Yachiyo brushes are traditional Japanese blush brushes. NARS has brought them into the spotlight by offering a Yachiyo brush in their Kabuki Artisan range, making these brushes a favorite tool for many, especially when it comes to careful application of very pigmented blushes. Hakuhodo, a Japanese company specializing in top quality makeup brushes (and the manufacturer of private label brushes for several cosmetics brands) has several Yachiyo brushes. They come in two shapes (pointed and blunt, the latter is called "purple") and three sizes (large, medium and small).
The large pointed Yachiyo brush is comparable to NARS,though the head is rounder, more even and a little smaller. I find that my large Hakuhodo is softer than NARS, but I use them as intermittently. These are superb blush brushes that blend and diffuse even the most stubborn products.
The medium pointed Yachiyo is a great multitasker: blush, contouring, powder highlighter, final blending of all over eye shadow. You name it and the medium Hakuhodo Yachiyo performs. Its shape is narrower than the large brushe, helping it fit into smaller areas.
The small pointed Yachiyo is really small. It requires some adjusting, as generally most of us tend to go for larger blush brushes. Still, I find it excellent to use over the cheek bones, as a setting brush for powders on small areas and blending just about anything and anywhere. It's soft and effective. I also have the blunt purple version of the small Yachiyo, but use it a bit less (I'll have to post about it separately as I've misplaced the folder of photos I took of the small Yachiyos last fall).
When it comes to the small Yachiyo brushes I defy Hakuhodo's recommendation to only use them with powder products. They're very convenient to use with small jars and pans of cream blushes and highly effective. It's true that this means more frequent cleansing (something Hakuhodo doesn't endorse), but so far, so good.
One word about the photos: as you can see, two of the brushes have product residue and weren't washed prior to taking these pictures. The reason is simple. I use my Yachiyos on such regular basis it's nearly impossible to catch all of them on a clean day.
Bottom Line: highly recommended to have more than one.
Hakuhodo Yachiyo Brushes (Pointed)- Large ($33), Medium ($27), Small ($22). Take note how cheaper they are compared to NARS Yachiyo ($50). They're available from hakuhodousa.com.