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Monday, 18 March 2013

Suqqu EX-11 Sumiredama Swatch, Review, Comparison

EX-11 Sumiredama (菫珠, violet pearl) is the second quad I acquired from Suqqu's limited edition spring-2013-and-tenth-anniversary- collection. Unlike EX-12 Hisuidama, which stole my heart [and in whose review I blahblah about packaging and the new pearlescent texture], this was more of a mixed bag -- unlike the majority of the raving blogosphere, I only love one shade in this quad, like a second, find the third negligible and the fourth ultimately not worth the trouble. This is partly due to my unusually pale skintone -- the peach/pink shade widely described as a highlighter by more tanned bloggers is too dark to highlight on me, but lacks the heft to really work as anything else -- but my freakishly specific textural preferences also play a part.

Let's start with the positive: the colour combination

*Top left: warm peach-pink frost with soft gold reflect, sheer-medium
*Top right: neutral taupe shimmer with cooler aqua duochcome, pigmented
*Bottom left: warm red-purple shimmer with aqua duochrome, very pigmented
Bottom right: cool lemon frost, very sheer
The starred shades are duochromes: the effect strongest in the magenta, also strong in the taupe and very subtle in the peach -- as you can tell from the product pics, there isn't a single angle at which the purple doesn't flash aqua, while the peach just shifts from warmer to cooler versions of itself. In finish, all four shades are frosts, mainly differing in terms of opacity -- the sheerest lemon yellow appearing least solid/opaque only because its shimmer is less tightly packed, and vice versa for the purple.


For me, the textural variety in EX-12 Hisuidama is far preferable, but I think again Suqqu's clever naming intimates more than you might think -- the identical finishes in Violet Pearl, worn all together, do evoke something of dusty/velvety violet petals as well as the blandly smooth surfaces of pearls. 


Swatches
ONE swipe with sponge applicators
natural light, shade

TWO swipes of the peach and yellow
natural light, sunny

THREE swipes of the peach and yellow
natural light, sunny
The first picture illustrates how sheer the lighter two shades are; the last picture, with both built up to stand alongside the darker two, shows how closely we're edging to wall-of-frost territory if all four colours are worn as colours -- terrible news for a frost-hater like me, who fell for the idea of this palette because of the combination of all four shades together. :(


Mixed Swatches
The monotextural meh is exacerbated by the fact that the the taupe sits on a yellow-brown base which blends out very similarly to the lemon yellow, while the purple shade blends out into a warm reddened plum which likes to eat up the warm pink-peach. Which combines to make this quad a further disappointment, once layered.
No real new shades or even particularly fresh nuances; certainly nothing as dramatic as the genuine duochrome flashes you can create by layering Hisuidama.


Palette Comparisons
Time for a wee compare'n'contrast with some other palettes I own. I already mentioned that I love the idea of Sumiredama's colour combination, right? Because it seems that I have some overlapping palettes already: THREE 04 Art of Parties (purples, yellow, yellow-brown), EST Emotional Aura Eyes 03 (dc) (yellow, pink, taupe, plum), and Hourglass Exhibition duo (taupe, plum).
The EST 03 quad illustrates the kind of balance between four shades (all well pigmented, though of different finishes) I'd been hoping for from Sumiredama. The Suqqu quad is overall warmest, and softest -- THREE Art of Parties the most varied. I kind of threw Hourglass Exhibition in the mix to suggest just how unusual Suqqu's 'taupe' and 'plum' are to the shades we tend to think of when those words are used -- definitely neutrals with a twist.

Despite ousting 04 Keshizumi [review] to make room for Sumiredama, I still have a goodly collection of Suqqu quads which overlap with it: 08 Mizuaoi (pink/purple), 06 Ginbudou (gold/purple), EX-05 Usumomokurumi (LE Christmas 2011) (pink, warm taupe) and 10 Sakuragi (dc) (yellow, warm taupe, plum).
While not technically the most 'neutral', Sumiredama is the most low-contrast of any of these quads. The closest analogue is Sakuragi, but while that quad (inspired by the tones of sakura tree bark) coalesces austere grey tones, Suremidama's shades are all lit by a warm yellow/peach glow -- two very different springtime moods.


Individual comparisons
Top left peach-pink with Rouge Bunny Rouge Sleeping Under a Mandarin Tree and Eaten All the Cherries pigments, and Angelic Cockatiels and Fire-Tailed Sunbird pressed shadows; the top right orange from Suqqu 07 Komorebi and the top right pink from Suqqu 08 Mizuaoi.
Sumiredama's peachy-pink is sheer, and most similar to Fire-Tailed Sunbird, albeit with a weaker duochrome, and lacking the RBR shade's clear vibrancy.


