When I left to Japan, I had a wishlist that I tried to keep to the minimum :
- Shu Uemura brushes 11 and 15 – found the 11 but the 15 is nowhere to be seen.
- Shu Uemura Hair care, Essence Absolue – could not find any hair care from this line in Japan, not even at their boutique so since it was budgeted I bought it upon my return here in Switzerland where I had discovered in the first place.
- Ipsa face palettes – yep, mission accomplished, big haul!
- Hakuhodo S171 brush –at the very last moment but managed to pick it up.
On my wishlist was also The Process of Hardcore Swatching (sounds like the title for a future book 😀 ) You guessed right, this process eventually allows us to discover what brands we could continue hauling while in Switzerland… *whistles*
You already saw what brushes came with me, some were part of gifts, some were purchases but all of them were brushes that I wanted in the first place! I am just lucky and very happy that this blog allows me sometimes to get some return on investment if I may call it like that… not something I expect, but something I warmly welcome when it happens 😀
Today I will only show you what items I bought and tell you why I liked them but I won’t review them, I’ll need some time to try them and get a better opinion on each one. I may not have the time to review all of them but if something is truly amazing, it will get its glory post.
There is something you need to know though: I am not that young and my background and references are already based on super high end products, this is why I am very difficult in terms of texture, pigmentation and quality. Some of the drugstore items in Japan are really nice but most of them are too shimmery, sparkly or powdery when you compare them to what I own today, I don’t want to sound rude at all, it’s just that I cannot afford to wear most of them anyway in terms of finish or texture, sometimes you can find mattes or textures that work really well but there are so so so many brands at the drugstores that there is no easy way to spot something that targets my age and preferences and despite truly hardcore swatching, believe me, I have been swatching hard, I would need your task force to manage to swatch all of them in 15 days 😀
The items that I show here are somehow linked to last year’s haul, because what I loved last year, I got last year. This time it was about what I wanted to add to last year’s haul. In the upcoming weeks I will be reviewing some of this year and last year’s purchases. For example for SK-II I did not buy more items because I am not such a fan of their eyeshadows (bought 1 last year and that’s enough) but I am a huge fan of their blushes and I already have nearly all of them… Same for Chicca, loving their blushes but not a fan of the eyeshadows but I already own most of what I like from them. This is why some Japan brands are not shown here, it’s because I already own them, just need to tell you about 🙂
I could not afford to purchase everything that I loved, but most of the items you’ll see here have truly captured my heart, since I haven’t tried them all, there is a possibility I’ll be disappointed with some of them.
I want to point out that my BF was with me the whole time and he dislikes shopping, more than disliking, it’s a nightmare for him to endure browsing for make-up BUT, I want to point out to all your husbands/partners that the sales assistants are so so so so so sweet, respectful, helpful, fun, that he was actually happy to be shopping with me! Unbelievable!
Let’s start with showing how compacts can look over there, really gorgeous right ? and you haven’t seen the best ones but as I said, I could not get everything! Most of the times with higher end brands you can just purchase the refills but sometimes I just love the compacts and like to have at least one…
For my birthday I had received an IPSA palette that I selected (that made me want all the others…), the left one is the one I had before I left to Japan but I thought it could be useful to add it in the group pic for reference. I love them all! I find them elegant, silky translucent texture, very natural looking. You are supposed to use them clockwise, starting with the blush pan, then highlight, then shading, then finishing powder. You can buy them alone or in palettes, the colors are always available in refills but the price of the mono (approx 20usd) compared to the price of the palette (approx 50usd) well, better to get the palette if you can afford it. PS : Prices can be higher if not bought in Japan directly.
From left to right : 103PK, 100PK, 201PK, 102OR
mono : PK01.
For the eyes they also have a few colors but they are quite sparkly. The one on the left is now holy grail material for me (Eye Color Contrast 01) the color is stunning, lasts all day and is so so easy to work with that it’s incredible, I was using the Wayne Goss 18 brush with it and I didn’t need anything else. The only issue is that it is quite sparkly (although not too much for me), so sparkles tend to transfer to the lower eye area in top of where you would place your concealer… I can reduce that effect if I apply my foundation afterwards. I love the color too much (such a gorgeous taupe) so I will deal with the sparkles that fall out.
The one in the middle is a brown gradation and is matte (but not dull). The one on the right is the 05 (silver and deep navy).
