Apr 242013

Dior BB Cream02

Over the past several weeks, Dior has released the Diorskin Nude BB Creme ($44/1 oz.). I bought the Diorskin Nude with some hesitancy, because I really love Diorsnow UV Shield BB Creme. I really like the Diorsnow BB Creme’s SPF 50 rating, the medium coverage, and the overall feel and look when applied. Parenthetically, the Diorsnow BB Creme has never left me with a single clogged pore. Nonetheless, in the interest of Dior science, I took the plunge to try the Diorskin Nude version.

Dior BB Cream07

One advantage to the new Diorskin BB Creme is that it is offered in four shades. Although some lines have only one colors, others have five–like Goldilocks, Dior must have decided that four shades are just right. You can see swatches of all colors on Karen’s site at the Makeup and Beauty Blog. After doing a swatch test at Nordstrom’s counter, I found that Diorskin #002 was a good match for my Chanel Claire/Ivoire, MAC NC15/20 skintone.

Dior BB Cream swatches1 copy

Here are some comparisons with Diorskin Nude BB Creme in #002, Diorsnow UV Shield BB Creme, Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska, Chanel Perfection Lumiere #20 Beige, MAC Pro Longwear NC 15, and Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in #118. Of all of the swatches, above, Diorskin Nude BB Creme is the sheerest. However, Diorskin Nude BB Creme is genius when layered. I was able to add 2 and 3 layers over problematic areas without getting any texture or caking up.

Dior BB Cream10

Diorskin Nude BB Creme is rated at SPF 10, a significant difference from Diorsnow UV Shield’s SPF 50. As California moves into the sunniest season, this lower sunscreen rating makes Diorsnow UV Shield a better product in my calculation. Yes, I do use a separate sunscreen but it’s nice to have on those rushed days. Of course, Diorsnow’s very limited available shade range is a great downside.

Dior BB Cream11a

 Diorskin Nude BB Creme has the easy travel portability, similar to the squeeze tube of the Nars Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer (reviewed here). Between those two, Nars Tinted Moisturizer has a larger available color range, stronger coverage, and lasts longer throughout the day. Also, Nars Tinted Moisturizer has SPF 30 plus skin care ingredients that help reduce dark spots and hyper pigmentation. Diorskin Nude does not advertise those qualities.

Dior BB Cream swatches2

I noticed that Diorskin Nude BB Creme has a long dry-down period. This means that the product seemed to stay moist on my skin for a good 20 minutes before I felt that it had settled down. I don’t like to apply blush over wet foundation, because it can go patchy. I usually resolved this by adding Nars Light Reflecting Loose Powder on top, so that I could proceed to add powder blush or bronzer faster.

Overall, Diorskin Nude BB Creme gives a nice, natural, sheer, glowy coverage. It feels much more like a light tinted moisturizer than a BB creme, nonetheless the 4-shade range is an advantage.

My personal take is that the higher-SPF coverage products in my drawer (Nars Tinted Moisturizer and Diorsnow UV Shield BB Creme) are better suited to my own needs. However, I’ve come to recognize that foundations and base products are very much “your mileage may vary” type products. Dior’s offering fills a nice niche for those looking for a simple, comfortable, moisturizing, and sheer product.

Ingredient and use listing (click to enlarge):

Dior BB Cream03


Dior BB Cream06

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Apr 212013

Perricone MD Acyl Serum08

One new release in the skincare world is Perricone MD’s Acyl-Glutathione Deep Crease Serum ($155/ 1 oz.). This is a multi-tasking anti-aging treatment. One of its best features if the ability to soften fine lines

Perricone MD Acyl Serum14

This is a gently scented spot treatment that is to be applied to expression lines, lines, and creases. This is recommended for the “11” that sometimes appear between the eyebrows, across the forehead, in the contours of the mouth (marionette lines), and anywhere else that lines are starting to form. Essentially, the product includes a derivative of Acyl-Glutathione which is intended to replace ingredients in the skin that tend to dissipate with age. For those versed in chemistry, here is one of the Perricone patent applications that describes the technology and the effects.

Perricone MD Acyl Serum13

 The product is intended to gives an immediate smoothing effect to fine lines and lessen creases. Once again, Perricone MD has delivered. I found that the product was effective even on the first application.  I’d really like to avoid using  needles as long as possible, thank you very much. This serum works to soften expression lines and creases caused by facial movements and age. Unlike Botox, this product is not intended to be invasive–you still have full muscle control of course.

