Preview: NARS Audacious Mascara

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Jul 162015
 

Audacious Mascara - open

From a NARS Press Release (note that Francois Nars identified this as a product that he was most excited about in this interview on Refinery 29):

NARS Cosmetics introduces the new Audacious Mascara for Fall 2015. Audacious Mascara lets you go to extremes—the eye’s the limit. Always layers to your desired intensity with clean precision. The unique combination of NARS’ exclusive lash-catching brush and buildable formula allows you to reapply throughout the day to magnify lashes on command. Eyes on. Game on.

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Jun 242014
 

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara1Too Faced’s Better than Sex Mascara ($23) has been getting some rave reviews, so I had to see what the cries of “holy grail” were all about. I like Chanel, Armani, and Yves Saint Laurent mascara. I’m hearing such a high volume of positives on this one. I’m happy to report this one deserves the accolades.

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara2

Beyond all the kitchy marketing on the outside, this mascara is a very wet-formula high-volume that ooooomphs your lashes from the very first coat. Add two or three and you’ll cause a slight breeze whenever you blink. This is serious, serious volume. Like many volume-adding formulas, I need to carefully use the brush on my lashes to avoid clumps. I’m  happy to report that, when I am careful, it is possible to get an absolutely clump-free application. I just can’t go waving that brush around everywhere, and anyway that sounds like a good way to lose an eye and we certainly do not want that to happen, do we?

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara4The brush is an hourglass shape “inspired by a woman’s curves” (pull-eeze). The good news is that this does catch all my lashes, even the teeny ones, and the bristles dig in enough to get close to the lash line.  Don’t you hate when a mascara can’t get all the way in there? This brush works.

Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara7

One quick note of caution–this mascara takes a good 4-5 application days to really get rolling. The first day was nice, the second was better. By the fifth, I realized why this mascara is recommended by so many women. Volume for days. Worth the raves.

Too Faced’s Better than Sex Mascara is available at Sephora ($23)

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Jun 142014
 

Perricone MD has a full line of No Makeup Skincare: A Revolutionary Approach to Color, and the base products have already been reviewed here and here. This line of products is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

Perricone MD Foundation Bronzer Concealer Mascara BlushThis entire incorporates anti-aging skincare, to repair, restore, and to ensure that the overall look is youthful. In addition to antioxidants, DMAE, and neuropeptides, the line is formulated with high pigment that sits lightly on the skin, which can be built up, sculpted, modified, mixed and blended to achieve a look that is healthy, natural, and with a youthful look. As I said in my prior posts, I loved several of these products. However, I loved, loved, loved the products together as a set.  First, I was shocked at how quickly I could do a face with this set. It’s no brushes required. The products are essentially fool-proof once I got comfortable with the format. They blend beautifully together, and their textures are ideal for layering. They are designed for very intuitive application. Although it is easy to layer them up to increase coverage, it seems impossible to over-do them. There is a real synergy in the design and formulation for use as a set. 

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare14a

This review considers the remaining products in the line:

  • No Bronzer Bronzer
  • No Blush Blush
  • No Concealer Concealer
  • No Mascara Mascara
  • No Lipstick Lipstick

There were a few products that were true standouts. One was the Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer ($35/.03 oz.). This liquid bronzer has some lovely qualities, including the ability to bronze, darken foundation shades, contouring, and to meld beautifully with the skin when blended.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare05a

The No Bronzer Bronzer has some skincare ingredients in the mix:

– Vitamin C Ester to help brighten the skin and address visible sun damage.
– Non-chemical, mineral-based SPF 30 with Zinc oxide to protect from UVA and UVB rays

I consider these a nice plus, because I am not sure that I’ll personally use the No Bronzer Bronzer in a sufficient quality to derive large benefits from these. However, I do appreciate the well-formulated serum texture, which makes the product easy and intuitive to control. It reminds me a bit of Giorgio Armani’s Liquid Summer serum bronzer.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare06

The ingredient list for the No Bronzer Bronzer is here (click to enlarge):

