May 292013
 

Chanel Moon River1

Chanel has released a collection of six shimmering cream shadow sticks for Summer 2013.  Cool to the touch, most of these are vibrant colors that include a warm gold, an electric blue, and a shimmering jade green. I understand that these look fabulous on dark skin tones. Unfortunately, these are not colors that I can wear. A sales associate at a major retailer didn’t even try to contradict me when I confessed that “these don’t look like my colors.” However, she did convince me that one of them–the shimmering champagne Chanel Moon River ($34)–was necessary.

Chanel Moon River12

Summer calls for simplicity, particularly for day. Chanel Moon River is a twist-up pencil in a chic slim cylinder. This is an easy-to-swipe-on lifesaver that, when paired with a black liner and a brown powder crease color, gives me an effortless eye that looks polished and pretty.

Chanel Moon River16

Applied by itself in very warm weather, a few swipes gives a cool silver-cream sheer wash of shimmer. It’s so glowy and pretty, adding a touch of a moonlight-toned lightness to the lid.  The formula is a little unusual–it’s tenacious, but it creases on me after several hours (no primer, warm weather).  A quick swipe in my crease will allows the creasing to dissipate, and there is still plenty of shadow left for a pretty look.  It feels cool to the touch, and very calming, which is helpful when the thermometer starts pegging.

Chanel Moon River15

You might be surprised to find me recommending Chanel Moon River anyway. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No one does shimmer sparkle like Chanel. No one. Their imperfect, creasy crazy cream eyeshadow is glowy, elegant, magical and lovely.  It just looks so good, and adds something to my face that no other shimmering eyeshadow does. It makes my eyes and skin look better, even though it isn’t a textbook-perfect formulation.

Burberry Dark Spices

Liz and I discovered that a soft matte brown is key to making Moon River work. Here, we used the second shade from Burberry Mocha quad.  Using a powder in the crease also seems to keep Moon River from creasing.

Chanel Moon River Eye11b

Here’s a look on Liz using Chanel Moon River, Chanel Rouge Coco in Gabrielle, Burberry Light Glow Blush in Hydrangea Pink, and Laura Mercier Matt Radiance Baked Powder in Highlight (review to come soon), over Chanel Perfection Lumiere Foundation. Overall, this gives her skin and eyes a pretty, elegant glow.

Chanel Moon River look 1

Here are some swatches of Chanel Moon River, next to MAC Powerchrome in Rich Glance (the most tenacious, most crease-proof, and most pigmented), Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Rosegold (runs pink-gold and is a more standard metal cream formulation compared with Chanel’s fairy-ephemeral glowy-sparkle), and Dior Twin Set in Beige Ribbon (messier, more subtle compared to Chanel).

Chanel Moon River swatches10a

Another:

Chanel Moon River swatches12

Aside from the nail polish (review to come) and Moon River, I didn’t get anything else from Chanel Summer 2013. For the first time in my memory, Chanel did not release a bronzer, blush, highlighter or other product. I didn’t fall in love with the lip products.  As I am a tried and true Chanel fan, I feel like I’m missing something. Did you find yourself getting anything?

Chanel Moon River is available at Nordstrom.com and other sources of Chanel makeup.

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May 292013
 

Neiman Gift Bag2

Here’s a sneak peek at the bag that’s available from Neiman Marcus’ Camp Gorgeous for Summer 2013 (while supplies last during the event). The event runs from Sunday June 2nd through Sunday June 9th. It’s available in three colors for an $85 minimum purchase.

Neiman Gift Bag3

This year, the samples are: 

  • Acqua di Parma Acque Nobili Collection (Scent varies between: Iris, Magnolia, Gelsomino)
  • Trish McEvoy BB Tinted Moisturizer
  • YSL Babydoll Mascara sample
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Deluxe Sample
  • Bliss Incredipeel Packette
  • Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum with either Even Skin Tone Illuminator Packette or Perfectionist CP+R Packette (not photographed)

I’m especially excited to try the new Yves Saint Laurent Babydoll mascara sample:

Neiman Gift Bag1

Inside, the bag (which was sent to me from Neimans) is lined in a bronzy satin fabric.

Neiman Gift Bag5

If you know of any gifts with purchase that the lines will feature during this event, would you kindly let us know in the comments?

