Jul 232014
 

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand3Marc Jacobs Fall ’14 collection include its fourth foundation–the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand ($45/0.59 oz.). This is a sheer, emollient foundation with buildable coverage that is packaged in an elegant, unique, fun little wand. The Smart Wand is now available in four shades at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand4

I ordered this in the shade Light 210, which runs slightly cool and light on my NC15/20 Chanel Ivoire skintone. It was certainly in a good range for me, and I don’t mind going a little lighter on my foundations. Unlike his other foundations, Marc Jacobs’ Smart Wand is designed to make  “it easy to take with you for application on the go.” Indeed, I watched a girl do her full makeup on a commuter train the other day. She had good skin, neither dry nor oily, no marks and few imperfections. As I watched her blot a too-orange powder into her lovely skin, I wished that I could have handed this to her. It would have been perfect. The Marc Jacobs Smart Wand erases pores, gives a “natural but much nicer glow,” and makes the skin look polished and perfected in the ways that celebrity skin looks.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand5

My personal experience with the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand was over five days in very humid weather, sometimes with primer and sometimes without. The strengths of this foundation are in its ease of application, amazing texture, and build able coverage.  A first pass gives very, very light coverage, much less than I get with Giorgio Armani’s Maestro serum. This really gives the impression of amazing texture to my skin. It blurs, tones down discoloration (but doesn’t erase them), and gives my skin a really pretty, natural-but-much-better sheen.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand6The Smart Wand has a noticeable scent, which I found pleasant. To put this through its paces, I made up to three additional passes with the Smart Wand to build the coverage, which it did beautifully without caking or showing pores (where are my pores? this seems to erase them). The product feels emollient and moisturizing on the skin. It does not dry down quickly, and I’m attributing this to the skin care qualities in the formula. I resisted the urge to powder it down because that will take away from its gorgeous texture. As the product description notes (this is a copy/paste from the site):

  • Moisturizer contains Coconut oil, Vitamin E and amino acids that nourish and hydrate
  • Proprietary blend of antioxidant green tea and refreshing cucumber fights free radicals while energizing the skin
  • Spherical powders with a photo luminescent diamond core work to diffuse light and blur imperfections

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand7

I must use a primer with this foundation (I used the Nars Light Optimizing). Without it, I got about four hours before I started to notice the foundation looking a little worse for wear. With a primer, I got six or seven hours. The foundation does not promise to be long-wearing, and I did not experience long wear with it either. Swatches in sun:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand8 More swatches in indoor light with flash:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand9I tried a generous sample of the Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Foundation ($55/0.63 oz) for several days recently as well. I used 14 Ivory Medium, which was a pretty good match. These two foundations are completely different. The Marvelous Mousse is a nearly full coverage gel product that has a satin-matte finish. To say that a little goes a long way understates the situation. For a full-coverage foundation, the Marvelous Mousee had a really nice texture, is infused with skin care, and gives a very polished, lovely look. I think it is more coverage than I realistically need. Here is the ingredient list for the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand:

Marc Jacobs Smart WandD1
Overall, I applaud the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand because it represents a re-design of foundation completely from the customer’s perspective. There is absolutely a need for the Smart Wand–easy, fast, convenient, for those looking to add just a little celebrity glow to normal skin without adding lots of coverage. Note that the product has no SPF rating, but the ingredients state that it “may contain” titanium dioxide (perhaps the product has not yet obtained regulatory approval to list an SPF rating yet, which is common for newly-released foundations–I simply don’t know). As I noted, the wear time was a bit on the short side for me. As we all know. foundation is a very personal and individual preference, and this will not work for everyone. Nonetheless, foundation variety is the spice of life, and I’m glad to see companies thinking about the woman/man who wishes to add a touch of magic. Here’s Marc Jacobs take on this new product:

The Smart Wand is now available at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

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Jul 202014
 

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad1It seems that every Fall, there are a handful of items that insiders identify quickly as the must-haves of the season. These have extraordinary quality, universal appeal, and are typically limited edition. Yves Saint Laurent’s Couture Leather Fetiche (Leather Fetish) 5-color eyeshadow palette ($60) is one of those items for Fall 2014. As I write this, the palette is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Yves Saint Laurent online, and Neiman Marcus. I had ordered mine from  Saks Fifth Avenue, but it appears to have sold out there. I’m sounding the beauty alarm on this one–do not wait.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad2 I had just cued up some pictures of Yves Saint Laurent’s new couture line of eyeshadow palettes when this one arrived. Given the ephemeral nature of limited edition products, I’m moving this one earlier. To summarize that review (which will appear later), YSL has appeared to have decided to amp up the quality of nearly everything. Good for us all–innovation in the beauty space seems have moved over the past few years from new formulations of lipsticks, mascaras, foundations (this is still very much happening), and now I am seeing a wave of reformulated eyeshadows that is truly extraordinary. This YSL Couture Leather Fetiche is a “best in class” for that category.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad5

