Dec 302013
 

Bess black sea foundation comparison02

This review is an accompaniment to The Beauty Lookbook’s extensive look at Edward Bess Black Sea Mousse Foundation. This was sold in a set with a foundation brush exclusively on QVC.com, and sold out very quickly. I’m hoping that it will be offered again, either on QVC or in another venue. This foundation is unusual in a few respects, and so I thought it was worth posting a few words in case it becomes available again (I don’t have any formal word either way).

Bess black sea foundation comparison04

Because her review is so comprehensive, I won’t repeat everything that Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book has already said.  As Sabrina notes, she was gifted all three shades of the foundation. Kind soul that she is, and I mean that sincerely, she in turn gifted the lightest one in 01 Fair to me so that I could try it out. I’m so glad that she did because I’ve never encountered such a full coverage foundation before which feels like absolutely nothing on my skin.

Bess black sea foundation comparison10

This foundation is idea for imperfect skin, as it has anti-aging benefits. No concealers required with this formula. It covers absolutely everything, but aside from a refreshing feeling when it is first applied, it becomes quite weightless. It gave me a beautiful satin finish which lasted all day. I got a bit of breakthrough glow in the afternoon, but not nearly as much as some foundations. By the way, the included brush is a full-sized, synthetic fibre, gorgeous foundation brush that is right up there with Chanel and other premium brands.

Bess black sea foundation comparison07

Brush from the side, pictured below, to show you that this brush knows how to get into all of the contours of the face.

Bess black sea foundation comparison08

I applaud Edward Bess for including the brush. The first time I tried the foundation, I used my usual finger-application technique. Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed this beautiful brush sitting on my counter saying “hint, hint, don’t you want to buff that in a bit more?” I found that using a brush to do so really gave me a much better, poreless textures. The brush was also useful for getting an invisible edge near my hairline.  So my advice is, use the brush if only to buff it in.  Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Edward bess black sea ingredients Although Fair 01 looks a little dark in the pot, and a little deep in my arm swatch, it really seemed to color adjust to my actual skin tone when applied to my face.

Bess black sea foundation comparison1

Overall, I believe there are a lot of individuals who are looking for a very natural, very lightweight high coverage foundation. Most high coverage foundations look (and feel) like a mask. Edward Bess’ Black Sea Mousse foundation gives high coverage without the need to build up the product, and looked very skin like. The fact that it has skincare ingredients is a nice plus, although I’ll continue to use my regular routine. If applied carefully, this could go to medium and even light coverage if you use very very little because it spreads so nicely.  If this becomes available again, it’s worth checking out if these are the criteria which you have for a great, long wearing foundation. If you do get it, don’t follow my example–use your brush! 

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Dec 272013
 

Tom Ford Stick Foundation1

I’ve been using the Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation ($78./0.5 oz) occasionally for the past year. I purchased this last January, where I got into an arm-wrestling match over my color. You can see swatches of all shades helpfully here at The Beauty Professor. I ultimately settled on #3 Fawn, although this is on the deeper side for my Chanel Cameo/MAC NC15/20 skin tone. I had just returned from a sunnier climate, and I suppose my neck and body were a bit deeper then. The reason that I mention this is that stick foundations tend to be higher coverage, and we all know what that means. The more coverage you get, the more the color match matters, and the less forgiveness you have if there is a mis-match.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation3

The rather massive and gorgeous packaging holds 1/2 ounce of product. Although this is less than a typical bottle of liquid, you do not need much of this foundation to get medium coverage (more will give you full coverage). I’m an old hand with stick foundations, all the way back to the Chanel stick foundations of the 1990’s, so my application is a bit fearless.  First of all, the formula is very, very emollient and yet long-wearing. This rather miraculous combination of attributes allows you to have controllable, all-day coverage.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation5

