Aug 312013
 

Perricone MD Cold Plasma8

When I was packing for a few weeks in Paris, I was panicked over which skin care to bring. Travel can be hard on my skin–the long, dehydrating plane trip, time in the sun, new foods, and unpredictability.  I delayed packing my skincare products until the very last minute, absolutely unable to decide what to bring. I tweeted for help, and was answered with some very good, practical advice from one of my favorite skincare experts, at The Black Panties. She suggested one cleanser, two toners, two serums, and two moisturizers (and, of course, sunscreen).  To anyone but a beauty lover, the is probably enough skin care for a year. For me, this seems a sensible amount.

Perricone MD Cold Plasma9

One of the items I chose was Perricone MD Cold Plasma ($155/ 1 oz.).  I applied this every night for the full three weeks, and was really impressed. My pores looked better, my skin seemed plumper, more moisturized, and it looked younger and more refreshed. My skin glowed every morning after I removed it.

Perricone MD Cold Plasma4

When I was very  young and my skin was great, I had no need of anything like Perricone MD Cold Plasma. If your skin is perfect, you won’t need it either. But if you do wish your skin had more life, more firmness, and more glow, it is definitely worth a good look.

Perricone MD Cold Plasma7

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Perricone MD Cold Plasma2Perricone MD is available from Nordstrom, Sephora, and other Perricone MD sources.

Perricone MD sent Cold Plasma to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information About Cafe Makeup)

 

 

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Aug 302013
 

Nars Fall 2013 has a number of lip products and pencils that are an eclectic mix of colors (previously, the new Nars single eyeshadow colors were reviewed and swatched here). First, there are two new Nars Larger than Life Eyeliners. Via De’ Martelli is a chocolate brown.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips04

 The color is a neutral matte.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips06

Las Ramblas is a shimmery yellow gold.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips01

The Las Ramblas is a good inner-eye brightener or under-eye liner, and is quite warm.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips07

Swatches of both Via De’ Martelli and Las Ramblas:

Nars Fall swatches2

There are two new Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($25 each). Nars Mysterious is a matte crimson red.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips17

This color is highly pigmented, and requires a bit of care when applying. It’s a striking shade so you want get it right. We exfoliated before, and watched our placement carefully. A bit of balm underneath is always a good idea. The image below (on Liz) does not have any balm–it’s a straight application of the pencil directly onto the lips.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips34

Nars Paimpol is an edgy “pink chiffon”–a cool matte light pink that looks really ’60’s inspired (or maybe a punk ’80’s). We had a bit of a tough time getting smooth coverage–you might wish to do several passes to build up the color for full effect if this is a shade that you love. 

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips19

There is shimmer added to the matte formula.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips21

Again, no balm so that you can see how the pencil looks applied directly to the lips.

Nars Paimpol lipsa

Swatches of Mysterious Red and Paimpol:

Nars Fall swatches1

There are two new Nars Pure Matte Lipstick shades ($26 each). La Paz is an orchid pink.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips12

This color is limited edition, and quite unusual.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips15

Despite the “pure matte” name, the shimmer gives a sort of wet, moisturized look.  On Liz:

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips33

Peloponnese is a ginger pink that translates into a warm honey nude.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips08

Like La Paz, there is shimmer within the formula.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips11

On Liz, you can see that this shimmer and color adds a touch of life to this understated color:

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips31

Swatches of La Paz and Peloponnese:

Nars Fall swatches3

Overall, this eclectic mix has a lot of edgy and traditional shades. Does anything catch your eye?

Available at Nordstrom and other Nars sources.

Nars sent these products to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Aug 282013
 

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish1

I’ve been playing with a few items from Marc Jacobs Beauty new line, including Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Desire ($18. / 0.43 oz.). I picked this color up during a sweep through a rather crowded Sephora on the first day of the release.

Marc Desire Lacquer box1

The back of the box has a little window to show the color as you search through the back stock. Also note that the box has a tape-shut so that you can tell if you are getting a brand new bottle (smart!).

Marc Desire Lacquer box2

Although not everyone will love the packaging style, I think the bottle shape is sort of fun and consistent with the Marc Jacobs aesthetic. The large black cap (which would be  unwieldy to hold for polish application) pulls of to reveal the smaller, more manageable top.

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish2

The brush is the standard narrow style which takes me about 3-5 sweeps to cover a nail.

