May 202011

Although Burberry Beauty Brush No. 2 (price not yet determined) is not yet for sale, I was able to obtain one during the last Holiday season when Nordstrom had a gift with purchase that included this lovely, incredible brush.  This is an unbelievable powder brush.  It’s dense, it’s luxurious, and it works.   It’s absolutely perfect for either a light dusting of setting powder, or a very soft application of bronzer or blush on pale skin.

The handle is substantial without being too heavy.  It’s held up beautifully through weekly (or more) washings for the past five months.  I had no lost bristles, it dries perfectly overnight.

Is “brush-gasm” a word?  Like Chanel’s Euro face powder brush (reviewed here), Burberry Face Brush No. 2 has a wide, flat side that contours beautifully to the face.

Turn the brush sideways, and you will see that the top of the bristles narrow down to a chisel in a way that allows a very light application of powder.

I found a number of similarities between the Burberry Face Brush No. 2 and Chanel Flat Powder Brush #3 (Pinceau Poudre Flat). Here is a side-by-side:

Bottom line:  Highly recommended.

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May 192011

Over the past few months, Burberry Beauty began selling a few items from its brush line (previewed here).  In addition to a limited release of gift with purchase items that Nordstrom featured during the Holiday season, the store is now selling Eye Brushes Nos. 9, 10 and 11 (pictured here among the other eye brushes).

Last week, I picked up both Burberry Beauty Brushes No. 10 and 11 to expand my brush range.  The quality of these brushes is extremely high.  Even the softly-colored Burberry eyeshadows cling to them beautifully, laying down a serious layer of pigment.  The handles are sleek, classic and beautifully machined.  The “heft” factor is appropriate–these are light but solid.  Let’s take a closer look at these two…

Burberry Beauty Brush No. 10 ($32) is a variation on a pencil brush, intended for smudging and making softly defined lines.  It comes packed in a plastic sleeve inside a velveteen cover marked with the trademarked Burberry plaid with a black-on-black texture.

I found that the head of Burberry’s Eye Brush No. 10 was denser and larger than the MAC 219 pencil brush ($24.50).  Here’s a side-by-side of the new, unused Burberry next to my well-worn MAC 219:

I’ve played with Burberry’s Eye Brush No. 10 and find that it gives a beautifully pigmented, rich lay-down of color.  With a pigmented soft shadow (NARS Mekong, for example), I got a beautifully rich line of color where the soft gold sparkles showed up nicely.  I’m so pleased with this brush, I know that I’ll get constant use from it.  The handle of No. 10:

Burberry Beauty Eye Brush No. 11 ($38) has an uncommon, but extremely useful shape.  The top is a slanted, flat circle that lays down a rich sweep of color over the entire lid.  It can also be used for precise placement of powders under the eye over concealer.

The bristles are very dense, and works beautifully like a magnet, depositing color very evenly across with lid with a single sweep.

These are great quality brushes, and a pleasure to use.


Bottom line:  Highly recommended.

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Apr 082011


A month ago, I offered this look inside my suitcase to show you what I brought to Paris.  Now that I’m returning, I wanted to do a quick sketch of what worked, what didn’t and what I missed most from my permanent stash.

First:  What worked? As some of you probably guessed, I brought way too much.  Like Rachel Zoe packing shoes for Fashion Week, I could have easily left one-third of these items at home.  On the road, I almost never had time to play with new looks.  Also, the culture of makeup in Paris emphasizes great skin and minimal eye color.  When I saw so many women like myself wearing understated color (except for lips, of course!), I didn’t think about deeply pigmented teal shadow.  If you’ve read Café Makeup, you already know my aesthetic.  Multiply that times 1,000, omit bronzer in favor of a nude blush and you’ll get my perfect Parisian face.

My standard everyday face included:

  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B10 Great coverage, no breakouts.  By the way, if you haven’t seen this video by Lisa Eldridge on Chanel Confidential about the use of Vitalumiere Aqua, you should. I highly recommend watching this, even if you already own and love the product.

  • Nars Maui multiple. This added just the right touch of nude glow, contour and highlight.  Liz picked it up for me before I left, and I’m glad that she did. I loved it, wore it nearly every day.
  • By Terry Eye Primer. Adds a touch of moisture.  I followed up by adding a touch of concealer on top (usually the Cle de Peau).

