To my readers in Bhutan - I will be in your country in mid August. Feel free to drop me a line. My email address is in the contact page. See you soon!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Kate Tokyo CC Lip Cream

It's no secret that I'm not a great fan of Kate Tokyo, a.k.a. Tokyo Kate, a.k.a. Kate Kanebo, or whatever else you want to call it.

Their eye products are the pits, and it surprises me to no end that they tend to get high marks amongst the users of @Cosme (a very influential Japanese beauty portal). But that just proves that Japanese women have the worst possible taste when it comes to mascaras, that's all.

When the CC Lip Cream thingie debuted last year I was very careful to avoid it. Yet those damn tubes were everywhere. Literally everywhere. And always featured very prominently.

The fact that there were never any testers available was the first giant giveaway that the entire campaign was pure bullshit. Why? Because the products hint very heavily that they are more than just lowly lip balms. The spinmasters at Kanebo want us to believe that Kate Tokyo CC Lip Cream is a step, or two, or three, above lowly lip balm. That it's "natural makeup".

But, with no testers we either have to believe the promo machine, or embrace our inner skeptical b*tch, like I tend to do. Because what other products don't usually offer testers? Yep, lip balms.

So yeah, we have lip balms with a touch of color. Not even lip glosses. Just your plain, old, garden variety tinted lip balms.

With a fancy name like CC Lip Cream they want to pretend they are new and cool and oh-so-hip and exciting.

Kanebo claims there are two types of Kate Tokyo CC Lip Cream:

  • lip stain (01- Beat Red, 04 - Orange Burst), and
  • lip color enhancer (05 - Pink Trick, 06 - Mode Pink).

As you can see I have all four, and honestly, I couldn't see any difference in performance between them. It's just a freakin' tinted lip balm, for chrissakes!

It's a decent tinted lip balm, but not without faults. And the biggest of those faults?
When it's freezing outside and your lips are cold this thing turns into a layer of goo that looks OK when your lips are closed. But when you open your mouth? Boy, oh boy...
You end up looking like you're frothing at the mouth. The sticky white demarcation line is clearly visible.

A minor fault would be the incredibly cheap and malfunction-prone tube.

But hey, for less than 400 yen (and these are always on sale), you can't really complain too much.

Here are the swatches of Kate Tokyo CC Lip Creams in all the colors:

See? I told you! Tinted lip balm.

According to the Kate Tokyo (no more rules) website, these CC Lip Creams are 5-in-1 products.
Here, I screenshot it for you (yes, I'm lazy):

The most interesting part is that they are:

  • SPF 19 PA++, and 
  • can be used as makeup base.

Other lofty claims:

  • Moisturizing? Yeah, they are OK. Nothing special. DHC Lip Cream it ain't, that's for sure.
  • Long lasting? You gotta be kidding, right?
  • Color correction? They do offer a touch of color, but that's about it. I suppose the full effect depends on the natural color of your lips.
  • Lip gloss (for shades 01 and 04)? Surely, you can't be serious! 

So yeah, it's a lip balm. A sheer lip balm with a hint of color.
A lip balm enhanced with olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil and sodium hyaluronate.

An OK lip balm, especially for warmer weather.
On cold days you risk looking like you didn't wipe off your mouth after a vigorous blowjob session. Consider yourself warned.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils

I got really mad a few weeks ago and in a fit of anger tossed all the horrid Clio Gelpresso eyeliners I had gotten not so long before. After the fiasco of Etude House Play 101 pencils (garbage), and Tosowoong eyeliners (also garbage), I don't know what I expected from Clio. A miracle perhaps?

Well, I got more garbage instead.
There will be no review of Clio, because honestly, who cares. All you need to know about what I think of Clio Gelpresso eyeliners, you already have read above.

It is in such frustrating moments that I realize, time and again, that I much rather prefer western eye makeup. Especially, makeup that doesn't require a Jedi master level brush skills. Because I hate makeup brushes so much that my groin hurts.

And that brings us to today's contestants - Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils. They are exactly that - simple, old-school eye pencils, eye liners, eye whatevers. No need for fancy names here. You want chubby caviar cream shadow sticks, then go elsewhere.
You want simple, functional, easy to use, everything-proof pencils, then Shu Uemura's got you covered.

Kilka tygodni temu wkurzylam sie strasznie i wywalilam te koszmarki Clio Gelpresso do oczu. Dlaczego? Bo po klapie jaka okazaly sie byc kredki Etude House Play 101 (dno i wodorosty), i Tosowoong kredki do oczu (bardzo blisko dna), sama nie wiem czego oczekiwalam od Clio. Cudu moze? (linki do obu wpisow w paragrafie powyzej)

Zamiast cudu dostalam kolejne gowna.

Nie bedzie recenzji kredek Clio, bo wszystko co mam do powiedzenia na ich temat, jest w zdaniu powyzej. 

I to w chwili wlasnie takiej frustracji zdalam sobie sprawe, po raz n-ty, ze wole zachodnie specyfiki do makijazu oczu niz koreanskie. A zwlaszcza wole specyfiki, ktore nie wymagaja ode mnie umiejetnosci poslugiwania sie pedzlem na poziomie mistrza Jedi. Bo ja nienawidze pedzli do makijazu.

