Monthly Archives

February 2011

Bobbi Brown Guerlain Mascara

Mascara Speed Reviews: Hits and Misses

February 28, 2011

I picked up a few samples of Bobbi Brown mascaras and, over the past few weeks, gave them a test.   First up, I tried Extreme Party Mascara ($24 for full sized version), which I really liked on first application.  It delivered on volume and curl nicely.  The volume was not as great a Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils, or Diorshow, but still quite respectable.  Unfortunately, Extreme Party smudged on my under eye area after several hours of wear.  This rarely happens to me, so I’m going to give this one a miss.

Second, I tried the sample size of Bobbi Brown’s Everything Mascara ($24 for the full sized tube).  This had fairly good separation, but almost no volume. Because I’m a volume-lash addict, I won’t be pursuing a second tube.

Third, I’m on my second tube of Guerlain Le 2 Volume Mascara ($36).  I’ve reviewed the regular version of this mascara, Guerlain Le 2 Mascara here, which I loved but wondered whether more volume would be better.  Readers will recall that this is the same mascara released during Guerlain’s Holiday collection, except that the regular version does not have the gold on the small wand side–instead, it’s all black.


The standard Le Volume 2 is all black, but otherwise identical


  • Both Liz and I love this mascara.
  • It really delivers dramatic volume without clumps.
  • This gave less curl than the non-volume version Guerlain Le 2 mascara.
  • The small brush is not a brush, per se, it looks more like a doe foot applicator. I rarely used it, and I’m not sure I understand it.  I wish it was a brush.
  • Every so often, this mascara gave me the slightest smudge.  Not very often, I wondered whether it was my moisturizer or other emollient that I wore on particular days, but I have seen it happen on Liz as well very occasionally.
  • The large brush comes out very clean from the applicator, which is probably why there is so little clumping.  Having said that, the large brush must really be wiping the side of the applicator hole, because it became quite messy after a while.  Be careful handling the tube, the excess mascara that spills out can translate to your hands.  I clean the outside of the container down occasionally.

Overall, Guerlain Le 2 Volume was a big winner, based on the pure volume and look.  Really, I loved it more than another volumizing mascara that I’ve tried.  Recommended.

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Which Anne Hathaway Oscar Look Is Our Favorite?

February 28, 2011

Glamourous, funny and wearing eight different looks.  Anne Hathaway exceeded my greatest fashion expectations at last night’s Oscar’s award ceremony.  Now Cafe Makeup wants to know, which of her looks was your favorite?

[poll id=”13″]

By the way, here’s the breakdown on Anne Hathaway’s red carpet look:

“Anne wore a red dress on the red carpet. The look was centered around a thin black lined eye with a defined socket and a deep rose lip stain. For a base, I used CHANEL Vitalumiere Fluid Makeup in Limpide, which I used throughout the show. For concelear, I used Kanebo Brush Type Concealer in CB 1 Light. To create a fresh glow on her cheeks, I used CHANEL Powder Blush in Fresque, and defined cheek bones with Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium. I created a black line created with Bobbi Brown longwear gel liner in Black Ink. The eye socket was defined with Illamasqua Powder Eye Shadow in Truth, and I applied CHANEL Inimitable Mascara in Noir. On her lips, I used CHANEL Rouge Coco Lip Colour in Rivoli, and lightly powdered over her mouth for a matte effect. In between changes I used By Terry Rose Salve to remove lip colors and keep lips fresh.”

Dress photos in the montage, above, are from


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Bronzers Guerlain Powder Skin care

Guerlain Terracotta 2011

February 28, 2011

Here are few items set to launch from those lovely geniuses at Guerlain, from their Terracotta 2011 collection, due out March 15, 2011. As background, Guerlain annually launches several products to anticipate the bronzed looks of Spring and Summer, and several have been show-stopping excellent.

