Sunday, 5 February 2012

Kanebo Sensai The Lipstick paper swatches

Sensai Colours is a luxury line from the Kanebo stable, launched in 2008 and aimed at more mature women. Consequently, most of their makeup products seem to include skincare properties -- specifically, anti-ageing, based around their 'signature' ingredient koishimaru silk.

The Lipstick is their 'flagship' formula, retailing at a breathtaking £40 in the UK and $55 in the US. (Is there some kind of definite article mark-up?) The patter promises that the lipsticks improve the look and condition of lips both upon immediate application and boost their capacity for self-repair with prolonged wear. But more to the point, The Non-Blonde rates it as one of the best around

Paper swatches, in natural light
Kanebo Sensai The Lipstick swatch 01 Suou // 05 Benikinu // 06 Niiro // 09 Tsuyabeni // 10 Hiwada 11 Kurumi // 12 Sugiro // 13 Momiji // 15 Murasaki // 16 Rindou 17 Aya // 18 Koubai // 19 Sawarabi // 20 Sumire // 21 Shirafuji
01 Suou // 05 Benikinu // 06 Niiro // 09 Tsuyabeni // 10 Hiwada*
11 Kurumi // 12 Sugiro // 13 Momiji // 15 Murasaki // 16 Rindou
17 Aya // 18 Koubai // 19 Sawarabi // 20 Sumire // 21 Shirafuji

Here's a picture with flash taken a day after swatching, when all the creaminess has gone:
Kanebo Sensai The Lipstick swatch 01 Suou // 05 Benikinu // 06 Niiro // 09 Tsuyabeni // 10 Hiwada 11 Kurumi // 12 Sugiro // 13 Momiji // 15 Murasaki // 16 Rindou 17 Aya // 18 Koubai // 19 Sawarabi // 20 Sumire // 21 Shirafuji

You can see the golden micro-shimmer more clearly in some shades than others, but this is mostly just a quirk of the lighting. 10 Hiwada, is the only shade with visible shimmer once applied (see how much more densely-packed it is?). The other shades really do just leave a dimensional sheen on the lips, even to my shimmerphobe eye in direct sunlight.

In the UK, Kanebo Sensai has counters in Harrods and Selfridges.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Those of a sensitive disposition should probably look away now.

I wonder what these holes do?

Repeat seven times....

Left to Right (all are from the permanent Blend Colour Eyeshadow quad range):
01 Kakitsubata
02 Kokedama
07 Komorebi

(And yeah, I picked my klassiest Z-palette.)

Worry not, the whole process took less than five minutes and no heat, and these can be repotted at any time:

But it IS cool to see at a glance the differences between the base shades, or the various purples.

Now to work out what to do with the five older quads, with their peskily uneven pan sizes...
(Blend quad 10 Sakuragi, discontinued)

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Suqqu Blend Eyeshadow Quad 08 Mizuaoi

Released for Autumn 2011, 08 Mizuaoi (along with 07 Komorebi) joined the permanent line-up of Suqqu palettes but contains a slightly tweaked set of finishes from quads 01-06. The top left shade is a moderately pigmented iridescent shimmer, and the top right is a sheerer iridescent shimmer. The bottom left 'lining' shade is no longer a matte but a very pigmented satin, with very fine multi-tonal micro-shimmer. The bottom right is still the standard matte primer/base.
Overall, they give a more translucent, shimmery and complex look than the first six quads.

08 Mizuaoi 水葵 is named for the aquatic plant Monochoria korsakowii.
image from なごみの花屋さん blog, which has more.

In typical Suqqu fashion, the eyeshadows manage to convey not just the dusty purple shade of the flowers but also their aquatic setting, and how the play of light on water (the theme of a previous Suqqu collection, kirari) can refract the purple into shimmering facets of blue and pink.

Er... anyway. Swatches. As always, one swipe with a sponge applicator.
Natural light, sunny
angled to bring out multi-hued shimmer
natural light, shade
The purple is a pigmented satin with extremely fine pink and blue microshimmer scattered throughout. The blue has equally fine microshimmer, in various iridescent hues of blue and grey, with the occasional hint of pink. The pink has the largest shimmer particles (which are still very refined and completely undetectable by feel), distributed more sparsely within the oyster pink base, of yellow, green, copper and (very occasionally) blue. Each shade contains aspects of the others, and the play of light on water ripples back and forth between them.

Layered swatches, from left to right:
  1. all shades
  2. blue + pink
  3. purple + blue
  4. purple + pink
natural light with flash
natural light, shade

1. White as base, pink lightly all over the lid with purple to line. Blue very lightly in the inner corner and more heavily (with a firm brush) to line the bottom lashline. Basically, just like they did it in the ad.
Other products: Suqqu Cream Glow lipstick 02 Kyoganoko, Balancing Cheeks 01 Momozoe and Nuancing Loose Powder Natural. Helena Rubinstein Fatal Blacks wp mascara.
Usual base products: Shu SP, KA SSE, EF concealer, KATE brow gel.

