Category Archives: Shu Uemura

Current Skincare Routine

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current skincare

Most of my current skincare

Today I’m going to talk about skincare! I really didn’t start taking care of my skin until my mid-twenties, but in the last few years I’ve developed a routine that works well for me.  Note that in this post I’m going to discuss cleansers, makeup removers, moisturizers, and treatments, but I’m leaving sunscreen, lip products, and body products for another day.

My skin tends to be normal to slightly dry in the summer and dry in the winter. I rarely break out – I tend to get just one cystic pimple every 1-2 months in the week prior to my period.  I’m also starting to see the signs of aging in my skin, mostly in the form of sunspots/ mild hyperpigmentation.

So, I need products that remove makeup/sunscreen completely without drying out my skin; hydrating moisturizers; the occasional spot treatment; and, optionally, products to keep my skin in good condition as I approach 30! Continue reading

Shu Uemura Travel Palette Review & Swatches

shu uemura travel palette

Shu Uemura GWP Travel Palette / Art of Travel Palette

Recently, Shu Uemura online offered a travel palette as a gift with purchase. The required purchase was pretty steep – $100 – but since I needed to repurchase my favorite cleansing oil, which is $67 and lasts me about a year, I decided to add some false lashes to my order and go for it!

shu uemura travel palette-3

This palette is an incredible value; the palette itself is reusable as a freeform eyeshadow palette, and it contains four eyeshadows (each half the size of Shu’s regular eyeshadows), two cream eyeshadows/eyeliners, and a full-sized glow-on blush.

Additionally, it appears from googling that this exact same palette has been sold as the Art of Travel palette for around $50 in airport duty free shops (reviews here & here).

shu uemura travel palette-2

I believe that this palette does not have Shu Uemura’s current eyeshadow formula (known as the 3rd generation of Shu eyeshadow); instead, it has the previous eyeshadow formula (the 2nd generation formula). Unfortunately, the shadows are nameless, but I have checked with some lovely people who own some Shu eyeshadows, and to the best of my knowledge, from left to right, the eyeshadow shades are:

  • ME800 (beige with slight pink sheen; satin/shimmer)
  • Unknown (pink; satin/shimmer)
  • ME850 (taupe; satin/shimmer)
  • P990 (black; matte with sparkle)
shu uemura travel palette swatches-2

Shu Uemura ME 800, Unknown, ME850, P990

The eyeshadows all have a really lovely texture – very soft, smooth and creamy.

The eyeliners are also quite nice. I was surprised to realize that the black eyeliner/cream shadow has a subtle purpley-pink sparkle – it doesn’t show at all when used as a liner, but is slightly visible when used as a cream shadow. The other cream shadow looks white in the pan, but is a soft, shimmering gold when applied. Unfortunately, I did experience some creasing after about 5-6 hours when I used it as a base.

shu uemura travel palette swatches The blush is soft and silky, but not a great shade for my skintone; it was very difficult to get the swatch to show up in a photograph! It did show up on my face, but was quite subtle. It would be a good everyday / easy shade for a fairskinned, cool-toned person, but I don’t see it working on anyone even a touch darker than I am.

shu uemura travel palette swatches-3 In the following photo, I’m wearing the blush – it was more visible in person, but if you look carefully you can see it in the photo. I’m also wearing the taupe eyeshadow.

shu uemura travel palette applied-2

And here’s a closeup of my eye; I have the beige eyeshadow in the inner corner, the taupe eyeshadow on the lid, and I’ve lined with the black liner, then gone over the line with the black eyeshadow. I then used Burberry Trench to blend out the edges; the one fault of the palette is that it doesn’t have a matte highlight / blending shade, which I consider essential.

shu uemura travel palette applied

Overall, I think it’s a really lovely palette.  I’ve seen it offered as a GWP on two occasions on the Shu website, and if they offer it again, I think it’s worth a purchase to get it! It’s not a standalone travel product for me – I need a separate blush and a separate blending/highlight shade, not to mention the rest of my makeup – but the eyeshadows alone make the palette worthwhile.   I may, however, decide to take it apart; I’d use the palette as a freestyle eyeshadow palette, keep the eyeshadows, and give away, swap, or sell the blush to someone with a lighter complexion.

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My Makeup Brush Collection

Makeup Brush Storage

Makeup Brush Storage

Today, I have brush picture spam for you! Above, is my brush storage – I started off with the two containers on the left, for face and eye brushes. However, I now have too many burhses for just those two containers, and they’re also too tall for some of my brushes – so I’m using a wine glass and a shot glass as well (the shot glass works surprisingly well for travel-length handles).

On to the pictures! This post is going to be mostly pictures with minimal text, but I’d be happy to answer questions in the comments.  I apologize that several brushes are dirty; they’re never all clean at the same time – since most of them are clean right now, I though this was a good time to take photos.

First, Hakuhodo brushes – these have a reputation for being very expensive – and some are! – but most of the eye brushes I love are in the $15 – $25 range.

Hakuhodo J110, K020, G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

Hakuhodo: J110, K020, G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

I would recommend all of these brushes except the G5533, which is too floppy to be useful. My favorites are the K020 blush brush, the J515, G5515, and K005 eye brushes, and the 270 lip brush.

