Nov 292013
 

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows14

Holiday 2013 brings us the Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows ($24 each), a limited edition set of an entirely new formulation of colors. The formula is interesting and nothing like any other product out there. These are shimmery with a very delicate texture. Applied sheerly, these are so finely milled and highly pigmented that they leave a very delicate wash of color that sort of melds to the skin.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows06

There are five colors in the formula, three neutrals and two brights. The neutrals are the light champagne Mississippi Mermaid, the rust Cambodia, and the charcoal Bad Behavior. The brights are the clear blue Wishful Thinking and the complex purple Rage.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows15

This formula is so different and it took me a bit of time to fully understand it.  I’ll s hare my thoughts, but of course you should reach your own conclusions. First, I will say that this is a formula that you should not miss examining, especially if you are beauty aficionado and love unusual and unique formulas. Some part of me wonders whether these are a bit ahead of their time. There are pro’s and con’s to the formula (more about this later), but anything this innovative is very addictive and beautiful. Treated correctly, these are one-of-a-kinds that I almost immediately learned to love.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows07

First, the cons (let’s get those out of the way):

The formula is fragile, so no dropping and care must be taken during shipping. You can see at Tempalia’s post that some arrived shattered. You will want to buy from a trusted source that takes returns, and if you do ship these you will want to bubble wrap them and place them in a protective box (rather than a mailing envelope).

Also, these kick up a lot of powder during application, and there can be fallout. Part of me wonders whether there should be a new brush developed for using these. As an aside, my more expensive brushes (Hakuhodo) seemed to do better than my MAC’s.

Now, the pro’s (in my own opinion):

These sheered out and built up so beautifully–like nothing I’ve ever seen.  Even the sheerest wash was a pixie-dance of highly pigmented color and beautiful light-attracting texture that transformed my lid-space.

These hid lid imperfections with the barest wash.

As you might expect with a fragile formula, these are very soft. The pigment leaps onto the brush in a way that takes  a bit of adjustment. I’d practice on the back of your hand at your first try to get used to the pigment level.

The high pigmentation with a small amount of powder means that you can get impact without a lot of layering and without any heavy powder look.

They look so different and modern–nothing separates a look like something entirely new.

 Now, the Nars Cinematic Eyeshadow colors:

Mississippi Mermaid: a pretty, shimmery champagne neutral.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows09

Cambodia: a rust-brown.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows10

Wishful Thinking:  a vibrant clear medium blue.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows02

Rage: a vibrant purple with a touch of red.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows01

Bad Behavior: an incredibly highly-pigmented complex charcoal shimmer. This packs a lot of color into every brushstroke.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows08

Swatches of all shades:

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows16

Another set:

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows18

And one more for good measure:

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows18

Here is a combination of Mississippi Mermaid and Cambodia on Liz:

Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows on Eye1

Here is is the softest wash possible of Wishful Thinking so that you can see this high-impact color can be worn so very sheerly on the lid if you like:

Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows on Eye2

Pulling the lid back a bit to show the reflective, multi-dimensional texture (with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush) again with the sheerest possible wash:

Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows on Eye3

Of course, these build up quickly if you like. This is a heavy wash of Bad Behavior, again with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush to show you that it’s quite easy to build up to strong color:

Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows on Eye5e

I personally found that the Nars Cinematic eyeshadows are a remarkably versatile, highly workable and innovative formula. I found them well worth dealing with the fragility and a bit of dust-up. They’re soft of awesome, in my book, and well worth taking a look before these limited edition shades disappear.

Nars Cosmetics sent the Cinematic Eyeshadows to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate link (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Nov 282013
 

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set01

Thera are a few more treats from the Formula X for Sephora collection to see. Above is the Formula X for Sephora Holiday Ornament, ($14) which includes Out of Sight, is a festive gold fleck topcoat that catches the light on bare or polished nails.

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set07

This sparkler adds a touch of holiday to virtually any color manicure. Probably my favorite item is this The X Look set for Formula X for Sephora ($22.50), perhaps because I love the look of layered glass fleck. The packaging is simple and modern:

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set14

This set contains a glossy black base coat (Dark Matter), and four glossy, sparkling topcoats geared to add a touch of glamour as glittery topcoats. There are also two sets of nail decals included to create an accent nail look.

