Jul 302010

Recently, The New York Times ran a story that notes that U.S. sunscreen protection standards are based on those promulgated in 1978, which prevents many European sunscreens from being sold in the U.S. This includes an ingredient called Tinosorb M, which is particularly effective at blocking UVA rays.

If you are traveling in Europe, you may wish to look for Avene’s Emulsion line, a gel-based sunscreen that I find very effective in blocking the sun.

This sunscreen is relatively inexpensive–it sells for about 9 or 10 euros, which works out to around $12-15, depending on the exchange rate.  One of my favorites from their range is Avene Emulsion Very High Protection 50+, which has never caused any skin irritation or breakouts.  It works nicely under my liquid foundation, and seems very effective.

Ingredients (from Tubotica.com’s website):  Avène Thermal Spring Water (Avene Aqua), Octocrylene, C-12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Disopropyl Adipate, Methylene Bis-BenzotriazolylTetramethylbutylphenol, Cyclomethicone, Water (Aqua), Titanium Dioxide, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, PVP/Eicosene Copolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil (Curcubita Pepo), Decyl Glucoside, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Fragance (Parfum), Glyceryl Behenate, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 60, Propylene Glycol, Silica, Sorbic Acid, Sorbitan Isostearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Tocopheryl Glucoside, Tribehenin, Xanthan Gum.

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What’s in Your Beach Bag? Elta MD Physical Sunscreen

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Jul 302010

When I explored physical sunscreens and found that Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 ($27) works perfectly for most everyday sun coverage.  As an aside, if you have any dark scars or spotting on the skin, you should be extra careful about sun exposure.  I’ve noticed that physical sunscreens seem to do the best for me to keep flaws from becoming more pronounced from sun exposure.  UV Physical 41 has a slight tint that nearly matches my pale MAC NC15/Chanel Cameo-Ivoire skintone, so it gives slight coverage when it sinks in without leaving a white cast.  If you don’t like the tinted aspect, Elta MD makes several sunscreens, including a physical sunscreen with SPF 46 that goes on clear.

I find that this is a perfect grab-and-go when I am headed out the door to do errands, and works extremely well in giving me effective sun coverage.  There is zero greasy feel–this one goes on matte and stays that way.  It works well for extended exposure in strong sun.  I have had zero breakouts from this product–and I am quite breakout-prone and sometimes my skin is quite sensitive.   Very non-irritating.   It gives a mattifying effect and can be drying–this works really well for those with combo/oily skin, but those with dry skin should be careful.   My liquid foundations certainly look slight better without it (if you read this blog, you know that I have very high standards for makeup textures).  Elta MD’s clear SPF 46 is on my next-to-try list, hopefully that may be another good solution.

Elta MD Physical is widely available, including from the Dermstore online, where it has 90 reviews giving the product an average of five stars (not a paid link).  It’s also stocked in many dermatologist’s offices.  For $27, this is an extremely effective sunscreen that can protect against the harsh summer sun.

Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 9.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.0%.

Inactive Ingredients: Alpha Tocopheryl, Aluminum Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Hydrated Silica, Iodopropynl Butylcarbamate, Iron Oxide, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Octyl Stearate, Octyl Neopentanoate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Perfluorononyl Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylate-13/Polyisobutene/Polysorbate 20, Purified Water, Quercitin, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Selenite, Thioctic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

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Jul 302010

I am always on the hunt for something to completely block the sun.  I happen to enjoy when those in my life tell me that my skin looks glowing, or when someone expresses genuine shock when I tell them my actual age (well, not really enjoy that last one, but you get the picture).  I live on the West Coast of the U.S, where the sun can be unforgivingly bright for months at a time–we will not see clouds until September or October, I’m guessing.  When Lisa Eldridge’s Sun Screen video recommended Institute Estederm’s Photo Reverse (60 euros for 1.6 ounces) as the sunblock that she personally uses when she visits sunny Italy, I knew I had to try it.