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish3

Marc Jacobs Beauty in Desire has a high shimmer finish. The formula was interesting. It applies smoothly and is opaque in two coats. At two coats, the color looked okay and the finish dried down to a satin. This was a little confusing, given that the name of the polish is “Hi-Shine.” So I kept going and added a third coat. When I did so, the color dried to a more shiny texture and the color was much more lush and rich. All of these images are with three coats (and no added topcoat or basecoat).

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish21

As you can see, in sunlight the shine and color saturates the image so that it is almost hard to capture. One more:

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish23

Overall, I like Marc Jacobs Lacquer in Desire. I wonder if I should have bought a more unique color. Desire is a relatively duplicable shade compared to Marc Jacob Beauty’s Petra reviewed by Sabrina on The Beauty Look Book.  Nonetheless, in my crazy beauty blogger’s mind, I deliberately chose a standard red shimmer shade because I wanted to see how the Marc Jacobs Beauty formula compares with a standard (less expensive) OPI or the like, and a luxury brand like Chanel. Here’s a comparison with Marc Jacobs Beauty Desire, Chanel Malice, OPI Dankeshiny Red, and Zoya Blair.

Marc Desire comparisons1

After working with Desire, I’m pretty close to concluding that it preforms in a similar way to OPI and Zoya (and China Glaze Ruby Pumps, which is also in this shimmer red category). Chanel Malice is a pretty delicious shade no matter how you slice it, so let’s not even go there. Bottom line:  Unless I learn anything new, in the future I’m more likely to go with non-duplicatable, unusual shades in the Marc line as the formula seems on par with the mid-priced nail polish companies out there (like OPI, Essie, Butter London, Zoya, and the like). So there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to go with the $18 Marc Beauty shades when an OPI or the like (at $10ish) will do. Just this one crazy beauty blogger’s opinion.

Marc Jacobs Beauty is sold exclusively at Sephora.

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

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Aug 252013
 

Nars Fall 2013 Nails05

Nars Fall 2013 introduces two new nail polish colors–the deep purple cream Fury and the dove-gray cream Galathee ($19 each).
Nars Fury Nail Polish

I liked Nars Fury more than I thought that I would. This formula feels like it has more volume, so it applies a little more plushy that the typical Nars polishes we’ve seen over the last year. So, this lays down with a more luxurious feel and look. There’s a touch of red to the purple which gives the color a nice vibrancy. I can see this color going well with so many Fall colors. Below, I’ve added Guerlain’s Gel Top Coat for extra brilliance and wear. By the way, I’ve been wearing this Guerlain Gel Top Coat for weeks and I love it. It adds a good 2-3 days of wear to my manicure and doesn’t seem to dry out or thicken in the bottle.

Nars Fall 2013 Nails07

Nars Galathee is a pretty dove gray cream. The formula is thinner than Fury, it was near-opaque in two coats (below). The color gives a flat, modern look.

Nars Fall Nails1

Here, I played with Galathee as a base color, adding a Sephora Formula X Topcoat in Chaotic. This topcoat, which includes bits and bars that give a paint-splatter effect, will be part of a breathtakingly large 200-lacquer release due out in September. It looks exciting–there are lots of interesting textures and colors in this new line (most shades will be in the $10.50-14.00 range).

Nars Fall Nails3

Overall, I like both Nars Fury and Galathee, although Fury seems to be more unusual and I prefer its formula. Overall, both are welcome additions to the Nars Fall line.

Nars Fury and Galathee, and Sephora Formula X in Chaotic were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge  for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Aug 232013
 

Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliator1

This is a quick skincare review for a cleanser–MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator ($28).  I love a good exfoliator-it helps my skin feeling clear and fresh. Formerly, I was using Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. This Philosophy cleanser does work really, really well. There are a few things to think about with the Philosophy–first, it uses little microbeads which melt when wet. Some do not recommend using products that depend on physical exfoliation components (like beads, shell, or anything too rough), so I was becoming a little nervous about that. Also, there’s a minor issue that the top gets clogged on the Philosophy with some regularity. It’s not a big problem, but it does happen.

Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliant 121

Recently, I was on a trip where I had forgotten to bring along my cleanser (I usually decant a bit, but this time that didn’t happen). I stopped into a MAC store to get the legendary MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It was formerly a limited edition product that would sell out immediately because it was so popular. There was much rejoicing when it was made a permanent part of MAC’s skincare line.

Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliator5

This product is made with a combination of volcanic ash and fine sugar crystals. It comes out of the tube black, then seems to lighten and soften as you use it. It makes a wonderful cleanser that does leaves my skin soft and cleansed. It is just as effective as Philosophy for me, but doesn’t leave my skin feeling quite so raw. I like it better, quite frankly.

Mac Volcanic Ash Exfoliator4

I like the flip-top (no losing that!) and the big open top looks pretty impervious to clogging. It works well on it’s own, or on a Clarisonic. So far, I’m beginning to think that MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is worthy of the hype.

As background, I probably own more skincare than the average woman. Is this my only cleanser? Oh, no. But I thought it was worth a quick review because I really do like it. I usually use some pretty heavy sunscreens and they really need to be removed at the end of the day, so I have cleansers galore. My routine is that I start with an oil cleanser, then I use a second cleanser (currently, this MAC) on a Clarisonic, followed by toner (more about that later).  I hope this quick little review is helpful.

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

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Aug 222013
 

Tom Ford Orchid Haze Palette03

I was able to pick up the new Tom Ford Orchid Haze Eye Color Quad, one of three new permanent quad eyeshadow palettes that are being introduced.  This is a beautiful mix of a shimmering champagne, dusty rose, a shimmering mauve-taupe, and a satin-matte, toned down deep aubergine.
Tom Ford Orchid Haze Palette05

Eyeshadow palette formulations really do not get much better than this. Each color is beautifully smooth, excellently pigmented and unbelievably easy to blend.

Tom Ford Orchid Haze Swatches7

Last Fall’s limited edition Tom Ford Enchanted Eye Color Quad had a shimmery, sparkling quality that was quite unique. Unlike Enchanted, Tom Ford Orchid Haze has a more standard texture–none of the shades are as sparkling as Enchanted. Rather, Orchid Haze’s three shimmery shades are smooth and apply without the same visible glimmery bits.

Tom Ford Orchid Haze Swatches5

Tom Ford Orchid Haze has a mauve tone, not a purple one. Here are swatches next to Guerlain’s Attrape-Couer (which does have true violets and purples), so you can see the color differences.

Tom Ford Orchid Haze Swatches1

Tom Ford’s Orchid Haze, so far as my testing has gone so far, really applies beautifully. The deep shade is particularly strong and dramatic–it’s going to be a liner or evening color for me unless I use it with a light touch or some good blending. The shimmer in the highlight color melts down to a pretty, smooth surface when blended.  The other colors are gorgeous everyday, crowd-pleasing neutrals with a kick. Although I’m still working with the palette, I’m not getting any creasing or fading despite the lack of any eyeshadow base. So far, the quality seems superb.

I would be expecting the Tom Ford Orchid Haze Eye Color Quad, together with the new In the Pink  (I might have to back that one up). and She Wolf trios (ditto), and the other two Eye Color Quads, soon at all Tom Ford counters.  Absolutely worth your time to look.

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Aug 212013
 

Nars Brow Gels1a

I’ve been playing with the new Nars Brow Gel ($22 each/ 0.21 oz) for about two weeks. These are a nice way to add color, shape, and emphasis to the all-important brow. Have you ever rushed out of the house without remembering to do your brows? I sure have–and the reflection in my rear-view mirror left something to be desired. Brows are so important.

Nars Brow Gels2

Liz and I have been pretty delighted with them. They come in four colors:

  • Oural:  a clear gel
  • Athens: a light brown suitable for many blondes (this is Liz’s shade)
  • Piraeus:  medium brown (this works well for my brunette hair color)
  • Kinshasa:  a dark brown

For the color shades (the last three, above), I found that these layered color very quickly.  The gel is a good texture, and if you carefully remove the brush from the container you won’t get any clumps that might cling to your brows as you apply it. I’ve been using Bobbi Brown’s Brow Shaper, which contains about 1/3 less product at the same price point.

Nars Brow Gels3

Between the two, I found the Nars Brow Gel to come out of the tube slightly wetter than Bobbi Brown’s. This allows me to use the Nars to give more affirmative shape to my brow–for example, to sweep all the brow hairs horizontally in a way that holds them all day and gives the brow an overall flat appearance.  Also, the Nars can be used to push some of the brow hairs upwards, while sculpting the rest to the side. Also, I tended to need fewer sweeps through the brow to get good color coverage–one sweep with the Nars, and done.

