Hakuhodo Blending Brushes Reviews & Comparisons - J5523, J5533, J142, J146, J5529


hakuhodo japanese makeup brush review


Hakuhodo is a Japanese company that crafts what are arguably some of the most exquisite natural hair makeup brushes in the world. While Japanese makeup brushes have been gaining in popularity for the last couple years, they're far from new. Japanese brushes have been used for centuries for a variety of purposes from writing to art and applying cosmetics. Crafting these brushes is a serious art form and as a result, these brushes are quite costly both in Japan as well as to purchase in the US. In fact, one of my sisters lives in Japan (where my father's family is from) and we regularly discuss how expensive brushes and cosmetics are there--even the brands based in Japan. I've personally always preferred investing in my brushes (for both myself and my kit) so I think the prices for these brushes were actually quite reasonable, however, "affordability" is a subjective term so it's best for readers to determine for themselves whether or not these are worth it to purchase. 

I recently purchased a number of Hakuhodo makeup brushes and since I've personally only found a few reviews online, I thought it might be helpful to throw in my 2 cents. I'm going to break these brushes up across several posts to keep things a bit more organized. This post is dedicated to the brushes I purchased that are primarily blending/crease brushes. I've tried to include comparisons of some of these brushes to other popular makeup brushes similar in shape/size.

Quick Note: Hakuhodo brushes were not originally numbered on the handles, however, they have recently changed that and newly crafted brushes in the "J" line are numbered. As a result, Hakuhodo is currently informing customers they may receive a mixture of numbered and unnumbered J brushes during this transitional period. Almost all of the brushes I received were numbered.

Their shipping is lightning fast and cost me $9, which I believe is flat-rate through their site.

Hakuhodo Blending/Crease Brush Reviews & Images - J5523, J5533, J142, J146, J5529

I have mentioned brush types and shapes below in each review, however, I'm a big believer in using your tools the way you see fit--there are no rules! The way I use a brush may not be the way you'd use it, so this is more guidelines based on my opinion.

hakuhodo japanese makeup brush review J5523, j5533, j142, j146, j5529
L to R - Hakuhodo J5523, Hakuhodo J5533, Hakuhodo J5529, Hakuhodo J146, Hakuhodo J142

Hakuhodo J5523 Review

hakuhodo J5523 japanese makeup brush review
Hakuhodo J5523

Brush Shape - round, flat
Brush Type - blending, crease, shadow
Bristle Length - 16mm
Hair Type - goat
Total Brush Length - 151mm
Price - $19
Where to Buy -
Observations - This brush is very soft and fairly fluffy, yet it's dense enough that it holds its shape well. This could easily be used for both applying shadow to the lid as well as to the crease. It's similar in shape and size to MAC 217, which I've compared it to below.

Hakuhodo J5533 Review

hakuhodo j5533 japanese makeup brush review
Hakuhodo J5533

Brush Shape - round, domed
Brush Type - blending
Bristle Length - 18mm
Hair Type - goat
Total Brush Length - 153mm
Price - $18
Where to Buy -
Observations - This brush is super soft and flexible. It's very fluffy with a round head, rather than tapered, making it perfect for blending. Bdellium had a blending brush in the Bambu line that was somewhat similar if memory serves me correctly, but I couldn't find the one I had and it was synthetic anyway, so I didn't compare them. I am really excited to use this brush on some new faces as I loved it while testing it on myself.

Hakuhodo J142 Review

hakuhodo j142 japanese makeup brush review
Hakuhodo J142

Brush Shape - medium tapered
Brush Type - blending, crease
Bristle Length - 18mm
Hair Type - goat
Total Brush Length - 153mm
Price - $18
Where to Buy -
Observations - Like the others, this is super soft. It's very flexible and fairly fluffy. It's neither super small nor super large--more medium size in terms of the brush head. Definitely a great crease brush! When I first saw this brush it reminded me of MAC 226 and I have compared them below.