The design evokes YSL’s fashion inspiration drawn from Piet Mondrian.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad a1

 

 

Close-up:

Yves Saint Laurent YSL Leather Fetiches

 

Every shade here is a winner–buttery, pigmented, blendable, gorgeous. The highlight and carmel shade on the right are extremely flattering shades. The deeper browns work beautifully worked into the lashline or smudged into the crease. The blue is an extraordinary and rare shade (echoed in this leather-textured Bleu Galuchat nail polish) that is inky, edgy and interesting (and also draws the palette into the universal “works on cool skin tones too” territory).

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadowOne more swatch set.

YSL Leather Fetiche PaletteOverall, the Yves Saint Laurent Leather Fetiche palette is one of the must-haves of the upcoming Fall ’14 season. The palette is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Yves Saint Laurent online, and Neiman Marcus. I had ordered mine from  Saks Fifth Avenue, but it appears to have sold out there. If it sells out soon, I’m very sorry!

piet_mondrian

Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian-inspired dresses (1965)

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Jul 182014
 

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt01I’ve been waiting months for Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup line to come to the U.S. She’s worked so closely with Tom Ford that I suspected that she’s going to feature a line of top shelf products.

Tom Ford London Flagship Store - Launch PartyShe’s visionary. I couldn’t resist when this Charlotte Tilsbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set ($110) came up for sale as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This set features a sculpting bronzer, highlighter and brush, lovingly packed together.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt02Inside, the compact is held in this complex, pretty box.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt03

This box is full of secrets..a cute little touch.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt07Beyond this complex folded paper is a touch of application advice for the sculpting bronzer and highlighter within.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt08

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt09Inside, the compact is beautifully etched. Who does this so finely? Gorgeous.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt10Open the compact, and aside from the full-sized mirror are two pans holding the sculpting bronzer and highlighter:

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt14

This sculpting powder is an easy-to-use, forgiving shade compared to some of the deep taupes we’ve seen from other lines. Foolproof!t

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt13

Here is a comparison of this shade, compared to MAC’s Taupe Shape blush (LE, discontinued), and Chanel’s Notorious.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt16

The sculpting powder is finely milled and leans gold, without any sparkle effect. This goes on very smooth and beautifully.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt12

Here are some swatches comparing Chanel Mouche de Beaute and Chanel Poudre Signee. I found Tilbury’s easier to pick up on a brush (but similar to tone/texture) to Chanel Mouche de Beaute (which is a bit more gold compared to the Tilbury shade). Chanel’s Poudre Signe is more subtle and more ivory compared to Tilbury.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt17The Tilbury brush is the perfect size and shape to use with these powders, and is included in the set. This is a full-size goat hair brush.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt05A close-up of the head:

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt06Overall, I’m really pleased with this set. The color suits my Chanel Ivoire/MAC NC15/20 skin perfectly. The brush makes the set incredibly easy to use. These powders are gorgeous–finely milled, perfectly balanced, and worthy of the luxury label. This set is currently exclusive to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

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Jul 162014
 

Nars Philip Lim05The 3.1 Phillip Lim for NARS collection ($20 each/ nine colors) has just released, a series of nine modern shades with a lovely formula and inspired by colors that “exist in the shadows.” These are currently up for sale on NARS online site (Free Shipping on any order through July 21st), and can be expected at other sources within a few weeks. Indeed, although all of these colors are diverse, there is an undertone that runs through them all that makes them coordinate well together. Those into nail art take note—it will be easy to make stunning variations with these colors.

Nars Phillip Lim 41There seems to be something a little different with this series of NARS polishes–the brushes are wider, the formula more chip-resistant and easier to use. These are all changes for the better. The square bottles have lift-off square tops, revealing easy-to-hold knurled tops.

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Celebrating the longstanding collaboration between NARS and 3.1 Phillip Lim for runway events dating back to Fall 2007, this collection also includes a canvas Pochette ($80), which is perfectly sized to carry this well-edited collection. My Pochette came with this lovely slipcover:

Nars Philip Lim01Inside, the Pochette carries all nine colors plus leaves a little space for a top coat to come along for the ride.  The Pochette is a tough canvas with a zipper that means business, but is gentle to your nails.