Perricone Bronzer2

Here are some quick comparisons between the Armani Liquid Summer Bronzer and Perricone MD’s No Bronzer Bronzer…

Bronzer swatches Perricone Armani1

 

Another set (blended out):

Bronzer swatches Perricone Armani2

The Perricone MD No Blush Blush ($35/0.3 oz), is a pretty universal rose color that seems to work well with both cool and warm skin tones. It also adds a touch of natural pink to a bronzed cheek to make a sun kissed look. According to the line, this blush includes DMAE (to help to firm and tone the skin, restoring the appearance of lift and contour along cheekbones) and non-chemical, mineral-based SPF 30 with Zinc oxide (to protect from UVA and UVB rays).

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare07aThis liquid blush is remarkably easy to use, and very hard to over-do. I dabbed on 1-3 touches of the doe foot applicator on each cheek, and blended for a natural look. Unlike liquid stains, the Perricone No Blush Blush was forgiving and did not require lightning reflexes to avoid a dotted cheek–foolproof, truly.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare18

Here is the ingredient list for the No Blush Blush (click to enlarge):

Perricone Blush2

The Perricone MD No Concealer Concealer ($35) is released in shade #2, a light creamy medium-coverage color that blends nicely, doesn’t crease and has good lasting power.

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 10.21.29 PM

I’ve used the prior version extensively, and I’ve been pleased with the skin care ingredients. It’s very good.

– Vitamin C Ester for brightening and collagen boosting
– Phospholipids create a barrier to protect against environmental aggressors
– Microcirculatory agents help treat dark circles
– Non-chemical, mineral-based SPF 30 with Zinc oxide to protect from UVA and UVB rays

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare09b

If you are familiar with the prior version, this is the same formula but in a more convenient format.

Perricone Mascara1

The Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara ($30) is a lash treatment and mascara. According to the line, this includes:

– Neuropetides help regenerate, condition and nourish lashes.
– Biotin improves the healthy and quality of lashes with each application
– Tocotrienols condition and smooth lashes

 Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare10a

This color is a dark brown-black (see swatch for color, below), and delivers a very clean, lengthened lash, adding slight volume. There is zero clumping, instead the look tends toward a natural, uplifted, and long look. It’s very pretty, and the fact that is is nourishing is a lovely plus.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare11

The Perricone MD No Lipstick Lipstick ($30) is another product that I fell in love with. The color is a pretty, soft pink that’s highly wearable by those with many different skin tones. It’s a soft of “all occasion pink.” The texture was absolutely lovely–it’s very hydrating and seemed to soften the texture of my lips.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare12a According to the line, the No Lipstick Lipstick:

– Mimics the natural, rosy color of youthful lips and vermillion zone.
– Smoothes vertical lip lines and restore suppleness and fullness while protecting with a broad spectrum,  mineral SPF 15.
– Solid to serum texture allows for sheer, buildable coverage while hydrating and nourishing.

 This feels lovely, and makes my lips look years younger. I hope that more colors of this formala are released. I’m including swatches of all shades here:

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare19As you can see, the serum color is a near-match for the No Foundation Foundation in #2. I did a quick finger-blend of the swatches, above, without being very precise or careful. On the skin, a proper blending job delivers smooth and lovely results.

Mascara1

Overall, I loved using these products. These are extremely easy to use, impressively long-wearing, and allowed me to get ready in less than five minutes. My skin looked beautifully natural, and I loved the fact that the product have skincare benefits. Although I wear my standard SPF 50 sunscreen, I appreciated that there is sunscreen woven into the formulas.

The Perricone MD No Makeup Makeup: A Color Revolution is available at Sephora, and Perricone MD’s website.

 

The Perricone MD products were sent from the  company to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup)

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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.

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

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Jun 212013
 

Revlon Lash Potion51

A few weeks ago, Revlon sent us a tube of Revlon Lash Potion by Grow Luscious Mascara ($7.99 retail). I bought a twin so that Liz and I could test and demonstrate this for Cafe Makeup.

