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?

Another Shu Uemura Masterclass with Kakuyasu Uchiide on March 8th!

Do you remember my last post about my masterclass with Shu Uemura International Artistic Director Kakuyasu Uchiide and his amazing team of Shu Uemura make-up artists?

Well, Haydn (the lovely make-up artist responsible for my make-over) commented on it recently to let me know that there’s another masterclass with Kakuyasu Uchiide in Selfridges (London) on the 8th of March. To find out more info, and how to book a session, click here. 

I cannot stress how amazing this opportunity is.

You can catch a glimpse of Mr. Uchiide at work in this lovely behind-the-scenes video of the promo shot for the spring collection.


Even if you disregard Mr. Uchiide and the team of professionals who will be drawing on your face (which you shouldn’t, personally I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have do my make-up), I find makeovers like this so useful and interesting. Having a pair of fresh eyes view your face means you can come away with a completely new way to do your make-up. I’ll be the first to say that I can get stuck in ruts when it comes to make-up application – the same eyeshadow shape, the same blush placement, the same shades – and it can last for aaaageess. Makeovers can really give you a new perspective on your face.

Anyway, enough gushing – basically, book an appointment. Also I assume he’ll be using the new spring collection make-up, and the visual for that is so beautiful. Also there are those super cute domed blushes!

Shu Uemura Celestial Garden - image from

Sadly I won’t be able to go – Thursdays are my busiest lecture days and as regular readers may have noticed, my blog updates have been *ahem* somewhat sporadic due to my current work load. But if any of you are going, I’d love to hear about it afterwards!

Also, I know I said I’d stop gushing but I just want to say that I really love everyone who reads this blog. Even if you’re just reading this post because you found it while you were googling Kakuyasu Uchiide (who could blame you?), I think you’re great. I am so grateful for everyone who even glances at this blog for more than 2 seconds, and I know I have been a total butt to the blog regulars with my rubbish posting schedule recently, so I’m sorry for that. Basically, yay for you!

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Top 10 of 2011

Oops, I completely missed the ‘11 of 11’ idea; I am not on the ball! I mean…uh, I totally knew about it I’m just eschewing convention…

Anyway these are my favourite things from 2011. It was difficult to narrow everything down, but these are products that have transformed my beauty routine completely, and products that I would buy over and over. Every time I use these (especially the make-up products), I fall in love with them all over again. It’s clichéd but true, and that’s why these are my favourites.

If I’ve reviewed a product, the product’s name will link to the review.

My 5 favourite make-up products of the year

Suqqu, Shu Uemura x 3, Beaute

Shu Uemura Stage Perfomer – I’m pretty sure that this is the closest we’ll ever get to airbrush in a bottle (or tube, in this case).

I’m going to write a full review of this soon, but basically it’s a product that moisturises a bit, smoothes out pores, makes skin glow, and has a very faint tint that evens out skin tone and covers a few imperfections. I hesitate to call it a primer because: it has a tint, it’s technically meant to go under your sunscreen (ie. not the final step before foundation – but most people I know use it after sunscreen), and most of the time it negates the need for foundation. Anyway, this product has completely revolutionised my make-up, I hardly ever wear foundation over it – only when I really want to look flawless. It makes me look healthy because of the glow, and it gets rid of most of my red areas.

Shu Uemura Nobara Cream Cover Stick – I’ve said just about everything in my review/love letter. It is still my go-to foundation, and I love it to pieces.

M Soft Mauve 225Shu Uemura Glow On – M Soft Mauve 225 – On first look, this blush looks scary. I mean, that is one mauve blush. On the skin, it looks amazing. Not editorial, edgy amazing, but natural amazing. The blush wears like an angelic pink, and the purple tone in it brightens up my entire face. Never has a blush given me such a glow.

