Jun 112014
 

Nars Contour Powders01Who doesn’t love a little sculpting?  I love the fact that the three new NARS Contour Blushes in Olympia (light), Paloma (medium) and Gienah (deep) ($42 each) include both a contour and a highlight shade in one palette. Nars Contour Blushes are available at Barneys.com, Nars online, Nordstrom.com, and Sephora.

Nars Contour Powders03As you would expect, all three powders are excellent quality, and beautifully formulated and coordinated. We found that the colors were easy to use, especially when using the NARS Contour Brush #21 ($42), which is perfectly shaped to work with these powders.

Nars Contour blush 21eNARS Olympia is the lightest shade for a very subtle effect on light skin tones. This is the best color for Liz and my MAC NC15/ NARS Deauville/Chanel Ivoire skin tone depending on the desired effect.

Nars Olympia1a

NARS Paloma are two medium tones.

Nars Paloma1a

NARS Gienah is for deeper skin tones.

Nars Gienah1

Here are swatches of all three:
Nars Contour Powders Swatches2Another set:

Nars Contour Powders Swatches4 Here is NARS Olympia on Liz:

Liz Nars Paloma Contour Powder1

Liz is wearing Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in B20 with Dior Fluid Stick in Pandore, Nars Lost Coast eyeshadow duo, and Nars Olympia Contour Blush. One more (same items used):

Liz Nars Paloma1

Overall, these are remarkably easy, extremely high quality and can be counted on to give professional results. Nars Contour Blushes are available at Barneys.com, Nars online, Nordstrom.com, and Sephora.

Nars provided these blushes to Cafe Makeup without change for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jun 042014
 

MAC Pedro Lourenco1MAC has another designer-inspired collaboration, and I just cannot seem to resist taking a look at these. This time features Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenco, who has created a nude, metallic and red collection that has a few times that are worth your time. PedroLaurenco_001_1366.320x480This collection has specialized packaging, which mirrors the minimalist style of the designer.

MAC Pedro Lourenco2a

The one item that really stands out in my mind is the MAC Pedro Lourenco Nude Quad ($44). I occasionally get reader questions looking for a lovely textured, neutral eyeshadow palette. Readers, take note of this one. MAC Pedro Lourenco4 Although it’s entirely plausible that many have similar shades, this is the one that I’ll be packing for a two-week seminar that I’ll be attending later this month. The textures are excellent, the quad (which contains two shimmers and two mattes) is going to give me all of the looks that I’ll need for this work-friendly venue. MAC Pedro Lourenco6Two shades are MAC permanent (the top right All that Glitters, and the bottom right Sable), and the two mattes are limited edition (the top left Pink Sands, and the bottom left Rose Cloud).  All four of these shades are winners, and they all coordinate beautifully together. If you need a good, sturdy, modern quad that allows you to make a look with a single piece MAC’s Pedro Lourenco Nude is worth picking up. MAC Pedro Lourenco7 The other item that I got was the MAC Pedro Lourenco Corol Powder Blush ($26). This is an unusual blush duo, with a soft, matte light pink-coral shade, and a pigmented pink-plum. I really owe my love for this combination to a few people on Specktra.net (shout out to Liba and Mac-Guy), who posted helpful impressions of this product. MAC Pedro Lourenco3 The Pedro Lourenco Corol blush is a love-hate product depending on your skin tone, and for my skin tone (MAC NC15-Chanel Ivoire), it’s love. The light matte shade shows up as a light pink blush when I use a stiff blush brush. Here’s the secret-after I apply this as a blush, I can use the lighter shade as an all-over matte beauty powder/complexion brightener with a softer brush (gorgeous! and really cool looking in the summer heat). The deep pink-plum shade is a beautiful blush/contour. Really, the combination is very pretty. MAC Pedro Lourenco5 These are both “blink and you’ll miss them” micro-release products. The quad is currently online at Nordstrom, MAC and Macy’s. Miraculously, Macy’s still has the Corol blush.

