Jul 272014
 

YSL Saharienne and Parisian 5 Couture Eyeshadows01Over the past few months, Yves Saint Laurent has been quietly reinventing several beauty items, including these Yves Saint Laurent Couture 5-Color Eyeshadow Palettes ($60 each). After falling in love with the Yves Saint Laurent Fetiche palette reviewed here, I’ve also found time to play with these two new additions. These are available at Nordstrom.com, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-Porter and Yves Saint Laurent online.

YSL Saharienne1

I’ve never bought Yves Saint Laurent eyeshadow palettes with any regularity in the past. I believe this new formulation is worth a look. These are lovely, easy to use palettes which apply really easily with a tapered crease brush. I purchased YSL Saharienne #4 because I loved the beautiful, natural look that it gives with a touch of pearl. I never feel the need to wear all five colors at one. Either the top left peach, or the bottom taupe is a nice lid color, and eiher the middle and bottom right shades make lovely crease and liner shades. The top right pearl is a lovely brow bone and inner corner highlighter. Swatches:


YSL Saharienne and Parisian 5 Couture Eyeshadows07a

Here is YSL Saharienne #4 on Liz:

YSL Couture eyeshadow

Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne #7 is a pearly everyday palette that is based on cranberries and that beautiful taupe that is on the upper left.

YSL Saharienne and Parisian 5 Couture Eyeshadows02Swatches:

YSL Saharienne and Parisian 5 Couture Eyeshadows11a


Here is YSL Parisienne on Liz:

YSL Parisienne 2Here, she’s also wearing the Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Sycorax ($29) applied wet with Nars Angled Eyeliner Brush#27 ($28) I found this video helpful to understand more about Yves Saint Laurent’s Couture line:

Overall, I found the Yves Saint Laurent Couture palettes a step in the right direction for the line. These are lovely, very easy to use, and are nice everyday go-to’s for a professional, polished look that can be amped up for a more glamourous look. The pigmentation was lovely–not super pigmented, but layerable and controllable. These two have beautiful, pearly texture that is still appropriate for day and can be worn on a wide age range. Overall, these are well worth a look.

These are available at Nordstrom.com, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-Porter and Yves Saint Laurent online.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup) The Nars items mentioned in this review were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jul 252014
 

loubiville beauty From July 23 – August 18 Christian Louboutin Beauté and Saks Fifth Avenue are pleased to announce the launch of Rouge Louboutin ($50), a nail colour that takes beauty to new heights. Featuring the signature red of Louboutin’s trademarked soles, encapsulated in a prismatic crystal bottle with a pointed cap that evokes the designer’s iconic 8-inch heel, the Ballerina Ultima. This is for sale on Nordstrom, Saks, Sephora and Neiman Marcus.

Rouge Louboutin11

 