Beaute Liqui-gel Stain – Fever – I have tried a lot of stains this year, I still find that this one is better than any other. It never leaves my bag, even if I’m wearing another blush or lipstick that day, I’ll have this on hand for touch-ups because it’s so easy to use. Its handiness is just a perk of the product, even when I’m at home and I have free reign over my whole make-up collection, I reach for this one the most.

Suqqu Ginbudou 06

Suqqu Blend Colour Eyeshadow – 06 Ginbudou – I have such a soft spot for this palette. Like I said in my review for Keshizumi, I know that Keshizumi suits me better, but I love the opulence of Ginbudou. Also, it was with this palette that I realised purples suit me – and that my eyes were more green than blue!

My top 5 skin care products of the year


Coconut Oil – My love for this is still going strong; Coconut oil is doing wonders for my hair, I use it before every wash and on the ends afterwards. Recently I’ve been using tiny amounts to calm frizz. It’s still my sole body moisturiser, I like to use it a day or two after shaving to restore my skin. My only issue is that in this cold winter I have to microwave it for 30 seconds, otherwise it’s rock solid!

Paula’s Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid – I’ve been using this since around March and it has really helped my skin. My blemishes weren’t horrible beforehand, but they were pretty bad. My skin has cleared up a lot since I started using this every night, and my sebaceous filaments appear smaller. Now I’ve switched to every other night and I use it to spot treat as well.

Mandom Barrier Repair Concentrate – this serum saved my skin when I was in Japan, and I’ve been recommending it to people with dehydrated skin ever since. I know a lot of people who use it and love it, and it’s especially useful in these winter months to combat all the dry air from central heating etc. I mix it with my usual antioxidant serum every other night to ward off winter skin. If my skin’s a little dry or angry, I’ll just put this on the area and it rights itself. This is really amazing stuff.

Silk Naturals Super Serum (the tiny bottle) – I’ve only just finished my second sample bottle of this – they lasted me 2 months! This serum is so effective – it has lightened my freckles and it’s got rid of almost all the tiny bumps that were around my chin. It also brightens my skin. I have to dilute this serum (with hada labo gokujyun hyaluronic acid lotion) when I apply it every morning because it’s very strong, but even using just 2 or 3 drops gets results.

Rosehip Oil – I can’t be without rosehip oil; it’s the last thing I apply at night before I go to bed and I wake up with such soft skin. I feel like this oil is so nourishing for my skin, especially because as well as sealing in moisture, rosehip oil also contains a little bit of vitamin c and retinol.

Shu Uemura Masterclass with Kakuyasu Uchiide

Last Wednesday I attended a Shu Uemura Masterclass at Liberty of London. Mr Uchiide (Shu Uemura International Artistic Director) himself was there, demonstrating how to use the Wong Kar Wai Drowning in Flames Palette (swatches here), and other Shu Uemura products like their brushes and cleansing oils.

071011_lAfter the demonstration we – there were about 12 of us attending – headed back down to the counter for personal make-overs with a Shu Uemura artist, while Mr. Uchiide walked around and gave specialised colour recommendations to each of us and answered our questions.

The whole experience was amazing, I really want to go to more of these kind of events (of any brand) in the future and I advise anyone considering it to go as well. It’s a really rare opportunity just to be in the presence of such a respected artist; I won’t deny I was very star-struck. In general, viewing an artist’s technique and hearing their tips can give you new ideas to use at home, and interesting solutions to problems you always face. The product descriptions in these demonstrations are very detailed, and we got to play with all the products that were used and ask questions about any aspect of them. You don’t have to be very familiar with a brand to attend a masterclass, in fact it’s a really good crash course to get you acquainted with the products.

I’ll tell you about my make-over first and then some delicious rumours about upcoming Shu collections.