Revlon Lash Potion52

Many who love high-end makeup don’t mind economizing for drugstore mascaras.  I can see why.  In the past, I’ve had good luck with L’Oreal’s mascara–most recently, L’Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Waterproof Mascara. Although it’s a bit clumpy, it doesn’t leave my lashes dry and crunchy (as some drugstore mascaras do), and it doesn’t smudge.  Revlon’s Lash Potion is said to “drench[] lashes with a potion of strengthening proteins for captivating volume and length” and give “maximum volume for clump-free length.” Essentially, Revlon’s is advertised to moisturize, condition, and give dramatic volume and length.

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Nov 122012
 

The other day, I was thinking that I hadn’t seen a truly great mascara from Chanel since 1998.  One release in Europe last year–Sublime de Chanel–had promise on the first try.  However, even Sublime did not seem to be as dramatic as the former Chanels, or the current Armani Eyes to Kill, or Guerlain Le  2 Mascara.

Le Volume de Chanel mascara, just now being released in the U.S., has a winner that is very similar in effect to Guerlain Le 2.

The name “Le Volume de Chanel” suggests that the mascara will add volume to lashes. Put aside your visions of caterpillar-lashes, as this mascara gives a surprising amount of length, curl and definition. Le Volume gives your lashes an oooomph factor times one hundred, yet still manages to ensure that one looks appropriate.

According to the sales associate at the Chanel San Francisco boutique, the wand is called a “snowflake” design and it ensures clump-free application.

I found that the wand was very intuitive and effortless to use. Sometimes mascaras can be too dry, but Le Volume applied easily and quickly. There were a few tiny clumps, easily pushed away with the wand or nearby lash comb. Some of my lashes did stick together, but it wasn’t nearly in the same category as Benefit They’re Real.

I’ll try to do a review with Liz over the next few weeks–we’re on opposites coasts at the moment but still doing our very best to bring you everything we can under the circumstances.

Bottom line–love. I’ve only worn it for one entire day, as this is a preliminary report. No flaking, no smudging, no fading. Good curl, great lasting power. Great definition. Definitely has the high oooomph factor of the former great Chanel mascaras.

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Jul 112012
 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The drought of new collections coming into France continues. Here, “Fall 2012” actually means Fall 2012.  I saw one exception today going through Sephora–Lancome is launching a new mascara– Hypnôse Star.  They’re using Betty Boop as the star, who is adorable (between you and me, is Betty Boop’s mascara photoshopped?). Anyway, here’s the introductory video for the mascara, starring Betty Book and Daria Werbowy:

What really caught my attention is that Lancome has appeared to have  entirely changed its eyeshadows–these are called Ombre Hypnôse Mono Eyeshadows. They are separated into three categories. On the left, light neutrals in Fresh and Luminous.  In the center, deep, striking, and accent colors in Sophisticated and Chic.  On the right, deep crease and liner colors in Glamour and Intensity (click to enlarge):

I really loved the Fresh & Luminous shades (No. 102 was an especially nice pearly beige), but there were so many buttery soft and gorgeous ones in this entire grouping. I noticed that Lancome (wisely) retained Erika F (it’s in the middle Sophisticated and Chic group on the top).

I’d certainly love to see these come to the U.S. someday (hint, hint!). In my opinion these are so different from the ones available in the states. They would really add depth to Lancome’s U.S. offerings.

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May 092012
 

Lately I’ve been using very emollient eye creams (ah, the joys of beauty blogging!) Guess what’s in emollient eye creams? You guessed it–oil! Guess the best way to remove mascara (even waterproof mascara)? You guessed it again–oil!  The combination of an oily moisturizer and mascara is a recipe for disaster because you are wearing the mascara and a removing agent at the same time. Some eye creams gave me raccoon eyes as early as 10 a.m. Not a good situation, trust me. I decided to skip right over waterproof formulations and go the distance. I  checked out a fiber mascara.

Because I wasn’t sure that I’d like this type, I made a minimal investment of $8-9 at a drugstore to try out L’Oreal’s Voluminous False Lashes. I thought that if this worked well, I could go for some of the fiber mascara’s sold at Sephora (see here and here) and perhaps on some of the Asian makeup sites.

