Apr 142013
 

Armani Summer 2013 Palette08

Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 Face & Eye Palette ($88), also called the Armani Bronze All-Over Palette, is built for luxury travel. This small, sturdy palette has a large bronzer and three beautiful shimmery peach-based shadows on the lower level.

Armani Summer 2013 Palette17

First up, the beautiful metallic overspray gives a lush, red-carpet glamor to the bronzer. Opening the palette for the first time is a breathtaking experience for those who love a luxury presentation.

Armani Summer 2013 Palette01

Close up of the Armani signature on the ridged top:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette04

Once the overspray is brushed away, a warm shimmery bronzer remains without the metallic drama:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette d1Here is Liz wearing the Giorgio Armani Summer Face & Eye palette’s bronzer on her cheeks, over Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Rose Beige:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette c2

Here are some comparisons with other bronzers in the same shade range. I found that Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 Face & Eye palettes bronzer was more shimmery than Tom Ford’s Gold Dust. It seems a bit lighter than Guerlain Terracotta Four Seasons in #2 Naturel Blondes and Chanel Terra Ambre:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette b2

The eyeshadow portion of the Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 Face & Eye Palette includes three shimmery eyeshadow shades–a light pearly cream highlighter, a light shimmery peach, and a deep warm brown.

Armani Summer 2013 Palette05

To my eye, these colors are quite similar to the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer in Mirage. Two of the shades look identical, and the highlighter is certainly close enough to render Mirage duplicative if you already have the Armani Summer 2013 palette:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette b1

On Liz:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette a1

Eyes open:

Armani Summer 2013 Palette a2

Overall, the Giorgio Armani Summer 2013 Face & Eye Palette has a gorgeous presentation–the overspray on this is a stunner. Underneath, you’ll find a pretty, finely milled warm-toned bronzer. As you lift the bronzer, underneath you’ll find smooth, shimmery eyeshadow that is beautiful and wearable.

Available on Armani’s online site, and soon to appear everywhere Giorgio Armani Beauty is sold. This post contains an affiliate link (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Apr 052013
 

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmera1a

I succumbed to buying another Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer Palette in Mystery ($59/ #11). Having had such success with the Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer in the peachy shimmery Mirage, I wanted to try the taupe-themed version.

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmera3

Giorgio Armani Mystery palette gives an overall light and cool impression. Three of the shades are shimmery and high on the tonal scale. As you can see from these swatches, most of the Armani Mystery are far lighter than the standards Chanel Safari, Shu Uemura ME Silver 945 (discontinued) and Burberry Rosewood.

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmer1 swatches 3c

Here is a comparison with Armani Eyes to Killy Mystery, Chanel Raffinement and Chanel Prelude. Tonally, Chanel Prelude is very, very close to Armani Mystery. However, some of the shades in Armani Mystery are more shimmery. Chanel Raffinement is warmer, with mauve tones compared to the more neutral/cool Armani Mystery.

Chanel Prelude Raffinement Armani Mystery 1a

Like the Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer in Mirage, Armani Mystery is nicely pigmented, soft, and very easy to work with. Only the deepest liner shade is matte, the other three have a pretty complexity. This is Armani Mystery on Liz, who used primarily the two center shades with a touch of the top shade, with no eyeshadow base.

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmerb1

Liz wearing Armani Mystery with eyes open:

Armani ETK Taupe Shimmerb5

Here’s Liz applying a Nars lip pencil, where you can see Armani Mystery’s texture on the lids:

Nars Hyde Park application1aa

I’ve been using Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill Shimmer in Mystery for a subtle daytime look for the past several days, over my typical Laura Mercier Eye Basic. It gives a pretty, neutral daytime look. Between Mirage and Mystery, I find that the peachy warm Mirage is a touch more flattering. There texture on the Mirage palette is more pearly, it truly is quite unique. Nonetheless, I love a good taupe palette. Certainly, Armani’s Mystery is a beautiful one and would be my preference for those with cooler skin tones for a defined and pretty eye.

Mystery is sold at Nordstrom.com with free ship and free returns.

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Mar 162013
 

Armani Maestro Lip11a

There are times when you want glamour. Just “take over the red carpet” show-stopping amazing. Few deliver full-on gorgeous like Giorgio Armani’s Lip Maestro in Dark Velvet ($32 #201). We didn’t love the red cap, but as we know it’s what is inside that counts.

Armani Maestro Lip2

Like the other products in the Armani Maestro line, the Lip Maestro’s are a complete reformulation that one doesn’t find in other makeup lines. This is a deep, velvet texture with very intense color. It dries down to a matte texture with a very soft sheen (“velvet” describes it well). I’m not certain how Giorgio Armani packed so much pigment into such a slight bit of product, but one has to really work a bit to apply this color lightly. Here’s a full application on Liz:

Armani Maestro Lip1

This is one of those incredible, once-in-a-lifetime swoony colors that packs a gorgeous punch. Here is Liz wearing the color with Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill Shimmer in Mirage:

Armani Maestro Lip4a

Unsurprisingly, we found that Giorgio Armani Dark Velvet was out of stock at several locations. I can see this becoming a cult color.  Here are swatches of Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro Dark Velvet, Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Rouge Noir, Chanel Rouge Coco Rivoli and Guerlain Vega:

GA Maestro Dark Velvet

Armani Maestro Dark Velvet is even deeper than Chanel Rouge Noir, which of course is a very dark, dramatic vampy color. One doesn’t need many colors like Armani Dark Velvet, however there simply aren’t many colors like it, so that works out perfectly.

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Mar 072013
 

Armani 10j

Perhaps my most favorite eyeshadow  palette of Spring 2013 is Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer in Mirage ($59/ #10). This mix of four (4) shimmery peaches and soft browns is right in the sweet spot of shadows that can carry a warm-toned makeup lover all the way through summer.

Armani 10k

As a range, this new Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer is well pigmented, and with a softer texture than Armani palettes that have been released in the past. The texture of Mirage is similar to the high quality of the better Chanel and Guerlain shadows. Applied with a standard brush, such as the Edward Bess Luxury Eye brush, or even a MAC 217, does the job beautifully.

Armani 10l

The palette includes a pleasant mix–use two, three or all four shades. The top shimmery peach-pink makes a beautiful lid wash. The  second shade is a highly pigmented, shimmery highlighter. The third shade is a rich warm shimmery gold. The bottom brown color is a dreamy satin crease color. There is a harmony and ease to these shades. As someone who has hit pan twice on Chanel Abricot, I know I’m going to use Giorgio Armani Mirage to the last drop.

Armani 10m

The palette is a slightly different, softer and more organic shape compared to Armani’s former disk shape, It’s a friendly, yet still packable, shape that includes two little brushes under the color pan. Armani 10nSwatches of all four shades, in the same order as the pan (the top shade is on the left, the bottom on the right):

Armani 10g

Another:

Armani 10h

Here is Armani Mirage on Liz:

Armani 10dd

Here, Liz is also wearing Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Shine in #2 Pourpre in Touchable lightly dabbed on. She’s also wearing a mix of Burberry Coral Pink and Rose blush, over Chanel Vitalumiere liquid foundationThe Armani Eyes to Kill Shimmer texture is pearly and subtle.

Armani 10cc

Full face:

Armani 10ff

Bottom line:  One of my favorites so far this year. Perfect.

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Oct 132012
 

Together with the release of its innovative Maestro foundation (reviewed here), Giorgio Armani released Giorgio Armani Maestro Eraser Concealer ($40). This is a softly tinted, lightweight concealer in a squeeze tube. The innovative part of this concealer is Armani’s promise to deliver not only temporary concealing but also long term results. That is, the product promises gradual fading of the blue tone under eyes.

For my part, I immediately noticed that the texture of this concealer imparts a very natural look. There is far less of a “concealer texture” effect. Even very finely made concealers can, if one looks closely, provide a slight creamy look under the eyes. As we know, sometimes another does get very close to your face (or at least I would hope so!).  Like the foundation, the Maestro Eraser adheres to the skin.

I also noticed the brightening effect. There is an illuminating quality. Because the texture is so fine, I can see some considering Armani’s Maestro Eraser this the next time one’s Yves St. Laurent Touche Eclat runs out. I have not been using the product long enough to notice the “blue-tone erasing” effect. Also, I found the Armani Maestro Eraser too sheer to cover my undereye circles without wearing a corrector underneath. Will the Armani still work with a corrector underneath–even an Armani Master Corrector? Only time will tell.

Here are swatches of two of the shades, Number 2 and Number 4:

I purchased a full size of Number 2, and a little packet of Number 4 came as a free sample with my foundation purchase. By my estimate, the Amani has about 1/4 of the coverage power of Lancome Effacernes, Edward Bess Platinum Concealer, Cle de Peau concealer, or Burberry Concealer (all of which gives me full coverage).

Because of its light coverage, I’ve used this primarily to layer over any imperfections on my face while layering the Armani Maestro Fusion foundation over the top. Because of its texture, the Maestro Corrector also works well layered over the foundation if I find that I missed something after applying foundation. It works well for that purpose–the effect lasts all day.

Bottom line, the Armani Maestro Eraser concealer will work beautifully if you need a light-coverage concealer. The effect is very natural –remarkably so. Those who have blue tones or need significantly more coverage will require a corrector. Perhaps the fading effect will take care of this over time, as the literature suggests. According to the website, this requires roughly two months of use.

