What’s the best way to endear yourself to a British consumer base as an unknown brand hailing from Asia? You could go the way of K-beauty and roll out the kitsch, kiddy packaging. Or, you could get the face that launched a thousand campaigns (Croydon’s version of Helen of Troy), Kate Moss, involved to not only showcase your offering, but add creative impetus by designing her very own makeup collection. Japanese beauty brand Decorté opted for the latter, as we reported on last year , but up until recently the luxe makeup range was only available in the Asian market, and in very select retailers in the US. Until now.
What’s the big deal?
Selfridges is the brand’s first retail partner outside of Asia to stock Decorté’s makeup in addition to the decidedly swanky (and gaspingly expensive) skincare line. It’s being tipped as one of the department store’s most momentous beauty launches of the year, and Decorté is staging a takeover of part of the Selfridges beauty floor as I type- it finishes today if you want to dash down for a Decorté makeover and to swatch the makeup/ blob the skincare for yourself.
The hype isn’t solely centred on novelty- the brand was founded in 1970, purports to have invented the world’s first skin serum and creates its formulations in line with ancient eastern medicine and Japanese natural elements (think Japanese Onsen hot spring water), alongside scientific R&D from labs run by Nobel Prize winning scientists. Forbes reports that the Decorté brand is partly behind a growth in revenue of 50 per cent for its umbrella group Kosé in the years 2015-2016, with further optimistic future projections and a “No 1 best selling brand in Japan” claim. Strong on paper, and in line with BeautyMart founders Anna-Marie Solowij and Millie Kendall ’s predictions that Japanese beauty looks set to steal South Korea’s industry crown in the years to come, but what is it bringing to our already very crowded dressing tables?
Decorté has launched three new makeup products exclusively to the UK market- Japan hasn’t seen these offerings yet. This is what’s on counter:
Eye Glow Gem, £25: A cream mousse eyeshadow in 30 shades that’s designed to be applied with your fingers.
The Rouge Lipstick , £32: Five mattes, 20 “glow” shades, all intended to plump while adding high pigment colour.
Dip In Glow , £32: What it says on the tin/ tiny pot. A white, pearlescent highlighter designed to dabbed over foundation. It apparently also boasts a moisturising ‘resin’ to keep skin supple and hydrated while you wear it.
Otherwise, get your wallet out for Kate Moss’ much loved Vitality Oil Tincture , £140, a moisturising essence about which she told Harpers Bazaar “it makes your skin look and feel amazing. I don’t know how but it just works! I’m obsessed with it." Other standouts include a £950 peptide heavy face cream ( AQ Meliority intensive cream ), the Moss-rated Soft Powder Foundation , £90, (*eyes watering profusely*) and Kate’s inflight sheet mask staples: a pack of six Slim & Firm Concentrate Multi-Action Face Masks , £170. If you’re after less ‘jaw on the floor’ price points, the new makeup launches are comparatively cheaper, also still at the Tom Ford end of spendy. I.e, not cheap, but also not A THOUSAND POUNDS.
The verdict so far
I got my hands on two shades of Eye Glow Gem and The Rouge. The names aren’t particularly catchy- shadow wise you’ve got a jewel-like plum (PU 180) and a rose gold (BE 385) and in terms of lipstick, a terracotta toned nude (BR 335) and cherry red (RD 456).
The shadow feels smooth and velvety and smudges on seamlessly with even the most clumsy finger-painting style application, but if you’re expecting strong colour payoff, take a trip to another counter- I found the glitter in the shadow more noticeable than the colour itself. It’s flattering nonetheless, feels moisturising without being sticky on the lid and said shimmer particles really are very small, but it’s more ‘veil of colour’ than high impact hues. The packaging doesn’t look particularly high-end in comparison to weighty competitors, but as light and easy makeup to chuck in your handbag goes, that’s probably a good thing. You’d hope for a mirrored compact for £25, but then again squinting into a Borrower sized reflective surface isn’t always that helpful so we’ll let that one go.
The lipsticks on the other hand were much more my bag- rich, balmy and you can build the colour up nicely to create more impact (I wore a few coats of the more nude of the two and the colour intensity was about right). I wouldn’t say that the pigment is ‘high’ as promised, but the colour lasts well and fades evenly, and the finish is slightly sheeny so as to give the impression of fuller lips, without the stickiness or flightiness of a gloss. As for the cherry shade, this is possibly a red lip for people who hate a red lip- it’s fairly sheer and very flattering. For a lipstick upwards of £30, however, the packaging does feel quite plasticky. A plus if you’re lugging it around, perhaps (very lightweight), but if you were hoping for a clicky, gratifyingly opulently packaged treat, this doesn’t quite hit the mark, though the rose gold lids chime with the current zeal for all things copper-toned.
All in all, it’s certainly dewy, high quality and lush textured stuff, but it’s also clearly designed to suit a more low-key Asian aesthetic (subtle, barely there colour) and there are currently limited shade options available online in the UK. Moss adores it for its ease of application, simplicity and earthy colour palettes, and Japanese consumers clearly have an affinity with all things Decorté too, but I’d reserve it for the occasional payday lipstick splurge for now. Get thee down to Selfridges to see for yourself if you happen to be in London- Decorté makeup artists are on hand to walk you through the options and create a supermodel endorsed look which may sway you.
Shop for Decorté skincare and makeup on the Selfridges website
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