Jun 132014

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare14aPerricone MD has a full line of No Makeup Skincare: A Revolutionary Approach to Color that provides “good for you” benefits together with foolproof and versatile application.  Although I was aware of some of these products, I was impressed to see an entire lineup that, because of its liquid format, can be mixed and blended to create naturally beautiful looks. Here is the entire line (click to enlarge):

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare01The fundamental thread that goes through the entire line of products is anti-aging skincare, to repair, restore, and to ensure that the overall look is youthful. In addition to antioxidants, DMAE, and neuropeptides, the line is formulated with high pigment that sits lightly on the skin, which can be built up, sculpted, modified, mixed and blended to achieve a look that is healthy, natural, and with a youthful look.

As an overview, I loved several of these products. However, I loved, loved, loved the products together as a set.  First, I was shocked at how quickly I could do a face with this set. It’s no brushes required. The products are essentially fool-proof once I got comfortable with the format. They blend beautifully together, and their textures are ideal for layering. They are designed for very intuitive application. Although it is easy to layer them up to increase coverage, it seems impossible to over-do them. There is a real synergy in the design and formulation for use as a set. As an overview, the line includes:

  • No Foundation Foundation Serum
  • No Foundation Foundation (2 shades)
  • No Bronzer Bronzer
  • No Blush Blush
  • No Concealer Concealer
  • No Mascara Mascara
  • No Lipstick Lipstick

Perricone Foundation Serum1There were a few products that were true standouts. For me, the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum ($55) was amazing. It has a similar texture to the Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation, lightweight, layerable and very long-lasting (surprisingly so, this foundation didn’t move even on the longest days).This is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare03b

It has the most gorgeous, suede-matte texture. My pores disappeared. My face looked firmer and perfected. This still looked this good more than ten hours after application.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare04

I applied an extra layer or two to problem areas. The color is a touch on the darker side for my MAC NC15/Chanel Ivoire skin tone. In order to use the product, I put a good layer on my skin so that I could soak in the product’s anti-aging neuropeptides (to create suppleness and firmness), Vitamin C (to discolorations) and Alpha Lipoic Acid (to minimize wrinkles and pores).  Then I mixed this serum foundation with Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation in shade #1 (the lightest shade) to create a shade that matches the rest of me. The serum can be mixed with the Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer to deepen its color. Like the Armani, the Perricone MD uses a dropper as the applicator.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare17

The product is rated at SPF 30 (according to Perricone MD’s website, the No Foundation Foundation Serum includes a “non-chemical, mineral-based SPF 30 with Zinc oxide to protect from UVA and UVB rays” Here is the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Perricone Foundation Serum2  I’m including swatches of all shades here, including Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum:

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare19 As you can see, the serum color is a near-match for the No Foundation Foundation in #2. I did a quick finger-blend of the swatches, above, without being very precise or careful. On the skin, a proper blending job delivers smooth and lovely results.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare21Overall, I loved the look and feel of Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation Serum. In addition to the lovely texture and buildable coverage, the product’s skincare benefits was conferring some benefits throughout the day. Additional products from this line are available here and here.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

The Perricone MD products were sent from the  company to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jun 082014

By terry foundation02

For the past few weeks, I’ve been using By Terry Terrybly Densiliss Foundation ($115/ 1.0 oz.). After a short adjustment, I find that I absolutely love its look and longevity.  As you likely know, By Terry is a premier French company that creates some beautiful things. By Terry Densiliss is new this year, and so I tried a few healthy-sized samples. After the first very long day, I found that my skin had a beautiful, perfected look and I invested in the full-sized version. I chose #3 in Vanilla Beige after reviewing these swatches on The Beauty Professor and based on my experience with a few sample shades.

By terry foundation06

The finish of this foundation is superb. My skin looks creamy with just the right amount of natural sheen. My pores (which aren’t very large) are minimized.  The coverage of By Terry Densiliss is hard to pin down because it is so buildable. In other words, one sheer layer is sheer, but the entire face (or any part) can accept multiple thin layers without any caking or problems.  In fact, I discovered (by trial and error) that layering is the very best way to apply this foundation. Rather than using a traditional pumpful or two, I deliberately under-apply a too-thin layer with just a partial-pump, then wait a minute until it sets. Afterwards, I add another layer or two depending on the coverage that I want. I’ve never needed to keep going, because this gives me medium coverage.

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I usually don’t add a powder, although lately I’ve been adding Corol from MAC’s Pedro Lourenco Collection just for fun (it’s not necessary, but it’s a nice variation).

