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

Guerlain-Holiday-2012

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.

Guerlain-Holiday-2012-Liu-Face-Body-Powder

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?

Review: Majolica Majorca Extreme Makeover Reshaper Cheek Blush in RD255

Here is my long-overdue review of Majolica Majorca Extreme Makeover Reshaper Cheek Blush in RD255. I bought this when I brought the Customize Brow Powder that I reviewed two weeks ago. I also bought a little compact that can fit a blush in it or two eyeshadows.

While the compact is really cute, I think I may save it for eyeshadows because I find the slide packaging of the blush really cool already, here it is in action:

The one issue with it is that if you are disorganised and keep a bunch of your make-up crammed in a box (which, obviously, I don’t…) the lid for the blush can just slide off leaving it exposed. There’s no ‘click’ mechanism to keep the lid in place, just the idea that you’re not going to be an idiot and store it sideways…

Ok, review time!

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RD255 is a peach pink shade, emphasis on the peach part. It has golden shimmer in it but it’s not glittery, in fact it’s quite subtle (which is good – I’m not usually a fan of shimmery face products). At first I thought it was similar to Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush but it is actually much warmer than the Illamasqua – its undertones lean brown-red. I’ve heard people say it’s a dupe of NARS Orgasm blush but I can’t vouch for that; if you’re looking for a dupe though, check this out. Here’s a swatch of it on my arm to give you a vague idea of the shade.

The red-tone visible in the right-hand swatch is very difficult to replicate on the face. Many people I’m sure wouldn’t want their cheeks looking so red but I bought this blush in the hopes of getting a deep red flush that many people with red hair naturally have…but I don’t.

To get a proper idea of the blush, here it is on my face.

As you can see it gives a nice peachy flush and the red is kind of non-existent. Not a big deal, still a nice shade, but it’s not going to become one of my all-time favourites I don’t think.

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This blush is really easy to apply: be careful not to overdo it because it is quite pigmented, it’s better to apply a little and then add more. Saying that, if you do apply too much it’s not the end of the world because this blush is super easy to blend. It gives a real soft-focus finish because it blends so seamlessly into the skin, no lines or obvious transition areas.

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This blush lasts really well, better than any of my others in fact (most of which cost about three times as much, go figure). After applying it at about 7am, then going on two hot 40 minute cycle rides, and basically getting through the day in the Kyoto heat, I come back at 8 and see that this blush is still there, visible, and has hardly faded at all. Seriously impressive.

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Majolica Majorca is a very affordable brand, you can buy this blush from adambeauty for $80 HKD which is £6.50 or $10.30. The blush is a little small (3g, MAC is 6g, Bobbi Brown is 3.7g) but it still works out as good value. Also the packaging is really cute for such a cheap product – that’s one thing I love about Japanese cosmetics, even the cheapest brands can have really nice packaging.

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Overall I would recommend this blush formula to almost anyone. I say ‘almost’ because after wearing this blush every day for review purposes I started breaking out a little on my cheeks. Nothing major but enough to make me stop wearing it. I may still wear it now and then but obviously I’m not as keen on it as I was.

Also the shade is not my favourite. This blush only comes in four shades and I haven’t swatched the others (though if you drop me an email or leave a comment requesting swatches I would be happy to) but I didn’t find them all that inspiring. I’ve found some swatches here if you’d like to check them out. If you do find a colour you like then that’s great but they’re not exactly unique. I’d highly recommend this blush formula but as it is I don’t think I’ll be buying another one unless they release new shades.

Review: Majolica Majorca Brow Customize Powder

A few days ago I picked up a few things from the Majolica Majorca shelf at the drugstore. Majolica Majorca is sub-brand of Shiseido (they have many!) and is cheaply-priced (especially compared to other Japanese brands). Despite the price tag, most reviews attest to the high quality of Majolica Majorca’s products – especially the blushes and eye shadows.

I bought three things: Extreme Makeover Reshaper Cheek Blush RD255, Brow Customize Powder in BR 660, and an empty compact that can fit either 1 blush in it or 2 eye shadows.

Today I’m reviewing the Brow Customize Powder. To start though I’m obliged to say that I am not au fait with the intricacies of eyebrow make-up; while I realise groomed eyebrows make a huge difference to one’s face, I’ve always favoured going for ‘fun’ make-up instead. On top of that, when I have looked into brow products they seem to be the wrong shade, or too obvious etc. so my eyebrows have been somewhat ignored. This brow powder looked interesting: it came in pen form whereas most brow powders I’ve seen are in a pan; also when I swatched it on my hand I could see that it was very soft and natural looking, like it would be difficult to go wrong with it. So I got it in BR660.

The item itself doesn’t look like much: it is about the length of my thumb and the casing is very plain, it doesn’t even have the name on it! This is because it is, as the name suggests, ‘customisable’. As well as the powder you can buy a ‘Super Thin Eyebrow Cartridge’ a ‘Slant Cut Eyebrow Cartridge’ and a pretty gold holder that can hold two of the brow products – one on each end. For more info on what each does click here for the Majolica Majorca website.

My initial impressions were correct: this powder is very easy to apply. It’s difficult to go wrong and if you do make a mistake then with a little pressure you can move the powder to where you want it. The powder is in the lid of the product, so to get more on the applicator you just dip it back in. The chunky applicator is really good for the main part of the eyebrows but requires a little more care at the outer corners because then it can be a bit clumsy. I guess this is why Majolica Majorca expect you to buy two products – one for the main part of the brow, the other for finer areas.

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Because you can correct mistakes easily with your finger, I worried that this powder wouldn’t last very long. I also worried that it might just spread downwards if it came in contact with any oil on my skin (Sssh! I’ve never used brow powder before, I don’t know if this happens or not!). I was actually pleasantly surprised. When I checked on it about 5 hours after application (40 minute bike ride included) it still looked as if I had just applied it. There was some fading towards the end of the day and now (14 hours after application) it could do with a touch-up. However if I look closely I can see that much of it is still there, and my eyebrows still look quite well-groomed. Another good thing about the ‘pen form’ of this powder is that it is so easy to apply more during the day, you don’t have to mess around with brushes and compacts, you just draw on your face.

The colour range is very limited but I’ve swatched them all for reference. First, here is a more detailed swatch of the one I have (BR660).

Now, all 4 colours

BR771 is darker than BR660 but they have the same undertone I’d say. In this picture BR660 looks a tiny bit red but I don’t see that at all in reality. BR793 is very very red-toned brown; I’m not sure who has eyebrows this colour but it is one of the reddest eyebrow products I’ve seen, so if you have trouble finding red shades, this one is for you. BR782 is golden. It actually has a slight mustard tint to it , there is hardly any red at all in this shade.

I would highly recommend this product if you’re new to eyebrow care. I’ve tried brow powders from pans before but they just seemed more difficult to use and I often ended up messing up how much I put on, or where I put it. This product is foolproof and gives a nice soft finish to my eyebrows. If you are more skilled in the eyebrow department then this pen could be useful (if you find a match) to carry around with you as it’s more convenient to reapply.

Adambeauty is selling this product for $55 HK which is about £4.50/$7.10. I think that’s pretty reasonable for this brow powder and I would buy it again if I needed to.

For more info on buying Japanese (and Asian in general) products online check out this post over on Cosmetic Candy.