Sep 302010

When I attended a Guerlain Master Class a few weeks ago, I received a free Le 2 de Guerlain Mascara ($36) as a gift with purchase for mentioning that I had learned about the event through the Hello Beauty blog.  Liz also received one– and so walking away from an afternoon of playing with makeup with $72 in free mascara?  Yes, please!

As with other Guerlain products, Le 2 de Guerlain Mascara has impressive, out-sized packaging.  This mascara comes in a very very long, gold elegant tube.  It makes my Chanel mascara’s look tiny.  The amount of mascara in the Guerlain tube is listed as .08 ounces, compared with the .021 ounces for Chanel.  Note that the Guerlain mascara tube looks metallic, but it feels like a traditional plastic tube.  This is all to the good–metal would make this large tube too heavy.

As the name suggests, there are two wands in this mascara.  One is a traditional mascara wand, the other is a very tiny mini version intended for the lower lash line.  The shape of the wand handles is a nice touch–their large, flat shape makes holding the wand highly controllable and pleasant.

Thoughts about Le 2 de Guerlain Mascara :

  • A+ on curling.  Neither Liz nor I need to use a curler when using this mascara.
  • Better than average ability to lengthen–the lashes take on a believable but impressive length
  • Staying power is excellent.  I must affirmatively remove this mascara or it will last until the next day.  An oil cleanser or other eye makeup remover works well.
  • No flaking, no smudging.  None.
  • My lashes feel soft, and hold the curled shape throughout even the longest days.  No “crunchy” or stiff feeling at all.
  • Le 2 de Guerlain is not a particularly volumizing mascara–if you are looking for DiorShow ooomph, keep looking.  That being said, there is a respectable amount of volume added with Le 2 de Guerlain.   I have to face it, few of us are going to pull off Kim Kardasian lash fullness without looking like we’re trying a little too hard when we go about daily life.
  • I like having the small brush for reaching the smaller lashes to catch small lashes in the eye’s inner corner.

Now the big question–would I buy?  I’m currently on a mascara quest, and so the answer is “maybe, unless I find something else really really fabulous.”  It’s not the most dramatic mascara out there, but it is certainly not a basic one either.  Le 2 does give me a very defined, curled, polished, and believable look.  There is no question that this mascara is a real pleasure to use, and my lashes feel good.  I like it better than Chanel Exceptionnel for dramatic effect, and about the same as Chanel Inimitable.  Given that there is only a $6 price difference, if the Guerlain lasts longer because it contains significantly more product then it may be worth the switch–but only time will tell on that question.  Given some other reviews I’ve read, I need to try Armani’s Eyes to Kill (full size) and Le Metier de Beaute before committing.

Then again, in the mascara world, is commitment even possible?

EDIT: I used this mascara 6-7 days every week from the late September 2010 until December 25, 2010. It lasted almost three months of heavy use.  Toward the end, I began using the end with the smaller wand as the end with the larger wand starting running dry.  I still got a good look using this method.  On my next tube, I’ll use the small mascara as a “base coat” and the larger end second to even things out.  Overall, I loved using this.  No smudging, great wear time, gorgeous lashes. At a reader’s suggestion, I’ve now chosen Guerlain’s Le 2 Volume Mascara as my current mascara.

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Sep 292010

As tidying up week continues on Café Makeup, Elizabeth Arden was kind enough to allow me to experiment with three of their Ceramide Cream Blushes ($24 each).  I tried the blush in three colors– Pink, Nectar and Plum.  As with other Elizabeth Arden Ceramide products, the company promises skin care benefits from Ceramide Triple Complex and Vitamins A, C and E.  I cannot attest to these benefits as I have only tried these blushes for a short time. Continue reading »

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Sep 282010

Becca is a brand that is getting harder to find, but is worth the search.  Lately, Liz and examined Becca Glossy Lip Tint in Daiquiri ($23 for 9 ml), a color that looks a little scary orange in the tube but delivers a sheer, wet looking gloss that looks very pretty.

I’ve always loved Becca’s sturdy, travel-ready packaging, and their Glossy Lip Tints are no exception.  The tube is clear so as to easily identify the color, the doe foot is a nice standard type, and there is an overall rubbery feel to the tube that resists fingerprints.  This same texture is very easy to hold on to without it slipping away from me.

This gives a warm peachy look when swatched.  The gloss has a faint fruity scent that I can’t quite identify–it’s pleasant and fades quickly.

Daiquiri has a pleasant, gel-like feel and gives a glossy, sheer sheen to the lips.  It’s one of those “just had an orange popsicle” colors that lets your natural lip color show through, but gives a pretty warm pink-with-a-touch of orange tint that enhances their natural color.

Overall, Becca’s Glossy Lip Tint in Daiquiri surprised me as a very nice, wearable shade.  Liz reported that she really liked the color and feel of the gloss.  As Liz goes through gloss as fast as, well–as fast as I do, I’m sure that she’ll wear this one as a good, everyday color for several months to come.

This product was provided without charge to Café Makeup for consideration for review.

