This one is a serious hall of famer. I was first introduced to the 5R Kolinsky Brush by a Shu Uemura makeup artist at the counter (how I miss having actual Shu counters in the US. Their staff was always knowledgeable and helpful, and boy did they do a good job applying makeup). He showed me how this unassuming little brush could do anything and everything: handle all textures, do precise work in the crease and inner corner, reach between the lashes, create a beautiful smoky eye and even blend eye shadows to perfection.
Dain of Ars Aromatica mentioned the 5R brush in a comment she left me last year and it was interesting hearing how she found this brush particularly fitting for her eye shape, as I loved it dearly despite being so small (a large part of my eye brush collection is occupied by the makeup equivalents of huge paint rollers). It's all about performance, and the Shu Uemura Kolinsky Brush 5R does an amazing job.
The bristles, made of pure kolinsky, are wonderfully soft despite their relative firmness. It's the perfect density to pick up enough color for crease and lash work and then blend everything. A really good brush doesn't need you to work very hard until you get the desired look; the 5R is a perfect example for that. And it does it all while being this small- you can see it here next to Hakuhodo S146, a slim and delicate crease brush. The Shu 5R is so much smaller, which is why it also works in the lash line. The elegant and equally versatile Shu Uemura 8HR looks huge next to it. I often use them together.
Bottom Line: completely worth it.
Shu Uemura Kolinsky Brush 5R ($60) is available from shuuemura-usa.com and overseas counters.
All photos are mine.