Japanese Brands

Excel Gradation Cheeks Review

The Muse admits she’s picky, finicky and possible a snob. Oh well ok I admit that the last part I am about 100% of the time.

According to the Muse’s virtues as stated above she pours over, selects, and chooses only the most gorgeous of cosmetics to grace her collection. It must be pretty, it must be girlish, it must be princess-like, it must be gorgeous, and it must have some shimmer, sparkle, shine, and glitter!

Sometimes…the Muse has to remind herself that even the most basic of cosmetics in the most simplest of packages are actually well worth her while.

For example take Excel Gradation Cheeks palette…..

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Now the Excel Gradation Cheeks Palettes are possibly the most ugliest and cheapest looking palette I’ve come across from Japan. Where as most of the Japanese cosmetic market chooses to go the pretty route, Excel decided to gaudy cheap plastic gold packaging was the way to go! Your lesson today is sometimes it’s not a good idea to judge a book by it’s cover.

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I’m a long time fan of Excel Gradation Cheeks since being introduced to them by my mate Iris and I must say aside from the rather crummy packaging the quality is super. I do prefer my blush to pop as you may have noticed from my FOTD’s however when I’m looking for a nice, natural finish with a bit of shimmer I turn to these! The shades are all quite flattering and very wearable! I actually like using these to top off a blush I’m already wearing as these add a bit of highlight and sparkle to my look!

Each palette contains not one but four shades of blush in a strip arrangement. The shades vary from lighter to darker and when combined create a softly focused highlighted face look. The formula of the powder is silky and easy to blend. As I mentioned they do have a shimmering finish but nothing too dramatic so even shimmer haters can love these.

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The palettes come with a super soft brush that’s easily stored on top of the powder….have no fear a small plastic sheet is included to place over the powder so the brush doesn’t make a mess of it laying on top. Normally it would bug me that the brush lays atop the powder but I actually notice no mess or problems with it arranged as so.

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If you’re looking for a softer blush with a hint of shimmer I’d definitely recommend indulging in these! At 1,890 yen per a palette it’s not alot to spend as they are quite large and will last ages. The Muse Approves ‘em since they contain a healthy dose of shimmer and give her cheeks a flattering dose of color!

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If you’re wanting ‘em do have a look at my Japanese Buying Guide to see where they might be located online!

Tried these?

Love ‘em?

Tell the Muse!

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Reader’s Request: Majolica Majorca Single Eyeshadows

Some people collect stamps. Other collect stickers. Some folks like to collect designer bags or shoes. While still others collect figurines or action figures. The Muse happens to collect cosmetics (and old books but that’s not part of this story).

As per a reader’s request I’ve taken a picture of my large stash of Majolica Majorca Eyeshadow Singles. Now the Muse values Majolica Majorca Eyeshadow Singles more than she does life itself…ok I exaggerated a little bit there…she does however hold these in higher value than say her MAC stash of shadows.

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I can’t say I went to a ton of trouble to get my singles because I honestly didn’t however my good friend Iris went to a heck of a lot of insanity to grab me singles that were both new and discontinued by searching around Tokyo drugstores about a year and a half ago. Lucky enough Iris scored some great shades that were long since gone from the regular catalog of single shadows. It saddens me that Majolica Majorca Single Eyeshadows get so little love due to the fact that the palettes are the star of many eyes in the cosmetic world. It’s actually really upsetting considering that most addicts would agree the singles are actually much better pigmented and better quality when compared to the palettes that MJ has out at the moment.

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The singles come housed in a little slide draw that sports the MJ golden emblem on top as a pull. Pull back and the draw reveals gorgeous, silky, pigmented MJ eyeshadow. The shadows can be removed from these draws and placed in palettes however the Muse loves the packaging style so much she never really had the heart to depot any of her singles. A few years back MJ had compacts out which would house either four shadows, two shadows and one blush, or two blushes. I can’t say for sure but I think these are long past gone and I don’t think MJ actually carries them anymore or I could be wrong and they axed the dual compact which housed one blush or two shadows. Either way the compacts were quite gorgeous with a gold layered plate on top, a mirror inside, and the words “Fulfills All Your Wishes” in lovely script on the gold plate. I really should get around to actually depotting my singles and putting them in these pretty compacts but I just never had the heart to do so and my stash currently resides in a pink box and the compacts are tucked into another box.

