March 13th, 2015
Beauty inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, and our ears prick up when we hear whispers from the Far East of gorgeous new goodies. BB creams really opened the door to Asian-inspired products and brands, and the latest influx has us booking our flights. While the US has a jump-start on many of the most popular, fingers crossed that Europe isn’t far behind.
With Lisa Eldridge as the new Creative Director of Make-up, Lancôme’s launch of the Miracle Cushion Foundation (£29.50) makes a lot of sense. Clearly inspired by her trip to South Korea where she observed the rise of these new cushion format foundations, she brought the trend West with this light, weightless formula. The ‘cushion’ refers to a spongey surface covering a pool of this liquid base, which is only released when pressure is applied. It’s a handy, mess-free way of carrying around a liquid base, and we found the coverage to be a nice mix between a BB Cream and sheer coverage foundation. It comes with a deft little sponge applicator, and is surprisingly quick and easy to apply.
Italian brand KIKO were bang on trend too, bringing out their Generation Next spring collection which included a similar product in the form of their CC Cream Cushion System (£15.90). A lovely cooling formula, with a similar level of coverage to Lancôme’s, it gives a similar no make-up look and covers uneven skin tone nicely. If you’d like to try out the concept before investing in Lancôme’s refillable version with higher quality skincare ingredients, this KIKO offering is an excellent place to start.
We were also interested to see that they’d expanded this cushion formula to their Cool Touch Eyeshadows (£8.90). Eight shades of vivid colour, from neutrals to brights, are encapsulated in a similar compacted packaging to the CC cream. These high-sheen shadows come alive under fingertips rather than brushes, with the pressure allowing the unique water-based formula to activate. It feels cooling and smooth on the skin, and we loved how the inner transparent lid kept the colour and formula fresh.
Sheet masks are old news, but the new wave of them are jam-packed with high-performing skincare ingredients which elevate them above the cheap masks you can pick up on the high street. The Face Shop have one of the best ranges of these masks going, with everything from acai berry to hyaluronic acid-filled masks to radically improve skin’s appearance in less than an hour. The sachet packaging keeps things hygienic and handy – a stash of these in your kit will keep bad skin days at bay. Good skin is so important in Korean beauty, and they have all sorts of masks and creams on hand to help here. They also have a very affordable Rice Water Cleansing Oil (£8), if you’ve been inspired by our recent oil feature.
Speaking of skincare, tracking down some of Laneige’s moisture-rich products is now a lot easier since they began to be stocked in Target stores across the US. Harnessing Himalayan mountain waters, Laneige are the experts in deep hydration. Their Water Sleeping Mask is perhaps their most well-known product, but if you don’t have your client the night before a job, we recommend the Water Bank Moisture Cream. If you’re working with oilier skin, there’s also the Water Bank Gel Cream, and both deliver an immediate boost of hydration which promises to last up to 24 hours. Available in the UK here for £28.90.
For a Kawaii-eyed look, turn to Dollywink False Lashes (£10.90 for two sets) for fabulous anime-style lash look. As Japan’s best-selling false lashes they are ideal for stylised shoots or opening eyes up, creating a rounder shape rather than the westernised cat-eye shape, or Asian eye shapes, they’re a quick and easy was to jazz up a look.
The bold brow look is very much a Western trend, with Asian looks favouring a more naturally defined look. The Suqqu Liquid Eyebrow Pen (£20) is the perfect way to achieve a gently structured brow, with the ability to draw in tiny hairs with a lighter touch than a pencil. The shade range isn’t ideal, but if you’re near a Selfridges counter it is well worth a try.
Candy-coloured lips are huge in Asian make-up looks, compared to the Westernised smoky eye. The brighter the better, though if you’re looking for a gentler take on highlighter-pink lips, you might prefer the new Volupte Tint-in-Oil from YSL (£23.50). Providing hydration and a lasting sweet tint, it’s not an overwhelming colour to scare off clients.