Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Excel Real Clothes Shadow in CS01 Teracotta Bootie

 You all know I love Japanese drugstore palettes and have sung praises for brands like Majolica Majorca and Visee many times. Excel is actually a little above those two, as the texture (for the Skinny Rich eyes) actually feels high end. Last fall, the brand releases a range of colorful palettes and I was thrilled. Around the same time, I went to Japan for a little vacation, after playing with the testers, I only went home with one of them. Being in Tokyo helped me weeding out stuff that aren't exemplary. Afterall, there were so many other brands to choose from.
Real Clothes Shadow (forgot how many shades there are since they kept adding new ones) are each named after an apparel or accesories - The one I picked was CS01 Terracotta Bootie. Not only it seemed the most interesting of the bunch (others were either too pink, pinky purple or the green was too sheer) and I vaguely remember people comparing it to Suqqu's Hikaritouka. I always complained about the flimsy compact of the the Skinny Rich Shadow and they totally improved it on this range - The compact is in shiny plastic that there is no paint to be scratched off.
Upper left is a slightly pinkish white pearl, on the right is a golden beige rose that somehow looked golden beige on my skin, the main shade is a juicy orange with gold sheen and the liner is a bitter orange brown. By Japanese standard these are decently pigmented and the texture was rather smooth - They adhere to skin with no fallout and the boundary never look chalky. As always, the sponge tip was the best tool to yield pigmentation while brushes give a clear veil.
Even though all four shades have the same semi-pearly finish, the glitter were fine enough that it doesn't look flat when layered together.
All four layers together - Maybe a little too red for my liking
Since the texture seems a bit flat - I dabbed a little bit of the glittery Aritaum Shine Fix Eyes to spice thing up. Overall while I like this palette - Now (a whole year later and orange eyeshadow is totally out of style)I am not too crazy about it, I guess it's still the smoothest orange palette I own and I will reach for it again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Holysnails - Bamboo, Rose Gold and Dragonfruit

Less buzz-worthy than it was two years ago, Holysnails is still a brand that I kept going back to. Their packaging is just adorable, and the products being simple and visibly effective not to mention their limited edition gimmicks always get me.
 These three limited edition Shark Sauce were from last summer - I didn't get to finish them on time (each tube lasts for 2-3 months of daily use) as I was using vitamin C (and was too lazy to layer). This fall, I wanted to switch things around as my sunspots (age spots, they are the same thing)were getting out of control. As I started using again, my experience is like a Chinese saying 小别胜新婚 (a few days apart works better than honeymoon) and it actually show result in shorter period of time. 

My opinion on all of them are still near identical to the original one, with minor difference in irritation (I remember Sand Shark stung my eyes) and scent. All of them are 10% niacinamide serum with a watery gel texture, highly hydrating but non-sticky. I don't see drastic removal of acne scars or spots but with continuous use, I do feel my skin tone being more even and clearer. If you are too lazy for layering, these sits pretty well under a layer of sunscreen.
The Bamboo Shark is supposed to be a soothing one with anti oxidant or what not. I don't feel much difference aside from the grassy smell (which doesn't cover Shark Sauce original drool "scent"). I don't hate it as the packaging illustration is adorable (all of them are).

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Sea Kelp Bioferment, Bamboo Bioferment, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Niacinamide, Licorice Root Extract, N-Acetylglucosamine, Sodium Lactate, Panthenol, Glycerin, Green Tea Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA
 Rose Gold Shark is one of my favorite, as they replaced distilled water with rose water (as for the Gold Biochlate part, I am not sure what fermented gold is doing to skin) - The formula smells pleasant (less salivary lol) and seems a little hydrating and less likely to ball up. 

Ingredients: Rose Hydrosol, Sea Kelp Bioferment, Rosa Damascena Extract, Gold Biochelate, Niacinamide, Licorice Root Extract, N-Acetylglucosamine, Sodium Lactate, Panthenol, Glycerin, Green Tea Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA
 The Dragon Shark is another version that's too similar to the original Shark Sauce - There is Dragon fruit extract and mango flower extract and I frankly can't tell what they are supposed to do. Actual dragonfruit are good laxative though, just be sure pick the white one as the red one will look like a crime scene.

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Sea Kelp Bioferment, Dragon Fruit Extract, Mango Flower Extract, Niacinamide, Licorice Root Extract, N-Acetylglucosamine, Sodium Lactate, Panthenol, Glycerin, Green Tea Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in Pretty Baby

