Saturday, May 27, 2017

Where Evolution's Yet To Show...Addiction Flower Evolution Eyeshadow Swatches

Inspired by the Swedish abstract artist, Hilma af Klint, I couldn't resist the budding spring color scheme of Addiction's Flower Evolution 2017 Collection.

The rose-colored lens I used to view this masterpiece quickly came off as soon as I began swatching the eyeshadows.

Pink Almond 111 & Flower Evolution 112

Midnight Moon 113 & Lady Amaryllis 114

Like a Dream 115 & Crystal Sky 116

My Darling 117 & Crown Imperial 118

Flower Portrait 119 & Silky Lilac 120

I love this brand (fronted by a makeup artist I respect). Yes, pastel colored eye shadows are very hard to formulate, but with Ayako as the creative director, I thought Addiction could pull it off. Heartrendingly, no; the shadows were a disappointment. Whether it was the lack of pigmentation, or the chalkiness, or the patchiness, they all had an issue of some kind. When swiped lightly or on the lid, the majority of the shades look the same. Also, out of the ten shadows, I'd say only four of them were "good," without a white base...but, barely.

To date, I've never used a primer in my swatches. Yet, I had to use one (along with several layers) in order to get the some of the eyeshadows to show up.

From left to right: Pink Almond, Flower Evolution, Midnight Moon, Lady Amaryllis, Like a Dream.

Pink Almond 111: a matte, white based, yellow-toned, pastel pink.

Flower Evolution 112: a semi-matte, pastel french blue.

Midnight Moon 113: a semi-matte, sun bleached, midnight blue with blue and violet micro-shimmer.

Lady Amaryllis 114: a matte, muted (yet vibrant) orange.

Like a Dream 115: a satin, muted, pastel buttercup with a celery undertone.

From left to right: Crystal Sky, My Darling, Crown Imperial, Flower Portrait, Silky Lilac.

Crystal Sky 116:  a matte, white based, pastel blue.

My Darling 117: a satin, peachy-pink with a champagne sheen.

Crown Imperial 118: a matte, muted, saffron yellow.

Flower Portrait 119: a matte, white based, pastel lilac.

Silky Lilac 120:  a matte, white based, deeper, pastel lilac.

All was not lost in buying these shadows. With a purchase of 9,600 yen, the collection did offer a choice between two palettes, featuring Hilma af Klint's Group 4 No 1 Childhood and The Ten Largest, No. 5, Adulthood prints on them.

I wish I had not been in such a frenzy to get the collection, and visited the counter beforehand, instead of placing my order over the phone with the counter. I probably would have only purchased Lady Amaryllis, Like a Dream, My Darling, and Crown Imperial.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bloom Where You Are Painted...Addiction Flower Portrait 090 Nail Polish

One of the six nail polishes from the Flower Evolution Collection, Flower Portrait 090 is a warm, yellow-based, milky pastel pink, with a glossy jelly finish.

Although the formula is thin and sheer, the polish applied well, without any streaks or patchiness. Two coats of Flower Portrait gives the nails a soft, beautiful, transparent wash of color. However, it took a total of six coats to ease the nail's free edge. On a positive note, given Flower Portrait requires several coats to get a somewhat opaque finish, I may go through the bottle rather quickly. I've worn Flower Portrait five times, and every time, it wore for three days before its first chip.

I don't own that many light pink polishes. Aside from its multiple coat offenses, Flower Portrait 090 is a pretty color, with a nice finish.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wearing A Mask At Home...Shu Uemura Sakura: hydrability sakura rose petal mask

When I got the email from Shu Uemura Japan, announcing the release of their Sakura: hydrability sakura rose petal mask, I thought, "this is going to be perfect for the cherry blossom season."

Cute, simple pink box packaging.

For sanitary purposes, the mask comes with this adorable, engraved spatula.

Not the most attractive looking mask.

Enriched with sakura leaf extract, rose essential oil, rose extract and real rose petals, the Sakura: hydrability is a gel mask suited for all skin types. Some cosmetic benefits of Rose are: it boosts hydration, reduces redness and inflammation, and softens the skin. Whereas Sakura, has a brightening effect, improves skin texture, and prevents early aging. Btw, the product does contain real petals. So, don't be alarmed if you find bits of black particles floating about. Also, the mask has a refreshing cherry and rose scent. I'm not particularly found of rose scents, but the Sakura balance it out.

