Japan Beauty Haul – Drugstore Edition

So there is more. Several posts ago, I talked about the high-end beauty products I purchased from my Tokyo. Of course, I didn’t just raid the luxury beauty stands because Japan has some of the best drugstore makeup I have ever tried. I think that if you only purchased makeup from a Japanese drugstore, you would be very happy with the quality. Before I went to Tokyo, I had already made of list of drugstore makeup products I wanted to try using a Japanese makeup review site, called Cosme. To be surprise, they actually had a Cosme store, where they sold all the best ranked beauty products. Don’t even ask how much I spent there!

Visée Lip & Cheek

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Like many beauty brands in Japan, they are usually part of one of the bigger companies in the Japan beauty market. After some research on their website, I found that Visée is a part of Kosé, which also owns other renowned Japanese brands, like Jill Stuart and Decorté. Visée’s target market is actually young adults, which at the drugstore price point, I can see that. However, I have really enjoyed everything I have tried, so I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a teen line. I guess, since the brand concept is to create trendy makeup for a more mature, and glamorous look, the more wearable colours can suit anybody. I chose to get this Lip & Cheek because I see that it often places in the Top 10 of Japan’s cosmetic ranking site, Cosme. Unlike Jill Stuart, the packaging is black and almost has a gothic feel.

Calypso Magic Concealer

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One of the most exciting aspects of travelling is discovering new places and experiences. When it comes to beauty shopping, the most exciting thing is discovering a new beauty item with endless potential. For me, that would be this Calypso Magic Concealer. In the Cosme Store, it was rated in the Top 3 for best concealer. I had to get it, not only because it was such value, but I was hoping that this concealer would be the one! The concealer that will truly hide those dark circles and not emphasize those fine lines. As I did more research, I am guessing this product might be from a smaller brand as I can’t even locate their website. From their packaging, I know that it has won a lot of beauty awards. There are literally 5 stickers indicating the awards they have won. This concealer is supposed to address uneven skincare texture due to acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and pores. It also helps to even out dark under eye circles. It comes in two colours: salmon beige and pink beige.

Excel Powder & Pencil Eyebrow


Ever discover a new beauty product and wonder how someone didn’t come up with this before. For me, that would be the New Born W Brow EX. I bought this product on a whim and I have loved it since. It is a 3-in-1 product that includes a brow pencil, brow powder, and spoolie brush. The brow pencil gives you definition while the powder is great for filling in the front end of your brow and filling in gaps in your brows. Plus, it is pigmented and stays put for most of the day. So when I spotted a similar pencil made by Excel, I had to purchase it to perhaps do a comparison later on. I mean that packaging is exactly the same except for the colour. Later on, I did find out both companies belong to a beauty brand called SANA so I guess they are just using the same packaging. However, I did manage to swatch the Excel one in-store and I feel like it is more on the waxier side, which is bit more similar to the cult-classic Shu Uemura Hard 9 formula. Stay tuned for my comparison!

I have a lot more to share, so I have been slowly documented my haul on my Instagram. You can check it out if you are interested.

Current Japanese Eyebrow Products Review


I’d like to say that I had a particular use for each of the brow products I review below, but honestly, I just like to switch up things daily for variety’s sake. I mean, maybe with certain more smokier eye looks, I prefer a darker and more pronounced brow. In that case, I would use the SANA New Born W Brow EX. Vice versa, when I want a more natural look, I would often use the Shu Uemura Hard Formula eyebrow pencil.  All I know is that I love to do my brows and filling them in each morning brings me great joy. It wasn’t always like this though. In fact, I never used to fill in my brows because I assumed that since I was blessed with pretty full brows, I didn’t have to. However, since I have started to shape and fill them, I have really noticed how made-up brows can polish and complete a makeup look.

SANA New Born W Brow EX

SANA is a Japanese cosmetics brand I had only known through their skincare. I didn’t know they made makeup till I randomly picked up their New Born W Brow EX eyebrow pencil at my local Japanese beauty store. This product is unique in that it is a 3-in-one eyebrow pencil. The barrel holds a brow powder, brush, and pencil.

