Aug 112013

Nars Creamy Foundation01

Here, I had a preview post on the new Nars Radiant Cream Compact Foundation (currently available here at Sephora, Nordstrom, and also on Nars Cosmetics online). I’ve  had some time to experiment, so I wanted to do a follow-through post. After visiting the store and speaking to some Sephora sales associates, I’ve learned a lot.

Once I learned to work with this foundation, I absolutely loved it. After experimentation, it gave me a complexion as glowing and youthful as I could ever hope for. My honest-to-a-fault husband proclaimed the Nars Radiant Cream Foundation as good as–if not better than–some of the Chanel foundations. So, in my opinion, this is worth investigating.

Nars Creamy Foundation02edit

Note that the compact is sold separately for $10 (also available here at Nordstrom. Although this adds a bit to your first purchase, this is a well designed, sturdy compact with a huge mirror and convenient go-everywhere shape. Once you own it, you won’t be re-buying the compact as the refills pop in and out so easily.

Each foundation tray is $38 for 0.42 ounces. The glowy, gorgeous formula does come with a caution. That it, it is important to keep in mind that Nars recommends that you retain the lid that comes with the foundation on the product while you have it in the compact-in other words:

How to store:

Because of the unique texture, this formula is air sensitive. To ensure the integrity of this product, close inner lid of compact securely after each use and store away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

This shows how the foundation refills come, and how they can be popped into the compact:

Nars compact demo

I’m speculating, but I wonder whether the fragility of the formula is the reason that the pan size of this Nars Radiant Cream foundation is smaller than the amount that fills jar-filled cream foundations. For example, the Nars is .42 ounce for $38.  By comparison, Laura Mercier Crème Smooth Foundation is $50 for a 1 ounce glass jar, and Giorgio Armani Designer Shaping Cream Foundation is $65 for 1 ounce.  It makes sense that this unique formula–which might be susceptible to drying out–must be kept sealed, and can be quickly replaced at a low cost (rather than charging double for a full larger size, which could go bad if you don’t use it every day).

The Nars Radiant compact formula is dewy and very lightweight, particularly compared to any other cream foundations that I’ve tried. Many cream foundations just feel heavy, a price you needed to pay to get fuller coverage I suppose. Any weight is a little tough for me, I can practically feel my pores clogging. So I avoid them.

Nars Creamy Foundation05

Nars Radiant Cream feels a touch moisturizing but not at all heavy.  This would work beautifully for dry to normal skin, it gives a touch of a glow that is just gorgeous. As the Nars description states:

Blending seamlessly with weightless medium buildable coverage, skin feels soft and comfortable with moisture levels boosted by 80% after 12 hours, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and enhancing skin’s radiance.

Close-up, Nars Radiant Cream foundation minimizes pores, imperfections, and adds a flattering sheeny-glow. It gives a bride-worthy glowit’s really gorgeous. Because the formulation is moisturizing, those with oily skin should still feel free to use it (oily skin needs moisture too). If you find that those will  oily skin are getting too much glow, you will want to use a powder (such as any favorite, or try the Nars Translucent Setting Powder).

Nars Creamy Foundation13

I found that Deauville was absolute perfection for my NC15/Chanel Ivoire skintone. Here are few comparisons with other color foundations that I have in my drawer–Mac Pro Longwear NC15, Make Up For Ever HD Liquid #118, Chanel Lift Lumiere Ivoire, and Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Beige Rose:

Nars  Foundation Swatches Comparisons1

I got some samples of other Nars foundations to test whether the shades are consistent within the line. Here, I found that the colors were almost dead-on identical. Here are the Nars Radiant Cream foundations in Mont Blanc (compared with Nars Mont Blanc Sheer Matte), Nars Fiji Radiant Cream (compared with Fiji Sheer Glow), Nars Radiant Cream in Sante Fe (compared with Nars Sheer Glow in Sante Fe), and Nars Radiant Cream in Tahoe (compared with Nars Sheer Glow in Tahoe). Although I didn’t test all 20 shades, this spot-check gave me confidence that Nars has worked to ensure that you can find your Radiant Compact shade pretty easily if you know your standard Nars shades. I love a consistent line, don’t you?