  • Sublime de Chanel Mascara. Reviewed here. I’ve falled in love.  According to Chanel, it’s coming to the U.S. in August.
  • Edward Bess Soft Smoke Eyeshadow trio. Hello, I’m in Paris–a nice neutral deep eye is perfect here.  Edward Bess’ Soft Smoke has a subtle highlight, the perfect mid-tone grey and a nice black liner color (reviewed here). I wore this almost every single day.  These colors look simple, but really they look extremely good when applied on the eye.  I’ll never take that for granted–it’s much harder to find an excellent near-matte neutral that makes you look luminous and alive than you would ever think.  It’s an investment palette–but well worth it in the long run.

  • Le Metier de Beaute Precision Eyeliner.  No extra brush required.  It can go subtle or heavy, depending on the application.  I used this almost every day.  Plus, it’s tiny and so easy to pack.

  • Lip Product de Jour. I liked the options that I brought, plus I added some Chanel Rouge Coco Shine on arrival.  Overall, I had a nice variety to add color to an otherwise neutral face.

Second:  Let’s talk skincare!

  • Suncare:  Even in the cloudy, grey days of March, I didn’t go anywhere without sun protection.  When I travel, I’m outside for hours at a time, and sometimes all day.   Sometimes the weather was gloriously sunny, but even cloudy days let some UV light do their damage.  Every day, I applied EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46, which is absolutely awesome for my acne prone skin.  It includes physical sun protection and seems to disappear into my skin without leaving a tint or white cast.  Because I wasn’t bothered by the paparazzi (note to self: work on that!) I can’t comment on how this looks in flash photographs.  In daylight, the texture was very workable.  Most importantly, it didn’t break me out.  I bought mine at my dermatologist’s office, but it’s also available online from the Dermstore and elsewhere.  Worth every penny.

  • Cleansers/toners: Good skin must be cleansed.  This time around, I threw in a travel-sized Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Buffing Beads from this Sephora Fabulous Four set, a decant of my Shu Uemura Cleansing oil, and a decant of my DDF 10% Glycolic toner.  Perfect combination.  It’s really important to bring an oil cleanser to get any sunscreen off.

Third:  What could I have left behind? My biggest packing error was too many duplicate products.  Here’s what I would have pared down:

  • Too many eyeliners.  I had three–Bobbi Brown’s Chocolate Shimmer and Black Ink, plus Le Metier de Beaute’s liquid eyeliner pen.  I should have picked one black liner.
  • Too many concealers. I have three in the picture above, then I added another in my carry-on bag.  Really, one is enough.
  • Duplicate bronzers.  NARS Maui multiple and Chanel’s powder bronzer was one too many.
  • Sephora straightener for Europe.  A few years ago, a blogger recommended buying a European-specific hair straightener because her U.S. version had blown up even when using a converter.  So I got a Sephora straightener (which is made by Corioliss) made for 220 volt systems.  This year, it stopped working the first week–what a waste of suitcase space and money.  Next time, I’ll look at a battery-powered option.

Fourth:  What did I miss?

  • Brow pencil. I had nothing for brows–no pencil, and no good powder substitute.  I bought Chanel’s new Crayon Sourcils Sculptant almost immediately when I arrived and used it every day.  I like that it includes an eyebrow brush on one end, because I hadn’t packed one of those either.  I loved the texture.  I bought it in the lightest shade, Blond Clair 10, which is a touch too yellow for me.  I’ll be excited to see the other shades when they arrive in the U.S. in August.

  • Clarisonic Skin Cleanser. I made the right call to leave this at home.  It’s really bulky (although the new, smaller Mia might be better).  Unlike my computer and camera equipment, it’s not compatible with Europe’s 220 electric system.  There is no comparable product sold in Europe.  So, even though I was correct to leave this out of my already-overflowing suitcase, I really missed it.

  • I missed my nail polish range. Again, I made the right call not bringing more than two bottles–a clear Sally Hansen and Chanel Strong. My nails get completely trashed when traveling, there’s no avoiding it.  Still, I missed not having any nude or taupe options, or a nice clear red.  I don’t think there’s a good answer for this.  You just have to give up some things when you’re on the road.

Well, my dearest readers, how did I do?  Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?


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Feb 132011

People have asked me about which makeup items I use most. Here’s a post showing the contents of my makeup bag, holding the things I use everyday and bring back and forth from school to home to friends’ houses. I also use Chanel’s Poudre Universelle ($50) (not pictured). Feel free to ask questions.

