The bath additive was incredibly silk and rich compared to all others I have tried, although this is the first medicinal bath milk I've ever used before. It was also very gentle and relaxing, and left my skin smooth and hydrated. I didn't even bother to put body lotion on afterwards. It is by far the best bath milk out there, I think, but it has one major flaw. The fragrance was incredibly power and still lingered hours after the bath had been drained and cleaned. Although it was supposed to be floral, the scent had somewhat of a chemical smell. Because it gave me a bit of a headache, I think I will stick with Bathtology's bath milk.
The last foundation from Lunasol left to review is the Skin Fusing Powder Foundation. Before applying the powder foundation, I used Lunasol's Smoothing Makeup Base. Unlike the other makeup primers, the Smoothing Base is a sheer, gel-cream that acts as a moisturizing lotion. It is best suited for dry skin. Out of all of Lunasol's makeup bases, this was my favourite. It hydrated and "smoothed" the skin, helping prevent the foundation from drying and flaking off.
The Skin Fusing Powder Foundation, which came in OC2, was similar to the cream foundation in that it was lighter in both color and coverage compared to the liquid foundation. In fact, it might be the most sheer out of all of the foundation types though it still provides a decent amount of coverage. The texture is fine and smooth and blends well into the skin. Overall, I would say that the quality is excellent and I would definitely recommend this foundation to anyone looking for powder-type base makeup. However, the ochre (OC) for the powder foundation does have a yellow hue (like all other Lunasol foundations) and may not be suitable for those with pink undertones.
I recently tested out Lunasol's Water Cream Foundation and Creamy Makeup Base. The Creamy Makeup Base is a primer made specifically for the cream foundation. It is a a pink-colored base that applies sheer or slightly white (pearl-pigmented according to Lunasol's website) like most other makeup primers. However, it is much smoother than all others I've tried and quite light. Although it is supposed to be moisturizing, like most makeup bases, it is slightly drying. The skin on my cheeks became a bit flaky after the base set in and I think a more moisturizing makeup base would be ideal. (I wonder how the Control Makeup Base in 01 Moisture would work with the cream foundation.)
The Creamy Foundation sample I received was again in OC02 (Ochre), but was surprisingly lighter in color than the OC02 Modeling Water Liquid Foundation I tested last week. It was still very yellow, even though Lunasol offers YO (Yellow Ochres) shades in addition to the OC shades (which makes me wonder just how yellow the YOs are), and too dark for me. The Cream Foundation also felt much lighter than the liquid foundation and though it did not provide as much coverage, it looked much more natural. According to Lunasol, it contains 60% moisture and it was more moisturizing than everything else I've ever tried. It also applied very smooth and even. My only complaint is that my cheeks were still slightly flaky even with the cream foundation, but I believe this was the fault of the makeup base. If Lunasol did have a cream foundation in my skin shade, I would pick it up in a heartbeat.
On February 20th, Lunasol will release their 10th Anniversary Base Makeup Kit and 10th Anniversary Makeup Palette. The Base Makeup Kit contains: Modeling Water Liquid Foundation (6 colors available) Control Makeup Base in either 01 (Moisture) 02 (Lighting) or 03 (Clear), Nuance Change Foundation 01, Under Eyes Base N 01, Micro Finish Powder N 02, Morning Wakening Massage N and Night Refining Cream. all in an original Lunasol bag for 8,925 yen (tax included).
I recently tested out Lunasol's Modeling Water Liquid Foundation and the Control Makeup Base in 02 Lighting. The Makeup Base was a skin-colored primer with fine shimmery particles that gave the foundation a light, pretty sparkle. When I first saw the base, I thought it was quite dark for a primer but when applied, it was almost sheer. Unfortunately, the shimmering particles began to dry out and flake my skin (a little) and I think this product would work better on the Normal to Oily skin type. The Control Makeup Base that I probably needed was 01 Moisture because I have dry skin and the blue would help diffuse the redness in my cheeks.
Because I was using samples, I didn't have a choice in the foundation color that I received and the color I tested out was OC2, the second lightest shade. It was much too dark for me and it looked as though I had a applied a very dark, yellow mask. In fact, the makeup base was much closer to my natural hue which leads me to believe that the lightest foundation shade available, OC01, would still be too dark for me. This is a shame because the foundation applied very even and provided great cover. Though liquid foundations tend to dry out and cake on my skin, the foundation remained smooth. Yet again, Lunasol proved itself to be a quality cosmetics company. Even if they don't offer a foundation shade that suits me, I am definitely willing to try their other base makeup products.
