Apr 282017

Once again, Cafe Makeup is returning to its long-loved NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($27/each). This shade expansion offers long-wearing, moisturizing feel and the famous NARS matte texture. These are love down to the last nub. And, by the way, how cute is this Crayola-style box that they shipped these in?  It even came with a built in sharpener. For a more portable option, go with this NARS sharpener ($6), which works beautifully with these. It’s well worth the small investment.

These are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Barneys New York, Selfridges UK, Net-a-Porter, NARS online, Ulta, Bloomingdales, Blue Mercury, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor (press samples/affiliate links)

Let’s start with the nudes, shall we? Here are:

Some of my favorites are Dolce Vita (I’ve used up more than my share of these), Bahama, Intriguing and Bettina, and of course Do Me Baby and Consuming Red.

Here are some amazing reds:


As usual, I go for deeper reds (Mysterious Red, Dragon Girl and Cruella) but your preference may vary. These red velvet mattes are probably the best of the line, each of these provides rich, vibrant color. Long wearing, comfortable, and beautiful, once you find one that works for you, you’ll never want to be without out. Spectacular!!

These roses (and one blue) are such a wide range of shades that I’m having a hard time imagining a color that isn’t represented here.

Of course, I adore Damned and Train Bleu. I feel like NARS has to continue to make these classics forever.  Unspoken is little too edgy for me personally, but I can see someone else rocking it. It’s definitely a runway, edgy shade.

Amazing, yes? Which are your favorites?

These are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Barneys New York, Selfridges UK, Net-a-Porter, NARS online, Ulta, Bloomingdales, Blue Mercury, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.

These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review/ Affiliate links


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Nov 122016

nars-rita-2Those lovely geniuses at NARS sent us an AUDACIOUS gift–a Holiday-themed Audacious Lipstick in Rita (swatched here). It’s a gorgeous red in an amazing party-ready tube. Although Rita is a permanent color, the holiday-themed version is a Sephora Exclusive (no surprise, sold out). Although there’s a chance of a re-stock, no worries! Cafe Makeup is running a giveaway for U.S. readers that will end at midnight on December 2, 2016.

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Mar 312016

Laura Mercier Paint Wash 1

I became so curious about Laura Mercier’s Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour formula ($28) each that I reached out to the company for samples. I was able to obtain four shades:  Petal Pink, Nude Rose, Red Brick and Orchid Pink. 

I love a good high-end opaque formula that feels moisturizing. The Laura Mercier Paint Wash formula delivers. It’s easy to get a full-opaque wash of color, the shades are crowd-pleasing and very flattering, and they dry down to a semi-gloss finish. In other words, the formula is very Laura Mercier–a brand that understands beautiful while remaining appropriate (you can get a striking look that’s never too-too much).

Laura Mercier Lip Paint 3

Laura Mercier Lip Velour Swatches

The doe-foot brush makes precision application of these strong colors precise and easy.

There is no fragrance, and the formula is alcohol-free.

These are available at Sephora, Laura Mercier online, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s.

Items sent without charge for consideration for review. Affiliate links.

Ingredients: Isododecane, Octyldodecanol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Hydrogenated Styrene/Isoprene Copolymer, Mica, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyethylene, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax (Helianthus Annuus Seed Cera), Propylene Carbonate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tocopherol, Dicalcium Phosphate. May Contain/Peut Contenir/(+/-): Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Ci 77491, Ci 77492 (Iron Oxides), Ci 15850 (Red 7 Lake), Ci 42090 (Blue 1 Lake).


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Feb 172016

Laura Mercier Velours Lovers Lip Colour - 1_edited-1

I’ve had the opportunity to play with four of the new Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Color ($28 each), a line of very saturated, satin-matte, moisturizing lipsticks. It seems like only a few years ago that lip color couldn’t deliver both saturation and moisture, fortunately Laura Mercier Velour Lovers demonstrates just how far we’ve come. Gorgeous color, French-inspired shades, and a hint of moisture–these lipsticks deliver it all.

