Art meets beauty with this Summer 2012 collaboration with Shu Uemura and modern kimono artist Mamechiyo, who has taken the fashion and art world by storm in Japan. This collection includes four cleansing oils and four under base mousses, each inspired by one of four cherished Japanese flowers- Fuji, Sakura, Botan and Ume, as well as a beautifully designed foundation case.
The Cleansing Oils
The packaging is the entire focus of this collection, as the individual products are a part of the permanent line, this collection features the beautiful designs by Mamechiyo on the product packaging. The boxes match the individual products, and each cleansing oil formulation features one of the different flower themes. The Cleansing Oils ($67 USD / $79 CAD to $81 USD / $89 CAD) and UV Underbase Mousses ($35 USD / $46 CAD, not shown here) share the same color themes inspired by flowers which I will describe individually. The bottles are very large, with a pump-top dispenser which works really well and closes tightly (I still would be scared to travel with them though). The added artwork to the bottles make them a bathroom vanity masterpiece!
All of the cleansing oils have a delicate floral scent, which at first I was turned off by because I’m not a fan of fragrance anywhere in facial skincare, but as I used them more and more, I realized that the scents were actually very pleasant! I enjoyed them after a while, and even began to look forward to the soothing aromas that they each had. I’m not the best with describing fragrances, but they are each really pretty (I’m a fan of floral scents in general) and soft.
If you look in my Back 2 MAC bag, you’ll find about 20 empty bottles of cleansing oil. I used to be a hardcore cleansing oil fan, and I have no idea why I stopped, but this collection re-ignited my love for it. They are all really incredible cleansing oils, each just as effective as the next in removing long-wearing makeup, waterproof mascara, dirt and oil in a single step. Cleansing oils sound scary, but from a scientific standpoint (we learn in Chemistry class that “like attracts like” which means that oils will attract oils, and then remove it from your skin when you wash it away), it makes perfect sense. They rinse away with no residue left over and my skin is incredible soft, soothed and not irritated at all.
The key is to massage the oil into your dry skin, and only when you feel all of the makeup and oil has been removed, then add water to emulsify and wash away (adding water too early or putting it on wet skin actually deactivates it’s cleansing power). No film, no residue, just perfectly clean and balanced skin left over. Each one of the cleansing oils has a separate long-term purpose as well:
- Fuji (Willowy wisteria): The long-living wisteria vine lends a meaning of endurance; holding its volume yet swaying in the wind. The design adorns the Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula, a cleansing oil meant to keep all skin types balanced and soothed. ($67 USD / $79 CAD)
- Sakura (Cherry blossom): Representing the ultimate image of Japan, these cherry blossoms mean ‘purity’ and ‘elegance’. The artwork envelops the Shu Uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil, a cleansing oil meant for deep cleansing of the pores for smooth, refined skin. This one was one of my favourites! ($67 USD / $79 CAD)
- Botan (Peony): the Peony is a strong metaphor for women’s natural beauty, meaning ‘magnificence’ and ‘nobel. This flower covers the Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/O Advanced Formula, which cleans delicate skin and moisturizes for anti-aging effects. ($81 USD / $89 CAD)
- Ume (Plum blossom): A flower of the plum tree, the Ume represents a fascinating beauty that endures throughout the severe winter. It also adorns the Shu Uemura Whitefficient Clear Brightening Gentle Cleansing Oil, one meant to remove impurities and leave skin looking less dull and more clarified. My favorite of them all (my skin looked so radiant)! ($81 USD / $89 CAD)
While I usually don’t comment on value in terms of the price point, because I feel that is a very subjective interpretation and it’s up to the individual to asses what is worth the price (I always state the price and amount of product in the Summary), I had to make a note. These bottles are extremely large, and as Shu Uemura is a luxury brand itself, it is to be expected that the cost of the products will be quite high. Please keep in mind that the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils contain 450mL of product for $79-$89 CAD (for a value of $0.18 – $0.20 CAD per mL). For reference, MAC Cleanse Off Oil contains 30mL of product for $12 CAD (for a value of $0.40 CAD per mL). So when it comes to value, the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils are actually less than half the price of MAC Cleanse Off Oil per mL.
The Foundation Case
The Foundation Compact Case ($13 USD / $19 CAD) is a re-fillable powder foundation case, which makes it a great investment if you’re a fan of the artwork, because it’s something you get to keep forever and re-use. Mamechiyo used different flowers and colors to represent different seasons, hoping to convey strength and positive energy. The compact fits the Shu Uemura Face Architect Glowing Enhancing Powder Foundation Refill. I’m a huge fan of refillable compacts, especially when the re-fills are sold without additional packaging… it’s better on the environment and usually some of the saved costs can be passed onto the customer.
It would have been nice to see a magnetic strip or some sort of securing mechanism to keep the powder in because if the case were to open during travel, the powder wouldn’t last long. The compact comes with a fresh, high-quality sponge sitting in a vented compartment inside. A large mirror sits in the upper inside lid, which is great for touch-ups or traveling.
- Price: $67 USD / $79 CAD to $81 USD / $89 CAD for 15.2oz / 450mL
- Availability: Holt Renfrew (May 2012)
- Overall: This collection has rekindled my love for cleansing oils! Not only are they super effective at removing makeup while leaving my skin soothed and calm, but these ones in particular are adorned with beautiful floral designs created by Mamechiyo, a celebrated Japanese kimono artist. The collection also includes a re-fillable foundation case, which has a beautiful design and sturdy feel, although I wish the makeup had a magnetic secure mechanism to keep it in the palette better.
- Rating: A+ (Cleansing Oils), A- (Foundation Compact Case)