Perricone MD Acyl Serum04

The first time that I used the product, I found how quickly and completely the Perricone MD’s Acyl-Glutathione Deep Crease Serum does work. The results were truly visible. I applied this serum on some of the fine lines that traverse my forehead, and after about ten minutes they had smoothed to nothing. One area that looks like it’s on its way to a crease was far smoother and less deep. It also took care of some “11’s” that I’d developed from squinting at my computer all day. Excellent.

Perricone Pump

I’ve never had a moisturizer deliver results even close to Perricone MD’s Acyl-Glutathione Deep Crease Serum. When I used the product twice a day as suggested, the results continue to work. Ingredients (click to enlarge):

Perricone MD Acyl Serum05

Users should keep in mind this serum is not a moisturizer, and that it can be layered with outer Perricone MD products. For example, I’ll layer this with my favorite Perricone eye treatments, including the Perricone MD Acyl-Glutathione Eye Lid Serum together with Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester and a moisturizer on my face.

Perricone MD Acyl Serum09

Overall:  Great product that truly delivered for me. Bravo Perricone!

Through Friday April 26th, Perricone MD is is running a 20% off promotion with code SPRING20.

Available at Sephora.comPerricone MD’s website and other retailers that carry the line.

Perricone MD sent Cafe Makeup this product for consideration for review. This review includes an affiliate link (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Apr 182013

Mac Nudes & Metallics Group 21

MAC is just releasing a Pro-only collection called Nudes & Metallics, which consists of coordinating eyeshadows and lipsticks. Essentially, the Nudes collection includes four light-to-dark shades in soft finishes. As the name suggests, the Metallics are richly pigmented, metal-shine colors. Although I do not typically buy much MAC, this pro release had the promise of satisfying my craving for neutrals with a twist, so I invested in the eyeshadows of this collection.

MAC Nudes & Metallics group 11

Details on this release are little hard to track down. According to Temptalia, the collection is MAC PRO store (4/18/13) and PRO Online only (mid June 2013). Non-PRO members should buy from a Pro store now, because non-pro members do not have access to the MAC Pro online site.

MAC Metallic Group

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Apr 182013

Mac Nudes & Metallics Group 21

MAC is just releasing a Pro-only collection called Nudes & Metallics, which consists of coordinating eyeshadows and lipsticks. Essentially, the Nudes collection includes four light-to-dark shades in soft finishes. As the name suggests, the Metallics are richly pigmented, metal-shine colors. Although I do not typically buy much MAC, this pro release had the promise of satisfying my craving for neutrals with a twist, so I invested in the eyeshadows of this collection.

Details on this release are little hard to track down. According to Temptalia, the collection is MAC PRO store (4/18/13) and PRO Online only (mid June 2013). Non-PRO members should buy from a Pro store now, because non-pro members do not have access to the MAC Pro online site.

MAC Nudes & Metallics group 11

This review looks at the four Nude eyeshadowsBare Minimum, Glimpse of Flesh, Body Conscious and Exposed ($15 each). All have a nicely pigmented Satin finish.

Mac Nudes Group 11

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Apr 172013

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers2

Lately I’ve been testing three of Guerlain’s Terracotta 4 Seasons Bronzers in Nude 00, Naturel Blondes 02, and Moyen Blondes #04 ($75 each/ 0.35 oz.). These were part of a recent comprehensive release by Guerlain, which considerable expanded their shade range for the 4 Seasons line.  You can see all of the shades here at The Beauty Look Book. These come inside a tortoiseshell compact that is both beautiful and quite strong and sturdy.  The shape fits comfortably in a side pocket of one’s purse, beach tote or carry on.

Guerlain four seasons case

Although I am beyond pleased to see this French company offer shade ranges that will look beautiful on women of all skin tones, I chose Nude (Nude #00), Natural Blondes (Naturel Blondes #02), and Medium Blondes (Moyen Blondes #04) because they fell at the lighter end of the spectrum range to coordinate with my skin tone (MAC NC15/20, Chanel Claire/Ivoire, Guerlain #2).

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers3

Although the price point of these is high, the quality level is excellent. These are incredibly finely milled.  Applying them is a luxurious feeling, and they meld beautifully to the skin. These bronzers would never even come close to highlighting or creating imperfections. The formula is truly superb. As you can tell, these bronzers each have four shades that allows you to emphasize certain tones in different seasons for different effects. I think the brush head would have be fairly small to get precise effects (something like a small face highlighter or small contour). I use my standard brushes and swirl over the top.

