Suqqu Limited Edition Hankyu/Selfridges Exclusive Palette – EX-08 Hanamari Swatches

 

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Geez my post titles are getting longer than Japanese mascara names (almost.).

So this Suqqu palette was originally exclusive to Hankyu department store in Umeda, Japan. A limited number of units went on sale in Selfridges on the 22nd of November, and I snapped one up as soon as I saw it. I haven’t had a chance to fully experiment with looks yet, but rest assured that this is most likely going to be the only eyeshadow palette I’ll be wearing this week.

For now, I give you pictures and swatches.

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hana – 花 – flower

mari – 毬 – ball

The Palette

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The palette is made up of 4 shades, and unlike most other Suqqu palettes, it is missing the white/off-white shade that is used as a base. Hanamari has a sheer sparkly shade at the top left that goes over the other shadows to jazz them up, a dark warm brown to act as an accent or liner shade, and then the pink and the green as versatile mid-tones.

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I mostly bought this palette because of the fantastic green, it’s a kind of khaki with gold undertones, but then it also has these grey silver overtones (is that a thing?) that make it very unique. I was wary about the pink, but it layers so fantastically with the other shades to produce another two shades that I’m completely in love with.

Swatches

Without Flash

From left to right:

Top left sparkle shade, green shade, brown, pink, layered green and pink, layered green and brown, layered pink and brown

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With Flash

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The layering is one of my favourite things about this palette, the pink mixed with the brown (far right) and the pink layered over the green (3rd from right) make such beautiful shades. When buying this palette I had a suspicion it might be a little limiting mostly because of the pink shade, but because of the way the colours play together it’s actually one of the most versatile quads I own.

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 cosme.net, 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:

EEEEEEEE, UNICORNS!

Paul and Joe winter wonderland

Paul and Joe Winter Wonderland Products

2. Guerlain – Liu

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?

Tubing Mascara Review: Lavshuca Separate Keep Mascara Volume

As you may know from this article about mascara smudging all the time, I’m a big fan of tubing mascaras. They’re getting more popular in the west at the moment, but the level of choice is still much higher in Japan (and, I’d assume, the rest of East Asia?). I think I’ll have to write a ‘What to Buy in Japan’ post on it, because it’s a little too tangential for this post.

Lavshuca Separate Keep

This is Lavshuca’s Separate Keep Mascara Volume which, according to the blurb, keeps lashes pointing upwards, defines each lash, and volumises. It is smudge-proof and can be removed with water (like all tubing mascaras). It is scent-free, and it contains ingredients that are good for your eyelashes.

Here’s how I got on with it.

Click the pictures to zoom in (and you should, because I didn’t buy a macro lens for nothing (no, I bought it to take poorly-lit close-ups of flowers, because that hasn’t been done before))

Obligatory artsy shot

Pros

  • The brush is small – my eyes are quite small I think, so I get bothered by big mascara brushes. They’re very unwieldy and I when I use them I tend to get more mascara on my eyelids than on my eyelashes. AND they make it mega difficult to coat the smaller lashes on the outer corners of my eyes. This Lavshuca brush is easy to maneuver.Lavshuca Fluffy bit
  • It doesn’t smudge or flake – all tubing mascaras claim not to smudge, but some are better than others, and many of them just flake instead. I haven’t experienced any flakes or smudges with this mascara (when using under-eye powder as outlined in this post).
  • It gives some volume – It’s not the most volumising mascara I’ve ever tried, but it’s also not one of those mascaras that’s just designed to look like natural lashes (like Clinique Lash Power).
  • It does separate lashes quite well – I bought this mascara mainly because it claimed to separate lashes, and it does the job better than most other mascaras I’ve tried.

Cons

  • It doesn’t separate as well as I’d like – it’s good at separation, but not great. I think my quest for each eyelash to be defined is pretty futile but hey, I’m picky and I’m not going to say something is perfect if it isn’t.
  • It doesn’t lengthen – I don’t mind this, because length is the one area where my eyelashes don’t need help. Also, the mascara doesn’t claim to lengthen. But, for those of you looking for lengthening, look elsewhere.
  • It is a total butthead to remove (excuse the offensive language) – OK so it’s not as bad as that Cezanne Volume Comb Mascara I reviewed, but it’s not exactly easy like Blinc or Fiberwig Extra Long. You need quite a hefty bit of rubbing to remove all traces of this mascara, which I imagine is quite damaging in the long run. A warm shower helps.

In Action

Lavshuca Separate Keep In Action

 

Why do I never smile in these photos

Overall

I like this mascara a lot, primarily because of the separation. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do for now. You may like it if you don’t have length issues and you want your lashes more clearly defined. It’s not for you if your lashes are sparse to begin with, or short. They do have a ‘long’ version that you might like to try.

You can buy this mascara from Adambeauty for HK$75 (£5.95, $9.67, €7.45)

Things to Buy in Japan #2: Drugstore Lipsticks

I love lipstick. If 2011 was my year of the cheek (I look back fondly on my 2010 self, naively thinking that, surely once you have a nude, a pink, and a plum blush, your blush collection is complete), then 2012 is most definitely my year of the lips. In my treasured lip collection, nestled amongst the Guerlain and the Suqqu, are the Japanese drugstore lipsticks – each with a formula that rivals the high-end ones I’ve come to love. (That was a well-punctuated sentence.)