Guerlain Moisturizing and Long-Lasting Bronzing Powder ($49), available in eight shades.  Between us, Guerlain is one of the few companies that understands the relationship between powder, the skin, and a truly glamorous bronzed look.

This is not marked “limited edition,” and are the same as Guerlain’s standard Terracotta line with new packaging.

Terracotta Skin ($49) is a healthy glow foundation that have a matte and velvety finish.  This has a sheer bronzing color of the Terracotta powder, plus the perfecting action of a foundation.  This is intended to blur imperfections, and provide a matte, velvety finish.  This product includes:

  • Spherical powder mixed within, to reflect light;
  • Volatile oils that evaporate on application, leaving a “second skin” on the face
  • Elastomer gel, for a creamy and comfortable fee.

It looks like Terracotta Skin is this year’s version of the Teint D´Ailleurs Tinted Moisturizer (reviewed here).  The lighter version was probably a bit too dark on my NC15/Chanel Cameo-Ivoire skintone to wear alone particularly in winter, but turned into awesome magic mixed with foundation (the glow and skin care properties, plus a dose of natural color).  I’ve actually used up about half of mine, so I’ll be looking for this one.  By the way, the press release does not mark this as “limited edition,” so I am hopeful that this will become a standard in their line.

Terracotta Jambes de Gazelles ($59) (limited edition) is a spray mist for legs, for temporary color.  According to Guerlain, Jambes de Gazelle has a tan booster to prolong a natural tan, and is enriched with Sweet Orange Extract “for a relaxing and cooling effect.”  It sounds like heaven, actually.

Terracotta Serum ($59) (limited edition).  For those who tan, a few drops of this tan booster into your normal skincare product is said to extend your tan and moisturize your skin.  It’s recommended that you use two drops for face products, and four for body products.

  • Fragrance free
  • Clear honey color, that does not add any tint
  • Formulated to prepare, activate and prolong your natural tan.
  • Includes a soothing ingredient to soften skin

Also, I’m hopeful that Guerlain will release the Terracotta Inca collection, featured here at the British Beauty Blogger, that features intriguing-looking powders and glosses.

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The Hairspray That Almost Ruined My Life

February 27, 2011

I know that beauty bloggers are supposed to be upbeat and gentle in their reviews, or at least that is what I gather from reading so many.  And not to be a drama queen (well, maybe a little), but there are some experiences where beauty products go so wrong that I cannot help but express my opinions in an emphatic, even urgent, tone.

Once while browsing in Sephora, I picked up a travel size Oscar Blandi Lacca ($11) hair spray.  I’ve used Paul Mitchel Firm Style hairspray, L’Oreal Elnet (U.S. and French), and a few other random choices.  In my defense, I bought (and loved) several other Oscar Blandi products at the same time (reviews forthcoming).  When I went out of town for an important event, I did that thing you should never, ever do when traveling (write the next sentence down). I brought Oscar Blandi Lacca, which I had never home-tested first.  You doubt this rule?  Girlfriend, do not even go there.  Friends don’t let friends pack untested beauty products.  No exceptions, because that’s exactly how you end up in an out-of-town drugstore (which is the only thing open at 7 a.m.), trying desperately to remember which lines aren’t supposed to make you look clownish, instead of what you did bring.  Which does.

I woke hours before my event, preparing.  I showered and did my makeup.  And not to brag, by my makeup was done perfectly.  Really, epic.  I’m not sure whether I’ll ever replicate it.  After styling my hair, I reached for Oscar Blandi Lacca.  Testing it in the sink first to check the spray, it seemed fine.  I went for it, then it hit me.  The scent of this product was overwhelming and, to my preference, not at all pleasant.

At this point, I was t-minus 15 minutes to event departure.  After about 2 minutes, I decided that the scent was not fading.  I could not imagine spending all day, with other people, and that scent.  I literally re-washed my hair and re-did my makeup in the remaining 13 minutes, packed, and still managed to get a receipt for my hotel stay.

