Thursday, April 01, 2010

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipstick (RD 198, PK 360)

I bought these two Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Lipsticks months ago and promptly misplaced both. I was thrilled to rediscover and make them part of my makeup rotation, only to learn this week that Shu Uemura's parent company, L'Oreal, was pulling the entire brand of the USA market. According to WWD, L'Oreal prefer to concentrate the marketing effort on its other major brands (I don't think they ever pushed Shu very hard in this country), and limit the distribution of Shu Uemura to regions where it's already a best seller (i.e. Asia).

It's really sad, as Shu Uemura is a great brand with a lot to offer and many dedicated fans. We can't have too many quality options and the line always had something unique to offer, even for those of us who weren't into extreme false eyelashes. I especially love the packaging- even now that I have a storage system with separate drawers for each major shade of lipstick, being able to actually see the color at a glance is very helpful.

But back to the colors at hand. Rouge Unlimited RD 198 is as true a red as they come. It has a muted satin finish, an incredibly rich pigment and the tenacity of Madonna. It stays put for hours and holds on for dear life. You can still see enough color even after having lunch, though it loses the finish. The lipstick isn't drying and my lips remain healthy looking even after spending a full day with it (two reapplications). I love it very much and usually wear it with an almost bare face (or at least what appears as an almost bare face. You and I know  the secret).

PK 360 has a more conventional look and feel. It's a low key red-based pink with shimmer and medium+ pigment. It's a great everyday color, low maintenance and no drama. It doesn't rock my world like the RD 198, but I reach for it when I'm not in the mood to make big lipstick decisions.

Since Shu Uemura is being phased out, it looks like the stores have stopped restocking sold out colors. I don't remember if I bought these two lipsticks from Barneys or Nordstrom, but it looks like they are no longer available from the major retailers and have moved on to the realms of shady discounters. Your best bet is to check with local counters and see what they still have.

All photos are mine.


  1. I loved Shu's lipsticks and blushes. I'm sorry to see the company pulling out of the US. I read somewhere that 80% of the company's sales are in Asia, so it makes sense.

  2. Gaia, you must try RD 178M Rouge Unlimited Creme Matte. Slightly cool, rose red, pigmented, retro matte. Possibly my favorite red of them all. 185 Rouge Unlimited Supreme Shine is also gorgeous, but a soft, semi-glossy, sparkly, complex, pink-red—a shade I can reach for every day, any day.

  3. I breathed a sigh of relief when I read the press releases for that, and realised that it was limited only to the USA. I buy Shu products mainly in Australia, sometimes in China, and so far L'Oreal seem bent on staying in both those markets.

    I have several red lipsticks from Shu, including the RD 198 you reviewed (which is lovely, but slips like crazy on my without base and liner) and the cooler, darker RD 178M, which is very wearable in the winter months. A recent favourite, though, is the WN 270, which is a deep beautiful shade of burgundy, with a little pink.


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