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May 272013
 

Long Wearing Foundations01

Now that we’re entering the summer season, I thought it would be useful to do an entry about warm weather foundations. Last late summer through the end of fall, I was living on the road doing extensive traveling throughout the hot, humid areas of the American South. Keep in mind, as a Northern California resident, I’m no stranger to hot weather. At Cafe Makeup, we weather our share of over-100 degree days. However, there’s a lot of truth to that expression “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” I remember the blast of warm, humid heat that rendered my favorite foundations powerless to withstand the afternoons. Not kidding–I have a whole new level of respect for those who wear makeup in humid climates.  It’s a whole new level of challenge.

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May 272013
 
Mac temperature rising swatches14

packaging

In the earlier part of this millennium, I used to wait for the May releases of MAC collections with anticipation. I loved D’Bohemia way back when, and more than a few others. These days, I don’t buy from many MAC collections, but the Temperature Rising collection (just released last week) is the exception. We bought a few items, and took a (very) few (very) quick pictures to put together a sketchbook of our first impressions so that you can see our favorites before it runs out. 

Some of the products are still online at Nordstrom.com, and other MAC sources like Belk, Macy’s and even some at Mac Comsetics.com (there’s always hope for a restock, but who knows?).  I had the best luck at counters and MAC stores, however.

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May 252013
 

Nars Pierre Hardy Nail2a

Nars Pierre Hardy collaboration includes six sets of nail polish colors ($29 per set) that are pre-coordinated for your tips and toes. These are fun for summer, when sandal season brings our bright-colored nails out in the open. These bottles are marked as containing 0.5 ozs., and are packed in shoe-box styled packaging that includes a little shoe-type dust bag, all of which evoke Hardy’s core reputation as a shoe designer.

Nars Pierre Hardy Nail3a

Taking the shoe theme on step further, each bottle has a theme with each bottle named “left” or “right.” How you choose to wear the colors is, of course, entirely up to you. I love the concept, and it’s as well-executed as any that I’ve seen.

Nars Pierre Hardy Nail4

Here’s an overview of all pairs, each swatched with two coats on my nails. All nail pictures were taken with a top coat (Dior Gel Coat), unless otherwise noted.

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May 242013
 

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster01

Two weeks ago, I picked up Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster ($51/ 1.3 oz.) in Light, the palest color of the two available. This new product is described by the line as follows:

Guerlain’s new BB Cream is a multi-action skin perfector which offers skin protection with SPF 30, hydration and color correction while evening skin tone with a fresh, lightweight texture. The bio-fusion micro-mesh combination of linen and silk fibers creates a second-skin effect to boost the natural beauty of the skin as hyaluronic acid intensely hydrates for a younger-looking complexion. The benefits are proven with staggering results: over 97% of subjects experienced fresh and beautiful skin all day long.

This release of this product is timely for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. With a respectable SPF 30 sun protection, and all-day wear in warm weather, this could easily become a go-to summer face product.

Guerlain BB cream

The product comes packaged in a easy-to-pack plastic tube topped with a pump to keep things sanitary and leakage-proof.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster06

The pump top and cap:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster10

This comes out of the tube a bit on the thick side, with a texture similar to a traditional BB creme, and dries to a near-matte finish. This applies with a medium-to-heavy coverage if you apply this with fingers as a traditional foundation. The makeup artist who sold me the product highly recommend that I dab this on with a sponge, then buff the product into the skin with the sponge as well.  This was his polite way of telling me (I think) that the thicker texture needs delicate treatment to prevent the product from becoming mask-like.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster08

I’ve applied this several ways over the past two weeks, and realized how right he was. The product does look much better applied lightly and buffed in.  If I am too careless, the product can “sit” on the skin exposing pores for the first hour or so until it settles in and mixes with my natural oils.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster07

Because of its thicker texture, this mixes well with other products. I’ve “cut” the foundation with MAC Golden Elixir Strobe Liquid Lotion ($31) (limited edition). I absolutely loved the effect. It gave the Guerlain BB creme a bit of warmth and glow, and made the texture more foundation-like.  Because MAC’s Golden Elixir is a light fluid, you can use quite of bit of it and retain the light color of the Guerlain BB creme. Another product that could be used for the same purpose is Guerlain’s Meteorites Light Reflecting Diffusing Primer for summer ($71/limited edition). Back of the tube (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster09

Pros:

  • One of the best qualities of this product is the all-day wear.  With or without a primer, Guerlain’s BB cream does not budge. I’ve worn this on very long, warm days without any fading, shift, or disappearing acts.  Truly one of the better “long wearing” foundations.
  • The SPF 30 rating– again, I’m a big fan of sun protection where ever I can find it. I do wear a sunscreen under this foundation, still it’s nice to have a long-wearing foundation that includes it as well.
  • The finish, coverage, and look.  It’s worthy of the price tag. I like the finish better than Guerlain Lingerie de Peau liquid foundation–only the names are similar. This is a completely different formula (not even close). It does look luminous, beautiful, and polished, when buffed into the skin.
  • If you need coverage, get this foundation.  It’s got it.  I’d apply this normally, and then buff it in afterwards with a brush of sponge. If you want less coverage but still want the other features of this product, Guerlain’s BB creme does apply beautifully if dabbed on lightly and buffed.

