Japanese Brands

Stash Spotlight: Gransenbon Gran Blush

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Gransenbon Gran Blush is my go to product for soft, gently flushed cheeks! Which could account for why I’ve stocked up on a majority of the colors offered!

I think many of us stateside aren’t afraid of color. We aren’t shy in using a deeper, pigmented blush to make cheeks pop! However, many colors you’ll find in Asian brands are softer and lighter for a more natural, unmade up look. Gransenbon Gran Blush caters towards a more natural finish that, when I’m in the mood for it, is truly flattering.

The shades have a tiny hint of shimmer that’s barely noticeable and all the shades are soft and delicate even those that are darker only give the barest kiss of color. For the most part I do admit that the packaging with it’s soft pink outer case and cute dual compartment is what captured my attention at first but soon after I was thrilled over the color selection which is how I ended up hauling away most of the catalog of colors offered!

Here’s a little peek at my stash of Gran Blushes!

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Do you love Gransebon Gran Blush?

Which brand of blushes do you stash the most?

Tell the Muse!

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Spring Collections 2009: Kiss Chocolat Collection

There isn’t any question in the world that I absolutely adored the Kiss Chocolatier Collection for Sprng 2008 so I was really thrilled when I heard that Kiss would be following up on the theme and releasing a new chocolate collection for Spring 2009.

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Sadly, I wasn’t too excited once I actually got the chance to view the collection for myself.

The Kiss Chocolat Collection is quite small so it’s nothing to get too hyper about however I will say that I’m quite disappointed in the Kiss Dual Chocolat Eye Palettes released with the collection. Now the colors are absolutely fav and keeping with the chocolate strawberry theme however the main shade is a cream shadow. Although I’ve made piece with cream shadows I think it’s safe to say that these will probably be a mess to apply, lack pigmentation, plus the liner being a powder kinda makes them a tad on the boring side.

Le sigh!

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The good news is that the Lip Chocolat Treatment looks quite good! Of course it’s strawberry chocolate scented and flavored…Muse likey! Last year I enjoyed the glosses released with the Chocolatier Collection immensely! The flavors were really true to life and they smelled so yummie! I’m looking forward to this lipgloss in a major way and I’ll definately be reviewing it soon!

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Although the collection’s main focus item, the duos, are a sore disappointment I do think the gloss looks like a joy!

What do you think?

Love this collection?

Not so much?

Tell the Muse!

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Ghosts of Christmas Past Collections

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“Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?” asked the Muse.

“I am!”

The voice was soft and gentle. Singularly low, as if instead of being so close beside her, it were at a distance.

“Who, and what are you?” the Muse demanded.

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Collections Past.”

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The Muse is quite fond of rehashing her past and remembering collections that caught her fancy over the years. Take a step back in time with her and remember Holiday Collections from 2007 that brought joy and excitement to us all!

The Muse has always had a special fondness for Aube Shower Jewelry Eyes, just the name along has been an endless source of joy and amusement for this Muse and she did so love and adore the Aube Shower Jewelry Eyes Holiday Palette in EX02. Cool shimmering shades of light blue, white, and brown topped with a grayish liner created the perfect sophisticated holiday eye! With the release of the palette Aube also gifted us with two loose shimmering powders which came in a lovely little glass bottle! Truly a Holiday Collection that excited this Muse!

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Step into my past and check out the Aube Holiday Collection 2007 Review

On the heels of Aube’s release came Majolica Majorica’s Holiday Collection which granted our Christmas wishes and brought to us two shimmering Majolook Palettes that would later become my very favorite shades when brought together with my other MJ palettes. Keeping in the theme of sparkling colors MJ also released a shimmering silver mascara overcoat and a sparkling white face, eye, and body powder! This collection has since topped the Muse’s list as a favorite collection released from Majorca Majolica!

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Follow the path to a review of Majorca Majolica Holiday Collection 2007

Jill Stuart always keeps a special place in my heart even though many releases are quite repetitious of colors past. This year I didn’t feel the need to indulge in the Holiday Coffret but last year I did get tempted by all the sparkling, light hues of the Christmas palette!