“I wanted to create a link between my shoes and my next adventure. The red sole is the DNA of my brand, if you extract the essence from it, you end up with the colour red.” Christian Louboutin This story is conceptualized in a fantastical vision that comes to life in Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows. There, customers discover Loubiville, an enchanting city of swirling streetscapes and soaring towers that transcend time and space. This fantasy metropolis, the fruit of Christian Louboutin’s fertile mind, has been brought to life by architect Tarek Shamma. “I had the vision of a city where all the silhouettes were integrated with the shapes of beauty objects.” Christian Louboutin Upon closer examination, Loubiville reveals its intricate white structures to be composed of various iterations of the Rouge Louboutin bottle itself. As dreamed by Louboutin, Loubiville will slowly transition from an all-white landscape into colour over time, as new beauty lines are revealed. saks louboutin   Hidden within its balustrades, arches and passageways are subtle hints of upcoming launches. Christian Louboutin’s creative journey from shoes to cosmetics is further illustrated by a whimsical display of white So Kate stiletto pumps on a spinning wheel with another pair of So Kate dancing atop a pyramid. However, the pièce de résistance of these extraordinary windows comes to life through analog design and digital effects, completing the Rouge Louboutin story: the animation of a surrealist machine, a multi-dimensional structure funneling the essence of the Ballerina Ultima shoe, giving birth to Louboutin’s Rouge colour through smoke, conveyor belts, and cogwheels. saks loubiville   Inside the store, customers will be able to step into a real-world adaption of Loubiville—not on the beauty floor, but on the shoe floor: the exclusive Beauty Corner, an 8×13 square foot extension of the Christian Louboutin Boutique. “It’s a small element of the city that has the feeling of a district in Loubiville.” Christian Louboutin The shop will feature tiered displays where the Rouge Louboutin bottles will cascade down the steps of the towers in a celebration of architecture, design, art and beauty. louboutin nail color Christian Louboutin’s first beauty product launch is a line of nail polish, which is appropriate as the product served as the initial inspiration for his trademark, beautiful  red soles.  The bottles are object d’art, The ombré effect on the color ‘Rouge Louboutin’ starts with intense black and graduates to the iconic red. The two flashes of colour instantly recall the image of the classic Louboutin high heeled shoe. This is the line’s signature red, a classic that looks beautiful on all skin tones. Rouge_FrontThe bottles for all colors are a beautiful faceted crystal, which holds the highly pigmented glossy lacquer within. bottle louboutin bottles Beauty will function through osmosis with the seasonal fashion collections. For a bright red summer sandal, Christian may recommend a nude nail and for a nude shoe, he may recommend an extreme pop colour in contrast. rouge louboutin + Ballerina Ultima HiRes   He believes in whimsical marriages between colours rather than literal coordination. Christian and his team worked with leather and fabric samples unique to the brand in search of the colour palette. Once selected, they were re-worked to complement different skin tones. His vision was to create a wide range of shades that partner with the colours of the shoe collection, so there will be endless colour combinations. Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 3.46.21 PM   Each colour was named after an iconic shoe or bag with some corresponding to their namesake’s colour, like Batignolles and Very Privé, which are both strong reds, or Lady Page, a darker plum shade. Other names came from associations that Christian imagined. The Pluminette, for example, is like a Bird of Paradise so the colour draws from this to become a playful and vibrant pink. During the design process, Christian has always chosen to draw freely, without thinking of technical constraints in order to keep true to his creative vision. louboutin polish When a drawing is finished, he works to adapt the shoe, spending time to design the lasts, heels, the fabrics and leathers. He follows or bends technical constraints in order to reach the final design. When approaching the nail colour bottle he applied similar design principles, thinking only of the proportions and the objects he wanted to create. Beauty parallels Christian’s work in shoes, in that there is always a balance between the artistic and technical sides to attain the look, the colours and the experience. In addition to Rouge Louboutin, there will be thirty colors to the line organized in three themes: The Pops, The Noirs and The Nudes.  These should become available on August 31st. The Pops are bright colors highlighted with a silver cap: Pop Group   The Noirs are made up of blacks, intense blues, dark browns and greens, Christian chose a gunmetal cap to best showcase these deep tones. Noir Group Named after a recent capsule collection of the same name, the rose gold cap emphasises the varying nude tones of the Nudes collection.From vanillas to chocolates to soft pinks and khakis Nude Group   Rouge Louboutin is currently up for sale on Saks.com, Nordstrom.com, Sephora, and Neiman Marcus. louboutin nail polish

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Jul 242014
 

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream04Here me out. I realize that Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm ($75/1.3 oz) arguably has the won the “most cumbersome name compared to the elegance of the actual product” category. If you don’t know about the Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum moisturizer line, the first few words seem to come from the anime genre. If you do know about the line, you’ll immediate connect this product with a premier way to get incredible, effective hydration that gives the skin glow without the slightest hint of heaviness. Really, it’s a fabulous skincare line. I fall into the latter category, so I was unhesitating in pressing the “order” button on the Light shade of this beautifully formulated Guerlain BB cream. This product is actually a foolproof way to treat your skin to protection, hydration, and enough coverage for most, in a way that is both effective and elegant. Guerlain’s description (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream05