Application instructions:

"After cleansing, on a dry face, take an appropriate amount (7ml) and apply gentle on the skin, avoiding the eyes and lip areas. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse off. To be used 2 to 3 times a week."

I've been using the mask twice a week (Sundays and Wednesdays) for over two months now, and I do enjoy the effect the mask has on the appearance, and condition, of my skin; however, I'm not wowed by it. After patting my face dry, my skin feels velvety smooth, and looks fresh and healthy. Also, my skin is hydrated, but I don't feel as if the Sakura: hydrability is adding any extra moisture to my skin. Therefore, I'm left a little wanting in that department.

The Sakura: hydrability sakura rose petal mask contains 100g/ 3.5oz and retails for 7,344 yen. Although still available on, both, the US and Japan sites, this mask is limited edition.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Spray Lavender Mist-y For Me...Sabon Lavender Fabric Mist

Continuing my love-on for Sabon, I finally purchased an item I've been wanting for some time now: the lavender fabric mist. I've never used linen spray before. However, being that this product is from Sabon, I'm game.

The fabric mist's thick, hefty glass bottle has a romantic vintage-like label, featuring images of faded rows of lavender (I assume this is meant to be Provence), the Eiffel Tower, and a two-lamp streetlight.

My only issue with the packaging is the color of the spray trigger head. Instead of a transparent white plastic, I wish the spray head was the same vintage bronze coloring as the shower oil's pumps; the color would match the label perfectly and add to the packaging's beautiful aesthetic.

As per the Sabon website:

"Based on a unique and safe formula that will not damage fabric. Sabon Fabric Mist refreshes and leaves a long-lasting, delicate and pleasant scent on clothes, furniture, linens, drapes, mattresses and closets." 

All of  the brand's scents have this unique signature blend of fragrances that unquestionably let's you know, "this is Sabon." The soothing scent of lavender is delicate, crisp and sophisticated. I want to spray everything with it! I've sprayed the lavender fabric mist of my throw pillows, my bedroom pillows, closets, and even inside my car. My favorite thing to do it spray all of the curtains in my apartment, open all the windows, and catch the scent as the breeze carries it through the room.

To my fellow lavenderophiles out there, you need a stockpile of this incredible mist.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Purity Of Color...Shu Uemura Blanc: Chroma Brightening & Polishing Gentle Cleansing Oil

In terms of skin care, for me, Spring is all about reviving and brightening the complexion. Ergo, I try to have some form of illuminating agent in all of my skincare products.

Since its launch, this is my third Spring using the Shu Uemura Blanc: Chroma Brightening & Polishing Gentle Cleansing Oil as part of my makeup removal routine.

Let me quickly address how smitten I am with the purple bottle, and how pretty it looks on my side of the bathroom shelf.

The Blanc: Chroma Brightening & Polishing Gentle Cleansing Oil has a pleasing, fresh, floral scent. Here are the listed notes: (Top Notes) Bergamot,Grapefruit, Clementine, and slight Galbanun Green Accord. (Middle Notes) Lily Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Orange Tree, Cumin, and Clove Leafs. (Bottom Notes) Woody, Cedarwood, Vanillic Accord, and Balsamic Accord.

Blanc: Chroma Brightening & Polishing Gentle Cleansing Oil is the first cleansing oil empowered with purifying CLAY-EX. And, what does the Blanc: Chroma promise to do for your skin? This new stage of 4D brightening not only targets melano-stains, but it's also formulated to combat the 4 Chroma imperfections: yellow dullness, uneven redness, greenish skin tones, and brown dark spots. Thus, revealing a more brightened, luminous, healthy complexion.

And here's the science:
Above image from

Blanc: Chroma's oil is thicker than the other Shu cleansing oils, and needs more water to emulsify. Also, it doesn't remove my mascara thoroughly like the others. Therefore, my two pumps for the face, and one for the eyes, requires another pump (and extra attention on the lashes) to make sure all traces of mascara are gone.

