Sunday, 31 July 2011

Shu Uemura Nova Diva Swatches

I popped by the Shu Uemura boutique at Ion earlier today to check out the Nova Diva collection.

From the press release:

The diva has arrived.

Amid silence and darkness,
with a single gesture
her radiance breaks the ice.

Suddenly the stage lightens,
the diva reappears.
The same woman, yet totally different.
Her face is transformed as spotlights shine her from different angles:
coquettish; sweet; sensual; even evil.
She transports the audience to a different time and place…
Novadiva, the modern diva.

The 2011 A/W mode make-up collection reveals the Novadiva inside, capturing the light and shadow of every stage for the many roles all women play.

Choose your face. Choose your role. The world is your stage.

The collection includes 5 limited edition Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte lipsticks (S$39) in Sensual Red, Angelic Pink, Evil Pink, Darling Beige and Alluring Brown. They contain hyaluronic acid and ecotin for moisture retention; ceramide to protect the lips; and special “line-filling powders” and a “silky gel” for an ultra-comfortable fit. The “super-matte powder” and “satin-matte powder” formula diffuses light from every angle to give a “supreme” matte finish.

Apologies for forgetting to swatch these.

Tutu Laceflare lashes (S$29): These limited edition theatrical tutu-inspired lashes are composed of layered black lace weaved with a subtle gold glitter that offers multifaceted shimmers with every wink.

The three suggested shade combinations (from top to bottom):

Cool & Mystique: A darkly alluring palette for the temptress within, with shades that range from cool and shimmery to midnight blue and black.

Fairy & Fresh: Earthy beauty blooms fresh and new with glowing highlights in glistening gold and delicate pale green, while deep green and black suggest otherworldliness.

Elegant & Romantic: Rich brown and dusky pink shadows suggest a heroine with depth and sophistication, while subtle pink and bronze spotlight her romantic side.

The swatches below were done on bare skin without any primer. The third shade from the left in the Cool & Mystique quad is not labelled as I'm not sure of the shade number. In the official press release, it is supposed to be P Light Blue 611 but the shade in the display was a very pale gold.

Elegant & Romantic quad

The metallic (ME) shades still have the most velvety textures whereas the glitter (G) shades felt slightly more gritty. The pearl (P) and matte (M) shades felt dryer to touch and required more layering to show up.

The colour payoff was much improved when I swatched the eyeshadows over the Cream Shimmer Highlighter in Radiant Pearl (pic below).

The Cream Shimmer Highlighter in Radiant Pearl (S$33) helps to creates radiance and a dimensional glow, like a diva shining under stage lighting while the Cream Cheek in Amber (S$33) is supposed to be suitable for any skin tone. Both seemed easy to apply and blend but the Cream Shimmer Highlighter did not seem to set fully after several minutes as it still smudged when I ran my finger over it.

For Shu Uemura devotees, the Prima Palette case (S$22) is the collector's item to have from this collection. The lace motif has a subtle iridescent shimmer when you look at it closely under the lights.

Operation Use It Up

Made some headway in whittling down my beauty stash by a tiny bit in July.

1. Anna Sui Hair Treatment Oil: This is my favourite hair oil, which has just the right consistency and keeps my hair frizz-free and soft all day long without feeling overly greasy. The signature rose scent is lovely without being overpowering. I usually use about 5 pumps each time. It is pricey at around S$43 for 60ml but I'll definitely re-purchase this in the future.

2. Suqqu HA Whitening Lotion: This was a pretty average lotion and too small a quantity for me to see any significant effect.

3. Benefit Foamingly Clean Facial Wash: I like the soothing melon scent but the squeeze tube is not very user-friendly, especially when there isn't much product left in the tube. It leaves my skin thoroughly cleansed but I think it may be too drying for winter months or dry skintypes.

4. Crabtree & Evelyn Lily Bath & Shower Gel: Of the four scents in the C&E Floral Fragrance line, I've come to like Lily and Rosewater the best. The Lily scent is very fresh and uplifting without being generic. The shower gel lathered up easily and didn't strip my skin of moisture although it contains sodium laureth sulfate as the second ingredient.

Below is the ingredients list.

5. Crabtree & Evelyn Lily Body Lotion: I liked this body lotion for its lightweight, non-greasy nature. It leaves my skin softly scented without any stickiness. It's not as deeply hydrating as some other moisturisers but it's works well for Singapore's humid weather. Below is the ingredients list.

6. RMK Cleansing Oil: When using the RMK Cleansing Oil, the mint scent (which is also supposed to have a Damascus rose note) always reminds me of Wrigley's peppermint chewing gum! It is effective at removing all traces of my makeup and rinses off easily after emulsifying with water. It contains orange Oil for removing clogged impurities, carrot oil for softening, apricot oil and almond oil for moisturizing.

7. Etude House Eye Makeup Remover: This bi-phase remover wasn't very effective at removing stubborn waterproof mascaras although it did remove eyeshadows easily. I won't purchase this.

8. Paul & Joe Refreshing Skin Toner: This was average and not particularly refreshing.

9. Molton Brown Ultrasmooth Coco de Mer Body Lotion: I had this with me in New Delhi and the extreme heat caused the body lotion to turn watery. It has a slightly oily after feel and I didn't care much for the scent.

10. K-Palette Real Lasting Eyebrow #2: This has become a daily staple. It's so easy to use and lasts all day on my oily skin. It's the second one I've used up and I was about to re-purchase the lighter shade #1, but then serendipitously, the lovely Lynn gifted me with one. :-)

11. Dove Intensive Repair Conditioner: This works well with my perennially dry hair (due to dyeing) and leaves it untangled and soft.