2. A hazy look with all the shades smudged together all over the lid and taken under the eye, slightly more of the pink in the crease, and slightly more of the blue at the outer corner.
Other products: Suqqu Creamy Glow lipstick 06 Umegasumi, RBR Gracilis blush, Shiseido High Beam White highlighter, Helena Rubinstein Fatal Blacks wp mascara. Usual base.

3. A sharper look, going against the grain of the watercolour dreaminess of the quad -- I know this isn't ideal on my face/eyeshape (and I was deciding whether the keep/purge the blush and lip) but it does show how warm a look you can pull out of the quad, even when arbitrarily using all the shades for the purposes of a blog review...
Pink all over the lid, applied more heavily than in look #1 and brought higher up, with purple to line. Blue lightly in the middle of the lid and lower lashline.
(I promise the inner liner doesn't stop totally randomly, it fades into my crease with my eyes fully open.)
Other products: Addiction Suspicious cheekstick on lips and cheeks, RBR Sea of Tranquility highlighter, Helena Rubinstein Feline Blacks wp mascara. Usual base.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Suqqu Blend Colour Eyeshadow Quads: 06 Ginbudou

The permanent Suqqu quads 01-06 all share the same combination and layout of textures. On the top row, a moderately-pigmented complex shimmer and a very pigmented darker satin-shimmer. On the bottom, two mattes: one pigmented 'lining' shade, the darkest in each palette, and one sheerish base/primer shade, the lightest.
06 Ginbudou (銀葡萄, silver grape) is more definitely purple than the dusty taupe Keshizumi. Elizabeth finds it more opulent, and while I would agree, I also find it more delicate at the same time. The gold in particular is one of those uniquely Suqqu-ish shades that simultaneously manages to achieve exquisite translucency (not the same thing as sheerness -- you will see from the swatch that it is well pigmented) and complexity, due to the ultra-refined combination of shimmer particles. Rather than creating a heavily gilded baroque or a sunny halo, it wears more airily, like a fine-spun filigree.

natural light, sunny

natural light, cloudy + flash

The purple is again on the warm side, but unlike the brown beneath the plum in Keshizumi, here it is warmed by lighter red tones to achieve a burgundy-ish wine shade. The gold is neutral and flash brings out the lighter, cooler white-gold and green reflects set in its soft, rich base. The grey is a cool gunmetal which takes on a silvery khaki tinge in certain lights (I should swatch it against Chanel Illusoire D'Ombre Epatant someday). All of these shades are warmed slightly by layering them over the matte ivory base.

Layered swatches again. From left to right:
  1. all shades
  2. purple + gold
  3. purple + grey
  4. gold + grey
natural light

artificial light + flash

And two simple looks, both going with the grain of the delicate sumptuousness of these shades.
1. Ivory as base, gold in the inner half of the lid and lower lashline, purple on outer half. Grey to blend out crease and smudge out lower lashline.
Other products: Suqqu Balancing Cheeks 03 Hinageshi and Creamy Glow Lipstick 06 Umegasumi. Shiseido High Beam White to highlight and Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen wp mascara.
Usual base makeup: Shu SP, KA SSE, Ellis Faas concealer, KATE brow gel.

2. A mixture of the gold+grey all over the lid, with more gold patted on at the centre and more grey on at the outer corner. Purple smudged along both lashlines, slightly winged both up and down, with more of the gold in between the wings. A touch of black liquid liner just at the very outer edge (Koji Linequeen).
Other products: Suqqu Creamy Glow Moist Lipstick EX-01 Sangoiro, Becca cream blush Rosebud, RBR Sea of Tranquility highlighter, Helena Rubinstein Feline Blacks wp mascara.
Usual base products.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Suqqu Blend Colour Eyeshadow Quads: 04 Keshizumi

Over the next few days, I'll be showing the three permanent purple-based quads in Suqqu's current lineup: 04 Keshizumi, 06 Ginbudou and 08 Mizuaoi. This series has been gestating for quite a while because I wanted to show at least three different looks with each quad; these Suqqus are the core of my eyeshadow collection (I always take one or several travelling) and I find them extremely versatile.

...well, I learned that using the same palette (however lovely) more than twice a week is highly distressing to my distractable self. So you only get two looks from each for now. ('Now' probably won't turn into 'later' for a long while, because at the moment I don't fancy ever looking at these again.)

On the plus side, there will be less prolixity than usual because I no longer want to write about them either. :P

As a general note, Suqqu make my favourite eyeshadow textures ever. I won't repeat this for each shade, but please mentally add "incredibly finely-milled, refined, elegant, smoother-than-silk, comfortable and flattering to wear on dry lids and non-creasing on oily" etc. to all shade descriptions. And pigmented -- all swatches are a single swipe with a sponge applicator.

First up, 04 Keshizumi 滅墨 faded/ruined ink (as translated by Elizabeth, and I can't fault it, even though she does... kidz these days. Picky picky picky....)
with flash

This is actually barely purple at all, more of a taupe quad with dusty plum tones. True to its name, the shades are on the sooty and worn side, consisting of:
Bottom right: Suqqu's powder primer, included in every quad, this time in a matte white
Top right: pigmented warm taupe, somewhere between a satin and refined shimmer
Top left: moderately pigmented cloudy silver, delicate shimmer
Bottom left: very pigmented dark browny plum, matte
Swatched in the same order:
natural light

artificial light + flash

Layered swatches: of course, all eyeshadows can be layered but being so finely milled, and featuring different textures carefully chosen to be worn together, these Suqqu quads layer exceptionally beautifully in my opinion.