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Sep 282010

When New York City native Joeybunny asked me what I wanted to see when visiting earlier this month, of course Bergdorf’s was at the top of my list.  Yet I had to add another legend too–Ricky’s–one of those crazy wonderful makeup stores that sells everything–yes like, literally everything.

There’s a vast supply of hair care items, an overwhelming amount of theater makeup, and every tool that any beauty junkie could imagine.  If you run the word “glitter” through Ricky’s online store search engine, you get 136 hits.  Their website lists 437 shampoos.  They have venetian masks, false lashes galore, glittery Mary Jane shoes, magic wands, hair dryers, a good supply of Ben Nye theatrical makeup, candles, skin care, and glitter tattoos.

Continue reading »

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Sep 272010

This week at Cafe Makeup, I’m doing some tidying–I have several pictures that I’ve been holding until I understand the products better, portions of other collections that came late, and other things that have been in my picture folder waiting for some time for a write up.

In that spirit, I wanted to complete my review of Les Khakis de Chanel, the three limited edition Le Vernis polishes for Fall 2010–Khaki Vert, Khaki Rose and Khaki Brun ($23 each).

It’s not surprising that these colors are woven into our makeup collections this season, they evoke the military theme now pervasive in fashion.  These high-shine, no-sparkle dead-serious neutrals seem a perfect compliment to green and black flannels and other wools.  Am I dreaming or would Khaki Brun look fabulous with this jacket?
Christian Louboutin over the knee green flannel over-the-knee boot epitomizes Fall military, from the first moment that I saw them in Saks (in Khaki, of course):
Previously posted, here is Chanel’s Khaki Vert, a color that I wore for one week straight after it arrived:
On nails:
Since I originally posted Khaki Vert, Khaki Rose (left) and Khaki Brun (right) arrived:
Khaki Rose is a pink-tinted medium brown that applies as a neutral.  The color reminds me of a basic eyeshadow that, almost without realizing it, you might use up simply because it is so unique and yet universal.  That being said, if I were to skip one of the three Les Khaki de Chanel, it would be Khaki Rose based on my personal taste.  Although I’m doubtful you will find an exact duplicate, the other Le Khaki colors are prettier in my opinion than Khaki Rose.
Khaki Brun turned out much better than I had hoped.  As you might expect given its name, it’s a khaki-brown that looks fabulous with black.  I love the khaki twist on the deep taupe trend:

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Sep 272010

Elizabeth Arden’s Pure Finish Mineral Tinted Moisturizer ($30 for 1.7 oz.) promises to deliver many benefits.  These include using naturally derived mineral pigments, including mica as an optical diffuser to soften the look of fine lines.  It includes antioxidants,  vitamins A, C and E  to moisturize.  Further, the product includes an ingredient called “dionysis extract”  which the line states will slow down the aging effects of free radicals.  There are additives derived from olives and jojoba together with other moisturizing ingredients. The product is said to be oil free, talc free and fragrance free.

Elizabeth Arden’s Mineral Tinted Moisturizer comes in a squeeze tube with a cap, and more generally reminded me of Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizers packaging.  Elizabeth Arden’s has slightly more product by comparison (1.7 ounces, compared to Laura Mercier’s 1.5 ounces):

Continue reading »

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Sep 242010

Chanel’s recent release on Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss included additional items, including Rouge Allure lipstick in Insolente (#65 / $30) a vibrant pink.

Insolent is a bold choice for Fall, I cannot help love the color but think that it is better suited for Spring and Summer.  It occured to me that this was originally released then in France during the Summer months, perhaps this is our chance to catch up to our European sisters–although a bit later in the year.

Certainly if you love brights, you can wear this year round.  It has a texture that is very consistent with the rest of the Rouge Allure line.  Personally, I find the texture soft and moisturizing.  The formula tends to minimize lines and imperfections in the lips, and give a pretty soft glowing finish without glitter or shimmer.

You can see that Insolent is a very cool pink, although not quite as bright and cool as last Spring’s Chanel Rouge Allure in Super.  I would think that Chanel Insolent lipstick would look quite stunning topped with the cool pink hyper glossy Extrait de Gloss in Insolence.

Another picture of Rouge Allure Insolent without lip liner or gloss:

Here are some comparisons with some other Chanel Rouge Allure lipsticks:  the cooler Super, the more sheer Pink Saphir and the warmer, rosier Desirable:

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Sep 232010

Two weeks ago, my daughter Liz and I headed to Neiman Marcus in San Francisco for lunch and a Guerlain Master Class, which we learned about through Hello Beauty.  The class was run by Guerlain’s National Makeup Artist Marcus Monson:

Marcus has been with Guerlain his entire career, and he was thoughtful enough to provide some giant Neiman Marcus cookies to carry us through the 3-hour class.  I learned a lot about Guerlain’s line during the class, although I felt that I had a good feel for the line going in.

The first hour of the class was focused on Guerlain’s extensive skincare line.  One of these items was the Orchidee White Age Defying and Brightening Serum, which promised to remove dark spots, re-texturizes skin and makes skin appear more youthful.  I asked the price-five times-because I couldn’t quite absorb the number–it sells for $460.

