Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Japanese Iris: SUQQU Blend Color Eyeshadow in no.16 Hanashoubu

I've been lemming after SUQQU eyeshadow quads for about two years now, thanks to all the enticing posts by Kate at Drivel About Frivol, Bellyhead at Wondegondigo, Sara at Color Me Loud and Liz at So Lonely in Gorgeous. Alas, they're not easy to come by in the US: you either have to pay extortionate shipping fees to have them delivered from Selfridges in the UK, or swallow the mark-up and order from Ichibankao.
I was pretty reluctant to part with around $70 (¥8800 for a 0.14 oz/ 4.2 g quad on Ichibankao, £45 at Selfridges) and then worry about my parcel being held in customs on top of that, as per Claire's DHL horror story, so when Mr travelled to London recently for a work trip, I had him trek to the Oxford Street Selfridges himself to purchase a quad for me in person. I doubt he was very happy about it, but he was a trooper.
You can tell right from the packaging that Suqqu is a very luxurious brand: the minimalist matte black box, the velvet pouch, the impressive weight of a reflective black compact, opened by pushing a button. There's also a reasonable size mirror inside, and the four eyeshadows are accompanied by a sponge tip and a brush tip applicators.
For my virginal Suqqu purchase, I opted for Blend Color Eyeshadow no. 16 Hanashoubu - my rudimentary research reveals that this means (Japanese) iris, the quad being undoubtedly named after the beautiful neutral purple shade in the bottom left corner (this is called a 'deep color' in Suqqu terminology). From online swatches, Hanashoubu quad seemed like the most cool-toned in the permanent line, and that's my preference for my fair complexion with cool undertones.
However, when I opened the compact and had a little swatchfest with the shadows, it turned out that Hanashoubu isn't all that cool-toned, at least on my skin. The 'Light Color' in the upper left corner is a very pale yellow ivory shimmer, the 'Arrange Color' on the upper right is a satin warm tan shade, the 'Deep Color', a very subtle iris purple shimmer pulls a bit plummy on me, and truly, only the 'Veil Color' on the bottom right is a very pale silvery pink shimmer.
I'll be honest with you: after swatching these shadows and playing with them on my eyes for a couple days, I don't get the 'Suqqu magic'. Sure, they're nice shadows - while both of the lighter shades aren't terribly pigmented (which is expected at least from the pale pink veil shade), the tan and the purple have a bit of punch to them. Yes, the texture is smooth and buttery, although I did experience some issues when blending out the purple shade over NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base.
I was however under the impression that Suqqu shadows are supposed to be packed full of beautifully understated but complex shimmer. Except... Hanashoubu is not. The darker shades (tan & purple) are more of a satin finish, and the two lighter shades are shimmery, but in a very straightforward way - I can't see any rainbows or multicolor opalescence in them.
For my first look, I applied the pale yellow on the lid (this took several layers to build up the intensity), pale pink in the inner corners, tan brown in the crease and the iris purple on the lower lashline and the very outer corner. I mean... pretty, but not exactly magical.
For the second look, I attempted to use a layering technique championed by the Belly. I applied purple all over the lid and along the lower lashline, and topped it with the pale pink veil shimmer. That gave it some shimmery oomph but also slightly desaturated the depth of that purple - which I guess is not a bad thing for daytime. I blended the purple out with the tan brown shade in the crease, and used the light ivory in my inner corners - that turned out to be more brightening that using the veil shade alone around the tearduct. I liked this look more than the first one, but it still failed to absolutely wow me - for a similar but more dimensional purpley/ plummy eye, I much prefer the look of Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird on my eyelids.

So yeah, I don't know - Suqqu veterans, what am I missing here? Where's my subtle but mesmerizing shimmer? Is it just a fluke that Hanashoubu isn't terribly complex? Please tell me. Because as of right now, I'm not in love - and I so wished to be :(

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  1. OOOO what a pretty quad on you! I am always on the fence when it comes to SUQQU eyeshadows (I haven't tried any). On the one hand, I have so many blog friends who do amazing looks with them. On the other, none of them ever seems like something that's made for me. Who knows tho? Maybe some day I'll finally get one!

    1. Thank you Sunny! <3 Haha, yes, our Suqqu fanatics make those quads look absolutely amazing, don't they? I agree though that for me too it was difficult choosing that must-have quad, it seems that their eyeshadows lean very warm, especially in those very neutral palettes.

  2. Yeah, see I never got the whole Suqqu thing either. I don't get so hung up and lemming for stuff anymore like I used to, but for some reason the brand just didn't appeal to me whenever I saw someone go gaga for it. And for me, I now refuse to buy something like this unless I can touch it, especially at the price point. This is why I have no Charlotte Tilbury. And also why I have no Tom Ford Eyeshadows-I have touched those and don't get why people like them, so I've never bought one.
    This does look pretty on you though!

    1. Hahah, Trakee, I was definitely lemming after these Suqqu quads for a LOOONG time, and if nothing else, I'm glad to get that crossed off my list of things I really wanted to try. Lately though, I feel that a lot of those highly anticipated products let me down in the end - am I expecting too much? More and more often now, when I see a product being incredibly hyped up, I can immediately think of something very similar in my stash already. Which is really good for my wallet and minimalist tendencies, but takes away some of the fun, I guess.

      I actually really liked Charlotte's eyeshadows when I played with them last year! Haven't pulled the trigger yet though. I don't think I've ever swatched a Tom Ford quad, they're just sooo $$$.

