Sep 202011

Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs Palette in Les Noirs ($59 / #09) is a combination of three very dark gray to black shades, with one pearly light pink highlighter.

The left black shade is a near-matte, very deep-toned and pigmented.  It can be used as a liner shade or touched more lightly to add depth to the crease or the outer corner.  The bottom metallic pearly gray is complicated, it is infused with multicolor shimmers.  It has a “black oil” effect that swatches in a very pretty way.  The light pink pearl is a traditional, soft color for browbone or inner corner.  The right medium gray shade has a pearly shimmery texture.

Liz and I wanted to love Les Noirs.  Unfortunately, we found a few issues with the palette that left us cold.  First, the colors are really too rich and black for our pale skintones, at least for our taste.  These three very deep colors are statement colors, and regrettably these aren’t the statements that we wanted to make.  Rather than adding drama, we found that their cool dark tones a bit aging.  Second, we found the texture of Les Noirs significantly harder to blend that the other palettes in the line.  We found that we really had to “pat pat pat” these colors on the eye area.  They seemed to drag and pull, even with very good brushes we didn’t get a smooth laydown of color without significant effort.  We had much better luck with the other Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs that we tried.

We gave this one a few tries before we thought this was ready for the camera. Here, Liz used a patting motion, and primarily relied on the pink pearl color touching the grays in the crease and outer corner very lightly.  By using mostly the lighter tones, she minimized the darkening effect which seems to close down our eye area (in a not-very-flattering way).

Liz is using Benefit’s “They’re Real” mascara (reviewed here).

Bottom line–there are better palettes in Guerlain’s Ecrin 4 Couleurs line. Based on our experiences, we’d give this a “miss.”

Please follow us on....

Sep 182011

François Nars, Founder & Creative Director of NARS Cosmetics, created the look for the Marc Jacobs runway show.

According to François:

Marc had a lot of images of Patsy Klein, Amy Winehouse, and Cowboy Kate, a book from the 60’s whose character Kate had heavy eyelashes. The complexion is meant to look like it’s glowing, like the girls have been dancing, and by eliminating the blush it gives a strange, otherworldly effect. The focus was really on the eye, with a well-defined brow. The combination of different touches creates a decadent, French sensuality and makes the girls more like characters.

1. What kind of look did you want to create for Marc’s show?

Marc showed me images of Amy Winehouse, Patsy Klein, and Sweet Charity – all of whom had inspired him. Because the girls are to be staring into the eyes of the audience when the curtain opens, we decided to focus on the eyes. We were inspired by this book from the 1960s, Cowboy Kate, whose character wore false eyelashes and Marc mentioned Bob Fosse (the choreographer) and so it was really important to make the girls look like dancers, to treat them like characters not models. The skin is meant to look like it is dewy, like the girls have been dancing – it’s very Cabaret. We used the new Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer instead of foundation.

2. What beauty technique did you use to bring Marc’s vision to life?

We used three pairs of false eyelashes for each girl! We actually had to cut them very precisely. The inner corners of one pair were cut off and applied to the inner corners. Then, we cut the remaining two pairs in half and used the outer halves on the outer corners, not at the same time of course. We applied one set, and then followed with the next.

3. What kind of affect does this create?

It makes the eyes look really full along the outer corners. It’s very decadent, very French, very Marc. We used Via Veneto Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner to line the eyes and eliminate the space between the lashes and the lash line. And then applied Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara for additional emphasis.

4. What about the rest of the look – especially the brows? They are very defined.

In order to keep the focus on the eyes, we needed to create a frame around them, which is exactly what brows do to the face. We made them very dark with the black side of Pandora Duo Eyeshadow, so that they look like dancers. In the past we’ve always done really minimal brows or bleached them completely so this was different for us. The brow is sharply defined from inner to outer ends. It’s very monochromatic.

5. Hence the reason for no blush and nude lips?

Yes- there is no color. The lips have Madere Pure Matte Lipstick applied for a nude, very couture look and topped it with Striptease Lip Gloss for shine. And absolutely no blush- when you look at the girls, it’s really like you are looking at a black and white film – there is no color.

6. You mention Amy Winehouse- what about Amy inspired the look exactly?

The look for Marc was very similar to Amy’s in that the skin is transparent. The direct inspiration was not a literal reference but to evoke the overall feeling or essence of her. The hair, the lashes and also her skin. She never wore a lot of foundation; just eye makeup

The look:


  • Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer – new for Spring 2012; for now try a light application of Sheer Glow Foundation




 All products, except where noted, are available at

Please follow us on....

 Tagged with:
Sep 142011

When my order of a few of the new Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs palettes arrived, Les Gris ($59 / #5) was the first that I happened to open.  I literally gasped–this is visually stunning palette.

On the far left is a matte gray.   The top center is a shimmery shell beige highlight.  The bottom center is a deep, sparkling shimmery navy.  The far right is a medium gray metal shimmer.