If you stopped by this blog for a few minutes, you would know I have no problem paying (what sane people consider)a ridiculous price for eyeshadow palettes. Believe it or not, I actually draw a boundary somewhere around $70 (limited Japanese palette with special packaging and shipped from other side of globe)and stayed away from purely luxury sort of brands. At $88 a pop, Tom Ford was something I never really looked at (I have two of their lipsticks and thought the quality is rather sub par). When the brand released several new shades last fall, I was drawn to the quad Pretty Baby, a demure combo of dusty rose taupe, purple and hot pink glazing... During 
 Sephora's sale last year, it became a little more reasonable (still pricier than Suqqu). 
The compact is hefty and regal-looking, there is a suede bag that already turned into a dust magnet. 
Quality wise, the eyeshadow compact is better made than their lipstick, no visible wield line or chipped paint. The applicator's sponge isn't great (still a bit porous and crumbly) and the synthetic hair of brush is too sleek (that it's doesn't blend or pick up powder well) but I general have zero expectation on these sponge tips from western brands.
I LOLed when I saw this. As much as they tried to make it sound luxurious European made- they still choose to make the packaging (the most expensive part of most cosmetics) in China. I am certain if I take the compact apart (like when I depotted Bobbi Brown shimmer Brick few years ago) there will be more "made in China" in the interior. 

 I mean at $88 they sure can afford to have it made somewhere that's more favorable ? (For the last few months, the news I read/heard just made China seems like the most evil entity ever) 
Let's look at the palette! Pretty Baby consist of four shades - three of which are medium-deep (there is no lighter base or highlight). The upper left is a gorgeous rosy taupe (it has a bit of brown, beige, taupe and mauve rose) it's a smooth satiny shade that defines and brightens (it's very unique in my stash). 

Upper right is a medium taro purple with some pearly bits, somehow it turns near matte and muddy as soon as it's on my lids. I had to use it very sparingly or it will just smudge the whole look. In fact, I found the best way to deal with the shade is to ditch it altogether.

Lower right is a brown with a reddish sheen - It's again a little patchy and ruddy.  It's pretty but I can't incorporate it into any look I like. 

Lower Left is another stunner - A clear rose with fuchsia-teal duochrome isn't exactly unique (Aritaum, Topshop and Urban Decay all have their own version), this glossy top coat on pretty baby is the most densely pigmented but also the smoothest of  its kind.  You can get an impactful look just by itself or layer it on top of the main rosy beige, to add more dimension.
(The swatches is rotated to the left) - But you can see how pretty the rose beige lid shade and top coat are.  You can  sort of see how the purple and brown are kind of patchy and potentially muddy.
Just a simple look with the two workable shades on me. While Pretty Baby has pretty good quality, two pans that are amazingly unique, the whole palette isn't well coordinated enough (they texture on the purple and brown could be better). I don't regret getting it but I will probably spend the big bucks on other high end brand next time. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Chifure Eye Color in 79 Brown Pink

Chifure might be unfamiliar to most of you (outside Japan) but it actually has a big presence locally: Not only there is a small display in almost every drugstore big or small, counters (for their more premium skincare and brushes) can be found easily in department stores and a billboard (saying just the brand ちふれ in plain background) seen at Shibuya crossing. It's a pretty well known brand that only aim to serve their domestic market.

 I can see why, many of their makeup have incredible quality, the price is unbelievably low (expanding the business means more cost that will be taken away from product development). Today, I will show you an eyeshadow duo that's around three bucks (made in Japan and all).
I first noticed the brand (well duh it's everywhere) because in many drugstores, there are handwritten notes by the employees, telling you which product is the best seller in that particular branch. This little eyeshadow has the sticker right next to, I was thinking if it's good enough for the locals, it's good enough for me. Being just 360yens, I would be a fool not trying it. 
The compact is small, dainty and tougher than Canmake, the friction fit eyeshadow pan are tucked in securely (I don't see glue on the back). There is a small double sided sponge that's surprisingly good, it's smooth (though a wee plasticky) and perfect for this particular texture. I can wash it a few times and it won't break up.  

There is a short ingredient list on the back and I found the English translation on Chifure Global Site .

The eyeshadow is firmly pressed (using finger or sponge yields little to no fly out) and as you can see, rather pigmented especially by Japanese standard. Actually it's a myth calling Japanese eyeshadow sheer, many of them are sufficiently pigmented but can be worn in thin veil (in that way the shimmer also get showcased). I wouldn't say the colors are complex nor that there is galaxy glimmer. This duo is definitely not flat, boring or run of the mill (or it would never survive all these decades in Japan). 

The brown in the duo is warm and nutty but I see a warm pink sheen underneath, the peach on the right is sheer and glowy but it's more subdued, not that golden peach pink seen from American drugstore brands. 
The two shades from Chifure 79 layer well together, the texture isn't too loose so it never gets ruddy. Since it's so pigmented, I need to limit the area so it doesn't get smoked out (if you have bigger lid space this won't be an issue). My swatch picture look uneven (trying to catch the sun after work) but it's not that boring in real life.
Overall it gives a warm pinkish brown look that adds depth and definition. It's not ground-breaking but it's something that I reach for when I don't want to think much about makeup. It's excellent at 3 bucks and this is why I love Japanese makeup, you can choose to pay highend (from which you get sleek design, unique color pairing and high quality packaging) but you can also pay as little as a few bucks and look polished for work or date. 

Unlike western conglomerate, Japanese beauty brands don't discriminate on class or wage (sale girls at counters do, eh). 
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