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

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream08 This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup

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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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