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.


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.


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, as well as other department stores and online at

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 (with free ship) here.

This post includes an affiliate link (see “About Cafe Makeup” for more information).

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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.

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

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Dec 262012

Poudre Signee de Chanel04

The Poudre Signee de Chanel ($68) is the star of the Chanel Spring 2013 collection. The color is a soft shell with a touch of pink. The compact is a standard size, the same as the Chanel eyeshadow and blush palettes. However, the velveteen sleeve is larger than most:

Poudre Signee de Chanel01

Inside, the pouch houses a spongetip applicator.  We ignored the sponge (typically, sponges give very heavy application) in favor of a soft face brush (for these looks, we used the Burberry Face Brush No. 2):

Poudre Signee de Chanel12

This pressed powder is embossed in a Chanel makeup-lover’s dream pattern, scattered with images of Camilla blossoms, lipsticks, glossimers and other pretty Chanel symbols.

Poudre Signee de Chanel03

Close up of the powder:

Poudre Signee de Chanel09

Overall, this is a very giftable palette, ideal for Valentines or perhaps even Mother’s Day (for those thinking ahead):

Poudre Signee de Chanel02

Liz and I found that the palette gave a soft candlelight glow indoors. Here, Liz applied the Poudre Signee de Chanel on her browbone and all over her cheek. You will not get the high-shine or metallic effect of a liquid like Benefit High Beam or NARS Copacabana.  Rather, in soft light she has a luminous soft candle-lit glow as Poudre Signee provides a pretty fine finishing powder effect. In this type of soft lighting, the effect is very subtle.

Signe Poudre de Chanel41

Another (with flash). This is with Chanel Joues Constraste Frivole Blush, as well the Chanel Raffinement Eyeshadow quad, also from the Spring 2013 collection.

Signee de Chanel 2

Liz and I loved the little Chanel embossed touches on the powder compact of the Poudre Signe de Chanel, which brush away after a few uses of the compact. We thought that the Poudre Signee de Chanel would be appropriate for an indoor day event (such as a wedding), or for an evening look. We did get a bit of a sparkle effect in bright sun, so we’d prefer other finishing powders for a daytime/outdoor look.

This post includes an affiliate link (if you’d like more information, please see the “About Cafe Makeup” link.

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Dec 242012

Perricone Hair and Nail1

As you likely know, Perricone MD offers a line of health and beauty supplements, including the Perricone MD Hair and Nails Formula ($95/ 30 day supply). Inside, the supplements are packaged in individual sleeves that ensure that you take them in the correct order.

Perricone Vitamins1a

The supplements are designed to offer high-quality, effective ingredients. Perricone MD outlines the benefits as offering “the essential building blocks for hair and nail health,” namely:

Biotin, an essential nutrient that plays an important role in the formation of keratin to support healthy, strong nails
– High levels of antioxidants to protect hair and nails from environmental damage
– Dr. Perricone’s exclusive Forever Young blend of extracts (watercress, dark cocoa, chili pepper, turmeric, and more) with a high level of antioxidant protection
Omega 3’s sourced from wild Alaskan sockeye salmon for overall health and radiance

I have to admit that I’m a strong believer that beauty starts from the inside. When I’m eating correctly, exercising, hydrating properly, everything else falls into place. There are a thousand different reasons that I start a supplement regimen and then stop. My main goal is overall health, but of course some beauty benefits are a nice plus!

Perricone Hair and Nail4a

In the past, I’ve taken biotin and omega 3 supplements, but I’m never quite sure that I’m taking the correct amount, or whether the quality of the supplements that I’ve purchased is adequate. Also, if I suffer a breakout or an upset tummy, I’m never certain whether to blame the supplements. I’ve wandered a few health food store aisles wondering if I should buy the refrigerated Omega 3’s, or the shelf brands are perfectly fine. Basically, there are very few ways for me to tell which ones are worth taking.

Perricone Hair and Nail3a

To me, the best features of Perricone MD vitamins is the trust factor, the lack of any noticeable adverse side effects (no breakouts, no upset tummy at all), and the convenience factor that facilitates following the program. The trust factor is the  most important to me–I’ve been reading Dr. Perricone’s Forever Young: The Science of Nutrigenomics for Glowing, Wrinkle-Free Skin and Radiant Health at Every Age, and his email advice (also reproduced here on his blog) and his advice is really spot-on for me. He holds several patents, and has a scientific justification for his products. The passion for the science of beauty wins me over every time.

I finished my 30 day supply without skipping a day despite racking up over 10,000 airline miles during the same period. I was able to place enough of these sleeves in a carry-on pocket for the lengths of my journey, which took minimal space and eliminated any bulky bottle-rattling and without any need for refrigeration.

