Friday, 16 April 2010

Battle of the Eyelash Curlers: Shu Uemura + Formal Introduction to Curlers

I guess like I normally do, I will start with my story. This introduction is in no way going to be encyclopedia-like (if that's what you're looking for), because Positively Nice is not Wikipedia, Google, nor Shu Uemura's official website.

I always still consider myself an infant of this adult world of cosmetics, 3 years is not a lot. Especially if you look back from 60, when you either have grown out of these stuff or using Estee Lauder, Guerlain, Elizabeth Arden and the likes.

So let's consider, what would you do when you want to get yourself your first eyelash curler? Having watched mummy doing that pinching action ever so often, and wondering if it hurts. "Stealing" mummy's weird and scary metal thing, and trying to try! lol. But just too scared to bring it onto your eyes.

Even my brothers goaded me into using it! They kept telling me, "Jo (Jo refers to me of course. haha. Jyoan, my moniker, is Japanese Katakana turned Romanji by me. I think many of you would have guessed my real name by now.), why don't you try curling your lashes?" haha. It is still a girl's thing, and there was just no way the boys would lay their itchy fingers on that thing.

That thing, an eyelash curler that is every lady's miracle invention, is also an oddly-shaped monster clip that intrigues little children. =)

So saying, little me (well, not so little, 19 and a quarter to be exact) had only one thing in mind when searching for my first curler. Logically, that is safety. I had to make sure something this strange wouldn't hurt me, right?

At that time, I already knew how to read forums, and the power of scouring the net. The only two results that popped up into my face was 1. Shu Uemura, 2. Shisedo. Eventually, I picked Shu because I got the idea that Shu would never ever pinch your lids, while Shisedo might, after all that reading.

It was a big plunge, and one of the heftiest investment made for a single item, as a newborn. $19 I think ($16 or $19?), for something so simple and you do not know will work or not. Just believe.

And so, there is my curler:

Perfect condition I would say. I just cleaned it too. =)

Cleaning tools.

Tip: Wipe your curler with dry tissue paper after every use. This is the first time I've cleaned it in 3 years, and I haven't once got infected because I clean off as much as I can every time. Don't use water unless you sun them because it may just corrode the metal.

For thorough cleaning, use a cotton bud dipped with just a teeny bit of eye makeup remover. I use Maybelline that I am now in love with. I do not recommend cleansing oil because it's icky. And if you use water to remove the oil, it means water. You want to use something like alcohol, like a disinfectant that you don't have to wipe off again (but not strong alcohols just in case it reacts. Something like methylated spirit or Septhanol (for ears piercing) would do, if you really, really are particular about this.

But I simply wipe all over with Maybelline, then use the other clean and dry side to dry it. That's it.

See, it's dirty. But just a bit if you have been diligently dry cleaning with tissue after each use.

Official Review

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

Available: All Shu Uemura counter (I got mine at the famous Tangs Beauty Hall)

Volume: 1 curler with 1 refill eyepad

Star Properties: Achieve the perfect curl with the iconic shu uemura eyelash curler, the tool adored by professional makeup artists and celebrities world-wide. choose from the emblematic original or the mini eyelash curler to accentuate even the smallest lashes. (Copied from the brand new Shop-Online website made specially for US market after Shu pulled out all counters there. Quite pretty, visit it here.)

I am not sure if it's tradition or it's because that was 3 years ago, but it came in a delicate paper box. Currently, Anna Sui, MUJI, and even drugstore curlers are better packaged than that.

The reason why I am particular about this is because I had re-used the box. I just can't bare to let something with screws and kinks sit barely in my cosmetic pouch. Feel that the parts will break or rust (if water should go in accidentally).

My paper box got soaked in rain one day and is now gone. I now let my curler (not Shu) sit firmly in the side pocket of my Etude House pouch. It is held in place and doesn't gets crushed by the other stuff, because the pouch is too full.

So you see, what happens to a paper box... ...

This is the first thing that I test for, because in a curler, you want to make sure that it sits nicely around your eyeball. This part is definitely not the same for everyone. So if Shu fits you, that's good, as it is indeed a good curler, despite the fact that it doesn't suits me.

Anyway, Shu is one of the least curved amongst all that I got. But my eyes are rather round and small.

This is the rough curvature. And the width is some 1.375 inches.

Since the length of my eyes are short, the Shu is actually quite a bit longer. This means that the two sidebars rest more on my eye socket (bone part), so the curler can't be placed any further in than that. Hence it will never curl my lashes as closely to the roots as I'd like. It's always a half-way curl for me.

Also, this means that it will not curl the lashes at the outer corner, since it sits on my bone, and doesn't goes onto the eyeball.

Extremely safe for me. I remember how I marveled at the way Shu never touches my lid. Now I realise that this is because of bad fit, not exactly because it is really safe.

Curling Power
Honestly, not very good. I always have to hold this and count 30 seconds exactly (which goes 1 thousand and 1, 1 thousand and 2 until 1 thousand and 30), before the curl shows up. I just tested it again (right now, before writing), so that I don't cheat you.

Before (Left), After (Right).

Curl Hold
Did the curling an hour ago. It's gone now. Okay, for this, I will be fair. I do not expect my lashes to hold up with curler alone, since it's not chemical treated. I would at least need a curling mascara to hold it, or any sort of mascara. But just reporting my experimental results as it is. I have no idea how the other curlers would fare, because I normally apply mascara right after curling, and haven't done this test yet.

Ease of Curl
This has got to do ergonomics, like handle design, got spring or no spring etc. Shu definitely belongs to the ultra old-school design since their iconic curler is well, iconic, historical, and old. That said, I will just say that the ease of curl for Shu is quite hard.

The rubber pad is really soft, so you get to go all the way in. This makes for good curling. BUT then, this means that you've got press and squeeze like crazy to exert maximum pressure on the lashes. I mean like crazy, because I count one-thousand-and-one to one-thousand-and-thirty. So you see, curling power affects user comfort, especially when the ease of curl is bad.

No Rubber Pads
In addition, this traditional curler does not have rubber padded finger holders. Imagine how painful that is to hold 30 seconds. It's easier to chop raw carrots than do this.

Just to record the length as well. Yep, no rubber pads on the finger slots.

Extra Feedback
I am glad to know that I am not the only freak around who is not as satisfied with Shu as the hype and raves claim you would be. So yes, this goes down on my list of "Don't believe the hype!". I'd say, do test before you buy. That's the only way to find out, because this thing is now a horrendous $32 as I read from a magazine.

At this price, I am very sure there are similar ones around that are cheaper, like Bobbi Brown, Anna Sui etc, and work better!! You really don't need a $32 curler.

My User Experience: 2.8/5
It does the job, though not how I'd like it. Yup, but it does the job. (Unlike the mini one.)

Has anyone used the new-improved version before? Apparently, from the US website, they say they've changed the ergonomics.


prettybeautiful.net said...

i used to like shu curler too, but now it is so expensive! and i found Stage's curler works better and cheaper too

Shahrul Shaharuddin said...

nice posting..:D
i found your blog from Mr presiden Nuffnang, Mr Tiah, cheers!

Nuffnanger Malaysia

Jyoan said...

Oh, Stage curler is one that works? I like the ads on magazines, but somehow I wasn't really attracted to Stage cosmetics when I walk in their shop. Am still taking note of online reviews for Stage products. Might just try them one day. =)

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