Is It Worth It? Bobbi Brown and Shu Uemura

This is my internal crisis as a beauty blogger — Rome is burning. The economy is in the veritable toilet. A gas shortage is crippling parts of the South. Banks are eating each other, and thanks to global warming, so are polar bears. What is this world coming to? And here I am, going to write about makeup? Sometimes I look at the list of products that I have to review, and I feel so conflicted.

I figure the best I can do is:
a. suggest products for bellas on a budget,
b. tell you which products to avoid at all costs, and
c. let you know which products are truly worth your purchase.

Because the bellas who can afford to whimsically purchase a $60 bronzer based on a cavalier product review are lessening in number. I’m gonna focus on my essential favorite items by two of the top makeup brands on fancy department store shelves — Bobbi Brown and Shu Uemura.

I still remember getting confused between Bobby and Bobbi Brown. The makeup artist started her product line in 1991, and since then she’s all but eclipsed my instant name-association with Whitney’s ex. Bobbi Brown is known as a must-have, subtle and classy brand by any cosmetics-loving diva. If a makeup pro like Lianne the Makeup Girl raves over Bobbi Brown’s stuff, you know it’s worth a purchase.

Bobbi always has great palettes — exhibit A, the Shimmering Nudes palette, and exhibit B, my new obsession, the Moon Rock Long Wear Eye Palette — four “celestially inspired” long wear cream eye shadows that can be also used as liner. $55, but the gorgeous silver fox who runs the Bobbi Brown counter at Saks Dadeland, assured me it would last forever.

She didn’t convince me to buy the eye palette, but she DID convince me to buy Bobbi Brown’s famous bronze shimmer brick compact — that’s it up above. $38. Absolutely no regrets. I have used this thing every day since I bought it. It makes my cheeks look luminous, and used individually as eye highlighters, makes my eyes look incredibly bright and glowy. Loves. This is a bronzer for all shades of beautiful, but I think it’s especially wonderful for beautiful brown skin. It can be subtly shimmery on its own, or swirled over your fave blush to add an extra dimension of gorgeous.

The Saks makeup artist dusted it on my cheekbones, then highlighted my brow bone with the lightest shade. I was initially skeptical, but instantly convinced. Love the shimmer brick, and any bella who loves an outstanding eye that can go from day to night with subtle but effective layering, will adore the metallic eye shadows. I’ve been rocking these in broad daylight as an easy daytime face, just a dusting along my eyelid, and a lightly applied fingertip to highlight the brow bone. Finish with black liner alone the lash line, coat of mascara, and I’m out the door. Sage (a shimmering gray green), and Penny (bangin’ golden copper) are my favorites.

Other products I’d like to snag from Bobbi Brown? I hear great things about the Brownie shimmer brick, and the pink ribbon Breast Cancer Month lip collection looks universally flattering. Multitaskers, busy bellas, and newbies to the makeup scene would do well with the basics palettes, perfect starter sets in compact packages you can take and use anywhere.

I’ve already done quite a few Shu Uemura reviews — still loving the cleansing oil, which d’oh! Would have been great in a travel bottle for the trip to Vegas, and I told ya, the Fiber Xtension mascara is a great secret weapon for special occasions. Shu Uemura is primarily known for their crazy false lashes (like, for example the Tokyo Lash Bar collection). I couldn’t apply them onto myself in Vegas, but my sister in law Katrin did, and she rocked a pair very similar to these, that had a pretty greenish strip to bring out the color of her eyes. Lashes can be insanely pricey — like these Viktor and Rolf lashes,which go for $95 a pop dontcha know.

I’ve tried several Shu Uemura eyeshadows, and the packaging can be lovely, but the colors were either chalky or veritably unnoticeable on my lids. It’s possible that I just haven’t found the right shade yet, but it didn’t make me want to rush out to the store (especially at $20 per color!). What I do love is the Energy Flow tri color eye pencil — three fun, stubby little eye crayons in white, sunshine yellow, and a peachy bright orange. I love just a flash of color on my eyelid as an easy Mod-sixties inspired look (plus black liner and mascara), and these shades are so pretty on my skin tone, I just love em. $25, but I tell myself I get three colors in one, so it’s worth it. And I am totally buying the
Aqua Flow next, those are my colors. What can I say, I’m a Pisces! I can never get enough blue, green, or the colors in between.