  3. (sorry, hope this is not a duplicate comment, I had a problem with the comment box!)
    dearest Monika! How beautiful you look, especially in the first placement. You have a wonderful way with the appliation!! The Hanashoubu parpahl is very beautiful, but I think it's the only thing going for it in this quad. The two pale shades don't really show up on my skin (though it shows a up more on your paler skin) and so this quad acts more like a duo with the brown. I think this quad is less typical than some of the others where there is a third color that usually also adds further color and texture (4th is usually some base/priming shade).

    I think you are experiencing the very typical response of expecting magic, but experiencing... "hmm, ok, but THAT's it?" And when I got my first quad some years back, I was also similarly underwhelmed. That magic I experience now is that the pretty complexity isn't always visible in most lights, but glints on some occasions. There's a level of sheerness that allows for that layering effect that I like AND also super important to me, that it looks so nice on my skin. Rouge Bunny Rouge, another big favorite of mine for eye shadows, in their shimmer formulas is almost like the exact opposite of suqqu in that they pack the pigmentation and have a rich unctuousness as well as very apparent shimmer.

    I think these are the kind of some things you grow to like (or not). I wish it blew away your expectations out of the box for you though!

    1. Belly, so sorry about the issues with commenting on Blogger, but unfortunately, turns out Blogger users now can't switch to Disqus without losing all of the existing comments :/

      You know what, your comment makes me feel a bit better - I guess I just chose a quad that didn't have a lot of those magickal properties :/ I agree that the purple shade is very pretty, but I think I could easily dupe the remaining three with other shadows from my collection.

      Haha, I tried looking at Hanashoubu in all the different lights and angles and still couldn't see the beautiful dimension :) I guess I wasn't really bummed about them not being crazy pigmented, metallic and what not (I'm a bit over those super intense shadows for everyday wear too...), but I was looking for the complexity. But you know what, maybe this quad, together with some RBR shimmers, would actually make for a spot on level of sparkle for me.

      Thank you for the feedback, dear! <3

    2. Looking at your photos again, really that first look you did is really truly beautiful on you. I think Hanashoubu has its own special magic, and the brown + purple combination is particularly lovely. As Claire mentioned below, a lot of the appeal for me is also the weird color combinations that somehow coalesce into something pretty! You totally show it in your looks.

  4. I bought two suqqu palettes when I had a moment of stroke and I have a feeling I will be underwhelmed just like you. I just don't expect them to be 2x better than Lunasol (as it's twice as expensive)...Anyway, I will see how it goes...

    Actually, as much as I love reading kate's post, I never get tempted by her suqqu posts (because I attribute everything to her skill and pretty features).

  5. Monika, that quad actually looks v. pretty on you! I can understand your feeling -- I think this is probably why I have not pulled the trigger on Suqqu either. From my observation thus far, the magical quality comes from an understated look paired with unusual color combination, at least this is what I've noticed again and again in Suqqu quads, again without an actual access to one. E.g. I probably won't pair tan and purple but yet this quad somehow makes it happen and it harmonizes beautifully! There are a couple quads that I thought has that magical shimmer, Yukiichigo is one of them (but I think this is LE?) Maybe someday if I can access Suqqu in person, that may change my opinion.

    The Japanese shadows I've tried thus far are very.. understated and not so in-your-face compared to Western counterpart; Maquillage and Lunasol are like that. They do have shimmer, even micro glitter if you will, but the base is usually very transparent compared to say TF or other. Perhaps it is more in line with the Japanese aesthetic of beauty. Not to mention that now many Japanese magazines features Western products from Dior, MAC, Chanel alike.

    Maybe Belly is right, maybe Suqqu is an acquired taste... I love this on you though!

  6. Actually I think your looks are fantastic and the shadows do have an ethereal quality to them. Personally I don't lust after Suqqu or Tom Ford type stuff either but I certainly don't blame you for seizing an opportunity!

  7. Hi Monika, I know exactly what you mean. I was so curious about Suqqu from all the beautiful reviews and pictures, and also their brushes because Lisa Eldridge seems to love them. I bought one of their gorgeous LE palette a while back, Sumiredama, and I wasn't wow-ed. I guess with high expectations come bigger disappointments. So I wonder if it's because I expected it to be unicorns of makeup... but in the end, I just decided that the palettes just do not justify the $$. So that was my ONLY Suqqu makeup and after that, none of the Suqqus appeal to me anymore.
    This post also reminded me that I should dig out the palette and use it again. If it still doesn't tickle my fancy, I'm going to have to let it go. One of the most expensive palettes I own, and also one of the most underwhelming. Weird, isn't it? I expected myself to fall head over heels for it, but I didn't. LOL!
    Nonetheless, I love the way you wear this palette. It still looks gorgeous on you :-)

  8. Sometimes I feel like the more I look forward to a product and the more I know about it, the more I feel underwhelmed one I actually try it out. That makes me a feel a bit sad as it can be a risk when you read as many blogs as I do, but ultimately it's curbed me from spending as much as I used to so it isn't all bad. I just feel like now that I've tried so many things it takes a lot to impress me - does that sound bad? When I do fall in love with a product nowadays, I fall hard though <3

    As an aside, I actually love the first look on you - I think I might try to recreate the purple corners tomorrow with my Clarins palette from a few years ago! Love it when you play around with purples like that

  9. I agree, sometimes my high expectations lead to disappointment especially if the item is more costly than what I would usually spend. I love Suqqu eyeshadows, the coloration and textures are beautiful to me, but 16 is not one of my favorites, just not one of their better ones, IMO. I would say that 75% are hits, which is a pretty high percentage, though, so I keep on buying!