This blush is Shu's best seller, a matte light-medium neutral dolly/baby/angel pink with a slightly muted tone. (The picture on top does not represent this blush properly.) This is very smooth to touch (compared to MAC, which feels gritty), it applies beautifully with all of the brushes I've tried. Foolproof, really! It's also surprisingly pigmented, swatched on my skin it's like a slightly lighter and less reddish version of MAC Dollymix (my previous pink cheek perpetrator). The new packaging is stylish and streamlined. This blush would look good on a myriad of people, but for me I'd pick something brighter and warmer like P Pink 34 for later. However, this blush should be a basic for any blush novice. Thanks Shu Uemura for making me leave my monogamous relationship with MAC; it felt safe to stick with only one brand for a while, but there are so many wonderful products to be tried out there.
Cleansers -Shu Uemura - White Recovery EX+ Brightening Cleansing Oil
na8i 4/12/2010 12:21:00 PM
This is now DISCONTINUED and has been replaced by the new and improved "brightening cleansing oil advanced formula". The original and the new formula both addresses customers who are interested in brightening the skin, getting rid of blackheads, calming the skin and preparing it for whitening treatments of other sorts. I really did see a calming effect from this on my otherwise red skin, but it might be because oil cleansers in general are very gentle. Did not use it long enough to comment otherwise. Removed makeup flawlessly, just be sure to follow the steps. First massaging 30 secs with oil only, then adding water and massaging for 30 secs more, then thoroughly splashing your face. Also, use enough pumps! Too little product means it won't emulsify properly, leaving a film on your face. Unfortunately I got some inflamed bumps on my cheek area, so there was an ingredient in it that didn't agree with my skin. I've used almost all the other Shu oils with no problems. Hopefully they removed this ingredient in the new version, I do not see why else they should pull the old one and make a new one. If I'm right; kudos to Shu Uemura.
Toners -Shu Uemura - Depsea Hydrability Moisturizing Lotion
na8i 4/12/2010 12:00:00 PM
Firstly, "lotions" in the world of Shu Uemura are really toners, to be used after cleansers and before serum/real lotions/cream. This has a watery texture and a pleasant smell. Very light, so it does not cause break-outs on my otherwise oily skin. As for performance it works well for those days my skin feels in need of just a little moisture (otherwise I use a heavier serum for some boosting action). That's all I need, my skin stays supple throughout the day. I've also tried the red: juvenus and the phyto-black lift lotions which are respectively age-preventing and anti-aging and I think I had better results on my skin from these since moisture isn't really my main concern.
Tinted Moisturizer -Cosmedicine - Honest Face [DISCONTINUED]
na8i 3/3/2010 11:27:00 AM
I tested Honest Face with the tint for fair skin. I am about NC15/20, Shu Uemura 774, BB Sand with oily, sensitive and easily clogged skin. Usually anything heavier than a serum will upset the balance of my skin. Honest Face applies beautifully and if you apply several layers gives quite good coverage. The finish, however, is very shiny, almost glossy - I buff some powder on top. Also, within hours this turn into an oily pool on my skin. It also sort of blends with any product applied on top, so I end up with grimy and patchy looking foundation/powder clusters floating around. The emu oil used in this product is supposed to be non-clogging, but it does upset my skin. My pores get deeper, they seem to ooze sebum and I bet there will be acne with continued use. The marketing makes this sound like a miracle product for all skin, but I think people with normal to dry skin may have more luck with it.
Scrubs -Shu Uemura - White Recovery EX Gentle Brightening Massage Gel
na8i 1/27/2010 5:10:00 AM
All of Shu Uemura's skin brightening/whitening line "White Recovery EX" is readily available in Asia, but only a few products (cleansing oil, cream) have made it overseas... This product is an exfoliating scrub which I suppose is meant to be used in conjunction with the other items from this line for maximum effect. However, I do believe that a good product should be able to perform on it's own. This being said, this is a very gentle exfoliator. I had no adverse reactions from use. On the other hand, I can't really say I have noticed any change in my skin. Then again, I am probably not in the target group... My skin is light, pretty even and with no dark spots to speak of. Also, exfoliating scrubs are not exactly my penchant. I feel pretty neutral about this product = 3 lippies!
