May 292014
 

 

Zelens Sunscreen1aThe geniuses at Zelens have just released a new skincare-savvy sunscreen, the Zelens Daily Defence Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF30 ($65/1.70 oz). Now that Memorial Day is officially behind us, I hope that you are taking your sun protection very seriously. This offering from Zelens combines a number of lovely qualities that makes it easy–actually, make that quite pleasant–to add sun protection to your morning routine.

Zelens Sunscreen2This sunscreen was developed by Dr. Marko Lens (you can read his interview with A Model Recommends here), who included antioxidants in the formula to reduce free radical formation, helps prevent sun damage, reinforce the skin’s natural barrier and combat the signs of premature skin aging. Zelens Daily Defence also includes hyaluronic acid for moisture and is oil free.

Zelens Sunscreen5

The feel is a touch moisturizing without any greasy feel–like velvet. It wears well under makeup, giving me a very smooth, non-drying surface that did not seem to interfere with my foundation’s longevity. There is a scent (slightly sunscreen-ish) that fades after about an hour. The product is supposed to be used as the last step in your skincare, either alone or just before applying foundation.

Zelens Sunscreen7Unlike some of my stronger sunscreens, the Zelens Daily Defence sinks right into my skin. In the above picture, a few more swirls and the left blended portion would be invisible. According to the line, the formula uses:

…organic UV filters are encapsulated in silica-based capsules, which are invisible in formulation and on the skin. . . . Encapsulated filters have a low chemical load since the encapsulation process prevents direct skin contact (encapsulated organic filters remain on top of the skin surface) resulting in a reduced dermal up-take and low allergy potential.

Imudilin®
A pseudodipetide with cytokine-like activity. Stimulates the signal transduction pathway in the cells, improves the immune cells’ response and restores the immune defence.

Vitamin E
Zelens uses an ester of Vitamin E and acetic acid (tocopheryl acetate). It demonstrates strong antioxidant activity.

Vitamin C
Zelens uses a precursor of Vitamin C, tetra-isopalmitoyl ascorbic acid. This stable form of Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant. Effectively suppresses UVB-induced skin pigmentation and helps lighten pigment spots and brightens the complexion. Stimulates collagen production.

Botanical Antioxidant Complex
A proprietary botanical complex containing active molecules from 6 different plants: Shiso (Perilla frutescens), Green tea (Camellia sinensis), Centella (Centella asiatica), Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Pine (Pinus Strobus) and Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia). The following active molecules were extracted from the plants:
• Rosmarinic acid (from Shiso)
• Polyphenol Epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG (from Green tea)
• Cichoric acid (from Echinacea)
• Pycogenol (from Pine)
• Glycoside – Asiaticoside (from Centella)
• Flavonoids (from Ginkgo)
Botanical antioxidant complex demonstrates strong antioxidant activity to help reduce formation of hazardous free radicals and prevent oxidative damage.

Overall, I found Zelens Daily Defence to be a lovely skin screen. I’ve noticed that some sunscreens can make my skin dry, especially if used in dry mountain air and the formula is heavy on physical sunscreen ingredients. Zelens is a godsend for sunscreen in dry temperatures–I used this for a few days in the Lake Tahoe area this weekend, and loved it. I can’t wait to take it to the mountains of Colorado in a few weeks. It makes my skin feel moisturized, and look rested after the day. No breakouts. I’m excited to keep using the product to see whether there are any long-term results.

Available for order on Zelens website, and pre-order on Space.NK.  Here is the ingredient list from the Space.NK website:

AQUA (WATER), ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, GLYCERIN, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, BUTYLOCTYL SALICYLATE, BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, OCTOCRYLENE, ISONONYL ISONONANOATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, PEG-100 STEARATE, DIMETHICONE, MICROCOCCUS LYSATE, PERILLA FRUTESCENS LEAF EXTRACT, SODIUM HYLAURONATE, GLUTAMYLAMIDOETHYL IMIDAZOLE, ASCORBYL TETRAISOPALMITATE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT, ECHINACEA ANGUSTIFOLIA LEAF EXTRACT, GINKGO BILOBA LEAF EXTRACT, PINUS STROBUS BARK EXTRACT, LECITHIN, SILICA, HYDROGENATED PALM GLYCERIDES, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, PVP, POTASSIUM CETYL PHOSPHATE, SORBITOL, CETEARETH-20, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, SODIUM POLYACRYLATE, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), LINALOOL, SORBIC ACID, CHLORPHENESIN, PHENOXYETHANOL, BHT, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, DISODIUM EDTA

