Today Rowena of the delicious Cosmetic Candy Blog takes us Far East with five of her favorite Japanese makeup primers.
The moment I made the transition from makeup enthusiast to junkie was the moment I discovered affordable Japanese cosmetics.
I was already in love with Hello Kitty and friendly with Kerokerokeroppi, so buying Japanese makeup seemed like a natural thing to do.
And now, a few years in, I can say that around 75% of my cosmetics collection is of Japanese origin or of brands sold primarily in Japan.
For me personally, I love the scope, the variety, the efficiency and the sheer sparkly goodness of Japanese cosmetics. I can br-br-br-break it down like this:
Japanese packaging for Maquillage, for example, can be cute or elegant or just gadget heaven. Some brands will keep their basic packaging permanent like many Western brands do, but others will play around with the cases and lipstick tubes every couple seasons or so, keeping a fresh look and concept (Kate and Lavshuca do this often).
And I am genuinely impressed when companies think of new ways for us to apply our lipgloss other than plain sponge applicators!
You know what they say about Japanese engineering and attention to detail, right? It’s the same for the makeup. Only when I started playing with Shu Uemura did I finally find a mascara that didn’t run (and it wouldn’t come off without a fight either -– d’oh!); only when I tried Shiseido Hydro Powder cream eyeshadows did I find a base that didn’t budge; and only when kitty punched me with her paw (we don’t talk about that day anymore)…
I love the variety of textures available from Japanese makeup brands, especially the lipsticks and cream/liquid-based eyeshadows.
I’ve reviewed a number of cream colors on my blog here and here. These aren’t just the same old creamy textures we’ve seen so many times before. Some are water based, or light creams, thick creams, mousses, firm jellies, soft jellies…Phew!
Although some Japanese brands are ridiculously, eye wateringly expensive, my favourite ones are mid-priced to affordable (equivalent to drugstore brands). Even the brands that are sold in drugstores are extremely high quality, and in my opinion match many of the high-end Western brands in terms of pigmentation and finish.
Finally… the finish!
I find the many of the Japanese brands go for quite a shimmery, but natural look overall. This doesn’t mean that the products aren’t pigmented, but that many of them do suit being worn in quite a natural-glow-I-didn’t-even-try-hard way.
Japanese lipsticks are the best when it comes to creating a water based glossy finish, full of iridescent sparkles and glow and are never drying.
So without further ado, here are 5 brands which I think are lovely and you should try!
Jill Stuart may be better known for her fashion line, but her makeup and skincare range (exclusive to Japan) is just as good. The range stands out because its drop-dead gorgeous princessy silver packaging wins me over all the time.
Unfortunately, it’s fairly pricey at around $65 for a powder foundation and $45 for an eyeshadow quad (prices can vary a little).
Must try items: Jelly Eye color, the quads, fruit lip balm and lip lusters.
Kate is a drugstore-level brand made by Kanebo. It’s a funky, punky but pretty look, and the packaging is black and fairly basic, although they always find nice ways to present the shadow pans in the palettes. They have plenty of eyeshadow palettes, normally with 5 colours in each to play with, as well as a set of Gel eyeshadows I think are fab because they really last.
Must try items: Glam Trick Eyes palettes, Gel Eyeshadows, Gel Mascara.
MAQUillag is a medium-end makeup brand made by Shiseido, aimed at a slightly older market than Kate. MAQUillage for me oozes class and quality, and I’m very rarely disappointed by a product they make. You can buy separate pans of cream and powder eyeshadows too to put together your own palette extravaganza!
Must try items: All the lip sticks and glosses (yep, all of them!), the eye creator palette (contains 2 cream shadows and 3 powders), and I personally love the Climax Moisture Foundation Compact.
RMK is the brainchild of Japanese makeup artist Rumiko. With an emphasis on smooth bases, the primer and foundation products were the first items I tried and fell in love with. RMK is undergoing a makeover, and prices will be rising along with it soon (it is already quite expensive!). It’ll be interesting to see how it works out and if the quality of the new range matches the price they’re asking.
Must try: Cleansing Oil, Recovery Gel, Irresistible Lips C, Gloss Lips, Creamy Foundation or Liquid Foundation.
Lavshuca is one of the reasons why I fell in love with makeup. The dark ruby packaging combined with some amazing formulas and their affordable price makes it a hit. The last few seasons have been a bit duller, but I am hoping they pick up again soon.
Must try items: Lavshuca Eye Colour Select Palettes, Jelly Eyeshadows, and Finish Powder.
My tried and tested places to buy Japanese cosmetics (if you can’t just hop on a plane or bribe a friend who lives in Japan) are eBay, Adambeauty (my favourite!), Sasa, Ichibankao and Facial Shop (there are other websites, too, but the previous 5 are ones I have ordered from repeatedly and offer super reliable service and payment by PayPal, so you are protected if anything goes wrong).
I hope this has been of use to the ladies who have never heard of Japanese makeup or have been wanting to give it a go.
Go forth and be *sparkly!*