Meet the Maker: Chikuhodo
There is a principle that runs through the minds, hearts and hands of the fudeshi (brush makers) at Chikuhodo, one of Japan’s most prestigious makeup brush companies – “Hitori hitori no hinshitsu ishiki, minna de tsukamou tashikana shinrai”. The phrase roughly translates to “by paying great attention to the quality, we can gain trust,” and ensures that each bristle is hand-picked, each ferrule is tightly fastened, and each Chikuhodo makeup brush is designed for optimum use. With this strong sense of dedication to crafting beautiful and practical makeup brushes, Chikuhodo is regarded as one of the most sought-after makeup brush companies in the world.
A Long History in Traditional Fine Crafts
Takemori Tesshyu, owner and CEO of Chikuhodo, was taught the techniques of brush-making by his artisan parents, specialists in making the prized Japanese Menso brushes, small brushes used for very fine and detailed drawings such as rice grain art. Because of their size and application, these brushes require an immense degree of technical skill. While working with his parents, Tesshyu-san developed much more than the simple skills of the trade; he also honed a sense of extremely high standards in materials and craftsmanship, eventually inherited the business. A turning point came in 1965 when he was asked by an American company to make watercolor eyeliners. Tesshyu-san quickly discovered that the skills he had acquired through creating Menso brushes could also be applied to makeup brushes. In 1971 Tesshyu-san established Chikuhodo, a company to specialize in the production of high-end makeup brushes.
Great Respect by Makeup Users & Industry Professionals Worldwide
Amongst all the makeup brush companies in the world, Chikuhodo brushes are a preferred choice for home users, as well as for professional makeup artists and many top-ranking luxury cosmetics brands. In fact, 60% of production is for OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for prestigious brands such as Kanebo, Shiseido and SUQQU – amongst many others.
Hand-written thank you letter to Chikuhodo from Caroline Kennedy
Chikuhodo Japanese makeup brushes are also regarded by many fellow fudeshi as truly one-of-a-kind. Their fine craftsmanship, a proud example of the Japanese artisanal standard, means the brushes are often given as diplomatic gifts. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy was given a Chikuhodo brush set as a gift and token of respect, and the company received a handwritten thank you letter from her.
Commitment to Exquisite, Relevant Design & Customer Satisfaction
Tesshyu-san’s passion for purpose-driven design and material selection resonates throughout Chikuhodo’s craftsmen as well as the brushes themselves. Research into the expectations of cosmetics companies, professional makeup artists, and home makeup enthusiasts is continual. These expectations are combined with the fudeshi’s in-depth understanding of the contours of the human face, the reflection of light, knowledge of different cosmetics, various application techniques, and makeup styles and trends, all to create brushes of a superior quality. Various brush series, such as Chikuhodo’s sleek and luxurious Z-series, and the all-around purpose GSN series, are also created to cater to the different needs of their users.
An understanding is shared throughout the company that, in terms of feeling to the skin, skin health, and quality of makeup application, the most important part of the brush is the bristle tip. To this end, bristles are crafted with an inner layer and outer supporting layer; bristles are left in their natural form rather than cut, and the best type of hair for each specific brush is different depending on brush application. For example, goat hair works as well for a powder brush, while the soft and thin pine squirrel hair is the best suited for shorter bristles such as those in eye shadow brushes.
The tireless dedication to providing makeup users with premium quality brushes has ensured Chikuhodo a dedicated following worldwide. Chikuhodo’s brushes are sold both internationally and domestically, both online and to physical stores. Customers value their world-class quality products and word of mouth. Online sales have been increasing as awareness of the brushes grows, and word-of-mouth by satisfied customers spreads.
High-Quality Materials & A Team of Dedicated, Superior Artisans
Chikuhodo’s brushes are works of art, using only the highest-quality materials from around the world and crafted by highly skilled artisans. These 100-strong artisans, who all share a dedication to perfection, make Chikuhodo the second largest manufacturer in the region.
Materials are carefully selected from a range of countries around the world, including China, Russia, Europe and North America – wherever necessary to get the highest quality resources. The natural, premium fur bristles are culled from 10 different animals, including gray squirrel, pine squirrel and goat. Each hair is hand-picked to ensure the utmost in quality, with any imperfections removed – Chikuhodo artisans know that the selection of the right bristle type is the key to a good brush. The delicate texture of the fur makes it a joy to use and treat to the skin.
The process of creating a Chikuhodo brush is “much more than cutting and bundling” – the artisans work across an intensive production process involving dozens of steps, with stringent quality checks and tests along the way overseen by senior craftsmen. The result is an elegant brush, the exquisite craftsmanship, care and attention to detail that goes into making it fully evident in its form.
Good quality makeup brushes do much more than simply look attractive and feel luxurious. They also make a difference to your skin health, the longevity of your makeup, and most significantly, to your makeup application. If you want flawless foundation and powder bases, striking highlights and contours, well-defined lips and eyes that pop, try Chikuhodo makeup brushes – you’ll soon discover why the company is easily one of the world’s most esteemed makeup brush companies.