A Note to Cafe Makeup Readers…

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Nov 162011

Cafe Makeup will be closed for a few weeks.  I’ll be traveling out of the country (sadly, not to Paris!), and Liz is busy with other projects at this time.
Thank you for your understanding. In the meantime, there are beauty blogs in our blogroll to provide you with fresh content.  Also, you’ll have access to all of our previous posts while we’re away.  Comments have been temporarily turned off during this break.

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Nov 142011

The beauty world is buzzing about Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters. This new line of lipsticks, each of which retails at $7.49, is currently being rolled out nationwide. I’ve heard so much about these over the past few weeks, they just seemed like the perfect little bon bon item for the Cafe Makeup Dollar Menu.

The color range is huge–there are twenty (20) different shades. The texture appears to be a drugstore version mix between the highly moisturizing sheer colors that we saw in Chanel Rouge Coco Shine, Burberry Lip Mist, and Dior Addict earlier this Spring, and the old standby Clinique’s Butter Shine. Revlon realizes that not everyone is going to invest $30 or more per lipstick (go figure!) If you are looking to keep your lips moisturized during the coming winter months while adding a pretty, semi-sheer wash of color, these are a very nice budget-priced way to go.

Revlon’s press relations sent me two for review– #001 Pink Truffle and #050 Berry Smoothie.

Pink Tuffle is a warm pink-chocolate tone that seems to have a touch of bronze. Berry Smoothie is a shimmery sheer pink with tiny multicolor micro-glitters. Of the two, I preferred Berry Smoothie. It’s a really easy-to-wear pink that’s sheer enough to go with a wide range of makeup types. Pink Truffle is pretty, but a touch on the brown side for me. These have a very slight scent that fades very quickly.

The lasting power was about the same as Burberry’s Lip Mists, and longer than Chanel Rouge Coco Shine (at its glossiest, before the Rouge Coco Shine turns to a stain).

Here is Pink Truffle on Liz:

Berry Smoothie on Liz:

I thought that for the price range these Revlon Lip Butters are revolutionary. No, I’m not going to give up buying the Chanel, Burberry or Dior’s in favor of these. However, they do look and feel wonderful for the comparatively low $7.49 (and even less if you can catch a coupon). They’re one of the better-feeling drugstore lip products out there, and quite obviously they are several notches up on the glam scale from Chapstick.

Other reviews of Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters that you might like to see:

– Nouveau Cheap is here

– The Glam Trotter is here

– Body & Soul is here (many swatches!)

These lipsticks were sent by Revlon Press Relations to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Nov 112011

Elizabeth Arden sent over some of the lines Cult Classics recently, which included Prevage Face Advanced Anti-Aging Serum ($159/ 1.7 oz).  As we are heading into the drier months of the year, and in recovery from the summer sun, I pulled this serum out of the box first to try.  I’ve used a number of serums in the past, including Chanel, Guerlain, and some spa lines, as well as some prescription treatments.

I’ve been using Prevage Face almost every day for three weeks.  The pump dispenses a small amount of a softly-peach colored thin serum, similar in consistency to Chanel Hydramax serum. There’s a very soft, light scent (slightly perfumed) that fades very quickly. When rubbed into the skin, the product becomes invisible.  The skin is left with a soft sheen and immediately looks more moisturized.  The effect seems to last all day, and the effect is cumulative.  Over the past three weeks, Prevage Face improved the texture and tone of my skin–marks faded, pores got smaller and my skin looked more luminous and moisturized.  My husband noticed without my asking him.  He told me to buy more when this runs out (I don’t get that one from him, ever).

Prevage Face gave me better and more lasting results than Chanel Hydramax serum, Chanel Sublimage moisturizer (the tub) and Guerlain Abeille Royale for face.  I’m starting to use sheerer foundations as a result–I’m getting more use out of my sheer Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation (reviewed here), rather than using Chanel Lift Lumiere or Perfection Lumiere, which give more coverage.

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

My skin is not at the point where my dermatologist recommends any treatments, fillers or retinoids, I’m using primarily over the counter skin products.  I typically use an over-the-counter retinoid (Avene Diacneal, which I replenish in Paris, in the U.S. drugstores you’ll find that Roc makes a pretty good substitute), although I’ll occassionally use a prescription spot treatment (Acanya is effective on me).

Prevage has been a welcome addition to my skin care arsenal.  Except for Colbert MD 3-step program, Prevage Face gave me the most noticeable results of any of the other brands that I’ve tried.  For day, I apply Prevage first, and then let it sink in for a few moments. I then layer sunscreen over Prevage, then add foundation.  For night, I apply my retinoid first and let the Diacneal sink in for a while (30 minutes if I can), then add Prevage over it.  My skin looks much better than it did three weeks ago–clearer, brighter, softer and more moisturized.  Consider me converted.