This is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream02This new Guerlain BB cream ticks a lot of boxes that many will love. It actually does deliver on the promises. The travel friendly squeeze-tube has SPF25, offers moisture that is appropriate for dry and combination skin, and gives a lovely, glowing texture to the skin. According to the line, “In a single step, your skin receives instant, long-lasting hydration, your wrinkles and fine lines are smoothed and your complexion is noticeably more even. Its subtly tinted, feather-light texture protects your skin from both UV rays and dehydration while perfecting your complexion for a naturally radiant glow.” This has been a great grab-and-go for me over the past few weeks. It gives light coverage in a single layer, and with two layers it gives light-to-medium coverage that acts like a moisturizing foundation.  Best of all, this lasts throughout the day. It doesn’t have any of the mid-afternoon breakdown that some moisturizing foundations do, giving me hours more coverage compared to YSL Touche Eclat and the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand. It looks far more natural on me than the MAC BB cream.

guerlain bb cream

By comparison, Guerlain’s Lingerie de Peau BB Cream has much thicker texture, which sometimes feels like it melds to the skin very tenaciously. The Guerlain Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty has a much creamier texture. I was surprised to find that both gave about roughly equal long wear times, even in a humid climate.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream 22

There are two potential drawbacks to Guerlain’s Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty BB Cream. Fortunately, neither are deal-breakers for me, given the benefits of the product, but I’m going to mention them. First off, this is scented with a famous Guerlain rose-aqua flower scent. It’s noticeable for a half hour or so. Because I love this about French beauty products, I don’t mind drinking it in. Also, there are only two shades of this product available.  Two.  The Light is perfect for my NC15/20, Chanel Ivoire warm skin tone (emphasis on warm, I think this Light is on the warmer side).  It would probably be fine down to NC25 or so.  Beyond this, I would look at the darker shade, or head to a counter to try these out.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream12

Overall, I love the Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm for the following reasons:

  • Great texture
  • Makes my skin look great
  • Skin care benefits, including the Super Aqua-Serum which I love
  • Light texture
  • Long lasting
  • SPF 25 (yes, you should supplement with a standard sunscreen)
  • Great coverage, which is buildable
  • Generous 1.3 ounce size, perfect for travel
  • Easy, foolproof application if the shade is in your range

Speaking of shades, here are some quick swatches:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand8

Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm ($75/1.3 oz) is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Ingredient (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream06

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Jul 232014
 

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand3Marc Jacobs Fall ’14 collection include its fourth foundation–the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand ($45/0.59 oz.). This is a sheer, emollient foundation with buildable coverage that is packaged in an elegant, unique, fun little wand. The Smart Wand is now available in four shades at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand4

I ordered this in the shade Light 210, which runs slightly cool and light on my NC15/20 Chanel Ivoire skintone. It was certainly in a good range for me, and I don’t mind going a little lighter on my foundations. Unlike his other foundations, Marc Jacobs’ Smart Wand is designed to make  “it easy to take with you for application on the go.” Indeed, I watched a girl do her full makeup on a commuter train the other day. She had good skin, neither dry nor oily, no marks and few imperfections. As I watched her blot a too-orange powder into her lovely skin, I wished that I could have handed this to her. It would have been perfect. The Marc Jacobs Smart Wand erases pores, gives a “natural but much nicer glow,” and makes the skin look polished and perfected in the ways that celebrity skin looks.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand5

My personal experience with the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand was over five days in very humid weather, sometimes with primer and sometimes without. The strengths of this foundation are in its ease of application, amazing texture, and build able coverage.  A first pass gives very, very light coverage, much less than I get with Giorgio Armani’s Maestro serum. This really gives the impression of amazing texture to my skin. It blurs, tones down discoloration (but doesn’t erase them), and gives my skin a really pretty, natural-but-much-better sheen.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand6The Smart Wand has a noticeable scent, which I found pleasant. To put this through its paces, I made up to three additional passes with the Smart Wand to build the coverage, which it did beautifully without caking or showing pores (where are my pores? this seems to erase them). The product feels emollient and moisturizing on the skin. It does not dry down quickly, and I’m attributing this to the skin care qualities in the formula. I resisted the urge to powder it down because that will take away from its gorgeous texture. As the product description notes (this is a copy/paste from the site):

