Beauty Abroad

Isadora Diamond Eye Shadow Palette Review, Swatches, and FOTD

It’s that time of the year when the Muse is all about frosty shimmering shades. The snow is laying on the ground outside and the wind is blowing so hard it feels like it’ll knock you clear off your feet so hues of frosty white, peach, blue and purple are definitely in style today.

I think an icy, cool look a la the Ice Queen for the Holidays is so very chic and fitting with both the season and the weather!

Let me show you the perfect palette for creating a gorgeous shimmering Ice Queen look that’s sure to be a hit this season!

The Isadora Dazzling Diamond Collection totally caught my eye this season due to it’s gorgeous packaging and shimmering shades. Of course the Isadora Diamond Eye Shadow Palette ended up on my hit list right away with it’s gorgeous mirrored compact design and five cool, frosty shades of shadow. The Muse can’t resist all that goodness!

The palette contains five shades of extremely soft, silky, pigmented shadows that include frosty blue, shimmering white, sparkling peach, and two shades of purple. All the shades would be wholeheartedly approved by the Ice Queen herself I’m sure. I loved the finish of the shadows and they are like nothing I’ve ever tried before formula-wise in the eyeshadow world. They are quite light and soft with nice pigmentation however they do crease a fair bit so proper prepping prior to application is required to avoid a mess later in the day. I noticed the shades work best on their own and not combined with other colors in the palette. They blend nicely however when applying two or more shades you end up with a fair bit of a muddy look. Personally I think they look best on their own anyway so in keeping with that theme you’ll end up with five separate looks from the one palette.

The palette’s design is just as gorgeous as what it holds. The compact is a complete mirror design with Isadora’s logo on the top lid. This does cause major fingerprint problems but I simply wipe off with a soft cloth after I’ve used it and it’s back to it’s gorgeous self again!

Using the white shade from the palette

Using the blue shade from the palette

At a tiny price tag of $21 USD I think that the palette is well worth picking up! I loved the cool look the shadows created and think they are quite flattering for not only the upcoming Holiday but also the cooler weather!

All in all the Isadora Diamond Eye Shadow Palette is definitely a nice little item to tuck into your stocking this season!

If you’re wanting to indulge in the Isadora Holiday Collection 2008 do visit

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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…..

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.

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.





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.



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!

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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Laneige The Snow Eye Palette 02 Review, Swatches and FOTD

Ahhh snowflakes…so delicate, so pretty! When the Muse seen the Laneige The Snow Collection she knew she had to have it immediately.

The collection consists of two new eye palettes and a highlighting powder. The Muse will be bringing you a review of one of the eyeshadow palettes today and follow up with the highlighter and other eye palette later next week! Two eye palettes were released with this collection which both contain cool shades. I was feeling a bit pink today so I used the Laneige The Snow Eye Palette 02. This particular palette contains a soft shimmering white gold base, a shimmering pink shade, and a deeper shimmering cranberry.

I think the main appeal of the palettes was the gorgeous snowflake motif. Laneige is legendary for including snow, snowflakes, snow crystals, just about anything snow in their collections. I loved how they stepped that theme up this year and embedded tiny little snowflakes into each of the powder palettes. The snowflakes are all raised so they won’t disappear with one brush stroke! The shadow palettes contain two different snowflake shades and one base shade. I’m pretty partial to the compact design as well with it’s cute raised snowflakes which are actually made of velvet. The palette is a dual compact that has the shadows and mirror on one level and two applicators housed below a la Givenchy compact style packaging. The applicators included are a dual ended sponge tip and a dual ended shadow brush and liner combination.





Today I did a look using Laneige The Snow Eye Palette 02 which consists of softer pinks and golds. The base shade is a lovely white gold with two contrasting, deeper shades of shadow that are pink and cranberry. The compact includes instructions for doing two complete looks using the palette but I felt like you could get a few more with a little imagination. Using the shadows by themselves offers three color options plus combining them can create any number of looks.





I found the instructions for creating the two separate looks a bit hysterical as they throw around some fancy words when they could have just said “use this on the lid….use this on your crease…etc…”

Here’s the instructions for the looks:

Soft Pinky Eye Look
Apply beige color as base shade and express authentic pureness with pink color along lash line.

LOL whoa…that’s some seriously fancy instructions! The Muse says use the beige base as an all over color wash and line your eyes using the pale pink shade!