This is available online with free ship at Nordstrom.com.

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

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Oct 012012
 

Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Fusion Makeup ($62) is an exciting new step in foundation technology. This formula (the details are explained in several links at the bottom of this post), suspends color pigment in a combination of light dry oils. I literally gasped when I saw it on my forehead. It looked like…perfect skin. It adheres beautifully. Hands down, this the most long-lasting foundation I’ve ever tried. At night, it looks almost exactly as it does in the morning. It is an extraordinarily stable product on my combination skin.

The color self-adjusts to your skin tone, so combined with its sheerness there is a lot of forgiveness in the color range (swatches of all shades are here at The Makeup Blogette) (I’m using 5.0, ordered online based on those swatches).

I should emphasize that the coverage is sheer. Right now, my skin is mostly very smooth (thank you, Dr. Perricone!) I’ve been working very hard on my skin since February. There are a few small, faded discolorations that are nearly gone. Unlike Burberry’s Sheer Glow Foundation (reviewed here), I did not have much luck building up the coverage of Armani Maestro Fusion.  I found that the color built up well on my good skin areas, but even 3-4 swipes left the tiny discolorations still there.  To its credit, the foundation did not cake up, but it didn’t get rid of the imperfect color either. I found that adding a touch of concealer (such as Edward Bess Platinum or even a bit of MAC’s Perfectly Defined Sculpting Creme) to those areas gave me the perfect look. I would imagine that Laura Mercier’s Concealer would be genius for this, but mine is across the country at the moment so I went with what I had.

The foundation has an ever-so-slight glow to it all day. I’ve worn this primarily with my Guerlain Meteorites Illuminating and Mattifying Powder (I’m on my second compact of this one) as a sheer powder to mattify the look.

I’ve been wearing Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion for about 2 1/2 weeks. Once I found the concealer trick I couldn’t stop. I found my other foundations tended to look a little heavier. I’ve really loved the natural look that this provides. Plus, the stable, all-day coverage has been a blessing. I found myself reaching for it, not just out of habit but because I really preferred it. Having said that, one day I did have some peeling in one area and–oh my goodness–this foundation did emphasize that. If you have dry skin, you’ll want to sample this first before investing.

A few pointers:

  • Like many self-adjusting foundations, Armani Maestro Fusion looks terrible for the first five minutes before it sets, then the loveliness starts;
  • Only use the tiniest bit. I’d be surprised if you needed more that 3 small touches on your face. This is a thin fluid packed with pigment;
  • Try it with and without powder, to see which texture you prefer. The powder doesn’t seem to affect the longevity–the foundation lasts very well on its own;
  • The texture doesn’t change much over the day. Despite the use of oils, the soft luminosity doesn’t seem to become much oilier throughout the day;
  • Because of the differences of opinion, sample before you buy;
  • In this order:  Serum/ moisturizer, sunscreen, concealer, then foundation

This foundation has SPF 15  (click to enlarge to see the ingredients):

Additional information from the box (click to enlarge):

Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion is a polarizing product–reviewers seem to have a bit of a love/hate reaction, depending on their individual experiences. If I were forced to choose, I’d put myself much closer to the “love” category. Here are some other reviews that I found helpful:

Positive reviews:

  • The Best Things in Beauty’s is here (interviews, explaining the technology, “astounding”)
  • The Raeviewer’s is here (video)(covers well, looks natural)
  • Beaut.ie’s is here (explaining the technology, “after” picture)

Less than enthusiastic:

  • Fleur de Force’s is here (good on some days, doesn’t sit right on other days)
  • Drivel about Frivol’s is here (drying, emphasized imperfections, before/after pictures)
  • Sasquatchswatch’s is here (too sheer, emphasized imperfections)

The foundation is available (with free ship) at Nordstrom.com.

This review contains an affiliate link (for questions, please see “About Cafe Makeup”)

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Aug 312011
 

1.  L’Occitane Verbena Body Salt Scrub ($36) This is the best body scrub I’ve used in a while. It has a very intense, natural lemon scent. It smells soooo good—- honestly, it changes my entire day when I use this.

2.  NARS Multiple in Malibu came in this Sweet Disposition set.  This is a deep burgundy with a bronzy blue tint.  These deep tones look so good in late summer.  Because this has an overall cool tone, it looks good with soft silver and cool taupe eyeshadows.

3. I pulled this Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Palette in Steel Black (reviewed here) from my stash and found it makes a great, soft and flattering look.  Using the outside ring of soft cool taupe, and a touch of the lightest shade as a highlight, it looks like I tried much harder than I actually did.