  • Moisturizer contains Coconut oil, Vitamin E and amino acids that nourish and hydrate
  • Proprietary blend of antioxidant green tea and refreshing cucumber fights free radicals while energizing the skin
  • Spherical powders with a photo luminescent diamond core work to diffuse light and blur imperfections

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand7

I must use a primer with this foundation (I used the Nars Light Optimizing). Without it, I got about four hours before I started to notice the foundation looking a little worse for wear. With a primer, I got six or seven hours. The foundation does not promise to be long-wearing, and I did not experience long wear with it either. Swatches in sun:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand8 More swatches in indoor light with flash:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand9I tried a generous sample of the Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Foundation ($55/0.63 oz) for several days recently as well. I used 14 Ivory Medium, which was a pretty good match. These two foundations are completely different. The Marvelous Mousse is a nearly full coverage gel product that has a satin-matte finish. To say that a little goes a long way understates the situation. For a full-coverage foundation, the Marvelous Mousee had a really nice texture, is infused with skin care, and gives a very polished, lovely look. I think it is more coverage than I realistically need. Here is the ingredient list for the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand:

Marc Jacobs Smart WandD1
Overall, I applaud the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand because it represents a re-design of foundation completely from the customer’s perspective. There is absolutely a need for the Smart Wand–easy, fast, convenient, for those looking to add just a little celebrity glow to normal skin without adding lots of coverage. Note that the product has no SPF rating, but the ingredients state that it “may contain” titanium dioxide (perhaps the product has not yet obtained regulatory approval to list an SPF rating yet, which is common for newly-released foundations–I simply don’t know). As I noted, the wear time was a bit on the short side for me. As we all know. foundation is a very personal and individual preference, and this will not work for everyone. Nonetheless, foundation variety is the spice of life, and I’m glad to see companies thinking about the woman/man who wishes to add a touch of magic. Here’s Marc Jacobs take on this new product:

The Smart Wand is now available at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

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

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Jul 202014
 

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad1It seems that every Fall, there are a handful of items that insiders identify quickly as the must-haves of the season. These have extraordinary quality, universal appeal, and are typically limited edition. Yves Saint Laurent’s Couture Leather Fetiche (Leather Fetish) 5-color eyeshadow palette ($60) is one of those items for Fall 2014. As I write this, the palette is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Yves Saint Laurent online, and Neiman Marcus. I had ordered mine from  Saks Fifth Avenue, but it appears to have sold out there. I’m sounding the beauty alarm on this one–do not wait.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad2 I had just cued up some pictures of Yves Saint Laurent’s new couture line of eyeshadow palettes when this one arrived. Given the ephemeral nature of limited edition products, I’m moving this one earlier. To summarize that review (which will appear later), YSL has appeared to have decided to amp up the quality of nearly everything. Good for us all–innovation in the beauty space seems have moved over the past few years from new formulations of lipsticks, mascaras, foundations (this is still very much happening), and now I am seeing a wave of reformulated eyeshadows that is truly extraordinary. This YSL Couture Leather Fetiche is a “best in class” for that category.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad5

The design evokes YSL’s fashion inspiration drawn from Piet Mondrian.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad a1

 

 

Close-up:

Yves Saint Laurent YSL Leather Fetiches

 

Every shade here is a winner–buttery, pigmented, blendable, gorgeous. The highlight and carmel shade on the right are extremely flattering shades. The deeper browns work beautifully worked into the lashline or smudged into the crease. The blue is an extraordinary and rare shade (echoed in this leather-textured Bleu Galuchat nail polish) that is inky, edgy and interesting (and also draws the palette into the universal “works on cool skin tones too” territory).

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadowOne more swatch set.