So, what’s the deal with fiber mascaras?

  • Your lashes are coated in little fibers like this (from the L’Oreal package):
  • Fiber mascaras tend to be super-waterproof  (although very hard to remove)
  • Some are said to give a more dramatic effect

For the L’Oreal, I found that the claim of super-waterproofness was solid. I was able to put drops into my eyes without any problem whatsoever. Even the most emollient eye cream did not create any smudging. These are truly all-day lashes.

As mascaras go, I found that the L’Oreal fiber was respectable but not the most dramatic or volumizing that I’ve ever used. It has a dry texture. The first coat is devastatingly natural looking (if you want a natural look, you won’t be quite as crushed). I usually built up using three coats toward a pretty good everyday eye. It’s no Armani or Guerlain. But it is absolutely smudge-free.

As is common with this type of mascara, removal is a challenge. I used the Sonia Kashuk Eye Makeup Remover from Target ($10). I soaked a cotton pad with the remover, held it over my closed eye for about 20 seconds, and then the mascara came off easily by gently sweeping the cotton pad over the mascara. I found that this remover worked better for me than my traditional Shu cleansing oil.

The Sonia Kashuk smells has a vague rubbery smell. You know the smell that Barbie heads have, when they’re new? It’s unavoidable, think back. Yeah, pretty much that same smell. I may switch to the Lancome Bi Facil Eye Makeup Remover when the Sonia Kashuk runs out.

Thanks for reading about my little fiber mascara adventure. I’m going to use up a few more of my standard mascaras, then likely try another fiber brand from Sephora later this year. And invest in the Lancome remover.

 

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Mar 222012
 

Liz and I were so fortunate to meet Edward Bess in person at Bergdorf’s last week. As we were walking through the magical beauty floor, we found him standing near a counter of his beautifully formulated makeup line. Even more incredibly, he offered to do our makeup. I took some pictures for you to enjoy–and we hope that you do!

First of all, Edward Bess is even more charming and knowledgable in person than we had imagined–and we are some of his biggest fans. A prodigy, his taste level and expertise is incredible. Also, his personality is so pleasant and easy-going–he had us laughing along with him throughout. If you could choose anyone to do your makeover, Edward Bess would be a most delightful (and talented) choice.

Edward began with Liz’s eyes–he explained that cleanups are so much easier if the color product somehow migrates.  We were so lucky to try his new Edward Bess Eye Primer.   This product, which comes in three different shades, is distributed via a brush pen to the lid. Above, the product is coming out of the tube before it is smoothed out (with fingers or the built-in brush). It creates a blank canvas on the lid, drying to an opaque matte finish. I noticed that both Liz’s and my eye makeup lasted beautifully until we removed it much later that evening. The finish is amazing. I cannot wait until this product is available in the next 2-3 weeks. I need it.

With a few exceptions, nearly all of the color products used on both Liz and I were from the Edward Bess Back to Basics Palette ($75). Although I realized that this was a very versatile travel palette, I was stunned to see how easily Bess could use this palette to create our “you but more glamorous” looks. With just a few of his brushes and his fingers, Edward used some of his collection’s favorite colors. You can see Sabrina’s review and swatches of this palette here at The Beauty Look Book.

The eyeshadows were used to create a very natural eye, using the neutral colors on the lid, and the darker shade just above the crease. Edward used his Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush ($40) (pictured with the palette, above, which I couldn’t resist buying).

A little Edward Bess Defining Eye Liner ($29)….

 More work on the eye area:

 And bringing some color under the eyes:

Edward gave Liz incredibly long, defined lashes with his Edward Bess Lash Designer Volumizing Mascara ($30):

Edward mixed his Edward Bess Platinum Concealer ($38) with a touch of his moisturizing Edward Bess Black Sea Deep Hydration Cream ($90) to do Liz’s under eye area. He also used a mix of this moisturizer with his Edward Bess Sheer Satin Cream Compact Foundation ($60), which he dabbed on Liz with fingers. