Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hakuhodo K005 & Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush SL (E0189)

I owe this one to Dain from Ars Aromatica. I didn't know or think about using brushes of this shape and size as an eyeliner brush and/or to tightline until Dane mentioned these two brushes just as I was planning a(nother) Hakuhodo order. The K005 and Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush SL (E0189) are basically the same brush with different handles. I have a thing for the beautiful Kokutan brushes with their ebony handle that gets a nice patina with constant use. Gel and cream eyeliners are my most used makeup items, so I go through several eyeliner brushes a week (they're among the few brushes I insist on washing after every use). That's why I got both the Kokutan and its basic sibling. K005 ( a longer and slim black handle).

Dain was right. The soft but dense natural weasel hair picks up all the product you need to tightline and deposits it gently and accurately without irritating the eye. I also use them when drawing a thicker line (which I often do) and for smudging the color at the lash line. The brushes perform beautifully and never scratch or irritate my eyes, which is a major concern when tightlining.

I only put the NARS #15 Smudge Brush here for size comparison. The NARS is great on the lid but it is not an eyeliner brush and is way too big and thick for tightlining. Paula Dorf's Smudge brush is excellent but is rounder and a smidgen thicker, so not really an eyeliner brush, either. The Louise Young LY16 is one I do use for the same purpose and I like it a lot (so, yes, reviews coming soon).

Bottom Line: a must-have, in either version.

Hakuhodo K005 ($15) &  Kokutan Eye Shadow Brush SL ($32) are available from

All photos are mine. My lovely assistant is Josephine.


  1. Funny, I never tried a brush this shape for gel liner. I use a much smaller one by Bobbi Brown, but I think this would be quicker to use. Another great brush review!

  2. I love, love, love this brush. I think it's close to perfection, especially considering all the different kinds of eyeliner techniques. This brush handles most of them with elan. You can wiggle it back and forth to tightline, you can do a standard thick, smoky line, you can do detail work like an inner corner highlight, you can even do a flick, if you're not looking for too crisp an edge, and the hair keeps its integrity whether you use dry or cream products. It's not so thin and flat as synthetic eyeliner brushes, but that uncut hair is superfine, so you get so much precision out of it. I loved the Kokutan one so much that I also (ahem) bought the K005 as a backup. It's a great value for the price.

    I'm so glad you like it, too, with your impeccable taste. : )

  3. I always use my MAC 208 to tightline. Those look like they would do a much better job! They almost look like the hairs are spreading though? Are they holding up well?

  4. I don't tightline much, but this brush is making me reconsider, crazy as it sounds. I love Hakuhodo.

  5. N., so many people consider the Bobbi Brown brush too big for eyeliner, but I disagree. It's a good one. But for tightlighning this Hakuhoso one is better. You'll see ;) .

  6. Thanks, Dain, you're a doll. I've used these brushes for detail work but not for an actual flick. I guess I have enough other brushes for that. I'm really into tiny eye brushes lately. Found some great ones from YSl, Chantecaille, SpaceNK... but nothing beats Hakuhodo for tightlining.

  7. C., I'm not sure why the hair turned looking like that in the photos. There's no splaying or any other issues. I've had both brushes since January and they're doing very well in constant use (and washing).

  8. Adele, I'm a tightlining addict. It's so much easier with the right tools.


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