I ta pedzlowa nienawisc przynosi nam dzisiejszych zawodnikow - Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils. Zwykle, proste, tradycyjne eyelinery. Nie potrzeba im zadnych fikusnych nazw.
Jesli podniecaja cie chubby caviar cream shadow sticks, to nie czytaj dalej. 
Ale jesli szukasz solidnych, funkcjonalnych, latwych w obsludze, i nie do zdarcia kolorowych olowkow do mazania po oczach, to Shu Uemura oferuje wlasnie to.

"Wait! Didn't you say 'western' eye makeup?", I hear you say.
"So why the hell you're talking about Shu Uemura, you crazy bitch", I hear you say. "Isn't Shu Uemura, like, you know, Japanese, and stuff?"

All valid questions (and don't you just love having these discussions with the voices in your head?), but the answers may be different from what you expect.

Yes, "western" eye makeup, because Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils are made in Germany. In the same factory that makes eye liners and eye crayons for Maybelline and Lancome.
How come?

All three are L'Oreal brands.

Yes, my dear lovelies, in case you didn't know, now you know, Shu Uemura is a L'Oreal brand.

So while Shu might have been a purely Japanese concept once upon a time when the earth was still young, now it's firmly in the hands of its French overlords.

It's the opposite of NARS, which is actually owned by Shiseido...

"No ale zaraz! Mowilas, ze wolisz zachodnie kosmetyki do oczu. Wiec dlaczego teraz gledzisz o Shu Uemura?" - sie pytasz.
"Przeciez Shu Uemura to japonska marka, czyz nie?" -  to tez dobre pytanie.

Niestety odpowiedz na nie moze byc inna niz moglibysmy sie spodziewac.

Tak, "zachodnie kosmetyki", bo Shu Uemura kredki do oczu produkowane sa w Niemczech. W tej samej fabryce, ktora robi kredki dla Lancome i Maybelline.
A dlaczego tam?

Bo wszystkie te trzy marki pochodza ze stajni L'Oreal.

Tak, moi drodzy. Choc nazwa jest japonska, to Shu Uemura jest jedna z wielu marek nalezacych do firmy L'Oreal.
Poczatki Shu Uemury byly japonskie, ale to bylo dawno temu w galaktyce daleko stad. Teraz Shu nalezy do miedzynarodowego koncernu jakim jest L'Oreal.

Czyli dokladnie odwrotnie niz NARS, bo ta marka nalezy do japonskiego koncernu - Shiseido.


Anyway, where were we?

Ah yes, Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils...

Ale o czym mysmy tu sobie gadu gadu rozmawiali?
No tak, o Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil kredkach do oczu.

I bought my first two Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils last year, in Seoul, of all places. I had no intention of buying any eye stuff. I went over to the Shu counter at Lotte department store to play with foundations. But the sales boy there (yep, he looked like a boy to me, cute and adorable) was so crafty, he actually convinced me I absolutely needed these pencils.

He put his hand in mine and said, in English, "please rub this".

It had been a long time since a young, good looking man asked me to rub anything of his, so I jumped at the chance.

He pointed to the colorful stripes on his hand and challenged me to smudge them. I accepted the challenge and rubbed with all my might, but the stripes stayed put and wouldn't budge.

"Give me them there crayons," I heard myself say.
The boy did my eye makeup to help me choose which colors I preferred, selected a mountain of samples, and said that if I paid cash, he could give me even more free stuff.

I paid cash.

These are the colors I got in Seoul:

Moje pierwsze Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils kupilam w Seulu w zeszlym roku. Nie mialam zamiaru kupowac niczego do oczu. Poszlam do Lotte departamentu macac Shu'owe podklady. Ale chloptas obslugujacy stoisko (tak chloptas, slodki i uroczy) pokazal mi, ze absolutnie i koniecznie potrzebuje tych kredek w moim zyciu. Jak sprzedawca spisal sie na szostke. A nawet na siodemke.

Zlapal mnie za reke, polozyl swoja dlon na mojej, spojrzal mi gleboko w oczy, i powiedzial "potrzyj troche." Oj to byly juz wieki cale, kiedy mlody, dorodny chlopak prosil mnie o potarcie czegokolwiek na swoim ciele, wiec ochoczo zabralam sie do dziela.

On wskazal ma kolorowe paski na swoim przedramieniu i kazal je rozmazac. Dalam z siebie wszystko, pewnie skore bym mu zdarla, ale paski zostaly nienaruszone.

"Dawaj mi te teraz tu kredki! Chce je natychmiast!" wyszlo z moich ust jak odruch bezwarunkowy.

Chloptas umalowal mi oko, zeby dobrac odpowiednie kolory. I powiedzial, ze jak zaplace gotowka, to moze mi dorzucic wiecej probek i miniowek niz zwykle.
Zaplacilam gotowka.

