Jul 312013
 

Marc Jacobs Beauty31

A new major makeup line is always cause for excitement. Welcome to the beauty world, Marc Jacobs! He is an extraordinarily creative fashion designer (he has several of his own lines, and he is the lead designer for Louis Vuitton’s ready to wear line). I’ve registered for the website (you should too). I’ve been counting the days to see how the line stacks up.

Marc Jacobs Beauty21

I took advantage of the Sephora pre-sale a few days ago, and ordered some items. To be honest, it’s usually difficult for me to judge a line without getting a sense of their foundations (no foundations were sold at the pre-release). At present, this line will be sold exclusively at Sephora stores and Sephora.com. This is sort of interesting if you’re a beauty business watcher–this keeps all the players under the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey umbrella (LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Sephora).

Marc Jacobs Beauty1

My impression is that Marc Jacobs Beauty was unique in its design and formulation. It’s not trying to be a “me too” brand. Moreover, unlike the introduction of Burberry beauty some years ago now, which had a sort of “top shelf,” and “best in class” messaging, my sense is that the customer for Marc Jacobs Beauty will be a bit more niche.  Perhaps s/he’ll be a bit more of a minimalist, or drawn to the brand as a loyalist from the fashion side of things (pretty smart). Having said that, I think that everyone will find something to love within this line although one might have to do a bit of sorting to get there.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette01

One was the Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No. 7 / The Starlet Eyeshadow Palette ($59). The packaging of everything so far has been amazing. I love the slimness of this palette–it can slide easily in an out of almost any bag (even a clutch).

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette02

It’s tiny but mighty mighty. Holding seven eyeshadows, this has a nice balanced weight, an excellent mechanism, and a minimalist beauty that makes it a pleasure to use. This particular palette comes in a fabric outer sleeve.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette03

The format reminds me of an ultra-sophisticated child’s watercolor palette. It’s sort of fun to dip a brush into the different colors. The material feels a bit like metal, although it could be a composite.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette04

The catch uses a smooth push in button. Inside, a Marc Jacobs slip cover in black gives a sort of infinity pool effect. Nice touch.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette06

Okay, so down to business–let’s look at these pressed powder colors. As the name implies, this Marc Jacobs The Starlet palette is made for glamour. These seven shades have high reflectivity, and if applied heavily can go to a foil-metallic finish. I’m assuming that the line will introduce a range of textures and finishes for the full release.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette17

Consistent with a fashion design aesthetic, Marc Jacobs The Starlet feels like a palette that’s going to be bought, used over the course of evenings and weekends for a few months, and then cycled through just as fashion lines do with clothing. There’s enough of the classic shimmer neutrals to keep everyone happy, and a few accent shades to add the “fashion” factor. Below, I numbered the wells so we can talk about them separately.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette07

 Shade 1 is easy–a shimmery brown-taupe with a bit of a pink tone. Who doesn’t love one?

Marc palette1

Shade 2 is a medium shimmery cool silver-brown. This is a great lid wash color, although there’s some fall out from the pan.

Marc Palette close up

Shade 3 is a well-pigmented shimmery crease color, a warm brown.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette12

Shade 4 is a highly metallic copper. It’s very smooth and pigmented. 

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette11

Shade 5 is a highly metallic warm green gold. This one has to be used with care, I think. It kicks up a blizzard of fall-out in the pan (but went on smoothly on me using a MAC 217 brush). That’s that kind of detail that surprised me–the kicked-up glitter dust doesn’t belong in this elegant packaging. As for the color, it could be a genius eyeliner accent, I actually tried it this way near my upper lashline using the Shade 1 as a lid wash. It was unusual and striking, and brought out the green/blue color of my eyes. This one is tricky though–be careful not to over-do unless that’s your intent. It’s edgy.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette10

Shade 6 is a metallic blue-silver.  If you are looking for a silver that doesn’t go blue, keep looking–this leans blue in the pan. It becomes a metallic foil applied dry with a dense brush. It’s quite intense that way. As an alternative, we used shade 6 as a center-of-the-lid highlight on Liz’s neutral eye (see pictures below) and got glowy gorgeousness with just a very light touch with Edward Bess’ Luxury Eye Brush. I happen to love this shade.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette09

Shade 7 is a cool dark shimmery mauve taupe brown. This is a good all-purpose color to use in the crease, outer corner, or near the lashes. Used all over the eye, it could be an nice dark wash that emphasizes the eye’s natural color. I love this color.