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers1

Here are my thoughts about the colors that I’ve tried on my skin tone. Starting with Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons in Nude 00, this color gives a barely perceptible, natural glow.

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers No. Nude 002

The slight pink mixes with the warmer bronzer colors to give a very natural finish. This adds a touch of natural color that helps me look alive, especially when I’m wearing  a medium coverage foundation which covers my natural skin tone variation. It’s a good “winter bronzer” color, when you aren’t expected to show much sun (although it certainly could be worn by those with pale skin tones who love to enhance their natural coloring with just a touch).

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers No.002

Nude is a good daytime office bronzer, it doesn’t look like I’ve flown to Hawaii over the weekend. Instead it’s a “is she wearing bronzer?” type of natural look.

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers No. 21

Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seaonss in Naturel Blondes 02 gives me a standard bronzer look, sort of similar to Edward Bess Daydream in tonality. I cannot say it more accurately than this–> Naturel Blondes will be a perfect everyday bronzer for summer.

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers No. 22

One of the quarters has a very slight touch of shimmer, which mixes with the other powders to give a natural skin effect. There is nothing over the top about this shimmer. Here is Liz wearing Guerlain Naturel Blondes, topped with Burberry Coral Pink Blush and Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Yu.

Nars Yu2

 Guerlain Terracotta 4 Seasons Bronzer in Medium Blondes (Moyen Blondes) on my skin tone is a high drama bronzer that I absolutely love.

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers No. 41


As the sun is filling out California spring skies, I’ve enjoying it’s beautiful glow. As with the others, the powder is excellent quality, so that it melds with my skin. Unlike the others, this one does give me a “I’m just back from Hawaii” tan glow.

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers No. 42

Although this color will not be for everyone (some may find it too obvious), I find that I love this bronzer particularly when I’m wearing nude tones (which otherwise cause me to fade out), or very vibrant corals and pinks (when my face needs some color for balance).

Here are swatches of all three shades, which don’t do the bronzers justice. One really has to try them on the skin to see how they look once applied.

Guerlain Four Seasons Bronzers4

A reader asks a good question–how does Nude 00 compare to last year’s Burberry Sheer Summer Glow palette? Here are some swatches that show that Burberry’s Summer Glow is swatching much more bronzy/shimmery than Guerlain’s 4 Seasons Nude 00:

Guerlain 4 seasons comparisons1a

Overall, this trio is a beautiful selection of shades. The quality is excellent, really worthy of a luxury line.

Available at Nordstrom.com and other Guerlain counters.

 Cafe Makeup received Nars Yu without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Apr 142013

Armani Summer 2013 Palette08

Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 Face & Eye Palette ($88), also called the Armani Bronze All-Over Palette, is built for luxury travel. This small, sturdy palette has a large bronzer and three beautiful shimmery peach-based shadows on the lower level.

Armani Summer 2013 Palette17

First up, the beautiful metallic overspray gives a lush, red-carpet glamor to the bronzer. Opening the palette for the first time is a breathtaking experience for those who love a luxury presentation.

Armani Summer 2013 Palette01

Close up of the Armani signature on the ridged top:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette04

Once the overspray is brushed away, a warm shimmery bronzer remains without the metallic drama:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette d1Here is Liz wearing the Giorgio Armani Summer Face & Eye palette’s bronzer on her cheeks, over Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Rose Beige:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette c2

Here are some comparisons with other bronzers in the same shade range. I found that Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 Face & Eye palettes bronzer was more shimmery than Tom Ford’s Gold Dust. It seems a bit lighter than Guerlain Terracotta Four Seasons in #2 Naturel Blondes and Chanel Terra Ambre:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette b2

The eyeshadow portion of the Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 Face & Eye Palette includes three shimmery eyeshadow shades–a light pearly cream highlighter, a light shimmery peach, and a deep warm brown.

Armani Summer 2013 Palette05

To my eye, these colors are quite similar to the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer in Mirage. Two of the shades look identical, and the highlighter is certainly close enough to render Mirage duplicative if you already have the Armani Summer 2013 palette:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette b1

On Liz:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette a1

Eyes open:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette a2

Overall, the Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 Face & Eye Palette has a gorgeous presentation–the overspray on this is a stunner. Underneath, you’ll find a pretty, finely milled warm-toned bronzer. As you lift the bronzer, underneath you’ll find smooth, shimmery eyeshadow that is beautiful and wearable.

