Sep 302011

With the release of Chanel’s new Perfection Lumiere Foundation (swatched here and here), Chanel released a single Foundation Brush ($45) (#6) (Chanel Brush/ Les Pinceaux de Chanel Pinceau Fond de Teint).  Some stores have not yet received these in stock, mine was purchased from

According to some sales associates whom I’ve interrogated (yes, Cafe Makeup brings it when we visit a makeup counter, and sometimes we feel a little bad about that), Chanel’s brush redesign should be completely up for sale around Spring ’12.  Please note that “Spring ’12” in the makeup world means “late December ’11.”  We’ll have to see what actually happens, because none of this information is official and may have been obtained under duress.

The brush is just over 6 inches long.  As you can see, Chanel has dramatically changed the brush head into three colors, which if inspected closely have three different textures.

For lack of a better word, I’ve come to think of this as a “tri-fiber” brush  head.  Chanel’s former international (non-U.S.) foundation brush was somewhat similar.  The fiber closest to the ferrule is very stiff, so that the brush head holds its shape when wet with liquid foundation, and pressed against all of the different parts of the face.  The center portion (the dark brown) has more flexibility and seems quite absorbent to hold the liquid well.  The bristle tips are soft and feathery, which is a good brush texture for blending an airbrushed finish.  The ends taper to a very fine point.

The handle has the same feel as Chanel’s former international (non-U.S.) brushes–it feels like wood (or a wood composite), which is not too heavy but sufficiently substantial to give you a good grip.

The text on the back is simple–only the brush number (#6) and brush name (“Foundation”) are printed there.  Curiously, I did not see the country of origin stamped on the brush.  This is true even on the ferrule, where Chanel had previously stamped its country of origin.  Like Chanel’s now-discontinued brush, this new one is made in China:

Some of my former Chanel brusheswere made in China have held up very well for years, and perform extremely well.  I would not have noted this at all, except that I occasionally get questions.

Comparison of three foundation brushes–my well-worn Chanel now-discontinued foundation brush (#16), Shiseido’s new Perfect Foundation Brush (reviewed here) and Chanel’s new foundation brush:

I liked the brush head of the new Chanel Foundation Brush (#6), better than the discontinued Chanel foundation brush (#16).  The feathery tip helps me get a flawless look with fewer brushstrokes.  The finish that I can achieve with the new foundation brush and Perfection Lumiere has drawn compliments (it does look better, in my opinion).

If you are choosing between Shiseido’s Perfect Foundation Brush and Chanel’s new Foundation Brush #6, here are my thoughts:

  • As you can see, the brush head shape of either is remarkably different;
  • The Shiseido brush tends to be faster, because the flat head absorbs and deposits foundation very quickly;
  • If you are inexperienced or rushed, the Shiseido will give you a slightly heavier coverage (those with more experience or care can work well with either);
  • The Chanel brush shape is a classic shape used for layering foundation–it’s more intuitive for light coverage that is then “built up” only where needed;
  • Shiseido’s compact size is perfect for travel and less expensive;
  • Chanel’s seems to be easier and faster to clean (this isn’t really a performance issue I thought I’d point it out).
  • Bottom line, if you are choosing between them you cannot go “wrong” with either one–really, it’s going to come down to your personal foundation style and use preference.

Overall, the new Chanel Foundation Brush is a positive step forward.  I far prefer it to the older Chanel foundation brush–the smaller size, the feathery bristle ends, and the tapered top deliver a better product.  To get The Beauty Look Book’s views, see her review here.

Please follow us on....

Sep 292011

Lovely readers, after thinking about Chanel Perfection Lumiere Foundation ($55) (full swatches are here), I was curious about some color comparisons.  I thought I’d create a little sketchbook with the pictures to share.

