Illamasqua International Season Makeover, Selfridges
Nails Of The Week 35: White Heart

Show me the Shu Uemura

After my treat makeover at Illamasqua, beauty goddess Rose hooked me up with a session at Shu Uemura. This Japanese brand has always flown under my radar as a makeup brand but their skin care always attracted me – especially those rainbow coloured oils. I don't have the luxury to chop and change too often between my essential products so being talked through a full face is so valuable (and usually complimentary at many counters!).

After an hour or so with charmingly lovely Eva at the Selfridges Bullring counter, I came away absolutely armed with new tricks, techniques, and a whole lotta lust for the Shu Uemura movement.

In the past few years, beauty blogging turned my attitude to cosmetics into a sea of the ‘latest hype’ and ‘this month I love a whole set of different things’, making me shy away from investing in expensive products just as the next comes on the market and steals the crown as the new must-have. It is very overwhelming and I wanted to read and watch every single review and mention about an item before buying, which is stressful! A new brand would pop up and soon everyone would be touting a concentrated glacial iconic spritz that I never knew I needed, and hadn’t yet mastered even my favourite foundation. I don’t have enough attention or budget left to be trying and buying so many products, and my own beauty routine felt more and more inferior.

I took a step back from beauty shopping for a while but I’ve been feeling so inspired recently by meeting lots of brands and hearing about solid recommendations of staple products from Rose, rather than the new product sent to by PRs. Getting to know products and collections in person takes away the clouds and you have room to get hands on, without reading a rave review and feeling the pressure. I’ve had chance to really think about what it is I need for the next few months and the looks I want to go for myself, without too much comparison with others. Funnily enough, now I feel even more into reading beauty blogs and watching YT videos on beauty! I just needed to get a grip I think.

I began my time with Shu Uemura with a snazzy glass of bubbly – perfect as I’d left work a little early and was ready to ring in the final Bank Holiday weekend of the year. Unlike other counters, Shu begins with a facial. When you go for a purely cosmetic session at other brand counters, you are often handed a face wipe to rub off your makeup and some moisturiser is applied, so this was a wonderful chance to experience the Shu Uemura skincare, and also feel refreshed and prepped for a whole new face of makeup after a day at work.

The facial involved clearing and cleaning the face with one of the famous oils most suited to my skin, which is dehydrated. I also said now that I'm in that 25 -30 age bracket, I want to be feeding my skin to cope with life stress and new fine lines that want to pop up. My oil was the green Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil, to counteract the pollution of city and office life, and rejuvenate for a youthful glow. I also tried out the new SPF 30 Under Base Mousse primer - yes a mousse! Primer is one of those steps that I always skip day-to-day but could probably make the biggest difference to the lasting power of my makeup. The mousse formula makes skin feel light and breathable rather than smoothed and filled like my night-out silicone face primers. Lovely!

The stars of the makeover were the Lightbulb foundation, shadow palette and the actual blush application. The Lightbulb Fluid comes with a super cute button sponge to apply it with, and you get a new sponge with each bottle so you're getting a good stretch for your money. The crazy thing is the high-tech coating of the sponge means you never need to wash it?! I know my own sponges get clogged after a few uses so this is awesome for the time-strapped gal like myself. The application was also right up my dream street - a definite colour payoff and coverage but a finish as light as air.

We couldn't decide which of the new Vision Of Beauty eye palettes to go with as they were all so darn beautiful. Eva chose the orange palette in the end so my eyes were warm copper and pink with a slight pop of hot tangerine.

Shu Uemura himself saw makeup as an art form and only used one brush for the entire face! It really was a technical process rather than standard beauty methods, and products are applied in vertical pats and strokes rather than sideways wiper motions. This led to my blush being placed under my cheek bone in almost an arrow shape, contouring my face so differently that I had to take multiple photos and rethink my usual curved-cheek application. I've tried to snap the results but alas, shop lighting isn't in my favour!

The makeover was such a technical treat that I really saw a different side to sculpting and perfecting the face, rather than flaunting and pouting. I also took away a sample of the cleansing oil and it really does take off makeup as delicately as it is put on, without a hint of harshness. I'm finishing a daily highstreet foundation right now and am considering adding the Lightbulb foundation to my Christmas list or if I have some funds left over during the next few months. It was just so light and and perfect for a poised, polished work face. Thank you Shu Uemura! 

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