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So if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that lately, my life has consisted of calculators and textbooks (and stuffing my face, naturally). I’ve taken some time out to run brushes all over my face and ramble about them… zen.

This installment compares and reviews my white goat Hakuhodo crease brushes, which hold a special place in my heart. Darker hair crease brushes in the next post.

Hakuhodo Crease Brush Reviews – J5523, J5522, J142, J146

Hakuhodo Crease Brush Reviews – J5523, J5522, J142, J146

Hakuhodo Crease Brush Reviews – J5523, J5522, J142, J146

MAC 217

Usually a mode of size and shape reference, but here is an explanation as to why the 217 is no longer my favourite eye brush. Made of white goat hair, the 217 rose to cult status due to its shape and size, which fits perfectly in most sockets. It places colour equally as well as it blends, due to non-tapered tip, this produces a somewhat flat footprint that aids in buffing harsh edges.

My beef with this brush lies not in the shape or size, but rather the quality and durability; it’s downright scratchy compared to my Hakuhodo brushes, the condition has declined despite fastidious care and it frays. Many claim that the quality of MAC brushes has been going downhill, I haven’t been around for that long so I can’t comment.

Yet I would still recommend this brush to some. Most people I encounter outside the cyber world would consider buying brushes allll the wayyy from Japan to be a form of insanity (and perhaps it is). If you’re looking for a decent crease and blending brush that is widely available, the 217 takes the cake.

For the rest of us crazy people…

Hakuhodo J5523 Eye Shadow Brush Round and Flat

This is the closest 217 dupe offered by Hakuhodo. Made of white goat hair, it takes the same shape as the 217, a round but flattened head that, on side view, creates an oval footprint. You may perceive one dissimilarity in the photos above; the size. J5523 is a fraction smaller than the 217 and this is most discernible when looking at the profile.

I actually prefer the size as it offers a tad more precision while providing the same amount of resistance. Moreover, the J5523 excels over the 217 in every facet; super soft, retains shape, never frays, durable after washing and an absolute pleasure to use.

Final Verdict: A+. If you’re looking for a better made version of the 217, here it is. If you liked the 217 but feel it is a tad large for your socket, this fits that description perfectly.

Hakuhodo J5522 Eye Shadow Brush Tapered

Again, made of white goat hair, this brush is slightly larger than the MAC 224 and the Tom Ford Blending Brush (review coming soon) and a tad less dense than the J5523. It takes a more standard crease brush form, a tapered tip with a round footprint. While it’s quite a large crease brush, the tapered tip and moderate resistance allows it to place colour in the socket but it is best suited to blending out crease shades- for this is works beautifully. It’s also soft, are you surprised?

Final Verdict: B+. I’m taking an objective stance here, some will find this brush too large for the socket and will prefer to use it solely to blend out crease shadows. That limits the versatility of the brush- if you have a bigger eye, upgrade it to an A.

Hakuhodo J142 Eye Shadow Brush Round

The size closely resembles the MAC 217/J5523 but it’s the babby version of the J5522 in terms of silhouette. I use this almost interchangeably with the J5523- I actually reach for it more frequently when using black shadow as it’s slightly less dense and building colour is infinitely easier than buffing out over application. Like all the Hakuhodo crease brushes I’ve detailed in this post, the finish of the bristles is silky and it never drags on the skin, creating perfectly diffused gradients.

Final Verdict: A. If you prefer a perfectly domed crease brush, as opposed to slightly flatter shapes like the 217, this little guy is for you. If you like a softer application in the crease, this will give a more diffused finish than the J5523. One of my favourites!

Hakuhodo J146 Eye Shadow Brush Round

Consisting of white goat hair, J146 is a more specialised crease brush. Its main purpose is precise crease work; adding a dark shade to the outer V, deepening the socket etc. Despite a slender frame, the goat hair provides a comfortable amount of resistance (because who likes a floppy crease brush? Really?)

I prefer these types of brushes to pencil style brushes for creating extra depth- I find the final product to be more diffused.