YSL Leather Fetiche PaletteOverall, the Yves Saint Laurent Leather Fetiche palette is one of the must-haves of the upcoming Fall ’14 season. The palette is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Yves Saint Laurent online, and Neiman Marcus. I had ordered mine from  Saks Fifth Avenue, but it appears to have sold out there. If it sells out soon, I’m very sorry!

piet_mondrian

Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian-inspired dresses (1965)

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Jul 182014
 

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt01I’ve been waiting months for Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup line to come to the U.S. She’s worked so closely with Tom Ford that I suspected that she’s going to feature a line of top shelf products.

Tom Ford London Flagship Store - Launch PartyShe’s visionary. I couldn’t resist when this Charlotte Tilsbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set ($110) came up for sale as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This set features a sculpting bronzer, highlighter and brush, lovingly packed together.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt02Inside, the compact is held in this complex, pretty box.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt03

This box is full of secrets..a cute little touch.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt07Beyond this complex folded paper is a touch of application advice for the sculpting bronzer and highlighter within.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt08

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt09Inside, the compact is beautifully etched. Who does this so finely? Gorgeous.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt10Open the compact, and aside from the full-sized mirror are two pans holding the sculpting bronzer and highlighter:

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt14

This sculpting powder is an easy-to-use, forgiving shade compared to some of the deep taupes we’ve seen from other lines. Foolproof!t

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt13

Here is a comparison of this shade, compared to MAC’s Taupe Shape blush (LE, discontinued), and Chanel’s Notorious.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt16

The sculpting powder is finely milled and leans gold, without any sparkle effect. This goes on very smooth and beautifully.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt12

Here are some swatches comparing Chanel Mouche de Beaute and Chanel Poudre Signee. I found Tilbury’s easier to pick up on a brush (but similar to tone/texture) to Chanel Mouche de Beaute (which is a bit more gold compared to the Tilbury shade). Chanel’s Poudre Signe is more subtle and more ivory compared to Tilbury.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt17The Tilbury brush is the perfect size and shape to use with these powders, and is included in the set. This is a full-size goat hair brush.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt05A close-up of the head:

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt06Overall, I’m really pleased with this set. The color suits my Chanel Ivoire/MAC NC15/20 skin perfectly. The brush makes the set incredibly easy to use. These powders are gorgeous–finely milled, perfectly balanced, and worthy of the luxury label. This set is currently exclusive to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

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Jul 162014
 

Nars Philip Lim05The 3.1 Phillip Lim for NARS collection ($20 each/ nine colors) has just released, a series of nine modern shades with a lovely formula and inspired by colors that “exist in the shadows.” These are currently up for sale on NARS online, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. Indeed, although all of these colors are diverse, there is an undertone that runs through them all that makes them coordinate well together. Those into nail art take note—it will be easy to make stunning variations with these colors.

Nars Phillip Lim 41There seems to be something a little different with this series of NARS polishes–the brushes are wider, the formula more chip-resistant and easier to use. These are all changes for the better. The square bottles have lift-off square tops, revealing easy-to-hold knurled tops.

Nars Phillip Lim 43

Celebrating the longstanding collaboration between NARS and 3.1 Phillip Lim for runway events dating back to Fall 2007, this collection also includes a canvas Pochette ($80), which is perfectly sized to carry this well-edited collection. My Pochette came with this lovely slipcover:

Nars Philip Lim01Inside, the Pochette carries all nine colors plus leaves a little space for a top coat to come along for the ride.  The Pochette is a tough canvas with a zipper that means business, but is gentle to your nails. The Pochette is in stock at Nars and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Nars Philip Lim03

The bottles are protected by an insert which keeps them from clanking together. I can personally attest that mine made it through checked baggage in a cross-country flight and a six-hour road trip in my suitcase (and back again). Genius!  Certainly, the Pochette can be used for other brands of polish as well. In the past, I’ve never had a satisfactory way to travel with any amount of my beloved nail polish. So I love this bag beyond reason:

Nars Philip Lim04

 

Here are the shades in the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Nars Collection. I must apologize for the condition of my nails, given my cross-country move and travel these have seen better days. However, I am not going to wait for repair before showing you these lovelies. All of these are with a topcoat, except for the nail wheel at the bottom of the page which are color-only. First up,  NARS Shutter is a black sea green that looks deeper and more neutral/ gray than the lush grassy Zulu:

Nars Philip Lim08

On nails:

nars shutter1

NARS Gold Viper is a metallic gold that applies beautifully:

Nars Philip Lim16

Gold Viper on nails: Nars Gold Viper2Here is NARS Anarchy, a soft cool shell that NARS calls “angora.”