I’ve not experienced any breakouts with Prevage Face. Prevage Face does not purport to have any exfoliating properties.  You’d want to add that (Philosophy Microdelivery Peel or Colbert MD Intensify Facial Discs work well).  I do not purport to be a skin care professional, only a consumer.  Your results may vary, although if you get a chance to try a sample, you should definitely take it.

Prevage Face was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Nov 092011

NARS gift sets are now online at NARS.com on the theme of Modern Kabuki Holiday. These are high end gift sets packaged to impress. Above is the Nars Hanamichi Palette ($65) that is detailed here and here applied on Messy Wands. The Nonblonde’s recent review is here.

The set of four colors comes in a modern design that is beautifully executed. The palette comes with a small brush and velveteen case and is much larger than a typical Nars blush or eyeshadow duo–the compact size is just over 2 x 3 inches.

The set comes is beautifully red-ribboned box that’s very Nars-inspired. This will sell out quickly, and may have already at some locations. I know that I’m not supposed to compare the two products (they are so different, seriously), but the NARS Hanamichi is more “my style” compared to the Guerlain peacock-themed Parure de Nuit highlighter (reviewed here).

Unlike some Holiday palettes, I believe that this would make a beautiful gift for women of a very wide age range–from someone in their 20’s all the way through her 60’s. Because mine has arrived (although I haven’t played with it yet), I thought I’d use my own image for this palette rather than the NARS stock photo.

On to the rest of the sets:

NARS is also offering NARS Mie Kabuki Mini Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Coffret ($55). I played with these at a counter, and found the quality excellent. The small size of the pencil is just right for these bold colors. The colors are Tall Tale (deep metallic purple), Magic Moon (deep metallic navy blue), Ballets Russes (silver), Aigle Noir (black infused with gold shimmer), Palladium (turquoise with silver glitter) and Skorpios (copper). Why are mini’s so cute?

The Kadoki Kabuki Lip Coffret ($125) is a luxurious set of three lip colors (Takebue, Ougi, and Botan) packaged with a lip brush. If my life were less active, this might be seriously tempting. It seems very elegant. The colors–a deep red, a deep pink and a nude–seem well selected for a range of beautiful shades.

One item is I may cave on is the Nagauta Kabuki Brush Set ($225). I’ve purchased the Nars Yachiyo brush and found it very impressive–this wooden bento box with a red lacquered interior holds five similarly styled brushes, including two new brushes exclusive to the set. This includes the Kabuki Eye Brush (exclusive to the set), the Botan Brush, the Ita Brush, the Yachiyo Brush, and the Kabuki Lip brush (exclusive to the set).

I believe that high quality brushes are an excellent investment-no matter what type of makeup you wear, it’s going to look better applied with a good brush. A woman needs her tools, yes?

Finally, there is the Kuroko Kabuki Mini Nail Polish Coffret ($35). This set holds four kabuki-themed colors.

These include Yoshiwara (red), Shiro-Nuri (white), Kata (black) and Senryou (gold). The polish bottles are mini-sized.

The additional NARS news is that the the NARS Larger than Life lipglosses ($24) have started to arrive at Sephora stores. The texture and tone remind me of the Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss–they have an opacity and shine that’s very pleasant and wearable. Although I didn’t have time to go through with a purchase, my favorite shades so far are Tiber (a deep nude), Como (a pink-mauve) and Gold Digger (a shimmery nude).

It seems I’m going through a NARS phase lately. I think every one does from time to time. Obviously, the Holiday Kabuki gifts are limited edition. Thankfully for me, most of the rest of the is permanent, including the Larger than Life lipglosses.

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Nov 082011

Le Metier de Beaute will soon be selling gift sets of its nail colors exclusively for Neiman Marcus.  There are two sets– the All that Glitters set (with a gold toned leaf) is pictured above.  This includes

  • Spruce it Up, a shimmering evergreen
  • Hot to Trot, a red with silver undertones
  • Midnight Heron, a shimmering blue sapphire
  • All that Glitters, a metallic gold

The Merry Metallics set (with the silver toned leaf), is pictured below and includes:

  • Plum Puddin’, a rich plum with sheer silver sparkle
  • Red-E and Waiting, a sheer red with metallic gold undertones
  • Tarnished Silver, a platinum
  • Lame Entertain You, a shimmering copper with silver undertones

The items are boxed with a metal-coated aspen leaf that looks like a pretty ornament on its own.  These are designed by Neiman’s Ken Downing.  I haven’t purchased these (I don’t believe these are out quite yet), but expect them to be sold at Neimans for $32 a set.  These seem to me to a be a highly giftable set, so if I end up with them I’m likely to give them away to friends.

