Dec 312012
 

It’s been quite a year here at Cafe Makeup! We’ve had a huge year–we passed our 3rd blog birthday and we’re very thankful for our amazing readers.

As you might now, we’ve both had a very busy year off the blog as well. Between Amy’s travel schedule (she was on the road almost continuously from June through November), and Liz’s busy work schedule, we’re so pleased that we’ve been able to keep our love of beauty alive on the blog now that we’re reached December 31st. We’ve had a lot of help along the way. Cafe Makeup would like to do a special “thank you” to Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book (her Best of 2012 is here). She’s been so wonderful and and encouraging throughout the entire year. I’d also like to thank all of the lovely readers and other beauty bloggers who’ve kept us alive by linking, retweeting and continuing our beauty conversations. You might also wish to explore The Non Blonde’s Top Products of 2012–I really respect her taste.

To celebrate the year’s end, we’d like to raise a glass of champagne to our readers! As we sip, we’re going to go through our Top Ten Products of 2012.  As you know, we’ve seen many things throughout the year. Here’s a feature which tells you which ones won our hearts, which ones we still depend on, and are truly the very Top Shelf Products of the Year 2012.

1. Tom Ford Blushes: Although released in 2011, I’ve come to love the high quality, beautiful glow of these blushes. As an aside, the brush is incredible as well. The original review is here.

Tom Ford Blush02

 

2.  Giorgio Armani Maestro Concealer: I can’t believed that a concealer made my top 10 list, but there it is. This is truly an androgynous product–appropriate regardless of gender. I originally bought this on a whim. Over time, I’ve become dependent on the extremely high quality, great coverage, incredibly natural look, and skin care benefits (it contains ingredients to breaks up sun damage and dark spots). The application is incredibly natural–sometimes I cover few spots and under eyes, and skip foundation entirely. This makes this a truly travel-friendly product, as you can leave your liquid foundation at home. The original review is here, I’ve since switched to buying shade #3.

GA concealer

3. Perricone MD Skin Care: I’ve been working on my skin with intensity since February. Last week, I got a few random compliments from strangers–“your skin looks beautiful–what are you using?” As a beauty blogger, I’ve been using several different things, but I’ve added a healthy dose of Perricone MD. My favorites so far are the Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester 15, the Blue Plasma Peel and the Formula 15 serum. Although I haven’t reviewed it yet, the Perricone Face Finishing Moisturizer appears to have some magical ingredients in it as well.

Perricone

4. 2012 was the year of the BB Cream:  Over the past several months, the term “BB Cream” has entered the beauty vernacular with a vengeance. Although originating overseas with formulas that combine anti-aging, skincare benefits, and sunscreen, in the U.S. some formulas are said to be nothing more than glorified tinted moisturizers. However, there are some that stand above the crowd. Cafe Makeup’s former favorite was Dior DiorSnow BB Cream, a remarkably stable version with serious sun protection(SPF 50) and all-day tenacity (even in the Florida summer humidity).

omorovicza bb cream

The Dior would still be my favorite, except that I was recently sent the Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB Cream (SPF 20) by the company. I’ll be doing a review soon, but this creamy, light foundation is absolutely perfect is so many ways.

The most startling effect is that my skin looks improved after I remove it at the end of the day. To my eye, it’s noticeable. In 2013, we can expect to see “CC Creams,” which are next-generation products (including one from Chanel). A few have started to land at drugstores, according to Nouveau Cheap. Those new products will have some very stiff competition from Omorovicza’s Complexion Perfector.

5. Tom Ford Enchanted Eye Quad. This one makes me hear angels sing. The original review is here.

Tom Ford Enchanted Quad03

6. Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lipsticks.  Why should the MAC lovers have all the fun? These are intensely pigmented lipsticks that provide gorgeous coverage with a very thin layer of product. The colors are outstanding–complex, intense, original, sophisticated, and very beautiful. I’ve purchased several, and am eyeing several colors from the Spring 2013 collection (I’ve caved on one already). Swatches of all colors are here (except for the Spring 2013, which were just released).

