Aug 042013
 

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er1

Quite unexpectedly, my favorite item from the Marc Jacobs Beauty preview was the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen Eyeliner in Blacquer ($30). The pen was as delightfully well-balanced as a Mont Blanc (though, thankfully, not as heavy). It has an expensive well-made feel and is a pleasure to use.

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er5

The cap is a pull-on, pull-off with a satisfying, secure ‘click.’  The color flows from the tip with the perfect amount of cool black. You can go heavy or extraordinarily thin and light. The tip of the pen is quite small and sharp. It delivers a a very predictable flow, which is a very good quality when you are working close to the all-important eye area.  This has excellent staying power–the color never flakes, fades, or moves all day until I hit it with my oil cleanser.

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er

I’m a fan of liquid liners. I love that you don’t need an extra brush (unlike a gel), and that you get no pulling, tugging, sharpening, or sometimes too-light pigmentation (as with some pencils). I’m looking for good, dependable, beautiful color and that is what the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er delivers.

Marc Jacobs Marc'er1

The shape of the Marc Jacob’s Magic Marc’er is perfect for those mornings when you haven’t had enough coffee, or too much. On those days, it’s just too daunting to use the sharp tip all across the lash line–the possibility for shakes and wiggles is too great (really? we have to start over now? argggggh!). I mean, you can do it perfectly with a “go in confident” and “I’m in control, here!” attitude. But we don’t always wake up in perfect condition, do we?

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er7

 With the Magic Marc’er, sometimes I use the long tip sideways, horizontally across the lash line and pull it along. That allows the long side of the tip to be guided by the natural ridge above the lashes.  Pull, pull, pull, as gently or a heavily as you like. Then, I fill in the inner corner areas with the very precise small tip.

Another good technique is to do a series of feathery horizontal lines that you connect by overlapping them. That way, the pen is only in contact with the lash line for a very short stroke. This works really well too.

Here’s a comparison with two lines of the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er in Blackquer. This is next to an admittedly well-worn, year-old Le Metier de Beaute Precision liquid liner ($42) (it’s used it so much that the pigment is starting to suffer, so the comparison isn’t really good but it’s the only other liquid liner I had on hand). Also, there is Chanel Ebene, an off-black and a Prestige Total Intensity black pencil liner that we buy at our local drugstore.

Marc Jacobs Marc'er2

One more, same:

Marc Jacobs Marc'er3 copy

I was surprised to find that the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er was the highlight of my beauty routine this past week. I’ll be taking it on the road next week, and hoping that it holds up to the rigors of air travel (I’ll report back). As with other liquid liners, you’ll want to pull the cap straight up-and-down on so you don’t bend the brush.

The Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc’er Precision Pen in Blacquer will be available at Sephora starting August 9th.

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Jun 262013
 

Nars Summer Shock

Nars Summer Shock 2013 includes a number of edgy products that are worth a look. The collection is available at Nars online, Nordstrom, Sephora and other Nars sources.

As an artist’s line, I always love to see Nars’ take on the cutting edge to see whether there are a few items that I might use to update my own beauty routine.

Nars summer 201301

The collection contains:

Madness Nail Polish ($19)

Paris Follies Larger Than Life Lip Gloss ($26)

Tolede Satin Lipstick ($24)

Fashion Rebel Duo Eyeshadow ($34)

Euphrate Single Eyeshadow ($24)

Puerto Vallarta Multiple ($39)

Tender Night Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (Limited Edition, $25)

Barrow Street Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner ($24)

Swatches of all products:

Nars summer 201307

Here are some thoughts on the individual products.  First, Nars Madness ($19) is a bright orange cream that is the typical, well-executed Nars formula.

Nars Madness1

 Nars Madness was the brightest of all of my oranges–here, OPI A Roll in the Hague, Nars Lal Mirchi, Deborah Lippman’s Lara’s Theme, and L’Oreal L’Orange:

Nars Summer 2013d1a

Nars Madness has a slightly less glossy finish compared to the rest (although you can add a topcoat if you prefer to do something other than this satiny finish).

