A Favorite of Hollywood Stars! Makeup Brushes in Which Japan’s Traditional Crafts Continue to Live!

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Written by Editorial department

Many tourists come to Japan and purchase makeup brushes. Makeup brushes are used with powder, cheek rouge, eye shadow and other makeups to apply on the face. The softness of the bristles and the roundness of the tip are all important, and the less it damages the skin, the higher the quality of the brush. The Kumano makeup brushes (Kumano-fude) are especially popular among women. Makeup artists active at the frontlines of the world cherish these brushes, and these brushes are also known as makeup tools prized by Hollywood stars. They are very comfortable to use and are high in functionality. Users even agree that once you use it, you can’t switch to anything else. The quality of this brush is supported by the skills of craftsmen that have been continuously passed down and refined.

Kumano-fude are craft products boasting a history of 180 years that goes back to when the town of Kumano, Hiroshima prefecture, began producing calligraphy brushes during the Edo era when samurais were still active. All Kumano-fude have bristles, which are considered the important part of the brush, produced in the town of Kumano. They include calligraphy brushes, paint brushes and makeup brushes, but the calligraphy brushes that are made using the inherited techniques and traditional raw materials are especially prestigious, even being designated as traditional craft products by the Japanese government. “Kumano-fude” is also a registered collective trademark, and this name is given only to genuine Kumano-fude. Although the makeup brushes are not designated traditional craft products since they use varying materials according to their purpose, these are also high quality Kumano-fude made with the same techniques.

※Sold at Kumano-fude Select Shop introduced at the end of this article

Just how good really are these makeup brushes of the Kumano brand. The first thing you’ll notice is its comfortable use. Normal makeup brushes feel prickly when it touches your face, which is due to the sharp end of the bristle tip that has been cut. The Kumano brushes use uncut animal hair, and it gets finer towards the tip. It’s the reason why they are described as having texture like wings of angels. This also becomes its strong feature, as it absorbs powder well unlike the cut hair that catches powder only on its cut surface. As a result, the brush finish feels consistent and veiled-like, helping to reduce unevenness when applying makeup.

※Sold at Kumano-fude Select Shop introduced at the end of this article

One of the characteristics of Kumano-fude makeup brushes is the wide variety of animal hair they use. The bristle quality can be chosen depending on the use and skin condition. In terms of bristle softness, squirrel hair is the softest and goat hair is soft as well. Ones with a firm resilience and elasticity include weasel hair and kolinsky hair. When actually looking for a brush to purchase, it would be good to keep these points in mind and choose one that's suitable for your use and skin condition.

Lastly, we’d like to introduce the stores we recommend when shopping for Kumano-fude.

【Kumano-fude Select Shop Main Store / Fudenosato Kobo】

Address:5-17-1 Nakamizo, Kumano-cho, Aki-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture
Store hours:10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (closed on Mondays)

【Kumano-fude Select Shop Ginza Store】

Address:1-6-10 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo ※Hiroshima Brand Shop TAU 2F
Store hours:10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.