Wednesday, May 04, 2011

NARS Ita Kabuki Brush No. 28

The  Ita Kabuki Brush No. 28 is part of NARS artisan brush series (together with their Botan, Yachiyo and the narrow version of Ita, the no. 21). The Ita Kabuki is an unusual brush, wide and flat, made of black goat hair that feels softer than it looks.

NARS Ita No. 28 is a powder brush, for finishing, highlighting and contouring. I think the latter two functions are its strongest suit because of the way you can maneuver the brush and its precision on narrow areas such as the cheekbones or the hollows under them. The brush is so wide it doesn't leave streaks at all once you get used to it. Still, for finishing and powdering, I prefer full and fluffy brushes.

The Ita brushes both have a learning curve. The main issue with the No. 28 Kabuki is remembering to hold and keep it parallel to the skin at all times. Changing the angle even a little bit usually results in the pointy edge of the handle hitting your cheek, which is not very pleasant. It took me a while to learn how to move the Ita along the curves of the face without making this mistake, and that didn't make me very happy. Once you figure it out, this is a good brush to have around, but in all honesty, there are plenty of excellent brushes for similar purpose that  don't require that much effort and don't poke you in the cheek if you get distracted.

Bottom Line: more trouble than it's worth.

NARS Ita Kabuki Brush No. 28 ($38.50) is available at Barneys and other NARS counters as well as from

All photos are mine.


  1. I own both and the #21 brush is my absolute favorite as a blush brush! You're right though - to use it properly you have to hold it at an angle. But it's worth it! I don't find myself reaching for the #28 often, er, at all because the wideness of it makes it supremely awkward to handle. I guess I need more practice. Also, my #21 brush looks like hell after years of use since NARS insists on coating its packaging in that horrible rubbery material that inevitably turns gummy and gross. I had to scrap it all off and wipe the handle down with alcohol. It's shiny now, but a little patchy and looks like it's a fake :( Boo. Eventually I'll splurge on a new one...

  2. Ami, I know exactly what you're talking about re: handle. That gummy thing is horrible and while I've had mine less than a year (these are oldish photos), they just aren't pretty, and I'm very careful when washing them.
    When it's time for replacing your Ita brushes, please have a look at Hakuhodo. Their Itabake brushes (under the Japanese Tradinion category) look very promising. I have many Hakuhodo brushes, though not these (yet) and couldn't be more thrilled with their performance. They also look much much better :)

  3. The NARS brushes are bit prickly. I've found less expensive drug store brushes that are softer.

  4. I will add this to my wish list along with the Botan Brush!

  5. Hi Gaia...I love your blog, read it quite a lot! I love the creativity and the in depth reviews and the pictures. You seem to be a brush specialist and if it's okay I'd like to make a request. A lot of times in your brush reviews you end by saying one is okay but not the best. I'd really love to see a brush summary where you list your favorites by category. I've been searching for a brush for gel eyeliner and not being satisfied...I'd really love to know what you've found. (I'm 40+ and wow, eyelining gets difficult!) I'm also looking for a better blush brush and one for blending/finishing. If you decide to do this, many thanks!

  6. Does anybody know of a dupe for the NARS #28?
    I'd like to try it out, put the price puts me off if I end up hating it!
    Thanks :)


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