The most expensive item was the $1,500 set of four fluids which is said to remove 7 years from your skin.  It’s true that its less than cosmetic surgery if those claims are true:

We were excited to try Guerlain’s new foundation —Lingerie de Peau ($56).  This foundation gives medium to light coverage, with a goal of looking a part of the skin.

We got a quick overview of all of Guerlain’s liquid foundations:

  • Parure Pearly White foundation:  To minimize pores and give a glowy finish
  • Parure Extreme: For a long-lasting finish (all day)
  • Parure Aqua:  A water-based foundation, with a moisturizing effect
  • Parure Gold:  A medium coverage, correcting foundation
  • Lingerie de Peau:  A light to medium coverage foundation that blends with the skin to give a natural finish

Here is Marcus applying Lingerie de Peau (Color #3) on Liz:

I was impressed with Lingerie de Peau.  I liked the finish better than Chanel Tient Innocence Fluid, which is in the same category. I’d have a very difficult time choosing between Lingerie de Peau and Burberry Beauty’s Sheer Luminous Fluid–both are quite similar in their look and feel– unless I did a serious road test on both.  Liz opted not to purchase Lingerie de Peau quite yet, although I liked the effect on her.  She really needed to see how the foundation would wear in different conditions before committing.

Together with Lingerie de Peau, Guerlain is introducing a new finishing powder, Les Violettes Mineral, Invisible Skin Fusion Loose Powder ($56).  Although the packaging was certainly luxurious, I didn’t have the opportunity to play with the product enough to be satisfied that it would out-perform my current Caron powder.

I liked the black powder puff included, and the sifter which could be open or closed:

Marcus then applied a smoky eye using the 10 Rue des Francs Bourgeois ($84) eyeshadow palette:

I personally learned a tremendous amount about how 10 Rue des Francs Bourgeois would work for me.  We identified my appropriate base shade, my liner shade and my best brow shade.  One of the Guerlain representatives sat with me for a good twenty minutes giving me different look ideas, showing me application on one eye while asking me to do the same on the other eye.  I found that it’s an amazingly versatile palette once I had good instruction on how it would best work for (review forthcoming).

Here is the final look on Liz, using:

  • Lingerie de Peau in #3
  • Les Violettes Mineral Powder
  • Precious Light Concealer # 01
  • Le 2 de Guerlain Mascara (black)
  • 10, Rue des Francs Bourgeois eyeshadow palette
  • Guerlain Rouge G lipstick in #01 Blonde
  • Kiss Kiss Essence de Gloss in Ambre
  • Cheeks – Terracotta Lady Bronzer/Blush (Limited Edition)

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Sep 202010

Chanel Soho Story includes Rouge Coco in Stunning ($30), the sweet spot in the collection that will work beautifully for nearly everyone.  A crowd-pleasing warm pink nude with the moisturizing Rouge Coco formula–yes, a thousand times yes.  This color is a sure thing that you can tuck in your bag and use virtually any time, any where.

As with the other Rouge Coco’s, the lipstick is a heavy, luxurious case that closes with a satisfying “click.”

This color is so universal, I was almost sure that I had something similar already.  Not so:

You can see that Rouge Coco in Stunning is more nude than Mademoiselle, and less pink that the Chanel Rouge Allure in both Naive and Troublant.  After looking through numerous other options, I found that the closest that I have is MAC’s Sharp Beige (lustre formula), which was a limited edition release with the Catherine Deneuve collection several years ago.  Of course, the MAC formula is quite different, and Rouge Coco stunning is a more intense, slightly deeper shade than Sharp Beige.  If you look very closely, Sharp Beige tends to be a touch more brown compared to the slightly more mauve Chanel Stunning.

Chanel Rouge Coco is a delightfully easy color to wear, and it integrates seamlessly with the rest of Soho Story.  Highly recommended.  The secret of this shade is that it makes the wearer look Stunning, by showing off her natural beauty.  The color flatters but does not overwhelm, it does not call attention to the lipstick but, instead, to the woman who wears it.

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Sep 202010

Like many products in the Chanel Soho line, Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque in Stunt ($32) has an edge.  The Rouge Allure Laque line resembles a liquid lipstick–these products deliver full pigment, but with the shine and ease of a gloss.

Unlike other Rouge Allure Laques, Stunt gives pure color.  To say that this is unforgiving color is inaccurate–the Rouge Allure Laque formula melts on the lips without creating any lines or harshness.  Further, Stunt is a cool mauve with a touch of red and brown.  Stunt is not a jarring Pepto Bismal pink or a vampy plum.  Really, Stunt can be quite flattering by bringing out the pinks in one’s skin.

It is more accurate to say that Stunt is uncompromising in its color tone–there is no glimmer, glow or shimmer to break up the color and add dimension.  It’s a statement color because it is so flat–liquid with a touch of edge. Therein lies the drama, this color means business.

Swatches and comparisons:

You can see that it’s a wearable color, but one that stands out from the rest. Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book’s review includes a picture wearing Stunt–I think it looks fabulous on her.

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