Bad news: One of the best beauty retail outlets to ever happen to Orange County has closed up shop.
And not only have we in OC lost our location, but every store—and counter—in the United States has also shut down.
L’Oreal has pulled the plug on all Shu Uemura U.S. operations, choosing to focus instead on its larger luxury brands.
While the presence of the Japanese brand in America hasn’t exactly been all that extensive, Shu Uemura has made a name for itself with near-cult-favorite products such as its perfect eyelash curler, Tokyo Lash Bar and cleansing oils. Though not all hope is lost, as all items will still be available for purchase via ShuUemura-USA.com. That’s awesome in terms of make-up and skincare you’re already familiar with, but this move will make it tougher to familiarize yourself with brand-new products . . . and you won’t be able to test anything out before purchasing.
With the South Coast Plaza storefront already shuttered, the Internet is our only hope. Which sucks. Am I overreacting? No.
The least I can do, then, is offer a quick rundown of some must-haves.
CLEANSING OILS, $35-$72
A great alternative to cleansers that can easily cause that dry, tight-skin feeling, Shu Uemura’s world-famous Cleansing Oils are the No. 1 reason I’m going to miss having the store just down the 55 from me. Just rubbing a small amount of the oil on your face removes even waterproof makeup and cleanses skin at the same time. There is a number of oils available to suit all skin types, from oily to dry to combination. The newest addition is the Whitening Recovery Brightening Cleansing Oil, which promises to deliver bright, smooth, translucent skin. The pricing may seem a bit high, but even a 5-ounce bottle will last well more than a year.
EYELASH CURLER, $19
This one’s even for all those gals with the near-nonexistent lashes: The Shu Uemura eyelash curler has gained a reputation as the best curler out there. Its unique shape somehow extends your lashes like you’ve never seen before, while delivering a natural look—and all without the painful pinching and crimping. No, seriously: Everything you’ve heard about this is true.
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TOKYO LASH BAR, $12-$65
This one’s not exactly totally replaceable online: The Shu Uemura Tokyo Lash Bar showcased its extensive gallery of false eyelashes, from the lushest, most natural pieces to rainbow-colored, theatrical, Bob Mackie-type opulence. Encased in clear acrylic, the unique displays made it easy to “try on” the lashes before purchase. Best yet, the eyelash glue dries clearer than any other I’ve encountered. While false lashes are hardly a daily must-have (mine come out once a year at Halloween), Shu Uemura’s might just make you think twice about wearing them more often.
This column appeared in print as "Shu’d Away."