Aug 302013
 

Nars Fall 2013 has a number of lip products and pencils that are an eclectic mix of colors (previously, the new Nars single eyeshadow colors were reviewed and swatched here). First, there are two new Nars Larger than Life Eyeliners. Via De’ Martelli is a chocolate brown.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips04

 The color is a neutral matte.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips06

Las Ramblas is a shimmery yellow gold.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips01

The Las Ramblas is a good inner-eye brightener or under-eye liner, and is quite warm.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips07

Swatches of both Via De’ Martelli and Las Ramblas:

Nars Fall swatches2

There are two new Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($25 each). Nars Mysterious is a matte crimson red.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips17

This color is highly pigmented, and requires a bit of care when applying. It’s a striking shade so you want get it right. We exfoliated before, and watched our placement carefully. A bit of balm underneath is always a good idea. The image below (on Liz) does not have any balm–it’s a straight application of the pencil directly onto the lips.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips34

Nars Paimpol is an edgy “pink chiffon”–a cool matte light pink that looks really ’60’s inspired (or maybe a punk ’80’s). We had a bit of a tough time getting smooth coverage–you might wish to do several passes to build up the color for full effect if this is a shade that you love. 

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips19

There is shimmer added to the matte formula.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips21

Again, no balm so that you can see how the pencil looks applied directly to the lips.

Nars Paimpol lipsa

Swatches of Mysterious Red and Paimpol:

Nars Fall swatches1

There are two new Nars Pure Matte Lipstick shades ($26 each). La Paz is an orchid pink.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips12

This color is limited edition, and quite unusual.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips15

Despite the “pure matte” name, the shimmer gives a sort of wet, moisturized look.  On Liz:

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips33

Peloponnese is a ginger pink that translates into a warm honey nude.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips08

Like La Paz, there is shimmer within the formula.

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips11

On Liz, you can see that this shimmer and color adds a touch of life to this understated color:

Nars Fall 2013 Pencils and Lips31

Swatches of La Paz and Peloponnese:

Nars Fall swatches3

Overall, this eclectic mix has a lot of edgy and traditional shades. Does anything catch your eye?

Available at Nordstrom and other Nars sources.

Nars sent these products 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 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.

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

 

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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
 
Mac temperature rising swatches14

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.

Continue reading »

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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:

This post contains affiliate links. If you have questions, please see the “Ask Cafe Makeup” link.

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Nov 112012
 

While picking up a watch repair at the Chanel boutique in San Francisco last week, I picked up two Chanel Liquid Eyeliner in Plum and Platine. These were both released in Europe this past summer, although I had to leave Paris before either arrived on counters.  Both use the traditional Chanel packaging, with the brush-tip that goes into the tiny pot of color at the bottom.

 Of the two, Platine was a delightful surprise–it is shimmery, high-shine and complex with multi-colored micro sparkles–so pretty.

I tried to capture the color of Platine as I headed out the door for a flight–I’m not entirely sure I was able to do fully do so.

Both are beautiful–richly pigmented. Well done.

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Nov 032012
 

A few weeks ago, Nars quietly released a series of four Eyeliner Stylo ($27 each). These are liquid, brush-pen eyeliners in four colors–Carpates (black), Nuku Hiva (a deep brown), Atlantic (a deep ocean blue), and Koala (gray).

 As you might expect from NARS, these work beautifully. Go in confident, you’ll get a perfect line with a single stroke. I like that these are offered in wearable colors. Of these, I’ve love Atlantic–this deep blue is unusual enough and gives plenty of definition. Yet it’s not the same “same old, same old” black. Swatches:

Bottom line:  All day wear, easy to use, highly wearable colors. Well done.

Nars Cosmetics sent these eyeliners to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Oct 192012
 

Tom Ford Noir Absolue for Eyes ($35/0.12 oz.) is a creamy dark blue-black eyeliner designed to brighten and define. Like many of you, I have a few black liners. I’ve been using Bobbi Brown’s Black Ink Gel Eyeliner for at least ten years–I’ve used up (and replaced) several pots. Tom Ford’s is along the same lines with a few differences.

First, Tom Ford Noir Absolue is infused with a pretty blue tone and slight micro-shimmer. According to the sales associate, this is intended give a brightening effect to the whites of the eye. I think it’s pretty–the blue tone is not nearly as blue as a true blue or midnight blue, such as Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Sapphire Shimmer.

The difference in effect is subtle–if you have a very good monitor I suspect you will see that the Tom Ford swatch on the left is cooler.

Second, Tom Ford’s Noir Absolue seems to have a firmer texture compared to my familiar Bobbi Brown Black Ink. I use Laura Mercier’s flat-top synthetic push brush, as the Tom Ford sales associate recommended using this, rather than investing in the Tom Ford brush. I have to sort of aggressively push the brush into the pot to get full eyeliner coverage. There seems to be plenty of pigment, but the product isn’t as soft as a Bobbi Brown gel. So as an application tip, get in there like a tiger woman–don’t be shy.

