Oct 312012
 

A few weeks ago, I became curious about color correctors. Above, are the results of my experiment and some thoughts about how things went. My adventure started at a few makeup counters where artists tried an orange or yellow-toned corrector to counteract my blue-toned dark circles and the now-highly faded remainder of sun damage (a treatment summary is here).

I used to think of color correctors as using a distasteful green color and I couldn’t imagine doing that. Well, as it turns out, green isn’t the type of color correction that I’d ever need, so I had a mental block against trying any. Yellow or amber are said to be best to counteract blue or ashiness. Here’s a summary of my experiment–first, face primers and then undereye correctors.

Face Primers

1. Make Up For Ever HD Perfecting Primer in Yellow #6 ($34) This is a sheer yellow that essentially brightens warm-tone pale skin. The line makes other colors (caramel, mauve, green). The strength is its stability. This certainly helps makes my foundation last all day. I found that the color-correcting properties were modest and subtle. However, it did keep my foundation from shifting or fading, thus maximizing coverage over problem areas throughout the day. If you are already  using a stable, long-lasting foundation, you might not notice a tremendous difference.

2. Yves Saint Laurent Tient Parfait Complexion Enhancer in #4 Apricot ($ 42) is a cosmetically elegant, luxurious mousse that provides a sheer coverage of skin-brightening, luminous color. This YSL Complexion Enhancer provides enough coverage that, when used with a light coverage of a powder foundation, is a nice, casual-day look. It really gives me a peaches-and-cream glow. No, really. Like many other YSL products that I’ve used, the Complexion Enhancer seems a bit fragile. Over time and in high humidity/heat, I noticed fading and disappearing long before sundown.

Swatches:

Under Eye Color Correctors

1. MAC Studio Finish in Pure Orange ($12) I became curious about this product watching this video on the MAC website. It features concealers for hot climates (where I’m currently visiting). After researching it, I found advice that this will work to color-correct light skin tones if it is blended with concealer or foundation. I’m sure a makeup artist has no trouble doing that, and this is the most cost-effective corrector on the market. It’s highly pigmented, and would probably last a year if not longer. I found that I lacked patience to dilute this on a daily basis, I just didn’t have the knack–some days it was too orange, some days not enough. Not for me. This also comes in a pot for $18.

2. Bobbi Brown Correctors in Porcelain Peach and Peach ($23 each).  Bobbi Brown makes four (4!) different peach correctors. Porcelain Peach is lightest and Peach is the third darkest. These worked pretty well. They are not as cost-effecient compared to MAC Pure Orange (nothing is!) but they were super easy to use. They blend well, and look close to natural.

3. Tom Ford Illuminating Highlight Pen in Amber Eclat ($52) This worked best of all of the options that I’ve tried (I bought two), even better than Armani’s Master Corrector in #2 Orange. This looks quite natural and has good lasting power. I use a concealer over this.

Close up of the Tom Ford brush:

Although Tom Ford makes concealers, Amber Eclat is a corrector–so it has a decided amber-orange tone. Here’s a quick comparison with some other concealers that I happen to have with me on this trip–Burberry Sheer Luminous Concealer in #1, Armani Maestro Corrector in #2 and Chanel Pro Lumiere Corrector in #10 (this may be discontinued):

As you can see, the Tom Ford leans orange, and the Armani almost disappears in its natural look. They actually work nicely together.

Some Results of My Experiment

For face primers, I did not find a corrector which really does the job. I fell in love with the YSL Perfection Enhancer in Apricot for a peaches-and-cream glow, does that count? I only wish it has the longevity of the Make Up For Ever HD Primer. The best thing that works if I want a flawless canvas is a light concealer. As I said here, the Giorgio Armani Maestro Concealer gives me a very natural, undetectable look.  If you need more coverage,  Make Up For Ever Full Cover concealer ($32) is absolutely bullet proof and comes in a wide color range. Vichy Dermablend Liquid Foundation ($28ish) is another good choice.

For eye primers, Tom Ford won my heart. Although I use a concealer over it, I find my concealer lasts longer, and I need far less of it, wearing the correct. It just works well. 

For more about correctors, I found Goss Makeup Artist video here very helpful.

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Oct 222012
 

Tom Ford’s Bronzer Brush ($115) is a luxurious investment. Rather than attempting to create a brush that might mimic others, this brush is lovingly made to deliver incredible results, albeit with the price tag to match. The bristle end is soft as kitten fur, lush and thick.

 The handle is balanced without being too heavy.