Hakuhodo J146 Review

Hakuhodo j146 japanese makeup brush review
Hakuhodo J146

Brush Shape - slim, tapered at end
Brush Type - blending, crease
Bristle Length - 16mm
Hair Type - goat
Total Brush Length - 156mm
Price - $18
Where to Buy -
Observations - This has very soft bristles, which are also very flexible. The head of the brush is fairly long in proportion to the width of the head compared to most blending brushes I've come across. Great for working on smaller eyes!

Hakuhodo J5529 Review

hakuhodo j5529 japanese makeup brush review
Hakuhodo J5529

Brush Shape - petite, fairly domed tip
Brush Type - blending, crease, precise application
Bristle Length - 13mm
Hair Type - goat
Total Brush Length - 153mm
Price - $17
Where to Buy -
Observations - This was the smallest of the blending/crease brushes I purchased and it is itty-bitty! It is still very soft and has a fair amount of flex to it, but it is slightly on the firmer end. While it's described by Hakuhodo as a tapered brush, I think mine is more dome shaped than tapered, It almost reminds me of a cross between a slim pencil brush and long-headed mini smudger. It's a nice brush for smaller eyes and more precise work. 

Hakuhodo and MAC Cosmetics Comparisons

I'm not suggesting you should purchase these brushes instead of Hakuhodo brushes, but given the brushes mentioned below are fairly popular in the US I thought it might help those wavering between them--or simply as a point of reference.

Hakuhodo J5523 vs MAC 217

hakuhodo j5523 vs mac 217 comparison
MAC 217 vs Hakuhodo J5523

hakuhodo j5523 vs mac 217 comparison japanese makeup brush maccosmetics
MAC 217 vs Hakuhodo G5523

MAC 217 and Hakuhodo G5523 Comparison
  • Hakuhodo G5523 is softer
  • Hakuhodo G5523 is slightly more flexible
  • Hakuhodo G5523 has a slightly more uniformed brush head
  • Hakuhodo G5523 has a shorter handle
Conclusion - I have owned several MAC 217s over the years and I think it's got a great multipurpose shape. I tend to use mine most often in the crease, but have used them to apply concealer/corrector, shadow, etc. While I'd never consider the MAC 217 scratchy or rough, the Hakuhodo G5523 is notably softer. You can actually see in the picture that the ends of the bristles on the 217 look a tad more blunt than the bristles on the Hakuhodo G5523. If you're super picky about softness, the G5523 would probably suit you best! I'll definitely be picking up a few more Hakuhodo G5523s.

Hakuhodo J142 vs MAC 226

hakuhodo j142 vs mac 226 japanese makeup brush mac cosmetics comparison
MAC 226 vs Hakuhodo J142

hakuhodo j142 vs mac 226 japanese makeup brush mac cosmetics comparison
MAC 226 vs Hakuhodo J142

MAC 226 and Hakuhodo J142 Comparison
  • MAC 226 is more tapered; tapering begins closer to the base and comes to a slightly finer point
  • Hakuhodo J142 has a slightly longer brush head
  • Hakuhodo J142 is softer
  • MAC 226 is limited edition and therefore more difficult to get a hold of as it's only been released for limited periods a couple times with LE collections
Conclusion - MAC 226 is the smaller (and limited edition) little sister of MAC's popular 224 blending brush. While I normally wouldn't compare a limited edition product in a post like this, MAC 226 has a cult following and as it's been released a couple times with different limited edition collections, I'm sure we'll see it someday again. Hakuhodo J142 is notably softer, while MAC 226 is slightly more tapered. Hakuhodo J142 has a shorter handle, which may or may not factor in for some.

Have you purchased Hakuhodo makeup brushes? Which are your favorites?

Check back soon for additional Hakuhodo makeup brush features.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to do this post! I bought the J142 last week and now I want ALL THE HAKUHODOS.

    1. You're welcome! Right??? Love the J142! Hakuhodo knows how to do brushes ;)

  2. which one is similar to Mac 221 from Hakuhodo?


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