Shu Uemura Mode Make-up Collection
Fluttering, fantastical lashes might be what the Shu Uemura is known for in the Western world today, but rewind half a century and the impact Uemura had on the beauty industry is nothing short of incredible.
words EMILY BRADBURY
A beauty and skincare pioneer who elevated make-up to an art form, Tokyo native Shu Uemura trained at the Tokyo Beauty Academy before becoming one of Hollywood’s leading make-up artists during the 1960s, with his big break on the Shirley McClaine film ‘My Geisha’. He later worked with stars including Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra, who gifted him a box on his birthday inscribed with the words ‘Shu Shu Baby’.
Uemura went on to found a beauty school and create his make-up line, which included skincare, handmade tools and fragrance. With ‘mode make-up’ Uemura opened his artist’s palette to the world, providing every woman with the necessary arsenal of products to explore her own artistic expression.
At the heart of the brand is Shu Uemura’s philosophy that beauty starts with the skin, combining science, art and nature in an ever-evolving range of products. He invented the cleansing facial oil during the 1960s; a product which leaves the skin cleaner than soap yet moisturised, and it remains popular in Japan to this day. The brand was sold to L’Oréal in his later years, but Uemura remained a creative force within the company until his death.
By putting the health of the skin at the heart of his product range, Uemura encouraged women to celebrate the individuality of their natural beauty – rather than subscribe to an artificial standard. In doing so, he will be remembered as one of modern make up’s true pioneers.