＠cosme (cosme.net) and FamilyMart have teamed up to create stands, placed in several FamilyMart convenience stores, featuring the top ranked skincare products according to the Best Cosmetic Products Awards at ＠cosme. I hope the FamilyMart near me will consider including one at their location, too. Check out ＠cosme's blog for more information.
InnerSignal is a fairly young skincare brand under the pharmaceutical company, Otsuka, known for Calorimate, Pocari Sweat and Oronamin C. The cosmetics brand emphasizes the "inner" aspects of skincare, turn over and AMP (adenosine monophosphate) in particular, and the overall signaling of cells to help rejuvenate skin. InnerSignal's products have won a number of awards and continues to garner more and more attention from the Japanese beauty community.
I recently tried InnerSignal's Rejuvenate Mask that came with an issue of Voce. Like the majority of the brand's products, the mask contains no artificial coloring, no mineral oil additives and no alcohol. It is gentle and safe for all skin types. The sheet mask is supposed to help prevent the freckling of skin and leave the face moisturized and soft. It is worn for 10-15 minutes and suggested that you use one once a week.
Although sheet masks tend to be large, InnerSignal's Rejuvenate Mask didn't require much folding or reshaping. (What is interesting is that while most eye holes for sheets masks are very round and wide/tall, the axial length is almost always short. However, InnerSignal's eye hole was longer and not as round, which is perhaps more realistic. Although my eyes are not particularly long, I find that sheet masks tend to come uncomfortably close to the edges of my eyes.) It also contained a good amount of milky extract that was soothing upon application. What I like most about the mask was that that is was not sticky at all and my skin still remained smooth and hydrated hours later. I can see why the Rejuvenate Mask does well in sheet mask rankings, sometimes even placing above SKII's highly acclaimed masks. I believe this may very well be the best sheet mask for my skin type. The only downside is the price. It costs 8,400yen for one set of 6 masks that is supposed to last a month and a half. That is 1,400yen per mask. It's still less expensive than SKII but certainly not cheap. Although I'm not sure I'll be able to indulge in InnerSignal's mask, I am now interested in what else they have to offer.
Although mineral makeup is supposed to be a healthier alternative to other makeup products, it usually contains bismuth oxychloride which can cause itching, swelling, and redness, especially for rosaceans (people with rosacea). Because of this, I've completely avoided mineral makeup until I recently came across Joppa Minerals. Joppa Minerals makeup is paraben, talc, and bismuth-free and friendly to most skin types. They also offer a wide range of foundation shades and eyeshadow colors and prices are very reasonable.
I ordered the Soft Coverage loose mineral foundation in Lightest and the Finishing Silk powder in Sheer. There have been some complaints that the photos on Joppa's website do not reflect the actual color of the mineral powders and this is true. Joppa's foundation shades are much lighter than those of other makeup companies but this worked in my favor. I've never found a foundation that was light enough for me and Joppa came pretty close. Soft Coverage in Lightest was still a hint darker and yellower than my natural skin tone but the Finishing Silk, which is actually white, brightened it up.
I was so happy to have found something that was at least somewhat close to my natural skin tone but was disappointed with the performance of the products. After appling the loose powder foundation and finishing powder, it looked very obvious that I was wearing mineral makeup. From afar, my face probably looked flawless as the foundation hid my rosacea well. But up close, it was kind of a nightmare. The foundation was kind of cake-y and didn't blend into my skin. I think the rosacea might have prevented the mineral powder from setting into my skin. On the other hand, the mineral makeup felt very light and did not irritate me at all. I think I'm going to have to experiment more with Joppa Minerals, perhaps blending the foundation with my moisturizer to make a liquid foundation instead. I'm still not going to give up on my quest to find the right foundation for me.
I've noticed that quite a few people come across this blog searching for reviews of Shiseido's Ferzea skincare line. I reviewed Ferzea's Repair Veil Hand Cream in November and I will continue to publish reviews of Ferzea products this and next week. I've also decided to create a ferzea tag so that readers will have an easier time finding the reviews.
Shiseido's Ferzea is a body skincare line that targets seriously dry, irritated skin. Their creams range from lip and hand creams to creams for the back and knees. If you are unsure of what to buy, you can consult the chart on their website. The ingredients for each product is also listed there. All of the products (with the exception of the bath milk) are fragrance-free and safe for those with eczema and other skin conditions. Because these are medicinal products, they can only be purchased at drug stores.