I use the Blanc: Chroma Brightening & Polishing Gentle Cleansing Oil seasonally; but, during this time period, my skin does look more luminous. I'm not sure if it's solely due to this cleanser, or the combination of using the cleanser with the myriad of the other products I use, or maybe it's wishing thinking.

Have you tired Shu's Blanc: Chroma Brightening & Polishing Gentle Cleansing Oil?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

On first Contact...Adore Bi-tone Hazel Colored Contacts

My affinity for Adore Bi-tone colored lenses all began with Hazel. 

It's been a while since I've worn Hazel, and it feels good to be reunited.

Of the three colors I've tired, my favorites are hazel, honey, with yellow coming in third.

I'm not into blue or green colored contacts, so the only color left to try is the grey. Maybe I'll try them during the fall or winter.

If you'd like to read a more in depth review of the Adore Bi-toned colored contacts, please read here.

Which hazel contacts do you like? 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Eminent Domain

Me last night. 

Last night, I was finishing up a blog post, and about to hit the publish button, when all of the sudden...poof...the blog's domain name was gone. You see, the charges for the domain are automatically deducted annually, and the card that was used for the billing had expired.

I was going through the biggest mission to renew my domain name because I couldn't remember the email used to access the account. I thought I was going to have to sacrifice something, or offer my first born, or something. After two hours of the Interweb rigmarole, I found the support number (btw, it's 1-866-628-1366), finally spoke to a real live boy, and I was able to get my blogging house in order.

Has this happened to any of you? 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ways Of Spreading Light...Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder

Laura Mercier's Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder is a powder we dry-skinned ladies can love! If only I had the gift of foresight to know these powders would be released in Japan (just one month after I ordering them online during Sephora's VIB Rouge sale last November). Available in six skin tone shades (three in Japan), I was unsure of which shade to purchase. So, I chose shades 2 and 3.

 I use the Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder to set my foundation, and 2 matched me perfectly. Although 3 was too noticeably dark to use all over the face, I can dust it on certain parts of my face for added warmth, or possible during Summer when I get darker.

It sets. It smooths. It illuminates. The Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder lives up to it multi-functional claims. The ultra-finely milled formula has a silky soft texture that feels blissful; I can spend hours buffing it onto my skin. On that note, no matter how much I apply, it never enhances pores, looks powdery and/or caked on.

The magic of the Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder is in its finish; there are no glitter or shimmer particles in these powders. Yet, the powder gives a beautiful, diffused, soft-focused, luminosity. The two shades I have are sheer in coverage. Also, there's a warmth to the Perfecting Powders that brightens the complexion, and imparts a subtle "candlelit glow."

Though I like using a fluffy face brush, my preferred tool to apply the Perfecting Powder is a dense kabuki brush.

The lasting power is also great because I only need to apply the product once (without having to reapply throughout the day).

The photo above was taken on a partially cloudy day. 

I have normal to dry skin, and throughout the day, there are no parts of my face that ever get oily. Therefore, I can't comment on how the Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder works to control oil.

I've added the remaining shades to my bucket list. I think shade 1 will look beautiful on the high points of my face where I want to attract light, and shades 4-6 to add a subtle warmth and enhance the natural shadows on the face (i.e. anywhere I would apply bronzer, as well as the crease).

Monday, May 1, 2017

I Often Kiss You When There's No One Else Around

Hey guys,

I received a few emails asking me how and where I've been, and if I'd stopped blogging. I've been fine, just swamped with work (as usual). Also, Fumi (aki's sister) has started chemo again; so, if I'm not at work, I'm spending time with her.

I've still been buying an obscene amount of makeup, photographing and swatching. I just haven't had the time to sit down, gather my thoughts, and write.

Anyway, here's a very random WTH! video sent to me by Alex. And yes...that is Kristen Dunst.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Wah-Wah-Wah-Wah Wonder...Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen Wonder Blacks Mascara

Last October, when my best friend came to visit, I asked him to bring me a few tubes of L'Oreal's Voluminous Original Mascara.

When I started getting into makeup, L'Oreal's Voluminous Original was the first mascara I used, and it's been in my mascara rotation ever since; that is, until I used up my last tube five years ago. L'Oreal is available over here, but for whatever reason, the Voluminous Mascaras are not on the menu.