From left to right
  1. all shades
  2. silver + plum
  3. taupe + plum
  4. taupe + silver
natural light

artificial light + flash

See what I mean by barely purple? My favourite way to wear this is as a smokey eye, using the white as a base with all three shades layered together and faded out from the lashline up, using a mixture of the taupe+silver to blend out the edges. A little of the silver on its own to highlight the inner corner, and a little of the plum on its own to darken the lashline further.
It looks like I added a highlight to the centre of of the lid but I didn't -- this is just an effect of the complex shimmer working on my natural eye shape to catch the light.
natural light, sunny
I went for a flawless base with Suqqu Makeup Base Creamy (pink), Frame Fix Cream Foundation 001 mixed with white, set with Nuancing Powder Loose Natural. Suqqu Creamy Glow Lipstick 01 Saebana, Balancing Cheeks 01 Momozoe and KATE gel eyeliner BU-1, Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen Fatal Blacks waterproof mascara.
Other products: usual Ellis Faas / Kevyn Aucoin concealers, KATE brow gel BR-3.

The second look is subtler and more *shudders* work-appropriate. White as base again. Silver and taupe mixed together on the lid and lower lashline, with more of the taupe to add definition at the outer V. The plum to line.
RBR Sea of Clouds highlighter and Gracilis blush, Hourglass Femme Rouge Fresco, Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen Feline Blacks waterproof mascara.
And the usual again: Shu Stage Performer, EF/KA concealers, KATE brow gel.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Spring Collections Swatches -- Givenchy and Armani

Unless otherwise specified, all pictures were taken in natural light. 

Givenchy Instant Bucolique was one of my most anticipated releases this season. Unfortunately the textures proved to be disappointing, so I will stick to riffing/ripping off the ad image from other products in my stash. As always, tastes differ (mine often differ from themselves within the space of an hour); you can see several of the products looking absolutely beautiful on Musing on Beauty.

The blushes (£31) were both on the sheer and shimmery side (too shimmery for me -- as you can see, they emphasise textural issues). These swatches are each five layers of the shades swirled together, applied with a goat-hair brush.
No. 1 Bubolic Rose // No. 2 Bubolic Poppy

The eyeshadow quad, Le Prisme Yeux Quatuor No. 79 Bucolic Blossoms (£35) consists of four satins, again rather sheer. While applying smoothly, I found them to look quite dry on my skin (drier than some mattes) and despite making my swatches on the second day of release, I noticed that the tester was already crumbling in places, again a sign of drier texture. These swatches are three swipes with a sponge applicator.

Lip products consisted of a sheerish orange-red jelly lipstick, Rouge Interdit No. 54 Bucolic Poppy (£21) and a pigmented bright red cream gloss, Gloss Interdit No. 32 Bucolic Poppy (£19). At my counter there was also a very sheer pink gloss-balm Gelee Interdit (£19) in the display, so I swatched that too. All of these share a candied fruit scent.
Rouge (3 swipes) // Gloss (1 swipe) // Gelee (1 swipe)

Quad and Lip shades again, taken with flash:
Also part of the collection were a red nail polish (Vernis Please! Bucolic Poppy No.177) and face powder (Le Prisme Visage Bucolique in Bucolic Blossoms, £36.50), which blended completely into my skin leaving a very subtle hint of shimmer, much like other perfecting powders (Guerlain Meteorites for example). All items in the collection are limited edition.

Now for Armani Luce D'Oro, which was a Reader Request (you can always send these by comment-form or email). Again, all shades are limited edition.

Hotly anticipated, the cult creamy-gel-like Waterproof Eyeliner Pencils (£18) from previous collections are released in two new shades, 4 Antique Gold and 5 Copper, both smooth metallics. According to the Armani Sales Associate, brown and black shades of these are due to join the permanent line-up later this year. Swatches are one smooth sweep :)

The blush (Tourmaline Pink) is an extremely sheer light peachy pink with quite a hefty dose of silver shimmer. It took three heavy swipes with a sponge applicator for this to show up on my very pale wrist.

with flash (sorry for terrible quality, but it shows the shimmer)

Both eyeshadow quads consist of four frosts. Medium pigmentation, but the colour-combinations and lack of textural variation made these another easy pass for me. Two swipes each with a sponge applicator.
Luce D'Oro #1

with flash

Luce D'Oro #2

with flash

Finally, four shades of Gloss D'Armani (£21). These were all creams (no shimmer) and seemed to be on the sheer side (sheerer than Chanel Extrait de Gloss or Ellis Faas Glazed, anyway... I don't have too many gloss reference points).
Pink 508 Blush // Beige 105 Greige D'Armani // Brown 201 Caffeine // Rouge 405 Wild Rose