Ferzea Lip is a lip cream similar to Vaseline (petroleum jelly) but faster-drying and less sticky. It is also less glossy than Vaseline but it still leaves a little shine. It is paraben-free and contains a mixture of urea and squalene to moisturize, and polyquaternium-51, a water-soluble polymer that helps prevent drying. For me, Ferzea lip did a much better job of healing the cracks on my lips than most other chap sticks and lip creams, including Nivea, Watering Lip, Vaseline, Burt's Bees and Carmex. My lips are usually chapped and even bleeds in the winter, so it takes a very good lip cream to moisturize and heal them. I only paid 300-400 yen per tube, which is very reasonable. If you haven't found a lipcream that works for you, you may want to consider Ferzea lip.
The Purple Gradation palette closely resembles the photo on Lunasol's website. When applied, the eye shadows, though smooth, were a bit lighter than I expected but the darker purple (on the bottom left) turned out to be rather beautiful. The white-looking shadow on the left is a shimmery highlighting base. Although I'm not a fan of shimmer, the base shadow created a soft sparkle that was just right. Lunasol is well known for its high quality makeup and I would say that the Layer Bloom Eyes reflected this, as well. I guess my main complaint would be that the sponge tips accompanying the shadows were a little rough, like the Chanel palette I reviewed last month. I would definitely recommend this palette to anyone who is interested in a subtle but pretty look. I believe that all of the palettes are on the sheer or light side, so if you are looking for something that will make you stand out, you should probably forgo them. If you are interested in the Purple Gradation palette, I highly recommend testing it out first. The shadows may not show up very well depending on your skin color. Several other brands are releasing similar purple palettes this and next month, including Fasio, Lavushca, Maquillage and RMK, so if Lunasol is unavailable in your location or doesn't work for you, you may want to check those others out.
The Full Glamour Lips S in 03 Lucent Purple, on the other hand, didn't quite look like the photo in Lunasol's catalog. It is more pink than purple and only the shimmering particles in the lipstick give it a (very) slightly purple shine. It is also very sheer. Although it is supposed to compliment the Purple Gradation eye shadows, I would say that Shiseido's The Makeup Sheer Gloss Lipstick S12 Violet Cool (which is not available in Japan) is a much better match. That said, it is a cute, pretty lipstick and the quality is excellent. My lips are almost always chapped and S applied very smooth and moisturizing. Out of all of the lipsticks that I have used, it may very well be the best for dry lips. The glitter in the lipstick also gives it a pretty shine that is not overdone. Lips S in Lucent Purple may not be the purple lipstick that I was hoping for but I am not disappointed with what I got.
Did the Limited Edition palette and lipstick from Lunasol's 2009 spring collection live up to the hype? Probably not. But am I satisfied? Yes. I can see myself regularly using these products for my day look in the spring. The Lunsaol women kindly offered some samples from their upcoming base makeup collection coming out next month, so expect to see a review of their foundations and primers in the near future.
I recently tested Guerlain's Le 2 de Guerlain Masacara. It comes with a regular sized brush on one end and a mini brush on the other. The are four colors available: black, brown, blue, and butterfly sparkle (black and shimmering violet). I tried the one in black.
While the mini-brush does make it easier to apply mascara to the harder to reach areas and lower lashes, the mascara did very little but darken my lashes. If my lashes weren't already long, they might have lengthened them, too. It wasn't very volumizing and became dry and somewhat flaky. What concerns me the most is that the mascara is scented. The scent is not unpleasant but I started to get a headache after a while and my eyes became irritated. I'm not sure why Guerlain added fragrance to the mascara but I do know that they like scented products. Still, it doesn't seem very wise to have a scented product applied so close to the eyes. I think I'll stick with Lancôme and Yves Saint Laurent.
Did you have a chance to catch Oneē★MANS on Nippon TV yesterday? Onē★Mans is a bit like Queer-Eye from the US, with a cast of gay men who are experts in the field of makeup, fashion, culinary arts, flower arrangement, and more. The show targets women, young and old, who are looking for beauty tips, fashion advice, and ways to turn their life around. Every show, Japanese actresses and idols are invited to wash off their makeup and get a makeover from makeup artist, IKKO. IKKO often uses skincare and makeup products from collections that have yet to be released. Yesterday, he introduced a pore concealer from Yves Saint Laurent coming out in March and last month, he used Jill Stuart's jelly eye color in 22, that is coming out next month, on an idol. Often the products that IKKO raves about on television become best-sellers, such as Hanskin's BB cream, Missha's BB Cream, and the Gojitto Cell(ulite) Roller. You can bet that the jelly eye color and pore concealer will be best-sellers this year, too.
Bihada Ichizoku is a young brand by the cosmetics company Love Labo, developed by former model and writer Yuko Shibamoto. Bihada first appeared as a mobile novel on Girlswalker in 2006 and the following year, Sheet masks in association with the novel were later sold for a limited time on the same mobile site. The sheet masks sold out in one day and over 60,000 masks were purchased. The success of Bihada Ichizoku led to an array of skincare and makeup products.