Cons:

  • Some will find the texture a bit thick (see, the “cutting with primer” trick, above). 
  • Those looking for very light barely-there coverage should keep looking (Urban Decay’s BB Creme, for one).
  • You should buff this in, particularly if applying heavily.

Ingredients for the sunscreen properties:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster03

The rest of the ingredients (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster05

More advice:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster04

Here are comparisons of the Guerlain Lingerie BB Beauty Booster compared with a few other color tones in my stash, including the Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector in #20, Dior Diorsnow BB Creme in Shade 010, Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in BR 32, MAC Pro Longwear in NC15 and Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in #118.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster11

When I swatched Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster in the second available shade (No. 3 Medium), I thought that it was not very dark–I believe it is roughly equivalent to a MAC NC30 but not much deeper. One more, same foundations:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster12

Overall, Guerlain’s BB Beauty Booster is a winner for me. I liked it far more than Dior’s standard BB Creme offerings and I find it’s a good substitute for the now-unavaible Diorsnow BB Cream. After sampling several other BB creams on this market, this Guerlain is coming out on top. This is a good, no-budge, good SPF product that looks elegant and won’t move during the hot summer months.

Available at Nordstrom, and other Guerlain counters.

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May 172013
 

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet14

While in New York City last weekend, I found that the Chanel Avant Premiere  collection had just arrived at Barneys New York. This includes three new Le Vernis Nail Colors–Paparazzi, Starlet and Cinema. This cinema-themed collection is also re-promoting Provocation, a deep violet that had been previously released with the 2012 Fashion’s Night Out collection. These are up for pre-order on Nordstrom.com.

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet01

The formula for all three is excellent. All are year-round appropriate and universally flattering. All dry quickly and seem to glide over, and subtly fill in, any imperfections in the nail. For Chanel nail polish aficionados, all three are must-have. I was told Starlet is limited edition, and the others are permanent.

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet07a

Starlet is a soft coral-pink with a subtle pearl. Side of the bottle:

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet11

This applied beautifully in two coats. I found no tendency toward streakiness, the forum. The pearl shows both indoors and outdoors.

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet20

Paparazzi is a softened bronze with a warm pearl that flashes a touch red in some light.

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet08

On nails:

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet21

One more:

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet24

Cinema is a true red cream with a touch of warmth, particularly outdoors and with a flash.  If you don’t already know, Chanel is a master of the red cream polish.

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet03

The formula of this one is particularly nice, comparable to the legendary Chanel Dragon.

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet25a

Here are comparisons with two coats of OPI Big Apple Red, Chanel Pirate and Chanel Dragon:

Chanel Cinema Paparazzi Starlet28

Between them, Chanel Cinema had a slightly warm appearance (perhaps because Pirate and Dragon have a touch of cool). In incandescent light, Chanel Cinema seems to take on a almost sepia cast. I love a good chameleon, don’t you?

Overall, a wonderful collection. These should be everywhere soon (the nail colors are currently up for pre-order on Nordstrom.com).  This collection includes six new Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks, reviewed here at Color Me Loud. I refrained from picking up the Rouge Coco Shines during my trip, until I had more time to play with them at my local counters. Of my very quick observation, these are quite sheer.  The red Avant seemed worthy of a good close second look when it arrives locally.

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May 162013
 
Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 210

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 203Dior does bronzers so well. This summer’s release include two blush/bronzer duos–the Dior Nude Tan Paradise Blush & Bronzer Duos in Pink Glow #1 and Coral Glow #2 ($56 each) They’re both beautiful.

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 207

Both are packed in a velveteen slipcover together with a small kabuki brush (which has its own velveteen slipcover).

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 202

Dior Nude Tan Paradise Blush & Bronzer in Pink Glow #2 has a lighter bronzer color and a cool-toned pink blush. 

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 11a

As with other Dior bronzers, the powder is finely milled and has a flattering sheen that mimics a healthy skin texture (without sparkle or shimmer).

