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After countless questions (and promises on my end, sorry!), let’s address the SUQQU Cheek versus the Chikuhodo Z4 Cheek/Highlight debate. I’ve structured this comparison based on frequently asked questions.

Are they dupes?

No, they are not dupes. They are similar so when pictured apart, you could be forgiven for thinking they may be perfect substitutes. However, when pictured together…

Chikuhodo Z4 versus SUQQU Cheek Brush

You can see that the Chikuhodo Z4 is discernibly larger and has a flatter, larger surface area of contact, while the SUQQU Cheek is more pointed/tapered. Additionally, the SUQQU Cheek has a perfectly round ferrule, whereas the Z4 is pinched; resulting in an oval footprint.
EDITED TO ADD: A super helpful commenter has brought to my attention that the SUQQU ferrule *is* slightly pinched, but the Z4 is definitely flatter. If my SUQQU Cheek bristles look a bit more rounded than other photos floating about the internet, it’s because I dry it in a brush guard (lifesaver, love brush guards).

Chikuhodo Z4 versus SUQQU Cheek Brush

Upon closer inspection, you can see that the Z4 ferrule is about double the diameter of the SUQQU Cheek – so double the number of hairs and definitely denser. By no means would I classify the Z4 as a dense face brush, it’s denser by comparison.

Chikuhodo Z4 versus SUQQU Cheek Brush

Both are comprised of grey squirrel and both are incredibly well made (wash well, hold their shape, no shedding – just flawless).

Which is softer?

Both are in bunny-softness-league. If I had to pick, I’d say the suqqu is a TEENY bit softer to touch. This is not a function of the fibres used (equally soft, in my opinion) but rather the density; where the Z4 has greater resistance, the suqqu has far more give and flexibility so it reads a bit softer on my face. This is me getting nit picky here.

Which is better?

Let’s all huddle around in a circle. This is an important exercise. Let us erase the word ‘better’ from our makeup vocabulary. What’s better for me may differ from your definition of better which differs to the next person. Better is an arbitrary judgement based on the three P’s: Price Payoff, Purpose and the big one, Preference.
‘Worth the money’ also fits into this category (I’m a poor judge of this anyway, I can justify almost anything)

Which one would suit me best?

This is the real question, one I can actually help answer! Take a look at your blush/bronzer/cheek whatever stash. Are the vast majority of your products on the sheer spectrum? I reach for the Z4 when using Chanel Blushers, pale bronzers and such, you’ll get a better payoff with less effort and time.

Chikuhodo Z4 versus SUQQU Cheek Brush

If you have a soft spot for strong cheek colours and pigmented bronzers, the SUQQU cheek will change your makeup life. As I said in the original review, the SUQQU cheek excels at pigmented/bright/strong products, as you can build colour slowly and never have to worry about blending; it does all the work.

Chikuhodo Z4 versus SUQQU Cheek Brush

Both are perfect for powder, I tend to prefer more precise brushes for highlight and contour but they do work well for those products, too.
Other important factors – how small do you like your face brushes? When I received the SUQQU Cheek, I was taken aback by how small it is; perfect for small features but some might find it laboursome so if you dislike small face brushes, you might fare better with the Z4 (which is still considered a small face brush by most standards!).

Which do you prefer?

Do you prefer eyeliner or foundation? I’m being awfully cryptic today, sorry, I’ll stop being an asshole. Moderately pigmented blushers and bronzers, I go for Z4 – still blends beautifully and requires less building. For Guerlain bronzers, bright blushers and such, suqqu can’t be beat.
Essentially, what I’m saying is that they both have their place in my collection. These two and I have my entire cheek wardrobe covered, I barely even side-eye my other cheek brushes. I’m thrilled that I own both. Frankly, I don’t think you could go wrong with either and… they’re worth the money 😛

Right, I’m convinced. Where can I buy?