 4.  Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (reviewed here) makes a great dry oil for fast skin and hair conditioning.  Sometimes I put it into my hair for an hour in the morning while I’m reading or doing other things.  By shower time, it rinses out very cleanly and leaves my hair very soft.

5. Burberry Nude Rose lipstick (reviewed here) is an effortless way for a smooth, polished look.

So, what are you loving right now? I’d love to learn…

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Feb 072011
 

If you were paying very close attention to Giorgio Armani’s Spring 2011 collection, you heard a sudden warmth and enthusiasm when beauty lovers discussed La Femme Bleue Long Wear Waterproof Eye Pencil ($27).  There was slightly hushed tone and a “don’t miss this one” intensity from those in-the-know.  The only item I ordered from this collection was this black pencil for one reason–to find out if it was, truly, the miracle pencil.  I’ve concluded that it probably is.

Released in three colors (black, brown and a deep green leaf), this pencil was previously released only in black and was sold out in an instant.  Although I’m enamored with my Le Metier de Beaute’s Precision Liquid Liner, I knew if I didn’t leap now that I’d risk missing out.

I’m not usually a fan of pencils because they tend to tug and pull, and go on unevenly.  Some have trouble smudging.  There are some exceptions, in fact Armani’s black pencil in their regular line is one of the best I’ve used.  Some of the Chanel and Shu Uemura’s are stellar.  I’ve had a few MAC Pearlglides that I’ve enjoyed.  For drugstore, Prestige’s Total Intensity is nice.

The Armani Le Femme Bleue blew them all out of the water.

This pencil goes on as soft as a gel.

It can be smudged.  I used my Chanel smudge brush (but any will do) during the first minute to create  perfect smudge.

Once it’s set, it’s really set.  Yes, it will last all day.

It lasted through a massive cry without budging.

The texture is very, very soft.

And its very waterproof.

And very black (no glitter, no shimmer, no gray).

Will it last on my waterline?  Yes, but I cannot say with certainty that it will last on yours–I’m to be cautious in this review as I’ve found that quality varies from person to person.

Downsides:  Curiously for a $27 pencil, there is no sharpener included (according to Charlestongirl at The Best Things in Beauty, sharpeners are free at an Giorgio Armani counter for the asking).  Unlike Armani’s standard pencils, there is no smudger on the flat end.  Unlike pen liners, it must be sharpened frequently to get a very thin, fine line.  Limited edition.

Bottom line: Expensive but buzz-worthy.  I deeply, deeply wish these were permanent.  Karlasugar has the other colors swatched here.

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Dec 132010
 
Armani Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow 15 d

When Giorgio Armani announced a new eyeshadow formulation, Eyes to Kill, I was electrified.  First, Giorgio Armani understands creams, fluids, powders, textures and–let’s face it–glamour.  My hope was that they were execute a formula as no other company has.  The current buzz is that the three introduced for Holiday 2010–#13 (black), #15 (gold) and #16 (silver)–are a first step into a more extensive line.

I ordered the gold, #15, to test the formula.  Armani’s are $32 each (20% off if you catch a Friends & Family event).  By comparison, other pot eyeshadows are somewhat less–Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams are $22 each, and Shiseido Hydro-Powder eyeshadows are $25.   However, if you have read Café Makeup before you will probably not be surprised that I am undeterred by this disparity.

#15 is a blackened gold, in a little pot topped with a little loose lid, and a screw top:

Continue reading »

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Dec 102010
 

Holiday 2010 has been all about metal textures, shimmer and shine.  To this season, Giorgio Armani adds the Gold Rush collection, which includes the Platinum Palette Sheer Shimmer Powder ($55).  Although the name infers cool toned silver tones, in fact the palette imparts a soft candle lit glow.

The round, sturdy sleek palette uses the same design which draws me to reach for Giorgio Armani when I need an elegant product that fits into virtually anything and holds up through the roughest handling.  Inside:

A close-up shows the beautiful texture of this palette:

The palette is roughly the same circumference as the Armani eyeshadow palettes, but is a solid pan of highlighting powder.  In direct flash:

It’s safe to let the pictures do the talking to demonstrate how beautiful this palette is.  The effect of this is subtle– here I’ve swatched it quite heavily over a base to bring out the color and shine:

Another, also applied heavily over a base to show the candlelight soft shimmer color:

Here’s a comparison between Giorgio Armani’s Gold Rush Platinum and Yves Saint Laurent’s Colorama Highlighter:

Do you need them both?  No, unless you like the versatility of the different color choices.  Both a beautiful, excellent quality palettes that give a soft, beautiful glow.  Gorgeous.

Here is the ingredient list for the Giorgio Armani Platinum highlighter (click to enlarge):

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