Luxury Smoky Eye Look
Apply the beige color as a base shade and express premium luxuriousness with the point of purple color along the lash line.

Ummm yea ok! The Muse says slap some of that beige color all over your eye and follow up by lining with the shimmering cranberry!



I thought the shades were nicely pigmented and had a beautiful shimmering finish. Blending was a tiny bit difficult but with a little work you can get it just right. This could be because the formula is slightly crumbly which causes a tiny bit of fall out. I wouldn’t compare the formula to Korean or Japanese drugstore brands which are normally chalky…these were much silkier…maybe a tiny bit gritty but overall quite nice. I honestly love the soft romantic look you can get from this particular palette. For my look below I used the white gold base as an all over color wash and I blended some of the softer pink shade onto my lid and crease.



The palette cost me $23 USD or so which wasn’t a bad deal but sadly it’s exclusive to Asia only as we do not have the base makeup line from Laneige in the US.

The Muse thought it was a welcome edition to her Laneige collection and Muse Approves it for purchase if you can locate it! A very nice palette for not only the Holiday but the cooler weather!

What do you think?

Loving this palette?

Wanting it for yourself?

Tried it already?

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.

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.

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.

The Muse’s MJ stash tucked safely away in a pretty box!

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!

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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Majolica Majorca Holiday Collection 2008 I Am Gorgeous

Majolica Majorca Summer Collection 2007 Review

Majolica Majorca Mascara Review

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Art Deco Eyeshadow Base Review

The Muse has a special knack for feeding into the frenzy of a hyped up products. She can successfully purchase said hyped product and convince herself how truly wonderful it is when in fact it’s utter garbage. For the past few days she’s been trying to convince herself how awesome Art Deco Eyeshadow Base is and failing miserably.

After careful thought and consideration she’s decided it was about time to admit to herself that truly this stuff was absolute rubbish. How sad.

After hearing the hype, reading the hype, and being fed the frenzy of all the amazing benefits and virtues of Art Deco Eyeshadow Base, the Muse decided she needed some for her very self. After all, according to makeup gurus far and wide, this stuff was ambrosia from the Gods above.

Umm…not so much.

Art Deco Eyeshadow Base is around $9-$10 USD and comes in a rather cute little jar a la MAC Paint Pots. The packaging could likely get you so hyper that you’ll forget what a crap product is actually inside. The Muse has fallen victim to such cases in the past but with this particular product she actually did admit to herself that indeed Art Deco Eyeshadow Base needs alot of work to hit the right note.

Aside from it’s cute jar style packaging it doesn’t have too much going for it. The base is a creamy beige shade which applies transparent to the lid of the eye even though swatched it has a bit of a pearl almost iridescent finish. It does successfully deepen some shadows while doing nothing for others. Why this is, the Muse may never know, chalk it up as another makeup mystery of the world. After four uses with four different styles of shadow I found new love and respect for my Urban Decay Primer Potion. Art Deco Eyeshadow Primer does not hold my shadow all day, does not make a perfect base for shadows but it does successfully crease my shadow, make it melt off in cakey gobs, and successfully creates a very real mess.

The product blends beautifully well and it does make applying my shadows a bit easier especially shimmery ones where fall out is a problem however it doesn’t do much for making my shadow last longer. The somewhat good news is that the base does successfully hold the shadow for a few hours however creasing begins quite quickly which leads up to your shadow becoming a cakey mess and finally ending with no shadow at all as it migrates all over the place. I wouldn’t say the product makes my lids oily however the base does turn into a bit of an oily mess which is where the creasing problems stem from I think. It applies quite well however after a few hours you’ll end up with a serious mess.

After 3 hours…hello hot mess!

I wanted to love this one and I had some seriously high hopes for it. Sadly, it has little to redeem it and just didn’t work well for this Muse. I’m unsure if I was just my dislike of the product or I’m overacting as it does seriously sport some great reviews up and around makeup forums. Personally, big waste of money for me…I’ll continue trying to use it and see if it gets better but for now it’s a bit thumbs down for this Muse!

Tried Art Deco Eyeshadow Base?

Do you love it?

Hating it?

Tell the Muse!

If anyone is interested I do have an extra, brand new in the box pot that I’m selling for $12 USD! E-mail me if you’d like to take it off my hands and see if it lives up to all the hype!



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Art Deco Holiday Collection 2008

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