Shu Uemura’s eyeliners are wondefully glidey — this drawing pencil mini trio set would be a great gift at just $35. I love-a-love-love gloss unlimited so, so much.

The deepest purple shade is my evening lippie favorite — glosses over lip stain so beautifully. I honestly haven’t tried a shade I haven’t liked, and they’re $22, but if you’re looking for a gloss that isn’t sticky, that offers sheer but noticeable color, and is generally awesome, I’d say this is it.

So those are my favorite of favorites of two of the top beauty brands. Have you tried Bobbi Brown or Shu Uemura makeup? Got a favorite I haven’t mentioned? Tell me about it!

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  1. Great review. I have never been into Bobbi Brown, but every time, I go to the outlet, I consider buying a Shimmerbrick. Maybe next time I will.

  2. Two of my goals is to try Bobbi Brown and Shu Uemura this year so I’ll be trying your faves first.

  3. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Great post Bella.I have never worn makeup accept for a little bit on my lips.I will be 30 in November,and I need to ad a little makeup to the game.Thanks for the tips Bella.

  4. Personally, I think I have everything I need makeup wise but I always appreciate your bella on a budget beauty reviews.

  5. Thanks for the review! I heard so many great things about Bobbi Brown cosmetics so this is my opportunity to try. I definitely need another bronzer (that’s one thing that I can’t live w/o) so I think I’ll try that bronze shimmer brick compact.

  6. Kudos to you for being so conscientious in these tough times. I try to do the same in my blog posts. I was introduced to Bobbi Brown right before my wedding and I’ve been a fan ever since. Some of her products really are worth the money. For example- since I’m going for a dramatic mouth this Fall, I splurged on one of her lip colors. For everything else I might pick-and-choose. :)


  7. I always love reading/talking about/wearing makeup, and I just wanted to chime in that for ladies who’d like to see swatches of those Bobbi Brown metallic eyeshadows or long-wear palettes, I maintain a blog dedicated to showing color-accurate pictures of cosmetics. Maybe it’ll help someone save on gas?

    The blog is called The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself, and you can find it at

    Thank you, Afrobella!

  8. This dark skin bella is a big Bobbi Brown fan. Her blush is so creamy and very pretty. I made sure I bough an additional stick before I moved over seas.

  9. I may have missed it but are they worth it Bella?

  10. I haven’t ventured into the world of Shu Uemura yet but waiting to purchase the cleansing oil.

    I’ve always been a fan of Bobbi Brown because from the beginning she never forgot about women of color, unlike so many other makeup lines. I will add a shimmer brick to my list of must-haves.

  11. I love the Bobbi Brown nude lip gloss. I recently began wearing a coat of the Nude Glimmer lip gloss over it. I also own the Bronze Shimmer Brick compact that you show above. I use the colors on my lids and I’ve have received numerous compliments.

  12. Wow
    this is why the world is not ending
    because you can blog about makeup and we are reading it

  13. I love Bobbi Brown and Shu Uemura but the economy breakdown started hitting me a few months ago. So, for all you girls with a beer budget like me, Milani , Prestige, and Physician’s Formula all make knockoffs of the Bobbi Brown Shimmerbrick. Also, for a sheer cream eyeshadow, Revlon Illuminance is a ok substitute and for more pigment, L’Oreal HIP shadow pencils are great for me. Hope this helps because I refuse to give up looking great because my pockets are temporarily thinner. LOL

  14. My national holiday splurge will be on a full facial makeover, including hair. :) Thank you bellas for giving me a great list to work with. Those people at Sephora will be SO happy to see me!!! lol..

  15. Katherine says:

    I’m slowly getting into make-up (only 21) but I get so overwhelmed when I’m at Sephora, I’ll look into these.