Institut Esthederm is a French brand that began during the 1970’s and, according to their website, employs over 30 scientists to develop new products.  Their philosophy:

The skin is a living organ of the human body composed or cells that are programmed to regenerate for 120 years. Institut Esthederm’s research is based upon the conviction that cutaneous ageing is not inevitable, and accordingly all of Institut Esthederm’s producrts are developed to maintain the skin in its optimal state as it evolves. The skin is an active organ that has all the inner resources needed to be well-balanced. Institut Esthederm’s products are made from patented actives that specifically help re-educate the skin so that it can learn to power itself by restarting its life cycle. The skin is a fragile organ that is connected both to the body and to the affects its good functioning. Institut Esthederm products, made from tested, traceable and selected actives, act on the skin while respecting its particularities and its environment. This is cutaneous ecology.

As Eldridge’s video points out, Institut Esthederm does not have SPF ratings on its products.  Instead, Photo Reverse is advertised as “No Sun” product (the tube says simply, “Prohibited Sunlight”). According to the packaging, Photo Reverse “encourages the skin’s adaptation and protection against the sun” so I suppose SPF ratings do not really make sense for them.  Other products in Institute Esthederm’s line allow some sun exposure; Photo Reverse is said to block it all.

Formerly, I thought that only physical sunscreens were effective for blocking sun to prevent dark patches from getting darker.  I’ve been using Photo Reverse for a few weeks, and so far I love it.  It is a white liquid that disappears on the skin.  Although advertised as water and sweat resistant, Institut Esthederm recommends re-application every two hours.  Photo Reverse has a very emollient feel, it leaves my skin with a very moisturized glow. I’ve been using powder over it to knock it down.  It does sit well under either liquid or powder foundations, but leave a good 20 minutes after application before applying to let it sink into the skin.  It looks better on the skin that the physical sunscreen that I had been using.  If I am going to be poolside for an hour or more, I supplement my protection with an SPF-rated hat from Outdoor Research.

Results:  So far, so good.  No sun means no sun–my skin looks lighter and brighter since I started to use Photo Reverse.  This is the most effective sun screen that I have ever used, and yes I’ve used ones that are marked SPF 100.  Some darker patches look faded, although they are not completely gone.  I’m excited to keep using the product to see what happens.  I have confidence that if I am going to be out for a while, this will block the sun if anything can.

Where to buy:  Institute Ethederm seems to be sold everywhere in Paris, including Sephora, Galleries Lafayette department store, and little beauty shops sprinkled throughout the city.  I paid 60 euros for this at Galleries Lafayette.  I was unable to locate a U.S. source, although perhaps some of my readers have a spa or boutique nearby that carries it and can post hints in the comments. Other Instute Ethederm products can be shipped within the U.S. from other sources that I found through a Google search–for example, Cult Beauty ships worldwide.

Ingredients:  Water, Dicapryl Carbonate, Octocylene, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl, Tetramethylbutylphenol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Dipropylene Gycol, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triasine, Gyceril Stearate, Hydroxypropyl Dimethicone Behenate, PEG-100 Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Andrographis Panicaluta Leaf Extract, Artemia Extract, Carnosine, Algae Extract, Disodium Adenosine Triphosphate, Hexapeptide-2, Decyl Glucoside C20-22 Alkyl Phosphate, C20-22 Alcohols, Xanthan Gum, Gutylene Glycol, Propolene Glycol, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Discodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide.

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Almost August – Beach Day at Café Makeup

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Jul 302010

Today is the last weekend of July, and if you haven’t hit the beach or pool already–what are you waiting for?

In honor of all things sunny, I’m going to review three of my favorite sunscreens today.  By the afternoon, we’ll look at three.  In the meantime, tell me what type of sunscreen you prefer?

