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.

Please follow us on....

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.

 

Please follow us on....

Sep 152012
 

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.

Please follow us on....

May 252012
 

Guerlain / Emilio Pucci Terracotta Eye Khol in Blu Acqua ($36) is a violet kohl eyeliner. The packaging is beautiful, and the color is a vibrant, shimmery violet with only a touch of blue.

The Blu Acqua Kohl is not the typical pencil design, but rather the shorter, wider open kohl design. I’ve asked several Guerlain sales associates how they are sharpened. One advocates simply using a standard sharpener. The other professed that this is “self sharpening,” which only seems possible to me if you continually apply the kohl held at an angle.

Despite its name, the kohl really is much more in the purple/violet category which I view as a plus. It’s an unusual, striking color but deep enough in its tone to work in almost any setting.

I like wearing this pushed up into my top waterline, among the mascara. It seems to brighten the whites of my eyes. I noticed that I had to use a few layers to get a good rich color (a few swipes). The texture of this is far softer than many of the kohl pencils that I’ve tried.

Verdict: Pretty color, if you swipe a few times I think you’ll fall in love.

 

Please follow us on....

May 052012
 

Elizabeth Arden Rose Aurora Spring/Summer 2012 Collection is a blend of bronzes and rose tones that looks beautifully gift-able (as Mother’s Day approaches, this may solve your shopping dilemma). This color story is a modern twist on the original 1950’s collection designed by Elizabeth Arden herself, with soft rose gold packaging. I loved the originality and beauty of this summer-lovely packaging–it evokes art nouveau in my mind. The colors are a built around accentuated eyes, a soft shimmery lip and glowing skin.

The Pure Finish Bronze Powder comes in three colors ($38 each/0.30 oz.))–Soft Radiance, Warm Radiance, and Deep Radiance. These have a soft, shimmering finish. All three tend to run warm, consistent with the Rose Gold theme of the collection. These bronzers include Zin’cite, an ingredient said to energize and protect skin cells, together with green tea, white tea and minerals that provide antioxidant protection.

For applying these, I found that a large soft brush (including Elizabeth Arden’s own ($22, pictured below) worked perfectly. These bronzers are well pigmented, so put that kabuki away! You do want to chose the right color for your skin tone–going too light or too dark won’t be as flattering as it might be.

Soft Radiance was the right choice for my warm-toned fair skin (NC15/Chanel Cameo/Ivoire). By my estimate, I would suggest those with NC30-40 to go with Warm Radiance, and deeper tones with Deep Radiance. These have a fairly large amount of product for the price point (the pans are fairly large), and with the good pigmentation one should last quite a while.

Here are swatches, including the Honey Ceramide Cream blush ($24), a very natural deep warm rose tone:

Here’s Honey blush:

The collection includes a rose gold shimmering highlighting powder, the Pure FInish Highlighter in Rose Illumination ($34), which delivers very high shine. This pictures shows the new Elizabeth Arden All Over Face Powder Brush ($22):

A close of the shimmering powder–those who wear this will want a very reflective glow, keeping the application to the upper cheeks, and perhaps a touch to the brow bone. Like the bronzers, the highlighter includes Zin’cite, green tea, white tea and minerals.

My favorite piece of the collection was the Rose Aurora Ceramide Ultra Lipstick ($22.50). I loved the light, wearable rose with the rose gold shimmer.

The collection includes two liquid liners with felt tip applicators–these Elizabeth Arden Liquid Eyeliners come in both Black and Brown ($18 each).

You can see the tips of these liners are nicely defined:

Here are swatches of these items:

Elizabeth Arden sent a sample of a new fragrance, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Cherry Blossom ($29/1.7 fl. oz. and $39/3.3 fl. oz., Honey Drops Cream is $29.50 for 8.4 oz.).

This scent is an extremely pleasant floral mix, well-named as it does have a lovely cherry blossom scent. Really, it evoked the beauty cherry trees that I remember from my East Coast childhood. This is tempered with a light green tea undertone..

Because the packaging is so lovely, I could easily see these appreciated as gifts for several women that I know in my life. This time of year seems to be a particularly heavy gift-shopping time for me–teachers, principals, coaches, Mother’s Day (which seems to include my many “mother-like” mentors), and birthdays. Depending on your recipient, I can imagine many would appreciate the beauty and usefulness of any one (or more) of these items in this collection.

The Elizabeth Arden Rose Gold Collection was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge or consideration for review.

 

Please follow us on....

Apr 302012
 

Chanel Summer 2012 brings us two new eyeliner pencils. First is Chanel Le Crayon Yeux Precision Eye Definer in Brun Intense ($29).

