Review & Comparison: Shu Uemura vs Shiseido Eyelash Curlers
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Update (2018): This post is living proof that the two most popular lash curlers won’t work for everyone, so I’ve got a fresh new batch rounded up complete with measurements – you can check it out here!
Eyelash curlers. Sigh. Both my brother and my husband have remarked that they look like tiny torture devices; they’re sort of right, but not in the way they meant. Actually using them is fine, it’s just the process of finding the right one that’s sort of long and painful. I’m currently on a quest to find a curler that’s convenient enough to use to keep it from just sitting in a drawer all the time; maybe the things I discover will help someone else? First up we have two popular lash curlers from Shiseido and Shu Uemura.
The Shiseido and Shu Uemura curlers are the standard design – hinged clamps with guard bars at either end of the clamp itself. Both curlers are approximately the same size, overall. The hinge on the Shu is a little deeper and the finger loops are a bit rounder. I don’t have trouble fitting my fingers into the loops on either one of them.
The bottom bar of the Shu curler has a tiny bit more downward curvature than the Shiseido, but otherwise they look very similar. On the Shiseido curler, the top bar doesn’t meet up all the way across the pad until you clamp it down. I’m not sure if that’s by design or not, but I have to think it means there’s more pressure on the center of the curler than the outer edges. The Shu clamp lines up evenly all the way across.
The Shiseido curler is a tiny bit shorter across the width, and less curved front-to-back.
The pads are very similar – approximately the same size and made from the same material. The Shiseido pad has a bit of an angle to it while the Shu pad is cut straight up and down. Both seem very durable and the top bar of the curlers doesn’t cut into them. Both curlers come with one pad in the curler and one extra. Shiseido sells replacement pads separately, but Shu Uemura does not – they recommend replacing the entire curler. It’s worth noting that the Shiseido pads will fit in the Shu curler with no problems.
I was curious to see the exact size and shape differences between the two, so I rested the tops on piece of paper and traced around the inside of the top bar. The Shu Uemura is a tiny bit wider but quite a bit deeper than the Shiseido.
So, there are some variations in size, shape and function, but the real test of an eyelash curler is how well it matches up with your eye shape. Which one was perfect for me? Well, neither. The width of my eye is a whopping 27mm, so both of these curlers are too large.
Length-wise, the Shiseido curler should be a better fit, but it’s too shallow for the curvature of my eye. I have trouble getting the curler close to the base of my lashes on the outer corner, so it grabs them about halfway out and makes a sharp, unnatural-looking bend. I also have a tendency to accidentally pinch the center of my eyelid if I try too hard to get it close to the base of my outer lashes.
Even though it’s a little larger, the Shu curler is a better fit for how my eye curves. The only problem is due to the length, I have to hold it at an angle to get it close to the base of my outer lashes, and then it misses the inner lashes entirely. I can hit the inner part of my eye with a second pass, but the whole thing is just a little awkward to maneuver. It is a lot easier to avoid pinching myself though, and the curl looks more natural.
In Short: Both curlers feel solid and well-made, but neither one is perfect for my eye shape. Of the two, the Shu Uemura is a better fit for me, but the quest continues.
The Shiseido curler ($19) is available at nordstrom.com and sephora.com. The Shu Uemura curler ($20) is available at Shu Uemura.
SharJanuary 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm
Very thorough, much appreciated!
camilleJanuary 23, 2014 at 11:02 am
THANK YOU FOR THIS COMPARISON POST!!! :)
i have had a cover girl eye lash curler forever, and i have been thinking about treating myself to a new (more raved about) eye lash curler. the cover girl one works fine, but i’ve heard so many good things about shu uemura, that i have now decided that i need a good one. (i’m hitting 30 this year, anyway, so why not treat myself?)
i was torn because i had read that shu was no longer available in stores in the U.S. , and i like to go to the store to see things for myself.
but your measurement comparisons have convinced me that shu would be a better fit for my eye. thank you for saving me frustration! :)
NikkiJanuary 23, 2014 at 11:05 am
Awesome, I’m so glad it helped!
MatromaoFebruary 14, 2014 at 11:37 pm
Great review. I have been stumped by these two for so long! In Manila, the Shiseido curler is more expensive than Shu’s by $6-7. Shu’s is still largely recommended because of most ladies here having deeper, wider eyes. But I think Shiseido is a good fit for those with narrow, mono-lided eyes. I’m personally leaning towards Shiseido, so thanks for helping me decide. :)
NikkiFebruary 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm
Awesome, I’m glad it helped! That’s the only problem with lash curlers – they depend so much on your eye shape that you almost have to just try them.
GirlinaTrenchcoatApril 8, 2014 at 2:37 pm
Wow thanks for this comparison! Since when did Shu stop making replacement pads? (I obviously haven’t changed mine in a looong time).
I’m a little bit annoyed, I was just getting ready to buy new pads, now Shu wants me to buy the whole curler? My Shu curler is over 5 years old and still good in my opinion, so I don’t really want to change it.
Maybe I’ll try the Shiesado pads on the Shu curler. Your review is so helpful!
NikkiApril 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm
Glad to help! For some reason I can’t help but feel like the lack of replacement pads is more about ‘planned obsolescence’ than any real risk of the curler itself wearing out (as long as you take good care of it). Luckily the Shiseido pads seem to fit just fine though!
CmkngJanuary 16, 2016 at 3:58 am
Good comparison. Thanks for this post. Which one opena wider though?
I have the Shu and usually carry it along with me in my pouch. But the first impression of it was why won’t it open wider?!! I’ve been using cheaper alternatives all my life and Shu was the least opening one. Was just wondering how wide the Shiseido opens up.
NikkiJanuary 16, 2016 at 11:32 am
Unfortunately I don’t have the Shiseido curler anymore but I’ll try to check next time I go to Sephora! I can say the Surratt (review) curler has an extremely wide opening and it feels more sturdy than my other lash curlers. It’s the one I always take traveling with me.
ReneeJanuary 1, 2017 at 10:33 am
Where can I purchase a legit Shu Uermura in the US? I don’t trust purchasing beauty products off Amazon.
NikkiJanuary 1, 2017 at 4:51 pm
You can order it from their website: http://www.shuuemura-usa.com/ I don’t think they sell through any other retailers in the US.
JinaOctober 4, 2017 at 11:00 pm
I’ve been searching for review like this. Very detailed! Thank you! I now see why Shiseido wasn’t working for my eyes. By the way, have you compared Lancome and Shu Uemura? I heard they are the same but not exactly??
NikkiOctober 5, 2017 at 10:14 am
Glad to help! I actually haven’t tried the Lancome one yet, but I plan to. I’m also working on an updated comparison with curlers that are still available (a lot of the ones from my previous roundup are discontinued) so stay tuned for that :-)
LynneAugust 25, 2019 at 6:34 pm
I just ordered tweaserman pro master. It’s meant for almond shaped and deep set eyes. I have used shu humura for many years but no more replacement pads. It was good but not perfect for my eye shape