Nars Paris Follies Larger Than Life Lipgloss is a sheer strawberry red:

Nars summer 201302

Liz fell in love with this one immediately, as a light, summer, easy everyday color (applied full force, although this can be patted on lightly for a soft pink):

Nars Summer gloss3

Nars Tolede Satin Lipstick ($26) is a sheer pink with a slight touch of warm coppery brown.

Nars Summer 2013e3

Nars Tolede is somewhat sheer. On Liz’s very light lips, the color applies as a soft warm pink. On my darker toned lips, the color is much darker.

Nars summer 201309

Here are some Nars Tolede comparisons with Nars Bilboa, Nars Autumn Leaves, Burberry Rosewood, and Burberry Lip Mist in Copper.

Nars Summer 2013d2

Nars Fashion Rebel is a striking yellow and violet combination.

Nars summer 201304

I have to hand it to Nars–”Fashion Rebel” is well named.

Nars summer 2013a1

On Liz, who quickly created an eye (no base, using Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush):

Nars summer 201310

I suspect with bases and layering, you could get more vibrancy. As applied here, it reminds me of a flower.

Nars summer 201306

Nars Puerto Vallarta is a shimmery soft peach cream.  It’s more subtle than some of the corals and oranges we’ve seen during the year, and would work beautifully for a subtle touch of color. Here is a comparison with Nars Puerto Vallarta (two swipes), Nars South Beach Multiple (two swipes), Nars Sex Appeal powder blush (piled on and it’s still subtle), and Chanel Frivole (2 swipes):

Nars Summer 2013f1

Tender Night Velvet Matt Lip Pencil ($25) (swatched above) is quite sheer–it is nearly invisble on my pigmented lips.

Nars Summer 2013e4

 Nars Barrow Street Larger than Life Longwear Eyeliner ($24) is a light creamy mint.

Nars Summer 2013e1

This is going to look amazing on a cool toned person as a lower waterline color, especially with Euphrates eyeshadow single on the eye and the Puerto Vallarta multiple on the cheek.

Nars Euphrate eyeshadow2a

There is a full review of my new love, the Euprhate eyeshadow single, here.

The collection is available at Nars onlineNordstromSephora and other Nars sources.

Here’s a lovely video with application suggestions:

 

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup). Nars sent these products to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

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May 272013
 

packaging

In the earlier part of this millennium, I used to wait for the May releases of MAC collections with anticipation. I loved D’Bohemia way back when, and more than a few others. These days, I don’t buy from many MAC collections, but the Temperature Rising collection (just released last week) is the exception. We bought a few items, and took a (very) few (very) quick pictures to put together a sketchbook of our first impressions so that you can see our favorites before it runs out. 

Some of the products are still online at Nordstrom.com, and other MAC sources like Belk, Macy’s and even some at Mac Comsetics.com (there’s always hope for a restock, but who knows?).  I had the best luck at counters and MAC stores, however.

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Feb 212013
 

Le Metier Liquid Eyeliners1

Le Métier de Beauté Indelible Inks Eyeliners ($28 each) are a remarkably beautiful and long-lasting pair of liners that live up to their name. I’ve been wearing these continuously for about two weeks. When I say “continuously,” I mean that in both senses of the word–I can wear these overnight without crumbling, fading or irritation, and the colors are so beautiful that I’ve had a hard time emotionally choosing any other liner in my collection as a substitute.

Le Metier liners come in two shades, including Artemis–a shimmering deep blue.

Le Metier Liquid Eyeliners2

The color is rich and saturated enough to use instead of a black. Sometimes colored liners are so light or anemic that I really do need to pair them with a richer color to get proper definition. Not so with Le Metier’s Artemis. This is richly pigmented deep blue that shows the color beautifully without any other color. It looks amazing with a nude eye, for example Nars All about Eve duo eyeshadow or other soft beige. This gives a well-defined, but subtly brightened color.

Do not fear the brush, gentle readers.  It’s quite easy peasy. After experimenting (although I stopped short of cutting the brush short with scissors), I found the best method of application for me is to lay the brush lengthwise along my lashline and to pull it horizontally across my upper lid. This gives me a rich swath of even color (once is enough for both of these Le Metier colors). I might use the tip of the brush for under eye definition, except I don’t wear liner there. My point is, it’s a perfectly workable brush.