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

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May 272014
 

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum01I love a beach fragrance. Among my favorites are CB I Hate Perfume At the Beach 1966 and Bobbi Brown’s Beach. This summer, I’m obsessed with Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum Edition Limitee 30 Ans Eau de Toilette ($73). This very sophisticated scent was formulated by Thierry Wasser, the “nose” of Guerlain, to celebrate the legendary powder scent. As Guerlain describes, “Bathed in sunlight, as an invitation to travel to distant lands. A sensual and irresistible fragrance, exotic and bright, inspired by the radiating world of Terracotta.”

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum04

This perfume was incredibly difficult to locate, as I seemed to have missed a short window of availability. I was finally able to find it by calling Neiman’s, who had just placed a second order. I had heard a rumor that a Nordstrom in Hawaii might have a bottle or two, but I never called them.

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum10

This beautiful fragrance unfolds cinematically, opening with a sophisticated floral notes, including bergamot and yang ylang. This phase is a bit overwhelming for me.  The overall feeling is walking through a floral area that is very near the beach. After about an hour, this floral scent recedes completely and does not reappear until my next, fresh application.

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum09

After the initial floral phase, the scent mellows into a very sensual beach oil. Unlike Bobbi Brown’s and other beach fragrance, Guerlain’s sensual phase is far more exotic, rich, worldly and luxurious.  There’s no hint of Coppertone here–instead, there is a rich, deep, uniquely Terracottta vanilla oil that I find immediately relaxing and warm. I swear, on days that I wear it my pace is slower as this very elegant and complex scent occasionally makes a slight appearance. It’s gorgeous. 

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum07

This very lovely scent is highly limited edition and hard to find. If you have any hints as to its availability, won’t you please share in the comments section?

Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum06

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May 202014
 

christian-dior-resort-2015-beauty-01_125435622807.jpg_gallery_max

This is a quick note to bring a few new Dior products to your attention, all used at Dior’s recent Resort 2015 show.

Dior 9

One of Cafe Makeup’s favorite makeup artists and now Creative Director of Dior Makeup, Peter Philips, created the look using three new products that we will want to keep an eye on.

Dior 7First, Peter used Dior Addict It-Liner ($31) to create a disjointed line on the top and bottom lashes.

dior.cruise15-video-still

Gorgeous:

Dior 4Philips also used black eyeshadow traced over the liner, as well as a shimmery pink shadow on the lid and an iridescent white shadow between the two black lines at the outer corner. “I used pink on the lid because white would look too pearly. The pink blends in better and creates a subtler highlight.” The final effect:

dior-resort-1

Some models used  the new Dior Addict It-Lash Mascara ($26)  mascara on their top lashes. “I like this brush because it keeps the lashes really separated,” Philips said.

Dior 3

Third, Philips used a new Dior Foundation–called Diorskin Star Foundation– for a matte/luminous look.

dior-resort-3According to Philips: “It’s a matte finish, but it stays very luminous when it’s on the skin. It gives your skin a movie-star quality.” According to a video on Dior’s website, the effect is a lit-from-within, luminous effect.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 9.43.52 PMI cannot wait to see how these products compare to other premium lines. In the meantime, enjoy a few more images from the show.

_MG_9864

 

If this is the new foundation, I’m all in._MG_9288

One more look at the table–this is a promising shade range.Image3

And one last look at the backstage area:

Dior-Cruise---Beauty--1866-HRbis

The look on the runway:

dior57

And this modern play on the classic Dior silhouette:

Dior

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May 202014
 

Laura Mercier Concealer1My finger has been hovering over the “order” button for Laura Mercier’s High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye ($28) since the first introduction. Laura Mercier’s Flawless Face includes some excellent concealers. Who are we kidding, she really excels in that department. I have under eye circles, as well as other areas that I usually cover so that I can wear a lightweight foundation. I waited to buy until I could see the colors in person, and I’m still not entirely sure that I chose the right shade. This post is an overview of the formula, but the jury’s still out on the color shades. I ultimately bought shade 1.5 for my MAC NC15/ Chanel Cameo/Ivoire skin tone. My skin leans warm and fair, and I chose shade 1.5 as an excellent match to the rest of my face. I almost added shade 2.5, a medium warm shade, and will likely pick that one up on my next trip in.