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The Muse’s MJ stash tucked safely away in a pretty box!
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The singles run around $3-$5 USD and are a great deal to say the least so if you happen to be wandering around Tokyo one day and come across these wonderful singles the Muse says pick ‘em up as the are Muse Approved for purchase!

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You can snag ‘em up and around the Internet as well just have a read of my Japanese Cosmetic Buying Guide to see where the best deals are!

I’ll be documenting all the shades that I have stashed away shortly so stay tuned for that post!

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Lavshuca Anqitue Collection Antique Monochrome Review, Swatches, & FOTD

Last week I brought you a review of the Lavshuca Holiday Makeup Collection in Antique Sepia. As mentioned in my prior review Lavshuca released two separate coffrets for the holidays. Today I’ll be reviewing the second color option available for the collection entitled Antique Monochrome.

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If you read my prior review you already know the little details about the collection, the price, the packaging, etc….so I’ll just dive into the review today without repeating much of what has already been said about the Lavchuda 2008 Holiday Collection. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with Antique Sepia but it’s probably my favorite of the two as Antique Monochrome doesn’t have a whole lot going for it aside from the nice shade of gloss.

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The shadow included with this set is a duo that includes an icy, creamy white shade with a pink iridescent finish and a contrasting gray black shade. I used the lighter shade as a base and highbrow highlighter prior to applying the grayish black shade on my lid and blending a bit into my crease. The pigmentation on the shades is as nice as Antique Sepia and the completed look is a bit of a smoky eye with a hint of girlish innocence due to the creamy pink base. Honestly, in my humble opinion, the look is a tad bit on the boring side but for a quick makeup look I do like it!

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The Lavshuca Liquid Rouge Gloss in this set is a bright pink with silver sparkles. I mentioned in my other review how much I loved the gloss and in this set I feel the same way. The gloss is the best part of the set for me! It has a nice shimmer and sparkle and looks rather fab over a dab of lip stain!

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Overall, I wasn’t particularly thrilled with Antique Monochrome or Antique Sepia but I am glad I purchased both for my Lavshuca Collection. I’m unsure if you really need to indulge unless you’re a collector. The Lavshuca Spring Collection does hold a bit of promise for me so I’ll look towards brighter horizons on the Lavshuca front!

How about you?

Loved these?

Which was your favorite set?

Planning on purchasing them?

Tell the Muse!

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KATE Gel Eyeshadow Review & Swatches

Understanding my sudden attraction to cream and liquid eyeshadow is a mystery to me. The Muse has always passionately hated creams and liquids but as of late she’s indulged in a few here and there and came out feeling all the better for it.

I recently fell in love with Coffret D’Or Fluffy Shine Eyes so of course when I seen KATE Gel Eyeshadow I thought to myself, “whoa these look pretty much the same and they are way cheaper! Must tries ‘em”!

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I love pretty much anything KATE does as it has that certain edge that I like in my makeup so it was interesting to see softer shades released with the new KATE Gel Eyeshadows. The shadows are a typical soft mousse style formula with a nice dose of shimmer. I liked the shadows well enough but I didn’t love them and I think that the Jill Stuart and Coffret D’Or version will remain my favorite if I had to choose.

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One main problem with the shadows is the fact they dry down so quickly. This actually turned me off so much that I won’t be purchasing them again for that sole reason. Application of cream shadow is such a pain to begin with! When you’re working with a product that dries down so quickly it makes it twice as difficult when you’re trying to blend and build color up only to have it dry in a matter of seconds which causes flaking and a general mess.