SUQQU Cheek Brush can be purchased off either Ichibankao (postage prices included) or Selfridges (flat rate shipping is pricy but if you’re located outside the UK, there is a 20% VAT reduction on purchases). Chikuhodo Z4 is available off Beautylish here.


Complete list of products mentioned

Z4 Cheek Brush
Z4 Cheek Brush
Cheek Brush
Cheek Brush
* Denotes products sent for consideration. I’m always honest with my reviews :)

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  1. Hi Karima!

    This is my first comment on your blog, I’m not much of a commenter but I love your posts so I have converted. Massively informative post, you are a joy to read.

  2. Oooh, so helpful! I love my Suqqu cheek but I also want to get a denser cheek brush for less pigmented products. I was thinking about the Chiku RC-2 (less expensive than the Z4), but now I’m wanting the Z4. Therefore, you should buy the RC-2 so you can tell me which one to get. For Science!

    1. Hey Emi!
      To be honest, I think I’ll be buying backups of the Z4 (already bought a second SUQQU Cheek…oops) before I buy any more cheek brushes because I genuinely love both! I see no room for improvement. xx

  3. Hello Karima!

    I love how you do your makeup, just the way I prefer to do it as well. I love all the looks you do. I’ve recently purchased the GA Lasting Silk UV foundation, and I have to say I absolutely love it. I will never switch it up! Thanks to you I now have found my HG foundation.

    I actually have a suggestion on a cosmetic product you should try, which has beed my fave for many years now. A mascara. Diorshow Iconic! It’s in my opinion the best mascara on the market, it gives long, separated lashes, with just the perfect amount of volume, and it never clumps up! You should really try it out, I think you’ll love it just as much as I do.

    Have a nice day Karima. Loves from Norway xx

    1. Hey Martine!
      Oh yayyyy how awesome is Lasting Silk?! It’s totally holy grail material for me and I’m thrilled to hear you love it, too πŸ™‚
      I have ~20 mascaras in rotation right now but when the time comes, I’ll give the Diorshow Iconic a go! Thanks for the recommendation πŸ™‚

  4. ‘I’m a poor judge of this anyway, I can justify almost anything’ D Anyhow, I have somehow managed to resist the pull of her highness the Suqqu cheek brush (miraculously so, given my love for spontaneous Ichibankao binges), I think only because I love my Z-4 so much that my current spending priorities lie elsewhere. It is seriously a dream of a brush and I never want to live without it. But I do believe eventually I will cave in haha.

    Btw, I used now-eproject for my order and I had my brushes with me within a week. I also contacted them a few times and always got a reply within a day or two, so great customer service πŸ™‚ The mark-up relative to Japan prices is HIDEOUS though, but they do offer sets that save you a few bucks, and occasionally they offer shipping discounts.

    1. Hey, I don’t know what happened to half of my comment! It was supposed to be:
      β€˜I’m a poor judge of this anyway, I can justify almost anything’ <—- hahahaha THIS.

    2. Hey Cat,
      Not everyone will ‘need’ both the Z4 and the SUQQU Cheek, I’m just a brush collector πŸ˜› If you love the Z4 and it fits your purposes, I say roll with it!
      Apparently (from a comment below) you can purchase Chikuhodo straight from the manufacturer at a lower cost than e-project. I was unaware of that so I might purchase from there πŸ™‚ xx

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I actually just received my Z1 AND Z4 yesterday. I emailed Chikuhodo directly, which turned out to be significantly cheaper than ordering from noweproject. I was wondering what you wash your grey squirrel brushes with and how often you do it? I think I read somewhere that Chikuhodo recommended washing them only a handful of times a year but that seems quite little to me!