Le Metier de Beauté Indelible Inks Eyeliners is also available in Casatalia, a rich purple with far less shimmer compared to Artemis. The formula is otherwise identical–all-day (and all-night) wear, great coverage in a single swipe, awesome rich color.

Le Metier Liquid Eyeliners3

 Here are swatches of Le Metier shimmery Artemis and not-shimmery Castalia:

Le Metier Indelible Ink Eyeliners

I don’t have any liquid liners comparable to Artemis. However, I can offer comparisons of Le Metier’s Castalia with Chanel Ligne Extreme in Purple #30 and Lancome Artliner in Aubergine:

Le Metier Indelible Ink Castalia

 Overall: These Le Metier Indelible Inks are winners. Slightly addictive, they stay on through everything and remove nicely with a good oil or dual-phase cleanser.

The Le Metier Indelible Ink eyeliners are available at Nordstrom.com (w/free ship).

Le Metier sent Cafe Makeup these Indelible Ink Liners without charge for consideration for review. This post contains some affiliate links (for more information, see about Cafe Makeup)

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Dec 302012
 

Chanel eyeliners

Chanel’s Spring 2013 collection includes three Style Yeux Waterproof Eyeliners in Or Rose (rose gold), Beryl (a light lavender), and Santal (a shimmering warm brown)($30 each).

In the past, I haven’t loved the Stylo Yeux formulation–I found the pencils very hard and requiring too much pressure to use easily. In the meantime, two things happened. First, other pencils from lower and similarly priced brands improved dramatically. Second, Chanel released Ebene, a deep, smooth, and highly pigmented shimmery black that worked beautifully. Other Chanel Stylo Yeux pencils seemed to have improved, which gave me hope for the three new shades in this Spring 2013 release.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners7a

Unfortunately, I found Or Rose, Beryl, and Santal difficult to apply, with the same hard texture as pencils released during the pre-Ebene era. Although Chanel gets points for intra-line consistency with its older pencils, I really wished it had borrowed a page from Giorgio Armani, Nars, Bare Escentuals or even the drugstore brand Prestige, to give me a softer texture. I really had to work to get any pigment out of these, passing them 5-7 times over my lash line to get a good solid color. For example, for Santal I finally gave up and fixed the liner with a quick pass of Laura Mercier’s Brown Copper.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners1

Chanel Beryl is a light lavender. The color is embedded with multicolored particles, but the color applies as a single uniform (very soft) color.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners2b

This type of shade might be used to add a pop of interest in an otherwise neutral eye. Because Chanel Beryl applies so lightly, I found that my best use is an inner corner highlighter. The soft color, which lightens but barely deposits color, gave me a soft cool bit of color that played a just bit with my blue-green eyes.

“Or Rose,” which translates to “rose gold,” is a shimmery warm metallic.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners3

Of these three, Or Rose seemed to have the best pigmentation.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners4a

Here is Chanel Or Rose swatched next to Chanel Rose Platine and Chanel Taupe, both in the Stylo Waterproof formula (and both much better in softness and pigmentation):

Chanel Spring Eyeliner Swatches3a

Liz used Chanel Or Gold in this eye look (on her lower lashline). Do not worry about your vision if you do not see the effect, it is very subtle:

Chanel Raffinement look1

Chanel Stylo Yeux is Santal is a warm shimmering brown.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners5

This was my biggest hope, and therefore my greatest disappointment. When Liz tried to use it for her eye look, above, she also gave up and went over Santal with a trusty black Prestige Total Intensity liner in black.

Chanel Spring Eyeliners6a

Here is Chanel Santal swatched next to Nars Via Appia and Laura Mercier Brown Copper (both of these applied much more easily than Chanel):

Chanel Spring Eyeliner Swatches1a

Final verdict:  I’m not loving these. I found that they got a softer after 5-7 tries, but they never reached the level of pigmentation of Chanel Ebene or some of the newer formulations of eyeliner pencils.

These are currently available at Nordstrom.com, as well as other department stores and online at Chanel.com.

Other reviews:

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