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set08

The polishes in The X Look set include a deep green Positivity, the gold Bond, Ionic Bond, and Atom + Eve (a glittering red):

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set16

This well-priced, gift-able set was impressive the range of looks that you can get, especially if you have a few nail standards lying around that you can mix with these topcoat effects.

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set22

I spent a bit of time playing with both the Formula X Holiday Ornament’s Out of Sight, the colors from The X Look set, and my own bottle of OPI’s New York Apple Red.  Here’s the whole mix (click to enlarge):

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set30

Here are some close ups:

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set32

I was happy to see that Sephora Formula X Dark Matter (which is also a permanent seperate item in the 0.4 ounce size) can be used as a base coat to give a good glossy nail-line-covering opaque black in a single coat.  It tries my patience to do multiple layers for slow-drying sheers, but these were not that way. In fact, the ease of use and quick dry time of these polishes made this process fast and fun.Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set34

Here are some looks over OPI New  York Apple Red from my stash:

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set36

 I loved the black and gold combinations, especially adding Atom + Eve, Out of Sight and Dark Matter as a 3-coat layer. It’s crazy stunning in a fun way.

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set40

An even closer look of Dark Matter, Atom + Eve, and Out of Sight (click to enlarge):
Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set48

You can even say it glows–more in sun over OPI New York Apple Red:

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set45

The accent decals are meant to go on only one finger for a manicure. They were fun to play with–here’s a short little tutorial that shows that they are easy to go on (although this is my first decal experience):

Sephora Accent Nail Directions

All in all, I’d say that The X Look  won my artist-loving heart for the most sheer hours of fun, and something I’d enjoy playing with through the next month leading to the holiday. The Holiday Ornament is a good Secret Santa gift, because it goes over everything (including a clear gloss, if you like). It contains the Out of Sight glorious glitterfest which is not work appropriate, but who’s going to be thinking about work as you cup your hands around your cocoa mug with your jewel-loned nails showing?

The X Look and Holiday Ornament were provided 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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Nov 262013
 

creaive gifts from sephora

For the nail artists in your life, Sephora is offering a few fun options including this The Twenty Two Formula X for Sephora set ($55). Before you start singing Taylor Swift’s 22 (ooohh ooh ooh!), keep in mind that this Sephora set includes a variety of twenty-two shades and textures in small-scale 0.13 ounce bottles.

Sephora The Twenty Two01

The packaging looks expensive and generous–Liz and my husband were both quite impressed (and I think it’s safe to say, by now they’ve een quite the range of beauty products go through the house). Inside, there is enough variety and color to keep someone happy for months to come. Click to enlarge:

Sephora The Twenty Two06

I’m sometimes daunted by Sephora’s Formula X range–it’s really extensive and this sampler gives you a nice chance to play in case you wanted to get it for yourself. The set includes a sample from all of the formulas, which according to Sephora’s website are:

Creams provide ultralong wear and incredible saturated color in just one swipe.

Neons are mega bright and dry down to a matte finish.

Chromes glide on creamy and dry to a smooth, reflective finish.

Xplosive top coats create the ultimate splatter effect with a matte confetti glitter that can be worn alone or over any nail color.

 I found the formula quite good. The chromes applied in one smooth coat. The paler creams when opaque in two coats, which is better than average.  The topcoats were fun and interesting–I sort of scooped up the bits to get a cool splatter paint effect. The neons were good with two coats, as well.

Sephora The Twenty Two08

 Let’s start in with some closeups and a review of the shades:

Sephora nails 21

Two topcoats included are Wham! is a white confetti and Turbulent, which has bright blue and black confetti. White Matter is an opaque bright white.

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Nov 232013
 

Guerlain Crazy Pearls1

This holiday brings many special products, and this year I made Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder ($58/ 1.05 oz./30 grams)(also available at Nordstrom) a must-have on my list. I’ve been a fan of these beautiful powders for years, and so I cannot pass them by when they are released.