First, I wanted to check Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere against my other foundation shades.  Here is a comparison of:

  • Chanel Vitalumiere Fluid 20 Clair/Cameo
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere B10
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere B20
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere B30
  • Chanel Tient Innocence Fluid in 20 Clair/Cameo (discontinued)
  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B10
  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua B20
  • Chanel Lift Lumiere 15 Ivoire
  • Chanel Pro Lumiere 20 Claire Cameo
You’ll notice considerable variation among these.  In shade with flash:
In sun with flash:
This one compares the Perfection Lumiere Beige Rose 32 both wet and dry.  I want to emphasize that a quick arm swatches must dry down.  On the left is a freshly applied swatch of Perfection Lumiere BR 32 that has not dried at all.  On the far right is the same foundation that has dried down for a good 20 minutes, maybe longer–what a difference in color that dry down makes.  In the center is a swatch of Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige Rose 30, which is darker and different tonally.
Finally, I wanted to compare a medium skin tone color across all of the different color tones.  Here are swatches of Beige Rose’s deepest shade,  Perfection Lumiere in Beige Rose 52.  Also, there is Perfection Lumiere in Beige 60, Perfection Lumiere in Beige Ambre 64 and Ambre 94:
It’s so interesting to me that numerically, the first three shades toward the left of this picture are all near 60.  But the undertones are so very, very different.  Beige Ambre is so warm, it’s really an amber in the true sense of the word.  Even the “Beige Rose” does not seem very pink to me. The shade range in this release is certainly enormous for Chanel.  Even if you don’t find your perfect match, it may be that you get much closer than with any previous Chanel release.  It’s certainly good to see a very high end luxury line take notice of the wide range of color shades of women. This is available with free ship online at
This post contains affiliate links (for more information, please see “About Cafe Makeup”)

Please follow us on....

Sep 282011

Chanel has just released a new foundation, Perfection Lumiere ($55), which I’m currently testing. In the meantime, I thought it useful to post swatches of nearly all of the shades for my readers. Just a quick note–although Chanel’s Pro Lumiere has been discontinued at the same time that Perfection Lumiere has been released, they are not similar. Although the names echo each other, the finish of Perfection Lumiere is far more matte, and much less “glowy” than Pro Lumiere. I’ll report more on the formula, wear time and finish after more testing.

The foundation comes in a glass pump bottle:

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

As you can see, there is some sunscreen (titanium dioxide/ SPF 10) in the product.

The biggest change that is immediately noticeable is the large shade range. Perfection Lumiere includes twenty (20) shades (19 are swatched here), which is both unprecedented and welcome from Chanel. I’m so pleased to see very light to dark shades.

The shades are grouped according to undertone. As you will see, some of the darker shades have incorporated reds and blues, and lighter shades have a wide range of available undertones. Like other recent Chanel foundation releases, if possible try before you buy. It takes at least five (5) minutes (or longer) before the shade will “settle” into its true color on your skin. Also, you will notice the texture shifts during this time. These swatches were taken with at least 15 minutes of dry time each.

I’ve only tried the foundation once, but my first experience shows that the foundation goes on dry and powdery for the first few minutes. After 1/2 hour, the foundation looked much more natural, less matte and more like real skin. Normally I wear a warm-toned Chanel Cameo/Ivoire (MAC NC15 leaning a bit toward NC20 rather than lighter).

The Beige shades are light to medium in tone:

The Beige Rose Shades are light to medium in tone. These shades are very slightly pinker than the Beige shades:

Here is a comparison of Beige 20 and Beige 22 so that you can see the undertone difference:

Beige Ambre (which translates to “Amber Beige”), which are very warm and run in the medium skin tone range:

The Ambre shades (except for Ambre 114, which was not yet in stock):

Many thanks to the wonderful associates at Nordstrom Beauty, who filled little tiny sample jars so that we could have this as a reference. I always get great service there.  More comparison swatches are posted here on Cafe Makeup.

Please do not reproduce or hotlink these images. Taking content and bandwidth isn’t pretty.

Please follow us on....

Sep 272011

Guerlain’s Holiday 2011 collection includes a new Meteorites Perles de Nuit ($56 / 1.05 oz.).  As with the other recent Meteorites releases, these are packaged in a beautifully designed metal container in shades of deep midnight blue.  It’s safe to say that these are limited edition.

Here’s the bottom label:

 Inside, the powder pearls are shades of pink, gold, orange and silver pearls to illuminate without whitening.

All the pearls:

I’ve worn these for two days, and absolutely love them.  They seem to mattify and give a pearl glow at the same time.  Unlike last year’s holiday meteorites Perles D’Or (reviewed here) which have a warm rosy gold glow, Perles de Nuit is a more neutral pearl effect which works well on both warm and cool skin tones.  These meteorites are gorgeous.  By the way, these are currently for sale on

Guerlain sent this product to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

Please follow us on....