Has the formula changed? I always used the regular formula, and never had issue with smudging. I know it's exceptionally humid in Tokyo (even during the Fall and Winter), but goodness, after a few hours, I had a smudgy mess on the outer half under my eyes.

After three weeks of chances, I called it quits, are returned to my beloved Helena Rubinstein (which is humorous considering L'Oreal purchased the brand almost 30 years ago).

On August of 2016, Helena Rubinstein introduced the Lash Queen Wonder Blacks into their stellar mascara lineup. The Lash Queen Wonder Blacks retails for 5,748 yen, but at the time of my purchase, the counter was offering a limited edition coffret with a full size Lash Queen Wonder Blacks, a generous, travel size All Mascaras! Makeup remover, a modest, sample size Powercell Eye Contour for 6,156 yen. Obviously, I went for the better deal.

 All of the Rubinstein mascara have comely packaging and wands. I like the design, and the gold and black coloring of the tube. This is not an slight on Lash Queen Wonder Blacks, but it reminds me of a killer whale.

The helical-shaped brush, and its alternating long and short bristles, distributes the product evenly thought out each eyelash; thus, leaving them separated, thicker, and elongated. Also, I really liked how the curve of the spiral wand perfectly hugged my bottom lashes, and combed through them with ease.

The sooty, inky-black pigmentation gives the eyes smoldering definition. 

The formula and pigment of this mascara are topnotch. My lashes are coated in a rich black coloring, and look voluminously fuller, with a curl that lasts until I get home and wash my face. Although not waterproof, Wonder Blacks doesn't smear nor flake.

A creamy, gel-like consistency, the formula features two key ingredients: Pro-keratin and Ceramide R serum. A restorative agent, Pro-keratin works on the surface to repair damage and strengthen the hair shaft; while the Ceramide R smooths, protects, and improves the lash stem. Normally used in haircare products, since both ingredients are naturally found in hair, it only makes sense to incorporate them into a mascara. The Lash Queen Wonder Black mascara lasted for four and a half months. And, after using it for that time frame, I do feel as if the condition of my lashes has improved.

The combination of the wand and formula of Lash Queen Wonder Blacks is simply magical. Of the nine Helena Rubinstein mascaras, Lash Queen Wonder Blacks is among my top three.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Life's Not A Bowl Of Cherries..L'Occitane Cerisier Pastel Shower Gel.

When Spring rolls around, I always take a peek at L'Occitane's limited edition Cherry Blossom collections, with false hope, that they will one day bring back my precious Wild Cherry Tree (circa 2012).

I really wanted to usher in the season with a Cherry Blossom scented body wash. So, I went with the Cerisier Pastel Shower Gel.

Cerisier Pastel has a nice, fruity sakura fragrance. However, there's a powdery note that unmasks itself in the shower and I'm not wholeheartedly keen on. The shower gel works up into a nice foam, and leaves my skin soft and clean. However, that powdery note keeps me from giving it two thumbs up, and if it were permanent, I wouldn't repurchase. Bring back
Wild Cherry Tree!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Color Is But A Deviance

Apologies for the mini hiaus. The majority of the last two weeks was cold, overcast, and rainy (it's raining as I write this post), and Aki came down with a very bad fever that lasted five days. Not to mention, the auto-focus of my camera broke (it's in the shop now, getting fixed), and sprinkle on top of all this, the usual busy, work-related stuff.

Anyway, the on-again/off-again dreary weather we've been having has allowed me to continue to use the products from the NARS x Sarah Moon Collection that I dearly love.

I find the stylishly nostalgic, blurred-dream-like photography of Sarah Moon beguiling. A major fan of her work, I own four of her books (two of which I paid a hefty price for). Next time I'm in the states, I need bring them back with me.

Quai des Brumes and Indes Galantes Duo Eyeshadow. 

I adore the muted tones of the matte and shimmer shadows of each duo. Both Quai des Brumes and Indes Galantes shadows are pigmented, feel velvety soft, and blend well. I did notice the mattes had a little kick-up, but not to the point where you're wasting product every time you dip your brush into the pan.

Quai des Brumes: a shimmery lavender grey, and a matte charcoal grey with sparse, gold micro-glitter.