Your application technique matters very much with this foundation. I have read reviews that describe this coverage as “heavy” and “too much.” It is true that it is a real challenge to get light coverage with this stick foundation. On light coverage days, I opt for another foundation choice and can use this as a concealer (if at all). For medium coverage, I dot this very lightly on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. The formula is very emollient, and as your skin and fingers warm the product it is very easy to spread over my face to get medium coverage. The product can be built up over any problem areas for more coverage. The effect is beautiful. It dries down, and makes my skin look gorgeous and very Tom-Ford-fabulous. It gives just enough of a sheen to look moisturized and youthful, and stops well short of looking even the slightest touch oily.  Although this looks amazing on my combination skin, those with drier skin will truly adore this slight sheen effect.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation4

I tend to use this when I’m looking forward to a formal event, whether a meeting, all-day conference, or evening event with a strong lip.  The wear time is phenomenal. This foundation does not break down, period. I do not get breakthough-glow on my combination skin, it just does not quit. So if you are looking for a luxury look that lasts all day, Tom Ford is your man.

Long Wearing Foundations11

As you can see, Tom Ford #3 Fawn is a little deeper and warmer than a few others in my foundation stock.

Same comparisons in different light:

Long Wearing Foundations09

Overall, Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation gives a beautiful effect to make my skin look far better than it actually is. I understand that the foundation does not promise skin care benefits, it just makes my skin look fabulous. So I apply my skin care and sunscreen underneath. As with all stick foundations, removal is important to fully cleanse the skin and remove all traces of the product. I use an oil remover (currently, Shiseido), a Clarisonic with a cleanser, and a toner.  I need these to fully remove my sunscreen, so this is not a variation from my usual routine.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation2

 Like a perfect pair of pumps, Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation makes me look fabulous, well-dressed, and comfortable without concern for breakdown or breakouts. When I’m getting ready for an event, I’m happy to have Tom Ford along for the (usually overly long) day.

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Dec 242013
 

Popsugar Must Have Box01

In the middle of a busy week just as I was leaving to catch a flight, arriving at my door was my Popsugar December Must-Have Box ($39.95/ code DECSELECT gives you $10 off a 3-month subscription till 1/24).  I have friends who are content to go looking for the coolest things to bring home, but most of my shopping time is (ahem) pretty much devoted to makeup. It is always fun to see what kinds of things the geniuses at Popsugar have found to delight us.

Popsugar Must Have Box02

This December’s box was holiday themed. After opening this well-stuffed box of goodies, our family friend enjoyed picking out the Ghiradelli chocolate back home to his family. Because both Popsugar and Ghiradelli are San Franciscan natives, we thought playing off of the geographic connection between them was a cute idea. He also picked up the CC Made caramel crunch, hand-baked using organic corn and nuts.

Popsugar Must Have Box06

These NCLA Peppermint Lane nail wraps (typically $18) are self-adhensive, and look party ready and fun.

Popsugar Must Have Box07

Popping a new Model Co. Fibre Lash Extend (typically around $24) black mascara and a $10 gift card warmed our makeup-loving hearts. You can’t see it in the picture, but the mascara tube has a built in mirror on the side.

mixt holiday gifting set

Mixt Studio’s Holiday Gifting set (typically $9) includes three sheets of besoke paper made from recycled materials, and well appreciated this time of year.

Popsugar charm bracelet

One of my favorite items was this adorable crystal charm bracelet, designed by Lulu Frost (custom piece/price unavailable). This nicely-weighted, substantial piece adds a touch of sparkle (and who doesn’t love a touch of sparkle?). Click the image above to enlarge.

Govino Go Anywhere flutes

Finally, to ring in the New Year, Popsugar included this set of four genius Govino Go Anywhere Flutes ($12.95). Their lightweight plastic design are re-washable and re-usable. Don’t toss these after use, they are substantial enough for your next on-the-go champagne picnic. Their size was certainly large enough for a standard serving of bubbly goodness, and their thumb grip made holding the glass easy despite the lack of a stem.  Throw in your bag for an on-the-go celebration.

Overall, the Popsugar December Must-Have Box included some items that I would never have found on my own that are imaginative and fun. If you are interested, Popsugar is offering a $10 off a 3-month subscription with the code DECSELECT now through January 12, 2014.