The lovely thing about these sets is that they are luxe gift for someone that you know loves fine things, but you aren’t sure what she already has.  A woman who enjoys nail polish is someone that you can spot right away–hello, she’s wearing really cool nail polish. The colors are on-trend and seem to have a universal appeal. Because its Le Metier de Beaute, she likely either loves the line or will love you for introducing her to it.  Although I haven’t tried these, the quality of the other polishes in Le Metier’s line has been very positive.

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Nov 082011

Chanel Holiday 2011 presented a mixed collection.  At first I was a little struck by the absence of an eyeshadow quad or a new Joues Contraste blush. Unlike Fall 2011 which presented the innovative Illusion D’Ombre eyeshadow line, Chanel Holiday largely provided variations of items in their standard line that added a touch more for the holiday season.  This exercised restraint may have yielded some crowd-pleasers, and a few standouts where things came together beautifully.  The Tweed Brun Rose Blush, Rouge Extrait de Gloss in Triomphal and Natural Loose Powder in Feerie seemed to me to be the most successful in this line. In its own quiet way, Beige Lame eyeshadow won my heart.  The lip products are well worth a look on an individual basis. But perhaps because their star highlighter was a disappointment to me personally, I found that the collection did not have the breathtaking quality of collections past.  The Lumiere Sculptee highlighter, the Liquid Eyes Or eyeliner (both the utility/look of the packaging and the shade) and the Rose Cache nail color did not seem to keep up with the upward trajectory that we’ve seen from Chanel over the past few seasons.  But, I may be a tough grader and so much of makeup is personal.  Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes.

A short review of the products reviewed here on the site.

Chanel Rouge Extrait de Gloss in Triomphal (reviewed here) is stunning.  It’s a gorgeous red that complicated yet classic.  I love everything that Chanel has done with this formula.

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Empire (reviewed here) is a highly versatile, well executed light peachy pink:

Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Famous (reviewed here) is a standout red in the same color family as this year’s Chanel Rouge Allure in Rouge Byzantin (reviewed here):

Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Enivree (reviewed here) is an easy to wear soft pink:

Chanel Natural Loose Powder in Feerie (reviewed here) is a beautiful rose tone with sparkle.  Many readers are reporting that the sparkle is too noticeable for day, so for many this may be an evening-only product.  I think it’s gorgeous, and one of the highlights of the collection–it’s a very luxurious soft, finely milled powder:

Chanel Lumiere Scupltee Highlighter (reviewed here) acts to my mind more as a setting powder. Although the presentation is beautiful, I would opt to buy a finishing powder in Chanel’s Poudre Douce line instead (and trust me, I almost never buy the lower priced spread):

Chanel Le Vernis Rouge Carat (reviewed here) is a beautifully formulated red with fuchsia sparkle.  One of Chanel’s “one coat wonders,” this color is beautiful:

Chanel Blush Duo in Tweed Brun Rose is extremely well done.  The color is a soft nude-rose-gold that is extremely finely milled and looks very natural. It’s going to be very difficult to find a duplicate for this very complex and beautiful color, particularly one that is as well-executed as this:

Chanel Liquid Eyelines in Or (reviewed here) is a color that didn’t work for either Liz or I.  The brush-pen design is in the classic Chanel black packaging, but I find it neither pretty nor especially helpful.  The formula seemed fine, but the color leans far more yellow than gold.  This one’s a challenge for me to love, and in the end I didn’t:

Chanel Beige Lame eyeshadow (reviewed here) is a beautiful, softly-toned classic. This color is one of the easiest lidwash colors for me to wear. The slightest hint of teal sparkle adds a touch of pretty, pretty, pretty…without going over the top:

Chanel Blazing Gold (reviewed here) was not successful for me. The formula was chunky and the bright yellow color was not flattering on my pale warm skin tone.  Also, the color is very close to Chanel Gold, previously released in the same line:

Chanel Eyeshadow Duo in Noir Ivoire (reviewed here) does more than a capable job of a quick and easy eye for day or evening, depending on the amount of drama that you wish to add using the black shade.  I find the shimmery shade flattering on my lids–the sheen adds a touch of glow. The black is a good liner, and can also be added to the crease.

On a personal note, if you’ve been following along, thank you for your patience. Although I typically try to get Chanel reviews up quickly, this one has been a challenge.  Both Liz and I are going through a number of things in our non-blogging life right now, and things are likely to be spotty for the next month or so.  We appreciate your support reading the site and all of the great comments that you’ve left (even if we don’t have time to respond).

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Nov 072011

Chanel Eyeshadow Duo in Noir-Ivoire ($42/ Ombre Contraste Duo #27) is a new permanent shade released with Holiday 2011. Chanel’s duo series offers a range of nice basics–typically a matte paired with a very softly sheeny shimmer light yellow-ivory shade.  This lighter shade is far more wearable than Chanel Blazing Gold (reviewed here) which was released at the same time.

