I hadn't thought I'd ever be writing this post, either now or anytime in the future. Perhaps in an alternate reality, I would have been writing about that brush. You know the one. Doc Everything is Going to Be Alright. The SUQQU S brush.
But first, the journey to S is a weird one. Many, most, or maybe even all hard-core brush fans have a longing for the S brush from SUQQU. It had been discontinued by the brand for some unknown reason, and those that got into the brand late never even had a chance to own and form opinions about this brush. And when touted (or rather infuriating used by Lisa Eldridge in practically all her videos) it kind of brings the brush loving masses into a lather.
I'm not quite sure if it's the scarcity, or the actual supposed superior utility of the brush that made me covet one as I did. Over time, I've amassed a few close stand-ins for that S brush. From the M brush from SUQQU, to the teeny tiny custom Takeda brush in canandian squirrel hair, I've several of these small round pencil brushes. Each of these vary a bit in size, more are grey squirrel or grey squirrel plus something else combination (except for that Takeda one), and they have heads slightly rounded like the Artist Red 10-1 from Chikuhodo to more finely pointed like the Chikuhodo Z10. And they vary in density and softness, with the RMK E being mixed with raccoon hair and therefore a bit rougher and more stiff to the very airy Z10.
I'm pretty psyched to own a brand new S.
I'm going to enjoy the moment of the brush being pristinely clean and in the box for a bit. We can wonder for a moment if such a mythical product can actually be worth all the praise and covetous dirty thoughts out there.
If you are not familiar with Japanese brushes in general, it's always surprising how small these brushes are. SUQQU brushes are handmade in Kumano and Chikuhodo manufactures them.
Of course the first thing I did after I opened up the S box and took out the brush was to line it up against the M brush. How cruel would life be if I got a faux S? Whew.
Yes, the S is small at the base of the head and the the length of the hair is shorter. And unlike my M, which is slightly more tapered at the head, the S has a slightly rounded head. It has a medium density and bundling of the grey squirrel hair like the M.
I've lined up the fabled S along with all the other S-ish kind of brushes. Everything is very similar but due to the density and shape, some are definitely not near dupes. The Takeda is obviously too small. The big brother SUQQU M is too big. The Chikuhodo Z10 is very lightly bundled and floppy in comparison. The Z10 is nice for delicate crease work or sweeping a slight wash of color to the lower lash line, but not close to the S at all.
You can see the relative shapes a bit better here in this photo.
For the RMK E, the size is quite close even though the tip has a bit more of a taper. The density is quite similar, but because it is mixed with raccoon, it has a bit of roughness. It's not like wiping a strip of sandpaper along your lash line or anything, but it isn't near soft as the S. Also I can feel the different hairs and the laydown of color isn't as immediately smooth as the S. On the other hand, this is a super useful (and slightly forceful brush) and quite good if your skin isn't sensitive.
Now the Chikuhodo Artist Series Red 10-1 brush is an excellent little gem. It is grey squirrel mixed with raccoon, so again, it won't be as soft as pure grey squirrel. The density is close, but it is more bluntly rounded on the tip than the S. In terms of utility, I can use any of these brushes for the same function.
That said, do I need the S? Surely not. While I would easily use the S over the RMK or the 10-1 brushes, considering the size of my brush collection (shown here in this post and the many other pencil type brushes I have), it's not a life changing addition.
Still, how do I feel? Because owning something like this isn't all about the head. The head asks if I really need such a thing and the head says no. But the heart is pretty darn pleased to finally own this beautiful and hand crafted S brush.
Any recent unicorns you've tracked down that you want to share with us? Was it worth the chase?