My Make-Over

I was really lucky as I got to have my make-over with Senior Make-up Artist Haydn Jones, who was visiting from Selfridges. He did my base and used the new Face Architect Smooth Fit Fluid Foundation. I really overlooked the released of this foundation, mostly because I was in mourning for Face Architect Smoothing Fluid, but it’s actually very nice: it has more coverage than the old smoothing fluid and it managed to cover all the sebaceous filaments on my nose (quite a feat!), but it didn’t feel heavy and my skin still felt like skin (Mr Uchiide says it’s very important to him that foundations don’t feel mask like or heavy).

On my cheeks Haydn applied the cream blush from the Drowning in Flames palette, and then Mr Uchiide came and gave him advice on an eye look. This is where it really got interesting, as he advised to put the emphasis on the bottom part of my eyes.P1010552

This meant applying the M Brown Painting Liner (with a 5F brush) underneath my eyes, stopping halfway in. Then he patted the dark purple from the palette underneath the brown eyeliner, concentrating it on the outer corner of the eye. He did the same on the top: liner halfway in, dark purple in the outer corner. Then he applied the lighter pink in the inner corner of my eye, and the mid tone purple on my lid. The shimmer you can see in the picture is from a dab of the glittery gold shade in the centre of each lid. Then he used Precise Volume Mascara on my top and bottom lashes (can you believe that’s the same mascara?!), applying only a light coat to the top, and lots of heavy coats to the bottom.

On the tops of my cheeks he added the highlighter from the palette and applied the ‘Pink Flush’ Rouge Unlimited to my lips. Incidentally, that lipstick goes perfectly with the Drowning in Flames palette. It has a slight mauve undertone that works in synergy with purples in the eyeshadow look.


(By the time I took this photo the lipstick had worn off; it was long journey home)

I find the look a little too editorial for everyday, (I’m still struggling to photograph make-up true-to-life, it’s still a little washed out in these photos) but I love the idea of it. Focusing on my under-eye area never really occurred to me. Sure, I define it, but it’s never the centre of attention. Whole possibilities of experimentation have opened up now, which is why I love having my make-up done by other people: they can give a whole new perspective on your face, and give you loads of ideas you would never think of.

Evidently it suits because literally (and I mean ‘literally’, I’m not saying it in the way posh British people say it: ‘I was literally legless last night’ etc.) 20 seconds after I left Liberty, someone stopped me in the street and said “This is a bit random but I just saw you and I think you look really pretty” and then walked away. Now, was he employed by Liberty to lurk outside the building and say nice things to post-masterclassers? Perhaps. If so, kudos to Liberty – that’s a great idea. Either way, I liked the look.

Shumours (Shu + Rumours…I’m hilarious)

Some keen Shu enthusiasts may have caught glimpses of the Spring 2012 collection and may have noticed that there are 3 eyeshadows in a palette typically meant to fit just 2. The limited edition eyeshadows are thinner, so more can fit in a palette. This is the same in the 2012 Autumn collection which, according to Haydn, will have 8 eyeshadows in a 4-palette (this may have just been an example though, but basically, the limited eyeshadows will be thinner to some degree).

Also, the Autumn collection is supposedly going to be chocolate-based. I was a little worried to hear that at first: I had flashbacks to the Japanese 100 yen shops that had compact mirrors with chocolate bar-esque exteriors – fine for a 100 yen shop, but not what I would expect from Shu Uemura. Luckily, it seems to be based more around the idea of luxury chocolate boxes as opposed to the bar itself.

Disclaimer: Bear in mind that these are just rumours, they haven’t been verified officially by Shu so they aren’t technically facts.

Mr. Uchiide Says…

I got to ask Mr. Uchiide a few questions!

  • His favourite item from this collection is the Drowning in Flames palette.
  • His favourite items from the whole Shu Uemura line are the eyelashes because they represent the whole Shu Uemura concept.
  • Eventually he would like to release a permanent cream blush. He has been experimenting with different formulas over the past few years (in WKW, Novadiva and Instinct collections, for example), releasing the blushes as limited edition so he can test the waters and see how customers like each formula.
  • He also hopes to release a new foundation soon.