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 14

Dior Nude Tan Paradise Blush & Bronzer in Coral Glow #2 has a slightly deeper bronzer and warm coral blush that packs a beautiful pigmentation level.

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 205a

Like Pink Glow, Coral glow has the same beautiful Dior texture. 

Dior Paradise Duo Bronzer 206a

The split pans are relatively small, but it is possible to keep the application separate by using a small headed highlighter or blush brush.  To play with the blush and bronzer portions separately, I’ve been using this Hakuhodo H2109 blush brush, which has a small, dense head.

Hakuhodo H21091

Another good choice is a MAC 165 Cheek & Highlighter brush. Of course, any blush/powder brush can be used if you with to swirl the colors together, which gives a beautiful effect as well. Here are swatches of both bronzers, separately and mixed. As you can see, mixing Pink Glow with the bronzer really warms up the color nicely. In fact, the more that you mix Dior Pink Glow with the bronzer the coolness of the pink blush disappears almost entirely:

Dior Paradise Bronzer Swatches3

Here is Liz in Dior Pink Glow #1:

Dior Bronzer Paradise No 1a

And here she is in Dior Coral Glow #2:

Dior Bronzer Paradise No. 2b

As you might expect, we love these (Liz prefers Coral Glow, I love both). Another lovely summer bronzer set from Dior–well done, beautifully executed in its packaging and quality.

Available at: Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com, and other Dior points of sale.

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May 142013
 
Dior Bronzer Paradise No. 2a

Dior Nude Tan BB Cream07

For Summer 2013, Dior has released a new BB Creme, Diorskin Nude Tan BB Creme ($44/1.0 oz). This product is intended to enhance and prolong an existing tan, as well as to add hydration by adding jisten, mauve and hibiscus, as well as green, red and white tea extracts to offer the skin-illuminating effects. Despite being a summer product, this is offered as an SPF 15.

Dior Nude Tan BB Cream09

I find these types of products useful for a few reasons. First, sometimes my body sometimes picks up more sun than my face (where I use the strongest sunscreens).  A deeper tinted moisturizer can really even out the difference. I have been using the Guerlain Terracotta Tinted Moisturizer to mix with my standard foundations during the summer months to deepen its tone to add just a touch of sunny color. Also, these products can add a sort of “bonne mine” effect (that is French for the concept of a healthy glow).

Dior Nude Tan BB Cream10

The packaging is Dior-licious, it’s convenient, perfect for travel, and sanitary with the pump applicator. On application, I got a strong scent of alcohol, which is not my favorite ingredient.  

Dior Nude Tan BB Cream08

I purchased this in Shade 001 (the lightest of 2) without trying it first, a decision I soon came to regret. This shifted to a too-dark color with a strong orange tint just as it dried down. Within a few minutes, this look very unnatural especially on my forehead (for reference, I’m about a MAC NC15/ Chanel Ivoire/Cameo). As with all makeup, your mileage may vary, but I was surprised because it happens so rarely for me.

I certainly didn’t expect a skin match.  I wear sunscreen and hats so I’m pale. I’m familiar with the “darker for summer” genre of face products. In fact, I’ve used more than half of  a bottle of Guerlain Terracotta Tinted Moisturizer, which is not a true match for my skin-tone either. Between the two, I’d definitely recommend Guerlain’s (this year’s version is here). Guerlain’s feels moisturizing and lovely. It actually improves my foundations when I add it in, making my skin look better (Dior’s did not have this same smoothing, moisturizing effect). Guerlain’s has that blurry, yet natural, thing that helps everyone’s skin looks smooth and pretty. Guerlain’s doesn’t have the alcohol scent (although it does have a perfume scent which fades with a few minutes).

Here are some comparison swatches. These swatches aren’t perfect, because the Guerlain looks warmer here. This doesn’t reflect the color shift that happened when the Diorskin Nude Tan dried down. When applied to my face, the Guerlain looks far more natural in skin tone (and I can always add a kick of foundation to soften the color if I like, because it plays well with others):

Dior Summer BB Creamb1

Here’s the ingredient list for the Diorskin Nude Tan BB Creme (click to enlarge):

Dior Nude Tan BB Cream03

More:

Dior Nude Tan BB Cream04

You should note that this Diorskin Nude Tan BB Creme is not just a tinted version of the Diorskin Nude BB Creme—a quick comparison reveals that the ingredient lists are quite different.

In other news, I have a few more new summer BB Cremes to review over this week and into next, so stay tuned! In the meantime, with deep regret I’ve concluded that Diorskin Nude Tan is not a match made in heaven for me. I advise a sample before you buy, especially given my own individual experience with the product.