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Remember Jill Stuart’s Christmas Coffret 2007



Although the Muse sometimes gets a bit ranty and disappointed over Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks she’s almost always on the bandwagon to purchase a new one, especially limited edition ones, as soon as they release. Last year she dove fully into her purchase of the Bobbi Brown Pink Quartz Shimmer Brick and although she never truly made proper use of it she still looks at it fondly and is happy it graces her collection.

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A glowing ranting review on Bobbi Brown Pink Quart Shimmer Brick



This year the Muse liked but didn’t love the Bare Escentuals Ruby Collection but last year she fondly recalls loving each and every release that Bare Escentuals graced us with! The Holiday Collections from BE last year were something that the Muse still can’t forget!

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The crisp coolness of the Bare Escentuals Classic Rock Collection thrilled the Muse to bits and she still gets hyper each time she whips out her BE Diamond Gossamer powder!

A tale and a review of Bare Escentuals Classic Rock Collection



Following closely behind Bare Escentuals Classic Rock Collection was the QVC release of Bare Minerals bareGold Luxury Color Collection and soon after the Nordstrom release of Bare Escentuals Pure Platinum Collection!

The amount of gossamer powder that the Muse ended up hauling with each gift set should last her well into the years to come!

Read on about Gold!



Read further about Platinum!

The Muse let the holiday get away from her this year and in doing so she forgot a few small pieces here and there she wanted to pick up! The NARS Holiday Palette this year was on this Muse’s list but never quite made it into her cart (maybe soon) but she does so remember getting her NARS Night Series Palette last year and holding it in her greedy, sweaty palms as she gleefully smiled down at it!

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Drool over a review on the NARS Night Series Palette



Thinking back on the Lavshuca Winter Make Collection the Muse recalls her excitement however she does feel kinda let down that the cardboard palettes from this collection didn’t fair well into 2008! But it doesn’t keep her from recalling how truly lovely and brilliant she thought they were when she first laid eyes on them.



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Recall beautiful things with the Lavshuca Winter Make Holiday Collection 2007

To this day the mystery behind Stila’s “Asia” Only palettes amuses this Muse…Asia only? What? Huh? Confuddled am I! Even though the mystery remains the Muse still loving caresses each of those palettes as they brought back her beloved Stila girls! The packaging was too delightful to resist and the Muse pleads with Stila please more Stila girls! Some of us, after all, miss them crazily!

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Enjoy a review on the release of Stila “Asia” Only Palettes from last Holiday Season!

Disappointment sometimes reigns supreme with MAC Holiday if you’re an old school collector but the Muse does still give thanks and praise for the release of the MAC Royal Assets Metallic Eyes Palette!

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MAC Royal Assets Holiday 2007

It wasn’t too much of a problem falling deeply in love with a few items from MAC’s Antiquitease Color Collection. The Muse was particularly thrilled to bits and maybe pieces too by Red Romp Lipglass, Queen’s Sin Lipstick, and Uppity Fluidline! The Muse sends blessings to MAC each day for introducing to red lippie items that actually work well for this Muse!

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Jump ahead to a review on MAC’s Holiday Color Collection from 2007

Fall in love with Red Romp and Queen’s Sin!

Is there any ever doubt that perfection and luxury is housed in all Guerlain compacts? Purple was the order of business for Guerlain Holiday 2008 but last year gold…gold reigned supreme over Guerlain Holiday 2007!

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Learn about all good things gold by reading my review on Guerlain Holiday 2007

Diamonds were a girl’s best friend this year and they happened to be just as friendly last year when the Muse got her claws into the Givenchy Diamantismme Holiday Collection! To this day the Givenchy Prisme Solitaire All Over Diamond Powder holds a special place of honor on my vanity!

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Learn what true love is all about by visiting my review on Givenchy’s Holiday Collection 2007

The Muse hopes you enjoyed her trip through Christmas Past! Check out last year’s Christmas Past post and read up on all good things the Muse loved from 2005 and 2006!

Don’t forget to share what collections you absolutely loved from past holiday releases! The Muse is dying to hear all about it!

Can’t get enough of Holiday ’07? That’s ok neither can the Muse! Check out all good things under the Holiday 2007 category! TAG! You’re it!