Chanel Lipsticks new1a

7. Nars Andy Warhol Collection. This highly original collection melded fine art and beauty. This included an incredibly rich and thoughtful array of choices, with something for everyone. I certainly found some favorites among them, including the Flowers palettes with the incredible taupe. At the same time, the collection helped us relive just a touch of the 1960’s makeup era just as Marc Jacobs made it fashionable for clothing. I’ve read that Francois Nars plans to do another artists collaboration next year, and I’m certainly hopeful that he will. Regardless of whether you purchased anything from the collection, this one warrants serious recognition for its attention to detail and creativity, as well as its sweeping scope.

Warhol Portrait 1

8. Le Metier de Beaute CHEM60 Pro-Peel and GLOW10ai Mask Set. Applause for giving busy women truly ingenious results at home. I love this set. The original post is here.

Le Metier Peel 10

9. Dior Nail Polish. There is something about Dior that has been excelling in the nail polish realm lately. Yes, I loved OPI’s Skyfall collection–the colors are fast, fun, and highly affordable. I got a 4-5 of them, and still wear them. Can you think of a Fall on-trend color that wasn’t part of Skyfall? I sure can’t.

Skyfall

Still, Dior’s formula spreads like butter, levels off beautifully, and has a helpful, manageable brush. Unlike OPI’s Skyfall, Dior has been truly cutting edge in its color development this year. Rather than capturing trends, Dior is setting them. I have to love an imaginative industry leader.

Dior Mango Pasteque Lime2

10. Guerlain This traditional French company has done so many things right this year. From its beautiful summer Terracotta Pucci collection, the new Petit Robe Noir perfume, and the development of new formulas of lipsticks. Liz and I both love the new Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Lip Color (the review for Paresse is here). I’d love to include more Guerlain in this list, if I could.

Guerlain Extrait Paresse04

Thank you for another wonderful year in beauty, Gorgeous!  And cheers!

What were your favorite products for 2012? We’d love to know!

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Dec 302012
 

Chanel eyeliners

Chanel’s Spring 2013 collection includes three Style Yeux Waterproof Eyeliners in Or Rose (rose gold), Beryl (a light lavender), and Santal (a shimmering warm brown)($30 each).

In the past, I haven’t loved the Stylo Yeux formulation–I found the pencils very hard and requiring too much pressure to use easily. In the meantime, two things happened. First, other pencils from lower and similarly priced brands improved dramatically. Second, Chanel released Ebene, a deep, smooth, and highly pigmented shimmery black that worked beautifully. Other Chanel Stylo Yeux pencils seemed to have improved, which gave me hope for the three new shades in this Spring 2013 release.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners7a

Unfortunately, I found Or Rose, Beryl, and Santal difficult to apply, with the same hard texture as pencils released during the pre-Ebene era. Although Chanel gets points for intra-line consistency with its older pencils, I really wished it had borrowed a page from Giorgio Armani, Nars, Bare Escentuals or even the drugstore brand Prestige, to give me a softer texture. I really had to work to get any pigment out of these, passing them 5-7 times over my lash line to get a good solid color. For example, for Santal I finally gave up and fixed the liner with a quick pass of Laura Mercier’s Brown Copper.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners1

Chanel Beryl is a light lavender. The color is embedded with multicolored particles, but the color applies as a single uniform (very soft) color.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners2b

This type of shade might be used to add a pop of interest in an otherwise neutral eye. Because Chanel Beryl applies so lightly, I found that my best use is an inner corner highlighter. The soft color, which lightens but barely deposits color, gave me a soft cool bit of color that played a just bit with my blue-green eyes.