Available on Armani’s online site, and soon to appear everywhere Giorgio Armani Beauty is sold. This post contains an affiliate link (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Apr 072013

Dior Spring 2013 Nail composite

Dior’s new Summer 2013 nail polish collection is phenomenal. Dior has included four shades: Dior Princess, Spring Ball, Delice and Diablotine ($24 each). The colors have a stunning shimmer fleck, a gorgeous formula, and saturated yet sophisticated color. In addition, Dior has developed a new formula Dior Gel Coat topcoat ($24) that gives a glossy, plushy shine that is intended to evoke the look of a gel manicure with far easier removal and no special light required. The combination is gorgeous, as the topcoat brings out the shine and color of this new Dior collection beautifully. The gel topcoat was used on all of these images. Without the gel, the polishes have a satin finish.

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish03a

My favorite is Dior Diablotine, a deep red with fuchsia pink tones and a dash of coral orange. This is complicated and amazing. Summer 2013, I’m ready! The glass fleck is visible in both indoor and outdoor light, when the light hits. This is a shockingly beautiful, saturated red, it makes me happy just to look down at my nails and see this color. Love. I ordered a second one yesterday because this one is a “good to the last bit” sort of color for me. This is almost a one-coat wonder, but looks richer with two. The formula is smooth and perfect.

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish30

Dior Delice is a bright shimmery coral. This is a beautiful color to wear with summer colors that include blues, yellows, peaches.

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish07

Dior Delice looks like a juicy tangerine:

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish19

Dior Spring Ball is a beautiful soft warm pink coral with a beautiful shimmer:

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish10

Spring Ball is such a soft color, it’s perfect for a pretty everyday color. Applied:

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish15

Dior Princess is a soft cool pink. This is aptly named, the rich shimmer gives a beautiful rich shimmer to this very soft flattering pink:

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish06

Dior Princess applied:

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish27

The Dior Gel Coat works on any nail polish, and gives a hard, glossy shine. It’s certainly held up beautifully over the past few days. It’s a great topcoat, and I’m glad that Dior has invested in this often-overlooked basic. Excellent.

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish12

Although this will do better for longevity than a standard top coat, it will not give the recommended two weeks that is expected by at-home light-baked gels. However, there is no acetone or special treatment needed for removal. I used Zoya Remove+, and found that the Dior Gel Coat removes as easily as an Essie, Seche Vite, and other standard topcoats on the market.

The formula and dry time on all of these was excellent. I’m so happy that Dior released this beautiful set.

Dior Summer 2013 nail polishes are available at Nordstrom.com (the gel topcoat is here), Sephora.com, and other Dior counters and sources everywhere.

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Apr 062013

Dries Scent

Frederic Malle has recently released Dries van Noten par Frederic Malle ($185/50 ml.), the first of three in a series of “olfactory portraits of extraordinary individuals.” As the description goes, this is “a modern oriental evocative of classic perfumes which translate the distinctive sensuality of Dries van Noten’s world.”

Fashion Designer Dries Van Noten

Fashion Designer Dries van Noten

I find the mens and women’s clothing designed by Dries van Noten to be fascinating, beautifully made, and timeless. There is always a deeply human element to them, sometimes a quirk, sometimes something deeply evocative of culture, and extraordinarily well tailored. His shops are like a journey, I always feel like I’ve been to foreign land when I’m inside, and enjoying every step along the way. His research and originality in developing interesting and original fabrics is legendary. And, as his critics have pointed out, his clothes look modern but, due to some twist in the Dries-time continuum, it becomes impossible for them to look outdated. One could wear something made ten years ago, and still look completely up to date. A sketchbook of his work (click to enlarge):

Dries Van Noten Collage

When I learned that Frederic Malle was introducing the Dries van Noten fragrance, I was immediately curious. I obtained sample, and have been experimenting and gathering opinions about the scent.  The notes include sandalwood, vanilla, sacrasol, a refined patchouli, saffron and jasmine absolute.

As one might expect from a scent based on a designer of both mens and women’s clothing, the scent is appropriate for either gender. My first apray, which I shared with a friend, gave us both the same impression–this was easily one of the most complicated fragrances that we’d ever experienced. The notes were as separately defined, yet as harmonious, as Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. In that first moment, I had the experience of sensing a tapestry of individual spices, wrapped in a bit of vanilla and sandalwood. Unlike some scents which hit emotionally, Malle’s Dries van Noten strikes me as an intellectual scent, a Rubic’s cube that holds together but is unquestionably made of many individual moving parts. The sillage is robust, and the scent lasted easily all day. The dry-down was powdery and comforting, with a strong harmonious spice. After a few hours, the notes seemed to blend and blur into a pleasant, slightly sweet spiced fragrance.

