Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Make-Up Review: Japonesque

Have you heard of Japonesque yet?  I hadn’t, until I was invited to go along to the launch of the Japonesque make-up counter at Cardiff’s John Lewis.  If a Japonesque counter hasn't opened at your local John Lewis yet, you can shop for the products online at the main John Lewis website.
The brand has been around for about 25 years, founded by an American model who visited Japan and always came home with a stash of kabuki brushes after visiting backstage at the Kabuki Theatres.  Since the foundation of creating professional tools, they’ve branched out into doing a colour range, and I was more than happy to put it to the test.
I got to meet lovely celebrity make-up artist Paul Herrington, who was providing the make-overs.  I gave him a vintage-with-a-twist briefing and couldn’t wait to see what he came up with – I don’t have a close-up, but I really loved the finished look, what do you all think?
Japonesque Paul Herrington

So, a bit more about the products, because that’s what you’ll really be interested in.
Price 4/5
This is one of the big plus points of this brand – affordable quality.  I’m a bit of a beauty snob sometimes, but I don’t always have the budget to fund these predilections.  Japonesque seems to be fitting into that little gap where you can have the best of both worlds.  Prices on the brushes are between £11 and £30, and the make-up is priced between £12 and £24.  So, it’s still a ‘grown-up’ price-range, but I do feel there’s big value for money there.
Packaging 4/5
It’s very pretty, and each one is completely unique!  Apparently artists drop coloured gel ink into the packaging as it comes off the production line, creating one-off patterns on each one before it’s sealed.  It’s not quite as glamorous as some of the gold packaging you see on brands like Besame and Estee Lauder, but I quite liked the arty feel of it.
The Range 3/5
It’s starting off with a more limited range – only two foundations, only 3 quad colour palettes for eyes, one type of lipstick – but hopefully that will expand once it gets going.  The colours that they have are a good basic start, that should appeal quite widely.  Not every skin tone is going to get a perfect match with the foundation colours – darker skintones in particular look a bit under-represented at the moment.
The Products 4/5
First of all, the brushes are good quality, as you would expect them to be given the history of providing them to the trade.  Paul said they were comparable to Mac and Bobbi Brown brushes, but are much more reasonably priced.  I haven’t purchased any of the brushes so I can’t comment on their use over an extended period of time, but on the day the brushes used were very good.

Paul put the 'Luminous' foundation on me, giving a light and very natural coverage.  It reminded me very much of Diorskin Nude but is a much more reasonable £24 compared to £32.  Those after a bit more coverage would be better off with Japonesque’s ‘Velvet’ foundation.

The eyeshadow palette used, Velvet Touch in Shade 3 (£24), was a really lovely set of pinky, browny colours – perhaps still a little bit sparkly for my vintage inclinations, but it did look very pretty.

I liked the Velvet Touch Finishing Powder (£20) in its universal shade.  It has a touch of yellow to it which is perfect for fair, pink-skinned faces like mine as it balances out the pink a little.
The Eye Defining Pencil (£12) available in black or brown is one of the better eye pencils I’ve tried recently – very smooth, no dragging.  Once dried, it’s water-resistant and shouldn’t budge.
For the lips, Paul chose a violent looking pink Pro Performance Lip Lacquer in S5 (£15), but my fears were ill-placed as instead of putting it on like a lacquer, to get that thick, highly pigmented look, he just dabbed on a little with his fingers, so that the finished look was much more subtle and matt – like a lip stain rather than a lacquer.
I had the makeover done at lunchtime, and checked my face a few hours later to see how the makeup was doing.  On the longevity side, the eyeshadow didn’t fare too well, as the colour had slipped off my eyelids and onto my cheeks.  I can’t say whether this is a reflection on the specific product, as whatever eyeshadow I wear, whether it’s 99p or £20, it will still be all over my cheeks in an hour or two if I haven’t used a primer on my lids first.  (See my Mac paintpot review here for a good primer option)  The foundation was good, it stood up to the rest of the day, including an evening of late-night Christmas shopping at St David’s, where the shops were hot.  I think where the powder was concerned, I just didn’t have enough on – Paul did a very light application, but I do tend to get an oily t-zone throughout the day and generally have to do touch-ups anyway.

Japonesque review

Overall 4/5
Overall I was incredibly pleased with the makeover, and the quality of the products impressed me, which is saying something because I am getting harder to please as the years go by!  Thank you Paul!
Finally, a huge thank you to Dowal Walker PR and Japonesque for asking little old me along to try out their lovely products, and for the very generous goody bag that I will certainly be making good use of – it included the finishing powder and the lip lacquer in a coral shade, that I will be sure to post a pic of when I get around to using it.

Have any of you tried out Japonesque yet?  I’d love to hear what you think!


  1. What a thoroughly detailed, wonderful post and introduction to this lovely sounding cosmetics brand. I vaguely feel like I've heard of it before, but can certainly say that I've never held any of their products in my hands before. I'll have to investigate their availability here in Canada.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Their brushes/tools have been a cult fave in the mua community for years! i absolutely adore them. i have also tried their foundations, which i did like, but i am hoping they increase the shade range. definitely recommended!x


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