Sep 272011

This recent story about Chanel’s Peter Philips’ work backstage at Jil Sander emphasizes that a modern look incorporates nudes. Above, Philips used foundation on the lips to simulate a nude lip. Unlike Fall seasons past, I’m definitely feeling nudes during 2011. This includes nails, including Rococo Nail Apparel’s Nude Wardrobe over at The Beauty Look Book and RGB’s nail collection seen here at Planete Beaute.

Some Fall lipsticks also have a nude vibe.  Like many women, I cannot wear a completely nude lip without looking a bit lifeless. Instead, this Fall I’ve been rotating some nude roses that give some color to lips (but not much). One was previously reviewed here, Burberry Lip Mist in Nude Rose.

This is in Burberry’s Lip Mist formula, which is both sheer and moisturizing. On Liz:

Another one that I’m enjoying is Dior Rouge Dior in Pisanelle Pink ($32/#428), released with this Fall’s Blue Tie Collection:

When this was released, I went back to look at it several times trying to decide whether I needed this one.  I decided that I did, and I’v been wearing it very frequently.  It’s one of those lipsticks that you can keep in your purse constantly to refresh during the day.  It looks good with a wide range of other looks, and adds a glowing look that is very polished.  On Liz:

Dior’s formula is very moisturizing–this feels like a balm to me. Keep in mind, the formula is a bit soft. Several of the testers that I saw were broken. I’ve carried mine around in my purse, and been careful during application, which seems to have worked to preserve the bullet of this very soft formula.

Bobbi Brown’s Rich Lip Color in Soft Nude ($22/ #18) is a rosy brown nude:

On Liz:

Bobbi Brown’s Soft Nude is the deepest and most opaque of this group, easily covering my pigmented lips.  Bobbi Brown’s tended to look creamier than the others, which have a more luminous finish.  I’m having trouble locating this color for sale online–this may have been limited edition or is simply sold out.

Here is a comparison of the three:

I have to admit, it is nice to have a Fall season where deep reds are not required. I’m enjoying the ease and wearability of these colors. You can always smoke out the eyes, if you’d like emphasis. I’m declaring Fall 2011 the season of nude makeup.

Bobbi Brown Rich Color Lipstick in Soft Nude was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

Please follow us on....

Sep 262011

Liz has been curious about Anastasia Beverly Hills products since last summer, when we saw Anastasia at a Nordstrom Trend Event in San Francisco.  As you may already know, Anastasia Soare is a brow expert.  She’s known in the beauty world for her brown powders, especially her duo’s, which give a very natural and pretty look.

Liz typically uses a light brown eyeshadow or bronzer powder to fill in brows.  When we were offered the chance to try out an Anastasia products in person, Cafe Makeup jumped at the chance.  We were sent the Anastasia Beauty Express For Brows and Eyes in Blonde, which sells for $39.50 at Sephora and Nordstrom.  This set is also available in a Brunette version.  Click to enlarge:

This set has several components, for an all-in-one approach to eyes and brows.  The lid has a list of directions, so if you aren’t sure how to use the product, there is a built-in guide (click to enlarge):

The diagram shows you how to place the stencil in orientation to the rest of your features to get the most flattering look.  The set comes with five stencils in different shapes, to ensure fool-proof shaping.  Liz used Slim High Arch that nearly matched her natural brow shape:

In addition, this travel-friendly kit comes with:

– Brow wax

– Two (2) light brow powders that can be mixed to match your coloring

– Two (2) neutral eyeshadows

– A stiff, angled eyeshadow brush

Overall, Liz found that the kit worked quite well.  Although the stencil took a little bit of patience to maneuver at first, she was very pleased with her initial effort.  In the picture, below, Liz used Les Noirs Guerlain palette (reviewed here) (rather than the included eyeshadows).  She found that the wax and brow powders of Anastasia Blonde were perfect for her fair coloring.  Here is the result of her very first try:


I think that the stencils are a really good idea for those who are new to brow products, or just want to get a second opinion on what’s going on up there.  It does make application foolproof-you just fill in the lines.  I’d probably use them to double-check my shape after tweezing and special occasions, but I’m not sure that I’d have the patience for them every single morning.  Liz liked the overall effect when she used them.

We both liked the brow colors very much–really, if you haven’t looked at Anastasia Eyeshadow Duo’s ($22), you really should.  There are six separate duo’s, bringing the total number of colors to twelve–including one duo designed for redheads.  They give a very believable look, and are excellent quality.