Marc Shade 71

Here, Liz used The Starlet with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush to apply:

First, Shade 2 as an all-over lid wash.

Second, Shade 3 in the crease.

Third, Shade 6 on the center of the lid very sheerly as a highlighter. Putting this silver-blue shade over the browns eliminated much of the blue.

Marc Jacobs eye palette10

 As you can see, this gave a beautiful shimmery fresh effect that can be used for daytime.

Marc Jacobs eye palette03

 Here, she is using The Starlet with:

Marc Jacobs eye palette01

Close up of this very easy, glowy eye look:

Marc Jacobs eye palette05 

 Swatches of the Marc Jacobs Starlet palette which shows some of the complexity of these colors:

 Marc Jacobs Starlet Swatches1a

Overall, I’m finding the new Marc Jacobs The Starlet palette an interesting entre into the new Marc Jacobs line. The packaging in beautifully designed–it’s chic, highly pack-able, compact, and beautifully balanced. The layout includes a mix of neutrals and edgy fashion-forward colors. This is a versatile choice that, because of the unique mix, is not duplicative of existing lines. Some are unique, statement-making shades. The question will be whether these colors are a statement that you wish to make.

I’ve been using the palette for the past few days. I like the format very much–the paintbox layout is fun, convenient, and intuitive. The shadows apply easily for me, so long as I use a soft brush (usually, the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush) so that it doesn’t become too metallic-foiled looking for everyday wear. It gets pretty intense with a dense brush. I get very minimal creasing after about 8-10 hours with no base in very warm 80-100 degree weather. That’s quite good, given that those conditions aren’t ideal. The fallout is puzzling.

Marc Jacobs Style Eyecon 7 Starlet Palette18

 The issue will be whether The Starlet fits within your personal aesthetic. As I said earlier, if you’d like to try the new Marc Jacobs line there will be something. I’m personally falling head over heels for the liquid liner and glosses (reviews to follow). I actually like The Starlet, but am looking forward to other choices. Also, I’m glad to see a true designer line coming to the beauty world, and I’m encouraged by what I see so far. Not completely won over yet, but very encouraged.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).  Nars Brow Gel and Nars Realm of the Senses blush were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jul 292013
 

Nars Creamy Foundation01

This is a first look at Nars new Radiant Cream Compact Foundation ($38 each). According to the company:

This lightweight formula combines the supple feel of a cream foundation with the weightless coverage of liquid makeup for a truly glowing complexion. Enriched with the NARS exclusive Advanced Emulsion Technology, the velvety cream formula blends seamlessly and uniquely allows for the modern artistic versatility of a wet or dry application. The buildable formula delivers medium to full coverage and sets in seconds, leaving sk in soft, smooth, and glowing — all with the ease of a portable compact.

The compact is slim, sturdy and packable. There’s a lovely large mirror (perfect for touchups). The version I received has an empty well to hold the color, and a separate well for a sponge (with air vents for drying):

Nars Creamy Foundation02

Inside:

Nars Creamy Foundation03

Here’s how the color goes in with the accompanying sponge:

Nars Creamy Foundation09

The color was quite easy to place in the well, and it seems to be well-designed so that it won’t slip out until you want it too.

