Kirra Jamison Loves Japan – Ueba Esou Nail Polish

by Jenny Butler
Tuesday 22nd November 2011
Another day full of Japanese goodness with Kirra Jamison! Today we take a tour of the Ueba Esou Nail Polish headquarters and see some of the elements involved in creating this intriguing product. This is no ordinary nail polish, Ueba Esou is something very special!– Jenny

Lapis lazuli pictured above

Ok, so I never expected to be blogging about nail polish but here goes…Ueba Esou is a Kyoto based company that produces hand made paint in beautiful colours from natural pigments. Recently, using the same process that they use to make paint, Ueba Esou developed a unique kind of nail polish containing Gofun powder instead of solvent. What is Gofun? Gofun is a white pigment essentially made from crushed scallop shells that has been used for centuries in traditional Japanese painting.

Malachite pictured above

What makes Gofun Nail Polish different from conventional nail polish is that it is all natural, has no odor, dries almost instantly and is easily removed with alcohol, so no need for stinky acetone based nail polish remover. Best of all being natural Gofun is kind to both the body and the environment.

The ten stages of refining the Gofun powder.

All the Gofun is produced in house by these experienced artisans through a production method, which has been maintained for 270 years. While I was in Kyoto I visit the Ueba Esou headquarters to stock up and was able to take these pics during on an impromptu tour and history lesson. Such a cool experience…if you are nerdy about paint like me I’m sure you can relate.


Yep, the colours are awesome. This nail polish is stocked in Issey Miyake stores through out Japan but I’m yet to see it anywhere in Australia. Hello Kit Cosmetics? How bout it?

by Jenny Butler
Tuesday 22nd November 2011


  • Madeleine 5 years ago

    What an amazing experience Kirra, colour paradise! You should def use them in your work… or is that weird? xo

  • Phoebe 5 years ago

    Wow wow wow. I am in love with everything about this. The concept, the process, the COLOURS! How has someone not snapped these up for Australia?

  • lexi 5 years ago

    AMAZEBALLS!!! These are beautiful. That palette is so inspiring. LOVE!

  • Hat 5 years ago


  • tiel 5 years ago

    wow, the colours and process are amazing.

  • memtree 5 years ago

    oh sounds amazing! how can no-one in australia stock it?

  • Clare 5 years ago

    The packaging is to die for, too! I’m such a nail polish wh*re. A quick google reveals they sell a kit with red lacquer, gold leaf flakes and clear topcoat. It looks AMAZING.

  • Clare 5 years ago

    Some hardcore work with google translate has revealed that they don’t offer international shipping from the Ueba Esou website, and I can’t find anywhere else online that sells it. *Le sigh*

  • joanna 5 years ago

    i love this post thank you!!

  • jess 5 years ago

    how interesting. thanks for sharing kirra.

  • Anna Walker 5 years ago

    And here I was thinking I was coming to the end of my GREEN nail polish obsession and you put another brand on my radar!!!…and I clearly saw some green powders/pigments in the images…5 to be exact…Now adding 5 green Japanese nail polishes to my wishlist…I don’t know whether to laugh (with polish lust) or cry (with increasing credit card debt)…

  • kirra 5 years ago

    Hey Madeleine we did buy some of their beautiful watercolour paints. The nail polish is almost like gouache until you put their glossy top coat on, so unique. Good work Clare! I saw a contact form on their site, I wonder if they’d send you some if you email them directly. Glad you’re all loving it! It’s all a bit of a tease though isn’t it!?

  • kirra 5 years ago

    Good news! Gofun Nail just tell me know that while they have no distribution in Australia. They do ship orders here via Japan express mail service upon payment confirmation.

  • popsuko 5 years ago

    Woo hoo! That’s good news. I waaaaaaant some.

  • topsy.com 4 years ago

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    I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

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  • byggegrunde vonsild 4 years ago

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post. Thank you for supplying this information.

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  • Daniel Burge 2 years ago

    Great article. The blue stone is not lapis lazuli, but azurite. It is commonly found with the green stone that you can see which is malachite.

  • Jenny Lee 1 year ago

    This Gofun nail is amazing. I just bought some in Kyoto. I found out that they have a distributor in Australia now and it should be available soon.

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