Liz found that the Anastasia Brow Express was very convenient for use in her personal stash.  The brush is short (to fit into the palette), but the brush head is good quality and highly usable.  She’s played with it more since this first try and still likes the results.  The size is small, packable and has just about everything she needs.  She recommends the product.

This product was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

Please follow us on....

Sep 242011

1.  First, Nubar is releasing a Jeans collection — three shades for $19:

A complete write-up is here at All Lacquered Up.  Are you thinking the same thing that I’m thinking?? Hmmmm

2.  Second, Allure’s October “Best of Beauty” issue has hit news stands.  As usual, it is enormous.  There are many products featured, so I’m not sure whether it’s going to narrow the field much for you.  Still, the pictures are well done and it’s probably worth a look:

Not to be outdone, Nordstrom also has a “Beauty Awards” feature on its website.

Nordstrom’s version is much more edited, but doesn’t have quite as much product information as Allure’s.

3.  The NonBlonde is just back from Paris, and doing a series of posts on her adventures there.  Take a look at this feature about buying vintage perfumes, and this one where she re-lives her visit to the Serge Lutens Boutique.

Please follow us on....

Sep 232011

Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat ($18/.50 oz) is a recent addition to my nail stash.  Formerly, I’ve used Chanel and CND Stickey base coats, and really liked them both.  However, recently the weather has been unusually dry and my nails were suffering.  For the first time ever, they looked visibly dry.  Rather than cry about it, I pulled myself together and switched to Lippmann’s Rehydrating Base Coat.

I’ve used it for a few weeks, and it’s made a real difference in my nails.  Although it hasn’t been long enough for them to have grown out from the nail bed, the nails look much more moisturized and they are far less brittle.  I was surprised that switching base coats made this significant difference, but it has.  Not the most colorful or sex-ay product out there, maybe, but certainly effective and worth the price.  Highly recommended.

Please follow us on....

Sep 222011

NARS released two silver products for Fashion Night Out 2011 in its Silver Odyssey Collection:  Space Odyssey nail polish ($17) and Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Crispi ($23).  Although these were both sold out by the time that they arrived at my door, I thought it helpful to post some pictures for archival purposes (there do not seem to be very many sites featuring these).

Space Odyssey is a silver glitter nail polish, very silver, dramatic and metallic in tone.

This is a color to wear to a gallery opening, or other artsy-type setting. It’s so completely over the top that I have to love it.  Not work-friendly, not family-friendly, not really friendly at all.  Just killer silver nails.

Larger than Life Eyeliner in Via Crispi is almost the precise color of aluminum foil.


As with the other Larger than Life pencils, this is encased in black plastic, with a tip-sharpener on one end.

These might have gotten rushed out on a deadline, I had to twist this up a few inches before the creamy pencil point emerged.  Swatched on arm:

Truly an edgy, niche color. It’s opaque, it’s metallic, it’s certainly silver.  Some comparisons:

It seems to me that Fashion’s Night Out is the time to play.  Nars took the chance to put out something very tiny, very affordable, and very niche.  You’ll either love them for their insanity, or they won’t appeal to you at all.  For me, it was a chance to grab two highly-different colors that seemed a little inspired.

Please follow us on....

Sep 212011

Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs in Les Perles ($59 / #08) is a pearly, shimmery glowing palette of gorgeous color.  The colors include:

  • On the left, a shimmery pearl-oyster beige-gray (Guerlain does these types of colors really well)
  • On top center, a soft white pearl
  • On bottom center, a deep, multifaceted richly pigmented burgundy-purple
  • On the right, a pearly soft light pink
This was my favorite palette so far from the Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs line.  The pigmentation and coloring is beautiful. It gives a lovely, luminous effect.  I didn’t find any comparable palettes in the Ecrin 6 Couleurs palette line.  Here, the colors:
Liz and I found application was very easy.  The colors blended well, and were easy to lay down on the lid with a soft brush.  The texture was smooth and luminous.  We had excellent wear time as well.  Neither of us is very consistent using a base, but we both found that the color held up well all day without one.
Lis used the pink pearl (right) as her base color.  She used the gray (left) in the outer half of the eye, and the burgundy (lower center) in her crease very softly.  Then she placed the white in her inner corner.
We loved the glow of Guerlain Les Perles.  It gives a delicate look without too much heavy color.  We absolutely loved this palette.
One last look:
Here’s a picture of the outside of the Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs palettes (all colors have identical palettes outside):

Please follow us on....