My Top 5 Holiday Makeup Collections: What are yours?

I usually find Holiday Makeup Collections to be very…anti-climactic. I tend to get very excited about holiday releases, only to be let down when I finally see them in person. Every year it seems that most brands are just doing the same thing, and sure, I understand they have to follow trends and go with what sells, but geez do they have to be so predictable the whole time?

I’ve put together 5 Holiday Collections that I think stand out against the winter backdrop of red, gold, and a hell of a lot of glitter.

5. Shu Uemura – Mon Shu

This collection has some really stellar products, just hop over to Drivel about Frivol to see how good they are (here and here). Shu Uemura Mon Shu

This would be higher up in my list if it weren’t for the packaging – I guess it’s just not my thing. I’m still really interested in the Luxe Burgundy Lipstick.

4. Majolica Majorca – Circus Ecstasy

Majolica Majorca Circus Ecstasy Close up

Majolica Majorca Circus Ecstasy EyelinerI cannot get enough of Majolica Majorca, I think their website is amazing (it’s in Japanese, but you don’t need to know what it’s saying to realise its brilliance), I think their products are good quality, and I like that they tend to just…do their own thing.

The Circus Ecstasy collection is part of a collaboration with lingerie company Amo’s Style, and it features new cheek products, eyeliners, nail polish, hand cream, and the Majoromantica fragrance in a Dream Circus bottle.

I’m particularly interested in the new cheek products, and the rose-coloured eyeliner (which is also for body use).Majolica Majorca Circus Ecstasy Cheek

Here are swatches of the Creams de Cheek (these are from, click on the picture to get to the source):

Majolica Majorca Cheek Swatches

From top to bottom: RD310, RD411, PK312, OR313

Majolica Majorca Cheek Swatches Sheered

From Left to Right: OR313, RD310, RD411, PK312

3. Paul & Joe – Winter Wonderland

…I can’t think of a lot to write about this collection, except for ‘EEEEEEEE UNICORNS!’. On a serious note, the Frozen Lilac blush looks really really nice, on a non-serious note:


Paul and Joe winter wonderland

Paul and Joe Winter Wonderland Products

2. Guerlain – Liu


Guerlain is fast becoming one of my favourite brands, and this year’s Liu collection is drool-worthy. I know I dissed red and gold in my introduction, but I think in Guerlain’s case these shades are executed perfectly. Guerlain Liu

Guerlain TurandotI don’t like to admit that I’m swayed by packaging, but I think the care and detail that Guerlain puts into its makeup packages really elevates the brand from simply ‘good quality’ to ‘luxury’. I think the general consensus with makeup brands is that luxury status is synonymous with expense, but I disagree. I think that feeling of luxury is found in the ‘experience’ of the brand, not the pricing; there are plenty of pricy brands that, in my opinion, don’t have that luxury feel.


LIU palette calligraphie

1. Addiction – Arabian Nights/Moroccan Rose

Ok so I’m kind of cheating with this one. ‘Arabian Nights’ is the name of Addiction’s Winter 2012 collection, Moroccan Rose is the Addiction coffret being sold for Holiday 2012. I’ve combined them both because…I want to.

Addiction Moroccan Rose

Here’s the Holiday coffret – it’s a beautiful and interesting offering from the brand. You can find details here.

Addiction Arabian Nights

Here is the oh-so-beautiful promo pic for the Arabian Nights collection. Xiao has recreated the look here. With this collection, Addiction released a new lip crayon product, and new shades of its famous cheek stick. You can find lovely swatches of the collection here.

Addiction Lip Crayon Rose

So those are my favourites of this year’s holiday offerings, which collections have caught your eye?

Autumn Look with Shu Uemura, Addiction and Lunasol

L'oreal InfallibleAs you may know, right now I’m trying to pare down my stash. I started with taupes, and now I’m moving on to my other eyeshadows to see which ones make the cut. This week, I decided to try some rusty red browns – I tend to avoid them like the plague usually because I find hints of red just bring out the surface redness in my skin and around my eyes and I look a little…sickly. (Don’t ask why I have so many if I’m apparently so terrified of them – put it down to fits of madness)

So I fully went into this look expecting to look…sick chic. (pronounced ‘sick sheek’ or ‘sick chick’? – You decide!)

But actually I was pleasantly surprised. Although it did strike me as a little odd that I’d matched my eyeshadow to my hair.


For my face and brows I used:

Face and Brow Products

  • Brushes: Hakuhodo B505BkSl, Hakuhodo G5521, and Laura Mercier Concealer brush (not pictured)
  • Brows: Shu Uemura Hard 9 Pencil in Walnut Brown, Clarins Double Fix Mascara
  • Base: Maybelline Pure BB Mineral 8 in 1 BB Base (Jp version), Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage SC1
  • Colour: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pearl, Chanel Notorious Ombre Contraste, Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzer Antigua

For eyes and lips:

Eyes and lips

  • Brushes: All Hakuhodo: 235, Kokutan Eyeshadow SL, G5515BkSl, S142 (black handle)
  • Mascara (not pictured): Tiffa Volume Mascara
  • Eyeshadow: L’oreal Infallible Bronze Divine, Addiction Fudge (on the lid), Shu Uemura ME Medium Brown 885 (outer corner, crease, liner), Shu Uemura P Pink 125 (inner corner highlight)
  • Lips: Lunasol Full Glam Liquid Lips 06 Bright Pink



So, while I started out this look fully intending to purge my red-browns, I actually ended up loving them and I’ll definitely be reaching for them more often.

Are there any products that have surprised you recently? Any new colours you’ve found that suit you better than you expected?