This box was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

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Dec 232013
 

Burberry Effortless Eye Kohl1

There is a new eye pencil on the market–Burberry Effortless Eye Kohl in Poppy Black ($30/0.07 oz.). This roughly 4 inch pencil is a smooth, well-pigmented and long-lasting eye kohl. The pencil glides easily and leaves plenty of dark, rich color. Burberry has packed a sharpener with the pencil.

Burberry Effortless Eye Kohl2

I had the best results using this pencil in true kohl style–pulling the pencil sideways against the lash line. This avoided any tendency to skip and minimized any unevenness that could be introduced by a minor shake of the hand. This also minimizes the need to sharpen the tip, because the tip is not the primary application point using this side-to-side method. I’ve been using Poppy Black for almost two weeks without sharpening by pulling it sideways along my lash line, whereas with a more traditional point-first application, I’m sure I would have had to sharpen it once or twice already.

Burberry Effortless Eye Kohl551

I liked the Burberry pencil quite a bit–you have just a short 20-30 second timeframe to smudge it if you like. It works beautifuly. I found that this long-wearing, non-irritating pencil was a welcome addition to the Burberry line. I kept reaching for it day after day, and I enjoyed the results.

Burberry Effortless Eye Kohl6

Is Burberry Eye Kohl in Poppy Black a must-have? If you are looking for an elegant, well-formulated pencil from a premium line, you should give it fair consideration. I mean, I love mine. However, as you might guess, the results of one black pencil over another is marginal. Above is a casual,  non-scientific swatch of two other black pencil liners–Chanel Ebene ($30) and Prestige Deepest Black  (about $5 from the drugstore). In application, the results are not terribly distinctive. Liz is wearing the Burberry Eye Kohl in Poppy black in the image in this post, but it’s very difficult to tell whether it’s this Burberry or the Prestige which she typically wears.

Nonetheless, I’m very happy find the high quality of this pencil in Burberry’s line. At present, I’d recommend the formula and I’m excited to see whether Burberry will be releasing any unique and interesting colors in the future.

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Dec 202013
 

Nars Moisturizer01a

We’re so lucky to live in a world of skincare choice. There are moisturizers for almost every skin type and concern. Sometimes those with oily/combination skin (or those afraid of breakouts) do not use moisturizer because they believe that their skin has “too much oil” already. True, some moisturizers feel too heavy and some do cause breakouts. Yet even the oiliest skin can use a little lovely moisture to keep it looking moisturized and nourished. This skin type should consider gel moisturizers –they add enough moisture and life without looking or feeling heavy.

Nars Moisturizer02

One gel moisturizer that I invested in is NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Mask ($39/ 2.6 oz.)(available at Nordstrom, NARS.com, and other NARS retailers). The tube is a large 2.6 ounces, which is generous for a department store moisturizer. This light, softly scented gel moisturizer can be used several different ways. First, it can be used applied liberally as an overnight treatment. Second, it can be used as a mask for a 5-minute pick-me-up, then tissued off. Third, the way that I’ve been using it is as a nice light daily moisturizer.

Nars Moisturizer05

This gel is absorbed very quickly, and reminds me very much of the former Chanel Hydramax serum in its moisturizing and revitalizing effect. According to Nars, the product has “NARS exclusive Light Reflecting Complex™ designed to restore skin’s youthful radiance and reflect light like a prism.” I must admit this does make my skin look hydrated and youthful.

Nars Moisturizer06

It’s like a little moisturizing infusion before I add my makeup for the day. Because it’s so light, it doesn’t make my face feel weighed down. The large, travel-friendly tube is a nice way to refresh after a flight.

Nars Moisturizer07

Those with very dry skin or those who want more moisture in a gel formula might want to explore either NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer or Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Cream (Liz loves both of these). I’ve been enjoying the NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Mask over the past several months–that light bit of moisture in the morning has been a nice way to add some life (and, thank heavens, no breakouts!). The product comes out of the tube white and applies clear.

Nars Moisturizer09

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Nars Moisturizer03

Bottom line–those looking for a light, effective moisturizer that doesn’t feel heavy or oily should give  NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Mask a look. Although it may sound counter-intuitive that oily/combination skin needs moisture, you may find that adding a moisturizer not only improves skin, but helps the skin not become too stressed and product more oil. Gel moisturizers are a wonderful way to get some nourishment without using a heavier cream.

