Friday 30 November 2007

Magie Deco Website Update

The Magie Deco website has been updated with the Spring '08 collection! (Thanks to Betsy for alerting me!)

The Metal Magic collection will be launched on 16 December in Japan. There are two new Shadow Brilliance palettes #016 Cool Wind and #017 Calm Sunlight (5775yen), a new line of single Pure Colour eyeshadows (1575yen) in 18 shades, 5 new nailpolishes and 2 new Fairy Rouge lipglosses. I think the palette shown in the picture on the left side is formed with the new Pure Colour eyeshadows.

Here's the breakdown of the products used for the two spring looks:
Metallic Smart
1. Eyes: Pure Colour GY074, SV073, GD072, BL971, Gem On Liner BK001, Pencil Eyeliner BK001, Powder Eyebrow BR301, Luxurial Long Mascara BK001

2. Lips: Lipstick BE355, Lipliner Pencil BE350

3. Face Colour (Cheek) RD400, Face Color (Highlight) Wt001, Face Colour (Shading) BR300

4. Nails: Nail Colour WT052

Dazzling Sweet
1. Eyes: Pure Colour WT070, PK871, GD072, BL970, Gem On Liner BR301, Pencil Eyeliner BR301, Powder Eyebrow BR302, Luxurial Long Mascara BK001

2. Lips: Lipstick PK855, Lipliner Pencil PK851

3. Face Colour (Cheek) OR200, Face Color (Highlight) Wt001, Face Colour (Shading) BR300

4. Nails: Nail Colour RD452

Kiss Spring Collection

Kiss' Spring '08 features chocolate and strawberry tones for a yummy-looking collection! Rouge Melty Chocolate (1470yen) is a glossy, pigmented lipgloss that contains cocoa butter, macadamia nut oil and chamomile extract to keep your lips moisturised. It comes in 2 shades: #1 Strawberry (with strawberry chocolate fragrance) and #2 Mocha Chocolat (with chocolate fragrance)Dessert Chocolat Eyes #1 Rose Chocolat (1680yen) is a mix of soft feminine pinks, beige and dark chocolate shades that contain silver pearl shimmer and "crystal reflects". The collection will be launched on 19 January.

Lunasol Modelling Water Liquid Foundation

Lunasol will be releasing its new Modelling Water Liquid Foundation (5250yen; 25ml in 6 shades) and Control Makeup Base (3675yen; 25ml in 3 shades) on 22 February in Japan. Modelling Water Liquid Foundation is 55% water and is supposed to provide good coverage along with a glowy, natural finish. It also contains marine collagen, hyaluronic acid and silky powder for deep moisturising benefits, as well as SPF17 and PA+ for sun protection.

Wednesday 28 November 2007

Aube Jewellery Shower Eyes

Aube's Jewellery Shower Eyes is one of my favourite Japanese eyeshadow palettes series of all time. Palettes that come with a cream eyeshadow base are nothing unusual in the world of Japanese makeup (Majolica Majorca and Kiss are two other brands that also have palettes with similar concepts) but what is outstanding about the Jewellery Shower Eyes series is the gorgeous sparkly shimmer in the cream base that is very pretty enough to even wear on its own. These come in an elegant slim leaf-shaped compact that nestles perfectly in my palm (don't you just hate clunky or weirdly-shaped palettes that are a pain to balance in one hand while you are applying makeup with your other hand?). I love these palettes for their excellent staying power, silky texture and gorgeous shimmery colour combinations that are virtually idiot-proof in terms of how to apply.

The palettes also come with two double-ended sponge/brush applicators that are super easy to use and makes these palettes perfect for bringing on trips as you do not have to pack a separate set of brushes. The sponge applicators help to layer the powder for greater intensity. For applying the cream base, I usually just use my little finger.

#31 Purple was my first acquisition from this line as I'm always a sucker for lovely purple and dark plum shades. It remains my favourite out of all my Jewellery Shower Eyes palettes and the one that I reach for the most often. This is the palette that I reach for when I'm not in the mood for experimenting with new colours. It's a fail-safe combination that always looks good even if it's not the trendy colour of the season.

I picked up #34 Pink (left pic) after being disappointed with the sheer colour payoff of #36 Pink (right). Both are a mix of sweet candy pinks but #36 features lighter shades that don't show up as well on me as those in #34. The cream base in #36 is also not as shimmery as those in other Jewellery Shower Eyes palettes.