Perricone Hair and Nail5a

I usually took these after a meal, with a glass of water as suggested by Dr. Perricone on the packaging. As an aside, the packages are marked “1,” “2,” and “3” to designed the suggested order that you take them. On my crises days, sometimes I realized that I was taking them out of order (oops!) but didn’t notice any difference. Here are the product details (click to enlarge):

Perricone Hair and Nail2

Supplements are a long-term commitment, and I didn’t expect miracles in 30 days. I notice that my nails are softer and moisturized, and my skin is looking vibrant. I’m not sure how much is attributable to the supplements, as I’m testing out skincare frequently these days. As I finished this box, I contemplated a replacement. Because I loved the convenience factor and because my goal is overall health, I’ve purchased Perricone MD Skin and Total Body Supplements which appears to be a more comprehensive program. I purchased it during a Friends and Family promotion on the site–you might wish to register your email with the site, because there are large samples and auto-ship discounts that pop up with some regularity.

Overall, I was pleased and impressed with the ease, convenience, and overall quality of Perricone MD Hair & Nails Formula, so much so that I’m excited to try other supplements in the line. If you are thinking of starting a New Year’s regimen, these are definitely worth a look.

Perricone MD sent these supplements to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. 


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Dec 222012

Tatcha Founder Victoria Tsai

I’ve been hearing so many good things about Tatcha skin care, so when the company offered to send me a sample pack I was very pleased to agree.  The line was founded by Victoria Tsai, who has studied Asian-based skincare since the time that her mother shared her secrets with her during childhood. Over the years, Victoria became an expert in fine skincare, based on the application of modern science to cultural knowledge that dates back hundreds of years.

Tacha Set

Liz and I tested our Tatcha Sampler Set ($49) on a dark and rainy Sunday afternoon–the perfect time for an at-home spa treat. The set includes:

– Pure Camellia One Step Cleansing Oil – 30ml | 1oz
– Polished Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder – 1 x 1g packets
– Polished Deep Rice Enzyme Powder – 1 x 1g packets
– Radiant Deep Brightening Serum – 10ml | 0.3oz
– Supple Moisture Rich Silk Cream – 1 x 1g packet
– Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream – 15ml | 0.5oz
– Petal Fresh Original Japanese Beauty Papers – 1 full sized pack | 30 sheets

Instructions are enclosed with the set. The first step is the Camellia Cleansing Oil (full size $48/ 5.1 oz.).


This is a very lightly-scented, luxurious oil that cleans very thoroughly, while leaving skin fresh and very gently moisturized. It’s an excellent oil. The story of the oil is on Tatcha’s site.

Tatcha’s Polished Rice Enzyme Powder is the second step. Like Bobbi Brown’s Buffing Grains, the Rice Enzyme Powder is a water-activated cleanser. Essentially, I emptied the powder onto wet hands, and spread over a dampened face.  Although it can be washed off at this point, I left it on for about five minutes until it dried completely so that my skin could absorb all of its benefits. Essentially, the powder both exfoliates and moisturizes. Tatcha’s is formulated with rice bran, papaya + HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex (a formulate complex that moisturizes, heals and includes powerful antioxidants). After I rinsed it off, our skin felt wonderful. The powder comes in two versions–a full size for at-home use (full size $65 / 2.1 oz.) and a travel set adds 14 Rice Enzyme Powder packets (pictured below)

Tatcha Facial6a

The third step is the application of a leave-on product, Tatcha’s Deep Brightening Serum ($150/ 1.0 oz for the full size). This is a weightless (like water) serum that sinks in quickly, its pleasant floral scent quickly fades (it’s a gorgeous scent, by the way). The hydration can be felt immediately–it leaves skin soft and very lightly moisturized. I let it sink in for 2-3 minutes before proceeding. The beneficial effects of clarifying age spots takes about 4-8 weeks of continuous use.

The final step is the application of a gorgeously rich Tatcha Supple Moisture Rich Silk Cream (full size $150). For many women, this is an winter-friendly moisturizer that leaves skin feeling like silk. Supple absorbs quickly and feels light on the skin, but the effects are remarkable. Cafe Makeup was provided with a full-size version of the moisturizer, which is beautifully packaged.

Tatcha Facial3

Liz and I found loved the gold-toned applicator and richly-colored ribbon–a luxurious touch that evoked the ritual of taking a moment to honor and care for oneself.

Tatcha Facial2a

Liz and I absolutely loved this moisturizer. Although we are a few years apart in age, we both looked into the mirror afterwards and were wide-eyed impressed.  Our skin looked fully oxygenated, fresh and absolutely glowed.

Tatcha Facial4

The packaging is lovely, modern, and highly giftable.

Tatcha Facial1

Ingredients (click to enlarge):

Tatcha Facial5

One a side note, I love the concept that a luxury skin care line offers a good, cohesive sample set. Overall, Liz and I loved the experience and we’ll definitely repeat it. For us, the entire combination worked beautifully together to create head-turning, “I’ve just been to a spa” skin. Amazing.

Tacha sent these products to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.


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Dec 192012

Chanel Ultra Rose4c

Recently, there was a quiet overseas release of Chanel Ultra Rose Blush (#74), which I discovered from reading Reika’s review at Front Row Beauty.  To be honest, I don’t know much about the release beyond Reika’s post–that Ultra Rose appears to be a permanent non-U.S. addition to the line.