Nars Creamy Foundation08

There’s a very nice range of 20 shades (click to enlarge):

Nars Creamy Foundation05

A first range of swatches:

Nars Creamy Foundation10

The shade descriptions:

SIBERIA: Light with neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones

MONT BLANC: Light with pink undertone

GOBI: For Asian skin Light with yellow undertone

DEAUVILLE: Light with neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones

FIJI: Light with yellow undertone

CEYLAN: For Asian skin Light – medium with yellow undertone

PUNJAB: Medium with golden, peachy undertone

VALLAURIS (NEW): Medium with pink undertone

SANTA FE: Medium with peachy undertone

STROMBOLI: Medium with olive undertone

BARCELONA: Deeper Medium with golden, peachy undertone

SYRACUSE: Medium – dark with brown undertone

TAHOE: Medium – dark with caramel undertone

CADIZ: Medium – dark with caramel and red undertone

MACAO: Medium – dark with deep yellow undertone

NEW GUINEA: Dark with red undertone

TRINIDAD: Dark with warm, yellow undertone

NEW ORL EANS: Dark with yellow undertone

BENARES: Dark with golden undertone

KHARTOUM: Dark with espresso undertone

I’m still testing the foundation. In the meantime, some of you may wish to start exploring this as it hits counters. I’ll post several swatch pictures, below, so that you can see the colors in different light.

Nars Creamy Foundation11

Another:

Nars Creamy Foundation12

And one more:

Nars Creamy Foundation13

As I said earlier, I’m still working with these and hope to post an update by the end of the week. If you have questions, or need some close-up comparisons, please leave your requests in the comments and I’ll do my best. In the meantime, I’m pleased that Cafe Makeup has so much for you to see over the next several days. 

UPDATE/EDIT: My thoughts on the foundation are linked here.

Currently available here at Nordstrom, Sephora, and also on Nars Cosmetics online.

These samples were sent without charge to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jul 202013
 

This is a wandering post, just a few thoughts and updates on my last few days in Paris.

France Saturday 01

Château de Chenonceau

One nice thing that we did during our time was a day trip to the Loire Valley. Before we left, we bought tickets to the TGV fast railway to Tours, France as our hub. From there, we hired a service which took us to see four castles on an all-day mini-van ride. We had an hour or two at each one, which was quick but manageable for our limited purposes. If I were to do it again, I would have spent the night in Tours. As it was, we took an evening TGV back to Paris. I’d highly recommend a bit of time outside of Paris if you choose to visit.  It’s wonderful to see a bit of the French countryside–it’s so beautiful.

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Jul 182013
 

Nars is releasing two new limited edition palettes ($41 each) to sculpt, highlight, and define the face. According to the line, these “exclusive design exudes the NARS signature mix of sophistication and playfulness, while a new silky-textured formula blends to a smooth, even finish.”

NARS Soulshine Blush Palette Sephora

Soulshine has a peachy pink blush tone with gold shimmer,  a sheer golden apricot, and a soft rose tone with golden shimmer.

NARS Realm of Senses Blush Palette Sephora

Realm of Senses has a sheer peach, a shimmering bronzed rose (yay!) and a sparkling gold sand.

Available beginning (approximately) August 1st at Sephora online and stores.

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

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Jul 182013
 

Many of my choices are available in the U.S. or through shipping for delivery in the U.S. I must admit, it was fun to make my choices in real life. Are there any more things that I should consider over the next few days? Please put suggestions in the comments, please.

  • La Roche-Posay Redermic C Eye Vitamin C Moisturizing Cream (27 euros)
  • La Roche-Posay Serozinc Cleansing and Soothing Solution (6.6 euros)
  • Institut Esteherm No Sun sunblock
  • Nuxe Reve de Meil lip balm (11 euros for 2)
  • Avene Cleanance K
  • La Roche-Posay Redermic R (over the counter retinol)
  • Avene Cold Cream
  • French Pharmacy Finds (Summer 2013)

I haven’t tried all of these yet, so I have not comments (as yet) as to their usefulness.
 

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