Laura Mercier Concealer3

I did a few in-house tries with this. After I got used to the formula, I  worn this concealer for three days–once entirely alone, a second time over moisturizer (Shiseido) with Giorgio Armani Master Color Corrector in 02 Orange ($39), and a third time using the moisturizer, Armani Color Corrector combined with Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer Potion ($24) using the method described here. I did not try using this with a powder over the top. Because of my travel schedule, these three days spanned dry, warm weather in Northern California, and slightly more humid, temperate temperatures on the East Coast.

Laura Mercier Concealer6

The concealer is described as follows by the line: “This formula features honey and vitamin E to protect against environmental stressors, and fruit acid to nourish and calm skin.” My thoughts are as follows–first, you need far, far less of this product that you would imagine. The tiniest tiniest bit is too much. It took me a few tries to get used to the high level of pigment in this formula, before I could wear it outside for the day. During my first try, I used the same amount as I would use for Lancome Effacernes, That was way, way too much–honestly, I could have covered my entire face with that small amount. To say “a little goes a long way” really understates the situation.

Laura Mercier Concealer5Straight from the tube, the texture feels a bit dry and thick especially if you are used to Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. Straight out of the tube, using too much of the product looks like this:

Laura Mercier Concealer7b

So, don’t use this much!  After the product is warm and blended, it really does come to life. This product really did not fade at all on me throughout the day. In fact, I’ve never used a concealer that holds its coverage as long as this one does. Using an under eye primer for longevity did not deliver any advantages–I’m going to skip that step next time.

The product’s skin care ingredients–while not affirmatively moisturizing–did make my under eye area appear flattened (meaning non-puffy) and slightly more youthful throughout the day. Mind, this is not (and does not claim to be)  an anti-aging skincare serum. Still, the skin in my under eye area just looked better, and it kept that look throughout the entire day. Unlike the Nars concealer, however, the Laura Mercier does not feel as affirmatively moisturizing. I’d advise a good separate moisturizer when using this product.

The one curious and consistent problem I had was ever-so-slight creasing (whether using a moisturizer or not). Having said that, the overall coverage was still excellent even after sweeping away the creasing. This stuff just does not give up–it’s relentless. Here’s a picture with the product buffed and blended:

Laura Mercier High Coverage Concealer blended1Finally, although this covers beautifully, I think that my slightly blue under eye circles really do need a touch of color correction. The area looked much better on the days I wore the Armani Master Color Corrector underneath the product. I may be able to solve this another way–by trying a slightly deeper shade of the Laura Mercier’s High Coverage Concealer for Under Eye. Speaking just for me, sometimes going a bit deeper  helps erase those blue tones as well as a corrector. That’s the reason that I’m going back and forth on the shades.

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Laura Mercier Concealer2

Overall, I’m pleased with Laura Mercier’s latest offering. I’m going to keep playing with the product to see whether a powder may help the slight creasing issue that I have. The texture is a bit surprising, very pigmented and highly tenacious. Absolutely worth a look.

Available at Nordstrom, Sephora,  Neiman Marcus,  Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macys.

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May 182014
 

NARS Artistry Brushes Stylized Group Shot

Nars Artistry Brushes are a new series of lovely tools that I will be examine over the next few posts. Given the breadth of this collection, I’m going to proceed by first showing pictures of all of them in detail. I will be offering some thoughts about the brushes in some later posts.) These are available at Nordstrom.com, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nars Cosmetics online.

Here is the entire set (click to enlarge):

Nars Artistry Brushes All LabeledThis post will cover the Nars Artistry #30 Precision Lip Brush ($26). This was way, way cooler than I imagined a lip brush could be, and the price is quite modest given the ingenuity of the design. This slim, elegant little brush comes capped to ensure that product doesn’t migrate throughout your purse or elsewhere.

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30d

With the cap off, the bristles remain hidden inside the slim case:

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30c

That is, until you put the cap onto the back. The pressure from the cap on the back of the handle pushes the bristles upward. The action is quite smooth and intuitive. Awesome! And you can use your brush in your gorgeous bag, which can stay clean.

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30g

This little brush is ingenious! Flat side:

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30

 

Side view:

Nars Precision Lip Brush 30a

I’ll be offering more thoughts about these in upcoming posts. These are available at Nordstrom.com, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nars Cosmetics online.

These brushes 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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