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I’ve played and fondled and experimented with my Hakuhodo brushes for many a month, today I deliver overdue reviews! I’ve raved on and on about the quality and craftsmanship (view rave here) so straight to the contenders!

The first two candidates for review are the J214R (white) and 212 (black), pictured below. Trusty MAC 217 for size reference.

Hakuhodo Brush Reviews- J214R & 212

Hakuhodo Brush Reviews- J214R & 212

212 is discernibly largest, followed by the J214R. Both are considerably small face (eye? cheek? wut?) brushes with two entirely different applications, lets discuss!

J214R Duo Fibre Eyeshadow Brush Round

Hakuhodo Brush Reviews- J214R & 212

This funny little character is comprised of Goat and Synthetic fibre, as you all may know, duo fibre brushes are ideal for liquid and crème products. The tapered synthetic fibres that extend from the body of the brush lend light application.
J214R is not so densely packed but has fantastic resistance (no floppiness, here). Super soft to touch (Hakuhodo, duh) and also unique- it’s one of the smallest duofibre brushes that I have encountered.

You read the heading correctly, Hakuhodo refers to this as an eyeshadow brush- in my opinion, it is a tad large for the eyelid. I’ve experimented a bucketload; used it for under eye concealer (preferred my finger) and liquid highlighter (still partial to fingers).
I was stumped and running out of ideas. Light bulb moment… crème blush, perhaps? WINNING. The brush head is small enough to achieve precise application but blends out effortlessly, using either a stippling or circular motion.

Crème highlighter performed equally well. I even tried it with foundation, flawless finish albeit slightly laborious. Some may find that the head is too small for facial purposes but I almost always tend to prefer smaller face brushes.

Quality wise, this brush gains the Karima tick of approval. Durable wash after wash, retains shape and no shedding at all. To see this brush in action, click here and fast forward to 3:30.

Final verdict: B+ My tool of choice for cream blush but limited in other applications. If you’re a big crème blush fan, upgrade this to an A and put that cheeky bugger in your cart.

212 Highlight Brush Round

Hakuhodo Brush Reviews- J214R & 212

Another Hakuhodo brush that I use for an alternate purpose than intended. Made of black goat hair, 212 is small but DENSE, f’real. Not as soft as some of my other Hakuhodo brushes but more than comfortable to rub all over the face (if you choose).

Hakuhodo suggests using this for highlighter application- I don’t know about you guys but I prefer wispy brushes to flick highlighter on my face, this kind of density would have me reflecting like chrome.
The kind peeps at MakeupAlley proposed using it for contouring and I quite like it for this purpose- particularly small areas, like the nose. If I use a light hand, this provides precise shading under the cheekbone. If I use a heavy hand, it’s a disaster.

Overall, I’d say this brush works best with powders. A little too large for the eye yet a very small selection for the face, 212 may not be for everyone.

Quality is consistent with Hakuhodo- very durable, no shedding and as soft as the day I purchased it. For a quick clip of me using this brush to contour, click here and fast forward to 8:40.

Final verdict: B. The density of this brush limits its versatility. Perfect for days when I want a strong contour and a great addition to my stash, but not a ‘must have’ of mine. If you’ve found an alternate use for this, please let me know!

Do you own either of these brushes? What are your thoughts and how do you use them?


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  1. Karima, your posts are always awesome, I love the way you write!
    I’m dying to place my order for a good handful of Hakuhodo brushes. I salivate at the thought of it, but I have told myself I have to wait until at least the middle of March to allow myself the splurge. I HATE WAITINGGGGG. Hate. Not long to go now…
    Neither of these brushes are actually on my list, but I’m going to consider the J214R now, as I do like a bit o’ cream blush. Look out, shopping cart.

    1. Hey Jade 😀 Glad you enjoyed the post!
      Mid march? I admire your strength and willpower. I should have spat out a few extra brush reviews by then, maybe some extra material for you to consider 😉
      What’s on your wishlist?

    1. I wouldn’t have ever thought to use it as a highlight brush, if for the name. I’m a bit slap n dash with my highlighter, any fan brush or soft brush works for me.

  2. I don’t own either, but I do have the 210 which I find perfect for contouring my cheekbones– larger than the 212 but still on the small side. I ordered my first Hakuhodos recently and the day they arrived, I sat rubbing them all over my face in a daze for probably a solid half-hour. Do I get like a Dark Mark or something now that I’ve been inducted?

  3. What a great review! I’d love to see more, as I am just starting to enter the world of Hakuhodo Brushes. I’ve seen a lot of rave for them on MUA, but your last haul post was what pulled the trigger on my lem! I bought the MAC 217 and 109 dupe and love them! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the other brushes.

    Debbie xx

  4. Hi Karima
    Sorry If you have answered this before….. What do you clean ur brushes with- It has been suggested either normal shampoo or dishwashing detergent?
    I\m waiting for my first Hakuhodo haul-so need to be prepared!

  5. Hi Karima
    Love the Hakuhodo brushes almost as much as?……, can’t think of anything better! (if my children read this, sorry!) (if my dogs see this Grandma loves you!)
    I’ve had my 212 for over a year and use it to apply my under eye concealer which it does beautifully.

  6. I have the 212, I think it’s a great little brush but I do agree that it’s uses are limited. I also like it for contouring, I Actually think it’s the perfect size for sculpting cheeks. I just need a better contour powder! I really don’t like contouring with bronzer, it just isn’t the look I’m going for (I feel like I look tanned, not chiseled!). I feel sad that I missed Notorious, it was so scarce in Canada I barely had a shot at it. Any recommendations for a shade in the same family as notorious?

    1. I think it depends on your contouring preferences, many prefer a fluffy brush for a diffused look, but I prefer to place the product in small regions then blend as I choose. I’m about to upload a contouring tutorial- hopefully that might provide you with some contouring product suggestions.
      To be honest, Notorious was pretty unique. I think the closest dupe is NARS Lhasa eyeshadow.

  7. Hi! 🙂 Have you tried the J214R for liquid highlighter, and if yes, what do you think about it? I am thinking about buying it for my GA Fluid Sheer. That one, or the G545!
    Have a nice evening!

    Greetings, fellow MUAer

    1. Hey Moremi, fellow MUA-er 🙂
      I actually prefer my fingers for liquid highlighter, I find if I pat it on it doesn’t disturb the makeup underneath. I have tried J214R for that purpose but I’d rather use my fingers, even though it works well. HTH! xxkarima