Firstly, Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl Mascara has been ranked as the top mascara in Japan for years, for two reasons: it’s high-quality and affordable. The mascara is super easy to apply and promises long, curled lashes that last the day, which so far I have found is true. Isehan mascara is waterproof and resilient which makes it a very long-lasting product but also incredibly hard to remove, I have found that only oil-based makeup removers do the trick.
On the other hand, I picked up Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Impact Liquid Eyeliner when I was visiting Japan through curiosity rather than through recommendation. I’m so glad that I did. It is a soft brush style jet black waterproof liquid liner with a fine tip for thin cat eye flicks. Personally, I really do like brush liners. Nonetheless, you do need to practice to get a hang of using them as they are so flexible they are more difficult to manoeuvre for liquid eyeliner beginners. The formula is very pigmented (given you have remembered to shake the bottle before use) and dries down to an intense matte black finish very quickly, so you have to work fast in a sweeping motion. I like that the eyeliner glides across the lids smoothly and once dry it is smudge-proof. I have slightly hooded eyes and the natural oils that are produced on my eyelids have a tendency to rub off liquid liners with a poor formula.
Upon reflection, both of these Isehan products remind me of more expensive Western equivalents: Benefit Magic Ink eyeliner (which has been a long-time favourite of mine) and Benefit They’re Real mascara, except they are less expensive (1000 yen).
As a psychology graduate, I do try to stay aware of my behaviour even when it comes to consumerism, I guess you could say that the gimmick of Canmake Your Lip Only Gloss intrigued me. This is known as the “mysterious” gloss: the product is clear when you first apply it, following this the product will slowly change to a light pink colour which is unique to your lips only. Hence, the name of the gloss. The reason behind the changing colours is that it reacts with the moisture in your lips, so the precise shade and depth of colour differ from wearer to wearer. Luckily this lip product works as an affordable lip tint for 650 yen and keeps your lips shiny and moisturised, so my money was well spent.
I also picked up the well known Excel Eyebrow Mascara in shade BM01 Natural Brown. This mascara promises a pigmented finish that is easy to use and difficult to stick to the skin underneath your brows. Whilst the product performs exactly as described I feel that the colour may be too light for my dark eyebrows as the colour of my brows is naturally darker than the hair on my head. Since it is a high-quality product for 1,300 I would be interested to try it in the shade BM04 Chocolate Brown instead.
In addition, I bought the Mote Liner from the famous brand Flow Fushi. This eyeliner has become a hit in Japan, ranking first for best eyeliner numerous times. It is a pen style eyeliner with a brush nib similar to Kat Von D Tattoo Liner but slimmer. I must say, after trying it out a few times it may even be my favourite new eyeliner and at 1,500 yen it is also kinder to my bank account. Next time I visit Japan I shall be stocking up!
When visiting the ITS’DEMO beauty store in Japan I couldn’t resist picking up at least one item as ITS’ DEMON tend to make collaborations with my beloved childhood TV and movie characters from Disney, Pokémon, Sailor Moon… This shop just screams CUTE (or かわいい). So for 1,800 yen, I selected the 12 colours eyeshadow palette in the Umbreon, Espeon, Sylveon & Pikachu edition from the Pokémon Love collection, and the eyeshadows are decent quality. The two creamy highlight colours are good as eyeshadow primers and the colour selection is easy to mix and match day-to-day. The size of the packing is handbag friendly. This is definitely a win-win souvenir from my travels. I also went back later in the trip and got the same palette as a present for my best friend.
In one of the many train station malls in Japan, I was browsing through a drugstore when I spotted SANA Pore Putty BB SPF in shade 35+. I did a swatch on my hand and saw that it instantly concealed pores and discolouration. It is a powder to apply after moisturising and foundation to set your makeup base. So far, I have liked using this product as it is a mineral powder has and evens out my makeup base to make it feel less cakey. Also, I have found that it isn’t too drying on my sensitive skin.
Finally, I couldn’t visit Japan and not buy anything from Shiseido (one of the oldest cosmetics companies in the world) or at least one of their Japanese brands. I choose from their low-priced makeup brands Majolica Majorca and Integrate and their mainstay mid-priced makeup brand Maquillage.
Majolica Majorca is a brand that focuses on cute packaging so-much-so I couldn’t resist their offerings, I ended up choosing the Puff de Cheek blush in Peach Macaron (PK301) for ¥1300 as peachy is universally flattering. The blush comes in a metal tin with a small puff adorned with a bow. Although the colours are quite vivid in the pan they are much lighter when swatched. Then I failed to find Integrate Mineral Watery Foundation when browsing the drugstores so I ended up selecting Ingrate Mineral Base BB cream in shade 25 instead. For 1,800 yen this is a great BB cream as it is creamy yet lightweight. It helps moisturise, cover up pores and colour unevenness to keep skin soft. The colour is a good match for my light skin tone, which is usually the lightest yellow-neutral shade available. However, I wouldn’t say it is the best lightweight base that I have ever tried, that crown still belongs to NARS tinted moisturiser (coincidentally, a company that is a subsidiary of Shiseido), but this is a good contender for lazy days.
For my more upmarket products, I choose Maquillage Dramatic Melting Rouge Lipstick. It gives a lovely smooth finish that melts into your lips due to a unique blend of ‘beauty oil’ that hydrates lips during wear. This is very nourishing for dry lips, has a fantastic coverage with a lovely non-shimmery shine. The shade PK 232 Sugarless Pink is very light and suitable for daily wear during spring-summer and the darker shade RD 533 Vintage Red is well suited for autumn-winter. These lipsticks were more expensive than any of the other makeup products that I picked up at 3,000 yen, nevertheless, I have always gravitated towards high-end lipsticks and for this reason, I didn’t mind spending that little bit extra on them.