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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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):

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