Nars foundation sample swatches1

I played with my application technique for several days. First, I gave my skin very good preparation–serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen. If you skin doesn’t look it’s best when testing out a new foundation, you won’t be able to tell the quality of the foundation. I then added concealer to problem areas. Armani’s Maestro concealer and MAC Pro Longwear Concealer give the best all-day longevity these days. Here’s what I found:

– I could get sheer coverage by using just a touch of Nars Radiant Foundation with a standard flat foundation brush. This worked well when I did a good job with my concealer. The Nars Radiant Cream foundation is highly build able–I could go all the way to full by adding layers.

– Using the included Nars sponge gave me medium-to-full coverage very quickly. I don’t like a full coverage look on me (especially during the day), so I’m unlikely to do this very much.

– The brush that gave me the best control was the Louise Young LY34 Super Foundation Brush ($41). I’ve seen this brush featured in so many British and UK videos that I was surprised to find that it is sold on Nordstrom online. The size and shape of the brush head gave me almost-perfect control.

 Here’s some pictures of the brush.

Louise Young Foundation Brush1

It looks enormous (it is in reality), but the softly rounded bristles allow you to get in every little tiny area of your face.

Louise Young Foundation Brush2

The Louise Young Super Foundation brush is handy for other compact and cream foundations as well.

As this review is already becoming over-long, here are some highlights:

  •  Yes, the Nars Radiant Cream Compact foundation is an exciting new addition to the makeup line. It is fabulous, and makes my skin look glowing and amazing.
  • The Nars Radiant Cream is moisturizing, and minimizes textual imperfections.
  • Properly prepped, the formula is very flexible and buildable. Choose your tools accordingly for the coverage that you like.  If you like a lighter coverage, just prep your skin well and maybe spot-conceal if you need it. Then add a sheer layer of the Nars Radiant. The enclosed sponge gives full coverage right out of the pan. Other tools (like the Louise Young Super Foundation brush) can help you customize your coverage (and vary it in different areas of your face).

I had to laugh when I heard a random Sephora sales associate exclaiming about the beauty and versatility of the Nars Radiant Cream foundation as I was in a store the other day. I quite agree.

Currently available here at Nordstrom, Sephora, and also on Nars Cosmetics online.

Nars provided the Radiant Cream foundation to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This review contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

Please follow us on....

Jul 292013

Nars Creamy Foundation01

This is a first look at Nars new Radiant Cream Compact Foundation ($38 each). According to the company:

This lightweight formula combines the supple feel of a cream foundation with the weightless coverage of liquid makeup for a truly glowing complexion. Enriched with the NARS exclusive Advanced Emulsion Technology, the velvety cream formula blends seamlessly and uniquely allows for the modern artistic versatility of a wet or dry application. The buildable formula delivers medium to full coverage and sets in seconds, leaving sk in soft, smooth, and glowing — all with the ease of a portable compact.

The compact is slim, sturdy and packable. There’s a lovely large mirror (perfect for touchups). The version I received has an empty well to hold the color, and a separate well for a sponge (with air vents for drying):

Nars Creamy Foundation02


Nars Creamy Foundation03

Here’s how the color goes in with the accompanying sponge:

Nars Creamy Foundation09

The color was quite easy to place in the well, and it seems to be well-designed so that it won’t slip out until you want it too.

Nars Creamy Foundation08

There’s a very nice range of 20 shades (click to enlarge):

Nars Creamy Foundation05

A first range of swatches:

Nars Creamy Foundation10

The shade descriptions:

SIBERIA: Light with neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones

MONT BLANC: Light with pink undertone

GOBI: For Asian skin Light with yellow undertone

DEAUVILLE: Light with neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones

FIJI: Light with yellow undertone

CEYLAN: For Asian skin Light – medium with yellow undertone

PUNJAB: Medium with golden, peachy undertone

VALLAURIS (NEW): Medium with pink undertone

SANTA FE: Medium with peachy undertone

STROMBOLI: Medium with olive undertone

BARCELONA: Deeper Medium with golden, peachy undertone

SYRACUSE: Medium – dark with brown undertone

TAHOE: Medium – dark with caramel undertone

CADIZ: Medium – dark with caramel and red undertone

MACAO: Medium – dark with deep yellow undertone

NEW GUINEA: Dark with red undertone

TRINIDAD: Dark with warm, yellow undertone

NEW ORL EANS: Dark with yellow undertone

BENARES: Dark with golden undertone

KHARTOUM: Dark with espresso undertone

I’m still testing the foundation. In the meantime, some of you may wish to start exploring this as it hits counters. I’ll post several swatch pictures, below, so that you can see the colors in different light.

