Mizuho Brushes – Kumano Fude
In my opinion beauty tools, i.e. make up brushes are 70% of successful make up looks. It is true that you may have the most well done and expensive make up brush in the world but if you don’t have the ‘magic touch’ you go nowhere, indeed. But it is also true that good tools can turn a good make up look into a perfect one.
Japanese brushes are worldwide known as the best make up brushes in the world. They’re mainly made in Kumano area, in Hiroshima prefecture. Brush-making in Kumano dates back more than 180 years to the late Edo period. Craftsmanship in brush-making, a result of the dedication and efforts of the people of Kumano, has been handed down through successive generations, maturing into a well-recognized art: in 1975 Kumano‘s calligraphy brushes were designated as a Traditional Craft by the Japanese government, and in 2004 Kumano Fude (brushes) became an official regional brand.
Today I want to talk about Mizuho brushes. Mizuho brushes are all handmade by excellent craftsmen. They combine with great expertise tradition with research and innovation. Mizuho Brush Company based its craft on the original Kumano Calligraphy brush making expertise. In 2010 they celebrated their 30th anniversary. The most remarkable thing is their process and quality control, ensuring the exceptional quality of brushes. The process of manufacturing Mizuho brushes can involve up to 70 steps. At each step of production, Mizuho Brush craft persons pay meticulous attention to QC from raw materials to completion. In Japan, Mizuho is a manufacturer for other brands producing mainly makeup brushes inheriting Kumano‘s traditional brush-making craftsmenship.
If you are curious to know how Mizuho brushes are made here it is a great video realized by Keisuke Kuroyanagi which shows a day at at Mizuho Brush Company in Kumano.
You all know about my interest in this amazing Japanese art. I’m really fascinated watching these beautiful handicrafts to be made.
For me, make up is really an art form and so are make up brushes. It’s all in that gesture, you know. You embrace this ancient, traditional art and you create artistic expression. It is an art but it is also a way to show love towards yourself. While you’re creating a make up look using so precious – not really for they price, but for the love with whom they’re crafted – tools you’re taking care about yourself.
I received 5 make up brushes (plus a skincare brush but I’ll review that one in another specific article): four cheek brushes and one eyeshadow brush. I’m fond of base make up and cheek / highlight / finish brushes and I’m always struggling to find perfect ones. I’ve been very glad that these brushes are quite small with a medium-short handle since I have a small face and I want my make up application to be precise, plus I am a bit short-sighted and a short handle is really helpful. It also helps to get more control. They’re not heavy and they have a perfect balance between wooden handle and ferrule. Mizuho places particular emphasis on the process of removing damaged hairs and hairs pointing the wrong way. Some of the relatively inexpensive, mass-market brushes have heads that are trimmed into shape, which can irritate the skin or be uncomfortable to use because odf the broken cross-section of the hairs. The condition of the tip determines wheter highly polished make up, made possible only by picking up the right amount of powder in the bristles and applying the powder very lightly on the skin, is achieved. By painstakingly repeating the task of removing hairs that are not perfectly right to the touch, the brush makers at Mizuho attain the brushes’ exquisite texture and ease of use with make up products.
Let’s see brushes in detail.
Highlighting Brush – MB Series* (US $35.19)
- Material: pine Squirrel / pony
- Size: Full 169mm Hair 38mm
Pine squirrel hair are mixed with pony hair to give more spring and structure to the brush. The most interesting thing about this brush is its shape: it is slanted with a rounded bending. I’ve never seen this shape before. It applies highlighter perfectly since its shape follows the natural cheekbones’ structure and around the eye area also. It’s also perfect for contouring as it fits the hollow of the cheeks. It picks the right amount of product: not too much nor too little. I’ve never seen my highlighter so beautifully evident and in the right place as with this brush. It is also incredibly soft on skin and doesn’t irritate in any way my sensitive skin in that area. Furthermore it blends the product in the same moment when you apply it so you won’t have harsh lines or blotches.
Cheek Brush – MB Series* (US $37.70)
- Material: sokoho (highest quality goat hair)
- Size: Full 160mm Hair 38mm
It is made with goat hair but believe me this brush is as soft as grey squirrel! A lot softer than my Chikuhodo brushes with goat hair. It also have more spring. It is way better than MAC 129 even if they’re comparable by shape they’re completely different products. The former is stiff, rough on skin and loses a lot of hair, the Mizuho is softer than velvet and made with excellent quality standards. It has a quite flat shape. Even if it’s meant to be used as blush brush I also tried it as a powder brush. As a blush brush it picks up a lot of product, so you have to go with a light hand even with least pigmented blushes. It applies product with precision on the apple of the cheeks without leaving any blotch. As a powder brush it’s perfect to powder the T-zone because it gives a great coverage.
Cheek & Highlighting Brush – PM Series* (US $25.14)
• Material: pony /gray squirrel
• Size: Full 147mm Hair 35mm
This is a multi-functional brush meant to be used for both blush and highlighter. It has a peculiar pentagonal shape. It has a good spring thanks to the hair mix. It picks up a good amount of product, so you have to barely touch the surface of the products. It provides the most precise application you can think about and its size and shape follows perfectly face features giving a great sculpting effect.
Cheek Brush – MB Series* (US $36.87)
• Material: pine squirrel
• Size: Full 150mm Hair 36mm
The softest brush of the bunch. It has a flat shape with a rounded tip. It is perfect with the most pigmented blushes because it provides a soft, delicate application but still it picks up a good amount of product. It blends the product in the moment you apply it. I love this brush for powder also, especially for finishing or correcting powders such as T.Leclerc or Hourglass Ambient Lighting. The best way to describe is brush is thinking about something caressing lightly and softly your face.
Multi Shadow Brush – CPM Series* (US $15.08)
• Material: pony
• Size: Full143mm Hair 9mm
It is a pencil brush made with pony hair which provides a great precision. It is perfect for detailed works, to define the crease or to smudge eyeliner. Since it’s quite stiff it’s not suitable for blending. I’ve been very surprised to find out that it’s not rough on skin at all: it is way sfoter than my Chikuhodo pencil brush.
And now some comparisons. I’m quite picky when it comes to make up brushes: I own some of the most well known brands for their quality, such as MAC Cosmetics, Wayne Goss (also made in Kumano area), Charlotte Tilbury, Chikuhodo. Mizuho brushes are the only ones that made me shout out Wow when I tried them for the first time. They’re completely on another level compared to MAC Cosmetics brushes and they’re even softer than my Chikuhodos (I have limited edition Anne set, goat and pony hair for reference) and Charlotte Tilbury (pine squirrel mix).
I am not ashamed to let you know that I spend a lot of time pampering my face with these beauties.