Because of the micro-shimmer, I have not used this on my waterline. Typically, I add tightlining to my upper waterline by using another Laura Mercier push brush and the mascara straight off the spoolie.

Finally, the overall effect is amazing particularly when a I add a tightline. It’s fascinating how a subtle twist can really make a difference that leads to perfection. This liner does look really amazing, particularly if you are using a cool toned shadow (but I’ve worn it will all colors). Lasts all day.

 

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Sep 152012
 
dita-von-teese

The very glamourous Dita Von Teese knows makeup. When I heard that she had done a collaboration with Art Deco, a German brand sold all over the world, I was interested. Many U.S. customers do not have ready access to the brand, but I’ve played with Art Deco a bit during my travels in Paris. Art Deco is an affordable makeup line that offers a modular compact system. You can choose the shades you like to create compacts, and the quality of several of the items is quite nice. Combining convenience with Dita Von Teese’s quality standards? When I was contacted to try a few of the items from Tender Loving Skincare who ships worldwide (including to the U.S.), I happily agreed.

Dita Von Teese’s Classic Collection for Art Deco has forty (40 pieces), so there is a broad selection (Art Deco’s website describing the collection is here), including lipsticks, lip pencils, eyeliners, eyeshadows, blushes. There are lovely looking nail polishes, a primer, false lashes, mascara, gel eyeliner, lip lacquer, an eye brush….the list goes on.  Except for a foundation (which I’ve heard might be released in the future), there’s a bit of everything.

The collection includes a limited edition Beauty Box ($22.70) (pictured above) which has a a magnetized bottom designed to house the eyeshadows and blushes. This little Art Deco touch really grows on you–the products are just big enough to feel generous in size, yet nicely fit within the Art Deco system in a very compact way. The mirror has a tiny “Beauty is Art”–a fun little Dita touch–inscribed. Here are my blush and eyeshadows in their new home:

 One of my favorite pieces from the collection was the Dita Von Teese Art Couture Lipstick in Parlez Vous ($29).

 Parlez Vous is a warm, gorgeous, highly-pigmented red. Just, wow. Seriously. This woman knows her red lipstick. The quality felt quite luxurious (and without the fussy scent that some high-end lipsticks have). One swipe gave me a dramatic, beautiful color.

 The Lip Liner in Vermillion ($15.81) was the perfect accompanying shade for Parlez-Vous lipstick. Unlike some lip pencils, which feel dry, the Dita Von Teese lipliner felt smooth and gave me even coverage without pulling.

My other favorite piece from the collection was the Eye Styler in Minuit ($15.81) This is an excellent black liner, particularly at this price point. This applies as a highly pigmented, cool-toned black. Some eyeliners can tug and pull. Dita Von Teese’s Minuit was another “wow” product for me–it went on smooth as butter (not a single tug), yet had the excellent all-day lasting power. Worth twice the price. Love.

The Minuit Eye Styler is a twist-up pencil (no sharpening required), and has a hidden tip-sharpener in the back for a precise line.

The blushes in the line are soft and subtle, which coordinates nicely with the red lipsticks in the line. I tried the cool mauve Dita Von Teese Blusher in Paramour ($16.62). The blush has a very slight shimmer/sheen, is nicely pigmented, and applied smoothly and easily with my Nars Yachiyo brush. Although I noticed some fading by day’s end, I found the Paramour very wearable, flattering and finely-milled.

Art Deco’s Dita Von Teese Classics offers two eyeshadow formulas–the matte Matt and the shimmery glimmery Glamour. Although all shades delivered, I had a strong preference for the mattes, which were nicely textured.

Gilded Lily ($9.73) is a shimmery bone-beige base with high shimmer/glimmer. This is a sparkling highlighter.

Opulence ($9.73) is a high-frost white-mauve. The texture resembles a MAC Veluxe Pearl.

Sepia ($9.73) is a soft, nicely pigmented brown crease. This is a very easy-to-use crease color.

Veuve Noir ($9.73) is a well-pigmented matte black that can be worn either concentrated near the liner or sheered out softly.

Each of these eyeshadows comes with a magnetized bottom and plastic over-slide. They are designed to be housed in an Art Deco compact.

Here are swatches of Parlez Vous lipstick, Vermillion Lip Liner and the Minuit Eye Styler:

Here are Paramour blush, and the four eyeshadows (Opulence, Gilded Lily, Sepia and Veuve Noire).

As previously mentioned, these are available to buyers worldwide (including the U.S.) from Tender Loving Skincare. You can selected “U.S. Dollars” for the prices on the site (the Currency Convertor is on the bottom left of the page), and the ship rates to the U.S. are a flat rate fee of £5.50 (roughly $9.00).

There’s also an adorable “Get the Look” page on Tender Loving Skincare for styling advice for the collection.

 Overall, I thought the Art Deco Dita Von Teese collection was a nice way to get bombshell glamour at an excellent price point. I thought the lipstick, lip liner and eye styler had an excellent quality. As I said earlier, I like Art Deco’s modular compact system for the blush and eyeshadows.

All products from the Art Deco Dita von Teese Classics collection were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

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