[poll id=”9″]

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Jul 292010

Edward Bess makes a beautiful deep toned highlighter called All Over Seduction in Afterglow ($38).  Although I’ve gone most of my life with a few, for some reason I’ve bought more highlighters since I started this blog than I ever imagined.  Why?  I’ve noticed what a huge (yet subtle) difference they make.  The compact is small–again, an easy throw-in-your-bag size that gives your skin a beautiful glow.  Also, some of my summer makeup mattes my skin down too much (physical sunscreens, particularly).  Adding highlighter brings it back to life.

Since I originally reviewed Edward Bess’ All Over Seduction in Sunlight, I’ve found that I love the effect on my upper cheeks.  (Yes, you can dab it on your shoulders and anywhere else too).  The slightly warm tone and texture looks so natural and pretty, catching the light in a way that makes my skin look ultra-healthy.  As we move into later summer, I wanted to try Afterglow for a deeper, near-gold color that works well with bronzers.

This picture shows the color and texture difference with some of my other cream and liquid highlighters.  RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer glows like a soft white pearl.  Edward Bess’ Sunlight brings has creamier tones.  Afterglow is shimmery light gold.  By comparison, the Soliel Tan de Chanel liquid highlighter is gold-toned, but has a brighter shimmer than Afterglow.  At least two Chanel’s makeup artists have recommended to me that Soleil Tan de Chanel can be used under foundation (or powder) to tone the texture down.  In contrast, Afterglow has a natural looking luminosity right out of the compact.  However, you can see that Afterglow is not too dark for my pale MAC NC15/Chanel Cameo – Ivoire (Intensity 1.o) skin.

To me, high end makeup is worth the price if you use it up, it looks pretty, natural and sophisticated.  Afterglow is definitely in that category.

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Rimmel Beauty Review on Beauty Debutante

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Jul 282010

Here is a review of Rimmel Sexy Curves and Exaggerate Liner on Beauty Debutante.. This is my first mascara review– Liz and I compared it to Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils. We had fun–Check it out!

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Jul 282010

Edward Bess makes a lovely deep pink cream called Compact Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Island Rose ($38).

Although I’m on the paler end of the skin tone scale, I find that this color compliments beautifully without overwhelming.  The product sheers out beautifully when used on cheeks.  When I do a pale look, it adds a pretty pink when applied lightly.  When I add bronzer, I can amp up Island Rose nicely.  The texture of the product stays true and pretty.

The texture of Island Rose reminds me of Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge’s, my other favorite cream blush.  The closest that I have in my collection is Bobbi Brown’s Pale Pink–both are cool pinks.  You can see that Island Rose is a deeper tone:

Island Rose is an easier product for travel–the small compact slips pretty easily into even a small makeup bag.  Island Rose has a slight scent, which is noticeable when applied to lips.  I found that the product gives a slight tint of color on the lips (this is also how the product is described on Edward Bess’ website)  If you are looking for a full coverage lip color, I’d go with one of Edward Bess’ lipsticks instead.

This is a lovely color and I am really glad that Edward Bess is making such lovely, luxurious and practical products.  His Compact Rouge comes in one other color–After Sunset–which is reviewed by The NonBlonde at her site.

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Edward Bess – Escape Eyeshadow

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Jul 272010

One of Edward Bess’ six gorgeous single Ultra Luminous eyeshadows is Escape ($30).

Escape is a beautiful deep caramel with a touch of bronze and a hint of red.  As with his other eyeshadows, Escape is richly pigmented and a pleasure to use.

I appreciate the small, light yet luxurious packaging.  Escape is perfect for my warm coloring and –hello!– really sets off my blue-changes-to-green eyes.  Also, this seems to pick up some golden tones in my hair, and is a color that really works for me.  The shadow has a subtle shimmer that looks sophisticated (read this as–no glitter bits, rather, the shadows has a pretty sheen the brings light to the lid).

