Mar 042015
 

MAC Bao Bao Wan09MAC has released another “blink or you’ll miss it” collection in collaboration with fine jewelry artist Bao Bao Wan.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 9.04.07 PMThis review will be brief, because unless you are ready to go search the stores tomorrow–and it is not entirely clear which stores will carry this collection–or luck out online then this post will be moot. Stock is limited, and demand appears to have drained Nordstrom’s online site already. As is MAC’s predilection, they have some stunning, saturated lipsticks and nail colors with this collection that I let get past me. Instead, I focused on the Bao Bao Wan Jewels Deluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow palette ($44) and the Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28). Oh, and it’s a very cold, dark and stormy night so I’ll do the best with the light I have. Tonight, there’s limited stock available at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and MAC online.

MAC Bao Bao Wan01a

The Bao Bao Wan Jewels Deluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow palette. This is a complicated metallic palette. These are not smooth or finely milled compared to some of the lines carried on this blog, and I did experience fallout both during and after application. The colors are unusual and they make a beautiful, complicated, exotic looking lid. The warm golds and the cool grey metallic is an interesting mix. This is something to kick up your routine, and only for those who like warm metallics. I definitely needed a true matte in the crease with this to knock down the glimmer effect–I used the dark brown espresso color from this YSL palette–but there are lots of other choices. Of course, there are more finely-milled metallics out there, but the combination of these colors really does do some beautiful things in the light.  Swatches:

MAC Bao Bao Wan14 The top pink is a bit like a Bobbi Brown sparkle shade with a transparent base and pink glimmer. There are two golds–warm, and warmer–and the two bottom shades to anchor things down. I like using the cool gray as a liner color, it gets very vibrant against the golds.

MAC Bao Bao Wan11

Things smooth out nicely when the shades are used wet. Still not as smooth as some eyeshadows, but the rougher texture melts together, the fallout stops, and the shades become much more smooth. I’m going to be using the palette applied with a wet brush from here on out.

MAC Bao Bao's Jewels

As I suspected, the Bao Bao Wan Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28) was the star item for me in this collection. MAC’s Beauty Powders really defy categorization–they are finishing powders, but with a little extra je ne sais qua that keep them from being typical. Their uses seem to vary by collection and skin tone.  Blush? Finishing powder? Highlighter? Really, there’s no answer. You have to try it and see what happens on your skin. Anyway, for my pale NC15/20 skin tone, Summer Opal is a soft beige-pink highlight with slight reflectivity. I suspect that there are some glitters in the mix, but I’m not seeing them translate to the skin. The whole thing applies really smoothly on my upper cheek, down the center of my nose, and around my eye area.

MAC Bao Bao Wan03 copyI suspect this will look pretty over a bronzer or blush as well. The highlight effect is soft and subtle–it’s not highly reflective. Swatch:

MAC Bao Bao Wan15Although not for everyone, I think those with warm skin tones (light through dark) may find something extraordinary and fun in this collection. It really seems like a ‘fast fashion’ type of collection, not for those looking for the everyday classic. There’s limited stock available at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and MAC online. This is due to be released in some stores on March 5, 2015, but  please call ahead because there is conflicting information about the stores that will be getting it.

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

Please follow us on....

Feb 162015
 

Yves Saint Laurent Nu Palette 1

I wanted to post some pictures of swatches taken of the Yves Saint Laurent Couture Variation Eyeshadow Palette in 1 Nu ($95), a beautiful nude palette with a mix of shimmery and matte shades. This is available at Nordstrom, Yves Saint Laurent, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

nu2

Inside is a full-sized mirror and some lovely neutrals.

nu3a

Shade number 1 is nearly nude on my skintone. The rest are a beautiful mix of peaches, rose, marsala, taupe and brown.

YSL Nu palettte swatches1

Swatches in sun:

YSL Nu palettte swatches5

In open shade with flash:YSL Nu palettte swatches3

A mix of sun and flash:YSL Nu palettte swatches4 copyThe shadows behave and blend well. So far, so good!

These are still available at Nordstrom, Yves Saint Laurent, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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

Please follow us on....

Feb 142015
 

A quick update:  It’s days like this when it makes me very happy to have started a blog back in . . . oh, my gosh…2009!  Has it been that long? With all of the transitions in my life, this blog (and you!) have been there.  It’s so wonderful to be able to send some thoughts–however incomplete, imperfect, and informal..and send them out into the world. It makes me genuinely happy. 

My house transition–while not complete–is progressing. The makeup room is ready for organization. It’s been very calming to unpack and organize my palettes, blushes, and lipsticks.  Although it’s not photographically pretty (yet), it’s been good to get things organized again with plenty of space. It’s sort of a symbol of a lot of things falling into place in my off-blog life as well.

makeup roomIn other news, I have to give MAC credit for releasing some adorable packaging with the MAC Toledo collection. These queenly-white items are based on the love story of an artist couple, and hit all the right “modern royalty” notes with me.  The stars of the collection in my mind are the lipsticks and glosses, which is no surprise as MAC seems to excel in those departments. I chose Oxblood and Opera lipsticks, Opera lipgloss, and Kindergarten Red blush.

MAC Toledo Oxblood

 

The packaging has a rubberized-Nars-like texture, which feel very cushy to hold. Sure, they’ll attract fingerprints, but they look adorable. There are some items still available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Macys.

Yves Saint Laurent Nu Palette 1

My Yves Saint Laurent Nu palette arrived. I know, I owe you swatches.  For now, enjoy these! This is a very “le smoking” themed-design.

YSL Nu Palette 2

And inside, these neutral lovelies:

YSL Nu palette1These are still available at Nordstrom, Yves Saint Laurent, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. I don’t see this at Sephora, unfortunately.