And finally, my latest buy, EX02 which I tried out today. Overall, I would rate this 4 out of 5. I've never been a fan of brown eyeshadows so the colour combination in this palette was not the kind that would rock my world. But the eyeshadows do have excellent colour payoff with the usual superbly smooth texture and fine shimmer. The shimmery cream base in this is especially lovely. The gun metal grey shade is also great for creating a dramatic smokey eye or as an eyeliner shade for greater definition. The pale beige shade works well as an all over shade while the light chocolate shade is just pigmented enough to show up against the beige. I do have one peeve and that's the dull matte cover of this palette, which looks dull when compared to the other palettes which all have shimmery covers.

My lovely friend, The Muse, has also written a wonderfully detailed review of her Jewellery Shower Eyes collection over here on Specktra. Do check it out!

Anna Sui Spring '08

Anna Sui's spring collection features the usual bright colours of blue, pink, green and purple that one has come to expect from Anna Sui.

1. Eye Color Accent #1 Turquoise blue/dark grey/pearl white, #2 purple/silver grey/gold yellow and #3 pink/mocha brown/marshmallow pink (2625yen)

2. Sui Lip Gloss #100 Candy Blue, #401 Candy Red, #800 Candy Yellow (2310yen)

3. Nail Color #248 Melting purple, #343 Spicy Pink, #344 Delicious Pink, #809 Candy Gold, #923 Glitter Mint (1575yen)

4. Eyeliner N (2625yen): liquid eyeliner in 7 shades

5. Eyeliner L (2625yen): "Luminous-type" liquid eyeliner that has a transparent water base with pearl and glitter mixed in. In 3 shades.

6. Glitter Eye Colour Stick in 5 shades (2625yen): shimmery creamy eye colour with a non-sticky finish

7. Beauty Mirror M (3990yen)

Release date is 10 January for Japan.

Shu Uemura Spring '08

Shu Uemura's spring 2008 collection is inspired by the various hues of nature. Instead of the usual pastels that one often sees in the spring collections, Shu will be focusing on green, beige and earthy tones.

1. Rouge Unlimited lipstick in Dewy Beige (shimmery beige)
2. Colour Mascara in Green
3. Glow On Blush in Harmonious Orange and Tranquil Pink
4. Pressed Eyeshadow N in IR Pristine Green, P Yellow Elation, IR Sun Stream, IR Earth Brown and P Spring Breeze
5. Nail Polish in Gold Zest, Spirited Green and Innocent Beige

The release date is 11 January for Japan.

Tuesday 27 November 2007

Lavshuca & Kate Spring 2008

Lavshuca's spring 2008 will debut in Japan on 1 February. The new star product is Rouge Essence Spa lipstick which is intensely hydrating with good colour payoff. It contains deep moisturising ingredients such as macademia nut oil and silk extract. It comes in an innovative metal swivel tube: one twist will push up just enough product for one application and when you're done applying, just twist in the opposite direction to retract the lipstick into the case. Lavshuca is also launching a new eyeshadow palette series that features beige and brown shades being paired up with various bright shades. I'm not a big fan of beige and brown eyeshadows in general but I'm interested to see what the other palettes in the series look like.

1. Rouge Essence Spa in 10 shades: new moisturising lipstick series
2. Noble On Colour Eyes in 5 variations: eyeshadow trios featuring brown and beige shades matched with a brigher shade
3. Jewel Lips (mini lipstick) in 2 new shades
4. Grade Color Select in 1 new shade
5. Powder Foundation N in 5 shades: new powder foundation that provides excellent coverage of pores and a silky, natural finish. Contains pearl essence and silk extracts for moisturising benefits.
6. Skin Filter Base in 1 shade: Foundation primer

Kate's spring collection will also be launched on 1 February. This time round, Kate has chosen to revamp the Line Spicy eyeshadow quads. The new palettes feature color combinations that are quite different from the original Line Spicy series. This spring will also mark the 10th year anniversary of Kate, which has emerged over the years as the top-selling brand in the "self-help" segment of the Japanese drugstore market. Fans of Kate's Powder Gel Eyeliner and Glam Trick Eyes will be delighted to know that Kate is adding new shades to these products. The Powder Gel Eyeliner has sold over 1.2 million units in the mere 8 months since it debuted in February 2007. Kate is also introducing a volumising version of its Magical Gel Mascara. The original lengthening version has sold over 330,000 units since its launch in August 2007.

