Nov 262014
 

A few weeks ago, I began testing Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation ($80). The foundation was released in Fall ’14, and is described by line as a “natural-finish, long wearing, humidity-resistant foundation” that hydrates and evens skin tone to create a “flawless, supple, and pore-less canvas on which to sculpt the features.” Tom Ford Beauty categorizes this as a medium-to-full coverage foundation with SPF 15 broad spectrum protection. Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation02 copyHere are my thoughts based on my testing:

  • This liquid is sold in a plastic bottle that is modern, unbreakable, sanitary and travel-friendly.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation08 copy

  • There is a built in pump.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation09 copy

The pump twists up, keeping the product spill-proof and sanitary.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation10 copy

  • There’s a slight chemical scent to this liquid when first applied, which may be sunscreen ingredients. It fades quickly. I don’t detect any perfume scent.

 

  • Some report that this has a matte finish. On my skin, the finish is natural to slightly glow-ish (especially as the day progresses), probably because of its moisturizing ingredients. On application, the foundation does dry down to the point where it does not transfer. In my opinion, those looking for a true matte finish will want to powder down.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation06 copy

  • The moisture-add does help my winter-stressed skin, so the description that the foundation includes helpful skin benefits rings true to me. Those with oily skin may notice a bit of a glow as the day wears on (when worn without any primer or powder).

 

  • The claim to a poreless finish rings fairly true to me as well.  This foundation did have a noticeable pore-minimizing finish.

 

  • Like Armani and Burberry (and some other) foundations, this layers beautifully. I can add just a whisper, or build up past medium toward full. I haven’t tried to go all the way to full.

 

  • The longevity was quite good for a moisturizing foundation.  The glowy-moisturizing aspects makes this a little tricky—there are few moisturizing foundations that truly last all day.  I get more wear time out of my long-wearing foundations that do not have any moisturizing properties, including the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick, Chanel Perfection Lumiere (the standard and the velvet), MAC Pro Longwear. Nonetheless,  on me the Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting lasts about 70-90% of the time that the others named here do (rough estimate). Also, I don’t get any shifting or “looks like its lifting off” effect. As the day goes on, I notice that the coverage seems to lessen, and a glowy sheen starts to emerge.

 

  • Some may be wondering how the Tom Ford Traceless Perfection stacks up next to the By Terry Densiliss Foundation (reviewed here). Of course, both are premium liquid foundations that have skincare benefits. In my opinion, Tom Ford’s Traceless Perfection feels more moisturizing and behaves more like a standard layerable liquid foundation with the slight-glow foundation. In contrast, By Terry Densiliss feels a bit closer to a cream when applied, tends to dry down closer to a matte-satin, does not have the pore-control of Tom Fords, and lasts a bit longer throughout the day. In other words, those with dryer skin may prefer Tom Ford, while those with oily/combination skin may prefer By Terry.
  • The foundation includes Tom Ford’s Infusing Complex which helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I can vouch for this–this does give me a beautiful canvas.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation07 copy

After spending nearly an entire Spring and Summer in California, I was counter-matched to Tom Ford Traceless Perfection in #3 Fawn. On this snowy winter day, this is a bit warm and dark for my current complexion but still wearable. If I were to buy another today, I’d go a shade or so lighter (in Ivory or even Cream). Here’s a swatch of Tom Ford Fawn #3 compared to my MAC Studio Sculpt in NC15 for color.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation11 copy

This foundation is said to be particularly good in warm-to-cold conditions. Those who are running from the cold outdoors into overheated buildings will appreciate that the foundation does, indeed, seem to hold up well in highly varied temperature conditions (as well as those who get super warm due to, ahem, other reasons). I get this same quality from Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation, and the other long-wearing foundations in my stash including By Terry, Chanel Perfection Lumiere and MAC Pro Longwear.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation07 copy

In addition to octinoxate and titanium dioxide for sun protection, the product includes the following: (click to enlarge):

Tom ford ingredient list copy

Unlike many foundations that I’ve tried recently, I’m not seeing alcohol listed here, which is a very good plus.

Overall, Tom Ford Traceless Perfection is worthy of the title premium foundation in its excellent finish, skincare benefits, and overall look. This has excellent buildability. Those looking for skincare infusion and moisture, especially in these drying winter months, may find that this is a favorite.

Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman.