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Lepoze Esthe Gommage Lepoze Blackhead Cleaning Nose Gel L’epoze Esthe Gommage aka Lepoze Blackhead Cleaning Nose Gel Review

I was going through product with my best friend Jai on Friday and I realized that I never truly dove into the ridiculous amount of Asian skincare bits and bobs I stash around my bathroom. As we went through it I suddenly had the idea that I needed to share ridiculous Asian skincare products with the beauty blogging world!

The Muse is a self proclaimed Lush lover for all good things skincare but she’s been known to tempt the hands of faith and indulge it stupid amounts of Asian products that are both useless and items she can’t live without.

Here was an untapped territory for Musings of a Muse readers that I haven’t yet covered aside from a few minor bits and bobs. Hey, who could forget the Sony Black Head Off Stick I reviewed a few months ago right? Imagine the amount of other crazy rubbish I have hanging around from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan!

So the Muse (and kinda sorta Jai) came out with the idea to review all the items I have stashed in my washroom that I use daily or use once a week or maybe kinda used once. Who doesn’t want to hear about more Asian products right? I know I never get tired of ‘em! And since my obsession with cosmetics is fully established here why not delve deeper and get into all the good skincare bits you can find that work and mmm sometimes don’t work.

Anyway speaking of blackheads and that weird black head off stick how about I start my review up with L’epoze Esthe Gommage aka L’epoze Blackhead Cleaning Nose Gel which makes big promises to remove dirt, oil, and pesky little black heads from deep inside the pores of my nose.

Whoa.

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Hey, like all good things that sounds too good to be true…normally are…and you guessed it…this is WAY too good to be true!

I deem L’epoze Blackhead Cleaning Nose Gel a glorified version of a Biore Nose Strip, granted it doesn’t work nearly as well as a Biore Nose Strip but I do deem it glorified because that sounds important and stuff. The Muse makes this stuff up as she goes along so just deal with it.

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So what is it anyway? It’s basically a paste that you apply on your nose (they have a version for your face as well but I’ll tell you about that gem another day) and it dries to a clay like consistency wrapping your nose in a warm cocoon for 10-15 minutes (timing is entirely up to you). As you sit and wait the paste dries to a harder slightly crumbly texture which after a considerable wait you’ll be rubbing off. Yup, no water here folks! Simply rub the mask off and as you rub supposedly dirt, oil, and evil, nasty blackheads all go bye-bye.

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Yea well….this Muse looked close and the pesky blackheads on her nose are still there….as for oil and dirt….who knows as my nose wasn’t dirty or oily going into this joint.

In reality the mask kinda sorta works like a Biore Nose Strip once dry however it doesn’t quite have the power that a simple nose strip has. Why that is I’ll never know. Personally I feel like a nose strip really digs in deep and adheres well to all the gunk on my nose and lifts it clear away where as this is simply rubbing off and not really adhering to anything that I can see. I guess if you’d like a gentle version of a nose strip this may work out well especially if you have larger pores or even an oily nose area.

The moral of the story is that you’ll run across many similiar masks in and around Asian drugstores but I haven’t really run across one that works. If you want my two cents I say stick with simple nose strips as they work a treat. Lepoze Blackhead Cleansing Nose Gel retails for around $6-7 USD or so which is what I paid for it however I have seen it retailing for about $10-$12 USD on Evil-bay and other online retailers. Honestly, if you can find it cheap it might be worth taking a look at but personally I think it’s a bit of a waste. This is made my a company called PD-C which also happens to put out a rather awesome brand called Soda Salon…I’ll be bringing you some fab reviews from Soda Salon soon. It’s nice to know that PD-C may have failed miserably with the entire Lepoze range of product but they do excel at a few other brands they have out on the market.

Blackheads on your nose?

The Muse says skip the mask and go straight for the strips! You’ll thank me for it later!

And yes of course you get gratuitous idiot shots of the Muse wearing the mask…would I disappoint you?

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I feel like I should be saying “hey dude, surfs up man!” with this mask on my nose! I happen to have great ones of Jai too but sadly he won’t let me share them with anyone but his adoring public aka his boyfriend…le sigh….that just sucks as he looked way better in the mask than the Muse did!

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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…..

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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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