This newish brand didn't really seize my interest when I first started seeing their ads and products popping up in Japanese magazines in 2009. The words 'natural' and 'organic' (I believe 'holistic' also featured heavily in the original patter...) coupled with the higher-than-high-end prices were not encouraging, especially as the brand was and is only available in Japan.
And now I eat my hat (or my now empty and useless wallet), because the eye makeup at least does form a genuinely unusual collection of textures and products that made the THREE counter stand out in the crowded and competitive world of Japanese beauty halls. Creative Director Rie Omoto's trademark 'deconstructionist' approach to makeup is embodied in a permanent line-up based on a selection of creams (in pencil form) and loose pigments in a variety of textures and shades -- designed to be layered in many combinations. There is also a collection of single pressed eyeshadows, again with an excellent range of finishes and colours.
The 4D Eye Palettes (¥6300 for 8g, currently available in four variations, with four more due next spring) also encourage much play with layering.
The top right shade in each quad is a cream base. Unusually, it is also the darkest colour, and has enough pigment and complex micro-shimmer to wear on its own as a wash (as you can see in a recent FOTD) or as a liner with a stiff synthetic brush.
The bottom left shade is a pigmented, satin-finish pressed shadow, the most smooth-feeling and blendable of the four.
The other two are refined glitters -- one offering medium pigment (top left), the other sheer (bottom right), both showing up well on me used 'neat' (dry with a stiff/dense brush over a bare lid). They also may be used wet (foiled) for even more impact and make very pretty sheer washes of colour with a fluffy blender.
All of these shades (including the cream) are on the dry and silky side (versus buttery and soft) in the grand scheme of eyeshadow textures, which depending on your preferences may be a good thing. It does make it easy to whack on all four shadows on top of each other without muddiness or excessive buildup of texture becoming visible on the lids. The cream is drier but has more slip than MUFE Aqua Cream or Benefit Creaseless Cream eyeshadows -- as blendable as the new Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Colours.
Swatches of store testers -- patted on with fingertips, pictures taken in bright artificial lighting without flash. Fuzzy pics are deliberate, yo.
All four quads, with the Holiday 2011 Coffret swatched along the top (sorry for the abysmal quality but I think this picture catches some different nuances)
Now for the quad I chose: 02 My Blue Heaven (blue-brown combinations ARE my heaven. Throw in a green and....)
new -- artificial lighting
post molestation -- natural light (sunny)
Swatches L to R:
Cream as a base with 1. bottom left, 2. top left, 3. bottom right shades patted over it
Bottom Left -- one swipe. Yellow-based brown with warm pink shimmer
Top Right (cream) -- one swipe. Cool deep mossy green warmed by gold shimmer.
Top Left -- one swipe. Multi-tonal bright sky blue glitter.
Bottom Right -- three swipes. Multi-tonal pale neutral gold glitter.
natural light, direct sun
(copyright: me; all errors: mine)
Talc; Camellia sinensis; Argan oil*; Sesame oil*; Silk powder; Jojoba Seed oil*; Rosehip oil*; Evening primrose oil*; Shea butter*; Safflower; Beeswax*; Vitamin E; Dextrin; Charcoal powder; Microcrystalline cellulose; Methyparaben
Incidentally, how pretty is the paper on that box? I'm a depotter but there's something very pleasing about the understated THREE packaging, especially those little textural details. More pictures here for interested parties.