1. Line Spicy N in 5 shades (1680yen)
2. Magical Volume Gel Mascara (1575yen) in 1 shade
3. Square Cut Eyeliner in 5 shades (997yen)
4. Powder Gel Liner in 3 new shades (1575yen)
5. Gradical Eyes S in 1 new shade (1470yen)
6. Glam Trick Eyes in 1 new shade (1680yen)

Japanese Holiday Collections Haul

My haul from the Japanese holiday collections finally arrived today courtesy of a dear friend in Tokyo!

Majolica Majorca Majolook Line Impact SV801 and PK122
Majolica Majorca's 2007 collections have largely been a disappointment to me. The Majolook Line Impact palettes released in spring had very strange color combinations while the blue-themed collection in summer was not very wearable for your typical conservative office environment. But Majolica Majorca's annual holiday collections are usually solid so I was looking forward to this year's collection to surprise me. The two eyeshadow palettes contain a lovely range of shimmery silvers and icy pinks. The silver shade in SV801 is very similar to the silver shades in GD852 and VI261 while PK122 is also similar to the pink/plum Majolook (Illuminator) #1 palette that MM released last Christmas except that the latter had a dark plum shade. Nevertheless, PK122 and SV801 are gorgeous in their own right and would make great additions to any makeup collection. However, all the shades are on the light side so you won't be able to create a very dramatic look with these but the dark cream eyeliners in each palettes are great for adding definition.

Majolica Majorca Snow Carat Powder
The holiday collections are usually dominated by a preponderance of shimmery highlighters. MM's Snow Carat Powder is an excellent affordable option if you're looking for a soft, super finely-milled powder to add some sparkle to your usual eyeshadow or blush. The sparkle in this is also very fine without any chunky glitter. It comes in a tiny tub with a cotton puff that is a bit tricky to use as it's so small but you can always use your own brushes for a more even application.

Lavshuca holiday palettes #1 Berry Creme Framboise and #2 Bon Bon Chocolat Classic
Lavshuca has copied the cardboard palette with elastic band design of Majolica Majorca's Siam/Persian holiday palettes from a couple of years ago. I absolutely adored the shiny metallic cover of these palettes which look much more glamorous and elegant than the MM palettes. Inside, each palette has a small eyeshadow trio and a lipgloss duo along with two brushes. The amount of product is really not much but then again, when was the last time that you used up a palette?! I certainly have yet to manage to finish a makeup palette! These are great fun to play with and I can't wait to see what Lavshuca will come up with next! Lavshuca's target audience is older than MM which is geared more towards the teenage segment so Lavshuca's products tend to be a lot more wearable than MM which has funkier or more mod colours.

My lovely friend, The Muse, has also reviewed the Lavshuca palettes here!

Awake Christmas Coffret set
The Prismatic Colors set is priced at 6825yen, which is very reasonable considering that you get a full sized face powder, mascara, lipgloss and mini nail polish. Awake's mascaras usually retail for 3150yen. I loved the mascara that came in their holiday set in 2006. The All Direction Stardom Mascara #1 Ultra Black in this year's set has an unusual brush with a flat tip. You're supposed to apply the mascara first using the middle part of the brush and then touch up the lashes at the inner and outer corners as well as the lashes along your lower lashline with the flat tip. I haven't tried it out yet so I'm not sure how well it works. The face powder is split in half with one half having a very fine shimmer for a more glowy finish while the other half is the standard velvety matte light beige shade that can be used as a finishing powder all over the face to set your makeup. The eyeshadow palettes are super tiny and adorable. The shades inside are unique and pretty, with the potential for creating a great variety of looks.

Another dear friend, Fleckenschnitte, has posted a wonderfully detailed review and photos of the set here. Do check it out!

Canmake Loose Cheeks #6 Pink Mauve and #7 Cinnamon Sugar
These are a great option if you're looking for a loose powder blush that gives a soft pop of colour with some shimmer. #6 Pink Mauve is the more wearable of the two. #7 Cinnamon Sugar is probably more suitable for tanned skintones. The convenient and sturdy packaging design also makes these great for popping into your bag for touch ups on the go. And the best part? These cost only 819yen each!

Aube Rouge Tiara Veil RD615 and PK613
I fell in love with these when I saw them featured on the Aube website. I'm happy to report that the lipglosses look as pretty and deliciously yummy in real life as they do on the website! I'm very pleased with the two shades I picked :-)

Aube Jewellery Shower Eyes EX02
I haven't played around with this yet so I'm not sure how it'll look on me.

If you have purchased any of the above holiday items, I'd love to hear your thoughts too!