Suqqu Blend Colour Eyeshadow 04 Keshizumi

keshizumi – 滅墨 – faded/ruined ink*


This is one of my most recent purchases, but I’ve been testing it thoroughly over the past couple of weeks, and I feel like I’m qualified to review it now.

In terms of eyeshadow quality and texture, I’ll direct you to my post about another palette in the series.

The Shades


(The colour on the far left is the silver shade (top left of the palette) layered over the taupe shade (top right of the palette))

With flashP1010490

Suqqu has, once again, succeeded in creating a very usable palette – no eyeshadow left behind etc.. The darkest shade (the greyed purple/blue) is very flattering: it doesn’t have a strong red undertone – like many purples – and so it doesn’t accentuate any redness in my eyes but it still brings out the green in them. The mid-tone shade is not as dark as other shades typically designed to be a wash of eyelid colour, so it doesn’t overpower my eyes and make them look smaller (while most conventional mid-tones do). The silver is good to use in the middle of the lid to give dimension to the eyes, and I like to layer it over the mid-tone taupe to cool it down a bit more.

Ginbudou vs. Keshizumi

The shades of Keshizumi are much less intense than those in Ginbudou and even though I prefer the drama of the latter, I think Keshizumi suits me a lot more because of the differences in shade that I mentioned above.

I get the impression that when Suqqu creates palettes, they really put a lot of thought not only into the colours, but also the mood of each palette. Ginbudou is filled with rich, sumptuous shades. It would probably be worn best by some dramatic aristocratic daughter – used to the finer things in life, probably in love with two people, and she has a horse. Keshizumi is similar in terms of drama, but it’s much moodier and troubled. Its fictional wearer would be more typical of a Gormenghast kind of aristocracy: melancholy, passionate, and a little unhinged.

Anyway, here are a few looks I did with Keshizumi. I’m not very happy with any of the photos as they tend to wash the eyeshadow out, but I’ve been trying to capture it properly every day for a week, and for now I’m going to settle for these.


Dark shade as liner and then smudged all over lid, and in the outer bottom corner of eye. Silver highlight below brow.


Dark shade in outer corner and as liner (upper and lower outer corner), mid-tone in crease and as under-eye liner, white on lid, silver highlight in inner corner.


Mid-tone all over lid, dark shade as liner, silver highlight in the centre of lid, white as base. Mid-tone as liner under-eye. (Click for big).

Rest of face: Colour make-up: Addiction blush in Revenge, Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge lipstick in RD-2

Other: Shu Uemura Face Architect Smooth Fit Foundation (375), Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque, Ben Nye Neutral Set Powder, Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow pencil in Walnut Brown, Clinique Lash Power Mascara

*My translation for Keshizumi is not as neat as for Ginbudou; I don’t want to bog down the post with how I came to my conclusion, but if you’re curious, please email me. If anyone wants to submit a better one, please please do!

Addiction Brand Spotlight and Swatches

I saw a few requests for swatches of of the Japanese make-up brand Addiction and, as I have a few in the depths of my computer, I thought I’d share them here.

About Addiction

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the brand, Addiction is a Japanese department store brand that is, in comparison with many other Japanese department store brands, quite reasonably priced. In Japan it’s not as ubiquitous as other department store brands, with only 11 counters nationwide. Outside of Japan there are websites where you can order it but the mark-up is very high. The packaging is more Shu Uemura minimalist than Coffret d’Or elaborate, and the brand sells a few empty palettes in which to put their eyeshadow and blush inserts (which can be poked out from their original packaging with a pin through a hole in the back).


Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that a lot of the obsession with Japanese cosmetics is just based on hype – and perhaps I’ll get further into that in another post – but Addiction actually offers many high quality, impressive products.

Their eyeshadows are beautifully complex and have a buttery texture, with – like Shu Uemura – their ME range being the best (in my opinion). Their blushes are good; I tend to be more interested in the eyeshadows because I find the blushes have quite a generic shade range, and I already have many good blushes in those colours. Were Addiction to expand the blush shade range, I’d definitely be interested. The newly-released cheek sticks are also very good multi-purpose products, but again I felt uninspired by the shade selection. I also use their powder foundation and I really like it, I just hope I don’t run out before I get back to Japan. This also means, as some of you may have deduced, that Addiction’s foundations do go quite light, lighter than MAC N15, I’d put it at N10ish.


Here’s a mishmash of swatches, they’re not comprehensive, and some of them were quickly done in the store, so they’re not great (read: pretty terrible). BUT it may give you guys an idea of the shades, and how many of them swatch very differently from how they appear in the pan!

*The letters in parentheses represent the finish.

For eyeshadows:

  • ME – Metallic
  • M – Matte
  • P – Pearl
  • S – Sparkle

For lipsticks:

  • C – Colour
  • S – Sheer
  • P – Pearl

Crow (ME), Arabian Ruby (ME), Missa (M), Flashback (ME)

With Flash

Keshi (P), Fudge (ME), Faithful lipstick (C), Revenge Blush blended, unblended

(Sorry for the goosebumps!)

With Flash

Lipsticks (this is where they get wonky)

Desert Rose (S), Crush on you (P), Faithful (C), Monroe Walk (C), Last Scene (C), Femme Fatale (C), Garland (C)

And this is where it really hits rock bottom, but I thought I’d include them to give you guys a vague idea.

Ice wall (ME), Sandbar (P), Baghdad Cafe (P)

Concrete Jungle (P), Thriller (P), North Star (ME), Yesterday (P)

You may also want to check out Pink Sith’s review of Nostalgia eyeshadow.

And lastly here’s a pic with Faithful on the lips and Revenge on the cheeks:


If you have any questions, or need help understanding the site, let me know in the comments section!