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Aug 212014
 

YSL Skin Tatoo1For some reason, over the past year I’ve been really clicking with Yves Saint Laurent Beauty in a way that hasn’t happened before. Encouraged by my love of their new Couture Eyeshadow Palettes, I took a chance and tried the new Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink Foundation ($60/ 0.84 oz.). This is currently available at Yves Saint Laurent onlineNordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Sephora.

YSL Skin Tatoo2According to the line:

24 hours of soft-matte perfection and comfort. Our exclusive fine-as-ink formula perfects the skin yet wears weightlessly all day. Never cakey or heavy. Feel the difference of all day perfection and freedom. SPF 18. Available in 21 shades.

Here is an interview with Lloyd Simmonds, the Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent Beaute, which states that the formula was developed to be both long-wearing and lightweight, so that it appears to adhere to the skin without looking cakey. According to Simmonds, “It’s the perfect foundation for fashion shows because even four hours after application, it’s still there by the time the models hit the runway.”  I had to smile a bit when I read that. I really do need a foundation that lasts more than four hours. Although I loved the look of YSL Tient Touche Eclat, I could not get all-day wear from that foundation on my combination skin. Thankfully, YSL Fusion Ink really does deliver on longevity (more on that later).

YSL Skin Tatoo21

I tried Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink in BD 15 (Warm Buff) for the past week plus, which is an excellent match for my NC15/Chanel Ivoire/ Nars Deauville skintone. This is roughly where I am in all foundation shades–warm, fair. The serum feels light a very light oil going on, a bit like Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Foundation.  YSL’s Fusion Ink is very pigment rich–a light first pass all over my face gives me roughly medium coverage. I find this very layerable.  Because you do not need much product to get good coverage, a second layer (or third, in places) doesn’t seem to give any textural build-up. There’s a light scent that fades quickly (ah, the French! They do love the scents!) For me, coverage is nearly full on a second layer.  Still, it doesn’t look as “masky” as some foundations do at that level of coverage.

YSL Skin Tatoo5

The texture takes a while to dry down, I give it a good two or three minutes before I apply any powder products. While it’s setting, I often add a liquid bronzer like Giorgio Armani’s Liquid Summer (other nice ones include Perricone MD’s No Bronzer Bronzer and MAC Prep & Prime BB Cream (in Amber)). It’s nice to add some alight bronze for summer.

YSL Skin Tatoo6

 YSL Fusion Ink is rated at SPF 18, but one does not use much of this product, so a separate sunscreen is necessary. There is no pump for this serum-textured foundation. Instead, there’s an applicator that looks like the YSL lip applicators (or a super-stylized bubble blower, whichever you prefer). I sweep this over my cheeks, forehead, and dab it on my chin before using my fingers to spread the product.

YSL Skin Tatoo3So, this dries down to a velvet finish. It’s beautiful. It doesn’t need a setting powder. Adding one didn’t seem to increase it’s already day-long longevity. YSL Fusion Ink takes highlighters well if you want to add. There’s shocking longevity here, even though I get caught in occasional muggy 90-degree heat, the foundation doesn’t break apart, disappear, fade, or shift like the tectonic plates (as some foundations seem to do). After a day that starts at 4 am and ends at midnight, going in and out of heat and air conditioning, it really does look amazing at the end. My forehead is only ever-so-slightly dewier in the evening, but much less so compared to most foundations.  YSL Fusion Ink is well-named, and does it while feeling lightweight and melding into the skin perfectly. Ingredients:

YSL Tatoo ingredients

The foundation didn’t cause any of my pores to clog, gave me a beautiful all-day finish, and covers any discolorations like mad. The price point is on the mid-to-higher end these days, but it does look expensive, and makes my skin look amazing. It reminds me of Chanel’s new Perfection Lumiere Velvet foundation (but a bit lighter because the YSL is a true serum), and a bit like Giorgio Armani’s Maestro serum with a higher coverage formula. I was concerned that the bottle includes slightly less than the typical 1 ounce of most other lines. However, if you are looking for medium to nearly-full coverage, you’ll get to that level with a small bit of product.

YSL Skin Tatoo22Overall, I was impressed with Yves Saint Laurent’s Fusion Ink. I believe that there’s some innovation at the company right now, and it’s showing as new products are rolling out. This foundation certainly fills a real need for a very long-wearing, medium-to-high coverage formula. Bravo, YSL!

Available at Yves Saint Laurent onlineNordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Sephora.