If you’re in Japan, you should definitely check out their drugstore lipstick offerings – in many many cases they’re much better than their high end counterparts.

Drugstore Lipsticks!

Typical* Japanese drugstore lipsticks:

  • Have a kind of balmy formula
  • Are moisturising
  • Have a finish that is at least a sheen, sometimes a high glittery gloss (matte lipsticks obviously exist, but they don’t seem to be as prevalent)
  • Apply as a sheer tint, but can be built up with ease

I usually associate Japanese drugstore lipsticks with ease of use: they’re very flattering and moisturising, they can be layered, and they fade evenly – so no frantic mirror-checking needed.

Downsides

Limited Colour Range

While the formulas (formulae?) of Japanese lipsticks are often wonderful, I find the colour ranges can be quite limited. While I tend to favour darker, rosy lipsticks, most lines of drugstore lipsticks in Japan are filled with pale pinks, nudes, and pale peaches. Luckily, usually in each range there’s a token red (perhaps two), and maybe a rose or two.

Glitter!

Quite a few drugstore lipstick ranges are pretty big on glitter, and in many cases the glitter is pretty subtle and doesn’t feel gritty. However sometimes you’ll find what is, essentially, a big ol’ stick of glitter with some tint to it. So beware the glitterstick, my son.

My Picks

Lavshuca

Lavshuca is my favourite drugstore brand for lipsticks. I’ve already written about the Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge formula here, and Kate of Drivel About Frivol has fantastic swatches of all the colours available in the range. The Dramatic Memory Rouge formula is a great all-rounder: moisturising but not too balmy, shiny without being gooey, and you can build it up from sheer to full-coverage.

For a more lip butter-esque formula from Lavshuca, you could try the Moisture Melting Bar lipstick. It’s a very creamy formula that, in spite of containing a little bit of glitter, glides on smoothly.Jelly Lips N (Colour) Lasting power is not as good as the Dramatic Memory Rouge, about two hours. More lovely swatches over at Drivel About Frivol.

I haven’t tried the other lipstick ranges from Lavshuca myself but I’ve read good things about the Star Glow Rouge and my friend bought one of the super cute Jelly Lips (Colour) lipsticks and, although it’s a bit glittery, still loves it to this day. I’m toying with the idea of buying something from the Jelly Lips range myself, because they’re just so miniature and cute.

Kate

Kate is such a solid and reliable drugstore brand, it’s no wonder that they produce some lovely lipsticks. I’m a big fan of their Rouge High Glam formula, it’s a creamy formula that’s easy to wear and hides any imperfections. It’s a little different from the Lavshuca types because it’s thicker, more creamy than balmy. It actually reminds me a little of the Suqqu formula in the way it glides onto the lips.

Here’s Kate Rouge High Glam in PK-17:

Media

Unlike Lavshuca and Kate, I never fully fell in love with the Media brand – in all honesty I think my brain was just influenced by the packaging: Media packaging is very classic and grown-up, and I think I’m still in my ‘oooh shiny!’ unicorn poots phase.

However, I do own a Media lipstick that I really love. The Creamy Lasting Lip lipstick is not like the balmy kind that I usually favour, it’s more classic and grown-up. It’s moisturising, durable, and it has a satin finish. I want to say it’s the perfect lipstick for job interviews but I imagine that that’d relegate it to the ‘boring!’ category in people’s heads. Basically it’s a lipstick you can count on, and it has more of a ‘classic’ finish than the ones mentioned above.

Buying Help

Most Japanese brands tend to use a shade naming system that’s pretty self-explanatory. They use two letters to indicate the colour family of the shade:

  • RS (Rose)
  • RD (Red)
  • PK (Pink)
  • OR (Orange)
  • BE (Beige)
  • and the less common WN (Wine), BR (Brown)

Then they follow that with a number which (as far as I know) doesn’t mean that much and is just an identifier. This system is pretty cool because it gives an idea of the shade without you having to endlessly swatch. Sometimes it’s a little bit iffy, i.e. some things I’d class as RS are in the PK category, but it’s a good starting point.

I’ve placed links to the Lavshuca swatches above and here are some swatches of the drugstore lipsticks I own: (I made sure my arm was extra goosebumpy, just for you guys! You’re welcome.)

Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge RS-1, RD-2, Kate Rouge High Glam PK-17, Media Creamy Lasting Lip PK-20, Lavshuca Moisture Melting Bar PK-5, RD-4, RD-3

Japanese brand websites (also linked above) also often have lip swatches of each shade. They’re not infallible, but they’re good to give you an idea of what kind of shade you’re buying.

Buying Online

To buy these lipsticks from outside Japan, you may want to try Adam Beauty. I haven’t diligently price checked, but Adam Beauty is my go-to for Japanese cosmetics now that I’m in the UK. Here’s the Lavshuca shopping page, and the Kate shopping page, but sadly I can’t find a shopping page for the Media Creamy Lasting Lip.

8 Word Conclusion

Drugstore lipsticks are flattering, moisturising, balmy. Sometimes glittery.


*I should add a huge (slightly obvious) disclaimer to this whole post: The observations in this post are all informed by my personal experience of living in Japan. Are there exceptions to the generalisations in this post? Of course, these are just patterns I noticed. Are all Japanese drugstore lipsticks automatically amazing because they’re Japanese? Uh, no – there are hits and misses just like everywhere else.