This now discontinued paper face mask is replaced by the Depsea Moisture Replenishing Mask which I've yet the pleasure of testing. I left it on until it started to loosen by itself - meaning all the ingredients had travelled into my skin. Except for a refreshing sensation and my skin looking plump I did not notice anything much. Slight stickyness, which disappeared after an hour or two. The next day the face that greeted me in the mirror was looking fresh, even-toned and radiant. My skin feels softer and more hydrated. It seems to do it's job! I far prefer this kind of face masks to the ones you have to smear on - I seldom have any luck with those. Would love to try the new version. I doubt this will be a regular until I can see the effect on my aged skin, but would love this for long plane trips or just spoiling myself...
Recommended to bring out the green in my green/gold/brown eyes. Permaplum is the color of a black plum, a deep sultry purple with shimmer. Like the eye shadow MAC Nocturnelle's vampy big sister. Weak on the waterline, so I use it in my lower lash line. It does bring out my eyes a little, but not as stunning as MAC Powersurge. It tends to go on a little uneven. Barely noticeable smudging at the end of a long night. Will not buy again as I prefer brighter colors and probably need a bit more red to bring out the yellow-green.
I became very curious about peel masks after seeing picture upon picture of all the grotesque stuff they could pull out of your skin. Finally I got a sample which I applied liberally with a synthetic brush. Settled in and waited for it to dry, then peeled off gently. I got absolutely nothing. No dead skin cells, no extracted blackheads, no baby hairs. Nilch. Nada. It stings a little upon application, and has no beneficial effects afterwards that I notice. One lippie for not making things worse.
I have an oily t-zone with some blackheads, the rest is mostly dry/normal. I am always looking for a product to elevate my skin from "decent" to "gorgeous" and I sometimes pay for these reckless experiments with clogged pores, acne and inflamed skin. For these emergencies I have been using the aspirin mask - however, in my country aspirin is not cheap and the powder travels everywhere (including into my nose) making me sneeze. Lo and behold, in comes the sea salt mask!! Strangely I have known for years that sea salt has had a positive effect on my skin... I mix a tiny bit of water with sea salt and use the dissolved watery part (not the crystals) on the affected areas. It calms inflammation over night and stalls oil production. The bad thing is that it is also very drying. I have had some blackheads which became very solid (lots of dead skin cells + no sebum). This is not something I would slather over my face every day - over time sea salt will dehydrate your skin leaving you with early aging signs. However, for targeted treatment it is excellent for me! (It might work as a toner though for oily skins in a decent concentration...)
Treatments -Shu Uemura - Phyto-Black Lift Intense Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate
na8i 12/31/2009 10:49:00 PM
Shu Uemura's Phyto-Black Lift is the anti-aging series formulated with extracts of shiitake, lychee, black sugar and fermented black tea. This product is 150 USD for 30 ml. For the week my sample lasted I did notice positive effects on my skin (used in in conjunction with the brightening cleansing oil). I am mixed Asian-European with sensitive skin to go with it; it's combination/oily and breaks out easily in response to a myriad of products. This did not aggravate my skin, and I noticed my skin being smoother, the red areas calming down. I felt like my skin was moving in the right direction - against skin nirvana! Positively surprised, but I guess longer trials are necessary. Neither Bobbi Brown's Intensive Serum nor Paula's Choice Antioxidant Serum had such dramatic effect on my skin. Although marked as anti-aging, any skin can benefit from these skin boosting ingredients (if the claims are indeed true). I highly recommend more people to try this out - would love to see other thoughts on this product line.
You may think handing out 425000 KRW/32 USD) for a pair of surgical steel tweezers - whose only object is to pull out eyebrow hairs - is a sign that vanity has gone too far... However, by comparing my 3000 KRW/3 USD Korean convenience store tweezer with the x10 as expensive Shu Uemura Slanted Tweezer I will prove that this is indeed a very good buy! (Picture of tools above). Although about the same size, the Shu one is more ergonomical, the surgical steel providing spring and flexibility, being easy to manipulate. The tip is slanted inwards, perfect for grabbing even the smallest hairs. It never misses! In comparison my 1 month old cheap tweezer has already lost it's ability to tweeze. The tips slant outwards, and the edges don't meet correctly so I couldn't pull out a hair even at gun-point. The cheap steel is also hard, there's no spring or flexibility. So, the Shu is so worth it for me (and the price alone will make me take very good care of it and not loose it). I've used (and lost) a gazillion tweezers and this is by far the best!
