Back in 2012 I abandoned my NARS Ita brushes* for the Hakuhodo Itabake and haven't looked back. The large Itabake brush I bought two years ago is great for foundation, but the smaller ones are more directional and are usually recommended for contouring. But Hakuhod Itabake brushes are more versatile than that. The white goat hair is suitable for use with cream, liquid, and powder products. The Small Itabake is tiny (overall length 78mm, hair length 23mm and width 25mm) and allows for precise application- foundation, highlighters, powder touch-ups, and, yes, contouring (temples and the side of the nose, for example).
|Hakuhodo Small Itabake next to the old and discontinued NARS Ita 21|
|Hakuhodo Itabake- Small & Large (which needs to be washed ASAP. I use it regularly). FYI, Hakuhodo has two Itabakes that are even larger than the "Large" one.|
The goat hair is packed densely (thickness of 9.55 mm), and feels very soft--- much more so than the old NARS. The hair is long enough to have movement and curves nicely around the face. I'm not big on contouring. My face was just not meant to have sharp edges, even fake ones. I do it occasionally, but to be honest it's just too much fake-looking paint for my features. I am fond of highlighting, though, and the small Itabake is an excellent tool for that, as it applies and blends the product with two or three brush strokes.
Bottom Line: great to have.
Hakuhodo Itabake Brush- Small ($48) is available from hakuhodousa.com. They ship internationally.
It looks like NARS has also forsaken the Itas since they were not revived with the rest of the new brush line (the Yachiyo and Botan are included in their new Kabuki range).