Oct 262014
 

Marc Jacobs Pencil Liner Set4Whenever I’ve played with the Marc Jacobs Highliners, I’ve always been tempted to pick up a few. They glide, they lay down a smooth layer of pigment, and they last, last, last. Yet somehow I always held off, hoping for a holiday set. Imagine the delight when the line released the Marc Jacobs Sky-Liner 7 Piece Highliner Collection ($45) (available at Sephora and Marc Jacobs online).

Marc Jacobs Pencil Liner Set1Beautifully packaged in a giftable box, this set comes in a black coffret that holds all seven mini-pencils with the sleek, modern look used in the rest of the line.

Marc Jacobs Pencil Liner Set2

There’s some beautiful deep tones in this set:

  • O(vert) (forest green)
  • Brown(out) (bronze with shimmer)
  • Th(ink) (deep navy)
  • (Plum)age (vivid purple)
  • Blacquer (black)
  • Sunset (golden bronze shimmer)
  • Midnight in Paris (inky indigo blue)

Marc Jacobs Pencil Liner Set7Swatches:

Marc Jacobs Pencil Liner Set8I’ve used a few of these, and find that lightly moving them a few times back and forth across my lash line works beautifully. The pigment lays down very smoothly without any pulling or tugging. These are all beautifully formulated. Yes, yes, a thousand times “yes.”  This set’s a winner.

The Marc Jacobs Sky-Liner 7 Piece Highliner Collection ($45) (available at Sephora and Marc Jacobs online).

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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.

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Jul 132014
 

nordstrom sale It’s that lovely time of year again when Nordstrom has its Anniversary Sale. If you are a Nordstrom cardholder, you have early access to their products. The items will be up for sale for all on July 18th (if they haven’t sold out). I went by my local Nordstrom today to test the waters. Movado rose gold bold watchI love some of the jewelry discounts that I’ve gotten in the past. In the midst of my rose gold obsession, I looked at a few of the watches at the event and chose this Movado Bold Rose Gold watch ($434.90/down from $650). I compared this with some other strong contenders–this very elegant and work-friendly Michael Kors Rose Gold Bailey ($166) which had a very pretty brushed metal on the band, and this fun bold Marc Jacobs uber-bold Rose Gold Blade ($183). This Burberry Bracelet Watch ($330) made it to the final four as an understated classic in a steel color. In the end, the Movado won out because–in my heart of hearts–this face is everything. movado Another piece that I picked up is this Laundry by Shelli Seigal Tweed Reefer Coat ($109.90). The length is really nice, the weight is between a blazer and a coat. What really won me over was the cut and quality of the fabric. It nips in a bit at the waist in a flattering way, and the fabric is very rich (especially for that price!). You can see a touch of leather detail above the pocket, which adds a little something. laundry coat I also took a chance on this Marc by Marc Jacobs James Sweater ($198.90) in Century Blue Melange. This looks all sorts of wrong on the hanger. The sales associate tried to talk me out of trying it on. It really is crazy wide. It’s completely contrary to every form-fitting trend we’ve seen for years. Of course, that’s exactly what drew me in–rethinking the whole idea of a sweater? Sign me up! With tights and either ballet flats or thin-leather boots (and hair up with perfected makeup of course!), this is going to be genius for Fall.  Also it will get me in the mood to test out some Marc Jacobs Beauty Fall items (below is a Kiss Pop lip pencil and Smart Wand Tinted Face Stick). Plus the sweater is perfect for cocooning on a plane, or curling up with a good book until another Polar Vortex passes.marc jacobs sweater nordstrom As far as beauty items go, I’ve already given some thoughts on NARS offerings this year (a first look is here). And yes, in person they are absolutely beautiful. Nars Domination Palette 3 Although I was tempted to get these Dior lipsticks, I decided to try something completely new this year. I took a chance on this Charlotte Tillbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones set ($110).  I’ve been dying to try this line (seriously!) for months since it launched in the UK. I ordered this online, and cannot wait till it arrives (I’ll post an “in real life” picture then, I promise!) charlotte tillbury As I wandered around the store, I saw a few other things that remain on my mind. In addition to some basics that I picked up (hello, Barefoot Dreams!), I decided to give my debit card a little rest. I found that I already have some items in my closet that are “close enough” to these that I’m passing. Still, I thought that the quality level of them was very nice. frye These Frye Patty Riding Booties ($218) are going to go quickly in my opinion. You don’t see Fryes with this much style often, and almost never at a pre-season discount. I was very tempted by this Vince Two Tone Coat ($449). Again, another item that I suspect won’t be around long. It’s modern and classic. This 90% wool coat looks like it will keep out serious cold while still looking cool. Pair this with a nuclear-bright scarf and you’re set. vince coat   Are we ready for Fall? Did you pick up anything from the event? Feel free to share in the comments.

