Wednesday, July 8, 2015

First Impressions // Chikuhodo x Beautylish The Sakura Collection

Confession time: the Chikuhodo brushes I purchased in a previous post are in a protective box, unused, like a grandma’s couch covered in plastic.

I know.

And would you shake your head at me even more vigorously if you knew that I just went ahead and bought myself an entire set of Chikuhodo brushes? 


But hear me out! 

For one thing, my birthday is in sight, which is a self-bestowed carte blanche to treat myself. (Or, a convenient justification for things I was going to get anyway...) Second, San Francisco-based beauty retailer Beautylish recently teamed up with Japanese master brush makers Chikuhodo to release an exclusive collaboration brush set, the Sakura Collection. When two things I love are paired together, I am incapable of resisting.

The Brush Set

The response from customers was apparently overwhelming. Slated for an early July release to the public, the brushes were released in 3 pre-sale events due to demand with the first pre-sale shipping in late June. I managed to snag my set during the first pre-sale, and I'm so glad I did as all 3 pre-sales sold out immediately and there is currently a waitlist. The hype around these brushes was immense, and if the first impression is any indication, this set lives up to that hype.

I just received my brushes a few days ago, and while this is not yet a review of their performance, their exquisitely designed cherry blossom-print handles and soft goat and grey squirrel bristles are indicative of the high quality you would expect from a handmade Japanese brush. The price, however, was not as high as most were expecting for the set. Retailing at $215, the set is an excellent value for money for brushes of this caliber. During a conference call set up for those interested in the first round of pre-sales, Beautylish founder Nils divulged that the intended audience was not only brush fanatics, but also those who are wanting to dip their toe into the waters of high quality Japanese brushes, hence why they were sold as a set and not individually. Because of this, the collection makes a wonderful travel set and even comes with its own travel brush holder. As a set, it gives a well-rounded picture of Japanese brushes to a novice. 

Brush Set in Travel Case

Travel Case

Each set contains five brushes:

The Powder Brush
Powder Brush

Powder Brush Up Close

The Cheek Brush
Cheek Brush

Cheek Brush Up Close

The Crease Brush
Crease Brush

Crease Brush Up Close

The Shader Brush
Shader Brush

Shader Brush Up Close

The Detail Brush
Detail Brush Up Close

Detail Brush

Detail on the Brush Handles
Brush Handles with Chikuhodo/Beautylish Logo

Close Up of Brush Logo and Cherry Blossom Detail

Close Up of Brush Logo and Cherry Blossom Detail on Powder Brush

Close Up of Cherry Blossom Detail on Powder Brush

While not the most important feature of my order, I so appreciated the detail that went into the packaging. It is the mark of an authentic Japanese retail experience to have the product housed in exquisite and detailed packaging, and Beautylish delivered in true Japanese fashion. And in true Beautylish fashion, a handwritten note and brush care card are included. (Side note: I had the order shipped to my mother's while I'm here, which is why the card is written to Gail.) 

Order Packaging

Detail of San Francisco Stamp Inside of Shipping Box

Handwritten Card

Beautylish Zipper Bag

Product Box

Brushes Individually Wrapped

Individually Wrapped Powder Brush

Greeting Card Inside Order

Handwritten Card

Brush Care Card

This is Beautylish's first retail product, and it has set the bar high for future products from the retailer. It is hard to imagine a better collaboration partner than the masters at Chikuhodo. Even though they are tricky to get at this point, I assure you they will be worth the wait!

As luck would have it, I have the perfect opportunity in the near future to not only test the performance of these brushes, but their ease and convenience for travel as well. In other words, grandma’s about to take the plastic cover off the couch! Stay tuned for a proper review on 8/1/15. 

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