Final Verdict: B+. Not everyone needs this brush but if you yearn for a bit of black in your V (minds out of the gutter!) then J146 is my recommendation. I could grasp at straws and offer some other purposes for this brush, but it would be just that. A must for me.

What are you favourite Hakuhodo crease brushes? I’m open to suggestions 🙂


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  1. Exactly the the post I was looking for! I would like to order some Hakuhodo brushes and I was wondering which brush would be an alternative to MAC 217. I have big eyes but 217 is just the right size for me, so I don’t think I will go with J5522. Then I think about J5523 but then again I have big eyes, so maybe I should rather go for J142 *ponders*

    1. Hey Sara 🙂
      I think most people would be satisfied with both the J5523 and the J142- the defining factor here is density. J5523 is slightly more dense so if you prefer a stronger application, go that. For a slightly softer application, go J142.

  2. Black in my V??!! Oh heavens!!

    I have the j5523 and j146. Love them both. Totally love Hakuhodo, well worth the import!

  3. Hi Karima!
    This post is incredibly helpful! I am going to splurge. The MAC 217 just does. To work as wel for me know as it did. I want all of these, I also love white brushes! Your the best!

  4. Hi Karima,
    how would you compare the J5523 and J142 to the Tom Ford no 13 blender brush? I saw you used that one in your double winged eyeliner tutorial.

    Do you have a ranking for the three in terms of must have?


    1. Hey Jeanette!
      I’m doing a comparison post soon but the TF 13 is a big bigger than the two Hakuhodo but not quite as soft, in my opinion. I love all three but hang in there, post coming soon 🙂 xx

  5. Hi. Your blog is so helpful. Can you please suggest a good eyeshadow blending brush for very tiny eyelids. There isnt a lot of space between my lash line and crease at all. Help! lol

    1. I think the J146 would be a good placement brush, you might want to go back in with a J5523 to blend out the edges. I think the duo would work well for you, since the J146 is very small and the J5523 is directional, so you can turn it on it’s side for a narrow fit. Hope this helps 🙂 x

  6. Karima,

    Thanks for this informative post, really helpful, as I wanted to add Hakuhodo brushes to my collection, I am very excited to have J5523, J142 and J146 winging their way to the UK. I totally understand the need to import to get the good stuff, but I am a make-up addict too! 🙂

  7. Hi Karima! I’ve watched your videos for a very long time, so I know you really make an effort to respond your blog comments the most. I really want to get some Hakuhodo brushes for my eyes… and maybe one for the complexion? I don’t know, I am slightly confused because they have SO many brushes. If you can help me, please let me know as some are expensive too. Thank you! xoxo

    1. Hey Patricia 🙂
      The Hakuhodo site is very overwhelming! I know what you mean! It’s tricky for me to recommend brushes because it really comes down to preference. For example, I tend to prefer very small face brushes and goat hair eye brushes, but you may feel differently. If you’re asking for my Hakuhodo favourites, here they are:
      J5522 for very soft crease work, J5523 is the closest dupe for the MAC 217, J142 is a favourite of mine and J146 is great for intricate crease work.
      I also love the J521-D1 for gel/cream liner and tight lining, it’s very very small.
      I don’t have a whole load of Hakuhodo face brushes (I tend to prefer SUQQU and Chikuhodo for face brushes) but I do like the B505, it’s a largish blush brush but it’s very directional and can be used for bronzer too.
      Hope this helps 🙂 x

  8. Hi Karima, thank you for your helpful posts and comparisons. I’ve been itching to get my hands on a hakuhodo brush for quite some time now, and I’ve made an impulse purchase and ordered the j146 hoping to manage to do the cut crease look with it, and since it hasn’t arrived I’ve been getting the feeling that my impulse purchase was a mistake. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t not have constant nightmares yet, but I thought I’d ask an expert and sort this out. Basically, my question is, is the j146 capable of doing the cut crease effect? And for my next purchase, have you tried the s111 or the s111bk? And if so, what are your thoughts on the topic? Thanks again!

  9. Hi Karima! If I ever do a youtube made me tag…you are my biggest offender lol! Thank you for all the great recommendations. You have yet to steer me wrong!
    Xoxo from Florida