Indes Galantes: a shimmery dark gunmetal grey, and a plummy-maroon-burgundy matte.

Witching Hour and Sichuan Kohliners. 

Both of these kohliners are creamy, smooth, and opaque. Their smooth, creamy consistency allow them to blend out easily on the lid, making them great bases for the duos. Also, after application, they didn't budge or fade on the upper and lower lashline, or the waterline.   

Isadora and Impudique Blush. 

Nars Blushers are some of my favorites blushes. Isadora and Impudique are extremely pigmented, with a soft, velvety smooth texture that blends like butter. 

Witching Hour, Sichuan, Isadora, Impudique. 

Witching Hour Kohliner: a shimmery dark gunmetal with a hint of lavender.

Sichuan Kohliner: a deep maroon.

Isadora Blush: a warm, brownish-plummy-rosy with a gorgeous lavender-pink sheen. 

Impudique Blush: a deep, reddened-coral pink with a beautiful golden sheen. 

Indecent Proposal, Rouge Improbable, Rouge Indiscreet, Fearless Red Moon Matte Lipstick. 

With all the new lipsticks I'm continuously adding to my collection, I've totally neglected my stash of Nars Pure Matte Lipsticks; and, I forgot how much I love them. Intensely pigmented, these matte lipsticks have a smooth, creamy formula that's extremely comfortable to wear without drying out my lips.

Indecent Proposal, Rouge Improbable, Rouge Indiscreet, Fearless Red Moon.

Indecent Proposal: a muted, deep, plummy-rose-brown. 

Rouge Improbable: a deep, slightly orange leaning red.

Rouge Indiscreet: a deep, true red.

Fearless Red: a muted, deep brick red.

Again, the auto-focus of my camera broke. Therefore, I've had to manually-focus all the pictures taken. Unfortunately, out of the four looks I photographed, only one was focused enough to post. Hopefully, I'll have my camera back the next time it rains, so I can redo the looks.

Look Breakdown:
Victoria beckham Estee Lauder Morning Aura Illuminating Creme.
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 in NC30.
Nars Blush in Isadora. 
Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder in 2.
B & C Browlash EX Water Strong W Eyebrow in Grey Brown.
Nars Soft Matte Creamy Complete Concealer in Custard (used under the eyes and as an eyeshadow base).
MAC Eye Shadow in Brule (all over the lid).
Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Indes Galantes:
The plummy-maroon-burgundy shadow (with a light hand, softy trace the shadow slightly above the crease, and blend outward in a wing shape).
The shimmery dark gunmetal grey shadow (blend from the inner and outer corner on the bottom of the lower lashes).
Nars Kohliner in Witching Hour (on the waterline).
Helena Rubinstein Lash Queen Wonder Blacks Mascara Smudge Proof in Wonderful Blacks.
Nars Moon Matte Lipstick in Indecent Proposal. 

a little out of focus, but that's okay.

I was really excited over this entire collection. From the promotional images, exterior and product packaging, to the color scheme of the makeup itself, Nars did a superb job at capturing the melancholic, ethereal elegant essence of Sarah Moon. I'm over the moon (pun intended) for each piece in the collection, but I have a special place in my heart for the Indes Galantes Eyeshadow Duo, Sichuan Kohliner, Isadora blush, and all four of the lipsticks.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Woman In Black...NARS Sarah Moon Nail Polish

For whatever reason, Japan only offered two of the three polish shades from the Sarah Moon Collection: Never Tamed & La Dame En Noir. Given my attraction to deep, vampy shades, I picked up La Dame En Noir. However, the other two shades are still available online in the states. So, I may get them in the near future.

La Dame En Noir is a rich, dark claret with a glossy crelly; yet, it leans more on the creme side. finish. The polish's formula is so thin and watery, I thought I forgot to shake the bottle when I first applied it. I didn't have any difficulty applying the polish, but there was some unevenness. La Dame En Noir required four coats to correct any patchiness and get the depths of richness I wanted, which looks stunning.

In my case, the more the coats, the quicker to chip. And, that was my concern with La Dame En Noir, but it wore for 4 day before getting my first chip.

Although there is nothing unique about the shade of Nars' La Dame En Noir, I'm happy to add this nail polish as another notch in my vamp collection belt.

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