Nars Philip Lim11I love that Anarchy is not a flat white, rather this cream tone does seem to have a hint of grey that looks shadow-like. Colors this light are sometimes problematic in my nail polish experience. I found that by using care and light layering, NARS Anarchy applied very well. This is two coats without a base:

NARS Anarchy two1Nars Other Side is from the deep vamp family that I find irresistible. The line describes this shade as “bitter chocolate”–I call it yummy.

nars other side1 bottleI love Other Side on nails, it has a deeper/browner tone than many others in this category.

nars other side1

NARS Hell-Bent is a rich, aggressive warm red.

Nars Philip Lim14On nails:

NARS Philip Lim Red1

Nars Wrong Turn is a metallic with multicolored micro glitter that shows dramatically in sun:

Nars Philip Lim09Here is NARS Wrong Turn on nails, which applies to cover nails in a single coat (but I prefer two for a more rich look):

nars wrong turn1Here is NARS Dark Room, described as a blue denim (I’d prefer to think of this as a darker denim because the color is quite deep):

Nars Philip Lim06On nails, NARS Dark Room covers beautifully in two coats.  However, I needed two passes with a remover to get this vibrant color off:

nars dark room three1NARS Crossroads is a dusty purple:

nars crossroads

On nails;

Nars crossroads1

 

NARS Insidious is a rich gold-green, shot through with beautiful micro glitter.

Nars Philip Lim18This one applies like a dream, really it’s irresistable.

nars insiduous1Here is the nail wheel with all shades:

NARS Phillip Lim swatches1

In my view, this is a highly successful designer/beauty collaboration. These colors are gorgeous, the formula is better than ever, I love the new brush, and the Pochette is both extremely useful and well made. As ever with these types of collaborations, these are limited edition items that are up on Nordstrom, NARS online site, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue (which also has the Pochette), and Neiman Marcus.

These items were 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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Jul 152014
 

Nars Liquid Highlighters02

NARS has recently expanded its illuminator range to include two new colors. I love these liquid aluminizes. To me, the liquid form can look more natural than some powders because they can be worked into foundation (and even worn mixed in or under foundation for a subtle effect). Unlike some lines, NARS Illuminators are beautifully formulated, never sticky or heavy, and give the perfect amount of sheen to add a healthy-fabulous glow. Their generous size and travel-friendly packaging make these perfect additions to your makeup collection this summer.

nars 413 blkr highlighter

NARS 413 BLKR ($__) adds a classic pearl shade to its Illuminator line. This color is so universal, or all skin tones and types. It looks amazing with many of the NARS BLKR line as well–those burgundy-based classics really look amazing with this beautiful shade.  This shade is part of NARS 413 BLKR Collection additions, and at NARS Boutiques.

Nars Liquid Highlighters04

NARS Hot Sand ($30/1.0 oz.) adds a pearlized warm peach-gold to this line. Unlike the existing Orgasm and Super Orgasm (which have a strong pink-peach tone), Hot Sand is a softer, more neutral color. This is available at Nordstrom, NARS online (part of the NARS Summer 2014 Color Collection: Adult Swim, Bloomingdales and Barneys New York.Nars Liquid Highlighters05

Here are swatches of both NARS 413 BLKR, Hot Sand and a touch of Armani’s summer Fluid Sheer #13 (a limited edition shade which went quickly).Nars Liquid Highlighters08

Another:Nars Liquid Highlighters10Both of these are standards, and must-haves in my collection. You should note that NARS Hot Sand is limited edition, and some are still available available at Nordstrom, NARS online, Bloomingdales and Barneys New York. Don’t miss them.Nars Liquid Highlighters05