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Dec 162013
 

Chanel Emotion01

A new blush is always cause for celebration, and we are celebrating Chanel Joues Contrast Emotion #87 ($43) (designated as “87” on Nordstrom’s site). This has the Chanel Powder texture and is made in France. Note that The Beauty Look Book’s reviews and comparisons are here.

Chanel Emotion02

Part of the reason that this blush is celebratory is its universality. It has enough color and tone to look good on a variety of skin-tones, from light to deep, as well as cool and warm. Also, the medium pink color will look good with a variety of looks and various situations.

Chanel Emotion03

Chanel Emotion is a deep pink-rose:

Chanel Emotion04

Chanel Emotion on Liz:

Chanel Emotion12

I do not have anything quite the same in my collection, so I did some random swatches so that you can place the color between plums and pinks. Here is Chanel Emotion compared to Chanel Plum Attraction, Illamasqua Chased, and Chanel Rose Temptation:

Emotion Chanel1

Overall, we’re applauding Chanel Emotion as a new addition to Chanel’s Joues Constraste line. True love!

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Dec 152013
 

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush01

Although my reactions to the new Marc Jacobs makeup line have not been uniform, I felt that it was important to look at several items in the line to get a sense of the quality level. It is not everyday that an important fashion designer launches a beauty line, especially one so comprehensive in scope. I did not love the mascara, the foundation, and I haven’t felt compelled to try the blushes. But one of the items that has won my heart is the Marc Jacobs The Bronze Bronzer Brush No. 12 ($78), a consistent, well-made tool that has increased the usability and beauty of the other products in my collection.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush02

I knew this brush was special the first time that I saw it, and Seth Barton-Roberts’ video review also piqued my interest. Running nearly 8 inches in length, this oversized powder brush is well balanced and substantial, without being heavy.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush03

The head is densely packed and soft, like a combination kabuki/duo-fibre. It gives superb control for all types of powders, including blushes, powders, bronzers. It applies baked products, including MAC’s Mineralized Skin Finishes, like a boss.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush10

The bristles have plenty of oomph, so that you don’t have to spend too much time building up product. Designed for bronzers, I found a few sweeps adequate. It gives a similar application effect to the large (and now unobtainable) Chanel must-have powder brush that I bought in Paris years ago.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush12

Because of the oversized head, I tend to reserve this for products that are used over larger areas of the face. Just to experiment, I also tried this with my hyper-pigmented blushes (such as the MAC pro blushes, and some NARS). I found that I still had to be careful about how much pigment I put on this brush. Some of the pigmentation of those blushes are pretty nuclear, so I wasn’t surprised to find that I still had to sweep the brush over a mirror or tissue to knock product off before applying. However, I did find that the Marc Jacobs The Bronze brush  did allow me to apply the blushes with very soft, soft, soft blended edges.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush04

I reaching for the Marc Jacobs The Bronze brush almost every day since I bought it. I wash it the same way as my other brushes, and dry time is overnight if I remember to shake out excess water (but a day and a half if I forget).  I haven’t experienced any staining with any of my products (including the super-pigmented blushes). Everything seems to wash out easily. According to Sephora’s website, the brush is made from synthetic, antibacterial hair. The feel is pure luxury and the function is perfection.

Jacobs brush with annotations

Bottom line–this is one of my favorite buys from the past several months. It is available exclusively from Sephora.

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Dec 142013
 

Burberry oxblood lip mist

As the winter months move through Northern California, I’ve been loving my deeper toned lipsticks more and more. The one that I’ve loved most has been Burberry Oxblood Lip Mist ($30) because of its rich, moisturizing formula, deep-jewel toned color, and sheerness that looks young and modern. Used without a pencil liner, the look is polished and yet never overdone (and certainly not goth!).