Of course, the brush is designed to work with the large, luxurious pan of the Tom Ford Bronzer. Below is Gold Dust, which is a beautifully shimmered glowing-with-gold powder perfect for light, warm skin tones. It has a very large, flat pan.

In fact, the bristle head of the Tom Ford Bronzer brush is far larger than the pan of a Chanel Joues Contraste blush. Of course, most bronzers are on the larger side. Some of the Guerlain special edition pans are almost the size of European dinner plate. However, if your favorite bronzer has a small pan, the Tom Ford Bronzer Brush might actually be too large for it.

Together, the combination of the Tom Ford Bronzer Brush and Gold Dust is a wonderful experience that delivers beautiful, transformative results.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see About Cafe Makeup.

 

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Oct 202012
 

As a devout Francophile, I’ve been loving  reading blogger So Lonely in Gorgeous reviews of some Laduree’s makeup items that have been released in Japan. One day not too long ago, she surprised me by sending over this lovely Les Merveilleuses de Laduree Lip Rouge in 06, a creamy nude neutral that fits my taste exactly. Although her reviews of the lip products were favorable, I was delighted to try this myself.

 As with all things Laduree, the presentation in perfection. The smallest details are beautiful, there is a little flourish which makes the experience special. The Laduree box is embellished with images of flowers and leaves, a garden theme. The tube looks like a pearly frosting, evoking the filling of a Laduree macaron. The tube has a small chain and cameo attached–the cameo as another symbol of the Laduree line.

 The little cameo (close up), where you can also see some of the elaborate details on the white pearl tube:

Les Merveilleuses de Laduree Lip Rouge uses a twist-up format (it cannot be retracted once turned up). The formula is highly moisturizing and luxurious. Color 06 is a softly rose toned nude:

On Liz:

I must admit I love the feminine appeal of this design. The tube is long enough to give me a “magic wand” feeling, and the elaborate cameo charm is an adorable touch. Inside, the product is beautiful. Well done, Laduree. Very well done. For an incredible picture of a Laduree makeup counter, see So Lonely in Gorgeous’ post here.

 

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Oct 192012
 

Tom Ford Noir Absolue for Eyes ($35/0.12 oz.) is a creamy dark blue-black eyeliner designed to brighten and define. Like many of you, I have a few black liners. I’ve been using Bobbi Brown’s Black Ink Gel Eyeliner for at least ten years–I’ve used up (and replaced) several pots. Tom Ford’s is along the same lines with a few differences.

First, Tom Ford Noir Absolue is infused with a pretty blue tone and slight micro-shimmer. According to the sales associate, this is intended give a brightening effect to the whites of the eye. I think it’s pretty–the blue tone is not nearly as blue as a true blue or midnight blue, such as Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Sapphire Shimmer.

The difference in effect is subtle–if you have a very good monitor I suspect you will see that the Tom Ford swatch on the left is cooler.

Second, Tom Ford’s Noir Absolue seems to have a firmer texture compared to my familiar Bobbi Brown Black Ink. I use Laura Mercier’s flat-top synthetic push brush, as the Tom Ford sales associate recommended using this, rather than investing in the Tom Ford brush. I have to sort of aggressively push the brush into the pot to get full eyeliner coverage. There seems to be plenty of pigment, but the product isn’t as soft as a Bobbi Brown gel. So as an application tip, get in there like a tiger woman–don’t be shy.

Because of the micro-shimmer, I have not used this on my waterline. Typically, I add tightlining to my upper waterline by using another Laura Mercier push brush and the mascara straight off the spoolie.

Finally, the overall effect is amazing particularly when a I add a tightline. It’s fascinating how a subtle twist can really make a difference that leads to perfection. This liner does look really amazing, particularly if you are using a cool toned shadow (but I’ve worn it will all colors). Lasts all day.

 

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Oct 182012
 

Francois Nars recently reformulated his skincare line, which I’ve been using for the past few weeks. For those who are looking for elegantly formulated, yet effective products, you are in for a treat. First, Nars Aqua Gel Lumious Oil-Free Moisturizer ($58/1.8 oz.) is a light, soft gel moisturizer. If you have oily to combination skin, or dislike heavy moisturizers, you may have found a jewel.

Gel moisturizers are a wonderful beauty secret when they are well formulated. Nars Aqua Gel is remarkably light, quickly absorbed, and has an almost-indectable pleasant light scent that fades very quickly. It works like a dream under makeup, as it leaves the skin with a moisturized, smooth and ready surface. It adds virtually no weight to the face, a few moments after application I was left with softened, smoothed, and softly glowing skin.  If I ran my hand over my face, I could not feel any moisture, tackiness or heaviness.