 These highlighters were sent by NARS 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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Jul 132014
 

nordstrom sale It’s that lovely time of year again when Nordstrom has its Anniversary Sale. If you are a Nordstrom cardholder, you have early access to their products. The items will be up for sale for all on July 18th (if they haven’t sold out). I went by my local Nordstrom today to test the waters. Movado rose gold bold watchI love some of the jewelry discounts that I’ve gotten in the past. In the midst of my rose gold obsession, I looked at a few of the watches at the event and chose this Movado Bold Rose Gold watch ($434.90/down from $650). I compared this with some other strong contenders–this very elegant and work-friendly Michael Kors Rose Gold Bailey ($166) which had a very pretty brushed metal on the band, and this fun bold Marc Jacobs uber-bold Rose Gold Blade ($183). This Burberry Bracelet Watch ($330) made it to the final four as an understated classic in a steel color. In the end, the Movado won out because–in my heart of hearts–this face is everything. movado Another piece that I picked up is this Laundry by Shelli Seigal Tweed Reefer Coat ($109.90). The length is really nice, the weight is between a blazer and a coat. What really won me over was the cut and quality of the fabric. It nips in a bit at the waist in a flattering way, and the fabric is very rich (especially for that price!). You can see a touch of leather detail above the pocket, which adds a little something. laundry coat I also took a chance on this Marc by Marc Jacobs James Sweater ($198.90) in Century Blue Melange. This looks all sorts of wrong on the hanger. The sales associate tried to talk me out of trying it on. It really is crazy wide. It’s completely contrary to every form-fitting trend we’ve seen for years. Of course, that’s exactly what drew me in–rethinking the whole idea of a sweater? Sign me up! With tights and either ballet flats or thin-leather boots (and hair up with perfected makeup of course!), this is going to be genius for Fall.  Also it will get me in the mood to test out some Marc Jacobs Beauty Fall items (below is a Kiss Pop lip pencil and Smart Wand Tinted Face Stick). Plus the sweater is perfect for cocooning on a plane, or curling up with a good book until another Polar Vortex passes.marc jacobs sweater nordstrom As far as beauty items go, I’ve already given some thoughts on NARS offerings this year (a first look is here). And yes, in person they are absolutely beautiful. Nars Domination Palette 3 Although I was tempted to get these Dior lipsticks, I decided to try something completely new this year. I took a chance on this Charlotte Tillbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones set ($110).  I’ve been dying to try this line (seriously!) for months since it launched in the UK. I ordered this online, and cannot wait till it arrives (I’ll post an “in real life” picture then, I promise!) charlotte tillbury As I wandered around the store, I saw a few other things that remain on my mind. In addition to some basics that I picked up (hello, Barefoot Dreams!), I decided to give my debit card a little rest. I found that I already have some items in my closet that are “close enough” to these that I’m passing. Still, I thought that the quality level of them was very nice. frye These Frye Patty Riding Booties ($218) are going to go quickly in my opinion. You don’t see Fryes with this much style often, and almost never at a pre-season discount. I was very tempted by this Vince Two Tone Coat ($449). Again, another item that I suspect won’t be around long. It’s modern and classic. This 90% wool coat looks like it will keep out serious cold while still looking cool. Pair this with a nuclear-bright scarf and you’re set. vince coat   Are we ready for Fall? Did you pick up anything from the event? Feel free to share in the comments.

