I realize that I'm month behind on some brush reviews (not to mention the unfinished brush guide), including some new(er/ish) Hakuhodo brushes that I've had for months and have become essential go-to items (which is why it's hard to catch them clean and ready to be photographed), as well as a couple of Chanel brushes. But Hakuhodo just released three new blending brushes that are worth everyone's attention.
BJ142 (listed in both J and the Basic series) is a classic whisk-shaped blending brush made of white goat hair. It's a multitasker that does a wash of color, smudges and blends eye shadow, blends concealer, applies setting powder over small concealed areas-- you name it. This type of brush has longer and fluffier hair than a MAC 217 (and its Hakuhodo equivalent J5523), so it doesn't really buff products (for better and for worse). BJ142 is beautifully balanced- soft enough yet springy to perform well.
Now, I've had a J142 brush for nearly a year now and I use it often. I need to have a chat with the lovely Hakuhodo people because for the life of me I can't see a difference between the two. Both are listed as 18mm hair length and 6mm width, all white goat hair, and the shape is identical. I've been testing the BJ142 and the J142 side by side (had to mark them because there's absolutely no way to tell them apart), and I could have sworn this is the same (excellent) brush.
Now, the other new brushes, G5540 and G5539 are very different. As you can see, the hair of both is significantly longer (28mm). The G5539 is tapered and pointy while the G5540 is flared like a paddle. I'd say that they're suited for a very diffused and light wash of color, or for adding a sheer layer of shimmer over an existing color. Since I have nothing similar in my collection I'll have to spend more time playing and experimenting before I can give a real review. I can tell you that both brushes feel nice and soft on the lids and have no prickliness. I'm hoping to read more about them at some point on the new Hakuhodo blog, but in the meantime I'm testing them with various textures and techniques-- so far really dense cream shadows are a no go, while most powders work well.
Hakuhodo BJ142 ($18), G5540 ($21), and G5539 ($22) are available from hakuhodousa.com.