Mar 162013
 

Armani Maestro Lip1

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 Lip4a

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 Lip11a

We tried the alternative of patting Giorgio Armani Dark Velvet on very lightly, to get just a touch of a stain:

Armani Maestro Lip3a

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.

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

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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):

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

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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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