“Or Rose,” which translates to “rose gold,” is a shimmery warm metallic.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners3

Of these three, Or Rose seemed to have the best pigmentation.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners4a

Here is Chanel Or Rose swatched next to Chanel Rose Platine and Chanel Taupe, both in the Stylo Waterproof formula (and both much better in softness and pigmentation):

Chanel Spring Eyeliner Swatches3a

Liz used Chanel Or Gold in this eye look (on her lower lashline). Do not worry about your vision if you do not see the effect, it is very subtle:

Chanel Raffinement look1

Chanel Stylo Yeux is Santal is a warm shimmering brown.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners5

This was my biggest hope, and therefore my greatest disappointment. When Liz tried to use it for her eye look, above, she also gave up and went over Santal with a trusty black Prestige Total Intensity liner in black.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners6a

Here is Chanel Santal swatched next to Nars Via Appia and Laura Mercier Brown Copper (both of these applied much more easily than Chanel):

Chanel Spring Eyeliner Swatches1a

Final verdict:  I’m not loving these. I found that they got a softer after 5-7 tries, but they never reached the level of pigmentation of Chanel Ebene or some of the newer formulations of eyeliner pencils.

These are currently available at Nordstrom.com, as well as other department stores and online at Chanel.com.

Other reviews:

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Dec 302012
 

Chanel Spring 2013 Frivole04

Chanel Spring 2013 brings three new Le Vernis nail colors ($26 each)– Emprise (#569), Fracas (#571) and Accessoire (#573).  This is a pleasant spring collection of pretty, wear-everywhere colors. However, some Chanel fans may feel that this collection has a familiar feel.

Chanel Spring 2013 Frivole01

First, is a pearly pink nude Emprise. One very carefully-applied coat gives a sheer, shimmery effect. This is two coats with Chanel Reflet de Laque High Gloss Top Coat.

Chanel Nail Emprise4

Some women will find Chanel Emprise hits a very sophisticated sweet spot. This subtle shell pink shade is very Chanel, and looks breathtaking when wearing almost anything, even black. Here are comparisons with Rescue Beauty Lounge Om, Chanel Rose Jade, and Chanel Beige:

Chanel Emprise Comparisons

Rescue Beauty Lounge Om is a cream texture which builds to opacity far more quickly. Both Chanel Rose and Chanel Beige have the very same sheer texture as Chanel Emprise–it takes some work to build to opacity if that is the look that you would like to achieve.

Chanel Fracas is a very warm pink. The color reminds me of Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Tea Rose in its very proper feel. Chanel Fracas is unquestionably a work-appropriate color (and honestly, the color will work almost anywhere).

Chanel Spring 2013 Frivole02

Chanel Fracas has a very subtle hot pink pearl that shows up in full sun. Here, with Chanel’s Haute Reflect top coat:

Chanel Fracas 1a

Although when viewed in isolation Chanel Fracas looks l like a hot pink, it is quite warm. Here’s a comparison with a true hot pink, Nars Schiap:

Chanel Fracas Comparison

Finally, my favorite of this collection–Chanel Accessoire.  This is another extraordinary vampy color that is so striking, yet still works almost anywhere.

Chanel Spring 2013 Frivole03

There’s a slight brown tint to Chanel Accessoire. Although it is not a traditional Spring color, I find colors like Accessoire very refreshing and beautiful. It looks amazing with a shiny topcoat, here Chanel Reflet de Laque:

Chanel Accessoire 1b

Chanel Accessoire has some very close cousins. It is more brown that Chanel Rouge Noir, and less purple/violet than Dior Mystic Violine. Chanel Accessoire is just a shade lighter than Chanel Madness (you probably don’t need both if you have a good stock of Madness).

Chanel Accessoire Comparisons 1a

Overall, I found this a nice, well-rounded and crowd-pleasing collection of shades for Spring 2013. If you would like to shave a bit off your total, I would recommend skipping Emprise–it’s a little challenging to apply smoothly. On some skin tones, a light nude like Emprise can gives one’s hands a reddish appearance.

Francas has a good formulation and I liked the little bit of pearl. It’s a safe bet, although I couldn’t swear that it’s entirely unique among other brands.