Burberry Oxblook Lip Mist8

Here are comparisons with other deep sheers in my collection–Burberry Blueberry Lip Mist (which is close), the sheer, deep wine Yves Saint Laurent Pourpre Intouchable (reviewed here) and Chanel Rouge Coco in Rivoli.  Burberry Oxblood has a good kick of color. With a medium-intensity liner underneath (I’ve been using Chanel Rose Cuivre (reviewed here), although others can be used too of course), it gives serious, rich, shiny color that lasts for hours. When worn alone, the wear time is better than Chanel Rouge Coco Shine, and about as good as the Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Shine.

Burberry Oxblook Lip Mist4

Here is Burberry Oxblood on Liz, without any liner, primer or base.  Here is a full-face look:

Burberry Golden Radiance 3

Here, she is also wearing Burberry Nude Radiance Fresh Glow on her upper cheek (reviewed here) and forehead, and Burberry Nude Radiance Fresh Glow Powder on her lower cheek (reviewed here). She’s also wearing Guerlain Crazy Terracotta as a blush, Burberry Lip Mist in Oxblood. She’s styled her fair with the T3 Bodywaver (also available at Sephora), Alterna CC Caviar Cream and Alterna Luminous Shine Mist.

Overall, I’ve been loving Burberry Oxblood. It’s been a lovely addition to my cooler-toned based looks this wintry season.

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Dec 142013
 
Burberry Nude Glow highlighter09

Burberry Nude Glow highlighter05This is a review of the Burberry Nude Radiance Fresh Glow Powder ($48), the sister of the Burberry Golden Radiance powder (reviewed here). As you might expect, Burberry’s Nude Radiance is the powder version of the liquid Burberry Fresh Glow Fluid Base (a product that can be used as either a primer or a highlighter, reviewed here). The powder version is a soft glowing highlighter.

Burberry Nude Glow highlighter01

As you might expect, Burberry Nude Glow works beautifully with the cool toned shimmery Golden Radiance. We found that, applied with one of our favorite large, soft brushes, the powder gave a slightly cool toned glow. You will want to use a brush with plenty of soft flex. I thought that the brush that was included with the product–although quite respectable quality for a give-away–applied the product a little too heavily to the point of frosting up a touch.

Burberry Nude Glow highlighter09

 Subtle highlighters are a bit difficult to capture in a photograph. Here, I tried to capture the liquid Burberry Fresh Glow next to the powder Nude Radiance. As you can see, the tonality of both is quite similar. Unsurprisingly, the liquid has a more pronounced glow and can be mixed directly with a foundation. The powder is more subtle, but might be preferred by those who prefer that medium. Both are more subtle compared to Kevyn Aucoin’s Candlelight (reviewed here), but more pronounced than the subtle Poudre Signe de Chanel.

Burberry Golden Radiance 3

Here is Liz wearing Burberry Nude Radiance on her upper cheek and forehead, and Burberry Golden Radiance on her lower cheek. She’s also wearing Guerlain Crazy Terracotta as a blush, Burberry Lip Mist in Oxblood. She’s styled her fair with the T3 Bodywaver (also available at Sephora), Alterna CC Caviar Cream and Alterna Luminous Shine Mist. She’s used the same look in the picture below, but with Guerlain Paresse on lips (in softer light):

Burberry Golden Radiance Bronzer 3

There is a nice glow with Burberry Nude Radiance. Even close up, applied with a soft brush, we detected only very subtle sparkle in direct sun. If you prefer this look without sparkle, go for the liquid Burberry Fresh Glow instead.

Burberry Golden Radiance08

I’m loving the pairing of Burberry’s Nude and Golden Radiance for a winter glow. The cool tone for both makes these are wonderful, unique option for those with cooler skin tones, or those looking for a cold-month version of a summer highlighter/bronzer combination.

Both are available at Nordstrom and other Burberry sources.

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Dec 112013
 

chanel-paris-dallas-2013-14-show-decor-01

Reports are just coming from last night’s Chanel Les Metiers D’arts show last night in Dallas, Texas. Although I won’t be doing a full re-cap, I wanted to post a look or two, as well as to note that Chanel will be introducing a new foundation next year called Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet which was used at this event.

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