Nars Creamy Foundation11


Nars Creamy Foundation12

And one more:

Nars Creamy Foundation13

As I said earlier, I’m still working with these and hope to post an update by the end of the week. If you have questions, or need some close-up comparisons, please leave your requests in the comments and I’ll do my best. In the meantime, I’m pleased that Cafe Makeup has so much for you to see over the next several days. 

UPDATE/EDIT: My thoughts on the foundation are linked here.

Currently available here at Nordstrom, Sephora, and also on Nars Cosmetics online.

These samples were sent without charge to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

Please follow us on....

Jun 052013

Chanel CC Cream first look09a

This is a first look at the Chanel CC Cream ($55/ 1.0 oz.), which has just become available to certain Chanel boutiques across the U.S. This will soon be available where ever Chanel is sold. Although this has been released internationally for some months, this is the first tube that I’ve seen in person. I was so excited to experience this product, so I thought that I can’t be the only one. I’m posting this quick overview of pictures so that you can see it with me.

Edit/updated:  My in-depth review has now been posted here.

Chanel CC Cream first look02

As far as I know, this is just released in one shade–20 Beige–at least so far. There are five primary attributes of the product:

  • Anti-aging:  Includes Rejuvencia, an active ingredient derived from marine micro-organisms to stimulate the natural production of collagen to prevent the appearance of aging.
  • Moisturizing:  Contains hyaluronic acid to help maintain skin hydration levels.
  • Soothes: Uses cornflower water to comfort skin.
  • Sun protection:  Broad spectrum SPF 30 helps to block UVA and UVB rays using physical protection.
  • Covers and perfects: essentially, has coverage in the nature of a sheer foundation

Chanel CC Cream first look11a

 Here’s the product literature (in English) (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look15

 The packaging is a travel-friendly squeeze tube:

Chanel CC Cream first look14

 The Chanel CC Cream in 20 Beige runs fair and warm. Here is a comparison with Chanel CC Cream, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Beige Rose (which is much pinker/cooler), Chanel Lift Lumiere in Ivoire (14) (similar, but with a bit more coverage), MAC Pro Longwear in NC15 (more coverage, lighter), and Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska (darker).

Chanel CC Cream first look20

Here is the active sunscreen agent, titanium dioxide 12%:

Chanel CC Cream first look05

The additional ingredients (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look08

Additional packaging information:

Chanel CC Cream first look07a

I asked the Chanel cosmetic specialist, who was in the boutique for the weekend, whether the product had any color-reducing properties (for example, the Smashbox CC Cream advertises that it will help fade acne scars and discolorations). In other words–does this product correct permanently with skincare ingredients, or does it “correct” by covering up?  The Chanel representative said that this product is not advertised to actually correct discolorations permanently, but that it could be used with the Chanel Le Blanc line (which is designed for those purposes).

hope you enjoyed this first look. I’ll post again in a few days once I’ve had more of a chance to test this out.

Available with free ship and return at, and other Chanel sources.

Please follow us on....

May 272013

Long Wearing Foundations01

Now that we’re entering the summer season, I thought it would be useful to do an entry about warm weather foundations. Last late summer through the end of fall, I was living on the road doing extensive traveling throughout the hot, humid areas of the American South. Keep in mind, as a Northern California resident, I’m no stranger to hot weather. At Cafe Makeup, we weather our share of over-100 degree days. However, there’s a lot of truth to that expression “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” I remember the blast of warm, humid heat that rendered my favorite foundations powerless to withstand the afternoons. Not kidding–I have a whole new level of respect for those who wear makeup in humid climates.  It’s a whole new level of challenge.

Continue reading »

Please follow us on....

