Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Guest Post: Chikuhodo Z-4 and RMK Cheek Brush S Comparison by toto850

Today, I bring you a guest review (hopefully the first of many) by the fabulous toto850 of makeupalley, who has one of the sexiest makeup brush collections around.

RMK brushes are manufactured by Chikuhodo (as are Suqqu, Lunasol, EST, Shiseido etc.) and a meme floating around the beauty net suggests that they are therefore all the same. In my experience, having tried all of the brands above, this is categorically untrue, even when you compare two brushes of very similar shapes and hair types, as she proceeds to:

Chikuhodo Z-4 and RMK Cheek Brush S Comparison by toto850
The first thing I noticed is that they have both a simular dome shape to it. The Chikuhodo Z-4 is made from grey squirrel hair and the RMK brush from grey squirrel hair and goat; I did find that the Chikuhodo is a little bit softer than the RMK one.

Although the RMK brush fluffed up after washing, it's not as densely packed as the Chikuhodo one and is even a little flatter. The reason for this is because the bristles are more splayed than the Chikuhodo one.
How about the application of blusher? I did a swatch for Nars Exhibit A on my arm using both brushes. Left is the Exhibit A applied with the Chikuhodo Z-4 and on the right the same blush applied with the RMK S brush.
You can see that the Chikuhodo Z-4 gives a more pigmented and even application than the RMK one, b/c of the densely packed bristles.
With the RMK one you need to layer the blush more to get the same result, but generally it's good if you want a more diffused look.

The Driveller again:
Another misconception which toto850's review corrects is the 'rule' that soft brushes cannot deposit pigment as effectively as scratchy ones, which in makeup terms seems to come down to an oversimplified duel (and high-larious mental picture) of squirrel vs goat. The no-pain-no-gain approach to brushes is one that I've always found frankly baffling, being a fan (as you all know by now) of all kinds of looks from subtle to bold, and therefore requiring my (mostly squirrel) brushes to be just as versatile.

There are many more factors which affect how a particular brush performs, and hopefully detailed comparisons like this one will help those of you hesitating over brushes with very similar 'stats'.


  1. I agree: densely bundled squirrel is more than capable of intense application. However, they are definitely among the priciest brushes out there, nor accessible to everyone, so it seems unlikely that point would be well known.

    Would you bring kolinsky sable/weasel into this equation at all? It is a much straighter hair to begin with, so it tends to yield dense brushes at all times I've encountered it, even when less hair is used (e.g. Hakuhodo).

  2. Dain, in my experience, no, kolinsky/weasel are so different from squirrel/goat that they'd be more useful to set alongside synthetics.
    Also, I've never encountered a face brush made of kolinsky, probably because it would make grey squirrel seem cheap... I'm curious as to which Hakuhodo brushes you're thinking of, as I don't see any in their catalogue?

  3. Yup. I would also compare sable/weasel to synthetic. Both fibers tend to be straighter and yield a dense, flat brush.

    Oh, sorry, I was talking about the Hakuhodo weasel, though they do have one or two in sable on the Japanese site. Isn't sable a type of weasel? I believe the closest kolinsky sable comes to a face brush is the Shu 15. It is much smaller than a normative face brush, of course, but the high cost of the hair seems to the prohibitive factor.

  4. Okay, remember how I have the lurgy? I will need links please because I'm really not seeing any weasel or sable (and yes, they're different animals) face brushes on the Japanese or US Hakuhodo sites.

    I would consider using the Shu 15 with liquid/cream highlighters, and not with any kind of blush, if that answer your question at all?

  5. Oh, I thought sables were mustelidae. Sorry if I was confusing, I was talking generally, not just face brushes.

  6. I'm none too lucid myself, right now. I hope you feel better.

  7. Wikipedia informs me that both weasels and sables are mustelidae, not that I'd heard that word before you used it (impressive as always, btw!) That doesn't mean that they're the same animal, nor that the hair types are the same, as far as I can tell?

    Just as grey/red/blue squirrel hairs are different even though they all come from subspecies of squirrel...

  8. I'm sure they're not the same. Someone on MUA needs to go a hair factory and fondle all the rodents. ; )

  9. One of my flu-dreams involved a stable full of squirrels :) Now to kidnap a master craftsman from Kumano...

  10. hahaha i lmao on the duel of squirrel and goat. great comparison, esp on the hair aspect. am wondering have you ever tried the Lunasol cheek brush as I see it's rather alike to RMK's as well...