Nars Philip Lim03

The bottles are protected by an insert which keeps them from clanking together. I can personally attest that mine made it through checked baggage in a cross-country flight and a six-hour road trip in my suitcase (and back again). Genius!  Certainly, the Pochette can be used for other brands of polish as well. In the past, I’ve never had a satisfactory way to travel with any amount of my beloved nail polish. So I love this bag beyond reason:

Nars Philip Lim04

 

Here are the shades in the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Nars Collection. I must apologize for the condition of my nails, given my cross-country move and travel these have seen better days. However, I am not going to wait for repair before showing you these lovelies. All of these are with a topcoat, except for the nail wheel at the bottom of the page which are color-only. First up,  NARS Shutter is a black sea green that looks deeper and more neutral/ gray than the lush grassy Zulu:

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On nails:

nars shutter1

NARS Gold Viper is a metallic gold that applies beautifully:

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Gold Viper on nails: Nars Gold Viper2Here is NARS Anarchy, a soft cool shell that NARS calls “angora.”

Nars Philip Lim11I love that Anarchy is not a flat white, rather this cream tone does seem to have a hint of grey that looks shadow-like. Colors this light are sometimes problematic in my nail polish experience. I found that by using care and light layering, NARS Anarchy applied very well. This is two coats without a base:

NARS Anarchy two1Nars Other Side is from the deep vamp family that I find irresistible. The line describes this shade as “bitter chocolate”–I call it yummy.

nars other side1 bottleI love Other Side on nails, it has a deeper/browner tone than many others in this category.

nars other side1

NARS Hell-Bent is a rich, aggressive warm red.

Nars Philip Lim14On nails:

NARS Philip Lim Red1

Nars Wrong Turn is a metallic with multicolored micro glitter that shows dramatically in sun:

Nars Philip Lim09Here is NARS Wrong Turn on nails, which applies to cover nails in a single coat (but I prefer two for a more rich look):

nars wrong turn1Here is NARS Dark Room, described as a blue denim (I’d prefer to think of this as a darker denim because the color is quite deep):

Nars Philip Lim06On nails, NARS Dark Room covers beautifully in two coats.  However, I needed two passes with a remover to get this vibrant color off:

nars dark room three1NARS Crossroads is a dusty purple:

nars crossroads

On nails;

Nars crossroads1

 

NARS Insidious is a rich gold-green, shot through with beautiful micro glitter.

Nars Philip Lim18This one applies like a dream, really it’s irresistable.

nars insiduous1Here is the nail wheel with all shades:

NARS Phillip Lim swatches1

In my view, this is a highly successful designer/beauty collaboration. These colors are gorgeous, the formula is better than ever, I love the new brush, and the Pochette is both extremely useful and well made. As ever with these types of collaborations, these are limited edition items that are now for sale on NARS online site (note: Free Shipping on any order through July 21st), and due at other department and speciality stores soon.

These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jul 152014
 

Nars Liquid Highlighters02

NARS has recently expanded its illuminator range to include two new colors. I love these liquid aluminizes. To me, the liquid form can look more natural than some powders because they can be worked into foundation (and even worn mixed in or under foundation for a subtle effect). Unlike some lines, NARS Illuminators are beautifully formulated, never sticky or heavy, and give the perfect amount of sheen to add a healthy-fabulous glow. Their generous size and travel-friendly packaging make these perfect additions to your makeup collection this summer.

nars 413 blkr highlighter

NARS 413 BLKR ($__) adds a classic pearl shade to its Illuminator line. This color is so universal, or all skin tones and types. It looks amazing with many of the NARS BLKR line as well–those burgundy-based classics really look amazing with this beautiful shade.  This shade is part of NARS 413 BLKR Collection additions, and at NARS Boutiques.

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NARS Hot Sand ($30/1.0 oz.) adds a pearlized warm peach-gold to this line. Unlike the existing Orgasm and Super Orgasm (which have a strong pink-peach tone), Hot Sand is a softer, more neutral color. This is available at Nordstrom, NARS online (part of the NARS Summer 2014 Color Collection: Adult Swim, Bloomingdales and Barneys New York.Nars Liquid Highlighters05

Here are swatches of both NARS 413 BLKR, Hot Sand and a touch of Armani’s summer Fluid Sheer #13 (a limited edition shade which went quickly).Nars Liquid Highlighters08

Another:Nars Liquid Highlighters10Both of these are standards, and must-haves in my collection. You should note that NARS Hot Sand is limited edition, and some are still available available at Nordstrom, NARS online, Bloomingdales and Barneys New York. Don’t miss them.Nars Liquid Highlighters05

 These highlighters were sent by NARS to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup).

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