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

 

 

 

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Aug 092014
 

Temptu AIrbrush System1

We’ve always been curious about using airbrush makeup systems. Whether watching a pro, or watching a live demonstration, Liz and I have wondered whether airbrush system give a better result and how manageable such systems are. When Temptu offered us a chance to try their system, we took the chance. We opened up the Temptu Flawless Complexion Kit ($170). The company included two foundation colors (the lighter Ivory and medium Beige), Washed Rose Blush, and Champagne Highlighter.

Temptu AIrbrush System2a

Neither of us had any experience with airbrush systems, but the Temptu was quite easy to put together.

Temptu AIrbrush System5

Basically, the air compressor (which runs from the power from the AC Adapter) pushes air through the brush’s nozzle, to give you a extremely even, controllable application. The air compressor has a hose which is stuck into the brush:

Temptu 4

The hose connection to the brush:

Temptu AIrbrush System6Liz had things up and running in just a few minutes. The next step was to connect the Ivory foundation to the brush/nozzle by placing it into the brush device.

Temptu AIrbrush System7There was a little cap on the foundation that had to be removed, which allows the liquid foundation to flow from the pod into the brush.

temptu 1

The same procedure works for the blush and highlighter.

Temptu 2

All together now.

Temptu 3

Liz found the brush surprisingly easy to use. Se was able to control the application and color very intuitively.

Temptu AIrbrush System review04This was our very first attempt. Liz used the darker Beige foundation color to contour. The highlighter and blush were a breeze.

Temptu AIrbrush System review05Liz swapped out the blush and highlighter pretty easily. The final results:

Temptu 5Considering that this was Liz’s first try, I think the results are quite flawless.  Overall, although the Temptu is used by professionals, we thought that it delivered excellent, perfected results by a non-pro. The colors were light, layerable, and delivered true airbrushed results.  These units are available at Temptu’s website.

Temptu AIrbrush System review03

Temptu sent these products to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jul 242014
 

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream04Here me out. I realize that Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm ($75/1.3 oz) arguably has the won the “most cumbersome name compared to the elegance of the actual product” category. If you don’t know about the Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum moisturizer line, the first few words seem to come from the anime genre. If you do know about the line, you’ll immediate connect this product with a premier way to get incredible, effective hydration that gives the skin glow without the slightest hint of heaviness. Really, it’s a fabulous skincare line. I fall into the latter category, so I was unhesitating in pressing the “order” button on the Light shade of this beautifully formulated Guerlain BB cream. This product is actually a foolproof way to treat your skin to protection, hydration, and enough coverage for most, in a way that is both effective and elegant. Guerlain’s description (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream05

This is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream02This new Guerlain BB cream ticks a lot of boxes that many will love. It actually does deliver on the promises. The travel friendly squeeze-tube has SPF25, offers moisture that is appropriate for dry and combination skin, and gives a lovely, glowing texture to the skin. According to the line, “In a single step, your skin receives instant, long-lasting hydration, your wrinkles and fine lines are smoothed and your complexion is noticeably more even. Its subtly tinted, feather-light texture protects your skin from both UV rays and dehydration while perfecting your complexion for a naturally radiant glow.” This has been a great grab-and-go for me over the past few weeks. It gives light coverage in a single layer, and with two layers it gives light-to-medium coverage that acts like a moisturizing foundation.  Best of all, this lasts throughout the day. It doesn’t have any of the mid-afternoon breakdown that some moisturizing foundations do, giving me hours more coverage compared to YSL Touche Eclat and the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand. It looks far more natural on me than the MAC BB cream.

guerlain bb cream

By comparison, Guerlain’s Lingerie de Peau BB Cream has much thicker texture, which sometimes feels like it melds to the skin very tenaciously. The Guerlain Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty has a much creamier texture. I was surprised to find that both gave about roughly equal long wear times, even in a humid climate.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream 22

There are two potential drawbacks to Guerlain’s Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty BB Cream. Fortunately, neither are deal-breakers for me, given the benefits of the product, but I’m going to mention them. First off, this is scented with a famous Guerlain rose-aqua flower scent. It’s noticeable for a half hour or so. Because I love this about French beauty products, I don’t mind drinking it in. Also, there are only two shades of this product available.  Two.  The Light is perfect for my NC15/20, Chanel Ivoire warm skin tone (emphasis on warm, I think this Light is on the warmer side).  It would probably be fine down to NC25 or so.  Beyond this, I would look at the darker shade, or head to a counter to try these out.