Top right taupe duochrome with:
Rouge Bunny Rouge Solstice Halcyon layered with Periwinkle Cardinal
Fyrinnae Damn Paladins (now known as Work Safe Blue)
the top right taupe from Suqqu EX-05 Usumomokurumi
all four shades of Suqqu EX-12 Hisuidama layered
clearer angle for the flash
Fyrinnae Damn Paladins/Work Safe Blue has the most similar (yellowed-taupe) base, but its duochrome is paler and much stronger, almost obscuring the base altogether. RBR Periwinkle Cardinal has the right mix of blue/green to mimic Sumiredama's aqua flash, and its grey tones help pull the more mauve-based Solstice Halcyon into neutral territory. Contrast Sumiredama's taupe base with the definite mauve tones of Usumomokurumi's taupe, next to it. Hisuidama is.....my pretty, pretty princess. *sigh* 


Bottom left plum duochrome with Catrice C'Mon Chameleon; Fyrinnae Conjuror; the darker shade of Hourglass Exhibition; the bottom left purple from Suqqu 08 Mizuaoi; the top left purple silk smooth from Shu Uemura Prestigious Bordeaux; Pixi Black Tulip pencil; THREE Eye Belong pencil.
Sumiredama's plum has a base whose mutedness and warmth only really comes through when contrasted against cooler, clearer purples from Mizuaoi, Pixi and THREE. This warmth is distinctly red-toned, rather than Prestigious Bordeaux's scattered pink-and-gold complexity, or Exhibition's brown notes. It is in fact, pretty much what you'd get by mixing Catrice's C'Mon Chameleon (the better version of MAC Club) with Fyrinnae Conjuror and subtracting a good dose of glitter.


Bottom right lemon yellow with the leftmost gold in KATE Deep Trap Eyes GR-1 (dc); the top left shade from EST 03; the top left warm gold from Suqqu 06 Ginbudou; the bottom right glitter from THREE 04 Art of Parties; and Rouge Bunny Rouge Unforgettable Oriole.
Again, Sumiredama's gold likes to disappear, even in a heavy fingertip swatch. As you can see, I have no problem getting either paler (KATE/EST) shades or more delicately diffuse textures (Ginbudou, THREE) to show up on my skin. WHAT IS THIS CRUEL WITCHCRAFT.


(I will post a few looks with Sumiredama over the week, but may as well admit now that it's gone straight back 'out' again. Please don't burn the heretic.)

29 comments:

  1. The shades look wonderful in the palette but I'm not sure they'll suit my very fair skin with yellow undertones, xoxo.

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    1. I don't think they're exciting enough for your awesome bold looks :)

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  2. I'm sorry you didn't end up liking it (though speaking up as a pale person who did!) - but this is an epic, epic post. Your comparison shades are incredible.

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    1. *censors* ;D
      I'm just thinking out loud; thanks for indulging!

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  3. What a fantastic post! The Suqqu is so gorgeous, but I love your explanations for why it doesn't work for you.

    I think the taupe shade in the Suqqu is my favorite shade in it; but RBR's Solstice Halcyon is my favorite shade in your taupe comparison -- and I already own that one (and have made a bit dent in it, too; a good sign that I know what I like, I suppose!).

    I do also love Ex 11's duochrome shade, but would probably wear it mostly as liner, and own Pixi Black Tulip, which is probably similar enough for me.

    So yay, comparisons!

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    1. The taupe is my favourite too, and the fact that I can franken it so well with two of my fave RBR's was the deciding factor in ousting it :)

      So glad you're liking the Pixis!

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  4. I'm not sure how I feel about that particular Suqqu palette, but...

    -_-.......... What have you DONE?! Me, a person who normally isn't that much into eyeshadow, let alone HIGH-END EYESHADOW.. yet you've given me a boner for that Three palette and goodness-knows how many others!

    Evil temptress.

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    1. :P at least they're safely inacessible lemms?

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  5. You make good sense. *nods nods nods vigorously* I don't know what is it about Sumiremada, but it makes me so gleeful at the prospect of ownership. I'm not sure why. I MUST OWN IT. PET IT. LOVE IT SOME. AND THEN LOVE IT SOME MORE.
    *giggle snort*
    I've clearly lost mind mind.

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    1. belly....ILY. LMAO. Are you tipsy-commentating? *is honoured*

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    2. Oh my goodness. Who's on the internet writing comments with my name?!

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  6. All these pictures are really lovely! I know next to nothing about EST shadows-- care to fill me in?

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    1. Thankee!
      Sorry to come over all hipsterlike, but I think they discontinued the only good stuff around 3 years back? Including the series this palette hails from (emotional aura eyes). Current ones are uniformly sheer, gritty-fallouty and DRYYYYYYY :(
      Older ones may still be rakutenable?

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  7. You always have such insanely saturated swatches. Do you prep your arm with anything?