And yes, I really do carry around four bronzers at the same time.  And no, I’ve never been to the Jersey Shore.  -Liz

  1. Chanel Powder Brush # 6 ($52)
  2. Chanel Foundation Brush # 16 ($40)
  3. Urban Decay Naked Palette ($45)(reviewed here)
  4. Cross tweezers ($5)
  5. Zoya Astra nail polish ($7) – I keep this in my bag for emergency purposes.  I’m not really sure what kind of emergency would call for a glitter pink nail polish.  But if there is one, I’m ready.
  6. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer ($28) – Too dry for under eyes. I use it for spots but don’t use it very often because my foundation is so good.
  7. Tarte Park Avenue Princess Bronzer ($29) – Almost as good as my Guerlain bronzer at #14.
  8. Guerlain Terracotta Orient Sun ($65) – Best bronzer ever. Guerlain please bring it back!!
  9. Guerlain Le 2 Volume Mascara 13 Or 2 Nuit ($36) (reviewed here)
  10. MAC Glimmershimmer in On the Town ($20ish)
  11. MAC Vanilla Pigment ($19.50) – Rarely use but nice to have just in case.
  12. MAC Royal Assets – Metallic Eyes ($36)
  13. Chanel Lift Lumiere (Intensity 1.0/Ivoire) ($65) – I love this foundation because as the day progresses, it looks better than when I first put it on.
  14. Guerlain Terracotta Light Sheer Bronzing Powder ($50)
  15. Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder- Bali Brown ($33)
  16. MAC Iridescent Pressed Powder / Belightful ($20ish)
  17. Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in Pink Explosion ($42) (reviewed here and here)
  18. Clinique Happy to Be Body Cream (gift with purchase)
  19. Shiseido Hydro Powder Eyeshadow in Whitelights H2 ($22) – Great for inner corner of eyes. This is my second jar and I love to layer or keep it almost sheer for sparklieness.
  20. Prestige Total Intensity Eyeliner in Deepest Black ($5) – I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this eyeliner. I wear this eyeliner in every picture of me posted on I only apply it to my lower water line.
  21. Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in Insolence ($32)(reviewed here)
  22. Benefit High Beam (gift with purchase)
  23. MAC Moth Brown eyeshadow ($14.50).  From the Barbie Collection, this is my go-to when I want to do a smokey eye.
  24. Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in Magnolia ($32) (reviewed here)- I don’t normally wear lipstick but I’ve found that this formula is age appropriate.
  25. Chanel Glossimer in Nakkar ($28.50) (reviewed here)- A red that I can put on without a mirror.

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Bobbi Brown Blush Brush

 Bobbi Brown, Brushes and Tools  Comments Off on Bobbi Brown Blush Brush
Dec 142010

When I went to a Nordstrom Bobbi Brown event at San Francisco Center last month, there was a give-away Bobbi Brown Blush Brush (normally $50) with a $100 purchase.  In addition to blogging about the deal, I called to ask my favorite Nordstrom makeup sales person, Kristy at the Burberry counter, to put one aside because I knew that I was not going to pass this one up.  Such deals are usually “while supplies last” and sometimes store events can be quite busy.

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Sep 142010

Last week, I stopped by the San Francisco Center Nordstrom, which has a beautiful Burberry Beauty counter, to see what the department manager Kristy knew about upcoming products.

First, Burberry is set to release a line of brushes. If you’ve had a makeover at a Burberry counter, you’ve undoubtedly noticed their high quality.  The prices for these is not yet set, and there is no formal projected release date.  In addition, Burberry makes a brush roll/belt, however it has not yet been decided whether or not this will be sold to the public, or simply reserved for those who work at counters.

I was able to get a closer look at the brush line, and share some quick pictures for your review.  The numbers correspond to Burberry’s number designation for them:

  1. Blush/contour brush with an angled top;
  2. A very large, flat powder brush that is a very similar size and shape compared to Chanel’s European large powder brush (reviewed here).  The ferrule looks a little longer on the Burberry, otherwise the brushes seem quite similar;
  3. A round-top powder brush;
  4. An brush with synthetic bristles for cremes and foundation;
  5. A small brush with synthetic bristles that can be used as a lip brush or a creamy concealer (according to Kristy, Burberry does have a concealer in the works);
  6. A large powder brush, that may be used for an eyeshadow wash and blending;
  7. A large flat powder eye brush.