I already had 2 eyeshadow compacts so I got two cream blushes (02 and 04), they are fabulous, truly creamy, so nice to work with, not sticky and most probably the best texture I have ever seen for cream blushes. I only got two because my BF was looking at me and probably thinking I looked quite evil and scary so I pretended to appear calm and reasonable… but I will get them all anyway 😀 Did I said I love them ?? I think these are awesooooome!!! *drools* (the rest of the cream blushes are already on their way to me psssschhhhhht!!!! *evil laugh*)
The cream pot is number 06, sparkly but the sparkles stay put, my issue is the liquidy formula that is a mess to use… we’ll see how it works out.
The little eyeshadow combo is again a bit shimmery but hopefully it will work out, I thought the combination was truly interesting. I just wish the golden shade was a bit less sparkly….
The drawing pencils were released when I was in Hiroshima, got to the shop and bought a few, later on I bought two more… They are fantastic, I just had a problem with one of them (the silver one). See how short it is ? it dryed out because the cap fall during transport. Now I cannot manage to recover it, it’s too dry to use, I sharpened it to see if it could improve but it was ok for a few hours then dried again. I was going to use that one as a base all over the lid and now I can’t… If they dried because the cap falls, pay a lot of attention to them. The others are totally fine and go on super creamy-silky, the mattes are gorgeous! my favs are the matte dark purple and matte dark brown. If you saw the advert for these pencils, you can totally do that (apply the pencil however you want and it will stay put). It’s also super nice to use as a base as you can blend it out quite easily before it sets. Truly sad the grey was lost in the trip because I loved it for the base 🙁
This was quite a nice surprise, stunning blush duo (PI01) and nice shading duo (there is no number underneath). The eyeshadows did look really nice too, quite like it actually, not matte but the finishing is super lovely, blends really well and the dark brown is amazeballs, looks blah in the pan but it’s gorgeous. Just took the refills here.
Got one shimmery blush (Romantic), don’t even know why because I am not a fan of sparkly blushes but I loved it when I swatched it, I thought the sparkly effect was glorious, reminded me of a cooler version of TF Wicked and it is actually quite similar, the sparkling shimmer is more silver/blue where the TF is a bit more golden/pink. Not sure how I will use this “Romantic” shade, most probably lightly on top of other more opaque shades, mixing it with others or maybe on its own. Some products swatch interestingly and that one sure did.
The eyeshadows in the top row : Safari Mode, Pink Python, Café Mambo. Bottom row : Cigarette, Tiny Shell, 3AM. The liner duo on the left: Arabian Nights.
My fav eyeshadow : Café Mambo, a true must-have, it’s a dark grey brown, the formula is satin-silky with glow/shine but not metallic. Some of you asked me about the shadow Meeting at Dome but I did not get it because it’s too shimmery without much base color at all and quite powdery, weird, a shimmery/powdery texture but that’s what it felt to me and not worth the splurge. 3AM is a quite dramatic in terms of shine but I like to wear those shades on the mobile lid or part of it… and since I took the 3AM I could not leave without Cigarette, Cigarette seemed more wearable, still quite sparkly but less metalliky-sparkly than 3 AM if you get me…
Tiny Shell seemed to combine super nicely with the Safari Mode, so I took these two a bit like a combo, and I would use Pink Python (dramatic black with sparkles) as a liner. I prefer to get 3 shades that I know I will wear rather than a palette that I won’t, for example I did consider taking the new palette Es Paradis but it was way too shimmery and the base color of the shadows was not that terrific, I knew I wouldn’t use it at all.
Arabian Nights liner combo was in my horizon for a while but wanted to swatch it before I purchase to make sure it was the tone I wanted, I think it is, some “burgundy purples” can lean a bit too burgundy red but that one is just fine, I believe it will work out super nicely.
That was a bit of a surprise, at the counter they looked gorgeous! the combination in the palette is absolutely divine. We are still facing here a tiny overdose of shine (or lack of true mattes) but it’s such a lovely combination of shades and the texture is really good too. I was wearing it quite a lot and always looked nice, once set, the shine was toned down and my eyes were standing out so I guess it’s a success..
With that palette I could have skipped the other single shades but I love greys with complexity and white pinks with iridescence and they got hauled too… but honestly I could have skipped them since the palette has similar shades. The palette is #028 for reference.
