Travelling around asia, I was exposed to a whole host of Japanese and asian brands that it was really, rather overwhelming. As well as getting my mitts on some of Japan’s best selling drugstore/highstreet mascaras (Battle of the Best Japanese Highstreet/Drugstore Mascara review here) whilst I was galavanting across South East Asia, I was keen to try out some of the brands that weren’t available east of the pacific. I mean where does one start? The one brand that stood out for me and had a really strong presence across asia was the Tokyo born brand, Kate. Kate is one of the many brands under the Kanebo Cosmetics umbrella, one of Japan’ leading producers of cosmetics and kind of reminds me a little of Maybelline in terms of products and brand styling. I picked up the Kate Eyebrow Pencil in the shade BR-6 and the Brown Shade Eyes eyeshadow palette in BR-6. How did they fare? Let me break if down for you.
I was drawn to the Brown Shade Eyes palette as it was the only matte (ish, I’ll explain further on) palette I could find. Sparkles, shine and glitter are very popular attributes especially with regards to eyeshadow in asia but not really my cup of tea so when I spotted the Brown Shade Eyes palette in BR-6, I didn’t hesitate to take a closer inspection. The Brown Shade Eyes range consists of six neutral toned palettes ranging from cool tones to warm, and pearlised finishes to matte; Br-1 Pearly, Br-2 Skinny, Br-3 Sepia, Br-4 Deep, Br-5 Deep and Br-6 Matte. Br-6 is a neutral to warm palette and despite being called ‘matte’, it consists of two satin shades with a just a hint of sparkle, as well as two matte shades.
The first shade is a warm, pale, off-yellow shade and would work well as an all over base shade or a subtle yet pretty inner-corner and brow bone highlight. The next shade is a warm, matte camel shade and would be great as a crease shade to add more depth and dimension to the eye. Following that is a dark, chocolatety brown laced with subtle reflective particles. This could be used in the outer-v to further intensify and smoke out the eye, and could easily double as an eyeliner to define the lash lines. The last shade is dubbed rather funnily the ‘fake shade powder’ and is a warm, matte sandy shade. This is a shade used simply to contour your eye for a low-key yet polished vibe or as a transition shade to bridge the lighter shade with the darker ones.
The thing that stood out to me most about this palette was the texture and formulation. They are ridiculously soft and smooth, and take the word ‘buttery’ to the next level. It actually reminds me of the Loreal Color Riche eyeshadows and if you’ve tried them before, you’ll know what I’m talking about. As a result, blending is a piece of cake with no fall out whatsoever. The packaging is pretty basic yet compact, and comes with a useless applicator which I’ve clearly thrown out. Being a highstreet/drugstore brand, it was never going to be ground breaking. But being a highstreet/drugstore brand, you know the price is always going to be right and it can be found in most of South East Asia including Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, so if you’re headed in that direction, you might want to make a beeline for a drugstore/pharmacy. It’s just a great all round product with basic yet essential and versatile range of colours for a natural, ‘no makeup’ makeup look and for an amped up, vamped up, smokey eye.
The Kate Eyebrow Pencil is one of those Anastasia Brow Wiz kind of brow product; a matte yet long wearing formulation, fine and pointed nib, retractable etc, etc, etc you get the gist. The shade BR-5 in comparison to the Brow Wiz dark brown is slightly more on the cool side, rathe ashy and grey which is a good thing especially for those that have really dark hair. The product is absolutely dinky, just over two thirds the length of the Brow Wiz, so a great ‘throw in your handbag’ product. The only thing it doesn’t have is a spoolie on the opposite end (or a tinted gel to set the brows if you’re asking for my ideal brow product). If you’ve ever used this type of brow pencil before then you know a spoolie is essential, to go in once the product is on and, smooth and soften the product out for a much more natural look (but if you like the fake brow look then you won’t care for a spoolie). But being less than half the price of the Brow Wiz, it’s not a deal breaker. You could just easily buy a separate spoolie or do as I do sometimes and use a disposable mascara wand. Overall, a great budget brow contender in the brow grooming market.
So that’s all. It would be interesting to hear if you have tried any products from the Kate range and whether you would recommend them.