Nars Brow Gels4

The packaging and wand of the Nars is far longer than the Bobbi Brown Brow Shaper, and overall the Nars actually “shapes” the brow better due to the gel texture. Here are some good arm swatches of the four Nars shades:

Nars Brow Gel swatches1

Overall, the Nars Brow Gel is an excellent product. I get all day wear (and some of my days lately have been quite long!) There’s no stiffness in the brow, no flaking, no fading. I’ve had no dripping or any problems with the unusual warm, humid weather we’ve had lately (or when I was caught in the rain earlier this month). This is a professional-type product that I had confidence using even when speaking to large groups.  Here’s a shot of Liz wearing Nars Athens in her brow, which she applied lightly for a natural look:

nars brow gel liz2Two thumbs up for value, convenience, quality, and price (particularly when the quantity is compared to Bobbi Brown).  Available at Nordstrom and other stores where Nars is sold.

Nars Cosmetics sent these to Cafe Makuep without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see About Cafe Makeup.

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Aug 202013
 

Tom Ford She Wolf3

Tom Ford Ombre Eye Color in She Wolf is a beautiful series of brown gray taupes in a matte, shimmer, and sparkle texture. You’ll see that this palette is a bit of a chameleon–like many taupes, there is a color shift depending on the light. Indoors, Tom Ford She Wolf’s cool gray side shows–this is the more typical coloring for the palette.

Tom Ford She Wolf1

Although all three shade are lovely, the center shade is particularly gorgeous. Swatches:

tom ford taupe1

Here are swatches with Tom Ford She Wolf and In the Pink:

TF She Wolf1

 Here are some more images–I wanted to include a true black (Shu ME 990), a good grey (Chanel Gris Exquis), and a few more taupes for comparison.  Here, I’ve included Chanel Taupe Grise, Chanel Safari and Shu Uemura ME Silver 945:

Tom Ford She Wolf Comparisons2

Same (slightly different lighting):

Tom Ford She Wolf Comparisons1a

 I’ll continue to play with both throughout the week, and post more as I learn more.

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Aug 182013
 

Tom Ford In the Pink4

I was able to pick up this limited edition Tom Ford In the Pink Ombre Eye Shadow.

Tom Ford In the Pink1

 

I haven’t have much time to play with this yet, but thought it useful to post some preliminary images. Although this is named “In the Pink,” the colors are closer to the peach side. This appears to be designed for a pretty, nude eye. It consists of:

  • On the left, the first shade is a soft matte peach (which blends into my skin into a true nude);
  • In the middle, the second shade is a shimmery peach-apricot;
  • On the right, the third shade is a sheer sparkle color.

Swatches (the first shade is nearly invisible as it nearly matches my skin):

Tom Ford She Wolf7

So far, the shades seem buttery smooth with no fallout. I’ll play with these beautifully formulated shadows this week and do a full update later on. In the meantime, here’s a quick eye look using In the Pink on Liz:

Tom Ford Eye Swatches5

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Aug 162013
 
Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile22

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile01

Dior is doing some impressive things lately. This fall, they’ve released two limited edition palettes–Dior Bonne Etoile and Constellation 5-Color Eye Palettes ($60 each). We’re a bit behind the curve posting about these, but I’m hoping there are a few out there if you see anything that you like. Mostly, this post is a big rave for so many changes that Dior has been making to its line. We love an innovator! 

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile02

Both palettes are part of the Mystic Metallic collections, which is a high-metal, high glamour. Dior Bonne Etoile has a range of cool blue and green-teal, a gorgeous complicated green, a sparkling bronze-brown and a high-shine cool champagne.

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile03

There’s something so happy and adorable about those little stars. Swatches:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile20

Liz and I found that these are strong, high-shine colors. Any single one of these deeper shades was enough, all on it’s own, to make a pretty eye. This palette has so much drama and glitz that we haven’t yet worked up the courage to use them all at the same time. There’s plenty of color and pigment here, this is a beautifully done palette. Here’s Liz wearing the middle shade only:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile13a

Dior Constellation was part of Nordstrom’s Annivesary Sale. It has a range of sparkling, metallic plums and pinks.

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile05

Up close, you can see this shimmery, highly pigmented color:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile06

Swatches:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile21

Here is Dior Constellation on Liz, using only the middle three colors:

Dior Constellation Bonne Etoile10

We found these are nicely designed, well-formulated and beautifully made. When the weather cools, we expect to dip into these to get some beautiful, Fall-friendly eyes.

 

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