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The brow pencil lead is an oval shape which is great for precisely shaping your brow. I feel the pencil is as they claimed, not too hard or too soft. Secondly, when you twist the pencil, you will find a brow powder in the middle section of the barrel. It comes with a pointed sponge that grabs the powder inside the pencil every time you twist it open. The powder is perfect for applying on the front on your brow to make it look less harsh. Lastly, the spoolie at the other end works great at smoothing the hairs down and blurring the edges of the brow so it looks more natural.

VERDICT: Honestly, I had no expectations for this product when I bought it. However, I am blown away at how good it is for a drugstore product. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since I love so many drugstore beauty products from Japan. I feel the pencil, powder, and brush really combine well together to create a pigmented, well-defined, but natural brow look. Furthermore, it lasts most of the day with a only a little bit of fading.

KISS New York Eyebrow Stamp 

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Yes, I tried the infamous eyebrow stamp and I don’t think it is totally that gimmicky once you get the hang of it. This was actually a gift from my sister-in-law who lives in Taiwan. Apparently, she told me it was super popular there. It says New York on the outside of the packaging, but the product has Japanese words on the back. I am guessing this is the Japanese version of the original one from the United States. There are two versions of this brow stamp. One stamp that gives a straighter brow and the other, a more arched brow. I have the arched one in the Dark Brown shade.

So how does it work? Well, there are two brow-shaped stamps, one for each brow, and then when you open up the bottom, there is brow powder. After you stamp the brow powder, you are supposed to somehow stamp it onto your brow accurately and precisely. Sounds totally impossible and it is definitely a bit challenging in the beginning. To be honest, I still miss stamping parts of my brow even today because not everyone’s brow will fit the shape of the stamp. However, after some practice slowing stamping the front of the brow first, and rolling it back from the end, I do end up getting the powder on the whole brow. If the stamp misses your brow, you can sweep the powder away with your fingers or a cotton swab. Then, I usually brush the front section with a spoolie to make it look a bit more natural.

VERDICT: Can you really just stamp and go? Well, you can, but it is not as fast as you might expect. I mean, it can be a bit faster than a brow pencil with some practice. The brow look it gives is pigmented and defined. I wouldn’t say it has the precision of a brow pencil though. The longevity is so-so. It will look pretty good for about 4-6 hours. By the end of an 8 hour work day though, the front and the ends of the brow have mostly disappeared. My other concern is that it is difficult to clean and since the foam stamp is so thin, it might not hold up for long term use.

Shu Uemura Hard Formula

I have been a longtime user of the classic Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil and probably will always have one in my collection. Other than having to sharpen it, it is probably still my favourite eyebrow pencil. First of all, it just lasts forever compared to other pencils. I have re-sharpened and used my pencil almost daily and it is still going strong after a year. Secondly, you can never go overboard with this pencil because it only magically releases pigmentation when it hits the oils in your eyebrow hairs. Thirdly, it claims to be smudge-proof and long-lasting and I feel it really is. Other than the sharpening hassle, the only reason you might not like this pencil is that the pigmentation is not strong enough for you. If you want “Instagram brows,” this might not be the pencil for you.

VERDICT: What can I say. It is still my favourite after all these years. I will always have one in my back up somewhere in my collection.

What are your favourite brow products? I always searching for new ones to try.

Summer-Proof Makeup


Most makeup doesn’t stay on me that well all year round, but when it comes to summertime, it gets even worst.  There is nothing more frustrating then putting on a beautiful face of makeup in the morning and having it turn into a makeup meltdown by the afternoon.  This summer, I have been experimenting with a few items that have become my daily beauty essentials to keep makeup from sliding off my face.

J. One Jelly Pack

This has been one of those products that have been a mystery to me for a while.  Everyone who loves it talks about its miraculous ability to firm and keep makeup on all day.  For a while, I think I just didn’t quite get the knack of it.  It is super sticky, and for a while, I would just use a little and tap it in.  I just felt like it really didn’t do too much though.

Known as the “corset mask,” it can be used as a one-step skincare routine.  Containing hyaluronic acid and fullerene, it is supposed to be moisturizing and brighten your complexion at the same time.  It’s most known for creating a smooth canvas for makeup through its firming effect and extending the life of your makeup through its “grippy” texture.

So what changed for me?  I guess, I didn’t want to give up on it, so I tried different applications.  The method that has worked for me most is to apply it in small amounts and rub it in till it absorbs into the skin.  Then, I apply my sunscreen and foundation over it.  I’m not sure if it is just summer time, but I really notice the notice the difference when I don’t wear it.  It keeps my makeup on all day even if I get a bit sweaty and I find the firming effect more noticeable.  If you have tried it, I would love to know your experiences and if you have tips with regards to its application.