Aside from my rant about the dry down I do admit that some of the shades, not all, were rather nice. A total of 8 colors were release and I choose the four softest shades to purchase which were WT-1, PU-1, PK-1, and GD-1. Out of these colors I thought the WT-1 and GD-1 were the best as they had good pigmentation and had a rather nice finish. PU-1 and PK-1 were equally nice but a bit sheer and due to the problem with dry down it was difficult to build up color further without creating an utter mess. WT-1 is a shimmering true white, PU-1 is a soft sparkling lilac, PK-1 is a true pink, and GD-1 (my favorite) is a shimmering gold. Out of the four shades GD-1 is my favorite as I really liked how well it applied plus gold sparkle around the holidays is always so classic for me.

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Considering I loved GD-1 I overloaded on FOTD pics of it!
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The shadows come housed in a the typical KATE frosted glass jar a la the KATE Gel liners. They are about the same size as the liners as well but the jar is square and not round. It’s quite a nice style of packaging for the price.

They are worth trying out for yourself as I like them but I’m just not in love with them. If you’re deciding between these and other Japanese brand shadows I guarantee you can find something quite a good deal better but price wise this is probably the best you’ll get with such a small price tag! The inexpensive price tag, selection of colors, and nice finish to the product all get a raving hooray from me but I won’t be Muse Approving them for purchase since I consider the quick dry down an unforgivable problem.

Overall, the product is good depending on which shades you try out but the dry down period definitely creates a problem for me and is a big turn off. I loved the finished results but it does take a bit of work to get the shadow on properly, blended correctly, etc…..

Tried these?

Love ‘em?

Want to try ‘em?

Tell the Muse!

If anyone is interested I am selling off the white, purple, and pink which have all been used 1x each (still in the boxes) for $12 USD this includes shipping and confirmation within the US anyone who lives abroad I’m extending the offer to $13 USD for first class airmail but sadly no tracking is available on these. Just e-mail me at [email protected] if you’d like them!

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19 Comments

Majolica Majorca Holiday 2008 I Am Gorgeous

Majolica Majorca has updated it’s website with it’s new Holiday story, I Am Gorgeous. CLICK! The only site updated is the main Japanese portal as the official street date for the collection is the 21st and taking into consideration at the moment it’s the 21st already in Japan, it’s pretty logical the site has been updated accordingly! When other Asian countries will get the release is beyond this Muse but I’m sure it’ll shortly be available within Singapore, Taiwan, Etc…and followed up a few months down the line in other locations (aside from the US where we get NONE of the good stuff SIGH! RANT!).

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I’m very excited about this collection although that’s not saying much as I’m always excited when Majolica Majorca updates it’s site. The Holiday Collection does look interesting to say the least and I’ll be partaking of everything released with it!

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I think the star of the show are the new Majolumina Powder in Puffs. I’m normally not a fan of powders that are in the puff already but I am very curious about these and will be purchasing both as the price of 1,300 yen or so is truly a bargain!

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Although I’m not the biggest fan of Majolica Majorca Gorgeous Wing Mascara I will be purchasing the new version released with the I Am Gorgeous Collection. The color is a orangy-bronze-gold brown which looks very nice!

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And finally two new Majolook palettes! Yay! I’m looking forward to these! Again, not a big fan of the base cream shade but the trio of powder shades looks simply amazing so, I for one, am very happy about the return of Majolook and glad they didn’t do more Trick On Palettes for this reason! Honestly, BR788 looks very similar to a palette I already have but I’m all for getting this anyway!

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All in all it looks like a very promising selection of items. They extended the line a tiny bit compared with Holiday 2007 as this year we are getting two powders, two palettes, and a mascara where as last year it was one powder, two palettes, and a mascara. Of course, the Muse is on board and will review this all for you shortly!

The site is very, very lagged at the moment so I recommend checking back later tonight or tomorrow morning to see the updates! The Muse is looking forward to the Singaporean update so I can read the story in English! Once you “find” all the items you’ll have a chance to download the special screen saver! Do grab it as it’s rather cute!

How about you?

Want it?

Loving the new palettes?

Indulging in any Majolica Majorca Holiday 2008?

Tell the Muse!

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Majolica Majorca Gorgeous Wing Mascara Review

Majolica Majorca Summer Collection 2008 Review


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