Aug 282014
 

MAC Brow set2This summer MAC released a few permanent items, including the MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set ($17 0.17 oz.). Because brows are so important, I was curious to try it. I picked up MAC’s Brow Set in Quiet Brunette, described as a “muted mid-tone gray.” This product is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and other MAC sources.

MAC Brow set4

I’ve been wearing this for about a week, and find that it delivers well. The brush is short, and therefore easy to control. The product is highly controllable, so a light brush through will give a light application. You just keep adding for to add more color, drama and emphasis.

MAC Brow set6

I found the MAC Brow Set somewhat comparable to NARS Brow Gel ($22 /0.21 oz.), with a few differences. The NARS colors (swatched here) lean slightly more gray and so seem to be a touch more natural for my coloring. NARS runs a few dollars more per tube, but contains more product. NARS’ formula feels a slight touch dryer, which can translate is a bit less of a tendency to generate clumps. However, the difference is so slight that if I found that a MAC Brow Gel worked better for my coloring, I would  not hesitate to go for the MAC. Here’s a quick comparison between NARS Athens and MAC Quiet Brunette:

MAC and Nars Brown gel comparisons1

 

Here is quick MAC Quiet Brunette Brow Gel on my brow. As you can see, it covers the area quite evenly:

MAC Brow SetOverall, I found MAC Brow Gel a good workhorse product from their Pro Longwear line. I got excellent all-day wear, even in the heat and humidity and through a good workout. There are no problems from flaking, and any tiny clumps can be easily brushed away with the small, controllable blush. If you are in the market for a good brow gel, these are well worth a look.

This product is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and other MAC sources.

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Aug 272014
 

Nars night series pencils1

I have a number of NARS items to share with you, and I’m starting with the NARS Night Series Pencils ($24/each at Nordstrom, ). Something seriously good is happening with this line–so many new formulations, and fun/gorgeous colors! These pencils riff off of the NARS famous Night Series eyeshadows, which have deep, deep colors and a bit of sparkle and shine. These are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Nars online and Saks Fifth Avenue.Nars night series pencils2

The Night Series Eyeliners are offered in these shades:

NARS Night Flight Eyeliner: Black with cobalt blue pearl

Night Bird Eyeliner: Black with purple pearl

Night Clubbing Eyeliner: Black with gold pearl

Night Porter Eyeliner: Black with green pearl

These are sort of awesome. I love the rich color, which applies best on the eye. I found that my arm swatches did not do these justice, so I include one quick eye shot so you could get a better sense. Please be gentle, I’m learning. Here are paper swatches:

Nars night series pencils4

If I had to narrow my choices, it would be Night Flight and Night Porter, the most vibrant shades that give a flash of color. Arm swatches:

Nars night series pencils5Here’s a quick swatch of NARS Night Flight on the eye:

Nars eye

Overall, I love the rich, dark tone of these and the little bit of sparkle that catches the light. These colors are deep enough to be a true eyeliner color, so hat there is no need to apply these over a black (although you could if you like). These are well worth a look. Beautiful.

These are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York, Nars online and Saks Fifth Avenue.

These pencils 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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Aug 222014
 

Tom Ford Fall 201407Some items arrived from Tom Ford Fall 2014 late this afternoon, and so I thought I’d post some quick pictures. From all experience, this appears to be another “blink and you’ll miss them” releases. In other words, limited quantities especially for the Tom Ford Nude Dip quad.  These are the times when the relationships that we’ve formed with sales associates become invaluable. Sometimes the online releases are gone in a remarkably brief time, so call your Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, and Bergdorf counters now if you are interested. It breaks my heart to tell readers that I have no sources a month (or even a day) after some of these collections release.

Tom Ford Nude DipThe Tom Ford Nude Dip Palette ($79) includes four gorgeous neutrals that are high-pearl in texture. So far, so good–the pigment seems to leap onto my brush and apply with a beautiful smooth texture. Let’s walk through each shade separately, shall we? Oh, yes, we shall..

Tom Ford Nude Dip

The top left is a pearly champagne highlight color.

Tom Ford Nude Dip

The top right is a soft light brown.

Tom Ford Nude Dip

The bottom left is a soft pearly taupe.

Tom Ford Nude DipThe bottom right is a deep pearlized brown. Here are some early swatches in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

Tom Ford Nude DipAnother set of the Nude Dip palette.

Tom Ford Nude DipThere are two Tom Ford Contouring Cheek Color Duos ($77 each). Stroked is a soft warm golden coral combination,and Softcore is a dramatic pink-highlight and deep, complex red-mauve-burgundy.. These powders include a highlight color, and a blush/contour shade. They are fabulous.

Tom ford Soft Core Stroked

Here is Tom Ford Stroked:

tom ford stroked

The highlighter portion of Stroked:

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedThe blush shade of Stroked:

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedHere is Tom Ford Softcore:

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedThe highlight color of Softcore is slightly cooler and whiter than the highlighter in Stroked.

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedThe Softcore blush:

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedI did some quick swatches, again not in ideal lighting conditions. When I ordered these from Bergdorf, they suggested that Stroked was perfect for day, and Softcore for evening.

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedAgain, I’m working quickly because I suspect that anyone interested in this collection is going to need to move this week to find the items. I haven’t had time to play with these extensively yet, but I can say that I’m very impressed so far.

Tom ford Soft Core Stroked

These are available at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

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Aug 212014
 

I picked up a few items from MAC’s A Novel Romance Collection, a large Fall collection that had a few neutrals with a twist that seemed pretty and fun. I’m going to post these pictures here quickly, rather than doing a full review which could take more time that I have before sellout. This collection is currently for sale at Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomingdales.