I love, love, love, Accessoire. The formula is perfect, and it just looks really amazing when applied. I do go through these bottles to their very end, so it made sense for me to get this newest version. However, as these comparisons show, Accessoire it is not a unique shade.

The Beauty Look Book’s review is here.  These are available at Nordstrom.com (with free ship) here.

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Dec 262012
 

Chanel Frivole12a

Chanel Spring 2013 introduces a new blush–Chanel Joues Contraste in Frivole ($43), a rich orange coral. Frivole is the marvelous pressed powder that gives a beautiful glow.

Chanel Spring 2013 Frivole11

Chanel Joues Contraste in Frivole is quite warm–some with cool tones may not enjoy them. Those with warm skin tones may not find it the most flattering everyday blush. However, I sometimes wear clothing with strong bright tones–a rich lapis blue, lime, or a strong coral, that seem to work well with orange toned blushes. Here is a comparison with Frivole and MAC Modern Mandarin (former limited edition product, no longer available, Chanel Tweed Corail, Chanel Espiegle and Chanel Reflex (the non-US baked version).

Chanel Frivole Comparisons1

Here are comparison swatches of all of these blushes. MAC Modern Mandarin is more shimmery and more red.  Chanel Tweed Corail is more pink, and less pigmented.  Chanel Espiegle is pinker and less pigmented. Chanel Reflex is far more shimmery and more brown.

Chanel Spring 2013 Frivole17a

Here is Liz with Chanel Frivole, and the Chanel Raffinement eyeshadow quad on her lids (review coming soon), and a light dusting of the Poudre Singee de Chanel:

Chanel Frivole Look1b

Overall, Liz and I found that Chanel Frivole lived up the Joues Contraste name, having an excellent formulation, finely milled consistency, and overall glowing impression. Whether you wish to have a vibrant orange-coral in your blush selection is a judgement call. For its part, Chanel Frivole is an excellent choice if your answer is “yes.”

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Dec 262012
 

Chanel Raffainment1a

Chanel Spring 2013 brings us the Chanel Raffinement Eye Shadow quad ($58 /.24 oz). This is a well-pigmented, very smooth, neutral palette themed with a touch of mauve. This includes a light, wearable cream toned highlight, a soft heather taupe, a pretty mauve-gold, and a deep brown-burgundy liner color.

Chanel Raffainement2

Chanel Raffinement has a remarkably smooth texture, and is ideal for those looking for a neutral palette with a touch of cooler colors. Those with pink-cool skin tones will love this, although those with warmer skin tones can wear it easily as well.

Chanel Raffainement3

Liz and I found this very easy and wearable. If this were 2005,  I’d say this is a “must have.” Now, I’d say this is definitely worth considering. The quality is smooth and excellent, and Chanel Raffinement is a pleasure to use. At the same time, there are so many high end neutral choices–take a look at The Beauty Look Book’s comparison post for some examples. Also, Edward Bess’ Over the Moon has similar cool tones although it has an overall deeper-toned impression. Swatches of Chanel Raffinement:

Chanel Raffainement11

Comparisons with Chanel Raffinement and Tom Ford Enchanted eyeshadows are here. Here are some pictures of an eye look that Liz did with Chanel Rafinnement. Here, she used the bottom left as a base color, then placed the upper left color in the crease. She also barely touched the liner color in the crease (this liner color is very pigmented).

Chanel Raffinement look1

Another (you can see she went deeper with the crease colors on the right side, so you can see some variation and versatility of the quad:

Chanel Raffinement look3

One more:

Chanel Raffinement look4

There’s also a nice tutorial on Temptalia’s site using CHanel Raffinement. Overall, I’m glad that I have Chanel Raffinement. Essentially, it’s a lighter version of Chanel Kaska Beige, which I thought was a very lovely palette (again, The Beauty Look Book has comparison swatches). I love neutral palettes that bring light to the eye. Admittedly, this is an indefinable quality, yet Chanel seems to hit the mark with Raffinement.

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