Monday 26 November 2007

Lunasol Sheer Contrast Palettes

Pic of Lunasol's new Sheer Contrast Palettes from 2Channel! These will be released on 18 January in Japan!

I couldn't help but notice that the blue/brown palette is similar to Shiseido The Makeup's Eyeshadow Quad Shimmer Q2 Earth and Sky while the green/beige/orange quad looks similar to Shiseido's Eyeshadow Quad Shimmer Q3 Flora and Fauna. And the purple/pink quad looks similar to Shiseido's Eyeshadow Quad Shimmer Q1 except that the former has a yellow shade in place of the grey in the latter. That's surprising as I've always thought of Kanebo (which owns Lunasol) as the more innovative and creative company than Shiseido. But given how Kanebo has taken to copying Shiseido in other areas such as the marketing for Coffret D'Or, I guess this should not be that much of a surprise but it sure is a disappointment for consumers who look forward to something different each season from Lunasol rather than a rehash of a competitor's products and ideas.

The initial reviews on 2Channel of the Sheer Contrast Palettes noted that, as the name suggests, the eyeshadows have a light sheer, shimmery texture and the shades are easy to wear for Asian skintones.

Sunday 25 November 2007

Dick Page Interview

The Straits Times, which is the main English newspaper in Singapore, ran an interview with Dick Page, Shiseido's artistic director and former creator of the now discontinued (and much beloved) Inoui ID makeup line. The article is by Sandra Leong and it appeared in the 22nd Nov Urban supplement of Straits Times.

Turn The Other Page

Dick Page, make-up maestro and artistic director for Shiseido The Makeup, defies all conventions.

It is 7am at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo and Dick Page is in gastronomic heaven. Squeezed into a tiny sushi bar, the strapping 1.8m-tall man is wolfing down an assortment of sashimi.

Suddenly, the newly appointed artistic director for Shiseido The Makeup - the Japanese cosmetics company's global colour collection - calls for a beer.

Asked if it's too early in the day fr one, the New York-based Briton quips: "But it's 7pm in New York."

The bear-like, bearded man then chugs the beverage down at a speed that would make a trucker proud.

More Road House than Project Runway, the 43-year-old who has worked with the likes of designers Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors doesn't quite fit the stereotype of a celebrated make-up artist.

Clad in a white long-sleeved shirt and dark blue pants topped with a vest, the man renowned for his artistry with faces is utterly non-flamboyant.

He doesn't air-kiss or coo meaningless niceties. Ask him to dish the dirt on the presumed backstage clawing and backstabbing in the fashion world and he says evenly:"Tempers do get frayed but not very often."

The only designer that he has an unkind word for is Ralph Lauren. Even so, he will only say that the man is "just not nice and working with him is a physical impossibility."

Despite being a regular at fashion shows, he eschews the glitz of after-parties. "When the schedule is that crazy, I'd mostly rather go home."

But taking it slow hasn't been much of an option since he assumed his new role heading Shiseido The Makeup in March. He joined Shiseido in 1997 but spent the past years working on another line, INOUI ID.

The 135-year-old company now wants Page, who has been in the business since the 1980s, to "heighten the global visibility and strength of the colour collection to equal that of Shiseido's skin-care brand", says a spokesman.

In the last fiscal year, which ended in March, the Japanese beauty brand reported net sales of 694.6 billion yen (S$9.1 billion), up 3.5 percent from the year before.

Page joined the company 10 years ago because he was drawn to its "storied history". He says of his plans: "Sometimes people do think of Shiseido colours as being old fashioned. The answer to this is not to make it more fashionable, but more surprising."

For fall/winter 2008, he lets on that he is working on a collection inspired by chiaroscuro - the art of using light and dark made popular by Italian painters like Caravaggio.

He says: "Light advances, illuminates and enlarges. Dark recedes, defines and adds details. Those are the beginning principles that I'm working with."

Growing up in a small town near Bristol in England, Page first discovered his knack for colours as an artist. The only son of a housewife and navy man studied art in school till he was 18. Strangely enough, he spent his teenage years working part-time at a slaughterhouse because "it paid more than delivering newspapers".

But he also found time off to dabble in fashion and beauty. "I had every hair colour under the sun," he says of the "crazy" mid-1980s. "Before long, I was experimenting with my friends' faces."

In May 1987, he moved to London and spent the next few years doing make-up for editorials in publications like The Face and I-d Magazine, at times for a pittance.

"The early years were lean," he says. "I just took everything that came along."