Shu palette

Is there an epic battle of neutral palettes going on, or what? Shu Uemura’s 16 Shades of Nude palette is now online for sale. Here are some “in real life” pictures on Rouge Deluxe. I just noticed this is now for sale on Shu Uemura’s website. There’s a 15% off code now SHEEP (through 2/20/15).

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. It’s a balmy 28 degrees outside right now-just kidding! I’m going for my second cup of something warm.

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

Please follow us on....

Jan 202015
 

Nars dual intensity eyeshadows02

The geniuses at NARS have released a palette of a selected number of their incredible dual-intensity eyeshadows–the Narsissist Dual-Intensity Palette ($79) (limited edition). This lovely palette comes in a modern, minimal shape with a mirrored top (as well as a full size mirror inside the case). This formula was previously reviewed here. Available at Nars online and Saks Fifth Avenue. This one is limited edition, so please don’t wait long.

Nars dual intensity eyeshadows06

This palette includes:

  • Europa – Gossamer Pink Peach
  • Himalia – Shimmering Topaz
  • Ursa Major – Chocolate Glaze
  • Subra – Black Orchid
  • Andromeda – Alabaster
  • Lysithea – Shark Grey
  • Giove – Navy
  • Sycorax – Black

A closer look at the four left shades– Europa, Himalia, Andromeda, Lysithea:

Nars dual intensity eyeshadows07The four right shades– Ursa Mijor, Subra, Giove and Sycorax.

Nars dual intensity eyeshadows10

As you likely know, the formula can be used dry for a more subtle effect, or wet for more intensity. As you can see from this previous post, this formula has gorgeous dimension.  The pigment plays with the light in a lovely, flattering way. Here are the shades applied dry:

Nars swatches1Another set:

Nars dual intensity1Here are the shades applied wet:

Nars dual intensity3Another set applied wet:

Nars dual intensity6a

I think that the colors for this palette are extremely well-chosen. This palette includes a lovely range–from glowy light colors to deep ones that can be used as a liner or crease. I just love the way that this formula catches the light. It relies on a thin, impact-full formula. Drama with elegance–not glitter!  Just that beautiful, pearly sheen.

Overall, I love the fact that those who do not want to invest in several singles can get a great selection in a single package. There is a range of neutrals, but enough beautiful jewel-deep colors that can be used for chic drama. With both wet and dry application options, this makes a beautiful option to add beautiful interest to the eyes.

Ingredients (click to enlarge):

Nars dual intensity eyeshadows01

Bottom line:  highly recommended. Available at Nars online and Saks Fifth Avenue. This one is limited edition, so please don’t wait long.

Cafe Makeup received this palette without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

Please follow us on....

Jan 112015
 

Sephora marsala01Happy 2015! Sephora’s Pantone Color of the Year is Marsala, a wearable shade that is office-friendly and flattering on many skin tones. To commerate, Sephora has gathered an entire range of products from different lines that fit within this beautiful neutral. In addition, Sephora has put together its own items built around the Marsala color story. These include the Sephora +Pantone Universe Facets of Marsala Multi-Finish Eye Palette ($39) and the Sephora +Pantone Universe Pure Marsala Matte Lip Creme ($18). The eyeshadow palette is sold out online at present, but there were four or five at my local Sephora on Friday (so hopefully there will be some in yours as well).

Sephora marsala04

These items are packaged in a marsala-toned metallic-colored finish that actually very pretty. The eyeshadow palette is lightweight, slim and highly functional. Although it won’t keep the packaging designers for Marc Jacobs or Tom Ford all night, their simple design is reflected in this highly affordable price point.

Sephora marsala08

If you want my honest opinion, I think that the line put the money into the product not the packaging. At $39 and $18 respectively, that’s a good call. The quality of the product to the applied to the eye and lips is surprisingly good. The pigmentation, texture, and range of colors and textures is outstanding.

Sephora marsala07As you can see, there are different textures of Marsala-toned colors in the top center. Surrounding these are a range of beautiful colors that coordinate nicely. I found that these applied beautifully–the texture is soft, does not kick up a lot of dust, and are a breeze to apply and blend. If you are heading to the stores today, you’ll want to stop by your Sephora and try out the tester.

Sephora marsala09

 

Swatches:

Sephora marsala10

 

Sephora marsala11

Sephora marsala12

Sephora marsala13

The Sephora Marsala eyeshadow palette was swatched with the NARS Artistry Smudge Brush #45 #45 ($28)(reviewed here), which is a pretty awesome brush. I did an eye with the Wayne Goss #6 brush ($25) and found that the colors applied and blended very impressively. For the price, this Sephora eyeshadow palette is a steal.

Sephora marsala02

The Sephora + Pantone Universe Marsala lipstick ($18) is a nice reddish-brown neutral that is semi-matte.

Sephora marsala06Swatch of the lipstick:

Sephora marsala14I attempted a lip swatch to give you a sense of the color:

sephora marsala lipstick4The good news is that those gorgeous geniuses at Sephora have provided Cafe Makeup with a fresh never-used eyeshadow palette and lipstick for giveaway!  Fun, right? If you’d like a try, you must leave a comment here on Cafe Makeup through the Rafflecopter form for one point (only once for the entire contest, please). If you’d like additional points, you can voluntarily tweet about the giveaway for another point (you are limited to one tweet per day) through the Rafflecopter form below. The comment is mandatory to enter, the tweet is not.

Note that the tweet must be through the Rafflecopter form. 

The contest is open the U.S. readers only and ends on Friday 1/16/15 at 12:00 am Eastern time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck to everyone!! Sephora marsala03 Sephora marsala02 These items were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for review and give-away. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

Please follow us on....