I use this as a quick escape when I want to bring attention to my eyes while still looking natural or don't have time to do my whole Lovely Mediterranian Goddess Routine (see my MAC Woodwinked review)... This is bronze yes, but I see olive green highlights in it as well. Gold, brown and olive. Perfectly mirroring my eye color. I use this to line my lower waterline/lashline and it instantly elevates my eyes to "out-of-this-world-beautiful". I must admit using Powersurge is a pleasant little ego-trip... (At a distance my eyes are uninteresting, but using this makes people actually stop dead in their tracks... You know Tina Baltzer in the add for Thierry Mugler Alien? Those eyes, yes!) It's a khol, so it is not waterproof/smudgeproof, but I haven't had any problems to speak of so far.
Powder -MAC - Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light Medium [DISCONTINUED]
na8i 12/22/2009 9:10:00 AM
I'll compare MSF Natural (MSFN) to Everyday Minerals Semi-Matte (EDM) as these two are the best mineral foundations I have found for my sensitive combi/oily skin where staying power, oily break-throughs and clogged pores are a problem. MSFN provides a more matte finish, blends nicely, but coverage is only light-medium. EDM on the other hands is like buffing butter into my skin, the coverage is excellent with a finish considerably more shiny (even with the semi-matte - I also tried matte which was chalky). Worn alone MSFN is slightly more long-wearing - with setting powder they are equal in wear and oily break-throughs. None of them can be used on my forehead without getting clogged pores, though. Both settle in to fine lines and accentuate flaky skin when overdone, MSFN more than EDM. MSFN Light-Medium is a better color for me than Medium (I hover between these) being more yellow. I prefer the baked MSFN to the loose powder of EDM. In summary I think both are great. The issue with MSFN is less coverage and bad color selection. EDM needs more work to reduce the shinyness and the loose powder never appealed to me. I want something with good coverage, good staying power and a matte finish. (I guess I have to go back to stick foundation...)
Pressed Powders -MAC - Mineralize Skinfinish Natural - Medium
na8i 12/22/2009 9:06:00 AM
I'll compare MSF Natural (MSFN) to Everyday Minerals Semi-Matte (EDM) as these two are the best mineral foundations I have found for my sensitive combi/oily skin where staying power, oily break-throughs and clogged pores are a problem. MSFN provides a more matte finish, blends nicely, but coverage is only light-medium. EDM on the other hands is like buffing butter into my skin, the coverage is excellent with a finish considerably more shiny (even with the semi-matte - I also tried matte which was chalky). Worn alone MSFN is slightly more long-wearing - with setting powder they are equal in wear and oily break-throughs. None of them can be used on my forehead without getting clogged pores, though. Both settle in to fine lines and accentuate flaky skin when overdone, MSFN more than EDM. MSFN is also slightly off in color, Medium is a bit to pink for most skin tones I'd think. I actually like Light-Medium better, better coverage and more yellowish. I prefer the baked MSFN to the loose powder of EDM. In summary I think both are great. The issue with MSFN is less coverage and bad color selection. EDM needs more work to reduce the shinyness and the loose powder never appealed to me. I want something with good coverage, good staying power and a matte finish. (I guess I have to go back to stick foundation...)
Treatments -Paula's Choice - Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Gel Exfoliant
na8i 12/22/2009 8:45:00 AM
I find the 2% BHA gel a two-edged sword, a Janus of the skincare world. It does an excellent surface job, getting rid of flaky skin. However, the claims of it exfoliating inside the pore has yet to be experienced on my behalf. Using just my natural soap my blackheads are still there, the pores seem more "brimming" with viscous material like an active flow of sebum from the pore to the surface. Using this product and the soap result in slightly less surface activity, but in truth my pores seem more clogged. When I squeeze the extracted material is solid, and the empty pore like a big crater. Maybe the gel formula is not good for my skin, which is oily/combination. My last resort would be the liquid formula, but it is near impossible to swap for and shipping from the website to my country is 40 USD (!!!) + local taxes... I have also found a product which, albeit more expensive, cleanses and have brought my blackheads to a near invisible state: Shu Uemura's Brightening Cleansing Oil. This does not break me out (unlike a gazillion other products and natural remedies) and calms my skin. I did not find the PC 2% BHA gel very effective in calming my skin although it claims to be able to do that as well.