This pencil is a deep brown with subtle sparkle and a combination of both gold and red. It should coordinate beautifully with the Chanel Sable-Emvouyant Eyeshadow duo released at the same time (reviewed here), one of my favorite pieces of this collection. As with the other pencils in Le Crayon Yeux line, this comes with a smudge tip on one end, and of course a sharpener.

Chanel Le Crayon Kohl Intense Eye Pencil in Peche Cuivre ($28) is a subtle shimmery nude. Unlike Brun Intense, there is no smudger on one end, although there is a sharpener included.

The effect of using Peche Cuivre is very subtle. There is a slight sparkle, and the color nearly matches a fair skinned person. It adds the slightest touch of polish to the eye.  It’s pretty, but many of you will not notice any dramatic effect. Others will love the very soft brightness it will give to the eye area.  Because of the sparkle, those of you with sensitive eyes will want to use some caution if you are thinking about using this on your inner eye rim.

Swatches of Brun Intense and Peche Cuivre are able. I’ve also included some other eye-brighteners that Chanel has released over the past year–Khaki Platine and Rose Platine for comparison.

Bottom line:  Many eye pencil lovers will find Brun Intense a useful addition to their beauty stash. The texture is soft, and it is very easy to get an even, intense line of color. The smugger is handy to push the line into a subtle line of smoke. This is a very good addition to add a touch of depth to the bottom outer lid, as well as a good traditional eyeliner.

Peche Cuivre’s texture seems harder to me than Brun Intense. You’ve got to push it to really get some color onto the lid. Because the color is quite subtle on fair skin tones, the effect will be quite subtle. Given the price point, some caution should be exercised–that is, is the look perfectly subtle for you, or too subtle on your skin tone?  Personally, I liked the subtle effect of the pencil, it’s similar to adding a touch of a light eyeshadow (such as Burberry Porcelain or MAC Naked Lunch) under the eye as a brightener.

Please follow us on....

Mar 222012
 

Liz and I were so fortunate to meet Edward Bess in person at Bergdorf’s last week. As we were walking through the magical beauty floor, we found him standing near a counter of his beautifully formulated makeup line. Even more incredibly, he offered to do our makeup. I took some pictures for you to enjoy–and we hope that you do!

First of all, Edward Bess is even more charming and knowledgable in person than we had imagined–and we are some of his biggest fans. A prodigy, his taste level and expertise is incredible. Also, his personality is so pleasant and easy-going–he had us laughing along with him throughout. If you could choose anyone to do your makeover, Edward Bess would be a most delightful (and talented) choice.

Edward began with Liz’s eyes–he explained that cleanups are so much easier if the color product somehow migrates.  We were so lucky to try his new Edward Bess Eye Primer.   This product, which comes in three different shades, is distributed via a brush pen to the lid. Above, the product is coming out of the tube before it is smoothed out (with fingers or the built-in brush). It creates a blank canvas on the lid, drying to an opaque matte finish. I noticed that both Liz’s and my eye makeup lasted beautifully until we removed it much later that evening. The finish is amazing. I cannot wait until this product is available in the next 2-3 weeks. I need it.

With a few exceptions, nearly all of the color products used on both Liz and I were from the Edward Bess Back to Basics Palette ($75). Although I realized that this was a very versatile travel palette, I was stunned to see how easily Bess could use this palette to create our “you but more glamorous” looks. With just a few of his brushes and his fingers, Edward used some of his collection’s favorite colors. You can see Sabrina’s review and swatches of this palette here at The Beauty Look Book.

The eyeshadows were used to create a very natural eye, using the neutral colors on the lid, and the darker shade just above the crease. Edward used his Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush ($40) (pictured with the palette, above, which I couldn’t resist buying).

A little Edward Bess Defining Eye Liner ($29)….

 More work on the eye area:

 And bringing some color under the eyes:

Edward gave Liz incredibly long, defined lashes with his Edward Bess Lash Designer Volumizing Mascara ($30):

Edward mixed his Edward Bess Platinum Concealer ($38) with a touch of his moisturizing Edward Bess Black Sea Deep Hydration Cream ($90) to do Liz’s under eye area. He also used a mix of this moisturizer with his Edward Bess Sheer Satin Cream Compact Foundation ($60), which he dabbed on Liz with fingers. Although I don’t own this foundation yet, it did provide a very lightweight, moisturizing feel. The finish was lovely. I do own at least three of the Platinum Concealers, which I keep at home, work, and in my purse.  It has amazing coverage and the quality is excellent. I’m discontinuing the use of the Cle de Peau stick concealer in favor of the Edward Bess.