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Jul 112014
 

Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows All ShadesHere is an entire line of the new formula NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows ($29 each/0.05 oz.), which has a mix of a unique texture, wearable colors with a touch of NARS-edge, and gorgeous reflectivity.  I’m posting this from Colorado using pictures that I took in the drought-million-degree temperatures of California, and playing with these shadows every day as I ready myself for a day of conferencing. Part of this is my excitement of this new line, and the other part is that I genuinely love you all and don’t want you to miss out on these beautiful new shadows. These are currently available at NARS online, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New YorkBloomingdaleand Nordstrom.Nars Dual Intensity Shadows All 31 The shade names have a celestial inspiration, which is appropriate given that these resemble stars. What is difficult to understand from a single static image of the line is the amazing way that these eyeshadow interact with changes in light, and yet still retain their ability to hold onto their beautiful color. So my reviews of these shadows will include more pictures than usual to convey how they look when you are holding and using them. All shadows are in the same order as they are in the pictures above: Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows05According to the line, these shades can be applied dry for a sheer finish, or wet for more intensity. All swatches in this post are dry, and in many cases with a few swipes. So you can see that you do not have to use these wet to get intense colors. With many, I got intense color with a soft brush and a single pass. The other aspect of these is how beautifully these shadows coordinate together. I put together a few “quads” (groups of four) without much thought, hoping to show that these are a well-thought out set of colors that integrate well together. Here’s a mix of cools and warms:   Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows09 I love the way that these colors play off of each other for a beautiful mix:Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows08 This mix has two metallic shades–Dione and Himalia-which are extraordinary accent colors that will coordinate well with the satins and mattes that you likely already have in your collection.Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows10 Here are some sets of swatches of all shades. First up is the satiny, complex black NARS Syncorax and the deep starry navy Giove that has pink-purple reflects. This set also includes two ephemeral highlight shades, which primarily reflect color. Cassiopeia reflects pink, and Andromeda reflects a soft gold similar to the NARS Alabaster highlighter for face. Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows15a Swatches: Nars Sycorax Giove Cassiopeia Andromeda Another: Nars Sycorax Giove Cassiopeia Andromeda Here is another set. It was important to me to swatch the last three shades (Subra, Phoebe and Desdemona) together, because there are some similarities looking at their pans in that there are violets/mauves/purples throughout all. As you can see, on the skin they are completely different. First is the soft peach-with-a-touch-of-pink Europa, a beautiful highlight shade that is a smoother version of many soft highlight shades. NARS Subra Nars swatch shadows3 Here are the swatches (please note that these are a different order than the picture, above, but properly labeled in all pictures). You might click on this one to enlarge it so that you can see the complexity of these shades.

NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe1a

Another, slightly tiling away from the (blazing!) sun. Of these, shimmery Phoebe changes the most when moved in the light:NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe2a

 

One more:

NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe3aFinally! The gorgeous metallic shades. These will not look “soft and buttery” in their pans but let me tell you that if you place a brush on these and sweep them across your lid these are heaven. The pigment is highly layer able, so if you want a subtle “sheen” on your lid, do a single sweep (use a soft neutral matte in the crease, and you have an amazing eye). You can layer these up to full metallic intensity if you keep building them up. On my eye, I do one or two sweeps. For evening and on my arm, I built up three to four layers.Nars swatch shadows2All of the above shades have the same metallic qualities. Nars Callisto has soft pink/mauve undertones and pairs well with Phoebe and Subra. NARS Himalia and Dione are currently both killing it with soft golden tones. Himalia is more of a soft true gold, and Dione is a “cool gold.” Because I have been searching for years to find a pretty cool gold, I’m delighted to see it in this collection. NARS Lysithea is a remarkable silver with a slight sage tint, which looks remarkably good on warm tones (and of course is made for cool skin tones as well). Lysithea looks amazing with Sycorax smudged into the lash line, by the way. Nars Callisto Himalia Dione Lysithea If you think that all of these look too good to choose between them, you are right. In my opinion, you need them all. They are different enough that they aren’t really substitutes. If you have to cut out one, I’d get Dione if you have cool skin tone, and Himalia for warm. Yet I am  not taking my own advice, because I’ve worn Dione for several days and I cannot seem to stop (I have warm skin tones). More: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaTilted away from the California sun: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaThe NARS dual intensity metallics change the most in the light. Here are the same swatches in shade, you can see that these are far more subtle: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaOverall, I adore these. They are all winners, honestly. The question is going to be which to get first, and when to get the rest. I’m going to keep playing with these and update with another post focusing on the individual shades. Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows06

These are currently available at NARS online, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New York, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.

These 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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