I’m sure by now most of you know of the brand Shu Uemura, but do you know about the man? He was an amazing influence on the world of cosmetics, so I’d like to do a small tribute to his work.
Shu Uemura was a Japanese-born Hollywood makeup artist who got his big break on the 1962 film My Geisha. The film’s regular make up artist fell ill and Uemura was called in to fill in. Uemura gained critical acclaim for transforming white actress Shirley MacLaine into a Japanese woman. He parlayed his success into an international makeup brand under his philosophy that “beautiful makeup starts with beautiful skin”.
His most famous product is probably the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler(Amazon, $18). It has been hailed as the best eyelash curler on the market and even merited a mention in the movie The Devil Wears Prada (one of Gisele Bundchen’s few lines in the film).
Shu Uemura died of pneumonia at age 79 on December 29, 2007. Uemura was hugely influential in both cosmetics and skincare, and the beauty world is forever changed because of his work.
Do you ever think some advertisements should be illegal? I don’t think it’s very fair that I walk into the mall and see a glistening, svelte Heidi Klum half-naked next to a bra on sale. It’s misleading, since I definitely won’t look like Heidi Klum after squeezing myself into some clearance lingerie.
I felt the same way at the drugstore looking at the photo next to Revlon’s Limited Edition Sugar Sugar Lip Topping. These Laetitia Casta-like lips stared back at me, frosted and shimmering with a delightful light pink, and I had the cogent thought: “That is absolutely not what this will look like.” Still, 50% off lured me in (another clue it’s probably not that great) and I grabbed this in both Snowflake (white) and Pixie Plum (pink).
I got a Maybelline coupon from CVS, so I decided to try out the XXL Curl Power mascara. It’s one of those double-sided numbers: one end is used to prime the lashes, and the other is your typical mascara.
I have a theory that mascaras with the white primer for “volume” are psychological: you coat your lashes in white color, and then must continue to apply mascara until all the white is covered so you don’t look like Ziggy Stardust. Then, because you’ve put in more than your usual lazy one-coat effort, voila! Your lashes are more voluminous. Unfortunately for Maybelline, I normally apply about twelve coats, so I’m onto their game.
I’ll tell you a secret: I color my hair at home. It’s a beauty no-no, I know – but to pay 6x less and come out with color that’s more like what I wanted to begin with, I’ll take it.
As such, I’m always searching for a great at-home color. In my pre-redhead days, Feria in Diamond Blonde was the best blonde I found – it’s not too bright but not remotely ashy, a natural-looking warm color. (In case you’re curious, when I don’t use henna, my new red-hair standard is Feria Mango. If you want an intense, bright, orange-red, this is for you.) The new standard in at-home color is to include a moisturizing conditioner to use after coloring, and Feria’s is thick, luscious and leaves my hair amazingly soft.
The mineral makeup craze is at its peak right now, and even drugstore brands are jumping on the boat. Maybelline has their own mineral makeup line, and Physicians’ Formula has had mineral versions of their makeup for awhile now.
Physician’s Formula tested several angles with the talc free shadow I tried, featuring both the classic loose-powder approach popular among mineral makeup companies and the wet-to-dry function so often used for eyeshadow. With this ADHD marketing approach, I didn’t know if I was buying a liquid, powder, gel, creme, or rocket fuel. Well, it’s definitely a loose powder – I spilled makeup all over my pants just opening the damn thing.