This time around, the eyeshadow quads struck me as both interesting and high-quality. For the $40 price point, I found these original, pretty neutrals-with-a-twist with good pigmentation and a lovely, soft formula.

novel romance quad

 MAC A Novel Romance Quad ($40) is a mix of deep colors and a soft shimmer yellow-gold as a highlight. This seems to favor cooler skin tones, but not exclusively. Swatches:

Novel Romance MAC swatches

 

The taupe in the upper right is a pretty all-over lid color.

MAC Novel romance03 copy

I think I will get the most use out of Amorous Adventure. Swatches:

A novel romance

The above swatch include the two blushes, Fun Ending and Animal Instincts ($22 each). These actually look nice together on the cheek (the deeper Animal Instincts in the cheek hollow, and Fun Ending on the upper cheekbone area). Fun Ending will work on most lighter skintones.

MAC-Novel-romance06

Although MAC’s lipsticks are always popular in these limited edition collections, I passed on them this time around. Did you get anything?

This collection is available at Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomingdales.

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Aug 212014
 

YSL Skin Tatoo1For some reason, over the past year I’ve been really clicking with Yves Saint Laurent Beauty in a way that hasn’t happened before. Encouraged by my love of their new Couture Eyeshadow Palettes, I took a chance and tried the new Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Foundation ($60/ 0.84 oz.). This is currently available at Yves Saint Laurent onlineNordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Sephora.

YSL Skin Tatoo2According to the line:

24 hours of soft-matte perfection and comfort. Our exclusive fine-as-ink formula perfects the skin yet wears weightlessly all day. Never cakey or heavy. Feel the difference of all day perfection and freedom. SPF 18. Available in 21 shades.

Here is an interview with Lloyd Simmonds, the Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, which states that the formula was developed to be both long-wearing and lightweight, so that it appears to adhere to the skin without looking cakey. According to Simmonds, “It’s the perfect foundation for fashion shows because even four hours after application, it’s still there by the time the models hit the runway.”  I had to smile a bit when I read that. I really do need a foundation that lasts more than four hours. Although I loved the look of YSL Tient Touche Eclat, I could not get all-day wear from that foundation on my combination skin. Thankfully, YSL Fusion Ink really does deliver on longevity (more on that later).

YSL Skin Tatoo21

I tried Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink in BD 15 (Warm Buff) for the past week plus, which is an excellent match for my NC15/Chanel Ivoire/ Nars Deauville skintone. This is roughly where I am in all foundation shades–warm, fair. The serum feels light a very light oil going on, a bit like Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Foundation.  YSL’s Fusion Ink is very pigment rich–a light first pass all over my face gives me roughly medium coverage. I find this very layerable.  Because you do not need much product to get good coverage, a second layer (or third, in places) doesn’t seem to give any textural build-up. There’s a light scent that fades quickly (ah, the French! They do love the scents!) For me, coverage is nearly full on a second layer.  Still, it doesn’t look as “masky” as some foundations do at that level of coverage.

YSL Skin Tatoo5

The texture takes a while to dry down, I give it a good two or three minutes before I apply any powder products. While it’s setting, I often add a liquid bronzer like Giorgio Armani’s Liquid Summer (other nice ones include Perricone MD’s No Bronzer Bronzer and MAC Prep & Prime BB Cream (in Amber)). It’s nice to add some alight bronze for summer.

YSL Skin Tatoo6

 YSL Fusion Ink is rated at SPF 18, but one does not use much of this product, so a separate sunscreen is necessary. There is no pump for this serum-textured foundation. Instead, there’s an applicator that looks like the YSL lip applicators (or a super-stylized bubble blower, whichever you prefer). I sweep this over my cheeks, forehead, and dab it on my chin before using my fingers to spread the product.

YSL Skin Tatoo3So, this dries down to a velvet finish. It’s beautiful. It doesn’t need a setting powder. Adding one didn’t seem to increase it’s already day-long longevity. YSL Fusion Ink takes highlighters well if you want to add. There’s shocking longevity here, even though I get caught in occasional muggy 90-degree heat, the foundation doesn’t break apart, disappear, fade, or shift like the tectonic plates (as some foundations seem to do). After a day that starts at 4 am and ends at midnight, going in and out of heat and air conditioning, it really does look amazing at the end. My forehead is only ever-so-slightly dewier in the evening, but much less so compared to most foundations.  YSL Fusion Ink is well-named, and does it while feeling lightweight and melding into the skin perfectly. Ingredients:

YSL Tatoo ingredients

The foundation didn’t cause any of my pores to clog, gave me a beautiful all-day finish, and covers any discolorations like mad. The price point is on the mid-to-higher end these days, but it does look expensive, and makes my skin look amazing. It reminds me of Chanel’s new Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation (but a bit lighter because the YSL is a true serum), and a bit like Giorgio Armani’s Maestro serum with a higher coverage formula. I was concerned that the bottle includes slightly less than the typical 1 ounce of most other lines. However, if you are looking for medium to nearly-full coverage, you’ll get to that level with a small bit of product.

YSL Skin Tatoo22Overall, I was impressed with Yves Saint Laurent’s Fusion Ink. I believe that there’s some innovation at the company right now, and it’s showing as new products are rolling out. This foundation certainly fills a real need for a very long-wearing, medium-to-high coverage formula. Bravo, YSL!

Available at Yves Saint Laurent onlineNordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Sephora.

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