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Jun 302014
 

Marc Jacobs Love Lust02Free Marc Jacobs? Sign me up. I put the Sephora Beauty Insider Marc Jacobs Love and Lust set (1000 points) into my cart when this promotion went live. Marc Jacobs Love Lust03Inside, there is a booklet that introduces the line, as well as full sized Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc lip gel in #146 Cabernet ($30), a new limited edition shade that is currently exclusive to Sephora VIB Rouge members.  There is also a full sized Marc Jacobs Beauty Lust for Laquer Lip Vinyl in #316 Shooting Stars ($28). Marc Jacobs Lust Life1 Cabernet is a wine plum. Shooting Stars is a warm red, with a touch of rust and soft sparkle. Hit me like a ray of sun, Shooting Stars. As with Marc’s other glosses, this one is refreshingly mint-scented. Marc Jacobs Love Lust10The gloss was our favorite by far. Here is Shooting Stars on Liz: MARC JACOBS LIPGLOSS1 If you’ve been saving your Sephora points, this set is definitely worth a look. Marc Jacobs Love Lust05   Marc Jacobs Love Lust08   Marc Jacobs Love Lust06   Marc Jacobs Love Lust04

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Dec 152013
 

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush01

Although my reactions to the new Marc Jacobs makeup line have not been uniform, I felt that it was important to look at several items in the line to get a sense of the quality level. It is not everyday that an important fashion designer launches a beauty line, especially one so comprehensive in scope. I did not love the mascara, the foundation, and I haven’t felt compelled to try the blushes. But one of the items that has won my heart is the Marc Jacobs The Bronze Bronzer Brush No. 12 ($78), a consistent, well-made tool that has increased the usability and beauty of the other products in my collection.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush02

I knew this brush was special the first time that I saw it, and Seth Barton-Roberts’ video review also piqued my interest. Running nearly 8 inches in length, this oversized powder brush is well balanced and substantial, without being heavy.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush03

The head is densely packed and soft, like a combination kabuki/duo-fibre. It gives superb control for all types of powders, including blushes, powders, bronzers. It applies baked products, including MAC’s Mineralized Skin Finishes, like a boss.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush10

The bristles have plenty of oomph, so that you don’t have to spend too much time building up product. Designed for bronzers, I found a few sweeps adequate. It gives a similar application effect to the large (and now unobtainable) Chanel must-have powder brush that I bought in Paris years ago.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush12

Because of the oversized head, I tend to reserve this for products that are used over larger areas of the face. Just to experiment, I also tried this with my hyper-pigmented blushes (such as the MAC pro blushes, and some NARS). I found that I still had to be careful about how much pigment I put on this brush. Some of the pigmentation of those blushes are pretty nuclear, so I wasn’t surprised to find that I still had to sweep the brush over a mirror or tissue to knock product off before applying. However, I did find that the Marc Jacobs The Bronze brush  did allow me to apply the blushes with very soft, soft, soft blended edges.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush04

I reaching for the Marc Jacobs The Bronze brush almost every day since I bought it. I wash it the same way as my other brushes, and dry time is overnight if I remember to shake out excess water (but a day and a half if I forget).  I haven’t experienced any staining with any of my products (including the super-pigmented blushes). Everything seems to wash out easily. According to Sephora’s website, the brush is made from synthetic, antibacterial hair. The feel is pure luxury and the function is perfection.