 As you would expect from this series, the shades are rich, pigmented and are appropriate for day or night. Everyone needs a nice black eyeshadow or two, this one is excellent quality.  The ivory shade has a slight yellow cast, which is light enough to work as a versatile neutral.  The combination comes with two very small brushes–one bristled, the other sponge.

The easiest way to wear the combination is to use the black as a liner, and the yellow-beige as an overall lid wash.  


 Here, Liz did her variation by wearing the ivory-shade as a lid wash, and then used the black in the crease to add depth:

Overall, Chanel Eyeshadow in Noir Ivoire is a beautiful basic neutral palette.  It’s foolproof, formulated to look beautiful and is very high quality. Recommended.

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Nov 062011

Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre / Natural Finish Loose Powder in Féérie ($52/ #47 1.0 oz.) is a finely milled loose powder released for Holiday 2011.  The powder has a soft pink cast and is interspersed with very subtle sparkle that are not obvious on the face once applied.

I’ve long loved Chanel’s Universelle Libre powders.  I’ve used up two in in their standard line, and Liz has finished some as well.  Although these days I’ve been working on a tub of Caron’s legendary Translucent loose powder (reviewed here) for a few years, I find them to be quite comparable.  When (if?) I ever run out of the Caron tub, I’ll go back to Chanel’s Clair because it’s much more accessible in the U.S. to purchase.

Chanel Loose Powder is Féérie is a absolutely beautiful glowing powder with a slight shell pink cast.  It adds a slight glow that is absolutely beautiful.  The sparkle which is noticeable in the container does not seem to be apparent when applied.  I believe that Féérie is the most beautiful item in the Chanel Holiday 2011 Collection.  Get one while you can.

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Nov 062011

Chanel Holiday 2011 includes a limited edition Liquid Eyelines in Or ($32 / Ligne Extreme Or).  The packaging and formula are very similar to the liquid liner released earlier this year in Onyx (reviewed here).  The packaging is classic Chanel, and the brush pen is fine-tipped.  The formula is sufficiently pigmented to give an opaque finish in a single coat.  If you use this type of pen, you know you need to go in confident.  Little mis-steps show and require correction (a Q-Tip touched in Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover does the trick).

The color does not work for everyone, and certainly doesn’t work for me.  Although called “Or,” (which translates to “gold” in French), the color delivers an intense shimmery deep yellow.  My sense is that this color may work for light carmel-toned skins, and will look magnificent on deep skin tones.  There may be lighter toned skin tones that prefer a dramatic flash.  But Liz and I couldn’t handle this color in any way, shape or form.  Although my returns every year are typically fewer than the number of fingers on one hand, Liquid Eyeliner in Or was returned yesterday.

Great formula.  Great execution.  Like Chanel Eyeshadow in Blazing Gold (reviewed here), Chanel Liquid Eyelines in Or was far too yellow to warrant the label “gold.” The color just does not work for me.

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Nov 012011

The Holiday 2011 Holiday Sculptee de Chanel Highlighting Powder ($72/ .46 oz.) has a gorgeously textured, glazed finished.  The compact is the large Chanel version that matches the size of Chanel’s powder foundations and bronzers and comes with a well-designed, usable brush.  The compact and velveteen sleeve:

Designed as an elegant gift, the glazing on the highlighter looks beautiful and brushes off easily with a few brush swipes:

 The powder is soft and the pattern wears down quite easily.  Here is the same compact with the glazing removed and after the highlighter was used once on Liz:

This highlighter did not live up to my expectations.  I found that the texture was not as finely milled as Chanel’s Pearl Glow, and the highlighting was so subtle that the product acts more as a very slightly glowy finishing powder.  Here is the powder applied heavily on Liz’s cheek over Chanel’s Tweed Brun Rose blush (reviewed here) in sun:

Typically, this type of lighting maximizes the highlighting properties of any powder product (compare Guerlain’s Parure de Nuit here).  Neither Liz or I found that Lumiere Sculptee de Chanel had reflectivity.  Here is a comparison between Chanel’s Lumiere Sculptee, MAC Lightscapade, Chanel Pearl Glow (reviewed here) and Guerlain Parure de Nuit (which picked up some color from the peacock color shapes):

To be honest, I was disappointed (and a bit surprised) with Chanel Lumiere Sculptee. As beautiful as the product looked in the promotional pictures (really, it absolutely glowed with the pretty glazing), I found the product delivers a finishing powder-type look. Worse, I didn’t find the powder very finely milled.  I’d give this a “pass,” even for collectors.  Particularly at this price point, this did not work for me.

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