Shu Uemura Smooth Fit Mineral Foundation

Here's the ad visual from for the new Shu Uemura Smooth Fit Mineral Foundation, which will be released in Japan on 1 September. Available in 9 shades, the lightweight mineral-based foundation is supposed to be suitable for all skintypes, providing a flawless, non-powdery finish while hydrating the skin with the brand's signature Depsea water.

The fall makeup collection, Nova Diva, has just launched at all counters in Singapore. See the gorgeous store display at Ion on!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Becca Deluxe Travel Toiletry Bag and Paul & Joe pouches

Yesterday, I popped down to Fenwick in New Bond Street to pick up a few more Louise Young brushes. I wandered over to the Becca counter in search of a brush roll as I've purchased several brushes on this trip. Although they didn't have any, the Deluxe Travel Toiletry Bag (£40, about S$79) caught my eye with its generous size and multitude of compartments. This will come in very handy for keeping my beauty products and tools neatly organised and well protected.

The lightweight nylon bag in Becca's signature dark chocolate shade looked stylish with the silver metal studded handles while the soft leather pullers on the zips felt luxurious and much easier to grasp than the usual metal zip pullers. The bag should be quite easy to clean. The price in the UK works out to be slightly cheaper than the US, where it costs US$68 (about S$82).

The bag has three main sections. The front section has three plastic open-top pockets on one side and two mesh zippered pockets on the other side.

The middle section has the widest base and is meant for storing creams, gels or liquid items, which can be secured with the three elastic bands. One side is covered with water-resistant plastic.

It is wide enough for me to fit a fairly thick Paul & Joe pouch inside.

The third section has elastic holders and pockets for brushes/mascaras/liners etc, plus a zippered pocket and two clear PVC pockets with magnetic closures. The pockets are all fairly sizable.

The elastic holders and pockets are best suited for short handled brushes rather than long handled brushes which would risk falling out or being crushed by items in the zippered pocket.

On this trip, I've been using a variety of Paul & Joe pouches that I've collected over the years.

This flat pouch was a gift with last year's Sahara collection. I carry this in my bag daily for holding basic makeup necessities like a lipstick, powder foundation, concealer, eyeshadow primer, eyeshadow palette, blush, perfume sample vial and cotton buds.

The whale print pouch, which is a recent gift with purchase with the L'Horizon Bleu collection, is very roomy and useful for storing larger bottles/tubes as well as just throwing in whatever odds and ends I come across while packing for a trip.

The pink and grey pouch was a gift with last fall's Clair de Lune collection. It is well padded but can't fit much. In this, I have a Sleek palette, a Tokidoki palette, a Paul & Joe powder compact and a Magie Deco palette.

The green organizer has been around for quite awhile. I think I purchased this when it was on sale at (which no longer stocks it). still has it at US$65.

I like this pouch for its multi-functionality and detachable pouches.

It can fit several brushes but not brushes with longer handles like those by Louise Young. Some of my brushes also got their bristles bent at an angle, which was why I started looking for a brush roll.

Kate, Lavshuca, Coffret D'Or and Lunasol Website Updates

The Kate, Lavshuca, Coffret D'Or and Lunasol websites have been updated with the new fall collections.

See the new Kate TV commercial for the Wide Edge Eyes palettes here.

The Lavshuca fall collection includes two Star Decoration Eyes sets and two Pearly Star Liquid glosses. See the shades here.

The Coffret D'Or fall collection, to be released on 1 September in Japan, introduces a Silky Fit Pact N powder foundation, Silky Fit Liquid Foundation and Moist Pact Base.

The Lunasol fall makeup collection will debut on 19 August in Japan. So far, nothing in the collection appeals to me much but Lunasol collections usually look much more attractive in person than in their product visuals.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion Amethyst Ablaze

Awhile ago in New York, I picked up two of the new Maybelline Eye Studio Color Explosion palettes in #10 Amethyst Ablaze and #14 Forest Fury. According to the Maybelline USA website, there are 5 new palettes in total. These were retailing at US$10.99 each at Duane Reade, before sales tax. These aren't available in the UK, which has small duos instead (but I'd take the quints any day over duos as the former are much more versatile).

These are similar in concept and layout to the Eye Studio Hyper Diamonds palettes that are available in Singapore, Thailand and Japan. (See swatches of the Hyper Diamonds in this earlier post.) However, the Eye Studio Color Explosion palettes are made in Canada and contain 2.6g/0.09oz of product while the Hyper Diamonds palettes are made in China. Maybelline's eyeshadow palettes haven't appealed to me in the past due to the lacklustre shades and poor colour payoff but these new Color Explosion palettes looked much more promising.

Amethyst Ablaze is a lovely combination of purples and pinks with very fine shimmer particles, plus a silver glitter shade that is supposed to serve as a "luminizing topcoat". All the shades applied smoothly with good payoff except for the silver shade which is really just flecks of silver glitter.

After prepping with Urban Decay Primer Potion, I used a brush to apply the light pink shade over the browbone area and the fat sponge applicator to apply the purple shade along the upper lashline. Next, I blended the medium pink shade at the inner half of the upper lid and the burgundy shade in the outer half of the upper lid and along outer one-third of the lower lashline. I used the thin sponge applicator to apply the silver shade along the lower lashline.

Amethyst Ablaze impressed me with how well the eyeshadows held up over more than 12 hours of wear without fading. There was no fallout except with the silver glitter shade which got on my cheeks. For the price, I think the Color Explosion palettes are an excellent deal, as the shades are well pigmented and apply smoothly and true to how they look in the pan. The color payoff is even better than some of the recent Lancome palettes I've tried. The Color Explosion shade combinations are also more vibrant than the Hyper Diamonds palettes available in Asia.

List of ingredients.