Despite Chanel Ultra Rose’s vibrant look in the pan, I found that it applied well with a standard blush brush. It’s a vibrant shimmery cool pink with a fair amount of blue undertone.

Chanel Ultra Rose reminded me of the former Chanel Turbulent, a limited edition U.S. release from several years ago. I pulled out my well-stored backup of Turbulent to compare. along with a few other cool vibrant pinks from my collection. These include Tom Ford Narcissist, and three MAC Pro ShadesFull Fuchsia, Azalea, and Rhubarb. Swatches:

Chanel Ultra Rose6a

As you can see, Chanel Ultra Rose applies more satiny and deeper compared to Chanel Turbulent. The Tom Ford and MAC Pro shades are more deeper and vibrant. Tom Ford Narcissist, MAC Full Fuchsia, MAC Azalea, and MAC Rhubarb must all be applied with a duo-fibre brush on my fair NC15/20 skin tone–these are all very pigmented compared to Chanel Ultra Rose.

Overall, I’m pleased to add Chanel Ultra Rose to my collection. Unfortunately, I do not know if this will be added to the U.S. line. I purchased mine at Izzy’s for $65.

Other reviews:


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Dec 182012

Perricone Blue Plasma1

Perricone MD has just released Blue Plasma ($95 / 2 oz.), an incredibly gentle exfoliant that is designed for daily use. I’m a major fan of frequent exfoliation. Nothing reveals and renews skin like taking the dead layer off, to let the new skin show through. Sometimes I will use AHA chemical exfoliants, and sometimes other types of at-home peels (for example, this one from Le Metier de Beaute is an exceptional twice-per-week peel). I’m also going to take the opportunity to compare it to some other daily peels that I’ve tried recently.

Blue Plasma is a once-per-day lotion that had a beautiful, gentle exfoliating effect and I experienced absolutely zero stinging. If you are looking for an effective peel for sensitive skin, or one that treats your skin like a princess’, then Blue Plasma is for you. The Perricone MD website reads:

This cutting edge liquid treatment works with Bio-specific Peeling to attack only dead skin cells, Micro-extraction to lift surface debris, unclogging and purifying the skin of build-up and finally Hydro-fusion to rebalance skin’s hydration with enriched water. No rinsing needed. Apply and follow with your daily skincare regimen.

I did find the results effective. My skin was softer, brighter, smoother, and more alive. Particularly for winter-wearing skin, it’s lovely to have my glowing skin back without damaging or peeling. I typically put it on first, then wait for a few minutes to apply my moisturizer, then sunscreen. It can also be used before bed in the evenings instead.

As an introductory offer, Perricone MD’s website is running an auto-ship special which reduces the price of the product to $85.50 plus adds a free Citrus Facial Wash with every order.

Blue Plasma Special

Auto-ships from Perricone MD are less scary than they sound. I’ve done an auto-ship special with the Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester 15, and found that I was able to pace the shipments to my needs simply by calling (my shipments arrive every three months, instead of every month, and still get the lower price and freebie product for every shipment).

As an aside, I preferred Perricone MD to Bare Escentuals Intensive Glow Pads Brightening Treatment ($35 for 60 pads).

Bare Escentials Intensive Glow Pads

The Glow Pads are cotton pads (one side smooth, the other rough) that are soaked in AHA and other items, designed to combine manual and chemical exfoliation.  I found that these were fine, they were certainly easy and they packed well. The container is a strong plastic, and they aren’t–strictly speaking–a liquid so they were convenient when baggie space couldn’t accommodate all the skin care that I wanted to bring. Overall, Perricone MD is far more gentle, and left me with more side benefits (softer, hydrated skin). Also, Perricone MD’s Blue Plasma doesn’t make my skin more sun-sensitive.


I did feel a stinging quality on using the Intensive Glow Pads. Generally, with this type of cotton-soaked pad product you’ll want to be diligent about flipping the jar after every use so that the pads don’t dry out. For an AHA product, I still prefer M2, the advanced formulation of the old Mama Lotion. With a bottle of M2, you don’t have to worry about any pads drying out, and you get plenty of product for the price (one bottle seems to last forever).


One product that I became very curious about for daily exfoliation was fresh lemon juice.  I’ve never seen Makeupalley review a skincare product at a 92% approval rating before, so I had to try it. All I can say is, harsh harsh harsh, at least for me.  If you heard someone shouting in pain, that was me. I’ve heard warnings about using this, including making skin go off-balance, or uneven skin tone after using it. I certainly would dilute it significantly the first time.

Of all of these options, Perricone MD’s Blue Plasma is by far my favorite. Together with my other Perricone MD products, my skin is vastly improved. In particular, the Blue Plasma gives me a gentle, daily exfoliation which leaves my skin looking younger, fresher, and with a beautiful luminous quality.  In fact, some day’s I’ll wear the Giorgio Armani Maestro Concealer over a few problem areas and no foundation. To me, that’s a priceless result.

Ingredients for the Perricone MD Blue Plasma (click to enlarge):

Perricone Blue Plasma2

Here’s a short video from Perricone MD illustrating how Blue Plasma works (no sound):

Perricone MD sent Blue Plasma to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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