Bihada Ichizoku uses manga characters drawn in the bishoujo 70s to early 80 style on their packaging to attract women in their 20s and 30s to their products. I admit, when I first saw their sheet masks, I felt a wave of nostalgia. I was immediately reminded of The Rose of Versailles and Macoto's artwork, as well as other anime I used to watch and manga I used to read when I was a little girl. So sucessful in their marketing, Bihada Ichizoku has also published a manga how to makeup book, included manga in their sheet mask products, and ran an anime based on their characters on TV Tokyo just last October.
When I was at Ainz/Tulpe a while ago, I picked up their most popular sheet mask (as well as Ainz/Tulpe's top selling mask) which is the Kurobara Kamen or "Black Rose Mask" sheet mask and I purchased their 3rd anniversary box during my New Years shopping. The packing of the Bihada Ichizoku Black Rose Mask isn't just black; the sheet mask itself is black. It contains moisturizing ingredients, such as artichoke essence, alpha arbutin (a skin whitening agent), and walteria indica, that brighten and soften the skin. All you have to do is wear the mask 5-15 minutes after cleansing your face. It stays on quite well and it's not too large. Despite my ultra sensitive skin, I didn't have an adverse reaction to the Black Rose Mask and I even think it might have reduced some of the redness from the sun and cold burn I got the day before. The mask definitely left my face soft and hydrated but essence that was left was sticky, even hours later. It was also difficult to unfold the mask before applying it to my face because it was thin and delicate, and the essence made it stick together . Still, it's a great mask and it's no wonder that so many women continue to purchase Bihada Ichizoku's products.
I went to Isetan'sShinjuku store to check out the latest products from Yojiyaand the Yojiya cafe. Because they were only there for a limited time, it was incredibly crowded and I never had a chance to try out the cafe. Even the check out line was long and there were maybe ten different registers at the counter.
Point makeup products, base makeup products, skincare products, tools, and many accessories were on display. Most women were interested in the oil-blotting paper ("aburatorigami") which is what Yojiya is most famous for and I picked up a small catalog of their makeup products to see what else they were offering.
I bought a few items for friends and myself but I did not purchase any of their makeup products. I was interested in the new, wisteria-colored lip gloss but it was very sticky despite its pretty shimmer. (I think Lunasol's upcoming Lucent Purple lip gloss may be a better buy). The lip colors and eye shadows were very pigmented but there wasn't a color that interested me. The face powers looked quite beautiful and I would have loved to have one in "snow" or "ice," but sadly, I am allergic to some of their ingredients. I did pick up a face puff, however, and some yuzu oil-blotting paper.
Yojiya's regular oil-blotting paper is like most oil-blotting papers you come across in Kyoto. They come in packs of thin sheets and are somewhat smooth compared to the thicker varieties. The Yuzu paper is even smoother, however. Sometimes oil-blotting paper can be a bit rough on the skin and leave it a little dry. The Yuzu keeps my face smooth and is much better than anything else I've ever tried. This is definitely my favourite oil-blotting paper ever and I highly recommend it to anyone interested.
Even though I cannot use some of their products, I am very happy that Yojiya is still around. While there are other Japanese cosmetics companies producing traditional Japanese beauty products, few are as old and as extensive as Yojiya.
The temperature recently dropped here in Tokyo and ever since I started using the heater, my arms and legs have been itchy like crazy. The Nivea lotion (Skin Milk light) I usually use during the warmer seasons just wasn't cutting it and I needed something new to take care of my dry skin. Instead of picking up the heavier version of the Skin Milk lotion, I decided to try Nivea's Creamy Milk body lotion which was just released.
The Creamy Milk body lotion contains shea butter and has a soft floral scent. One of the reasons why I use Nivea products is because they are usually fragrance-free, so I was disappointed to find that the new lotion had a floral scent that smelled a bit soapy. (I also wonder why they didn't mention the fragrance on the front of the product instead of on the back of the bottle with all the other small text.) Although floral scents can be nice, they usually don't work out very well. My skin is noticeably less dry and the shea butter has kept it smooth but I still regret choosing this new product over the heavier version of Skin Milk.
They have a bunch of new faces including one of my favourite model/actresses, Tsuchiya Anna, who also happened to be the original spokesmodel for Kose's Esprique before they added point makeup and became Esprique Precious.