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream12

Overall, I love the Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm for the following reasons:

  • Great texture
  • Makes my skin look great
  • Skin care benefits, including the Super Aqua-Serum which I love
  • Light texture
  • Long lasting
  • SPF 25 (yes, you should supplement with a standard sunscreen)
  • Great coverage, which is buildable
  • Generous 1.3 ounce size, perfect for travel
  • Easy, foolproof application if the shade is in your range

Speaking of shades, here are some quick swatches:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand8

Guerlain Super Aqua-Serum BB+ Hydra Beauty Balm ($75/1.3 oz) is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Ingredient (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream06

Guerlain Hydra Max BB Cream08 This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup

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Jul 232014
 

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand3Marc Jacobs Fall ’14 collection include its fourth foundation–the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand ($45/0.59 oz.). This is a sheer, emollient foundation with buildable coverage that is packaged in an elegant, unique, fun little wand. The Smart Wand is now available in four shades at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand4

I ordered this in the shade Light 210, which runs slightly cool and light on my NC15/20 Chanel Ivoire skintone. It was certainly in a good range for me, and I don’t mind going a little lighter on my foundations. Unlike his other foundations, Marc Jacobs’ Smart Wand is designed to make  “it easy to take with you for application on the go.” Indeed, I watched a girl do her full makeup on a commuter train the other day. She had good skin, neither dry nor oily, no marks and few imperfections. As I watched her blot a too-orange powder into her lovely skin, I wished that I could have handed this to her. It would have been perfect. The Marc Jacobs Smart Wand erases pores, gives a “natural but much nicer glow,” and makes the skin look polished and perfected in the ways that celebrity skin looks.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand5

My personal experience with the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand was over five days in very humid weather, sometimes with primer and sometimes without. The strengths of this foundation are in its ease of application, amazing texture, and build able coverage.  A first pass gives very, very light coverage, much less than I get with Giorgio Armani’s Maestro serum. This really gives the impression of amazing texture to my skin. It blurs, tones down discoloration (but doesn’t erase them), and gives my skin a really pretty, natural-but-much-better sheen.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand6The Smart Wand has a noticeable scent, which I found pleasant. To put this through its paces, I made up to three additional passes with the Smart Wand to build the coverage, which it did beautifully without caking or showing pores (where are my pores? this seems to erase them). The product feels emollient and moisturizing on the skin. It does not dry down quickly, and I’m attributing this to the skin care qualities in the formula. I resisted the urge to powder it down because that will take away from its gorgeous texture. As the product description notes (this is a copy/paste from the site):

  • Moisturizer contains Coconut oil, Vitamin E and amino acids that nourish and hydrate
  • Proprietary blend of antioxidant green tea and refreshing cucumber fights free radicals while energizing the skin
  • Spherical powders with a photo luminescent diamond core work to diffuse light and blur imperfections

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand7

I must use a primer with this foundation (I used the Nars Light Optimizing). Without it, I got about four hours before I started to notice the foundation looking a little worse for wear. With a primer, I got six or seven hours. The foundation does not promise to be long-wearing, and I did not experience long wear with it either. Swatches in sun:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand8 More swatches in indoor light with flash:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand9I tried a generous sample of the Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Foundation ($55/0.63 oz) for several days recently as well. I used 14 Ivory Medium, which was a pretty good match. These two foundations are completely different. The Marvelous Mousse is a nearly full coverage gel product that has a satin-matte finish. To say that a little goes a long way understates the situation. For a full-coverage foundation, the Marvelous Mousee had a really nice texture, is infused with skin care, and gives a very polished, lovely look. I think it is more coverage than I realistically need. Here is the ingredient list for the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand:

Marc Jacobs Smart WandD1
Overall, I applaud the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand because it represents a re-design of foundation completely from the customer’s perspective. There is absolutely a need for the Smart Wand–easy, fast, convenient, for those looking to add just a little celebrity glow to normal skin without adding lots of coverage. Note that the product has no SPF rating, but the ingredients state that it “may contain” titanium dioxide (perhaps the product has not yet obtained regulatory approval to list an SPF rating yet, which is common for newly-released foundations–I simply don’t know). As I noted, the wear time was a bit on the short side for me. As we all know. foundation is a very personal and individual preference, and this will not work for everyone. Nonetheless, foundation variety is the spice of life, and I’m glad to see companies thinking about the woman/man who wishes to add a touch of magic. Here’s Marc Jacobs take on this new product:

The Smart Wand is now available at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

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

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