    1. Hi Sarah, wow that sounds like a way better option! Did you have to pay any extra-comission on top of the prices in their website? And roughly how much was shipping? I am dying to order a couple more πŸ™‚ Thank you in advance!
      P.S: I’ve only had my Z-series for a couple of months, but I do have one other grey squirrel brush that I’ve had for about 3 years and I only wash it about every 2 months or so, with a bit of baby shampoo dissolved in water. Just swish around and then rinse under running tap until water comes out clear. It remains super soft and silky, just like the day I bought it πŸ™‚

      1. I commented two times now with more details but somehow my comment doesn’t get published. I will try again later πŸ™‚

      2. Thanks for the tip! I will try baby shampoo. I’m just trying to be extra careful because they are so expensive.
        I bought the Z1 and Z4 brush and including shipping I saved 64 USD by ordering from Chikuhodo directly. The shipping + commission fee is 5000 JPY (roughly 49 USD) and is the same no matter where you live and how much you order. I could have saved more by ordering more of course, but they are so expensive! You can email chikuhodo directly at They are happy to help you with any questions you have and I received my order in 3 days. You have to pay via bank transfer but I did not experience any problems. Let me know if you have more questions πŸ™‚

      3. Thanks for sharing this, Sarah! That price is very attractive to me xD. I just hope they will ship to Aus.

    2. Hey Sarah πŸ™‚
      That is so interesting, thanks for letting me know about the direct purchase!

      Strictly speaking, you should wash squirrel brushes as infrequently as possible, cleaning them in between uses with a micro fibre cloth (great idea, I do this a lot).

      That being said, I’m a bit of a clean freak so I wash my brushes rather frequently. I use the beauty blender liquid cleanser (diluted), I like this one because it doesn’t sud up too much. Lot’s of bubbles makes rinsing a pain in the bum.

      I don’t condition them, I simply wipe off the excess moisture on a micro fibre cloth and dry them in brush guards (also very important, in my opinion). Using this method, my brushes look as good as the day I bought them!

      Hope this helps πŸ™‚ x

      1. I agree, I don’t like bank transfers too much either, but I knew other people had managed to do it that way successfully. Do you know if you can wash microfibre cloths? I will definitely try that πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you for another amazing review – I’ve already bought the suqqu blush brush and love it but definitely think there is room for the z4 also ..
    Just wondering what your favourite brush to highlight with powder highlighters is ?
    Thank you again x

    1. Hey Ashlea πŸ™‚
      I mentioned this in another comment – not everyone will NEED both brushes, but if you feel like a little splurge, the Z4 is a stunning brush.
      My favourite brush for powder highlight (at the moment) is the Chikuhodo Z2, it’s shaped like a candlestick so offers a lot of precision. It also amps up the luminosity of powder highlighters.


  7. this is one of the best brush reviews I came across. I actually agree with you, all depends what you prefer. My skin is so sensitive that I by now am only using grey squirrel or synthetic (which I prefer for both powder and blush) brushes. My beloved hakuhodo (goat) makes my cheeks really red at the moment.

    1. Hey Claire!
      Makeup is always about preference, it isn’t so black and white. Even when I dislike something, there are people out there who love it – know what I mean?
      A great number of my eye brushes have been really irritating my skin lately πŸ™ Pretty much have to stick to Hakuhodo/SUQQU/Chikuhodo eye brushes, all my MAC/NARS/etc make me sore!

  8. Awesome review/comparison! Thank you so much for doing this. I think I am going to pull the trigger on Z-4 now that I’ve read your post. I enjoy a bit of density as I feel like I have more control. It’s also way cheaper, so it is definitely more attractive to me.

    1. It’s definitely the more ‘affordable’ option! As I said, you really can’t go wrong with either, they’re both beautiful brushes. xx

  9. Lovely post. I’ve wanted the SUQQU brush ever since I saw how soft it looks in Lisa Eldrige’s videos. Now I want it even more, that luxurious little rodent, but my purse just ain’t big enough…
    Anyhow, in your post you say that by doubling the ferule size you double the amount of hair/surface area. Which may very well be the case because the Chickuhodo brush has a pinched ferule. But generally speaking, when the diameter of a circle is doubled, the area is quadrupled (you know, math and such, (2d)^2=4d^2).
    I’m sorry for being so nit-picky, but I imagine you might just be a person who appreciates that kind of precision.