I used to think that oily skin did not require moisture–I was wrong about that. After a while, I finally realized that adding gel moisturizer gave my the right balance. I’m so pleased to find that Nars agrees–this is a perfect light moisturizer that doesn’t add to my oiliness, but rather smooths and moisturizes.

Bottom line: Perfect.

Nars Cosmetics provided this product to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Oct 132012
 

Together with the release of its innovative Maestro foundation (reviewed here), Giorgio Armani released Giorgio Armani Maestro Eraser Concealer ($40). This is a softly tinted, lightweight concealer in a squeeze tube. The innovative part of this concealer is Armani’s promise to deliver not only temporary concealing but also long term results. That is, the product promises gradual fading of the blue tone under eyes.

For my part, I immediately noticed that the texture of this concealer imparts a very natural look. There is far less of a “concealer texture” effect. Even very finely made concealers can, if one looks closely, provide a slight creamy look under the eyes. As we know, sometimes another does get very close to your face (or at least I would hope so!).  Like the foundation, the Maestro Eraser adheres to the skin.

I also noticed the brightening effect. There is an illuminating quality. Because the texture is so fine, I can see some considering Armani’s Maestro Eraser this the next time one’s Yves St. Laurent Touche Eclat runs out. I have not been using the product long enough to notice the “blue-tone erasing” effect. Also, I found the Armani Maestro Eraser too sheer to cover my undereye circles without wearing a corrector underneath. Will the Armani still work with a corrector underneath–even an Armani Master Corrector? Only time will tell.

Here are swatches of two of the shades, Number 2 and Number 4:

I purchased a full size of Number 2, and a little packet of Number 4 came as a free sample with my foundation purchase. By my estimate, the Amani has about 1/4 of the coverage power of Lancome Effacernes, Edward Bess Platinum Concealer, Cle de Peau concealer, or Burberry Concealer (all of which gives me full coverage).

Because of its light coverage, I’ve used this primarily to layer over any imperfections on my face while layering the Armani Maestro Fusion foundation over the top. Because of its texture, the Maestro Corrector also works well layered over the foundation if I find that I missed something after applying foundation. It works well for that purpose–the effect lasts all day.

Bottom line, the Armani Maestro Eraser concealer will work beautifully if you need a light-coverage concealer. The effect is very natural –remarkably so. Those who have blue tones or need significantly more coverage will require a corrector. Perhaps the fading effect will take care of this over time, as the literature suggests. According to the website, this requires roughly two months of use.

This is available online with free ship at Nordstrom.com.

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see “About Cafe Makeup”).

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Oct 112012
 

My helpful sales associate Adina at Nordstrom San Francisco (415.243.8500 ext. 1421) sent me this picture that she took of all of the new twelve Burberry Lip Velvet Long Wear Lipstick. I thought it would be helpful to post them here for you, as the line is rolling out now. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried these yet, but I thought that sometimes a little bit of information on a new lipstick line is best to pass along rather than to remain silent and have you order the wrong color.

Also, on October 20th, Nordstrom San Francisco is having a nice gift with purchase for $150 minimum, including a full size eyeshadow and a mini Burberry buffing brush, and an awesome cosmetic bag. If you call Adina, she can tell you more.

For more about the Burberry Lip Velvets:

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Oct 112012
 

Burberry has recently released another outstanding foundation to its line–the Burberry Velvet Foundation Long Wear Fluid Foundation ($54). Although with a more limited shade range that the lines standard Sheer Glow Fluid Foundation, the consistency and excellence of the first has been retained.

Once again, Burberry has released a foundation that is long wearing, truly buildable, long wearing and non-clogging. This is a fabulous foundation for someone who wants to look flawless. In this released, the foundation provides a matte finish–one that is best in class.

Nordstrom was kind enough to provide me with tiny sample pots of all shades for this line:

You’ll notice that notice 201 is warm, and 202 quite pink. I am #203. Originally, I purchased #205 sight unseen by phone, but found it far too dark for my NC15/20 skin tone. Although it is a matte, it does not feel dry or accentuate any dry patches or tiny lines. Another picture:

I found that I had retained my tiny sample pots from my original swatching session of the Burberry Sheer Glow release. Although some of the pots had dried a bit, I did my best to find enough of each so that you’ll have a comparison. The Burberry Velvet Swatches are across the top. The Burberry Sheer Glow Foundation shades are across the bottom. As you can see, there is not an absolute correlation between the shade numbers–for example, #4 in Sheer Glow is quite different from #204 in Velvet.