He then began to dab on the blush and highlighter from the Back to Basics Palette to add subtle color to Liz’s cheeks:

He used very soft lipstick and pencil on lips:

Edward then used the South of France Quad Royale ($45) applied with his Luxury Face Brush ($56) to add a glow to Liz’s complexion.  This quad gave Liz a very natural sheen–really, we couldn’t leave the counter without picking one up for her.

The Beauty Look Book’s review and swatches of the South of France Quad Royale are here. If you love a soft, subtle, beautiful glow, this is a must have.

I hope you enjoyed this little essay–we certainly felt very fortunate to have met with Edward Bess. What an enormous talent–I cannot wait to see what else he will be releasing in the coming months.

Please follow us on....

Jan 112012
 

Nars Spring 2012

Here’s an upcoming preview of Nars Spring 2012, a collection that is a study in contrasts: bold color underscored by sophisticated shimmer. For eyes, either tones of lavender and pink or bronze accented with navy on eyes. Cheeks are flushed with candy pink. Lips gleam in topaz or pop with berry. Metallic violet nails add a finishing touch to a collection that’s bright, strong and iconic. Here are the details of the complete Spring 2012 Nars collection.

Douce France Trio Eyeshadow ($45), with three gorgeous powder eyeshadow variations on pink—a cool light pink highlighter, a medium rose-petal pink and a deep rose with a touch of brick:
A minky silver-lavender single powder eyeshadow Lhasa ($23), named for the Tibetan region that hosts many Buddhist palaces:
An powder eyeshadow duo, Paramarimbo ($33) with a soft metallic green-brass and green-bronze tones. These are both shimmery textures with a rich complexity.

Gaeity Blush ($27), which I’ve been waiting for with my breath held. This is an extremely cool-toned pink:

Mexican Rose Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24). I love this formula. This is a red/hot pink combination made to make your lips look gorgeous and glossy:

Valpraiso Pure Matte Lipstick ($25), an deep rose with a touch of coolness:

A shimmering gold-topaz deep nude in Bilbao Lipstick ($24)

Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24)

Diamond Life nail polish ($17) (not yet arrived)

In person, everything so far looks gorgeous. I’ll be providing you with updates and reviews on these products in the coming days.

These products were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

Please follow us on....

Nov 062011
 

Chanel Holiday 2011 includes a limited edition Liquid Eyelines in Or ($32 / Ligne Extreme Or).  The packaging and formula are very similar to the liquid liner released earlier this year in Onyx (reviewed here).  The packaging is classic Chanel, and the brush pen is fine-tipped.  The formula is sufficiently pigmented to give an opaque finish in a single coat.  If you use this type of pen, you know you need to go in confident.  Little mis-steps show and require correction (a Q-Tip touched in Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover does the trick).

The color does not work for everyone, and certainly doesn’t work for me.  Although called “Or,” (which translates to “gold” in French), the color delivers an intense shimmery deep yellow.  My sense is that this color may work for light carmel-toned skins, and will look magnificent on deep skin tones.  There may be lighter toned skin tones that prefer a dramatic flash.  But Liz and I couldn’t handle this color in any way, shape or form.  Although my returns every year are typically fewer than the number of fingers on one hand, Liquid Eyeliner in Or was returned yesterday.

Great formula.  Great execution.  Like Chanel Eyeshadow in Blazing Gold (reviewed here), Chanel Liquid Eyelines in Or was far too yellow to warrant the label “gold.” The color just does not work for me.

Please follow us on....

Oct 262011
 

Chanel Holiday 2011 is released and ready to review.  I’ll be reviewing all of the new items released with this collection except for the Glossimers (which I did not purchase).  If an item is merely a re-promote of the existing Chanel line, I will not be reviewing it (although if you run the product name through the search engine on this page, you may find a review for the item already has been done).

Chanel Lumiere Sculptee de Chanel highlighting powder

Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick- Famous

Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick- Eniveree

Ligne Extreme Eyeliner in Or

Chanel Le Vernis in Rouge Carat

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Empire

Chanel Universelle Libre in Feerie

Chanel Ombre Contraste Duo in Noir-Ivoire

Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in Triomphal

Chanel Les Tissages de Chanel in Tweed Brun Rose

Chanel Ombre Essentielle in Blazing Gold

Chanel Ombre Essentielle in Beige Lame

Liz and I are still sorting through the pile, and we’ll get our reviews up as soon as we can.  So far, we’ve got a few rants and raves, so stay tuned!

Please follow us on....