Available at Nordstrom (Guerlain’s Terracotta Tinted Moisturizer and Diorskin Nude Tan BB Creme).

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May 082013
 

Shiseido Tinted Sun Protection06

As much as I love a new color palette or bronzer, at the beginning of every day I also think about protecting my skin. Lately I’ve been considering summer options for base makeup. I live in Northern California, and the climate can be dry and bright. I have combination skin that is warm and light (Chanel Ivoire/Cameo and around a MAC NC15). I decided to try Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protection SPF 43 ($30/ 1 oz.) (available in 3 shades, I’m using #2). This one is easy to miss, it’s a quiet product that is worth a look.

Shiseido Tinted Sun Protection07

This is a tinted sunscreen in a cosmetically elegant makeup base that feels lightweight and a touch moisturizing. On application, I do not detect any strong scent. The coverage is on the lightweight side of medium, but far closer to the medium category. It covers about as well as many foundations, slightly more than Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (the Shiseido feels more moisturizing than Chanel).  The Shiseido is very comfortable when applied.

Shiseido Tinted Sun Protection05

It’s notable that Shiseido is offering this level of sun protection in a cosmetically elegant makeup base for $30, when the prices of other lines are pushing $40-90. Shiseido’s Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector looks like a true foundation, particularly when compared to the Elta MD Physical Sunscreen which feels and looks much heavier and drier. Shiseido’s has a pretty, natural sheen. This Shiseido Tinted Sun Protector does have dimethicones listed in the ingredients, is advertised as “oil free,” and has not shown any signs of pore clogging or breakouts (your mileage may vary, of course).

Shiseido Tinted Sun Protection04

Shiseido’s Tinted UV Protector takes a few minutes to dry down.  I usually wait and do my eyes/hair in the meantime, because applying blush over a wet foundation can be a one-way ticket to patchy-town. If I’m in a real hurry, I grab my duo-fibre brush and apply a quick dusting of Nars Light Reflecting Powder (loose), which settles everything down. I really like the SPF 43 features of the product, although to be safe I use a layer of sunscreen underneath as the sun can be quite unforgiving where I live. According to Shiseido:

  • Contains SuperVeil-UV 360™ offering comprehensive protection of the skin’s surface and Profense CEL™ protects cells and DNA and helps inhibit enzyme activity, which are the causes of wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
  • Thiotaurine and Rose Apple Leaf Extract are effective in inhibiting oxidation caused by external environmental factors.
  • Water resistant (40 min) but easily removable with regular cleanser.

My experience with Shiseido sun care products in the past has been quite good–they seem to know their business quite well in the sun protection area. Active ingredients:

Shiseido Tinted Sun Protection10

Inactive ingredients (click to enlarge):

Shiseido Tinted Sun Protection08

Let’s talk about stability. Shiseido Tinted UV Protector seems like a really good option for skin that leans a bit dry. I have combination skin, and on days when the temperatures are in the moderate range (the 70’s), the foundation was very stable. I got a good 10 hours without any shifting or fading. Note that I’m wearing Nars Light Reflecting Powder, which acts as a setting powder and does help. On very warm days (into the ’90’s, or 30’s Celsius), I start to get a “glow” on my forehead about 3-4 hours application (this also happens with Diorsnow BB Cream). Still, Shiseido Tinted UV Protector gives me stable coverage despite the glow–it doesn’t shift or fade, but I do have to powder down. Even with my combination skin, I love it because the texture looks nice, natural, and has a pretty finish. This one’s going to get used up.

Here are some swatch comparisons with some other foundations that I have on hand–Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska, Chanel Pro Lumiere in Cameo, and MAC Pro Longwear in NC15.

Shiseido Sun Protection Tinted1

 If you are looking for something similar with a broader shade range, has more coverage, and that stays matte longer in the day (and doesn’t feel quite as moisturizing), I’d go with Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation. (I’m planning to do a “foundations for hot, humid weather” overview soon–spoiler alert, this Shiseido foundation makes the cut).  By comparison, the Shiseido Tinted UV Protector has slightly less coverage, feels more comfortable, and has more a more luminous, natural sheen. Here’s a picture so you can see it blending into the skin:

Shiseido Sun Protection Tinted2

Available at Nordstrom and at all other Shiseido counters. Like this Sun Protection Liquid Foundation, the Tinted UV Protector is found on the sun/skin care display, not with the standard Shiseido foundations/BB Cream.

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