Feb 282014

Bite lip products01 copy

This is a quick little post to highlight some lip products that I’ve been enjoying from Bite Beauty. A relative newcomer in the beauty world, they’ve been generating some good buzz.  Still, I wasn’t sure whether I’d love them too. I’ve been intrigued by their display at Sephora, and thought that my winter-battered lips could benefit from their TLC.

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Few lipsticks last for hours on me, and some more emollient formulas certainly benefit from having a good base to help their staying power. The Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer ($22.00) was a good problem solver. The product comes housed in a matte dark gray tube.

Bite lip products03

The product is clear and does not cause the lipstick to color shift. The tip is pointed, so that you can get a good sharp line (there’s a sharpener in the back to keep the point fresh). There is a slight mint scent, which fades after a few minutes.

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Ingredient list (click to enlarge):


Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer does deliver. It probably doubled my wear time, and had a slightly moisturizing formula that is kind to lips. It has a slightly tacky, matte feel that allows lipstick to grip and hold on longer. I liked the easy packaging, and the easy twist-up formula that allows the product to be used quickly and easily during quick day-to-night changes.

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I thought that the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26) was extraordinary. This rich conditioner was both pleasant and transformative in its effect. It’s a youth-giver for dehydrated lips, delivering a clear satin-glow that makes lips looks beautifully healthy.

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This comes in a sealed tube, similar to a small toothpaste tube. The product is clear, and can be used under lipstick (some matte formulas really need something). This has a very slightly sweet taste that lasts for a bit, but it’s subtle and sort of pleasant. For what it’s worth, I find this tube formula is more friendly to bringing along in a makeup bag (compared to pots, which seem to have lids that can loosen and cause all kinds of shenanigans inside a bag). Ingredient list (click to enlarge):


Overall, I found both Bite Beauty products impressive. The Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask gave me the most impressive results, although the Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer is a good practical product that fills a good niche–that is, for a clear, pleasant, primer that can form a good base for lipsticks.

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Feb 262014

Nars Matte Multiples Full20 copy

Hallelujah! These beautiful Nars Matte Multiples ($39/.026 oz.) have just arrived and they are a beautiful addition to the makeup world. These versatile, well-formulated products are a dream to work with. In seven colors, I completely agree with Beautezine’s conclusion, “good luck choosing just one.” Depending on your skin tone, I suspect that many will want several.

Nars Matte Multiple poster format

I can tell that this is a completely new formulation, unlike anything that I’ve seen before. One of the best features of these is their softness, even when slightly warm they apply beautifully and can be blended into foundation, highlighter, and each other. The fact that these are designed to be used by working makeup artists certainly shows in their ease of use.  Their matte texture provides a very natural touch of color, and the variable pigmentation allows one to use these for a very natural “almost no makeup” look. If you like, you can use them to get strong color for a high glamour effect (adding a seperate highlighter if you wish).

Nars Matte Multiples1

These are packed in the traditional matte-black tubes used by NARS, although with a slightly slimmer tube  (these have 0.26 ounces of product, while most traditional Multiples seem to have around 0.50 ounces). I suspect that part of the reason for the narrower tube is the softness of the texture–these seem softer than many of the Multiples in my arsenal. The  Nars Matte Multiples apply with the most pigment when used dry, and soften down to a water-color like stain when used wet.

Now, shall we talk about the colors?  Yes, yes, yes….

Nars Matte Multiples Full18 all colors brighter

 The four colorful shades are Siam, Laos, Exumas and Anguilla.

Nars Matte Multiples Full17 colors lighter

Siam is a highly-pigmented bright, warm red. Of all, Siam packs the most color in the smallest atom of product. Although this can be blended, those with lighter skin who are looking for a more natural effect must use this one wet. If you want a full-on power red, use Siam dry.

Nars Matte Multiples Full02 Siam

One of my very favorite colors is Laos, a go-with-everything soft rose pink. This crowd-pleasing color is perfect for almost any occasion.

