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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Mar 082014
 

Armani CC Cream07

For the past several days, I’ve been using the new Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminessence CC Cream (available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Barneys and Saks)($50/ 1 oz.). This series, just released in eight (8) shades, provides glowing and moisturizing medium-to-light coverage.

Armani CC Cream01

According to Armani, there are skin care benefits in the formula:

A good night sleep in a cream. Luminessence CC Cream is a color control bright moisturizer with SPF 35. It features a triple technology on skincare for its energizing and antioxidant complex, color for its pinky “rose glow” pigments and light for its liquid mirror technology. Apply once and the skin looks as rested as a good night’s sleep.

According to the product insert, the point of this product is to use 1) the product’s color to correct and even skin tone, 2) the formula to deliver moisture, antioxidants and sunscreen protection, and 3) luminzers to impart a soft glow. Essentially, the coverage is medium toward light with one pass (and buildable on problem areas). You can trust that Armani knows how to create a buildable foundation. In my opinion, the line is one of the best at developing formulas that can be layered and this Armani Luminessence CC Cream is no exception. The product comes in an easily packable squeeze tube.

Armani CC Cream09

I used this product as my foundation, although it could be used as a color-correcting, moisturizing base. Those who want more coverage might consider using a powder foundation over this formula to increase both the coverage and overall wear time. On application, you will immediately notice a dewy glow. I powder down my forehead right away with a finishing powder. The overall effect is youthful. Here’s a quick swatch on a portion of my arm that shows you the dewiness in very bright sun. I think you can see that it creates a pretty satin sheen without any sparkle:

Friday late13

Armani Luminessence CC Cream is genius at delivering all-day moisture. I’m not sure of the magic that Armani puts in the formula, but my skin looked young, moisturized, and perfected. With a touch of layering, the product evens out my dark patches and small acne scars to invisibility. The enclosed literature suggests that it’s nice to put a little more around any areas that you want to photoshop–the labial folds, for example. The effect makes me look rested, younger, and my skin looks moisturized and softer.

Armani CC Cream14

As with many moisturizing formulas, Armani Luminessence CC Cream is not a true long-wear formula. After about the eighth or ninth hour, I started to notice some imperfections peeking through. Fortunately, this can be easily refreshed with a concealer (Armani’s Maestro Concealer is wonderful, but any will do).

Armani CC Cream11

What was surprising is how good my skin felt after removal. There are a few CC Creams that deliver is in the skincare department, and Armani is one of the top of the list. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised–bathing my skin all day in Armani sounds luxurious and it is.  It’s lovely to see a company deliver on the technology that has been promised. Armani is not kidding around.  If this product is meant to get customer’s interested in Armani’s skin care range, it is working (at least for me).

Friday late06a

The Nordstrom sales associate that I worked with matched me to Shade #4 which is a bit darker than my usual. As we are heading toward spring and summer (really, I promise!), and my arms typically pick up some color during that season, I didn’t fight back very hard. For the record, during the makeover we used a highlighter on my upper cheek and it was not too much. That’s the thing about lines like Armani–they are never too much. Packaging (click to enlarge:

Armani CC Cream05

And more of the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Armani CC Cream06

Overall, Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Control Bright Moisturizer successfully delivers on its mission to deliver skin that looks awake and alive. I love that it has a decent SPF level, and the moisturizer seems extraordinarily effective. The color corrective properties provide both medium-to- light coverage and mask color variations well. No breakouts or clogging pores. This is designed to works best on skin that benefits from a moisturizing formula, although my combination skin loved it.  I needed a powder-down and concealer refresh after about the eight-hour mark, although your own mileage may vary.  So far, one of the best–I’m loving this one.

Available at Neiman Marcus, NordstromBarneys and Saks

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

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Jun 092013
 

Chanel CC Cream first look11a

I’ve been using Chanel CC Cream ($55) for the past several days since posting my original “first look” here. As promised, here are a few of my thoughts.  Along with these, here are more comparison swatches of the Chanel CC Cream in 20 Beige with Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige 20, Guerlain BB Beauty Booster in Light, and Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector in Medium:

Chanel CC Cream 2nd1

 

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Jun 052013
 

Chanel CC Cream first look09a

This is a first look at the Chanel CC Cream ($55/ 1.0 oz.), which has just become available to certain Chanel boutiques across the U.S. This will soon be available where ever Chanel is sold. Although this has been released internationally for some months, this is the first tube that I’ve seen in person. I was so excited to experience this product, so I thought that I can’t be the only one. I’m posting this quick overview of pictures so that you can see it with me.

Edit/updated:  My in-depth review has now been posted here.

Chanel CC Cream first look02

As far as I know, this is just released in one shade–20 Beige–at least so far. There are five primary attributes of the product:

  • Anti-aging:  Includes Rejuvencia, an active ingredient derived from marine micro-organisms to stimulate the natural production of collagen to prevent the appearance of aging.
  • Moisturizing:  Contains hyaluronic acid to help maintain skin hydration levels.
  • Soothes: Uses cornflower water to comfort skin.
  • Sun protection:  Broad spectrum SPF 30 helps to block UVA and UVB rays using physical protection.
  • Covers and perfects: essentially, has coverage in the nature of a sheer foundation

Chanel CC Cream first look11a

 Here’s the product literature (in English) (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look15

 The packaging is a travel-friendly squeeze tube:

Chanel CC Cream first look14

 The Chanel CC Cream in 20 Beige runs fair and warm. Here is a comparison with Chanel CC Cream, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Beige Rose (which is much pinker/cooler), Chanel Lift Lumiere in Ivoire (14) (similar, but with a bit more coverage), MAC Pro Longwear in NC15 (more coverage, lighter), and Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska (darker).

Chanel CC Cream first look20

Here is the active sunscreen agent, titanium dioxide 12%:

Chanel CC Cream first look05

The additional ingredients (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look08

Additional packaging information:

Chanel CC Cream first look07a

I asked the Chanel cosmetic specialist, who was in the boutique for the weekend, whether the product had any color-reducing properties (for example, the Smashbox CC Cream advertises that it will help fade acne scars and discolorations). In other words–does this product correct permanently with skincare ingredients, or does it “correct” by covering up?  The Chanel representative said that this product is not advertised to actually correct discolorations permanently, but that it could be used with the Chanel Le Blanc line (which is designed for those purposes).

hope you enjoyed this first look. I’ll post again in a few days once I’ve had more of a chance to test this out.

Available with free ship and return at Nordstrom.com, and other Chanel sources.

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