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As with many French companies, By Terry’s Densiliss has a slight perfume scent that fades quickly with application. Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

By terry foundation01

The texture might seem a touch thick, but using the light layering technique seems to alleviate any problems in application.

By terry foundation05I’ve been impressed with the longevity of By Terry Densiliss, even in the extreme dry heat that we’ve been experiencing in California. Despite dry weather reaching near 100 over the past few weeks, my skin has not look a bit dry. In fact, it looks moisturized and youthful. I cannot say that this is 100% due to this foundation, but it is nice that the line states that this foundation “improves skin density, diminishes lines and simultaneously treats all signs of aging” with a revolutionary patented rejuvenating active ingredient with an optimal makeup correction that immediately targets surface wrinkles and provides deep-down and lasting global result.”

By terry foundation09Overall, my first weekend convinced me to get By Terry Densiliss, but the weeks that I’ve been using it have confirmed my love for it. Although this is one of the more expensive foundations on my counter, I’ve really loved the results and feel really good about the investment. This is available online at Barneys New York in all shades.

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

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May 112014

Chanel Perfection Velvet08I’ve been testing the new Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation ($45/ 1 ounce), which I love 1,000 times more than the similarly-packaged Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. The finish of this is not matte, but rather a soft satin. The finish is light and buildable to a solid medium. The lasting power is a solid ten hours. Chanel Pefection Lumiere Velvet is a step forward for Chanel’s foundation line.

Chanel Perfection Velvet07Rated at SPF 15, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet’s sunscreen is modest and not a substitute for a separate, and necessary, sunscreen. Lately, I’ve been using Chanel’s sunscreen. Both of these products play very well together.

Chanel Perfection Velvet05The discreet square bottle is lightweight, well-designed to shake-shake-shake, and very travel-friendly.

Chanel Perfection Velvet10My Chanel Cameo/Ivoire (MAC NC15) skintone was matched to B20, which is slightly warm but works very well. My apologies for no comparison swatches on this one–I’ll be living on the road for a while and I’m blogging under less than ideal conditions.

Chanel Perfection Velvetc1After a few minutes to settle in, the finish is gorgeous. Here she is wearing Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in B20 with Dior Fluid Stick in Pandore, Nars Lost Coast eyeshadow duo, and Nars Olympia Contour Blush. Ingredient list (click to enlarge):
Chanel Perfection Velvet03

Overall:  Love, love, love.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet is available at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s.

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Apr 022014

Clarins Everlasting Foundation03

Sometimes I think that French brands are under-rated to U.S. buyers. I remember that in the past, I’d been very impressed with some Clarins complexion products. Recently, I went foundation sampling at my local Clarins counter to look at some foundations. My sample of the Clarins Skin Illusion foundation looked amazing on my skin for the first several hours. It gave me medium coverage, a perfect finish, with just a barest touch of skin-like glow. However, I noticed that my samples allowed about 6-8 hours of perfection. With that experience in mind, I wanted to try Clarins long-wear foundation, the Clarins Everlasting Foundation ($39 each).

Clarins Everlasting Foundation01

If you don’t mind, I’m going to sketch out some quick thoughts on this one. I’m finding these days that unless I type something out quickly, the posts aren’t posted as frequently as I’d like them to be. Perhaps right now, the perfect is the enemy of the “getting it done.” My testing was done with a layer of Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base ($37) (each available colors, on various different days).

Clarins Everlasting Foundation04


First of all, this foundation provide all-day matte coverage. The matte effect persisted for 15 hour days despite the fact that: 1) I was using a glowy primer; and 2) I have combination skin that usually gets breakthrough “glow” around 2 p.m.  I mean, it has truly been a while since any foundation that I have tried more than delivered on its promises. Truly impressive lasting power.

Clarins Everlasting Foundation05

The coverage is medium-to-full. If you have discoloration or marks, Clarins Everlasting can easily be built up to cover almost anything. As a matte, I didn’t find the texture forgiving, but it didn’t accentuate any problems either. The color is high-pigment, so I didn’t get any heavy foundation look when applied.

Clarins Everlasting Foundation06


Clarins Everlasting has a handy, sanitary pump dispenser.The packaging is gorgeous–a frosted glass looks wonderful on your counter (although is not travel-friendly). Ingredient lists (click to enlarge):

Clarins Everlasting Foundation10

Clarins Everlasting Foundation08

Overall, if you are looking for a long-wearing matte foundation, Clarins Everlasting is an excellent choice.  My local counter carries little sample packets so that you can test the color range–perhaps yours does too. If so, please take advantage because with a higher coverage foundation the match with your natural skin tone becomes quite important, in my experience.