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Exumas leans towards a soft, neutral peach.

Nars Matte Multiples Full03 Exumas

Anguilla is a very light, soft cool pink. This has the softest pigmentation of all of the seven Nars Matte Multiples. Those with very light skin will see this as a blush. Those with darker skin could use this to add a light soft pink to the upper planes of the face.

Nars Matte Multiples Full08 Anguilla

All four of these shades are watched dry:

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In this picture, below, I blended out all of the same swatches that you see on the image above. As you can see, the three on the left blend out very nicely. Siam’s high pigmentation really shows here–you do not need much of Siam to get a large splash of color.

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These four colors are much more subtle when applied wet. Here, I’ve applied the same colors with a wet Chanel foundation brush. You can see that Siam retains much of its vibrant color. The others are much more soft, creating an almost watercolor effect.

Nars matte multiples applied wet and blended

The nude shades are Altai, Cappadoce and Vientiane.

Nars Matte Multiples Full15 nudes brighter

 Altai is a soft, light bronze.

Nars Matte Multiples Full10 Altai Altai

Cappadoce is a milk chocolate color, a medium bronze.

Nars Matte Multiples Full11 edt Cappadoce

Vientiane is quite similar to Cappadoce. When sheered out, Vientiane has a slightly more espresso color and a touch of olive.

Nars Matte Multiples Full27 vientiane

Here are Altai, Cappadoce, and Vientiane applied dry:

Nars Matte Multiples Full28 swatches nudes

Here are the same three shades blended out:

Nars Matte Multiples Full30 blended faenudes

Here are the three shades applied with a wet Chanel foundation brush:

Nars matte multiple nudes wet blended

Just for fun, Liz tried out Nars Matte Multiple in Laos together with Tom Ford Summer Fling blotted lightly on lips.

Liz wearing Nars Laos

Here is Liz wearing Exumas:

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Overall, we recommend NARS Matte Multiples. Wonderful, versatile formula. Thoughtful color choice range. Easily packable, highly workable. Our favorites were Laos, Exumas and Altai.

Nars Matte Multiples are available at Sephora and Nars online (as well as Nars boutiques). These will soon be available everywhere.

Nars provided samples of the matte multiples without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).


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Feb 212014

NARS Matte Multiple Campaign Image - jpeg

It was dark when I came home from dinner to find the NARS Matte Multiples ($39 each) had arrived. Although it’s too dark to take proper swatch pictures, I thought it would be useful to post a few pictures of the collection for you.

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The colors are:

  • ANGUILLA Ginger pink
  • EXUMAS Pink apricot
  • SIAM Poppy red
  • LAOS Rose coral
  • ALTAI Rose bronze
  • VIENTIANE Copper bronze
  • CAPPADOCE Golden bronze

Nars Matte Multiples1

These are currently up for sale on Sephora.com, Nars online site (and Nars Boutiques), and will be available elsewhere soon.

These products 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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Feb 202014

Nars spring items07

We have a few more Nars Spring 2014 items to review, so we’re doing a consolidated post for the following:

First up, Bimini Larger Than Life Lipgloss is a sheer orange shimmer.

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On Liz:

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Annees Folles is a sheer cool lavendar shimmer with a high gloss finish.

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This gloss has a brightening effect:

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Swatches of Bimini and Annees Folles:

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Timanfaya Satin Lip Pencil is a bright statement orange with a glowing finish:

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On Liz:

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Liz played with layering Timanfaya lip pencil and Bimini lip gloss, which gave her an intense statement lip:

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I really loved the new Na Pali Coast Multiple. Although it’s easy to overlook this one among the variety of winning products from Nars this year, you really shouldn’t. Na Pali Coast has a gorgeous sheen and just a touch of red, which looks amazing and sun-kissed when applied.

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Here is a swatch of Na Pali Coast, together with some of the coordinating lip products:

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Overall, these are all excellent quality. If these colors are something that appeal, you really should check them out. Our favorites are the Na Pali Coast Multiple and Bimini Larger Than Life Lip Gloss–both are beautiful, brightening and elegant colors for Spring.

