|(Left to Right: MAC 217, Hakubodo J5523, Sigma E25, Hakuhoda K007, e.l.f. angled eyeliner, Hakuhodo J242G)|
Can makeup brushes be sexy? I have no idea. But if they ever had a shot, it would be in the Tom Ford brush line. I'd been lusting after the brushes for months and so when I heard gossmakeupchat on YouTube say that Hakuhodo brushes were a better and cheaper alternative, gullible me quickly ordered three (thank you, Dr. Seuss).
I've been in a long-term relationship with the MAC 217 blending brush (goat hair, $23). However, I occasionally have a wandering eye and try out other similar brushes only to be left feeling underwhelmed-- most recently via the Sigma E25 (synthetic, $10). Finally, it's actually worked out in the Hakuhodo J5523 Eye Shadow Brush (goat, $18). Will I still use the 217? Definitely. Still, the J5523 is definitely of higher quality, softer, and less expensive. The brush is dense enough to get the job done but still has a decent amount of give. It's not quite as fluffy as the 217 but it fits my crease better. It's unbelievably soft, but still manages to pick up the perfect amount of product. The Tom Ford Eye Shadow Brush (natural hair, $55) is supposedly most similar to the MAC 217, Sigma E25, and the Hakuhodo J5523.
Sigma E25 turned out to be a total letdown. I'd heard so many reviews on YouTube raving about the brand I thought I'd give it a try. First of all, half of the brush is rounded and the other is flat (wtf). The bristles arrived a little splayed and it just feels cheap and in the few weeks that I've had it-- it's shed a few bristles. The synthetic brush is so slick it only disturbs the surface of the product rather than picking it up on the brush (great...). The brush is soft, but that's about the only praise I would give it. It works fine for blending concealer or putting it under the eye, but that's not really what I had intended, nor what it's marketed for.
Ok, now that I got that out of my system... The next brush up for review is the K007 Eyeliner Brush (weasel, $15) and it is amazing. Gel liner is hard enough to apply, so having a brush that makes it this easy is a lifesaver. This has a super fine tip, is relatively firm, and has a round thicker base (could that have sounded any more pervy?). Anyways... I honestly can't say enough good things about this liner brush. I've tried the Bobbi Brown Eye Liner Brush (synthetic, $26) and thought it was too big (and very similar to the brush that comes in the Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner). I've also tried the e.l.f. Studio Angled Eyeliner brush (synthetic, $3), but ended up just using it to apply Latisse (more on that later).
Lastly, I got the Hakuhodo J242G Eye Shadow Brush (goat/synthetic hair, $17). This brush is the supposed equivalent of the MAC 239 (goat hair, $25) or the Tom Ford Shadow/Concealer Brush (synthetic, $60). This works well for packing on shadow or placing it on the lower lash line. It also works well for placing inner corner highlights and concealer (both under the eye and anywhere on the face).
With the excepting of the MAC 217, I don't see any reason why I would buy any new brushes from any brand other than Hakuhodo.