Friday, November 10, 2017

Shu Uemura X Super Mario Brothers Holiday Collection – Review & Swatches

Super Mario Brothers was one of the first video games I played as a kid. I can still remember my family gathered in the living room with the Christmas tree glowing in the background as we took turns manoeuvring the joystick to rescue Princess Peach. This season Shu Uemura and Mario will take you on a beauty adventure to fight off the evil Bowser with powerful cleansing oils and colorful makeup.

The limited edition Cleansing Oil Shampoo ($56.00) is suitable for all hair types (including color treated) and cleans thoroughly with a light, paraben-free lather. It balances the scalp by eliminating build-up, greasiness, and impurities while boosting radiance for a “unique airy touch.”  The nourishing blend of botanicals, oils and fruit extracts seem to counteract the sulfates so hair feels sleek and fresh without brittleness. I personally like the strong fragrance because it makes my hair smell amazing for days!

Essence Absolu is infused with Camellia Oil ($69.00) and can be used as a pre-shampoo moisture treatment or a rejuvenating leave-in to help reduce frizz, flyaways, dryness and UV damage. The texture feels very glossy and creates shine but a little goes a long way so don’t overdo it. I usually apply the oil to damp hair prior to heat styling for extra softness and manageability. It also helps repair and improve the look of damaged ends.

The Super Mario Master Wax ($42.00) is a styling paste that offers powerful hold with no greasiness. The formula is very thick (similar to a deep conditioner) and the gummy texture binds hair together to retain shape. I prefer to use it when my hair is curly rather than straight to keep my spirals well formed and frizz-free.

The Cleansing Oil Conditioner ($65.00) is gentle and formulated for all hair types. The smooth gel texture creates nice slip which makes it easy to comb through and detangle. It coats each strand in quenching moisture and makes my tresses feel sleek and soft. Sometimes I mix it into my deep conditioner because the aroma is fabulous!

After a long, hectic day, the first thing I do is remove my makeup to de-clog my pores and prevent breakouts. The Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil ($49.00) is composed of 8 botanicals that deliver amazing skin benefits. It also loosens and emulsifies stubborn makeup while moisturizing and eliminating impurities. You can massage it in with your fingers and simply remove the residue with a cotton pad but since I wear a lot of makeup, I usually apply some to a cleansing cloth and wipe clean before using a face wash.

The Peach’s Eye & Cheek Palette ($125.00) is super cute! You get 6 shimmery shadows in a range of pretty shades and each color trio compliments the blush underneath.

I love how the pigments are coordinated and grouped. The pinks and purples are soft and illuminating while the vibrant orange looks amazing against the deep bronzy plum. I don’t care much for the yellow since the finish is quite sheer and a little more glittery than the others but overall the pigmentation is buildable and silky (especially with a good primer). The blushes are a little too basic for my taste. I like the orange but both shades could use a stronger punch of color and saturation. Something in the berry and deep coral range would have been nice.

The Fresh Cushion Blush ($45.00) is available in 2 shades – Dreamy Mauve and Brave Amber (the color below). I can’t decide how I feel about cushion blushes, they feel a bit wet and the sponge doesn’t seem to have as much actual product as pressed formulas but this texture is light and easy to apply. Unfortunately the pigment blends right into my skin tone and completely disappears so it may work better on fair complexions.

There are a few great lip products in this collection but the Tint In Balm ($36.00) drenches skin in buttery moisture and rich color for comfort, dryness protection and extra poutiness.  Although the pigment is classified as a “tint” the beautiful berry tone is highly saturated with a touch of juicy shine. The consistency feels like a gloss - balm - lipstick combo, very smooth and nourishing but once you click it up in the tube you can’t retract it back in (bit of a bummer).

The Drawing Pencils ($28.00) are described as multipurpose eye shadow liners inspired by Princess Peach’s iconic dress. You can apply the soft, creamy crayons all over the lids or along the lash lines and the long-wear formula resists fading extremely well. My favorite shade is Light Orange which is actually more of a shimmery gold. Unlike many loose or pressed shadows these shades don’t transfer from lid to crease, they stay put all day and have great color payoff. The pencils are also very easy to work with, simply swipe the color on (they actually look more like shadows than eyeliner) and blend for fantastic coverage.

Shu Uemura always has the cutest packaging and the Rouge Unlimited Supreme Matte Lipsticks ($36.00) are adorable! The sheer pink tubes display different characters from the video game and the colors are very stylish.

If you need a statement red for upcoming holiday parties, 187 is luscious and very Hollywood glam. For neutral lovers, 375 is a subtle nude-mauve-pink that looks great on everyone! The formula is hydrating, light and supple to prevent dryness and the color glides on smooth and ultra pigmented – pretty much everything you could want in a good matte lipstick.

Swatches: Lipstick & Tint In Balm

Shu Uemura is available at Sephora, Hudson’s Bay and online at

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