Available at Nordstrom.com, Barney’s, Nars Cosmetics and other sources.

Nars Cosmetics provided 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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Feb 182014

Shu The Lightbulb Foundation01

Shu Uemura has released The Lightbulb Foundation in the U.S. ($55) (online only). This foundation is said to provide a “multi-glow oil complex” for a natural glow with high coverage.

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The foundations comes packed with a lightbulb-shaped sponge for application.  The round, wide end is designed to encourage a glowing finish. You are supposed to use the wide end with a tapping motion to set a glow on the cheeks and down the center of the face.  The narrow end is a “glow controller.”  This smaller pointed side is said to be good for buffing the foundation into the skin to provide a more satin texture. As an aside, I used this sponge for a few trials, and it worked well. I also used a sponge from my Chanel powder foundation compact, and I got good results with that as well

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I concur with Shu’s description the this foundation is high coverage, and gives a lit-from within glow. The glow is not the same glow that you get when you add a liquid luminizer to a standard foundation. Instead, the foundation seems to provide a healthy, lit-from-within look that is somehow in the pigment of the foundation even when matted down to a satin finish. There’s definitely some kind of magic in this formula. Here is the pointed, narrow end of The Lightbulb sponge, which comes to a gentle cone point at the end.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation1

The heavy coverage comes at a price, however. This is not a “lightweight” foundation–I definitely felt it on my skin throughout the day. It doesn’t feel like it completely dries down.  I certainly recommend powdering this down, not only to tame the glow but also to minimize its transferability.

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I should note that, like many modern foundations, Shu The Lightbulb takes a while to settle onto my skin. I gave it a good 15-20 minutes until this somewhat thick product really spread and settled.  Until then, I could see pores that I didn’t know I had, and it looked a bit mask-like. If this happens, don’t panic. Maybe do your nails or answer some emails, give it some time to warm to your skin. It changes quite a bit during the first half-hour. Below, you can see that the pump bottle is a nice touch.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation5

 I also had problems with Shu’s The Lightbulb wearing well throughout the day. It’s not advertised as a long-wearing foundation.  Without a base or primer, I got breakthrough glow by 10:00 a.m. on my combination skin. By the end of the day, there were several of my skin flaws showing through the foundation that I had applied at about 7 a.m. that day. Ingredient list:

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With the  Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer and topped with the Guerlain Meteorites powder, I had a vastly different experience. Of course, I got the same high coverage and lit-from-within glow as before. However, I did not get breakthrough glow until very late in the day.  Also, the high coverage lasted well into the evening without any movement.  I really loved the look of the Shu The Lightbulb Foundation with this combination. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I should note that the Lightbulb foundation still felt a bit heavy compared to the some of the super-lightweight feeling foundations that I’ve tried in the past. In other words, despite the vastly improved longevity, I still could feel the Lightbulb foundation on. Some don’t mind that, but some do and so I wanted to let you know my experience.

Shu Lightbulb Swatches1

I ordered Shu The Lightbulb in 774, which runs toward yellow. Something told me that I should have gone with the more neutral 574, but that one was out of the stock on the day that I ordered. As you can see, Shu 774 is much yellower than MAC NC 15, and certainly yellower than NARS Sheer Glow in Deauville. For the record, Shu’s number system is as follows:  the first digit tells you how pink or yellow the foundation is: 1 is the most pink; 9 is the most yellow; 5 is neutral.  The second digit refers to how dark or light the shade is (the higher the number, the lighter the shade).

Overall, I think this foundation is going to be a bit controversial. In addition to the online-only aspect for U.S. buyers, I think that some will love the coverage and look.  For me, a good primer was necessary to ensure longevity. The dry-down issue is going to be a factor for some, as well as the overall feel of the foundation. I will say that, set properly with a good primer and powder, this gives fantastic coverage and the texture (once it settles in) does give an outstanding look. As ever, these are just one beauty blogger’s thoughts, and so you experiences might certainly vary.