Dolly Wink Eyebrow Coat

Like many others who are into anti-aging skincare, I often wear a hat when it is sunny outside.  I find that in the summer time, it is even more difficult to keep your brows looking filled in and groomed all day.  Putting my hat on and off and just generally sweating will cause the colour to fade on my eyebrows.  So to prevent this from happening, I have been experimenting with Dolly Wink’s Eyebrow Coat.

Different from most brow gels, it comes packaged like a nail polish.  Using the brush, you can apply a thick coat of the sticky clear liquid to almost seal your eyebrow.  Alternatively, you can just apply a little bit and brush it through with an spoolie.  I much prefer the second method as it looks more natural.

So how does it work?  Applied thickly, it is almost like glue and your brows don’t come off till you want them off.  Applied sparingly, it keeps your brow hairs and brow colour in place most of the day without looking too “crispy.”

Naturaglacé Marshmallow Powder

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I used to never understand the need for powder in my makeup routine.  As I am almost 40, I am always trying to make more skin look more moisturized and dewy.  I don’t think I have purchased a powder in years.  The last one I remember having was the cult favourite Laurier Mercier Powder. So I actually got this particular powder as part of a set, and just have the deluxe size.

This powder is from a natural beauty brand from Japan called Naturglacé, which I am obsessed with.  From their website in Japanese using Google Translate, this powder is transparent, but is supposed to give your skin a radiant glow.  Like most powders, it helps to control oil and prevent makeup from fading as quickly.

This sounds obvious, but powdering really makes your makeup last longer.  However, I think a good one, not only controls oil, but also helps blur imperfections and should not leave your skin matte and cakey.  This powder definitely like that.  Plus, I also love using the puff to press in the powder to preventing creasing under the eyes.  Who knew?  I’m in love with powder!

If you have any great eyebrow gels or powders to recommend, I would to love to know since I am quite a newbie using these type of products.

Aritaum Style Pop Brow Auto Pencil: How Does it Compare to Shu Uemura?


Like many beauty lovers, I have been a die-hard fan of the Shu Uemura Eyebrow Pencil (Hard Formula) for many years.  I really haven’t “cheated” on it for a long time to try other eyebrow pencils.  However, since the Korean beauty store Aritaum opened up in my area, I can’t help buying something every time I go in.  Last time, I bought the Aritaum Full Cover Stick Concealer, and this time I came out with their Style Pop Brow Auto Pencil.  So how did it compare to my beloved Shu Uemura Eyebrow Pencil?

Both eyebrow pencils come in 5 to 6 shades.  The big difference between these two pencils is the price.  The Aritaum one is under $10 USD and the Shu Uemura one costs twice as much.  So how is that in relation to how much product you get?  With the Shu Uemura pencil, you get 4 g of product compared to the 0.2 g you get with the Aritaum one.  Value-wise, the Shu Uemura pencil wins although it costs more up front.  However, the Aritaum pencil does have a spoolie on the other end, which might be an extra consideration for you.


I am Asian and have completely black brows.  I have really been loving using grey-toned eyebrow pencils the last few years.  In Shu Uemura, I am using colour #5 Stone Grey.  Likewise in the Aritaum pencil, I got it in colour #4 which is a cooler grey.  I think both colours suit me well. However, the bit of warmth in the Shu Uemura pencil suits my warm skin tone a tad better.

So how do they both look?  I seriously think there is some voodoo magic in that Shu Uemura pencil. Since the product only adheres to the oils in the eyebrow, it is very hard to go overboard and the end result is so natural.  With the Aritaum pencil, it is a bit less waxy and definitely comes on more pigmented.  Thus, the end result is more defined.  I really enjoy the chiseled triangular tip of the Aritaum pencil because it is really easy to create a straight edge on the top and bottom of the brow.  Lastly, longevity-wise, they both last throughout day.  I didn’t have problems with fading or them rubbing off.

VERDICT:  I might still prefer the Shu Uemura pencil a little more because I enjoy a more natural brow and you get more value-wise.  However, the Aritaum is great for the price and will give you a gorgeous, pigmented, and chiseled brow.  I have been using it quite a bit on a day to day basis.