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    1. Nope, I would definitely disclose if I did -- I never use eyeshadow primer on my lids, so using one (even if I owned one) for swatches seems pointless. It's also kinda a prerequesite for stuff I buy that they be well well pigmented on me (not nec. opaque). E.g. of stuff that doesn't show up well on me, and which I'd not spend money on:
      http://drivelaboutfrivol.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/spring-collections-swatches-givenchy.html

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  8. Thank you for such a thorough review! Your review of Hisuidama nudged me towards purchasing it, along with this one. I look forward to seeing your looks from this palette even though you did not like it as much!

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  9. I really enjoy reading your detailed analysis of why you like or dislike an item! I have Sumiredama and I like it a lot, but I am a lot darker and warmer-toned. I love how hazy and glowy it is.

    And this is completely off-topic, but I read "THus Was Adonis Murdered" after seeing it on one of your Pinterest boards and I *love* it. So funny and so much gentle yet merciless mockery...

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    1. *throws makeup out of the window*
      ZOMG Sarah Cauldwell read the other three now!!! Ahem. I mean. I re-peruse those every year to cheer myself up :D
      (btw, Cigarettes&Chocolate Milk is still my favourite Rufus song. I love finding e-sisters)

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  10. I didn't realize that the top left shade is a duochrome! My skintone is dark enough for all four shades to show up but I did find it difficult to "play" with this quad like I can with other ones. I see why now. I still like this quad a lot but I did have to get EX-12 as well to play with. :D

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    1. It's really subtle, and shows up much better on my arm than on my eyes, boo-urns! You rock the purply tones of all kinds better than I do, though!

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  11. I'm glad I know now that what works for you in terms of eyeshadow is completely different from what works for me, except that I also appreciate nice textures and a variation thereof. Sumiredama is actually almost too light for me as the 2nd darkest shade is about my skintone in depth (my eye area has darkness), and the frost makes the shade look even lighter. As light-skinned fave Mizuaoi had zero color payoff on me, I am afraid I am right to skip Hisuidama despite your ridiculously persuasive (and authoritative!) reviews. This all serves to remind me of my sadness associated with not having a lovely blank canvas of a pale face. :'(

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    1. This pulls on my ongoing brain-tangle about opacity vs pigmentation and whether the two are really objectively distinct (as I think) or only-distinct-for-a-certain-category-of-shades-interacting-with-specific-skintones/types.
      Like, I have an NC40 friend who loves Mizuaoi, and it pops MORE on her than it does on me because of the stronger contrast b/w those watercolour shades and her skin vs mine. But I think your issue with it is more to do with opacity than pigmentation -- I think we've worked out that you generally like more solid bases (Turandot, pressed Fyr) and that's what I'm groping towards :P I wonder if Mizuaoi were pastels sitting on a solid white base, whether you'd still dislike it (because pastels) rather than because invisible?

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    2. Ouch, this tangles my brain too! How does your friend get it to show up on her? This would be so helpful to know, lol. I do prefer some sort of base for opacity, so colors can show up truer to color instead of some horrid blend of, e.g., blue + yellow-olive-purple-brown (due to dark pigmentation around eyes). D: Perhaps this could be achieved with less opaque shadows simply by using a lighter colored base like a paintpot, but I have yet to find one that doesn't get dry and splotchy. I don't mind the usual lack of opacity in Suqqu quads like Ginbudou, I guess because the colors there don't muddify against the yellow-olive-purple-brown as much as light pastel peachy-pink and blue.

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  12. This level of geekery is why your blog is UNPARALLELED! When something doesn't work for me, I just chuck it across the room and whine, but you actually conduct an in-depth investigation. If I could cuddle this post, I totally would. :P

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    1. HIGH PRAISE FROM THEE!
      "Across the room" sounds so much cosier than "across the pond" :P But the chucking was much appreciated ;D

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  13. Thank you for such a fun post! I love seeing all of the different shades, and you always make covet your stash. I covet that EST palette! I have Sumiredama, but I have not played with it much yet. It is definitely a more subtle palette, but it still works on my coloring. I actually have more trouble with the plum duochrome making my eyes look bruised. I'd love to see some looks with the Sonia Rykiel palettes :-)

    And I join you in the Sarah Caudwell love. I need to dig up my copies of the Hilary Tamar stories because I only know where The Sibyl in Her Grave is.

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    1. I have bruisey issues with the plum, too (tis why bluer purples dominate in my stash) but sometimes I like that slightly comsumptive thing ;)

      Huzzay for Hilary! I am always so sad when I pick up The Sibyl :(

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  14. Haven't played enough with Ex 11 and 13 yet, but my impression so far has been "Oh no! So very frosty when layered!"
    I'm not even sure if the shades work together placed in diff areas (not layered). Kind of disappointing when you want a cohesive palette where everyone's a team player. Still, I can use individual shades, right? *consoles oneself*

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