I currently use Maquillage's Shiseido Maquillage Sparkle Contrast Eyes regularly and I absolutely love it. It's simple, natural-looking, and the tools and instructions make it easy to apply. I also used to wear their mascara from when they first launched their line and I believe it was of high quality. To be honest, I wasn't all that interested in their upcoming line but after seeing their products on different faces, I'm a bit curious about their shadow palettes and lipstick.
While at Tokyo Hands, I happened upon a Kyoto-themed miniature set from a collection called, "Kyoto ni Koishiteiru" ("I Love Kyoto") by the miniature company Re-Ment. Re-Ment carries many miniatures("puchi petites"), including ones of products from cosmetics companies like Anna Sui and Stila. When you buy miniature sets (individually), you cannot actually choose the set you want from the collection. Not knowing what set you bought until you open the box is part of the fun. I was hoping for the Japanese Sweets set or the Pleased to Meet You maiko set but I was pleasantly surprised with the Japanese Cosmetics set, which is actually based on Yojiya Cosmetics.
Yojiya is a well-known, traditional Japanese-style make up and skincare company based in Kyoto. It was founded over a century ago and their first product, which happens to be their most popular product, was oil-blotting paper. (You can read more about the company's history at on their web page.) Yojiya's main store is always full of tourists looking for gifts to take home to their friends. I once received oil-blotting paper and a cute mirror from Yojiya as a gift and I highly recommend their products if you are looking for Japanese or Kyoto-specific souvenirs. I cannot comment on the quality of the products because I've only regularly used the blotting paper and don't remember testing out their other products, but the craftsmanship of their tools is excellent and part of Yojiya's appeal is their traditional Japanese packaging. They have several locations in Kyoto, some conveniently located next to popular tourists spots (Kinkakuji, Gion). However, the only locations outside Tokyo are the Haneda, Narita, and Kansai airport. You can also purchase their products through catalog or the internet.
At Ainz/Tulpe, I bought several Bijin Maki hair rollers by the beauty and goods company Lucky Trendy, including a hair clip (the raspberry-colored clip at the bottom of the picture on the left) to style side-parted bangs. The rollers are very easy to use. All you have to do is roll your hair into the rollers while your hair is still wet, blow dry, and then gently take the rollers out. The blow drying will heat the aluminum in the rollers, allowing them to act as hot curlers. The instructions suggest you should change your hair dryer to the cold setting and go over your hair again (after your hair has dried) to make the curls last longer. If you have the time, you can even allow your hair to air-dry in the rollers, instead of using a blow dryer. The rollers are light so they won't pull down on your hair and the "one-touch tape" will hold your hair without the aid of a clip. The hair clip for the bangs is even easier. Just put in the clip, dry, and then take it out.
Although I have long, somewhat smooth and straight hair that is extremely stubborn and difficult to style, the rollers worked to an extent. After my hair dried and I took the rollers out, my hair had soft curls and waves. The look was very natural. Hair spray is necessary to keep the curls so you will have to invest in some hair products if you plan to use the rollers. My hair came undone right away when I forgot to use hair spray. Hair clips are unnecessary but I'm glad I purchased some because a little bit of hair did come loose as I was blow drying. If you don't pull the rollers straight out, your hair can get tangled in the bristles, as well. It's a bit like using a rounded hair brush. I wouldn't recommend the curlers to anyone looking for tight curls but if you want natural-looking waves and some curl, and don't want to spend much time on your hair, I suggest trying out the rollers. (They especially work well for the current Japanese hair styles and trends for women.) They are about 300-400 yen a pair. The hair clip for bangs worked nicely and I'm glad I purchased it.
Ainz/Tulpe was having a sale on odeko coolers (cooler packs for your forehead) and I purchased one that came in a super cute, kitty headband. All you have to do is take out the gel pack from the kitty pouch, keep it in the refrigerator for at least two hours, put it back into the pouch and wear the headband. It's great for headaches, migraines, and fever. SHF Industries, the company that designed the headband, carries all sorts of cute beauty items and zakkagoods. (Learn about "zakka" at Squidoo.)
Another cute item I got this weekend was a Petit Fleur book cover at the Shibuya Loft. The bookmark came with a pretty key charm. Book covers are very popular in Japan as people often read books on the train to pass time, and the covers prevent damage and/or prying eyes during travel. Unfortunately, most of them are only made for the standard Japanese novel which is small. Most manga, textbooks, and foreign books are too large for the covers. I hope I can find a larger one for my other books.
I just got back from the New Year's sales. I purchased quite a few goods, including curlers, the latest Nivea body lotion, a Bihada Ichizoku sheet mask set (the third anniversary edition box) which includes lip gloss, a cute forehead cooler pack, and two beautiful hair accessories from Complex Biz.