More (note that these are placed slightly out of numerical order):

8.  Standard flat eyeshadow brush;
9.  (on the far right) Large blender brush (eye);
10. Pencil brush (eye);
11.  Large angled brush (eye and precise powder placement on face).  This is going to be the very first Burberry brush that I will buy when they are released.  I had a MAC brush of this same size and shape, and it was extremely useful.  You can use it to completely cover a lid in powder, or the undereye area in powder.  It has a dense, angled head with soft bristles.  Love.
12.  Stiff angled brush, for liner or brows
13.  Mascara or brow brush.

These brushes are in addition to the Burberry Beauty Brush, which was reviewed here.

Here are the same brushes all snug and organized in the brush roll:

In addition, Kristy showed me a picture of the Burberry Star Product Holiday Charm.  The largest of these cubes will hold a Burberry gloss in No. 9 Nude Beige.  I will do a review of Nude Beige, which I purchased in the full size, in a few days so that you can see the color.  These will be priced at $85 each:

I view this charm as an ideal gift for a Burberry fashion fan.  A full sized lipgloss is $27, so it is evident that much of the price of the charm is the design and metalwork.  I think we are all familiar with the Dior makeup charms that have been released in prior years, and how quickly they sell out.

Although the brushes are not yet for sale, if you are interested in a pre-order for the charm, I would not hesitate to call your local Nordstrom Burberry counter to pre-order the item.  If you don’t yet have a counter, you might call Kristy at 415 243-855 x 1491.  By the way, Kristy is also happy to work with you to provide samples and information about the line.  She also mentioned that she might be willing to waive shipping for some orders, so I would encourage you to explore that with her directly.

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Aug 312010

I’ve noticed a tradition of some beauty bloggers, who do a month-end wrap of “10 Things I’m Loving Right Now,” to let readers know which products are getting the most use.  In some ways, I find those posts the most valuable because it helps me understand which products have taken center stage, and so worth checking out for myself.  As August nears its close, I thought that I’d give this format a try:

1.   Chanel Flat Powder Brush (European)— Reviewed here. Used with Caron powder, this brush gives me a perfect airbrush finish.  Amazing, soft feel and very natural application.  A great investment.  If you can’t get this one soon, perhaps look at the MAC equivalent–which I haven’t tried but which seems to be a similar shape.

2.  Edward Bess Daydream Bronzer— Reviewed here.  I love this on a train, I love this in the rain, I love this in a boat or when wearing a coat…you get the picture.  Always looks amazingly natural and beautiful.  The Perfect Bronzer.  Times ten.

3.  Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in Confidence—  Reviewed here.  Can you bottle confidence?  No, but you can put it in a heavy glass tube with a doe-foot applicator.  Always looks wonderful.  Here it is worn by January Jones at the 2010 Emmys:

4.  Burberry Foundation—  Love the finish and ease of using this foundation.  It lasts all day, although it is a very lightweight foundation.  This can be layered for extra coverage where needed.  Well worth investigating.  Swatches are here.

5. Butter London All Hail McQueen— reviewed here.  I’m the last person to ever expect to enjoy wearing a holographic polish.  But I’m going to have to buy a second one of these soon.  The color is so on-trend, it’s a very light taupe/griege.  Indoors, the holographic quality doesn’t show, it’s only when the nail is hit by light that it turns magical.  Easy, perfect application.

So tell us what you are loving right now?

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Aug 202010

My very first eyeshadow brushes were cast-off gift-with-purchase horrors that hardly picked up pigment, did not allow me to place the color precisely and blended away any effect I was trying to achieve.  Someone had given to me, and now I can see why.  I kept those brushes for far too long, imagining that my skill level was entire problem.  Even when I bought very good quality eyeshadows, I was never really happy with the results.  A few makeovers taught me the importance of using good brushes–you can actually work with the powder, place it precisely and do controlled blending.

In this spirit, I recently got Chanel’s Eyeshadow Blending Brush #17, a large, flat brush that can be used to blend or to do a wash over large areas of the lid.  The bristles are rather soft, pliable and short. The short bristles allow plenty of control and the softness ensures that the brush is not working against you by removing powder.