Jacobs brush with annotations

Bottom line–this is one of my favorite buys from the past several months. It is available exclusively from Sephora.

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Dec 092013
 

Marc Jacobs Mascara1

When the Marc Jacobs Beauty line opened in August, I went to a Sephora in New York City (where I was visiting at the time), and asked the store manager to point out the hero products for the line. He pointed to a few products, including Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Gel Definition Mascara ($26).  I took a chance, and bought a tube. I’ve been playing with it for the past few months, on and off, trying to pull my thoughts together to create a cohesive review.

Marc Jacobs Mascara3

First off, the packaging is oversized in that Marc-Jacobs-fun sort of way. Getting out this giant tube feels both luxurious and a little playful. The packaging has a large hole in the top–far larger than most mascara openings. I mean, it’s noticeably larger than any I’ve tried before.

Marc Jacobs Mascara23

Because the hole is so large, and there doesn’t seem to be much resistance pulling out the brush, you don’t get much “scraping” action when you pull. With many formulas, that might give you clumps. Not this one. The formula is decidedly very wet, without any clinging fibers that I could see. The brush can be quite loaded up with uber-black gel formula.

Marc Jacobs Mascara5

Whether you like this mascara will depend, I think, on how much you like your own lashes. It will magnify what you have, so if you like your lashes you will be pretty happy I think. It doesn’t give a natural look because it adds a super-dark black, a bit of length and bit of curl. So, yes you will get a fringe effect. However, the Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter is not consistently transformative in its effect, in my opinion, to give va-va-voom lashes. If you find your lashes aren’t as long as you’d like them to be, or too straight, and you want to add far more drama, you might keep looking. I didn’t think that Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter curled as dramatically as Yves Saint Laurent’s Baby Doll or Guerlain Le 2. I did not find that this mascara had as much of a volumizing effect compared to Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils, Giorgio Armani, Guerlain, NARS, or some of the Chanel formulas over the recent years.

Marc Jacobs Mascara2

The formula is quite long-lasting, I experienced no smudges or flaking. My lashes didn’t get any “crunchy” feeling. They remained soft to the touch throughout the day.

Also, and I may be the only individual who noticed this, I had some inconsistency with application. This might be because there can be a lot of mascara on the brush when you pull it out on some days, while perhaps not on other days. Honestly, I’m not sure. But the inconsistency happened several times and so I cannot write this review without mentioning it. Some days I was pretty happy with the effect. Other days, much less so. That’s unusual for me–I usually know what’s happening when I pick up a tube.

Perhaps a more expert makeup artist would say that the wet formula, and generous amount retained by the brush, gives one better control. After several weeks of trying, I didn’t figure out why one day my lashes looked acceptably long and separated on the first coat, and the next day needed three coats and still seemed a bit inadequate. Also, one word of warning with this mascara. Never, ever, ever touch your lashes without giving them some serious dry time. If I tried to touch up my liner after applying this mascara, it destroyed the nice separation that the brush allows with normal application.

In the bonus point category, this formula makes an awesome eyeliner. Sometimes I used my Laura Mercier push brush to pick up some of this deep black formula and worked it into my lash line. This was a perfect, long lasting liner that went perfectly with this mascara. Really, so long lasting and awesome when used that way.

Marc Jacobs Mascara21

Overall, the Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Mascara is a premium version of a super-wet formula. I don’t know any high end mascaras that give this same ultra-black effect in a wet gel. There is some lengthening and curling, and a very long-lasting and non-crunchy formula. Those looking for dramatic volume or length might wish to keep looking elsewhere. As with all things in the beauty world, viva la difference– although I personally prefer a more dramatic formula, I know that some readers might have been looking for something with these qualities for a very long time. Undoubtedly unique, I’m sure that there will be many aficionados who will find that this is their “hero” formula. Again, these are just my opinions and (of course) your mileage may vary.

