Kanebo - A Brand Introduction & Product Selection

Kanebo - A Brand Introduction & Product Selection

Kanebo is a giant Japanese cosmetics company which has several brands in its arsenal including Kate and Coffret D'Or.  And it recently (September of last year) relaunched the flagship brand Kanebo, with a tightly edited offering of skincare, base and color products.  Here's the brand website and you can get its sense of spare and elegant branding (English language website here).  They mention "passage of time" in their lifestyle concept verbiage, so I assume its a euphemistic way of referring to their target demographic of women of a certain age.  Which is super convenient, because I am definitely a part of that women that got old demographic.  And their makeup is "surpassing trends and times" so I'm assuming current contouring / highlighting / on fleek anything / matte liquid lipsticking is not part of their product DNA. 

I'm kind of loving the tasteful concept video "Make Your Life a Masterpiece" with women portrayed as mothers, professionals and athletes.  And also with obvious wrinkles.  Totally my demographic, minus the athlete part.

It all kind of appeals to me in the way that old-school Bobbi Brown originally appealed to me: pared down aesthetics and classic and neutral color selections.

Unfortunately for me, the brand is currently only available in Asia (Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia), but easy enough to purchase from my crack dealer, ichibankao, that place of the exorbitant markup.  Linda (from Silverkis also reviewed the line a little while back here) and it intrigued me enough to purchase a few pieces to try from Kanebo.

Kanebo does that annoying thing where you have to purchase a separate case for the blush, but since I am a serial depotter, I ended up just purchasing the refill.  Anyway, here's my mini Kanebo loot.

Kanebo!  Variant Brosse (Cheeks) in 02 Pink Petal, Selection Colors Eyeshadow in 03 Gently Pink, and Moisture Rouge 06 Deep Red

Kanebo!  Variant Brosse (Cheeks) in 02 Pink Petal, Selection Colors Eyeshadow in 03 Gently Pink, and Moisture Rouge 06 Deep Red

I was chatting with a friend on line about some similarities with SUQQU and it does share some characteristics with the older forms of SUQQU.  But I'm not sensing dupe-like formulations or colors once closely examined.

Lightweight plastic cases, with contrasting rose-gold.

Lightweight plastic cases, with contrasting rose-gold.


Here's a closer look at the eye shadow palette, blush and lipstick that I purchased.  First up is the Selection Colors Eyeshadow, a quint palette of rosy pink, brown and mauve tones called 03 Gently Pink.

This is a pretty safe (and very feminine) choice (among the three palettes currently offered).  The mix of light, medium and dark shades allow for lots of versatility from sedate to the more dramatic.  The shades are:

  • A pale ballet pink with a high shimmer finish.  This is probably as blingy as this palette will get.  Not dramatically pigmented but adds a beautiful texture via its shimmer content.
  • A medium mauve rose, with a satin sheen
  • Pale pinky ivory with scattered white shimmer.
  • Medium mauve shade, leaning cool due to its high silver shimmer finish
  • Deep satin finish brown with some prominent scattered pink glitter (nothing garish or even particularly dramatic)

Pigmentation is decidedly what I've come to know (and mostly love) about high-end Japanese cosmetics brands.  It's on the lighter pigmented side, while I am still able to get good color payoff on the skin.  And the shades are so silky and fine.  It has a drier finish (compared to something richer and more unctuous like RBR), similar to SUQQU, but softer in texture.  It picked up easily on the brush and I haven't experienced dusty kick up of powder and no fallout when applying.  I think it looks less impressive in swatches than in the practice of application and how it looks on the eyes.


I found the blush to be less impressive.  It is a very ubiquitous kind of a pink blush, similar to what you'd find from any ol' brand.  I mention that the case with brush comes separately so I chose to just get the refill.  Maybe something as little as that makes me less swoon-y over this.

This is Variant Brosse Cheeks in 02 Pink Petal.

There's sticky goo glue on the back which allows you to press into the case (sold separately)

There's sticky goo glue on the back which allows you to press into the case (sold separately)

My ire over packaging aside, the product is excellent quality and texture.  Much like the super finely milled texture of the eye shadow quint, this blush duo has a similarly uber fine feel.  It is soft and also very softly pigmented.  That in itself doesn't bother me since some of my favorite blushes are also meager in pigmentation like SUQQU's discontinued dual pan Usuzakura.

The darker pink side imparts a satin light neutral pink.  The lighter side works as a highlighting shade with a noticeable sheen.  It looks like the palest pink, but on my skin it applies as a soft white.  When the two sides are blended together, it takes on a pastel bent.

I much preferred using the shades separately (and not blended together).  The blended shade was slightly chalky on me.  Super pretty colors, but you will likely have one or two near identical shades.  I would also recommend you use something a little more robust tool than a grey or blue squirrel brush if you want a little more than a hint of color application.  I've been using this with my goat or Canadian Squirrel hair brushes.


Now the Moisture Rouge lipstick is something I can get behind (and want to irrationally buy all the colors).  If you loved the intense full coverage pigmentation of SUQQU's Creamy Glow lipsticks, but didn't love the very loose and high-slip texture of them then this is something to take a look at.  I seem to be awash in nude shades, so I went a little deeper and selected the deepest shade in the small range: 06 Deep Red.

Kanebo Moisture Rouge lipstick in 06 Deep Red

Kanebo Moisture Rouge lipstick in 06 Deep Red

I love this formula!  My parched lips are clearly loving this moisturizing formula.  I tend to suffer drying from high-pigment lipsticks, but not from the Moisture Rouge lipsticks.  

  • Opaque with a lovely glowing finish
  • Light and creamy texture that hugs my lips without enhancing vertical lines
  • Lasts fairly well - loses the shine eventually but color remains on lips for several hours
  • transfers easily

06 Deep Red is beautiful.  It applies a lot darker on my lips than it appears in the bullet.

I hesitate to describe this color.  It certainly is a deep red, but in some lights takes on a jeweled burgundy, while in the swatches it looks more like a straightforward warm red.


I'm wearing the featured products above plus:

  • SUQQU Cream Foundation in Shade 15 mixed with a drop of By Terry facial oil because I am DRY
  • SUQQU Face Designing Concealer
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge Diaphanous powder (very minimal application)
  • Nars Pro Prime eye shadow primer
  • SUQQU Mascara Base N & Mascara Volume & Curl
  • Jung Saem Mool Beauty Refining Color Bony Brow (brow pencil & powder combo)

Slightly different lighting:

Overall, I really enjoyed trying out and using these products.  It hits the mark for those of us looking for very elegant and refined finishes in our color products with exceptionally soft and smooth textures.  They are very pleasurable to use!  Of the products, I would definitely want to try out more lipsticks (divine formula!), but not necessarily more eye shadow palettes (very limited color offering) nor the other one shade offering of blush.  

Those of you in Asia, were you able to check out the new Kanebo launch?  I'd love to hear what you thought of any products you saw in person or purchased!!  Did you think any of the products were absolute must haves to try?

SUQQU Intense Rich Cream

SUQQU Intense Rich Cream

Serge Lutens Eye Shadow 1

Serge Lutens Eye Shadow 1