It’s uncertain whether these will be in all stores that carry MAC in store. I called several department and MAC stores on the West Coast yesterday, and got very inconsistent responses. If you’d like to find these on counter, I strongly suggest that you call ahead and check.

I hope that you enjoyed this quick look at this micro-release. I always hesitate before doing these posts, because I know that stock may go out very fast. However, since I had a moment and these showed up on my doorstep, I thought these were worth sharing.

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Jun 012014
 

Dior My Lady Blushes1aThis summer, Dior’s My Lady Glowing Blush Palettes ($60 each/0.35 oz.) have been remarkably hard to get. In two colors, 002 Pink and 003 Coral, these are both intricacy etched, finely milled, and beautifully formulated.

Dior My Lady Blushes2aI was able to order mine from a Dior boutique, and I noticed today that both are up for sale on Saks.com. Probably Dior’s most stunning pieces from a gorgeously successful beauty season, these are well worth a look. Packed with mini-kabuki brushes, they both offer a lovely combination of colors that blend into a beautiful, glowing, natural wash of color. Here is Dior My Lady #002 Pink, which applies as a soft cool violet-pink. Love the signature Dior Cannage etching:

My Lady Blush 002a

Here is Dior My Lady #003 Coral, which is a warm, gorgeous soft red-coral.

Dior My Lady Blushes4a

Here are some quick swatches of both (these are the best I can do in my on-the road shooting conditions right now:

Dior My Lady Blushes5a

So beautiful! I wanted to do a very fast post so that you could get them while these are now available.

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Apr 082014
 

Houglass Ambient blushes01

It’s Cafe Makeup’s turn to have some fun with the Hourglass Ambient Blushes ($35 each). I’ve been playing with four of the shades—Hourglass Radiant Magenta, Mood Exposure, Luminous Flush, and Diffused Heat. These blushes are available at Net-A-PorterBarneys New York, and Sephora.

Houglass Ambient blushes05

These soft shimmery blushes are gorgeous in their pans. The swirls of luminous highlighter and color look absolutely gorgeous, and it’s sort of fun to swirl a brush on these and find out the actual color that they give. Above are Radiant Magenta, Mood Exposure, Luminous Flush. Below is Diffused Heat.

Houglass Ambient blushes11

Because of their swirling pattern, no two blushes will be the same–even if their actual name is the same. Below are two different Radiant Magenta’s, and you can see that their swirl pattern is completely different.

Houglass Ambient blushes04

I’ve found that applying these to properly moisturized skin topped with a luminous foundation gives a gorgeous look. Although some have reported short lasting power, I didn’t find that to be the case with my skin and the colors that I tried. However, I did notice that one has to go slowly with these and build.  Specifically, when applying you might find that your brush is giving you very light pigmentation with these blushes. Then suddenly you add an extra layer and—voila!–maybe too much?  Then I had to powder down a bit. So I find that it is best to use a light hand and layer, holding back a bit from a heavy, over-confident amount that can become a bit too bright.

Houglass Ambient blushes03

Of the six shades that are in the current release, I think that I might have been happy with three total. I adore Hourglass Mood Exposure for natural, softly shimmered look.

Houglass Ambient blushes07

I am also very glad to have Hourglass Radiant Magenta. I love this softly bright pink color, and cool pinks can be so flattering.

Houglass Ambient blushes06

Of the remaining two, I could have gotten by with either Luminous Flush or Diffused Heat. Luminous Flush is pictured below.

Houglass Ambient blushes08

Diffused Heat looks very different in the pan, but applies in the same color family.

Houglass Ambient blushes10

Swatches of all four shades, taken in the light day sun with flash:

Hourglass ambient Blush swatches1

Another:

Hourglass ambient Blush swatches7

My son’s friend, Yoojin, dropped by to play with some of the Cafe Makeup vault one recent afternoon. I must admit, we had fun. Here, Yoojin is wearing Hourglass Mood Exposure on cheeks, a very light dab of Estee Lauder Sculpting Lipstick in Intense Nude, and the Narsissist Palette (still available at Sephora, Nordstrom, as well as at Saks). You can see that Hourglass Mood Exposure can give a very natural, subtle, sophisticated look.

