brush is too large for pinpoint concealing, but good blending any edges after you’ve applied concealer with a smaller brush. Or, if you need to conceal larger areas or blemishes, perhaps do very detailed work around the nose; this is your brush. I’ve used it a ton when I still suffered from acne.

Koyudo C006P (below)

I use this brush similarly to Hakuhodo G538, Hakuhodo 537 or Koyudo Purin, but C006P is much denser than any of these. The hair length is similar to Purin, but C006P is much wider, like an oversized eyeliner brush. It’s a powerful tool when you really need to pack on a lot of product and enjoy firmness and control. Could also be used as an eyeshadow brush for packing on color on the lid. I’ve used Koyudo C006P also a ton, but nowadays prefer softer, more bendy brushes for under eye work.

 Best Concealer Brushes | Japanese Brushes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
 Best Concealer Brushes | Japanese Brushes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

And here they are, my concealer workhorses and small treasures! I think most of them are excellent, just for different usages. If you have any questions about any specific brush, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading! x

Sonia G Brushes Review (Builder One, Worker One, Base One, Sculpt Three)

Today I'm so excited to share with you the one and only - Sonia G brushes! I've gotten some questions are these brushes worth the splurge, but I gave it a few weeks to properly try, test and play with these brushes for the review. I wanted to make sure I've washed them several times and tried with different makeup before giving you my final verdict, they're valuable after all. I've followed Sonia's blog for years and her Brush Temple has been a tremendous help when first purchasing Japanese 'fude' or brushes. I'm so glad she got her own line!!

 Sonia G Brushes

Sonia G Brushes Introduction

Sonia aka the mastermind behind Sweet Makeup Temptations blog is a Japanese fude/brush connoisseur with a collection of +2000 brushes! She's not only a brush collector but truly passionate about the craft. Her devotion, love and passion for brushes and Japanese craftmanship can be read from her immaculate, fun and informational brush reviews and articles. Sonia has travelled many times to Japan and Kumano, where Japanese hand-crafted brushes are made. She is also a friend of Wayne Goss, a well-known Makeup Artist and Youtuber, whose brushes are also sold exclusively on Beautylish. In her Switzerland home Sonia has a room called the "Brush Boudoir" devoted to store and display her beautifully crafted brush collection.

Sonia's brushes are exclusive to Beautylish, hand-made in Japan. Her Fundamental Brush Set retails for $362/~€302,60 (8 brushes), also sold individually from January 2018. Right now her collection consists of 16 individual brushes retailing between $28/€23.4 and $75/€62.7 per brush.

 Sonia G Brushes
 Sonia G Brushes

Sonia G Brush Handles

Now to me - these handles are pure art except for the typography which isn't hundred percent my cup of tea (but I'm picky when it comes to typefaces). The wood is sustainably harvested maplee wood and coated with four layers of pigment and lacquer for a rich color and glossy finish. I love different color handles and the gradient just gives another level of luxury to the brushes. I'm very glad that Beautylish states the wood and lacquer technique, as these are a huge part of the Japanese craftsmanship that's put in Kumano Fude brushes. As the ends of the handles are rounded, I've experienced no dents or chipping of the coating (unlike with Hakuhodo S-series).

I personally like medium length handles. So far the handle length has been okay, but sometimes I find the ferules a bit chunky. For the Base One I would've preferred a shorter handle for more precision and control, but I'll talk more about it later. These handles look modern and chic, I only wish the typeface and logo (bottom of the handles) was different.. Some of you might like it though, can't please everyone!

Thoughts on the collection

The set and collection are definitely interesting. I feel Sonia created brushes that she wanted, needed or didn't already have for her purpose. I can imagine her playing with makeup and wondering "Why don't I have the perfect brush for my Natasha Denona glitters..." haha. Of course this is just my imagination! But her original set didn't make a complete brush collection in my opinion if you're a working makeup artist or just a brush enthusiast. I think Sonia's brushes are well-catered to people who are missing something or looking for a brush to special product or use. In my opinion you should research your existing stash both in makeup and brushes: is there a makeup product you've been dying to use but didn't have the right tool? Are you always reaching for a brush you don't have? I think Sonia's unique collection has you covered. There's such creativity and knowledge behind the design combined with beautiful Japanese craftsmanship.