Here’s a close up of the eye brushes & the lip brush:

Hakuhodo G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

Hakuhodo G5533 BkSL, G5529 BkSL, J515, G5515 BkSL, K005, K005, K007, 270

My MAC eye brushes are also staples, and I sometimes use my 188 to contour with eyeshadow.

MAC 188, 239,239, 219, 217

MAC 188, 239,239, 219, 217

Notice anything odd about the two 239s?

I have two Shu Uemura eye brushes – they’re the most expensive eye brushes I own, but they really are fantastic.

Shu Uemura natural 10, 5r

Shu Uemura natural 10, 5r

I recently bought some short-handled Sonia Kashuk brushes, mainly because I was intrigued by the shape of the 3rd brush – I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet though. It’s very small – about an inch across; you can see it in the shot glass in the first picture in this post.  The 4th one is a fantastic pencil brush, though.

Sonia Kashuk set

Sonia Kashuk set

Here are some miscellaneous eye brushes:

Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, Monda Brush , Smashbox brush

Laura Mercier Finishing Eye Brush, Monda Brush (from beauty
supply store), Smashbox brush (from unknown source)

Benefit Get Bent brush, L'oreal brush x2, spoolie

Benefit Get Bent brush (discontinued), L’oreal brush (comes with
gel liner) x2, spoolie

Sephora brow brush, Maybelline cream eyeshadow brush

Sephora brow brush (trimmed a bit), Maybelline cream eyeshadow brush

Moving on to (mostly) face brushes, here are the mixed brands.  I adore the Ecotools Bronzer brush especially, it’s wonderful for buffing in powder.

Ecotools Bronzer brush, Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush, MUFE 24S,  Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

Ecotools Bronzer brush, Sigma F80, Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush,
MUFE 24S, Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

I have several Real Techniques brushes; I really like them, but tend to find myself using them for purposes other than what they are intended for. The crease brush (second from right) is a great concealer brush, and the brow brush (right) is terrible as a brow brush, but great for using dry eyeshadow to on the upper lash line.

Real Techniques brushes

Real Techniques brushes – combined from various sets

I also love for ELF Studio brushes.  My favorite is the eye contour brush (third from the right) – it’s just fantastic at laying down a cream base. I actually have a second one, which was hiding for this photoshoot.

ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Blush Brush, Small Tapered Brush, C Brush, Contour Brush, ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush,  ELF Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator

ELF Studio Complexion Brush, Blush Brush, Small Tapered Brush, C Brush, Contour Brush,
ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush, ELF Glitter Eyeshadow Applicator

I also have a handful of ELF’s $1 concealer brushes that I use as lip brushes.

And, that’s my brush collection! I think that only ones missing are that hiding ELF contour brush and the retractable Maybelline lip brush I keep in my bag.

Brush Comparison: Hakuhodo vs. Shu Uemura 5r

Shu Uemura 5r, Hakuhodo G5529BkSL Eye Shadow Brush Round, MAC 219 Pencil Brush
– penny for size comparison

Since I have a small amount of lid space, I’m always interested in small and precise eyeshadow brushes.  I’ve also been upgrading my makeup brush collection gradually, and adding more natural-hair brushes to go along with my many synthetic brushes.   I bought some Hakuhodo brushes while at IMATs this year, and recently bought the Shu Uemura 5r, which I had long been coveting but was hesitant about the price (ebates – affiliate link – had a 20% sale, 5% back, plus a gift with purchase. It was time!)

One embarrassing thing; I’m actually not 100% sure which Hakuhodo brush I have. I’m fairly sure I have the G5529BkSL Eye Shadow Brush Round, but it is extremely similar to the G5534BkSL Eye Shadow Brush Pointed. Each brush is $21, and each is made of blue squirrel. The are each the same length, but the Round is a little wider than the Pointed. Without both to compare, I just cannot tell!

29 Round; 34 Pointed. Source.

Here are the Hakuhodo and the Shu brushes compared, full length; the Hakuhodo is smaller and slimmer overall.  The Hakuhodo says only the brand, while the Shu also says the brush type, hair type and (on the back), “made in Japan.”   Hakuhodo brushes are also made in Japan.

Close up on the brushes:

The Hakuhodo is more tapered, while the Shu is more rounded.  Both are quite dense, rather than fluffy.   I haven’t used the Shu extensively yet, but the Hakuhodo is great for doing a cut crease, for highlighting the inner corner of the eye, for laydown in the corners of the eyelid, for precision crease blending, and so much more.

I swatched a matte black eyeshadow with the MAC 219 Pencil Brush, the Hakuhodo probably- G5529BkSL Eye Shadow Brush Round, and the Shu 5r (in that order, from left to right).  You can see that the MAC 219 is the most dense and gives the most solid line. The Hakuhodo is the least dense, and  gives the softest line; the Shu 5r is somewhere in the middle.  I don’t think there is a best or worst; all three brushes have their individual merits.

MAC, Hakuhodo, Shu brush comparison

The Shu 5r sells for $60, but Shu regularly has 20% off sales, which brings the price down to $48.  I’m not sure if I consider the brush worth it yet.  In the US, Shu is only available at Shu’s US website.  The two Hakuhodo brushes are $21 each, and I would definitely recommend buying one or both of them.  In the US, they are only available on Hakuhodo’s US website.


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