May 242013

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster01

Two weeks ago, I picked up Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster ($51/ 1.3 oz.) in Light, the palest color of the two available. This new product is described by the line as follows:

Guerlain’s new BB Cream is a multi-action skin perfector which offers skin protection with SPF 30, hydration and color correction while evening skin tone with a fresh, lightweight texture. The bio-fusion micro-mesh combination of linen and silk fibers creates a second-skin effect to boost the natural beauty of the skin as hyaluronic acid intensely hydrates for a younger-looking complexion. The benefits are proven with staggering results: over 97% of subjects experienced fresh and beautiful skin all day long.

This release of this product is timely for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. With a respectable SPF 30 sun protection, and all-day wear in warm weather, this could easily become a go-to summer face product.

Guerlain BB cream

The product comes packaged in a easy-to-pack plastic tube topped with a pump to keep things sanitary and leakage-proof.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster06

The pump top and cap:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster10

This comes out of the tube a bit on the thick side, with a texture similar to a traditional BB creme, and dries to a near-matte finish. This applies with a medium-to-heavy coverage if you apply this with fingers as a traditional foundation. The makeup artist who sold me the product highly recommend that I dab this on with a sponge, then buff the product into the skin with the sponge as well.  This was his polite way of telling me (I think) that the thicker texture needs delicate treatment to prevent the product from becoming mask-like.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster08

I’ve applied this several ways over the past two weeks, and realized how right he was. The product does look much better applied lightly and buffed in.  If I am too careless, the product can “sit” on the skin exposing pores for the first hour or so until it settles in and mixes with my natural oils.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster07

Because of its thicker texture, this mixes well with other products. I’ve “cut” the foundation with MAC Golden Elixir Strobe Liquid Lotion ($31) (limited edition). I absolutely loved the effect. It gave the Guerlain BB creme a bit of warmth and glow, and made the texture more foundation-like.  Because MAC’s Golden Elixir is a light fluid, you can use quite of bit of it and retain the light color of the Guerlain BB creme. Another product that could be used for the same purpose is Guerlain’s Meteorites Light Reflecting Diffusing Primer for summer ($71/limited edition). Back of the tube (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster09


  • One of the best qualities of this product is the all-day wear.  With or without a primer, Guerlain’s BB cream does not budge. I’ve worn this on very long, warm days without any fading, shift, or disappearing acts.  Truly one of the better “long wearing” foundations.
  • The SPF 30 rating– again, I’m a big fan of sun protection where ever I can find it. I do wear a sunscreen under this foundation, still it’s nice to have a long-wearing foundation that includes it as well.
  • The finish, coverage, and look.  It’s worthy of the price tag. I like the finish better than Guerlain Lingerie de Peau liquid foundation–only the names are similar. This is a completely different formula (not even close). It does look luminous, beautiful, and polished, when buffed into the skin.
  • If you need coverage, get this foundation.  It’s got it.  I’d apply this normally, and then buff it in afterwards with a brush of sponge. If you want less coverage but still want the other features of this product, Guerlain’s BB creme does apply beautifully if dabbed on lightly and buffed.


  • Some will find the texture a bit thick (see, the “cutting with primer” trick, above). 
  • Those looking for very light barely-there coverage should keep looking (Urban Decay’s BB Creme, for one).
  • You should buff this in, particularly if applying heavily.

Ingredients for the sunscreen properties:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster03

The rest of the ingredients (click to enlarge):

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster05

More advice:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster04

Here are comparisons of the Guerlain Lingerie BB Beauty Booster compared with a few other color tones in my stash, including the Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted UV Protector in #20, Dior Diorsnow BB Creme in Shade 010, Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in BR 32, MAC Pro Longwear in NC15 and Make Up For Ever HD Foundation in #118.

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster11

When I swatched Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster in the second available shade (No. 3 Medium), I thought that it was not very dark–I believe it is roughly equivalent to a MAC NC30 but not much deeper. One more, same foundations:

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau BB Beauty Booster12

Overall, Guerlain’s BB Beauty Booster is a winner for me. I liked it far more than Dior’s standard BB Creme offerings and I find it’s a good substitute for the now-unavaible Diorsnow BB Cream. After sampling several other BB creams on this market, this Guerlain is coming out on top. This is a good, no-budge, good SPF product that looks elegant and won’t move during the hot summer months.

Available at Nordstrom, and other Guerlain counters.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see About Cafe Makeup.

Please follow us on....