The packaging is embossed with the words “Champs-Élysées” to evoke this year’s Holiday 2013 Guerlain Crazy Paris theme, as well as the location of the primary House of Guerlain in Paris. As an aside, the House has just been re-opened in a completely renovated and renewed format (details are at the Guerlain video from their November 2013 Google+ hangout).

guerlain-store

Guerlain’s re-designed flagship store at 68, Avenue des Champs-Élysées

My package seemed packed with meteorites this time, with a generous helping of pink, lavender, shimmering peach-gold, beige and lavender colors.  With these colors, I was expected a strong wash of color akin to a blush, however I found that this was not the case. Instead, I got a soft wash of pore-less texture with a slight, soft glow of the powder. The effect is more “my skin but better” rather than a wash of color.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls3

I must admit that I use these with a very soft brush, usually the Bobbi Brown Face Blenderwhich has very pliable bristles and is a good shape to fit into the Meteorites packaging. Another one that works well is the Shu Uemura 18R.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls4

Even when I tried to build up the color of the  Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder using a very dense buffing brush, I was unable to build up color to a point of detection. If you are concerned that using this will give you a pink-toned face, I’ve concluded that it cannot at least for me. Of course, if you are hoping to wear this as a blush, I cannot give you any encouragement on that use either.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls2 copy

As always, these are scented with a slight violet Meteorites scent. Liz is wearing these over her makeup as an all-over soft veil in this picture, and I think it gives her a lovely, soft glow:

T3 Roller close ups liz3

She’s also wearing the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta Bronzer, and Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait in Paresse, and has used the T3 Bodywaver on her hair.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls6

Overall, I’m enjoying the Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder. Although these are more classic than unusual, I love using these powders to add a touch of Paris and glow to my makeup routine. Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder is a lovely addition, and of course highly gift-able to first time users (especially for a Francophile in your life). Those who love the standard Guerlain Meteorites should take note that it appears that the company has a reformulation in the works, as detailed here at Rouge Deluxe.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, and other Guerlain sources this holiday.

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

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Nov 222013
 

armani eccentrico31

Holiday 2013 brings us the limited edition Giorgio Armani Eccentrico Face Palette ($88), a confection of light colors that blend to make a beautiful highlighting blush. As you can see, the palette comes housed in a red variation of Armani’s classic travel-friendly classic shape. Inside, the presentation could not be more lovely. Although the overspray wipes away with a few brushstrokes, its ephemeral and multi-dimensional beauty makes this a joy to use and a pleasure to gift. Here’s a close up with the  stunning overspray, which changes tonality and coloration depending on how the light strikes it:

armani eccentrico35 copy

Another showing a more wintry and delicate frost from a different angle of light:

armani eccentrico32

Without the overspray, the palette is a melange of color pink, lavender, peach and white highlight:

armani eccentrico42

Underneath the color pan is compartment with a flat brush:

armani eccentrico81With my light warm, NC15/ Chanel Cameo-Ivoire/ Armani #5 coloring, this product is a light pretty, candy-coral very light blush color with shimmer and micro-sparkle. Here is an arm swatch of all colors, in the middle is a mix of all of the shades of the Armani Eccentrico Face Palette:

armani eccentrico1a

You’ll get more of a highlighter or a color effect depending on where you place your brush on the palette. Liz used the Armani Eccentrico Face Palette on her cheek, brow bone and above her brow on this picture, focusing mostly on the highlightsr portion. I’ve been wearing Armani Eccentrico as a light shimmery blush (light bit of micro-glitter are visible in direct sun, so if you dislike that effect you will want to reserve this strictly for evening wear). Alternatively, I’ve used a very soft, light brush as an all-over complexion brightener.

Liz Guerlain Crazy Terracotta

She’s also wearing the Guerlain Crazy Paris Terracotta to give her a sunny glow, and Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Lip Color in Paresse on her lips (reviewed here).

Guerlain Extrait Paresse08

Overall, we enjoy the Armani Eccentrico Palette–the presentation could not be more lovely. The colors can be used as a sublet, buildable blush or a (applied very lightly) a soft wash of all-over color.  The color is so pretty, and it should carry us all the way through Spring and Summer quite easily.

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