Frederick Malle

Frederic Malle

Dries van Noten is a fragrance is office friendly for either gender. As an interesting and pleasing scent, the effect is strong but far from overpowering. There’s a level of sophistication in the works, clearly the work of someone who is operating at the height of his craft. This is an eminently gift-able fragrance to someone who has a library of excellent books and a very high taste level.

The sample that I have is generous enough to last me for several weeks, particularly as I’m trying out several others at the same time. For now, this is on my “maybe” list, but I haven’t placed any orders yet and there are a few others above it. Perhaps this has more to do with my mood for a more feminine, emotional scents at present, rather than a reflection of the superb craft of this fragrance.

Available at Barneys (also available in 100 ml. size)

Other reviews:

  • Bois de Jasmine is here.
  • Grain de Musc is here.
  • Now Smell This is here.



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Apr 052013

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmera1a

I succumbed to buying another Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer Palette in Mystery ($59/ #11). Having had such success with the Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer in the peachy shimmery Mirage, I wanted to try the taupe-themed version.

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmera3

Giorgio Armani Mystery palette gives an overall light and cool impression. Three of the shades are shimmery and high on the tonal scale. As you can see from these swatches, most of the Armani Mystery are far lighter than the standards Chanel Safari, Shu Uemura ME Silver 945 (discontinued) and Burberry Rosewood.

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmer1 swatches 3c

Here is a comparison with Armani Eyes to Killy Mystery, Chanel Raffinement and Chanel Prelude. Tonally, Chanel Prelude is very, very close to Armani Mystery. However, some of the shades in Armani Mystery are more shimmery. Chanel Raffinement is warmer, with mauve tones compared to the more neutral/cool Armani Mystery.

Chanel Prelude Raffinement Armani Mystery 1a

Like the Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer in Mirage, Armani Mystery is nicely pigmented, soft, and very easy to work with. Only the deepest liner shade is matte, the other three have a pretty complexity. This is Armani Mystery on Liz, who used primarily the two center shades with a touch of the top shade, with no eyeshadow base.

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmerb1

Liz wearing Armani Mystery with eyes open:

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmerb5

Here’s Liz applying a Nars lip pencil, where you can see Armani Mystery’s texture on the lids:

Nars Hyde Park application1aa

I’ve been using Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill Shimmer in Mystery for a subtle daytime look for the past several days, over my typical Laura Mercier Eye Basic. It gives a pretty, neutral daytime look. Between Mirage and Mystery, I find that the peachy warm Mirage is a touch more flattering. There texture on the Mirage palette is more pearly, it truly is quite unique. Nonetheless, I love a good taupe palette. Certainly, Armani’s Mystery is a beautiful one and would be my preference for those with cooler skin tones for a defined and pretty eye.

Mystery is sold at Nordstrom.com with free ship and free returns.

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Apr 042013

Guerlain Jambes de Gazelle 1

This summer brings Guerlain’s Terracotta Jambes de Gazelle Cooling Bronze Mist ($59/ 3.38 oz/ 100 ml). This is a light, temporary tanner meant for the face and body. It has a spray top so that the colored liquid is controllable. 

Guerlain Jambes des Gazelles 2

As with most Guerlain products, Jambes de Gazelle is lushly scented with a sort of luxurious tropical with a hint of coconut. There is hydrating effect, it leaves skin with a slight gleam of moisture.  I don’t see any embedded shimmer or highlighter. It leaves skin lightly tanned on first spray, and can be built up for more intensity. It takes roughly a minute or two to dry, and I haven’t noticed any transferring once the liquid sets.

Guerlain Jambes de Gazelle 2

Here’s the final effect of the spray that we used in the photograph, above:

Guerlain Jambes de Gazelle

I actually didn’t notice any cooling sensation with my room-temperature bottle. I suspect that I would need to refrigerate first. Some may find the price tag a little high for the effect, however, I’m happy with the product. There’s something that I find very mood-elevating about Guerlain’s scents (in my spare time, I’m obsessing about which Guerlain fragrance must be on my shelf—any ideas?). Also, I like the “your skin but tanned and glowy” effect that doesn’t depend on artificial shimmer bits which can go all sorts of wrong in direct sunlight. 

Bottom line, Guerlain Jambes de Gazelle gives a believable, temporary glow that is a nice transition product as we head toward summer.

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

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