May 052016

Shu Hair 5

If you color your hair (including you, if you have highlights!), you already know that keeping it in excellent condition is a challenge. Coloring can be harsh, even if one goes to excellent salons. Shu Uemura’s Art of Hair Color Lustre’s series is targeted to preserve color, deliver shine, and protect the hair from damage. I’ve been using the Color Lustre Sulfate-Free Brilliant Glaze Shampoo and Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Conditioner for the past few weeks, and have experienced a noticeable improvement in shine, bounce, softness and smoothness. What’s not to love?

Shu Uemura’s Sulfate Free Brilliant Glaze Shampoo (10 oz. $48) is a lightweight, pearly liquid that cleans hair perfectly while leaving it soft and shiny. My hair felt clean, but never dry or stripped. It’s rare to find a shampoo that strikes this balance just right, and is also kind to color. I experienced no color fading. In fact, my color looked better than ever because the condition of my hair improved significantly.

This shampoo includes Musk Rose Oil, which has healing and nourishing properties. It also has Goji Berry Extract (a source of anti-oxidants) to protect color.

The shampoo has a subdued scent with the following notes:

FRAGRANCE: Rose of Japan
TOP NOTE: Mandarin, Grapefruit, Black-Currant, Cardamon Essence
HEART NOTE: Rose, Freesia, Violet
BASE NOTE: Sandalwood, Musk, Vanilla

She Uemura’s Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Conditioner (8 oz./$58) surprised me. This conditioner feels lightweight and non-greasy. Usually light conditioners isn’t really effective for me.  However, The Brilliant Glaze conditioner absorbed very easily and really delivered soft, shiny, healthy hair.  This conditioner is worthy of the premium name.

Like the shampoo, Shu’s Color Lustre adds Musk Rose Oil and Goji Berry Extract. The scent was quite similar to the shampoo. For both, I found that the scent didn’t last far beyond the treatment time and did not clash with my perfume. Overall, big love for both of these. It’s wonderful to see that Shu Uemura’s Art of Hair delivers so beautifully.  Highly recommended.

Shu Hair 3

Shu Hair 7

Shu Hair 1

These are both available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair online. 

These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. Affiliate links.

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Feb 182014

Shu The Lightbulb Foundation01

Shu Uemura has released The Lightbulb Foundation in the U.S. ($55) (online only). This foundation is said to provide a “multi-glow oil complex” for a natural glow with high coverage.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation3

The foundations comes packed with a lightbulb-shaped sponge for application.  The round, wide end is designed to encourage a glowing finish. You are supposed to use the wide end with a tapping motion to set a glow on the cheeks and down the center of the face.  The narrow end is a “glow controller.”  This smaller pointed side is said to be good for buffing the foundation into the skin to provide a more satin texture. As an aside, I used this sponge for a few trials, and it worked well. I also used a sponge from my Chanel powder foundation compact, and I got good results with that as well

Shu Lightbulb Foundation2

I concur with Shu’s description the this foundation is high coverage, and gives a lit-from within glow. The glow is not the same glow that you get when you add a liquid luminizer to a standard foundation. Instead, the foundation seems to provide a healthy, lit-from-within look that is somehow in the pigment of the foundation even when matted down to a satin finish. There’s definitely some kind of magic in this formula. Here is the pointed, narrow end of The Lightbulb sponge, which comes to a gentle cone point at the end.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation1

The heavy coverage comes at a price, however. This is not a “lightweight” foundation–I definitely felt it on my skin throughout the day. It doesn’t feel like it completely dries down.  I certainly recommend powdering this down, not only to tame the glow but also to minimize its transferability.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation4 copy

I should note that, like many modern foundations, Shu The Lightbulb takes a while to settle onto my skin. I gave it a good 15-20 minutes until this somewhat thick product really spread and settled.  Until then, I could see pores that I didn’t know I had, and it looked a bit mask-like. If this happens, don’t panic. Maybe do your nails or answer some emails, give it some time to warm to your skin. It changes quite a bit during the first half-hour. Below, you can see that the pump bottle is a nice touch.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation5

 I also had problems with Shu’s The Lightbulb wearing well throughout the day. It’s not advertised as a long-wearing foundation.  Without a base or primer, I got breakthrough glow by 10:00 a.m. on my combination skin. By the end of the day, there were several of my skin flaws showing through the foundation that I had applied at about 7 a.m. that day. Ingredient list:

Shu The Lightbulb Foundation03

With the  Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer and topped with the Guerlain Meteorites powder, I had a vastly different experience. Of course, I got the same high coverage and lit-from-within glow as before. However, I did not get breakthrough glow until very late in the day.  Also, the high coverage lasted well into the evening without any movement.  I really loved the look of the Shu The Lightbulb Foundation with this combination. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I should note that the Lightbulb foundation still felt a bit heavy compared to the some of the super-lightweight feeling foundations that I’ve tried in the past. In other words, despite the vastly improved longevity, I still could feel the Lightbulb foundation on. Some don’t mind that, but some do and so I wanted to let you know my experience.