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Dec 012013
 

Quick post61

First, the Holiday season is here, so much love and fun (and a dash of stress!). To relax, I love to indulge in bath products. Between us, Liz and I have gone through about a dozen Lush bath bombs in about a month–is there anything like too much indulgence? We say no, if Tom Ford can take five baths a day, we say “Lush bath bombs away!”  I think I’m moving toward a L’Occitanne obsession next.

Quick post41

Second, giving the gift of good skin is always a lovely thing to do. I couldn’t resist this Clarisonic Mia First–perfect for travel–for $99 at Nordstrom yesterday (also available at Sephora). For the worldwide traveller, the charger converts automatically from 120 to 220/240 volts so that you can use this elsewhere with just a plug adapter.

Burberry oxblood lip mist

Third, Burberry Beauty is back in a big way. After a transition from an outside manufacturer, they’ve released a Holiday collection that includes a gold nail polish call Light Gold with a gold-toned cap. Above is their new Burberry Oxblood Lip Mist.  The Burberry eyeshadow range is back in stock, and I’ve been told that their highly build able and long-wearing Sheer Luminous foundations have not been re-formulated (thank heavens! I’ve just bought my third bottle).

Quick post51

I’ve also picked up their Burberry Kohl eye pencil to try. It’s short, but I’m hopeful that the quality level is there. We’ll see.

Quick post21

 I’m also excited to see the items that Burberry will be releasing in 2014–they definitely have some exciting new formulas and colors on their release list.

nars eyeliner

Fourth (I know, more than three), I’ve concluded that the Nars Stylo Eyeliner ($27) has won out over the Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc’r ($30) in my book. Although slimmer, the Nars Stylo lasted far longer (it never seemed to quit) and contains more product. Also, I found that the Nars brush pen held up better than the Marc Jacobs (although I use them both the same way, and I’ve used my Nars far more). Although I enjoyed using the Marc pen, I won’t be re-buying it. However, I did re-order the Nars Stylo replacement this morning.

Quick post32

What are you obsessed with right now?

The NARS Stylo was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review (although I bought my replacement with my own funds). This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Oct 042013
 

There are a few nail things to talk about as this week comes to a close….

Gel Topcoats 23

First, to update my Gel Topcoat post, I was able to fully revive the last dregs of my Guerlain Top Coat with the Seche Restore (described here in the original post).  The Guerlain formula was getting a little thick as I reached the bottom third of the bottle, but a healthy dose of the Seche Restore makes it like new again.  Now that my top coat is good to the last drop, my only reservation is that I wish that the brush was a little longer, because I’ll be using this one all the way to the end.

Sephora Formula X1

Second, Sephora’s full Formula X line is up online. Although not all of these polishes are new, they are fun. I was able to play with Brain Power (the camel) and Chaotic, an impressionistic topcoat that mixes all kinds of shapes to look like a splatter painting. At around $10-12, these are a creative way to do nail art even if you aren’t a wizard with a brush.

Sephora Formula X21

Here’s Chaotic over Nars Galatheé (also available at Nordstrom.com).

Nars Fall Nails3

Third, Marc Jacobs has finished his last show as lead designer for Louis Vuitton Ready to Wear with a lovely deep blue Marc Jacobs Beauty Midnight in Paris. This is due out as a limited edition shade next Fall.

marc jacobs nail

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Sep 202013
 

I’m continuing to play with various parts of the Marc Jacobs Beauty line. Here, I’m looking at two of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Hi-Shine Nail Lacquers in Sally and Blue Velvet ($18 each), two stunning deep shimmery jewel toned shades.