On a final note, I ultimately concluded that Clarins Everlasting wasn’t not an ideal foundation for me because I prefer s foundation with a slight sheen. For a matte look, I’m still happy with the Burberry Velvet. Nonetheless, I thought it valuable to pass along my experience in case this one might suit you perfectly.

Available at Nordstrom and Macy’s.

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Feb 182014

Shu The Lightbulb Foundation01

Shu Uemura has released The Lightbulb Foundation in the U.S. ($55) (online only). This foundation is said to provide a “multi-glow oil complex” for a natural glow with high coverage.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation3

The foundations comes packed with a lightbulb-shaped sponge for application.  The round, wide end is designed to encourage a glowing finish. You are supposed to use the wide end with a tapping motion to set a glow on the cheeks and down the center of the face.  The narrow end is a “glow controller.”  This smaller pointed side is said to be good for buffing the foundation into the skin to provide a more satin texture. As an aside, I used this sponge for a few trials, and it worked well. I also used a sponge from my Chanel powder foundation compact, and I got good results with that as well

Shu Lightbulb Foundation2

I concur with Shu’s description the this foundation is high coverage, and gives a lit-from within glow. The glow is not the same glow that you get when you add a liquid luminizer to a standard foundation. Instead, the foundation seems to provide a healthy, lit-from-within look that is somehow in the pigment of the foundation even when matted down to a satin finish. There’s definitely some kind of magic in this formula. Here is the pointed, narrow end of The Lightbulb sponge, which comes to a gentle cone point at the end.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation1

The heavy coverage comes at a price, however. This is not a “lightweight” foundation–I definitely felt it on my skin throughout the day. It doesn’t feel like it completely dries down.  I certainly recommend powdering this down, not only to tame the glow but also to minimize its transferability.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation4 copy

I should note that, like many modern foundations, Shu The Lightbulb takes a while to settle onto my skin. I gave it a good 15-20 minutes until this somewhat thick product really spread and settled.  Until then, I could see pores that I didn’t know I had, and it looked a bit mask-like. If this happens, don’t panic. Maybe do your nails or answer some emails, give it some time to warm to your skin. It changes quite a bit during the first half-hour. Below, you can see that the pump bottle is a nice touch.

Shu Lightbulb Foundation5

 I also had problems with Shu’s The Lightbulb wearing well throughout the day. It’s not advertised as a long-wearing foundation.  Without a base or primer, I got breakthrough glow by 10:00 a.m. on my combination skin. By the end of the day, there were several of my skin flaws showing through the foundation that I had applied at about 7 a.m. that day. Ingredient list:

Shu The Lightbulb Foundation03

With the  Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer and topped with the Guerlain Meteorites powder, I had a vastly different experience. Of course, I got the same high coverage and lit-from-within glow as before. However, I did not get breakthrough glow until very late in the day.  Also, the high coverage lasted well into the evening without any movement.  I really loved the look of the Shu The Lightbulb Foundation with this combination. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I should note that the Lightbulb foundation still felt a bit heavy compared to the some of the super-lightweight feeling foundations that I’ve tried in the past. In other words, despite the vastly improved longevity, I still could feel the Lightbulb foundation on. Some don’t mind that, but some do and so I wanted to let you know my experience.

Shu Lightbulb Swatches1

I ordered Shu The Lightbulb in 774, which runs toward yellow. Something told me that I should have gone with the more neutral 574, but that one was out of the stock on the day that I ordered. As you can see, Shu 774 is much yellower than MAC NC 15, and certainly yellower than NARS Sheer Glow in Deauville. For the record, Shu’s number system is as follows:  the first digit tells you how pink or yellow the foundation is: 1 is the most pink; 9 is the most yellow; 5 is neutral.  The second digit refers to how dark or light the shade is (the higher the number, the lighter the shade).

Overall, I think this foundation is going to be a bit controversial. In addition to the online-only aspect for U.S. buyers, I think that some will love the coverage and look.  For me, a good primer was necessary to ensure longevity. The dry-down issue is going to be a factor for some, as well as the overall feel of the foundation. I will say that, set properly with a good primer and powder, this gives fantastic coverage and the texture (once it settles in) does give an outstanding look. As ever, these are just one beauty blogger’s thoughts, and so you experiences might certainly vary.

In the U.S., Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Foundation is available online only at Shu Uemera’s website.

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