Shu Lightbulb Swatches1

I ordered Shu The Lightbulb in 774, which runs toward yellow. Something told me that I should have gone with the more neutral 574, but that one was out of the stock on the day that I ordered. As you can see, Shu 774 is much yellower than MAC NC 15, and certainly yellower than NARS Sheer Glow in Deauville. For the record, Shu’s number system is as follows:  the first digit tells you how pink or yellow the foundation is: 1 is the most pink; 9 is the most yellow; 5 is neutral.  The second digit refers to how dark or light the shade is (the higher the number, the lighter the shade).

Overall, I think this foundation is going to be a bit controversial. In addition to the online-only aspect for U.S. buyers, I think that some will love the coverage and look.  For me, a good primer was necessary to ensure longevity. The dry-down issue is going to be a factor for some, as well as the overall feel of the foundation. I will say that, set properly with a good primer and powder, this gives fantastic coverage and the texture (once it settles in) does give an outstanding look. As ever, these are just one beauty blogger’s thoughts, and so you experiences might certainly vary.

In the U.S., Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Foundation is available online only at Shu Uemera’s website.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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May 072012

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil ($68/ 5 oz.) is a A-list product for hair. Although I’ve experimented with a shelf-full of leave-in conditioners, heat protectants, and oil, Shu Uemura offers a best-in-class that transforms dry ends into soft, healthy, shiny, luxurious hair with this very lightweight oil with the luxurious scent of camellia petals. It’s one of those rare hair care products that works extremely well and is an extreme pleasure to use.

I became curious about Shu’s Esence Absolue every since I saw this entry on Into the Gloss (what gorgeous hair!). I’ve long been impressed with Shu Uemura’s attention to both beauty and innovation, they are one company who typically delivers simply, effectively, and beautifully.  At this point, my search for a leave-conditioner is over. I have found my holy grail and it is Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue.

Main points:

  • This delivers glorious shine and moisture to dry areas of your hair. It seems to close down any frizzy areas, leaving remarkably soft, smooth, and healthy-looking hair behind.
  • It acts as a leave-in conditioner, by delivering beneficial oils to the hair.
  • The oil has a UV protectant.
  • This is safe on color-treated hair.
How to use:  You can use Shu Uemura Essence Absolue every day, by applying a pump into your palm and applying to dry areas either before or after styling. I’d recommend using it before styling on dry hair, it absorbs very quickly. You can also use it to pre-treat your hair before shampooing as a mask. I usually do this in the leisure of a weekend morning by combing several pumps through dry hair, and clipping up my hair for an hour or so prior to shampooing.
Bottom Line:  Liquid gold. I never, ever want to be without it. Will keep buying until they stop making it.
Here’s a little video about the product:

Available here online and at certain salons. Ingredient list:  Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethiconol, camellia kissi/camellia kissi seed oil, ethylhexyl, mehtoxycinnamate, butylphenyl methylpropional, hexyl cinnamal, hydroxycitronellal, parfum/fragrance

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Aug 082011

Burberry Light Glow Natural Blush in Tangerine ($42/ No. 6) is a soft peach with a touch of brown.  As with Burberry’s other blushes, it’s packed in a gorgeous, heavy metal compact with the luxury brand’s iconic plaid etching.


Despite the name “tangerine” which suggests a bright orange, Burberry Tangerine gives a soft peach-nude glow.  Like many Burberry items, it plays well as a sophisticated color.  Here it is on Liz:

 You can see how soft it is compared to Shu Uemura Peach 47, a color that I’ve long considered to be a classic peach tone.

Burberry Tangerine is much softer and more brown than the comparatively orange Shu Uemura Apricot, and far less pink and bright that Chanel Tweed Corail (reviewed here).  As with many Burberry Light Glow blushes, Tangerine gives a beautiful, soft wash of color.  You can see how it was incorporated in a Burberry makeover at this post.

Above, Liz is wearing:

  • Chanel Vitalumiere liquid foundation in 20 Claire/Cameo
  • Caron powder in Translucent
  • Burberry Beauty Tangerine blush
  • Chanel Rouge Extrait de Gloss in Exces
  • Hourglass Film Noir Mascara
  • Prestige Total Intensity liner in black (lower lash line)
Hourglass Film Noir was provided for review and consideration to Cafe Makeup without charge.

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May 052010

Shu Uemura is running a promotion that provides three large samples with the code GOLD to celebrate Gold Week in Japan.  This offer of free samples is valid through 11:59PM PST on May 6th, 2010 on any order of $50 or more.