 Sonia G Brushes

My picks: Builder One, Worker One, Sculpt Three and Base One

I wanted to test Sonia's brushes without breaking my bank account, so I asked her some recommendations on Instagram. I have no experience with fan brushes so I probably wouldn't have picked up Sculpt Three without her suggestion. I immediately knew I wanted Base One; Sonia has always talked about how sensitive her skin is and previously duo-fibre stippling brushes have been too much for my dry skin. I had high hopes Base One would be soft and gentle (spoiler alert: it is)! Builder One looked very unique type of brush, firm and very narrow, but perhaps "finger-like" to pack on glitters where as Worker One seemed like a good alternative for Hakuhodo J5523.

 Sonia G Builder One comparison

Builder One

- Dyed saikoho goat
- Recommended use: powders

This brush is an interesting one and very unique. I can imagine Sonia created this brush to pack Natasha Denona shimmers and metalics as she's a big fan of ND. If you needed something with absolute control when you pack on your glitters or want to sharply smudge your khol liner, lower lash line etc. then this is a brush for you. To this day I've liked pencil brushes, but Builder One gives its user more control and definition. The bristles pick up any kind of shadow.

Needless to say, I still haven't got 100% hang of this brush as I make errors when I try to pack the side of the brush with shadow. I try to explain to my best: the ferule is fat compared to the hairs and I keep denting the eyeshadow pan with the edge of the ferule, which annoys me to bits. But I like to think that's me being clumsy, not exactly the brush's fault.

 Sonia G Worker One Comparison

Worker One

- Dyed saikoho goat
- Recommended use: powders

Worker one is designed to be used as an eyeshadow blending brush and it's excellent for distributing color on the lid with one swipe. It can also be used for contouring and defining the eye, thanks to it's shape that's both flat yet fluffy and oval. I like to use circular motions for buffing the color or back-and-forth "windscreen wipe" motion to evenly blend. The shape is a bit large for working in the outer 'V' area, but you could do it in a pinch. This is like Hakuhodo J5523 (MAC 217) on steroids. With my hooded eyes I think J5523 is a bit better for blending the crease or even a more tapered brush, but if you have more space than I do - there's a brush for you.

Sculpt Three

- Dyed saikoho goat
- Recommended use: powders

Originally I wasn't very interested in fan brushes as I have little experience with them - I only have some sculpting fan brushes, but not the 'traditional' kind. This brush turned out to be a surprise favorite! First, it's super soft and second, it picks up a good amount of product but lays it down with precision and control. If you have smaller features you could try this for dusting finishing powder - maybe even contour, but personally I like this with powder highlighters and even buffing (yes!) the product into the skin to make the finish the most natural. I emphasis that this brush gives you a nice amount of control and picks up the product well, doesn't feel "flimsy" at all like some fan brushes may be.

 Sonia G Base One comparison

Base One

- Hakutotsuho goat & PBT
- Recommended use: liquids and creams

I used to love the look of duo-fibre brushes but grew to dislike them as my skin was so dry and flakey. Now I'm in a pretty good condition with my skin so I decided to give this brush a go - also because I love foundation (and contouring) brushes the most. The Beautylish site describes this fude as dense but airy, which is kind of true as the base has good density, but the length of the PBT hairs is just right for buffing foundation. I feel these hairs are soft enough for dry skin, but not ultra-soft like a kitten's paw - not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to a foundation brush. I love to use this brush for buffing foundation near my nose and chin area, it fits well into crevices of the nose for example and doesn't leave a streaky finish!

But, I feel this brush works the best with more creamy foundations as with liquids the brush might absorb the product and doesn't move the foundation as seamlessly. If you only wear tinted moisturizers and serum foundations, you might give this brush a pass. My foundation favorite for this brush has been from Chantecaille, but I imagine the SUQQU Extra Rich Cream Foundation (review here) or similar would perfect combo. I wish this brush was a bit less heavy and thick, but that's a personal preference: I like more slim handles opposite to big ones - unless they are very short. I think the thickness also makes the brush less easy to control.

 Sonia G Brushes
 Sonia G Brushes

Final Thoughts on Sonia G Brushes

I've had no problems with washing the brushes, shedding, whatsoever. The handles are pure luxury, I love the weight and feel of them. My only problem has been with ferules (Builder One) and thickness (Base One), but these are personal preferences. These brushes are exquisite and I expected nothing less from Sonia. I probably wouldn't be purchasing all of the brushes, but I will certainly save up and invest in a few more. If you've ever had the moment "I wish my brush did this X" or "I wish there was a tool for that Y" then take a look at this collection and cherry-pick for your needs! You might find a new treasure.