  16. I have Bobbi Brown’s liquid eyeliner and eye make-up remover – and I love it! Though I must add, one must be adept at applying the eyeliner with a (Bobbi Brown) paintbrush!

    As for Shu Uemura; love, love, love the oily facial cleansers. I used to have oily, combination skin, and was unsure about putting more oil on my face. But the clean and fresh feeling after washing with Shu Uemura Purifying oils has no equal. I stuck to it for many years after trying loads! The only problem is, because it is so fancy I have to purchase it in London here in the UK!

  17. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a fellow Brownie rave about Bobbi Brown. Once I run out of my Iman bronzer, I’ll give Bobbi a try.

    ’till next time…

  18. I love Bobbi Brown, and I’m glad you wrote about it instead of M.A.C. I think M.A.C. is overrated…it really is. Bobbi Brown products encompass suttle and “loud” shades/colors.

    I like the lip tints that have sunscreens in them as well as the loose powder from Bobbi Brown.

  19. OK sorry to the fans of BB … But a few years ago ( 4?) I bought the lip pallet for about 40 bucks and that was a discount !
    I don’t know maybe I thought i was going to have a lip revelation or something .. but I was not impressed .. and mad I bought into the hype and out 40 bucks !
    Went back to Avon LOL and loreal!

  20. I Love, Love, Love, Bobbi Brown. She truly knows how to create colors which complement a woman of color. Bobbi Brown’s foundation and loose powder look so natural on my skin.

    Thanks for the review AfroBella!!!

  21. Thanks for the review Bella! I’ve used some BB products before and found them not really worth the money. At this point BB cosmetics are outside of my price range.
    But I do have a question…
    I recently moved to TX from NY and find that I need a whole new make up routine. Tx is too hot and I sweat to much to do what I used to, so what products would you suggest for this climate? I am dying here!!!! Looking like a hot clown is NOT cool! Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

  22. Thanks for thinking of us Bellas on a budget. Lord knows money is tight! I have yet to try anything Bobbi Brown, but my friend raves about their products (maybe that’s because she gets them free lol). I may try something from their lip collection though. Hmm…I’ll let you know how that goes.

  23. Regina, I feel ya sis. I moved from VA to TX about 3yrs ago. I know what you mean about climate change. It’s a dry hot(90-100 degrees.)in TX and sometimes if it rains it’s humid for a minute. If you are in Central TX. However, more East like Houston, it’s probably more humid. What I did was switch all my makeup to mineral makeup. It’s lightweight, my skin can breath. Plus no running or streaking. Give it a try.
    My first choice was Bare Minerals(online and Ulta) but there are others brands too. Mary Kay has started a mineral makeup line as well. My MK lady is Glenda Kirk Hope this helps.

  24. queen useless says:

    Great review!!! I too love Bobbi Brown and my bloomingdale’s discount helped the addiction. I am a fan of her Best Sellers Lip and Eye Palette. It was $50. It goes from Day to Night and is small enough to keep in my purse at all times.

    But the best brand – NARS I love their blushers ORGASM makes me look awesome. It’s a little pricey at $25.00 a blush but it’s beautiful.

    Thank you for being a complex diva that’s intelligent and beautiful at the same time.

  25. Thanks GloLady! I’ll check those out!

  26. Toot in Show-me State says:

    I don’t wear makeup everyday. But, I do enjoy Bobbi Brown and M.A.C products.

  27. Analyn Kue says:

    I got a free wedding make up trial in a Bobbi Borwn counter in a posh department store yesterday. I really loved the natural look on me. I first thought the lipstick looked too pale for me as I do not like to look washed out in the wedding pictures. I will definitely get this makeup artist to prettify me on my chinese engagement party this month. For my wedding, I will have to do a test run to see if the hair looks good also. I bought Honeysuckle num 02 creamy lipcolor. It looks very nude but when topped with a BB lipgloss (Im not sure if its a gloss but it comes in jars) it looks very natural and very pretty.

  28. Analyn Kue says:

    I loove Bobbi Brown cosmetics

  29. Great post!! Very useful :-)


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