Hourglass Mood Blush applied2

One more, where you can see her cheek becomes a bit illuminated due to the subtle glow of the Hourglass Ambient blush:

Hourglass Mood Blush applied1b

Overall, I’ve been using and loving these blushes. Hourglass has captured some very pretty colors together with a touch of glow that is really very well done.

Hourglass provided Radiant Magenta to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. The other colors were purchased by me. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Mar 132014
 

JardinCamelias2014_collection

We chose a few items from Chanel Jardin de Camelias that we’d like to share with you, to put you in the mood for spring. This collection is exclusive to Chanel.

Chanel Sakura Collection02

The Chanel Jardin de Camilias is part of a long tradition of this line to release a soft, face-brightening capsule collection this time of year. Of the items that we chose, my favorite is the Chanel Ombres Tracees eyeshadow palette in Jardin Zen ($65).

Chanel Sakura Collection01

This softly pigmented collection has a light cream-toned highlighter and a soft cool pink. To keep the color palette in the sophisticated (rather than the jejune) side of things, Chanel has added a soft mid tone grey-mauve and a deep pigmented black. There is a soft sheen throughout the shades, and an inconsistent bit of sparkle throughout the mauve and black shades. The design is gorgeous.

Chanel Sakura Collection14

Swatches:

Chanel zen jardin1

Chanel Jardin Zen is the perfect palette for understated sophistication. If you are the kind of person who thinks that most eyeshadows look too strong on you, this is the perfect palette for you. This lightest shades are a soft whisper of color in an ultra-finely-milled powder. Here is Liz wearing the three lightest shades, applied very lightly with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush.

Chanel Sakura Collection on Liz1a

 

I’ve been having very good luck applying this palette with the Wayne Goss eyeshadow brushes (typically, #3). We didn’t use the Jardin Zen black shade in this picture, although it makes a good eyeliner shade or applied softly in the outer “V” of the eye to add depth.

Chanel Sakura Collection eyeshadow on Liz3a

Above, Liz is also wearing the Chanel Joues Contraste powder blush in Sakura ($43). This is a softly-pigmented cool medium pink. We had to layer it on quite a bit to build up the color that you see on Liz in these photographs.

Chanel Sakura Collection on Liz3

Above, Liz is wearing the Jardin Zen eyeshadow palette, the Chanel Sakura blush, and Tom Ford Paradiso lipstick. Below, she wearing the same makeup and singing Jay Z’s “Tom Ford” because we get sort of carried away like that. She’s also used the T3 Bodywaver ($149). We’ve both become addicted (we each own one by this point). Anyway, I think the Chanel Jardin de Camelias products look quite natural on her.

Chanel Sakura Collection on Liz2

We also tried  two Chanel Rouge Allure lipsticks in this collection–Chanel Rouge Allure Charmeuse and Chanel Rouge Allure Fleurie ($34 each). Chanel Charmeuse is a pretty soft lustrous semi-sheer nude.

Chanel Fleure lipstick2

There is a touch of shimmer in the formula.  This reminds me of Tom Ford Pink Dune, but the formula feels more moisturizing and lush.

Chanel Fleure lipstick1

Because Charmeuse has some sheerness, it doesn’t “blank out” one’s lips or give the “corpse effect.” You’ll see a touch of your natural lip color showing through, depending on how heavily you apply the color. On Liz:

Chanel Sakura Collection2a

Chanel Fleurie is a cool medium rose with red shimmer reflects.

Chanel Sakura Collection12

Another:

Chanel Sakura Collection17

This reminded me of Tom Ford Paradiso, however again I prefer the Chanel formulation (your mileage may vary, but the Rouge Allure feels better and seems to last a bit longer on me). On Liz:

Chanel Sakura Collection5

Swatches:

Chanel Asia 2014 collection5a

Overall, this quiet little capsule collection from Chanel is easy to miss. Perhaps you shouldn’t, especially if you love soft, natural colors that look amazing everyday.

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