Slowly but surely, he got his name out in the scene, meeting fashion stylists Melanie Ward and photographers David Sims, Corinne Day and Juergen Teller along the way.

His big break came about three years later when he began doing make-up for a 15-year-old, reed-thin, fresh-faced model. Her name: Kate Moss.

As part of her crew, he did his first fashion show. It was Calvin Klein in New York, and he sent models out onto the catwalk with surprisingly clean faces.

"My style at the time was very minimal. A bit of lipstick on the cheeks, no mascara, no powder."

Beauty critics, then used to heavily made-up faces, were aghast. But the barely-there look soon caught on.

Today, Page says his style has evolved to encompass anything and everything that may be required for a shoot or show.

"But you can sort of get that it's my hand," he adds. "The make-up rarely looks like it's overdone and you can tell the nature of the person wearing it."

Inspiration strikes him in the least likely places. In fact, the Tsukiji Fish Market, where we are, provided the creative spark for Shiseido's INOUI ID line in the late 1990s.

He says: "Anything with colour, texture, life and energy is where I can lift from."

He designed eyeshadow palettes with "oyster" (pearly beige) and "shrimp" (pinkish) hues, calling it a "visceral way of looking at colour".

But most of the time, ideas come to him when he sits and paints in his Long Island home which he shares with his partner.

"If I have a project, I'll start by painting acrylic panels of colour and soon I'll have a lot of versions of the same type of colour.

They'll look like 10 pieces of beige paint but all have different meanings," he adds

Once he's happy with his work, he sends the colours to the Shiseido labs, which, in turn, churn them out as shades of face paint.

Time off is spent pottering around his herb garden or taking his bicycle out for a ride. The avid cook also grinds his own meat for sausages and cures pork belly for bacon.

Again it's not quite the picture you'd expect from Dick Page, make-up maestro.

But he philosophises: "Food and drink is related to the creative field as well. You can't cook unless you're really interested. Neither can you work with colour unless you are really committed to the idea."

Dick Page's make-up tips
Ask Dick Page what his biggest gripe about Asian women is and he says: "The disappearing act is a main event to me. They just beige out of existence by being as inoffensive as possible."

Sticking to a tried-and-tested make-up routine - say, a rosy lip liner, sparkle around the eye and a bit of blush - is boring, he explains.

Here, he offers a few tips on how to do things differently:

Steal looks from the runway but don't copy them whole. If you saw models wearing violet eyeliner paired with gold eye colour at a Michael Kors show, cop what's wearable, like the violet eyeliner. Similarly, a plum-coloured lip seen on the Narcisco Rodriguez runway will work by reducing it to a stain. "Apply it, then blot it off. You still get the impression of richness and depth."

Swop products around. Almost every woman looks great with blush, says Page. But for added zest, put some lip colour high on the cheekbones for a vibrant quality. Hydropowder (little tubs of eye colour) may be conventionally used on the eyelids but you can also dab them on your lips and cheekbones for different textures. And instead of using concealer, why not try a multi-shade enhancer, which comes in different gradations of bronze, to hide spots?

Highlight creatively. For a quick pick-me-up, dab concealer under the nose, in the corner of the eyes, on the bow of the lips and on the chin. "The effect is like shining a flashlight on your face," says Page. The same goes for powder where you can play with texture and contast. Dab powder on just the forehead, jawline and nose, leaving the areas of the eyes shiny. Your eyes will immediately seem brighter.

Friday 23 November 2007

Voce, Biteki & Maquia Jan issues

Time of the month again for the new issues of Voce, Biteki and Maquia. Voce's Jan '08 issue comes with an Eco-Bag (available in 10 shades). This is their "Best Cosme" issue where they feature rankings of all the best cosmetic and skincare products. There's also a sneak preview of some of the collections coming up for spring, including a pic of a new Jill Stuart palette. The next issue (Feb) will come with a more extensive spring collection catalog.

Maquia is also doing a "Best Cosme" issue. It also comes with a separate booklet on nail art. The cover girl is Takeuchi Keiko, one of Japan's top actresses who also appears in the Shiseido Tsubaki shampoo ad campaign.

The next Feb issue is probably a more worthwhile buy though as it will come with 2 Bihada Ichizoku sheet masks (one in the purple packaging and another in the black packaging) which are worth 450yen each, as well as a Lion Bathtology bodycare bath lotion sample!

Biteki's Jan issue looks the least exciting of the 3. It focuses mainly on makeup and skincare tips for looking like a celebrity for special days and comes with an Albion Beauty Diary.