I was in Japan about a month ago and I spent one morning at the Shu Uemura store in Omotesando Hills taking a makeup atelier lesson. Omotesando Hills is their head office and it is the only store that offers lessons. Lessons need to be booked in advance and their schedule is posted on their Japanese website. You can choose between the Basic Technique Lesson which costs ¥12,600 for 100 minutes or a Personal Makeup Lesson, which costs ¥5,250 for 50 minutes. I figured I needed all the help I could get, so I went for the first one. =P
First things first - all the instructions were given in JAPANESE. They do not offer lessons in English. If you're like me and don't know enough Japanese to keep up with simple conversations, then I suggest bringing someone along who can translate for you. Just let the staff know when you are booking your lesson and they will be able to accommodate you. They were actually really nice about it.
At the start of the lesson, they first give you their Private Lesson Note(book). On the first page, it breaks down the lesson plan:
- Counseling · Skin Care (20 min)
- Makeup Technique Lesson (70 min)
• Base Makeup
• Eye Makeup
• Cheek Makeup
• Lip Makeup
- Reaffirm Technique Points (10 min)
While it is a basic lesson, it does cover a lot. It's impossible to remember all the details. However, it is a one-on-one lesson, so you can take your time going through all the steps. The staff member teaching the lesson will show you how to apply makeup on one side of your face, while you put the makeup on the other half yourself. I'll try to give highlights of the lesson.
First, the skin care section is very important. What they recommend using is their Skin Purifier, which is essentially a cleansing oil. Always follow through with a toner and a moisturizer before applying any makeup. After basic skin care, it's important to follow the steps in putting on the base makeup, starting with the primer, then foundation, followed by face powder. They are very meticulous in the order in which you apply the makeup. First, they highly recommend using one of their pentagon sponges to apply the primer and foundation.
These are good to use especially around the nose. A pack of 4 costs $5 USD.
The order is as follows:
- Cheeks - downward direction starting from the nose towards the chin.
- Chin - upwards from the base of your chin to your lips.
- Nose - downwards from the top of your nose.
- Forehead - start in the centre and move towards the sides. (Repeat twice for both sides).
- Eyes - Eyelids first from the nose towards the side. Repeat for the bottom.
- Neck - Smooth out makeup so it appears seamless.
One trick I learned is to always pat extra foundation on your cheekbones. The foundation should always be the thickest there. It allows your cheekbones to stand out and makes your face appear less flat.
Last step to the base makeup is to apply concealer, then powder your face with a puff. The ones at Shu Uemura are called Face Powder Sheer Puffs and they look like circular pads.
As for the rest of the lesson, it's a little too complex to explain. Follow on with eye makeup, then move onto eyebrows. Cheeks are next, then leave your lips last. You can always add a bit of highlights on your eyes at the very end.
The great thing about the lesson is, aside from keeping the notebook with all the instructions, they also write down all the products you used, including all the shades suited for your skin. At the end of the lesson they take a couple of photos for you to include in the notebook. One thing that surprised me was, while I paid the full price for the lesson (¥12,600), they only charged me ¥5,400 for the lesson itself. The rest of the money was put towards products that I got for "free". This included a bottle of the cleansing oil, a set of four sponges, a face powder sheer puff, and a cream eye shadow. Because I also 'bought' the cleansing oil, which is part of their limited edition Aya Takano series for Christmas, I also got a makeup bag for free! ^_^
Moving onto some of the products I mentioned. First, the Skin Purifier. They have a couple lines listed on their website, but this one is called their high performance balancing cleansing oil of advanced formula. This bottle is from the limited edition Aya Takano series.
These are the steps they list on their website on how to use it:
- Use 3-4 pumps of cleansing oil on dry hands.
- Spread gently and thoroughly over dry face.
- Add a few drops of lukewarm water to face to emulsify. (Oil will turn milky white).
- Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Follow through with toning water and moisturizer.
I've been using it for a month after coming back from Asia and I've noticed a huge difference in my skin. I highly recommend using it as part of your early morning routine. It costs about $30 USD for a 150mL bottle. It's good for all skin types and one bottle can last a long time.
Secondly, their primer is called UV Under Base Mousse. This one retails for $35 USD. Mousse bases are a lot lighter than liquid or cream types, so it doesn't clog your skin but still gives great coverage. It comes in two shades, Pink & Beige. I didn't see Pink listed on the North American site, but Beige was recommended to me because it's more natural looking. Pink will make your face more rosy and feminine. It's really a matter of preference.
Other things I bought included their concealer, illuminating foundation, and also their eyebrow manicure. I only bought the eyebrow manicure (which is essentially like a mascara brush) because I recently dyed my hair, so it helps to match the colour. Otherwise, just using a regular eyebrow pencil will be sufficient.
My entire bill at the store came to ¥27,405. It may sound pricey, but it was quite reasonable considering all the stuff they threw in. Plus it's always better to buy the products when they're still fresh in your mind. If anyone is interested in reading the details of the lesson plan, I can scan the notebook and email it as a PDF. The instructions are in Japanese, but it does includes images. Just make sure you keep it to yourself and don't repost anything. I hope this entry was helpful! =)
(BTW, if I tagged this wrong please correct me.)
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