 Les Gris didn’t seem to have a strong corollary in the Ecrin 6 Couleurs.  Instead, this one is a deep, cool and nicely-textured edgy combination.  Liz used the lightest shade as the base color for her lid, then layered the blue (bottom center) over the top of the base. She then used the right shimmery grey in the inner corner.  She touched the dark grey (on the left) in her crease lightly.  She’s using Benefit They’re Real Mascara (reviewed here), in natural light (no flash) in this picture:

Another picture, with flash.  You can see how the pearly texture of the shimmery shades reacts to the light:

 Same, eyes closed with flash:

Liz and I found Les Gris extremely easy to use.  The texture is beautiful and blends well.  Lovely colors–interesting but not over the top.  Highly recommended.

Please follow us on....

Sep 132011

LEAD ARTIST: James Kaliardos for NARS Cosmetics/ Rodarte Spring-Summer 2012


Using navy-blue, smokey eye and lavender lips, this artist was inspired by Van Gogh’s brushwork. “It’s a really beautiful, round, smoky eye with gradations of blue,” said lead artist James Kaliardos for NARS Cosmetics “It’s like ‘Starry Night’ and then there’s this beautiful lavender lip, complemented by warm skin.”









Please follow us on....

Sep 132011

Guerlain’s new Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palettes in Les Fumes ($59) is a pretty palette of brown-based neutrals.  Unlike last years permanent release of Guerlain’s Ecrin 6 Couleurs ($84), Les Fumes is a slightly smaller and more convenient size, a reduced price and a less complicated palette.  Fortunately, the quality of Guerlain’s 4 Couleurs is excellent–the lower price and smaller size does not mean reduced quality.

Les Fumes has:

– Top/center:  A soft pink-beige shell base color (matte)

– Left:  A shimmery medium brown with tiny microsparkles

– Bottom/center:  A deep shimmery brown with a touch of violet

– Right:  A shimmery pewter gray


Here is a swatch comparison with Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs Rue de Passay, which has a similar tonal quality although the shades are not the same:

On Liz:

Liz with Les Fumes (eyes closed):

Geurlain Les Fumes is incredibly easy to use.  With very little effort, one can achieve a very polished, sophisticated neutral eye.  Liz started with a base coat of the top center pink-beige all over the lid.  She then blended the left shade into the outer corner, and the deep shade (bottom center) into the crease.  She put a generous coating of the shimmery gray (on the right) starting from the inner corner halfway across the lid.

Gorgeous!  The texture is excellent–it’s not quite as soft as some of Dior’s 5-color palettes but the pigment comes off easily with only a slight pressure.  The powder is very finely milled and blends beautifully.

Please follow us on....

Sep 122011

Dior has just released 5 Couleurs Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette – Mitzah ($60/ #753), a more accessible version of of the highly limited edition, individually numbered Mitzah Panther Palette ($90)(reviewed here).  Unlike the panther palette, Dior’s Mitzah 5-color quint comes in the standard blue compact with the traditional Dior layout.

The palette evokes the Mitzah theme with a panther print on the surface of the eyeshadow palette:

The colors are:

  • a light shimmer cream highlighter
  • the center butterscotch-mustard
  • a soft shimmer camel tan
  • a medium taupe-gray
  • a rich brown
Here is a swatch comparison with Dior Mitzah Panther 3-color on the left, compared to the Dior Mitzah 5-color on the right:
Here is a quick eye that Liz did with the Mitzah 5-color.  She used the center tone as a base, then built up the darker colors in the outside corner and crease.
One more:
Overall, the Dior Mitzah palette is a sophisticated combination of colors.  The shimmer factor is subtle, and the tones blend beautifully together.  Mitzah does not have the iridescence of some Dior palettes, rather it is a toned-down set of neutrals that is nearly always appropriate.  Highly recommended.

Please follow us on....

Sep 112011

 During New York Fashion Week, Nars artist Diane Kendal used Nars to create this clean look based on strong brows.  The picture above shows a clean skin with a touch of new Gaiety blush, a soft pink due out for Spring 2012 over NARS  Zen blush.

The look was inspired by “the ideal of the iconic American cowboy gone multi-cultural. The color story came from India, inspired by the spice market — but with a cowboy flair,” said designer Thakoon Panichgul.  The hair was laced with bright colors.

Get the look:


  • Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer – new for Spring 2012! For a similar affect try a light application of Sheer Glow Foundation
  •  Zen Blush
  • Gaiety Blush – new for Spring 2012! For a similar affect try Desire Blush




Please follow us on....

Sep 102011

Chanel released three limited edition colors in the Jeans de Chanel Collection ($29/each), coordinating the release date with the worldwide Fashion’s Night Out.  Each color, Coco Blue, Blue Boy and Blue Rebel, are variations of blues.

First, Coco Blue is a light blue with subtle shimmer.