Unlike Chanel’s U.S. eyeshadow brush, the Eyeshadow Blending brush is quite a bit wider and the bristles are shorter.  Here is a comparison with a brush that most makeup lovers already own (MAC #217), so you can compare the relative size and shape (click to enlarge):

Because I like simple washes without harsh lines, I’ll probably wear this one out.  A brush with a similar head that is easily available in the U.S. is Laura Mercier All Over Eye Color brush.  I hope to add to my Chanel European brush collection when I return to Europe next time.

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Aug 192010

Lately, I’ve craved basics.  Every beauty email that features brushes, primers, nail polish removers has drawn my attention.  I’ve replenished my nearly-gone foundations, hair products and nail topcoats.  Even t-shirt and sweaters in basic colors pull me in.  I’m not sure if this is due to the impending Fall season–like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter–or simply because I’ve blogged about so many color products lately that this is my personal backlash toward high practicality.  Beauty brushes are a basic, everyday tool needed for proper application.

During my recent travels I picked up Chanel’s Flat Powder Brush #3 (Pinceau Poudre Flat) (approximately 50 Euros) offers a large, gradated series of bristles designed for light application over large surfaces.  The bristles are very soft and pliable.

My Shu Uemura 18R (pictured below) as a very typical powder brush shape–round with a long, soft bristles that end in a graduated, dome shape at the top.  By contrast, the Chanel brush has longer bristles that are more dramatically graduated.  The Chanel is flat, but on the wide side the bristle surface area is very large and the handle is short.

The graduated bristles are designed to give a very soft application for powders for the face, shoulders and other areas of the body.   This brush works well for a very soft, blended, and natural cheek contour.

Viewed from the side, you can see the very steep dome at the top, which promotes light, soft, and gradual application.  It seems almost impossible to get a hard edge from this very pliable brush:

I’m not convinced that this brush is highly unique–for example, MAC Pro sells the #134 Large Powder Brush for around $52 with a similar size and shape.  I picked up the Chanel while traveling, according to my philosophy that the best souvenirs are ones that you can use every day.

As an aside, did anyone see the Rachel Zoe Project this week?  Was I the only one that caught her line “a Chanel a day keeps the doctor away”?  I literally laughed out loud, but I did not disagree.

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Aug 172010

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that Chanel completely revamped its brush line in Europe.   Currently a series of fourteen (14) brushes with matte black handles with silver-colored ferrules, during my last trip I determined to pick out a few and bring them home.

I concentrated on brushes that were the most different from those in the U.S. Chanel line.  So one of my choices was the Pinceau Contours – Contour Face Brush #5 (approximately 40 euros), a short, wide brush with rather stiff bristles. In the display, the Contour Face Brush is marked “Must Have” (in English).

When Chanel says that, I listen.

This brush is described as follows:

A clear beveled brush to sculpt the cheeks, the contours of the face and décolleté. Perfectly tapered and curved, the mixture of natural and made bristles make this brush a precise and professional tool to sculpt the face.  Apply brush to the tops of the cheekbones and back to the temples. The brush is ideal for carving and structure contours of the face.

Here is a close up of the wide, densely bristled head:

Unlike a kabuki, the brush is quite slim.  It is only wide from side to side.  Closer:

Here is the back, demonstrating France as its country of origin:

Compare this dense, wide and flat Chanel contour blush to MAC’s much taller, slimmer and smaller-headed #165 contour brush:

These designs are almost from different galaxies.  The MAC provides a wash of soft color, and the Chanel’s very stiff bristles pull pigment out of the hardest baked pan.  If you are having any difficulty getting pigment from the new Chanel Pink Explosion, Rose Temptation or Plum Attraction blushes, Chanel’s Contour Brush #5 is your solution.  These dense, stiff bristles will not take “no” for an answer.  A single swipe (or at most, two) is all you need.  I’m sure that I’ll get plenty of use out of this brush even if I use it only for those three blushes.

I also tried Chanel’s Contour Brush with my Edward Bess Daydream bronzer, and found that I had perfect color with a single swipe.  Use care with highly pigmented bronzers (and blushes).  Chanel’s Contour Brush will work best with lightly pigmented, or very hard powders.

In the past, I’ve noticed Chanel’s #5 Contour Face Brush for sale on for short periods of time.  Of course, if you are visiting outside the U.S., I suspect that you will find the brush readily available.  I do not know of any other company that makes this same style brush (or at least, in the same size, shape and brush density).

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