Marc Jacobs sparkle nail polish1

As the name suggests, Marc Jacobs Blue Velvet is a sparkling deep blue.

Marc Jacobs sparkle nail polish3

The formula is really nice. Blue Velvet goes on very smoothly, it’s sort of the perfect consistency. This is opaque in one coat, but here I’ve used two. On the nails:

Marc Jacobs Nails01

I had a little bit of a tough time removing Marc Jacobs Blue Velvet–I had a little bit of staining that required me to do another round of remover to get all of the color off. Another:

Marc Jacobs Nails06 copy

Marc Jacobs Sally is an emerald green that is so deep that is is a near-black.

Marc Jacobs sparkle nail polish2

Like Blue Velvet, this formula is good–very smooth and easy to apply. Sally required two coats to reach opacity. On nails:

Marc Jacobs Nails07

Here is a comparison with both Marc Jacobs Blue Velvet and Sally, together with China Glaze Emerald Fitzgerald, OPI Live and Let Die, Chanel Nuit de Russie, Chanel Blue Satin, and Butter London Big Smoke:

Marc Jacobs Nail Blue Green1

I liked both Marc Jacobs Blue Velvet and Smoke. Both are unusual deep tones that are quite pretty for fall and winter. Definitely worth a look. Both are available exclusively at Sephora.

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Aug 282013
 

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish1

I’ve been playing with a few items from Marc Jacobs Beauty new line, including Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Desire ($18. / 0.43 oz.). I picked this color up during a sweep through a rather crowded Sephora on the first day of the release.

Marc Desire Lacquer box1

The back of the box has a little window to show the color as you search through the back stock. Also note that the box has a tape-shut so that you can tell if you are getting a brand new bottle (smart!).

Marc Desire Lacquer box2

Although not everyone will love the packaging style, I think the bottle shape is sort of fun and consistent with the Marc Jacobs aesthetic. The large black cap (which would be  unwieldy to hold for polish application) pulls of to reveal the smaller, more manageable top.

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish2

The brush is the standard narrow style which takes me about 3-5 sweeps to cover a nail.

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish3

Marc Jacobs Beauty in Desire has a high shimmer finish. The formula was interesting. It applies smoothly and is opaque in two coats. At two coats, the color looked okay and the finish dried down to a satin. This was a little confusing, given that the name of the polish is “Hi-Shine.” So I kept going and added a third coat. When I did so, the color dried to a more shiny texture and the color was much more lush and rich. All of these images are with three coats (and no added topcoat or basecoat).

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish21

As you can see, in sunlight the shine and color saturates the image so that it is almost hard to capture. One more:

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish23

Overall, I like Marc Jacobs Lacquer in Desire. I wonder if I should have bought a more unique color. Desire is a relatively duplicable shade compared to Marc Jacob Beauty’s Petra reviewed by Sabrina on The Beauty Look Book.  Nonetheless, in my crazy beauty blogger’s mind, I deliberately chose a standard red shimmer shade because I wanted to see how the Marc Jacobs Beauty formula compares with a standard (less expensive) OPI or the like, and a luxury brand like Chanel. Here’s a comparison with Marc Jacobs Beauty Desire, Chanel Malice, OPI Dankeshiny Red, and Zoya Blair.

Marc Desire comparisons1

After working with Desire, I’m pretty close to concluding that it preforms in a similar way to OPI and Zoya (and China Glaze Ruby Pumps, which is also in this shimmer red category). Chanel Malice is a pretty delicious shade no matter how you slice it, so let’s not even go there. Bottom line:  Unless I learn anything new, in the future I’m more likely to go with non-duplicatable, unusual shades in the Marc line as the formula seems on par with the mid-priced nail polish companies out there (like OPI, Essie, Butter London, Zoya, and the like). So there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to go with the $18 Marc Beauty shades when an OPI or the like (at $10ish) will do. Just this one crazy beauty blogger’s opinion.

Marc Jacobs Beauty is sold exclusively at Sephora.

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