In sun, Coco Blue’s subtle shimmer shows even in the bottle:

 On nails, Coco Blue dries to a light, saturated blue   It’s a very striking color, and perhaps not entirely work-friendly unless you are going for some edge.  Here are two coats without any base or topcoat):

Coco Blue, close-up in sun:

Blue Boy is a somewhat sheer medium blue cream:

Blue Boy on nails in shade:

Blue Boy in sun:

My favorite is Blue Rebel, the deepest blue shade.

Like Blue Boy, Blue Rebel is a creme texture:

Blue Rebel in sun:

 Unlike the Chanel Le Vernis in the permanent range, which sell for $25, the Jeans de Chanel sell for $29 and are expected to sell out quickly (particularly the deeper toned Blue Rebel).  These are only available from Chanel boutiques, online at, Bergdorf Goodman, and select Neiman Marcus locations (Houston, Dallas NorthPark, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Oakbrook, Michigan Ave., Tysons, Troy, Boca Raton, Austin, Natick and San Francisco).

The formula of these was workable, even the light blue Coco Blue.  I found Coco Blue easier to work with than Chanel Riva (reviewed here).  The best formula and my favorite color (by far) was the deep blue Blue Rebel.  Although not a large amount to spend as a memento for an attendee of Fashion’s Night Out as an event, those on a budget may wish to choose their favorite and leave the other two behind.  I’m glad that I picked up the collection, as the colors are well thought-out and flattering.  Coco Blue is going to look amazing with winter whites and in summer, although it’s edgy enough to warrant careful coordination with your wardrobe.

I want to love these, really I do.  They are pretty, honestly.  But I don’t believe that Jeans de Chanel has the gasp-inducing quality of some of Peter Philips recent releases–Graphite, Quartz, Black Pearl and Peridot, together with last year’s Strong and Steel, were truly brilliantly formulated.  Let’s face it, he’s set the bar pretty high for himself.  Even Particuliere and some of Chanel’s sheers (Tendresse)  are neutrals and therefore more versatile than the Jeans de Chanel colors.  Overall, I’d say it is a successful collection but not as striking as some released in the past.

Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book has done some helpful and accurate comparisons that you might wish to examine before you purchase.

Please follow us on....

Sep 102011

First, this Lanvin video  Models dancing in $3,000 dresses? Yes, please! With a side of genius designer Alber Elbaz taking over at the end.  I dare you to watch this and not start laughing.  An insane way to revitalize a very formal line:

Second, Holiday ’11 collections.  Already!  We’re already beginning to see lines previewing their holiday collections.  A few links:

Third, the least expensive item designed by Karl Lagerfeld that I will ever buy.  From the Macy’s Impulse collection, this scarf ($49).  It’s a fairly generous 40″ x 40″.  The fabric is rayon, not silk, but the detailing of the design and the vibrancy of the colors will make this a nice warm-weather scarf.
I also went for this blouse (at #2) ($99), which is very richly detailed in a white-on-white sort of way.  It now appears to be sold out online.
Disclosure:  Guerlain Metorites were sent to Cafe Makeup for review and consideration (review coming soon!)

Please follow us on....

Sep 102011

On-again off-again line Imitation of Christ showed at New York Fashion week S/S 12, with a joyously clean look using some lovely Hourglass products.  The show featured a wedding motif, and the makeup seemed like one could actually wear this look to a wedding.

Imitation of Christ S/S '12 NYFW

Unlike this Fall’s fascination with clumpy lashes, the look on this model is modern, clean and could be worn by almost anyone.  The skin virtually glows (with some thanks to a new primer that Hourglass will be releasing), the lips make a serious statement, and brows look like they remain healthy but were not overwhelming.  Hallelujah!!

Click to enlarge:


Models were prepped with a new Primer Serum (launching Summer 2012), which is a silky blend of 28 oils and vitamins.  This primer glides on to create a retexturized surface for foundation, leaving hydration and fragrance behind.

Models with oily complexions were sporting Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, launching Spring 2012. The advanced new makeup base delivers an exquisitely matte finish that lasts all day—without the need for touchups. In addition, the foundation uses clinical levels of two anti-aging ingredients to visibly improves the skin’s texture and help create a more youthful-looking visage.


SKIN: Start with Primer Serum to create a moisturized canvas for makeup. Follow with Illusion Tinted Moisturizer, or Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation, and apply with No. 2 Foundation brush. Conceal dark circles or blemishes with Hidden Corrective Concealer.

EYES: Apply Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Lagoon (blue), Dune (gold) or Prism (silver) on the lid and blend with fingers. Follow with a subtle application of Script Precision Liner to enhance the lash line. Follow with Film Noir Mascara to define the lashes and finish with a glossy topcoat of Film Noir Lash Lacquer.

CHEEKS: Apply Aura Sheer Cheek Stain in Flush to the apples of the cheeks and blend with the fingers. Highlight cheeks with Illume Crème-to-Powder Bronzer Duo in Bronze Light.

LIPS: Apply Aura Sheer Lip Stain in Flush to lips


Please follow us on....