Sunday, 11 December 2011

The future is frivolous

Those who don't enjoy next-season antici..... look away now.

I tentatively began this blog along with my East Asian travels, figuring that going home would provide a natural end point if the product or process turned out to suck. Well, I fly back London tomorrow and seem to feel no readier to shut up than usual, so stay tuned for:
  1. brush comparisons featuring Chikuhodo, Suqqu, Hakuhodo, Shu Uemura and more
  2. swatches and reviews of the two brands that dominate my 'stash': Suqqu and RBR
  3. whatever drivellings ensue from revisiting my local Suqqu, Paul&Joe, RMK, Becca, Illamasqua, Burberry, Tom Ford and Ellis Faas counters
  4. makeup DEATHMATCH as I try to edit down my collection and keep only Teh Best
  5. odes to ye good olde British high street (drugstore)
  6. another trip to E. Asia for moar swatches! Maybe even some Korean brands...
  7. cake.
Thank you so much to everyone reading, whether you're just stopping by or (really?!) subscribing and commenting and linking back. I welcome any questions and suggestions/requests for swatches, reviews or brands to feature. More fashion? Knitty things? Fragrance ramblings? Books and telly and fillums oh my? None of the above ever, swatches FTW? Leave a comment or email me at drivelaboutfrivol(at)gmail(dot)com.

Right, pretty picture time.
Of some makeup that I'm anticipating (some of which come out next week in Japan, jeez...)

Addiction Sandcastle collection -- I always find Addiction's colour stories inspiring, and am sure these washed-out sandy nudes will be beautifully complex in reality.
pictures from Kuri's beauty report and maissygirl

Suqqu, natürlich. Released Feb 3rd in Japan, the three eyeshadow palettes will all be permanent and the split-pan looks interesting.
But I am most excited for the three limited-edition blush duos, being an ardent fan of Suqqu textures but not the current shade range.
The lipsticks will share the formula of the three limited edition sheers from Autumn 2011.
pictures from yahoo beauty blog

Givenchy Instant Bucolique collection -- I adore the pairing of sightly dusty pastels with poppy-red on cheeks, lips and browbone. The saturated matte textures in the ad make this look. I am not familiar with this brand (despite always admiring their ad images) but next year may see some toe-dipping.
The red petri-dish is giving me the eye, the saucy minx.

Coffret D'Or Bright Up Rouge Creamy Liquid, released Dec 16th in Japan. The testers impressed me greatly on my trip to Japan and I'll be stalking adambeauty for one come next year.
picture from Japanese Coffret D'Or site

Chanel's Le Blanc Fleur de Lotus collection Illusion D'Ombre #87 (a limited-edition silvery tealish shade?)
picture from kuri's beauty report

As you may know, I am a sucker for cream blush, and have spotted a few incoming:
Shu Uemura Creamy Dome Blusher, two shades of another limited-edition formula due Jan 20th in Japan
picture via rougedeluxe

Majolica Majorca Blood On (facepalm), a pinky red lip and cheek tint, due Jan 21st in Japan.
picture via atouchofblusher

Paul&Joe blusher sticks -- last year's lipsticks skeeved me out but apparently you can sell me on anything with the addition of a top hat and the words 'cream blush'. Three shades, due Feb 3rd in Japan.
picture from popbee

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Vivi Magazine

I loathe the term "guilty pleasures." It instantly conjures up those adverts for chocolates that feature a skinny woman giggling (dubbed giggling, no less) at her own naughtiness (ohemgorsh, calories! teehee!) in sneaking a dainty nibble of The Bad Stuff... ooh la la what self-indulgence!

That said, I have no other way of describing my addiction to Vivi magazine. Even if you can't read Japanese, the violent pink colour-scheme and layout of the website should be enough of a tip-off. This is a popular and populist rag, featuring mostly high street brands and providing teens and twenty-somethings with a brainless primer on What To Buy/Wear/Eat/Do/See To Fit In But Not Stand Out (This Month). It is so popular that there is a Traditional Chinese version published in Taiwan, released two weeks later than in Japan with translated contents and tweaked ads for its local markets in Hong Kong, Malaysia, China etc.

