Tokyo Beauty Haul 2013

Ok, anyone who regularly reads my blog or follows me on Twitter or Instagram knows that I am obsessed with Japanese makeup and lashes.  Like, bonkers, gonzo, totally out of my mind for it.  I CANNOT GET ENOUGH.  So when I heard I was going to Tokyo for a job, I started getting p-r-e-t-t-y  e-x-c-i-t-e-d.  It had been three years since the last time I went, and that's like a decade in the Japanese beauty world.

I got to the hotel around 8:30pm, and ran into some of the people I was traveling with.  I was about to hit the drugstore; they were getting a drink and a snack at the hotel restaurant.  It took all of my social graces to join them, as my heart was racing and I was chomping at the bit, desperate to get my hands on some drugstore goodies.  Anyhoo, after a while, I got the ladies all excited about going to the drugstore and we did some late night shopping.  The previous time I had been to Tokyo, I went nuts.  I bought everything in sight.  No filter, no holding back.  Just piled everything in the basket.  This time I was really looking at things, as I knew what the strengths and weaknesses were in the market.  What do the Japanese brands do really well....?

Brow products.
Neutral lip colors.
Kit supplies.

So that's what I honed in on.  Here's a peek at my proverbial makeup basket.  I think I did a good shop. Not too much, just the right amount of products.  And I love every single product I got....  Here you go!

Lashes.  There were SO many more lash brands than the last time I was there.  These are soft and fluffy and totally believable, which is what I look for in a strip lash.  Anyone can make a tranny lash, it takes skill to make a lash that looks like it's a persons real lashes.  Here are the best ones I found:

Brows:  Most of the young women in Tokyo lighten their hair.  There is a very specific apricot auburn color  that is very popular.  It's very kawaii (cute)... but the issue is that naturally, japanese women have very dark hair.  So what do you do about the brows when you go lighter?  That's where this brow gel comes into play.  It's a pretty dense formulation, and it really covers the hairs, so you get these light brows.  It's genius.  There was another color that was almost yellow since that hair color is popular at the moment too.  So interesting.  (Unlike the US brow gel formulations, this is matte.  There's no shimmer in it so the brows look a little flat.  I like it when there's a little shimmer so the hair has some dimension.  But either way, this is a brilliant product for temporarily lightening brows.)

This is another brow product that I love.  I actually bought these same colors from this brand the last time I was in Tokyo.  They are very sheer brow pens in two amazing colors.  One is a light olive green, which is great for ashy blondes, and the other is a sheer, warm brown that has a little grey tone to it.  I love that they only deposit a sheer wash of color so it looks really, really natural.  It's not great for shaping a brow dramatically, but it's fantastic for filling a brow without it looking too dense and heavy.

Contour: Oh, contour, how I love you....I had been terrified of contour for years.  That's because the formulas in the States are pigmented like an eyeshadow or has lots of payoff.  Well that is exactly what you are not looking for in a contour.  You want a contour to be ultra sheer, so when you use it there is just the most subtle trace of product.  These are amazing.  The ones on the left are "Eyebrow & Nose Powder".  I love that there are three colors to choose from, and none of them are too dense.  I don't do a ton of nose contouring, but let me tell you, when you do need to you want it to be subtle!  Contours usually look too severe on caucasian skin, so these are life savers.

The one on the right, also from Visee, is fantastically sheer as well.  I've been using it at work every day since I got back.  (The highlighter is fine, but I have others in my kit that I prefer.)

This highlighter is pretty white.  This is maybe the thing I bought that I am least excited about.  I just don't have much use in my day to day work of such a bright highlighter.... but the contour is awesome! Again, it's really sheer which is perfect.  It's a warmer color so it's nice on warmer skin tones.  It can give a subtle kiss of bronze too.

You can't read the label, but it's from CanMake.

This was a bit of an impulse buy.  I was at the Shu Uemura shop on Omotesando and I got swept up in the moment.  First of all, it had drawings by Murikami on it, so I was doomed from the start.  I am a sucker for an artist collaboration.  The product is a pale peach mousse with a bit of soft radiance to it.  I am not one for primers, but this one is really pretty....  I have yet to use it on set, but I am thinking it might actually be really pretty on the body.  Time will tell, I just have to play around with it a bit.

Neutral lip colors:  I am noticing that I didn't take pictures of the other lip colors I got from CanMake.  That's a shame because they were really beautiful.  Anyway, I love these two glosses.  They are really pretty pinks, just a perfect neutral.  I have waaaaaaay too many glosses that I never ever use (I have been taking a bit of a gloss break these days) so I had to really put the brakes on and not buy a ton of glosses while I was there.  They make gorgeous ones in Japan!  But they will be ignored in my kit, so I only bought these two.  (I am telling you, the restraint I showed was remarkable!!)

This baby was so insanely cute that I bought three products!  What a sucker.  Well, it paid off because these are fantastic lip balms.  One is sheer, one has a touch of peach color and the other (on the bottom) is a pretty sheer peach lip tint.  I have used them every day since I got back....on myself and on clients!

Tools:  Cute.  Cute.  Cute.  I should have bought 20 of these nail files.

This tiny box of q-tips and bandaids came with something.  The brow gels maybe?  I can't remember now, but it's adorable and a cute way to store bandaids without them getting all crumpled and gross.  Random gift with purchase but I love that kind of thing.  The more random the better.

This is one thing that was on my MUST GET list...Shu Uemura powder shakers.  They are the best and the sturdiest.  I have tried ones from MAC (the plastic starts to chip and break) and ones from beauty supply places (too small and they feel cheap) but these are my favorite.  They last for years and they look so beautiful and chic.  Sadly, the shop only had three so that's all I was able to get.  I would have bough a dozen if I could have.

My favorite puffs.  The material is so insanely soft, and the puff is perfectly filled so you get a lovely cushion.  I like the size too.  I buy these by the dozen when I go.  Nothing else compares to them....

I never carry straws in my kit.  The paper always unwraps and it feels deeply unsanitary.  But I found these in a 7-11 type mini mart and they are perfect.  They are individually wrapped and they also expand and bend.  Eureka!  A straw I will actually bother to carry!

The department store brand I make a bee-line for is Addiction.  They sell it at Isetan and it's so worth the trip.  The shadows are so velvety and I love the colors.  I already have a dozen of the colors in my kit, so I just bought a few neutrals.  Anyone who has ever assisted me knows how much I love a neutral shadow.  I have about 50 neutral browns.  Excessive?  Yeah, probably.  It's just how I am...Again, I showed terrific restraint here.  I could have bought so much more, but my kit is too heavy as it is so I wanted to be selective.

Regrets:  There are a few things that I saw that I wish I had gotten.  There was a shimmer cream from Lauderee (yes, the macaron makers Lauderee) that I wish I had bought.  And they had some beautiful blushes as well.  I also wish I had time to go to Hakuhodo and get some new brushes, but 24 hours in Tokyo just isn't enough time.... the city is too big.  Plus I was there to work so I consider myself lucky in the fact that I got to go makeup shopping at all!

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about my makeup haul as much as I enjoyed buying it!