One more:

 Bottom line: If you are looking for a matte foundation, Burberry Velvet Long Wear is well worth your time. This is available from Nordstrom.com with free shipping.

This post contains affiliate links (for questions, please see “About Cafe Makeup”).

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Oct 112012
 

The Tom Ford Enchanted Eye Color Quad ($75) is one of my favorite makeup purchases of the year. The color applies with a beautiful luminousity that is smooth and incredibly flattering. I invite you to click to enlarge:

Tom Ford’s Enchanted quad has a pearly texture that the other eye color quads in the line. There is subtle sparkle throughout, rather than a single shade. The texture applies beautifully with my Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush. Typically I use the lower left taupe-mauve shade as the base color. I tuck some of the deepest burgundy shade in the outer corner. Then, I use either of the top shades in the inner corner.

In shade:

Packaging: 

I found that using a base was necessary, particularly so because I am currently in a very humid warm climate.  I used Laura Mercier’s Eye Basic as mine. Swatches:

The department store stock images of this palette give a peach impression, which is quite inaccurate. Instead, the shades are mauve burgundy. The taupe shade in the lower left is incredible.

 

This shows the subtle sparkle:

The best way that I can describe this is as a more robust version of Chanel Ombres Perlees. The Tom Ford Enchanted Four Color Quad seems to be infused with fairy pearl and beautiful things, yet the palette remains sophisticated (as you would expect from Mr. Ford). If I hadn’t gotten this quad, I would have regretted it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of my life.

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Oct 052012
 

Le Metier de Beaute has just introduced the CHEM60 Pro-Peel & GLOW10ai Mask Set ($265 for both products, sold as a set). This set is designed to provide professional, spa-like results in the privacy of your own home. Le Metier asked the company’s artist Richard to meet us at Neiman Marcus San Francisco to walk us through a demonstration of these two new gorgeous products.

First, Richard cleansed Liz’s skin with the Le Metier de Beaute Daily Renew Cleanser ($50) to remove her makeup. Then, he applied the Le Metier de Beaute Daily Refresh ($50) to balance, condition and prepare her skin for the treatments to follow. Liz really enjoyed the luxurious feeling of both, plus Richard’s professional care gave her a relaxing moment in our otherwise busy day.

Richard showed us the Le Metier de Beaute’s CHEM60 Pro-Peel, a brush-on product that includes a blend of salicylic and glycolic acids.  The nozzle can be turned “off” and “on” to preserve the product and guard against leaking.

This is designed to gently penetrate the skin. The dead skin cells are exfoliated to reveal the underlying younger skin in as little as 60 seconds. As you can see, it’s clear and actually feels nice when applied–there is no burning or harshness. One applies a light layer to the face, and leave on for about one minute. Avoid the eye area and hairline.

Particularly if you have sensitive skin, you will want to use a timer. Those with more resilient skin might go up to five minutes. You’ll want to start with less time, to test your own reaction. Then, remove with a damp cloth, or splashing with water. Next, Le Metier de Beaute’s GLOW10ai Mask, which has a soup-like consistency.

According to Le Metier, the GLOW10ai Mask contains an “unprecedented concentration of antioxidants, vitamins and hydrators to help skin renew and rebuild, while strengthening skin’s overall appearance.” Here are some additional benefits described by the company:

  • A sophisticated blend of moisturizers helps renew the appearance of damaged, dull-looking skin
  • The appearance of hyperpigmentation is noticeably lessened and improved
  • Irritation and redness caused by chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments are visibly diminished.
  • Suppleness and smoothness are greatly restored, resulting in a fresh, hydrated surface.

Although this can be applied with fingers, Richard used Le Metier’s foundation brush:

This part is left on for 5-15 minutes, until it is completely dry. Then Richard (literally) peeled the mask from Liz, leaving her skin feeling like absolutely glowing velvet.

Although I didn’t have the opportunity to try this myself, I was able to see a highly moisturized, plumped appearance on Liz. Even the next day, her skin had a baby-like entirely smooth texture. Le Metier’s system CHEM60 Pro-Peel & GLOW10ai Mask Set really delivered visible, gorgeous results.

The results certainly mirrored or exceeded the in-spa facials that I’ve gotten in the past. I’m seriously considering ordering a set so I can try it out. Liz, who is no stranger to facials, really loved this as perhaps the best treatment she’s had yet. Here’s Liz with her newly glowing skin (no makeup):

Lovely work, Richard (and Le Metier de Beaute)! Presently, the CHEM60 Pro-Peel & GLOW10ai Mask Set is sold exclusively at Neiman Marcus.

 

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