The two Lunasol palettes for the 15th Anniversary are gorgeous! Specially the other one (Cool beige) but everywhere I was trying to get it, it was sold out (no worries, it’s already on its way to me…). This one is Warm Coral. Again a lot of lack of mattes but if I need to I will combine some of my mattes. The shades were difficult to resist to. In the Cool Beige palette the shade in the center was killing me, since I did not manage to find it, I ordered it on the big bay today…
RMK 5th Aoyama Anniversary is really one of my favs RMK palettes, the top-left yellow shade is matte (doesn’t apply yellow on the skin), we can safely say the brown is a satin-matte because it doesn’t shout shimmer at all, works like a translucent shadow with a super nice base color, strong enough to create a gorgeous smokey eye!!!
The Maquillage palette on the right RS721 has two shades that we can label mattes, the bottom left and the bottom right which is a dark purplish brown (stunning!! I wish that pan was huge like a lake). The others are quite shimmery but it has a lovely taupe in there, haven’t tried the palette yet since I bought it the last day. It’s a Shiseido brand (incredible how much make-up is Shiseido over there).
The Ayura GY01 on the left is interesting although I am not sure it was really worth splurging, I love 3 out of 4 shades… so maybe yes ? the bottom two are glorious satin formulas and I think this is what made me do it.
The palette in the middle is the new Full Smile Eyes 02 for Summer 2014 from Coffret d’Or, it’s complex but again lack of mattes if you are more a matte lover 🙂 Still, I found it interesting and adorable for the summer. When I was swatching all the drugstore items this palette is the only one that I really wanted.
The Cle de Peau palette on the right (it’s the new #212) just left me speechless at the counter, I used it a lot in Japan and love it so much! the finish is incredible, unusual mattes for Cle de Peau. This is my fav item from the make-up haul so that says a lot… the combination of the 4 shades is spot on, the colors, the texture… in love! If you love plum-browns that are no brainers you need this in your life. I need this FOREVER in my life.
I did not get much products for lips although I wanted to, just got the Sonia Rykiel 07 which I think is part of their matte ones. I absolutely deeply love the shade, it’s a muted coral orange red but it dries my lips, we’ll see how it goes but the shade is so me that I will deal with the drying adding balm or a top coat.
The Shu Uemura is a Tint Gelato lip and cheek color, love that coral orange but on the lips it feels a bit weird and washes me out, luckily it’s a lovely cheek color! This is shade CR04.
Found this liner at the drugstore and it looks a lot like the Tom Ford by how it applies, it’s the Majolica Majorca Linehunter and it really is worth it! Very easy to work with and long lasting. That one deserves a great success.
I saw this Givenchy Healthy Glow powder at the counters but I was waiting for a nice price to get it, what I did at the airport tax free! Loving it to pieces! So silky soft! Haven’t felt such a lovely face powder texture in a while! So we get the bronzer version of it here, in Asia they get the highlighter version of it which is called “Moonlight Croisière” and this texture is to die for and go straight to Heaven glowing like an Angel. Honestly, gorgeous. Must have, if you have the chance, get it.
Before I left on holiday I went to the hairdresser, it’s weird but that hairdresser was carrying the Shu hair range! He used this essence on my hair, you spray on your hands rather than directly on the hair then massage your hair. I left that place with one mission, buy this in Japan. I thought I would find it in Japan, nope. Despite my bf’s determination to help me we did not. Since it was budgeted (and required), as soon as I was back to Switzerland I went to that hairdresser and bought it! It’s approx 80usd (that’s what I paid), but the bottle is huge and that will last me forever. The smell of this thing… don’t start me. Sooo sexy … if I were a man and a woman approached me with that scent on her hair, I would do something about it 😀 😀 😀 I know, I am spooky sometimes.
In general, most of the shadows are quite shimmery and sparkly in Japan so if you love matte shades and only matte shades you have to check out counters like Addiction where they sell nice mattes. Also Shu Uemura has fantastic matte shades but most of the other brands are particularly shimmery. Even Chicca which is known for more mature women have extremely sparkly shades, light in color but super sparkly. It’s difficult to purchase without having seen them in person at least once. I don’t like sparkly shades but sometimes there are super nice exceptions and they flatter my eyes so it’s worth having some of those too 🙂
Next trip : more lip colors 🙂