One of my favorite products from Shu Uemura are their Glow On Blushes ($23). Their design is ingenious–you use one brushstroke for light coverage, add another brushstroke for more coverage.  Although the blushes tend to be less complex than NARS, you can layer two or even three blushes for a different effect.  The price is quite low for the excellent quality–these are really finely milled and last all day.  However, the packaging is very minimal–no mirror, a light acrylic box and no brush.  Keep in mind that Shu Uemura frequently sells palettes for them.  They are quite easy to de-pot–simply take a pin and insert into the circle imprinted on the label.  They pop right out.
The designation “P” means “pearl” and, in some blushes, more of a shimmer.  Look for “M” for a matte blush.
Here are some of my favorites.  My apologies if some of these might become hard to find, a few may be limited edition and sometimes the online store does not carry the full numbered collection in any event.
And some more, including the classic P Pink 30 (an excellent pink), and P Orange 53 (a nuclear orange that, if handled with care, is spectacular):
Swatches.  Note that M Amber 85 is a beautiful “nude” blush or contour for some skin tones:

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Shu Uemura to Leave the U.S.

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Shu Uemura to Leave the U.S.
Mar 302010

Today, Shu Uemura, a premium makeup line founded by the legendary makeup artist, has announced that it is pulling out of U.S. stores.  I’m greatly saddened by the news.  I realize that we’ll be able to purchase items from Shu’s online site, nonetheless I feel that it is our loss.  Few companies seem to be encompass the scientific perfection of many products and have such an extreme attention to detail.  Shu has offered a full line of every imaginable color. Unfortunately, their online site doesn’t reflect the full breadth that their boutiques do.  I know, I know….it’s only business.  I can’t help but be a little devastated that Shu’s packing up their business and leaving us behind.

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Holiday Makeup for the Rest of Us, Part Two

 Bobbi Brown, Eyeshadow  Comments Off on Holiday Makeup for the Rest of Us, Part Two
Dec 192009

This is the second post in a series about holiday looks for anyone who (like me) admires the glamorous looks of Lady Gaga and others, but wishes to modulate them for her own individual lifestyle.

A new decade is about to start.  I was so heartened to see this article describing H&M’s Paris fashion show at the Grand Palais.  It looks fun. The holidays are a great time to play.

What better way to play than to go out?  An easy way to add some shimmer and shine to your look is a wash of shimmer across the lid.   Using a liquid eyeliner adds more glamour.  Add two or three coats of a high-volume mascara.

My favorite eyeshadow of this entire year is Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Eyeshadow in Pewter ($22).  This is fool proof.  It’s neither a bright silver nor a harsh gold.  Rather, it’s a soft, warm glowy color that brightens the eye area without taking over your entire face.  In other words, you can still see the person, without being struck by the eyeshadow.  I am not alone in my love for this eyeshadow;  if you aren’t convinced read this review, or this one.  The texture wonderful.   Want to wear it to the office?  Pair it with a dark suit or dress–it really works, especially if you do a light sweep with your brush.  It’s limited edition, so if you want to try this one you should move fast.  Another nice choice for the holidays is Shu Uemura’s ME Silver 950, although I find this shade less daytime-friendly because it is both brighter and a little more difficult to apply sheerly.

Just for fun, I’m including some Becca Jewel Dusts ($24), which are subtle, grown-up shimmery pigments.  The colors are less vibrant, and so more wearable, than more striking color pigments on the market. Becca’s Jewel Dusts come in small, easily storable containers with square lids that don’t work themselves loose in your makeup drawer.  Also, Becca adds a sifter top to minimize spilling.  Because these are loose powders, try wetting your brush to intensify them.  In the swatch, they’re applied dry.  Applying them with a wet brush would give a perfectly even surface.  (If you’re still intimidated, here’s a quick primer from the Makeup and Beauty Blog that describes most of what you need to know about pigment eyeshadows).

I hope that you are enjoying this holiday season!  I have one more post on this topic before we move on.  Thanks for reading!

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Why You Should Care About Nude Blushes

 Blush  Comments Off on Why You Should Care About Nude Blushes
Dec 042009

When I first heard the term “nude blush” –I thought, “why bother?” After all, what’s the difference between nude blush and no blush at all?

When I was in Paris, I had a makeover at a Bobbi Brown counter. Well, I didn’t ask for one (my French is not all that good). I was sort of “invited” and my language skills weren’t really good enough to refuse. So, the sales associate approached applying makeup on me in a way that no other Bobbi Brown specialist every had before. She was determined to give me a natural, glowing look. And one of the first things that she did was to try on Sandstone blush. Which, I would have thought, was like no blush at all.

But I was wrong.

A nude blush gives your skin a polish, a contour, some DEPTH, that an actual makeup-free cheek does not have. As Calvin Klein once said, ““The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural.” And that’s what nude blush does.

Here are three of my most-loved nude blushes: Shu M Amber 85, Bobbi Brown Sandstone (matte) and Bobbi Brown Bahama Brown (Shimmer blush).

So the main reason you should care about nude blushes is because they make you look completely natural. The other reason is that, if you are doing a strong eye or strong lip, a nude blush is a nice, understated way to keep from going too far. That is, if your lips are very red, you don’t want a strong cheek because it’s going to “compete” with the lip.

Nude Blushes 1

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