Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TOP 10 | Best of J-Beauty Review



We continue Asia Week with a top ten edit, specifically for all those who have been waiting to hear about Japanese beauty exclusives! Narrowing down this list to just ten products was much more difficult than I imagined, but I truly believe this review will steer you in the right direction when shopping in Japan. I've spent an obscene amount of money on testing phenomenal, mediocre and even downright awful products since my first trip to Tokyo this year (in January), so I'm going to share what I've learned and highlight the most memorable of the lot. Get ready for J-Beauty heaven after the jump!



The Albion EXCIA Whitening Crystal Cocktail is one of Albion's best. It is an expensive serum, but it has a unique gel-based texture so it isn't runny. It has slowly but surely improved the look of redness from my healing acne scars while providing enough moisture to my travel-weary skin. Their EXCIA range is one the least perfumed brightening skin care lines I have ever encountered, and I also recommend the EXCIA essence cleanser to those with dry skin.
Do try their luxe cotton because it separates easily into five or six layers! It is perfect for three minute morning masks (aka mummy face) using their famed Skin Conditioner or any other essence in your stash. I plan to explore more Albion in the future, so please share your recommendations in the comments!


SK-II recently launched the Clear Beauty Enamel Radiant Cream Compact and Artisan Brush, and this is the best new foundation duo on the market. It covers acne scarring and smooths textural imperfections while managing to look like real skin without feeling heavy. I normally use the Facial Treatment Cream foundation, but this new formula has a velvety smooth finish that I'm addicted to. I use 420 in the Clear Beauty cream because I find that it has a more flattering yellow tone as opposed to my usual shade of 330, which has more red.


RMK's Creamy Gel Foundation is one of the best liquid foundations I have ever used, and I have to thank my friend Jessie in Singapore for the introduction. 002 is a perfect color match for me, not too yellow and not too pink. It is the only liquid foundation that lasts through intense tropical humidity. It does not clog my pores or make my skin look oily. It looks like real skin but with medium coverage! You know it's real love when I show it to you in such a battered and abused state. I need to purchase extra back-ups of this Creamy Gel Foundation when I stop through Narita or Haneda duty-free because even my mom (who gave up makeup) has this on her wish list now! I do not need to top with powder.


ADDICTION by Ayako eyeshadows are the some of the creamiest I have ever used. They are soft without kicking up too much dust. The color pay off is fairly consistent, medium across the board. I purchased 10 shades on my first trip and wear them frequently. The entire ADDICTION eyeshadow line was reformulated recently, so I purchased two custom palettes of twelve individual shades last month. I was in such a rush that I asked for one too many browns and left out the shimmery black that I had in mind. I also repurchased Mariage.. noob move! The bright side is that I now own it in both old (black) and new (clear) packaging.


I have come to love THREE skin care (namely their famed cleansing oil), but they make some of the best loose shimmer eyeshadows I have ever tried. They do not irritate my contacts and were formulated to sit on top of THREE's cream shadows. I first saw this brand in action at an event, where a Japanese celebrity makeup artist had a cart full of THREE. I was impressed when I saw the eyeshadows and lip glosses being applied because the products are so easy to apply and pair beautifully together. I think their makeup is highly underrated. I own a few lip glosses and picked up the THREE concealer palette on my last trip, so I will let you know if it's good!


SUQQU makes some of the best high coverage base makeup in my arsenal, but I had to include their Liquid Brow Pen in this edit. I believe this is the original and still the best. I own both shades. It makes naturally shaped brows an effortless task! I asked a SUQQU makeup artist to show me how she uses it. Instead of stroking motions to draw on hairs like I was accustomed to, she actually stabbed at my brow, filling in where my brow pencil had faded. I know it sounds frightening, but the SUQQU pen's brush is ultra soft and whisper light so it doesn't hurt at all. She kindly explained that the heavy pressure will yield more pigment, which is ideal when blending it into powder or gel brow formulas. Experiment and enjoy!


Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil is the world's most iconic eyebrow pencil, and it is a staple in both Japanese and Korean makeup artists' kits. Although it is available for purchase through the US website, you can only have it sharpened into the naginata samurai sword shape while at a Shu Uemura counter (not available at duty free). It costs a few dollars, but it is so so so worth it! On my next trip, I plan to purchase and hoard a stash of sharpened pencils because the shape makes such a big difference in color payoff. I'm constantly trying new eyebrow pencil formulas, but I always keep a Hard 9 on hand!


Maison Ladurée is best known for their delicious macarons, but their makeup is top-notch, too! The pressed powder blushes are offered in over twenty stunning colors, but I also like the adorable puff blushes for on-the-go application. I haven't tried the cream blushes, but those are on my wishlist for my next trip to Tokyo! The rose petal blush, which I own in the warm pink color, is lovely but more of a novelty/vanity piece than a practical makeup product.
The pressed cameos above are my favorite of the blushes offered because of the convenient mirrored compact and soft, useful brush. As expected with most premiere Japanese brands, the case (with brush) and refill (just the blush itself) must be purchased separately. I've tried lots of other Ladurée makeup including lips, brows and face powders, but I've only gone back for the blushes!


Now for a couple drugstore revelations. The fairly new Honeycé Shampoo and Conditioner is cheap and incredibly effective at reviving dry color processed hair. The fragrance is subtle and the formulas leave my hair silky soft. If you have frizzy hair, this Honeycé brand will become a must-have in your shower because it smooths and tames flyaways better than other high end hair care I've tried. It's also not drying on my sensitive scalp. It feels nourishing without making my roots flat and oily. My friend Grace in Singapore was raving about it, so I knew I had to try it! As much as I adore THREE hair care, I think Honeycé is "better" if you are judging by price. I brought home two refill packs on my last trip!


Maybelline's Waterproof Fashionista mascara is the only drugstore mascara that I have ever loved and even repurchased because it is that good. It is bulletproof. Most mascaras smudge on my eyes, but this doesn't move at all for twelve hours. I only wear one coat because I find that it can get a little flaky with two coats, but it can be layered with the Care + version for comfort. Note: there are extension fibers in these mascaras.

Please make sure to tune in daily for Asia Week! I have a pretty epic haul and so much other highly requested content coming your way. And without giving too much away, I may be holding an international giveaway soon.. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter! #asiaweekxraeview ♡
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12 comments:

  1. Snapchat viewer here! Great haul! I'm so intrigued by the SK-II compact and the Ladurée blushes. Suqqu sounds like such a lovely brand. Have you ever tried any of their other products? One day I'll finally order from Selfridges... Thanks for this review Rae!

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    1. Yes, I love SUQQU and I've tried just about everything! Other than their brow products, I love their duo blushes and their foundations and of course, their phenomenal Face + Cheek brushes. I've reviewed them here on this blog! I actually love them a lot more than I did when I wrote the review because my skin is so dry these days.

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  2. Albion Skin Conditioner is AH-MAZE-ING! i wish it were easier to get here in the US. really worth it!

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    1. I'm not a fan of the fragrance, but I see the appeal! I like the milkiness, totally different from SK-II FTE! I like both for quick morning masks :)

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  3. Hello I'm going to Tokyo in a couple of weeks so I'll definitely check out your recommendations. I love the milks from Albion, they make your skin so supple. But have you tried Three's foundations, I've been hearing a lot of good things about them.

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    1. I prefer RMK and SK-II foundations! I just posted a best of J-Beauty post if you want to know more!

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  4. hi Rae,
    i've been using Albion (the white crystal milk, skin con, and white innovation serum) for around 5 months and it gives me more result than SKII.
    however i find that it doesn't really help with scars or pigmetations
    but for me Albion is truly a skinsaver! u should really explore the line :D

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    1. That's great news! I think SK-II gives me far more tangible results, especially for the price, but everyone's skin is different! I'm definitely going to try more Albion in the future. Their products are great for moisture!

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  5. I've tried some of J-Beautiful before and I love them! But how could I get them in the US, especially the Laduree blush?

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    1. You can try third party sites, but I don't recommend it as they mark up the prices too much! The makeup is very expensive to begin with.

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  6. I must check that THREE loose eyeshadows out next time when I go to Tokyo!

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    1. Nobody ever talks about THREE eyeshadows, but I really love the execution of their loose concept! Have fun playing with them!

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