Laura Mercier Velours Lovers Lip Color - 5

Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Color is available at Laura Mercier online, NordstromSephora, Macy’sNeiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Lord and Taylor.

Laura Mercier Velours Lovers Lip Color - 3

According to the line, Velour Lovers Lip Color:

A highly pigmented, moisturizing lip color with a satin matte finish. Velour Lovers Lip Lover is a revolution in matte lipstick that couples delicate mattifying powders with moisturizing mango butter that creates a velvety texture that is smooth, creamy and long-wearing. Formula is buildable, offering medium to high coverage with a matte, sateen finish.

These are true “Laura Mercier” in their formulation–universally flattering shades that flatter a wide range of skintones. The shade I tried are:

Mon Cheri:  a gorgeous true bright red

Laura Mercier Velours Lovers Lip Color - 11

French Kiss:  a fresh, saturated deep bubblegum pink

Laura Mercier Velours Lovers Lip Color - 12

Embrace:  A nude beige pink with a touch of warm shimmer

Laura Mercier Velours Lovers Lip Color - 14

Cocoa Pout: A warm chocolate brown

Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Colour Coco - 1

All were opaque in a single swipe, long wearing, comfortable, and beautiful.

Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Colour - 15

If you are looking for a universal, flattering opaque lipstick that’s comfortable, these are well worth your time.

Laura Mercier Velour Lovers Lip Color is available at Laura Mercier online, NordstromSephora, Macy’sNeiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Lord and Taylor.

These lipsticks were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. Affiliate links

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Jan 172016

Serge Lutens LipstickSerge Lutens has added to his incredible lipstick line with two shades ($75 each).

Serge Lutens Lipstick Case

Comparative size of the packaging:

Serge Lutens Lipstick - 1

Number 11 is La Ceinture Du Cardinalwhich roughly translates to “The Cardinal’s Sash.” Like so many Serge Lutens names, this name evokes a story. The name refers to the bright fuchsia red sash worn by senior members of the Catholic church–a striking, vibrant, lush color. The formula is incredible–it is opaque in a single coat, is moisturizing and and is incredibly pigmented. It’s so beautiful.

Serge Lutens 11c

La Centure du Cardinal comes in a compact case (see the comparison, below) that holds 0.08 ounces, is refillable and fits nicely into a clutch. As seen on the right, the bullet comes to a charming point that can be applied very precisely with a brush or directly onto the lips.

serge lutens lip swatches 1 - 1

Serge Lutens #12 swatch


I’ve put up some comparisons to the left so you can orient yourself to a true red (Dior 999) and a purple-pink (Nars Fanny). As you can see, Serge Lutens La Ceinture du Cardinal is a striking fuchsia rose red.

Serge Lutens 11b

Serge Lutens Lipstick 12 a

Serge Lutens L’Hypocrite (No. 12) is a medium sheer plum beige neutral shade. This neutral-with-a-twist is a very modern sheer, which can be built up to add more opacity. L’Hypocrite feels moisturizing and has a slight sheen. L’Hypocrite is so on-trend, and is very easy to wear. The plum pulls it toward the cooler end of the scale, and the beige softens it enough to become a very universal and interesting shade.

serge lutens lip swatches 3 - 1

I pulled out a few other neutrals-with-a-twist, including Chanel Culte (limited edition) and MAC Shitake (limited edition). As you can see, Serge Lutens L’Hypocrite is lighter, sheerer and quite easily wearable.

Similar shades in other lines tend to be in opaque formulas, which can be challenging to wear. There is enough openness and sheerness to L’Hypocrite that enhances its wearability. It’s beautiful.

Serge Lutens 3

I love that Serge Lutens continues to find fresh and interesting colors and formulas in his capsule makeup line. Note that these colors are only available at Barneys New York in the U.S. Above, Liz is wearing Serge Lutens L’Hypocrite, Chanel Vitalumiere foundation, Nars Vengeful Blush, Make Up For Ever Aqua Waterproof Eyeliner, and the Nars L’Amour Toujours eyeshadow palette (reviewed here).