Despite my staunch -- staunch I say! -- refusal to subscribe, I somehow end up with at least ten issues out of twelve every year, sheepishly calling on friends travelling through Asia to fetch the latest edition in either language, and snapping up back copies in Japanese second-hand book shops, which get hastily bundled into my bag for the duration of the tube ride home. (And I read everything on the tube, from graphically illustrated feminist treatises on FGM to children's and science fiction books with their original covers.)


Sure, there are some cute and covetable things

...but they often just make me feel crabby and crabbed. The styling ranges from uninspired and irritatingly derivative (by which I mean: hey, someone as visually inept as I could do that!) to meh...pretty.

It's basically a catalogue of (usually mixed-race) house models and their signature facial tics:
Asian duck pout (Lena in the 2nd and 3rd pics is a beautiful girl and serial offender)
  stuck out tongue tee-hee-hee face (Mitsuki)
"oops!" face
not to be confused with "kyoot widdle kitten" face, despite superficial similarities
or "I-suddenly-needed-to-fondle-my-face" face  
that timeless classic, sex-face

And plenty more, such as whimsy!face and "oh, who, me?" face, and let's not even get on to the poses because I'm getting stabby.

It was a dark day when I admitted to myself that I am an actual fan of one of these house models: the British-Japanese Elli-Rose. She's a slightly odd fit for this magazine but I suppose they needed someone to sell bad girl and rock chick (gag) looks... anyway, she looks like fun to bitch with and bum cigarettes off behind the bike sheds.
Sometimes, the Vivi PTB decide to put her in something cutesy like the other girls, and hilarity ensues.
A sweet retro outfit -- why does she look like she just shot hubbie dearest, downed all the Valium and is now on the lam?
What's a dolly without a "WTF I DON'T EVEN. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME." expression?

After a Tom Ford nail polish's worth of bitter bitchery (I mock what I love! It's my way) I'd like to share this editorial from the November 2011 edition of Vivi, which reminded me of why I will continue to flip'n'snark through this magazine for my Japanese mainstream pop culture fix, rather than its more popular competitors Ray, CanCam etc. The latter two are bibles of mote-kei which roughy translates as, 'how 2 please all da boys but not make da other girls hate u (2 much)!' and whose every page is filled with guidance as to What Teh Mens Like. And for all its flaws, I will take Vivi's version of "girl power" over that any day.

"Jackie and Mary's Love Story", an editorial peddling yuri preppy clothes.
Part 1: Mary stalks has a sweetly innocent crush on tomboy Jackie.
Part 2: Alas, Jackie already has an Emma-Watson-ish beret-sporting girlfriend (the snob!), with whom she can only communicate via placard, and who prefers studying (the geek!) to going to the da party with Jackie anyway.
Part 3: Mary haz a sad. Jackie haz a sad. Two piners meet on the bleachers, totally by accident and not because Mary stalks Jackie. Hey, we could go to da party together!
Part 4: They do.
Part 5: And live happily ever after.

Disclaimer: all scans / photographs made by me from various 2010 and 2011 editions of Vivi magazine in Japanese and Chinese.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Guest Review: RBR Endless Miracles Swift Length Mascara by LauraJean396

Upon receiving it as a gift with purchase with my last RBR order, I was eager to try this mascara from one of my favourite brands to see if it would measure up to my Japanese favourites.

Upon opening the tube halfway and seeing that it was brown, I heard shrieky violins and immediately emailed beautiful friend and mascara junkie lash queen LauraJean for help (hey, it rhymes! Maybe she won't slap me....) And she has kindly stepped in with a guest review, which follows. All text and pictures are by LauraJean396, who has a delicious blog and a youtube channel too. Go on, click. I defy you not to fall for her charm and devastating Southern accent.

A Review – Rouge Bunny Rouge Endless Miracles Swift Length Mascara
Written by: LauraJean396 @

There is one part of a cosmetics routine that I personally believe cannot be skipped.  In a makeup look it can be the difference between a look being pretty or becoming amazing.  The product that I am referring to is mascara. 

