Jul 1, 2013

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Makeup Brush - Review

Inspired by traditional Japanese beauty rituals Kabuki Theater, the NARS Kabuki Artisan Brushes meld heritage with modernity, in both concept and function. The multi-functional design of the Kabuki Yachiyo Brush, with its tapered dome head, makes it excellent for defining cheekbones, highlighting the complexion, and blending and diffusing color on or around the eye area. Made with very soft Pen Super Goat hairs, which are ideal for blending pigments. The hand-spun black wisteria handle preserves its unique traditional character.

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Makeup Brush

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki brush had been on my makeup wishlist for a long, long time.  Up until recently, I had only seen the flatter blush brushes, and right away, the NARS Yachiyo stood apart in both the design and the shape of the brush.  At $50, this also stood apart in the price range from most perfectly good blush brushes, but I just couldn't resist the temptation of a NARS Friends and Family discount and finally picked this up some time last year.   So, does it live up to all the hype and rave reviews?

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Makeup Blush Brush - Indian Beauty Blog Reviews Comparison How to Use
NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Makeup Blush Brush - Indian Beauty Blog Reviews Comparison How to Use
The Yachiyo Brush is one of my favorite tools. The shape of the brush and the density of the hair picks up and deposits the right amount of color every time. It's the perfect brush for contouring, highlighting, and sculpting the face.
–James Boehmer, Director of Global Artistry

The NARS Yachiyo is quite unique in it's design (unless you are already familiar with brushes like the Hakuhodo Yachiyo - which I wasn't).  I had read enough reviews to know that the brush would be quite small and "frail" looking, and that plus the fact that I had bought this from the NARS website were the only reasons why I didn't send this right back thinking it was a fake!  It is quite an odd brush.  The handle is a little thicker than a cotton bud and is wrapped in black wisteria.  The black is not glossy, shiny black - more of a dull, dusty black.  The brush is also extremely light.  The bristles are black goat hair, which NARS claims are "super soft."  Being used to a lot of inexpensive brushes (TBS and Ecotools), I had some high expectations on this one.  Unfortunately, though, the bristles on the NARS Yachiyo feel a bit rough, especially when compared to synthetic hair brushes (which I admit might not be a fair comparison).  It's not so rough that I cannot use it, but just comparitively, it does feel rough.

I have added a comparison photo with a couple of other brushes just to give an idea of the size of this brush.

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Makeup Blush Brush - Indian Beauty Blog Reviews Comparison How to Use

Despite never making it to my list of soft-bristled brushes, I do have to agree there is something to the NARS Yachiyo.  It does a lovely job of depositing the right amount of color and blends out blushes with hardly an effort.  I would attribute this to the tapered/pointy shape of the brush which picks up smaller amounts of color and deposits just where it needs to go. The brush itself is quite light and the handle very thin, and this makes it difficult to go heavy handed while using this brush.

NARS Yachiyo Kabuki Makeup Blush Brush - Indian Beauty Blog Reviews Comparison How to Use
The tapered brush head actually makes this a nifty, multipurpose brush - use it to apply a highlighter or even buff eyeshadows in a pinch.
I have washed the brush a couple of times now, and I haven't had any issues with any water damage or bristles shedding.  I just take care to not let the water get near the wisteria handle portion.  I did have a few bristles break/shed while applying products on my face, but I suspect some of it has to do with me being a bit rough with using the brush.  The blush blending/application advantages of using this brush are best suited to pigmented blushes (like a lot of the NARS blushes).  With lighter blushes, especially on my darker skin, the color just would not show up if I use this brush.  The NARS Yachiyo is raved as one of the best blush brushes.  I recently bought the Hakuhodo Yachiyo (similar handle design, a more rounded brush head), and after experiencing how dreamy soft that brush feels and how well made it is, I could not honestly call the NARS Yachiyo a must-have.  It has a very unique shape, though, and if you need help with a subtle blush application, you would appreciate this brush.  In case you do have plans of buying this, I would definitely suggest checking (or buying) this at a counter rather than ordering it online without ever seeing/feeling it for yourself first.  Personally, I do not regret buying the NARS Yachiyo, but I rarely use it.

Have a makeup brush obsession?  Check out these other posts
7 Eye Makeup Brushes You Really Need 
TBS Extra Virgin Mineral Foundations Powder Kabuki Brush
Body Shop Blender Brush - Eye Makeup

The Body Shop Slanted Eyeliner Brush
The Body Shop Travel/Mini Makeup Brush Set
TBS Kabuki Bronzing Makeup Brush

Ecotools Day-To-Night 6-piece Makeup Brush Set
Ecotools Retactable Kabuki Brush
Ecotools Retractable Kabuki Brush (New)
Ecotools Eyeshadow Brushes Set

ELF Studio Powder Brush
Hakuhodo Makeup Brushes 
MAC DuoFiber Stippling Brush - 187


  1. omg... this is such an unique brush... gorgeous!

  2. Bhagvannnnnn itna sudar brush haiiiiiiii
    N now u posting ?
    U must compile one nars brush post na for easy reference ...
    No matter how much u have but one post after reviewing all dear

  3. Your blog is where I first saw these Yachiyo brushes ! Thanks for the very detailed review, I am yet to invest in some basic brushes, might be after using them for a few months I'll think about these :)

  4. Sure will do that, Rashmi...gooodness knows when I will, though! :)

  5. The brush looks so cute! But $50 for a brush!!! I think I'll do without it ;)

  6. I love these brushes, I need more than one!

  7. I love these brushes, they are perfect for those intensely pigmented Nars blushes, especially Exhibit A!

  8. How does this one compare to the Hakuhodo yachiyo, by the way?

    1. I much much muchhhh prefer the Hakuhodo brush over this one. The NARS one is more pointy..better for accurate placement/highlighting, though. The Hakuhodo one (is the large pointed Yachiyo) is fluffier, but it blends just as beautifully.

  9. The brush is the uniquest ive ever seen. The shape is so good too. Will go check out .

  10. It's an eye candy of a brush .. I was in hunt for a kabuki brush and I think I have made up mind :) Supa cool pix dear <3

  11. My Yachiyo also had slightly rough bristles but I used it often and them kept washing it and I think the bristles have softened a bit. I only use it when I am using a highly pigmented blush. The regular MAC 129 is fine for me for normal, not-so-crazy coloured blushes.

    Did you notice the strange 'scent' when you first bought it? :) I read it's because it's goat hair ;)

    1. Oh..no I didn't notice it. I washed it right away and I really don't have that sensitive a nose to start with...but I get what you mean. I had actually checked my Hakuhodo brushes for a smell, and sure enough, they had that strange smell to them...animalish but not really stinky kinds.


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