Kolory, ktore kupilam w Seulu, to te:

  • Left / po lewej - Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil in M (matte) Brick Brown 84
  • Right / po prawej - Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil in P (pearly) Light Orange 21

And yes, you also see a sharpener, because that is the only thing that pisses me off about these pencils. They are very old-school, you gotta sharpen them.

I had plans to buy more, so once I returned to Japan, I hopped over to the Omotesando Shu branch, and promptly gave up.

The worst customer service ever.

Let's just say that it was so bad it successfully put me off visiting any Shu Uemura counters in Japan for over a year.

Instead, I had to wait for international trips and shop duty free.

And probably it would have stayed that way, if not for my friend who asked me to pick up a few things for her at the old Fukudaya shopping mall last weekend.

Yep, there was a Shu Uemura counter there. Yep, the staff was clueless and unhelpful. Next time, damn it, I'm gonna shop online. I'm done with those Shu morons.

I picked up one more drawing pencil. And a bunch of things that my friend wanted.

The pencils come packaged in foil, because apparently, Shu is too cheap for proper boxes:

Wzielam jeszcze jeden z tych olowkow. I pare rzeczy, ktorych domagala sie kolezanka.
Olowki te sa zapakowane tylko w folie, bo jak widac, niestety Shu jest zbyt skapy (oszczedny?) na porzadne pudelka:

This is a nightmare when you buy them at the airport, as the pencil is at the mercy of your purse.

The silver one is a limited edition design - Maison Kitsune for Shu Uemura, and unlike the others, this one is called "play & remix drawing pencil". How very fancy.

Brak pudelka to koszmar jesli kupuje sie na lotnisku, bo wiadomo, ze w torbie w samolocie cuda sie dzieja.
Ten srebrny to edycja limitowana - Maison Kitsune dla Shu Uemura, i choc jest identyczny jak cala ich reszta, ten nazywa sie "play & remix drawing pencil." No bo musialo byc edycyjnie i limitowanie.

Not sure who would be interested in eyeliner ingredients, but here they are:

Nie wiem kogo interesowalby sklad kredki do oczu, ale w razie czego tutaj jest:

And yes, indeed, they are made in Germany:

No i rzeczywiscie, sa robione u sasiadow za Odra:

Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils come in four different finishes:
Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils sa dostepne w czterech rowznych wykonczeniach
  • M - for matte / matowy
  • G - for glitter / brokatowy (z drobinkami)
  • P - for pearly / perlowy (opalizujacy)
  • ME - for metallic / metaliczny

There are 21 colors in all, I think.
I have these:

Dostepnych jest ponoc 21 odcieni.
Ja mam te:

Unedited photo in natural light.

Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils:
  • - ME Purple 71
  • - P Light Orange 21
  • - G Gold 93
  • - M Chestnut Brown 81
  • - P Light Green 52
  • - G Silver 92
  • - M Brick Brown 84

What do I like about them?
They are soft. Their consistency and texture are perfect. They are beautifully pigmented. They are easy to apply. They don't tug and don't pull. They don't smudge and stay perfect until it's time to remov eyour eye makeup. They can be blended, but you gotta blend fast. Once these babies set, you'll need a serious eye makeup remover to remove them. According to the description, they can be used as a liner, or a shadow.

What don't I like about them?
You gotta sharpen these f*ckers.

Co w nich lubie? 
Sa mieciutkie. Tekstura i konsystencja to czysta perfekcja. Napigmentowanie - bajka. Latwe w obsludze. Nie szarpia i nie ciagna. Nie rozmazuja sie i siedza na oczach az do chwili demakijazu. Mozna je blendowac, ale trzeba do robic cholernie szybko. Inaczej kolor zastygnie i wtedy bez dwufazowki ani rusz. Wedlug opisu producenta, mozna je uzywac do rysowania kresek (eyeliner), albo jako cien na powieke (eyeshadow).

Co w nich nie lubie?
Trzeba je temperowac.

See? It's not that hard to make a perfect eye pencil. You can't compare the Etude Houses of this world to Shu Uemura. A L'Oreal brand, or not.

I wanted you to rub my hand, too. Because they really don't smudge, so I made this handy gif:

Widzicie? Nie jest tak trudno wyprodukowac kredke idealna (no prawie, bo to ostrzenie ostrzynka to tak old-skoolowo). Nie ma co porownywac Etude House'ow tego swiata do Shu Uemura. 

Ja tez chcialam, zeby ktos wdziecznie pocieral moja reke, wiec zrobilam tego gifa. Bo te Drawing Pencils naprawde sie nie smuza. 

My first ever gif, yay!!!
Now it can only get better.

How much is a Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil going to cost you? Anywhere from 22 to 27 dollars a pop, depending on where in the world you are, and if you are shopping duty free.

Too much for you?

Well, guess what?
This is so unexpected that even I am surprised. It turns out that Maybelline Vivid and Smooth Liners by EyeStudio are quite respectable dupes for Shu.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. After all, both Shu Uemura and Maybelline are L'Oreal brands, and both of them make their pencils in the same factory in Germany.

So, what do I love more than Shu Uemura Drawing Pencils?
Shu Uemura Drawing Crayons, that's what!
Stay tuned!
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