There are a number of different mascaras, each having their own claims and strengths.  Some will lengthen, some will volumize or thicken the lashes, while some just define or separate the lashes.  There are several mascaras that combine any combination of those effects.  And of course there are mascaras that claim they do it all and make your natural lashes look like they are false lashes.  There are so many claims made by mascara companies that are so far fetched that we, as consumers, need to know the truth on the performance. 

The mascara that I am reviewing for you today is Rouge Bunny Rouge Endless Miracles Swift Length Mascara.  The shade that I tried was the Untamed Sable, which RBR describes as Darkest Brown.
With all RBR products, there is a story to go with it as well as a description.

The Story
“The dream-weavers in the celestial skies fly nimbly above the Enchanted Garden, sprinkling sighs and singing their thrillingly sweet lullabies.
The order of RBR caught their falling treasures to bring your mischievous winks, demure flutters or sensuous sweeps magically to life, in a flash of a hummingbird’s wing.  So make a wish and put it in your pocket – it’s your own coup d’oeil in a glance.  One swift and effortless application of this mascara and instantly your lashes are voluminously long and seductively curvaceous.  The result is sexy, scintillating and extremely elegant.  An attention-grabber, a heart-stopper, a traffic-stopper!  Chief dreamer, own they dream.  You’re naked without it!”

The Claims

“A rich and creamy formula for an instant release of colour and lengthy lashes.  With pure and powerful active ingrediencts, including Bamboo to condition and repair the lashes, Vitamin E to provide anti-ageing qualities and D-panthenol for hydration.  Tenacious protection to glorify your look all day long without clumping, flaking or smudging. 

The new Hypno Brush, with its double row of bristles, is made using the latest technology: The long bristles ensure eyelash separation without gluing them and without leaving limps, while the short bristles give maximum volume and lengthening.  The mascara is applied smoothly and evenly, separating and coating each eyelash equally with the effect of false lashes.  Now you don’t need tweezers – our new mascara will curve your eyelashes.”
I would like to start off by stating that I have naturally longer lashes that have a slight curl.  The results I received with this mascara were separation, definition, hydration, and a slight improvement in length.  One thing I specifically want to mention is that this mascara is wonderful for layering.  The very first time I used this mascara I purposefully applied coat after coat (after coat after coat after coat).  The reason was because I was pushing it as far as I could to test its performance.  I wanted to see if it would build up to something extremely dramatic or if it would clump up and turn the lashes into “spider” lashes.  They stayed separated but kept building upon the last layer in length and in volume.
Final Thoughts
This mascara is good for people that want subtle, soft, fluttery lashes.  The length that you get from this mascara is minute.  For those of you that want bold, dramatic lashes—this could be a nice base for something that adds more of the elements that you enjoy.   I am impressed with the fact it is clump-free and hydrating, even if I do prefer more length.  So their claims are half truthful.  You wont receive false looking lashes, but this mascara will will deliver a softer “pretty” look.

My Newest Addiction Rating: <3 <3 <3 < (3.5 out of 5)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Part One of THREE -- 4D Eye Palette swatches

Today I offer swatches of the 4D Eye Palettes, one element of my trio (ho ho) of purchases from Japanese beauty brand, 'natural, honest and creative' THREE.

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)
Applicators: a stiff synthetic brush similar to the MAC 231, a pointy dense sponge-tip applicator, and a fluffy-ish filbert which works adequately for blending and laydown in a pinch.

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

artificial light+flash


(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

+/- Calcium sodium borosilicate; Glyceryl stearate(?); Dimethicone; Mica; Calcium aluminium borosilicate; Iron oxide; Titanium oxide; Cetearyloctanoate; Nylon-12; Dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone cross polymer; Synthetic phlogopite; Methyl methacrylate crosspolymer; Isononyl isononanoate; Magnesium stearate; Silica; Oryzanol; Carmine; Blue gardenia; Yellow gardenia; Polyglyceryl-2 triisostearate; Petroleum jelly; Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate; Trimethoxysilyl dimethicone; Hydrogenated polyisobutene; Triethoxycaprylylsilane; Hexadecanoic acid; Triethylhexanoin; Polyethylene; Microcrystalline Wax; Aluminum hydroxide; CI 77510; CI 19140; CI 73360; CI 15850

*certified organic

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.