Cheek Brushes: Review & Comparison Part 1

I split my cheek brushes into two categories, part 1 is cheek brushes for powder products only. These brushes are all made of various squirrel hair types. Squirrel hair is soft and more delicate, which is why it’s for powders only. Every brush in this post in Japanese made. I have spoken in previous brush reviews why I love the Japanese craftsmanship and quality, none compare.

L to R: Koyudo Red Squirrel, Chikuhodo Z-8, Chikuhodo Z-4.

Top to Bottom: Chikuhodo Z-4, Chikuhodo Z-8, Koyudo Red Squirrel. This is to show size comparison from the top view.

The Koyudo Red Squirrel Cheek Brush is made with red squirrel hair, which is very rare and very very soft. It’s softer than gray or blue squirrel. This brush has a flat rounded shape. You can buy Koyudo in the US from the CD Japan website. This particular brush is limited edition and they make a small amount of them at a time. They usually sell out in one day so you have to check the website frequently or sign up for their newsletter. Usually there is one released around the Holidays. The cheek brush is amazingly soft, it’s the softest I’ve ever felt. It’s not dense and it gives a soft application of blush. This is the perfect brush for a bright pigmented blush to apply in sheer layers and avoid applying too much too quickly. The retail was around $80 plus shipping.

The Chikuhodo Z-8 Cheek Brush and Z-4 Cheek/Highlight Brush are both made with gray squirrel. The Z Series is their top of the line brush series. The Z-8 is a touch larger and retails for $111 on Beautylish yet I couldn’t find it on the new Visageusa site, which is where I got this from before Beautylish started carrying Chikuhodo. The Z-4 is smaller and cheaper at $73 on Beautylish or $71 on Visageusa. Both are super soft, not dense, and one of my favorite cheek brushes. They both have a mostly round shape, but are slightly flattened from the pinched ferrule, like an oval.

L to R: Chikuhodo RC2, Surratt Cheek, Suqqu Cheek.

Top to Bottom: Suqqu Cheek, Surratt Cheek, Chikuhodo RC2. This is to show again the view from the top and compare size.

The Chikuhodo R Series is another series I am fond of. It’s a higher end series from Chikuhodo, but not as expensive as the Z Series. The R Series is not on Beautylish yet only the Japanese site Visageusa. The RC2 Cheek Brush is made of grey squirrel and is soft. It’s not quite as soft as the Z-4 and is much denser. The RC2 is a fully round in shape. The Z-4, RC2 and Surratt are all right around the same size. The RC2 retails for $49 on the Visageusa site.

The Surratt Cheek Brush is my newest addition. It is made of blue squirrel hair. It is only at Barney’s in the US like all Surratt items. It just came out in October and hasn’t been online yet, I had to phone order it from the NY store. It has a matte ferrule with a glossy over-spray of purple and green shimmer on the bottom of the handle. It’s very soft, and dense. It’s a round shaped brush. The softness is comparable to the Z Series yet it’s denser. It is the same size as the RC2 yet is slightly shorter in hair length which makes it apply blush a touch heavier than the RC2. It retails for $115.

Last is the cult favorite Suqqu Cheek Brush. It is made of gray squirrel hair, is the smallest of the bunch and the least dense. It gives the lightest application of all the cheek brushes on this post. It is great for bright blushes. It is harder to find and if you can find it on the Selfridges website it’s the cheapest. On Selfridges you’ll pay around 85 pounds and after VAT is removed for US buyers it’s around $110, minus shipping which is not cheap from Selfridges, they only have one flat rate of about $40 or 25 pounds. You can buy it on Ichibankao at a high markup however any time you wish for around $189. The Suqqu is maybe a touch softer than the Z Series. The Suqqu brush looks round, but it’s ever so slightly pinched in the ferrule, and is also slightly tapered.

Overall, smallest to largest in size: Suqqu, Surratt, RC2, Z-4, Z-8, Koyudo. Softest to still very soft: Koyudo, Suqqu, Z-4 & Z-8, Surratt, RC2. Least dense to most dense: Suqqu, Koyudo, Z-4 & Z-8, RC2, Surratt. Lightest application to heaviest: Suqqu, Koyudo, Z-4 & Z-8, RC2, Surratt. Most expensive to least: Suqqu(with shipping), Surratt, Z-8, Koyudo, Z-4, RC2. All these brushes are well made, very soft, give a nice light application in comparison to goat brushes. If I had to par down, I would pick the Koyudo(if I could find it, Suqqu is fine if you can’t get the Koyudo) for bright blushes, the Z-4 and the Surratt.


  1. Michelle, may i borrow your third picture? You will be credited of course. I also have the Z-4 and Z-8 and i'm writing a post on them. The reason why i ask for your pic is because mine look vastly different. Both the 4 and 8 of mine have a rounded edge rather than pointed edges like yours. I want to insert your third pic next to mine as an emphasis/warning that the brushes are handmade and thus can vary from batch to batch.

  2. Hi, sure. I will add I had just washed them for that picture, I taper them to a point when I dry them upside down, once I use them they round out more but then they're dirty for pics.

  3. Hi Michelle! Late newcomer here haha!!! Which would you say is softer, the Koyudo Red Squirrel or the Suqqu brush??? They both look awesome but I don't want to buy both haha!!!

  4. Hi! Softer the Koyudo Red for sure. The Suqqu is super soft too. Different shapes. The Koyudo is a touch larger in size. So would be personal preference or maybe access that decides for you?

  5. Thank you so much for responding! I would most likely get the Koyudo, it's easier for me to get get plus the softness and luxury appeal to me greatly!!

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