Thinking my senses might have been distorted, I gave Oscar Blandi Lacca the sniff test again, in the comfort and leisure of my own home.  Nope, still there.  Oscar Blandi Lacca is not for me.  Just my opinion.

Edit: I spoke to my hairdresser about this.  He was pretty certain that this product had gone “off” either while sitting on the shelf or in transit.  Perhaps a fresher bottle will have a different scent.

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Highlighter NARS

Nars Illuminators in Copacabana and Laguna- Review and Swatches

February 25, 2011

Nars has recently expanded the Illuminator line to add three shades:  Copacabana, Laguna and Super Orgasm ($29 each).  Recently, I bought two–Copacabana (1.2 oz) and Laguna (1.1 oz.)-to test drive the formula.  As background, I do not have an extensive collection of the multiple sticks.  I usually buy liquid and powder luminizers, over cream, as a personal preference.  Both Copacabana and Laguna are packed in squeeze tube with a flip-top closure.

The tube allows you to control the amount of product quite well, and the flip-top is a no-fuss closure.  Face it, if you are to the point where you are applying an illuminator, your makeup table has several other items and probably doesn’t need another loose cap.

I liked the texture of the Nars Illuminators very much.  They are cosmetically elegant, feeling wonderful against the skin and melting in quite nicely.  Copacabana is a party in a tube, seriously, this liquid does crazy beautiful magical things in the light.

Nars Copacabana Illuminator is like a “Benefit High Beam but better.”  I find that the texture of High Beam is a little thick and it seems to stand on my skin.  Copacabana is a cool pink, and so comes off as a quite dramatic on my warm, pale skin.  This will look banging hot on cool skin tones.  Those with warmer skin tones may want to swatch this before committing.  As a warm toned person, I enjoy wearing cool toned product but accept that they are going to be more dramatic than more golden tones on me.

For warmer skin tones, this will make a pretty upper-cheek highlighter. It’s nice on the brow bone, and as a “C” around the outer eyes.  Note well–the sparkle factor of Nars Copacabana Illuminator is on the high side. Also, if you have large pores or lines, try before you buy because you may find those features emphasized with Copacabana.  All of these factors are minimized if you wear this mixed with foundation or under foundation (which also knocks down the glow a few decibels).

Here is a texture/color comparison with Nars Copacabana and Soleil Tan de Chanel (in Sunkissed), Edward Bess cream highlighers in Sunlight and Afterglow, and Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in #2.  For fun, I also swatched Nars Multiple stick in Luxor because it’s another light, cool toned cream.

Another, because with illuminators the light makes a huge difference:

One more, different light.  There’s some serious glow with Copacabana (sign me up!) both in the swatch and when applied:

Laguna Illuminator has the same neutral with caramel tone as Nars Laguna powder bronzer.  Unlike Laguna in the powder form, Laguna Illuminator has an undeniably beautiful glow.  Like Copacabana, the glowing liquid is embedded with visible microshimmers that are visible on the skin even hours after application.  In case you missed it, the sparkle factor is high with both Copacabana and Laguna.

Although Laguna looks scary dark in the tube, I found that it applied in very manageable layers.  I used a bit on the cheeks to start, then built to a medium intensity with 3-4 layers.  Keep in mind, in California our idea of “way too bronze” may differ from your geographic region.  If you’ve seen the Real Housewives of Orange County you know what I’m saying.  Then, because I am a fearless bronzer tester when it comes to giving you the real deal, I slathered a thin layer all over my face.  I found this darkened my skin tone to about a MAC NC20/25.  Although I really liked the effect, I found that the sparkles were too visible. Unless you are a glitter lover, Laguna Illuminator is not meant for all over color.

Comparison and swatches–here, with Soleil Tan de Chanel in Terre Ambre, Nars Laguna powder bronzer, Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #11.

Another look:

Overall, with the Spring and Summer months approaching, I’m glad to have both Copacabana and Laguna in my beauty collection.  They’ll both get plenty of use.

This available with free shipping from

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