    1. The SUQQU Cheek Brush is insanely expensive. Absolutely crazy. I don’t know why I own two!
      I speak in layman’s terms; the ferrule is about double the size, there is about twice as many hairs (definitely not four times as many, that would be a dense brush). I don’t get excessively technical, I’m afraid I’d scare my readers away πŸ˜›

  10. Now you and L.E – I cannot escape how awesome that damn gorgeous SUQQU brush is – bah, want it sooooooo badly! And at the moment I’m still looking for THE perfect blush brush for my super pigmented blushes which I never seem to use because they require a lighter hand and more patience than I can muster most mornings >.<

    Hmmmmm maybe if I go on a no-makeup-buy for a few months I could justify it (which is hard cos I just found out there's a Cult Nails 50% off sale on this weekend that's just screaming my name – I've always wanted to try them as I've heard good things)……decisions, decisions!!

    As always a brilliant post, thank you so much for your funny and informative ramblings! πŸ™‚

    Bambi x

    1. The SUQQU Cheek is ideal for pigmented blushers (can’t lie!) but if you’d like a slightly cheaper brush that it still gorgeous all round, you can’t go wrong with the Z4! It’s still worlds above other blush brushes I’ve tried (even for pigmented blushers, I’d just take a lot of the excess off on the back of your hand first).

      Glad you liked it, Bambi πŸ™‚ x

  11. Hi karima! Thank you for the informative post! I am gonna take the plunge on the SUQQU! his would be my 2nd suqqu item after the brow kit. (all thanks to your recommendation) You and your blog is so lovely! Oh, on another unrelated note, may i know where are you hosting your webpage? I might wanna start a blog to document my skincare discoveries & hope that you can give some insight. Love the layout/design/accessibility of your page! πŸ˜‰

    1. Hey Krissy!
      I’ve never known a person to be unsatisfied with the SUQQU brush, I’m sure you will love it πŸ™‚
      I’m not sure what you mean by hosting, my blog is a wordpress theme that was modified by my significant other (web designer). We’re actually going to redo the site (love it, but it’s time for an upgrade).
      If you want to start a blog, blogspot is the easiest. If you have some design and computing smarts, WordPress offers greater customisation options.
      Good luck! x

  12. Hey K! Just a comment – my Suqqu cheek is different from yours :/
    Mine is definitely not a perfectly round ferrule, it is slightly flattened in the middle, giving the brush a less round appearance.

    I bought mine in Selfridges in London, I wonder whether this is why there is a difference? I was very surprised when I saw these photos of yours, I have never seen a round Suqqu cheek brush before…

    Anywhoo, just found that curious!
    xo Carmen

    1. Hey Carmen πŸ™‚
      I have two SUQQU Cheek brushes and I just double checked – you are RIGHT! There is a very slight pinched ferrule which is hard to see in my photos because I dry my brush in a brush guard (which keeps the bristles more rounded).
      I’m going to edit the post now! Thanks for your comment, I overlooked that.

  13. Hi Karima! I was wondering where you buy your brush guards? I’m having a very hard time finding ones small enough for my smaller crease brushes.


      1. Hey Alex,
        They’re just mesh tubes, I put my brushes in them while they dry and it helps fluffy brushes retain their shape. I don’t use it for tiny eyeliner brushes or dense flat brushes, just fluffy brushes that can lose their shape.

  14. Karima, I just came to tell you that as of July 1, Beautylish is now stocking Chikuhodo brushes, but only a limited selection (the brush in this review is one of them). I feel that this could be included as a Chikuhodo stockist in your post. I love your blog, by the way!

    1. Hey TP!
      Yeah, recently Beautylish contacted me to let me know! So exciting, I’m glad they’ll widely available now πŸ™‚
      Thank you, m’dear!