Here is a comparison with Burberry Beauty’s Golden Trench, a color that is lighter and in the same color family.  I wore these two together over the weekend, and really liked the effect.  It worked well with a deep brown eyeliner (for example, Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Espresso Ink or Chocolate Shimmer would work well).  I used Nars Abyssinia on my brownbone.

This is going to be staple for me, it is a neutral that has a touch of flattering color.  Definitely one that is going in my very top makeup drawer, the one that is easiest to reach for.  The small compact size makes it easy for travel, and the color means that it will look lovely with the blacks, blues, grays, greens, and even corals, yellows and greens that make up my clothing wardrobe.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes for Escape.

If you are interested in other Edward Bess colors, Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book has this lovely comprehensive post.  I’ve reviewed Intimate and Dusk on Café Makeup here.  This is available at Edward Bess.com and also by calling Bergdorf Goodman in New York.  Of these two, I prefer calling Bergdorf because the assistance at the Edward Bess counter is wonderful.

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Jul 262010

Guerlain just released gorgeous, large heavy 6-color palettes ($85 each).  Sized 3″ by almost 3 1/2″, these palettes are some of the most beautiful products that I have seen.  I took some pictures, posted here, as a leisurely walk through these very intricate and detailed beauties.

These come in a velveteen slipcover:

The top has an elaborate latticework of metal mesh.  There is no mechanical latch–rather, the door closes quite crisply and securely using a magnet closure:

The latticework is highlighted with a little bee, which played a part in the very beginning of Guerlain’s history:

In 1853, Guerlain developed a fragrance for Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III.  The bottle was covered in bees, which were the symbols of the French Empire, each one lacquered in gold.  Today, Guerlain makes a series of perfumes with the glass embossed in a bee pattern:

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Jul 232010

To me, Gold Trench No. 04 Sheer Eyeshadow Eye Enhancer ($29) is a quintessential Burberry Beauty color.  It is a warm gold-butterscotch with a slight pearl, and reminds me of a warmer version of Burberry’s famous trench coat adding a whisper of gold sheen.

Like the other eyeshadows, Gold Trench comes in the heavy, luxurious packaging with Burberry’s trademarked plaid pattern.  It has a pearl sheen when applied:

Like the other colors in Burberry’s collection, I first thought that the color was easy to duplicate.  Until I tried.  The issue is the texture–although I have more golds, browns and neutrals than anyone really should, I found that nearly all had a shimmer/sparkle or more obvious texture.  The closest ones in my collection are Edward Bess Escape and Shu Uemura’s P Brown 853:

During my makeover to recreate the Burberry Beauty promotional image look, my excellent makeup artist used Gold Trench as the main crease color.  He then used Burberry’s black liner pencil feathered on the lashline, then added Burberry’s Porcelain eyshadow in the inner corner and browbone.  He used a touch of Trench.  He then smudged the liner, smudged the eyeshadow, then literally took a large eyeshadow brush and smudged the entire eye all over again.  Really, you cannot smudge enough to get the soft eye featured in the ad.  No hard edges, no cut crease.  Soft, soft and then more soft.  The black liner acts almost like an extra eyeshadow, because it gets smudged up into the lid area.  As you can see from my post that lists the eyeshadows used in the picture, none of the shadows used are very dark–it is really the liner pencil that adds a deeper touch.  As a last step, he redefined the liner, giving it a slight flick up at the ends.

Bottom line–Burberry Gold Trench is one of those quiet eyehadows that can be the foundation of a soft smoky eye.  The texture is really soft and wonderful.  It is less pigmented than Edward Bess’ Escape, although Escape is a deeper shade.  I did need more “layers” of Gold Trench to make the swatches, above, compared to the easier swipe of Edward Bess’ Escape.  I can see using Gold Trench quite often, for warmer looks, together with a neutral crease color and soft ivory brownbone color.  It sort of looks nice with Escape, doesn’t it?  It would also work well with a gray taupe, like Chanel’s Taupe Grise or Burberry’s Taupe Brown.

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