In the U.S., Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Foundation is available online only at Shu Uemera’s website.

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Feb 172014

Sunday Riley Primer box1

I’ve really enjoyed using the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer ($48/1.0 fluid ounce) on those days when I want an absolutely flawless complexion that lasts until removed. Over the past several months, it is not unusual for me to be in several series of meetings and dinners that run up to 18-20 hour days. I simply don’t want to look ragged or tired as the day wears on, despite how I might feel. When it really matters, I’ve depended on Sunday Riley’s Effortless Breathable Primer to make sure that my skin looks incredible for the entire time.

Sunday Riley Effortless Primer1

Sunday Riley’s primer is available in three shades: Light, Medium and Deep (I’ve been using Light). As you might guess, this sheers out to near-invisibility. Yet there is an ever-so-light flaw-reducing property that acts like a very subtle veil. It’s a beautiful effect, and with a bit of powder I think I could almost wear this alone. So color choice does matter, although nearly not as much as a foundation.  The effect lasts all day, working hard to prevent those little “something somethings” from peeking through.

Sunday Riley Effortless Primer2

This is an ideal workhorse product. The texture is very light and fine. A very slight (orange-ish?) scent fades quickly. The texture is elegant, and it feels literally like nothing. As the name suggests, you won’t know you have it on. It’s less noticeable than serums, sunscreens, and anything else that you might wear under foundation. It’s certainly lighter than any foundation.  The product leaves a very slight, skin-like sheen that dries down to a near-matte. It seems to have some oil-absorbing properties, because when I wear it, my foundations do not get glowy until after 15 hours or so of wear (your results will vary with your skin type).  In other words, this product is a cosmetically elegant, “Confident-on-the-Red-Carpet” primer. I love it.

Sunday Riley Effortless Primer3

This liquid primer comes in a packable plastic bottle with a pump top. Primer swatch of the Light, to show how it sheers out:

Sunday Riley Primer big swatch1

Here’s a comparison to the color/texture differences with some other primers. First, the yellow color-correcting Make Up For Ever HD Primer in #6 (yellow), Guerlain’s Meteorites Perles, Burberry’s Fresh Glow, and Nars Radiance Enhancing.  Except for Make Up For Ever’s, these all sheer down to near-nothing color. Nonetheless, comparisons are always useful so I thought I’d include these.

Sunday Riley Swatches2

A little more about the product (click to enlarge):

Sunday Riley Primer box2

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Sunday Riley Primer box3

Overall, the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer is an A+ primer. It has a noticeable texture-refining effect that reduces pores. It gives foundations that would otherwise fade and shift very noticeable long-wear properties. It helps hide flaws, and textual issues. It’s gorgeous, has a refined texture, and gives me the confidence to face the most scrutinizing eye. One of the best primers on the market.

Available at Nordstrom.com and Barneys.com.

This primer was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Feb 142014

NARS Matte Multiple Campaign Image - jpeg

NARS is set to release a set of seven matte Multiples ($39 each). These are a mix of bronzy and vibrant colors for lips and cheeks. These are said to have build able, long-lasting hydrating color that can be applied either dry (for a soft yet vibrant matte effect) or wet (for a vivid finish that melts into skin). These will be online at Nars.com and Nars Boutiques. These should be at other stores later on.

NARS Matte Multiple Stylized Group Shot - jpeg

  • ANGUILLA Ginger pink
  • EXUMAS Pink apricot
  • SIAM Poppy red
  • LAOS Rose coral
  • ALTAI Rose bronze
  • VIENTIANE Copper bronze
  • CAPPADOCE Golden bronze

Nars Matte Multiple all colors

Some of these have been used during the recent New York Fashion Week. For example, Anguilla Matte Multiples was used at Rodarte F/W ’14 together with a not-yet-released Fall Nars Unlawful blush.


And here’s a little video to get us all psyched for the release:

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