Overall, both Serge Lutens La Ceinture du Cardlinal and L’Hypocrite are so different, and both are stunning. Just when I think I’ve seen everything. Serge Lutens creates this incredibly unique and beautiful shades.

Both are available at Barneys New York.

Affiliate links. These samples were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.


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Jan 102016

Tom Ford Packaging

Tom Ford Lipsticks ($52) have such a wonderful formula. Personally, I’ve slowed down on purchasing a high quantity of these. Instead, I’m focusing on finding just the right shade, and then wearing it to the end. In this post, I’ve found my perfect shade (So Vain), and then one that Liz loves (Forbidden Pink). I adore the formula. It looks so amazing. Tom Ford is such a genius. Here is Liz wearing Forbidden Pink:

Tom Ford Forbidden Pink 1

I hope that you treat yourself to at least one perfect shade.

Tom Ford Lipsticks are available from Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Here is So Vain:



Tom Ford Lipstick - 8

Tom Ford So Vain

Here is Forbidden Pink:

Tom Ford Lipstick - 5


Tom Ford Lipstick 2 - 1

My warm fair color has a touch of mauve in my natural lip color, and So Vain works so perfectly with my coloring. It picks up green in my eyes and the slight touch of red in my hair. Liz’s fair coloring works well with Forbidden Pink. It seems to brighten and emphasize her coloring so beautifully. It’s opacity covers well in a swipe or two, and there’s enough of a sheen (but not too much).

If you are looking for one perfect shade, Tom Ford Lipsticks are available from Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Dec 312015

Nars an Abnormal Female 6a

Sometimes packaging design goes beyond functional and the design becomes an entirely new facet of the product. The NARS x Steven Klein An Abnormal Woman matte velvet lip pencil coffret ($65) is in that category. Honoring the edgy work of photographer Steven Klein (some of his images are to the right), this metallic bullet-shaped container has a burnished warm finish and plenty of edge. This set combines three (3) Velvet Matte Lip Pencils (typically sold at $26 each), which are some of the absolute best in the business in their high-concept packaging. The weight and metallic glow of the coffret is substantial and interesting.

Nars An Abnormal Female 8

An Abnormal Woman comes with these universal colors in the Velvet Lip Pencil: Sex Machine,  Dragon Girl, and 413 BLKR. 

NARS An Abnormal Woman 8

Nars An Abnormal Female 1

Liz is wearing 413 Blkr Street.

Nars An Abnormal Female 2

Nars An Abnormal Female 1

Nars An Abnormal Woman 3

One attribute that sets NARS as a company apart is its willingness to go all-in on its special packaging. Some of my all-time favorite makeup items of all time are the NARS Andy Warhol items (some are featured here) and the Guy Bourdin items. This Steven Klein collaboration has all of the same brilliance and excellent execution.

This limited edition item is available at Nars online.

This was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. Affiliate links.

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Dec 282015

Nars Spring Instagram

Lis put this beautiful look together using Nars Nouvelle Vogue collection, including the Nars Hammamet Eyesdhadow Duo, Impassioned blush and Vida Loca lipgloss..

Liz 4

NARS has just released its Nouvelle Vogue Spring 2016 Color collection (now up at Nordstrom) at its online store and its boutiques (elsewhere February 1st), using the theme Nouvelle Vogue:

The new wave of chic. Seasonal shades suit up for resort mode with high-sun and high-style. For Spring 2016, NARS debuts a fresh and modern mix of seasonal shades and innovative textures for eyes, cheeks and lips. Orchid blush radiates from a natural, matte complexion and lips captivate in shimmering apricot, rose and mulled wine. Eyes mesmerize in icy mint, matte beige and bronzed rose tones paired with a bold, winged liner.

Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in a sumptuous, versatile spectrum that can be applied dry for a sophisticated sheer effect, or wet for a dramatic, high-shine finish ($29 each)

  • Tarvos Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow: Icy Mint
  • Cressida Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow: Shimmering midnight blue
  • Kari Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow: Soft rose pink

Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows Spring 2016a

Instant Crash Lip Gloss ($26) Soft shimmering apricot Vida Loca Lip Gloss ($26) Guava Rosecliff Lipstick, $28 (Soft rose) Banned Red Lipstick, $28 (Mulled wine) Hammamet Duo Eyeshadow, $35 (limited edition)

  • Left: Matte beige
  • Right: Bronzed rose; limited edition

Nars Vida Loca Instant Crash 2

Impassioned Blush, $30 (Pink orchid)

Nars Impassioned Blush 1

This collection is currently available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York and Nars online.

NARS Banned Red and Rosecliff lipsticks were some of the loveliest products of this collection. Liz and I had another arm-wrestling match over Rosecliff, one of those perfect pinks that looks amazing with everything (Liz won). Absolutely universal, unique and lovely.

Nars Banned Red Rosecliffe 6

Nars Banned Red Rosecliffe 7_edited-1

NARS Instant Crash Lip Gloss, a shimmering apricot and Vida Loca in a soft beige Guava, are both limited edition.  I’ve noticed that these glosses need two layers to get the best look. Nars Vida Loca 1
Nars Spring Vida Loca Instant Crash_edited-1

Liz is wearing Vida Loca in this lip swatch.

Nars Vida Loca 1

I love the Hammamet Duo Eyeshadow. These two near-neutrals have a sophisticated look that is a lovely variation of All About Eve, arguably one of the most brilliant neutral eyeshadow palettes of all time. You need this one.

Nars Hammamet Duo 1 On Liz:Nars Hammamet Duo Eyeshadow 1_edited-1

Hammamet Duo NARS 3_edited-1

The NARS Nouvelle Vogue collection is rounded out by a neutral pink blush called Impassioned. This is a softly pigmented color that will work for the palest beauties, and perhaps as an accent shade on those with darker skin tones. Impassioned is a pink version of Nars Sex Appeal blush–its very soft and ethereal. If you are looking for something with more punch, there are other blushes that would better fit that criteria. Many neutral collections benefit from a few touches of color, and NARS Spring delivers in two colorful Dual Intensity eyeshadows–the icy mint Tarvos and the midnight blue Cressida.

Nars Spring 2016 2

I adore this formula, and both of these are gorgeous, soft, shimmery jewels. Both very Spring-appropriate colors which should add interest to a neutral look. Kari is a soft rose pink eyeshadow in the Dual Intensity formula (swatched above). It’s softer–not as shimmery–as Tarvos or Cressida.  If you are interested in the Hammamet Duo, Kari coordinates beautifully with it. Liz is wearing Rosecliff lipstick in this close-up.

NARS Rosecliffe 1

Overall, NARS created an amazing, unique and wearable collection for Spring ’16.  It’s beautiful. The formulae, the textures, the colors, and the overall coordination is perfection.This collection is currently available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York and Nars online. In the above images, you can also see a preliminary image of the NARSissist L’Amour Toujours L’Amour Palette (reviewed here).

Nars Spring 2016 1

These press samples were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. Affiliate links

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Dec 182015

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick ($20 each) are one of the best liquid lipsticks–they have opaque pigmentation in a single swipe, the colors are offered in a wide range, the have good longevity. I tried two shades–Lolita and the recently released Lolita II.

Kat Von D Lolita 7

Kat von D Lolita 2

Both shades are very flattering. Lolita is slightly deeper and more rose. Lolita 2 has a touch of terra cotta and runs slightly more nude. I love having these in my purse for a quick, modern lip. These are available at Sephora and Kat Von D’s website.

Kat von D lolita 10

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