  15. So…the Z4 is on Beautylish for $73 USD, $10 off your first order, free shipping to US, and $5 to AUS or free if you spend over $100! I’m definitely going to start with that and hope it staves of the fever I have for Suqqu. πŸ™‚

  16. I have both and I have to say that I prefer the Suqqu for most everything, even for unpigmented brushes. The Z4 does a better job of applying less pigmented brushes more quickly but I prefer the softness of the application I get with the Suqqu. Part of this has to do with the shape and density of bristles: the Suqqu has a rounder, less directional shape that lends itself to buffing in circles and very fine application of powder products is possible because the bristles are sparser than the Z4. This means that while it takes a few more passes to apply product with less pigment, powder never looks cakey. I use the Suqqu for EVERYTHING to do with base makeup: setting powder (I rarely do whole face of makeup so I usually just set under the eyes), highlighting, contouring and blush. I’m also delighted with the small size since I have a pretty small face so the proportions are just right for me. And the softness of the Suqqu is unparalleled. I pass it over my face a few more times just to feel its surreal fluffiness. I’m kicking myself for not getting another one (or two) when I had the chance but I haven’t seen it on the Selfridges website since they started doing international delivery. πŸ™ I’m definitely stocking up the next time I go to Japan. The Z4 isn’t bad; it just isn’t as well-matched to my style of makeup application and how I prefer my makeup to look. On the other hand, I don’t love the Suqqu powder brush that much. I much prefer the Z1 so it’s 1 all for Suqqu and Chikuhodo… Actually, it’s probably 2 all to Chikuhodo, who makes all my favourite brushes. Sorry for the long post. I hope that it’ll help someone out, like the few reviews that existed when I first started getting serious about collecting brushes helped me out.

  17. Hi Karima , I truly enjoy your blog & your humor . I am traveling to Japan Dec 28 & just want to find out from you if I can find Suqqu brushes also at Tau Hiroshima in Ginza where you purchased your Chikuhodo brushes ? I want to purchase some Suqqu items & I am trying to minimize errands . Thanks !

  18. Karima! Hey! Really sorry for asking my endless questions but can I ask if you’ve stumbled across a Hakuhodo alternative to this Suqqu brush? Hakuhodo seems to have more affordable options overall? To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll ever get round to actually buying Hakuhodo given each brush is usually the price of a decent drugstore makeup product but reading your blog and becoming knowledgeable on the subject has become something of a hobby for me πŸ˜› Thanks for writing such genuinely interesting and well thought out/high-quality posts πŸ™‚ Never thought I would be ‘into’ makeup as a child/teenager since I was always a tomboy but that’s just how interesting your posts are! You’ve converted me! πŸ™‚ Thank you from myself and my mother because she was worried I was always going to be a tomboy πŸ˜›

  19. Hey Karima, just wondering what brand the blush with the flower imprints are and same for the rectangular coral one that you use the Suqqu brush for.

    I bought the Suqqu from Harrods (convenience of living in London :D) and I have a few Chanel blushes but it takes AAAGES to apply. Ordered my Z4 too and am currently waiting for it to arrive so will definitely be using that for Chanel. *does little dance in excitement*

    Do you have any other blush recommendations that the Suqqu would be great for? πŸ˜€

    Thanks so much! <3

  20. Hey Karima, just wondering what brand the two blushes with the flower imprints are? And the rectangle coral one that you would use the Suqqu brush for?

    I bought the Suqqu Cheek from Harrods (convenience of living in London :D) and I have a few Chanel blushes but the Suqqu takes AAAGES to apply. Ordered my Z4 as well and its arriving soon so will definitely be using it for the Chanel – trusting your judgement here πŸ˜› *does little dance of excitement*

    Do you have any other recommendations of brands (for blush) that the Suqqu would be great for? πŸ˜€

    Thank you! <3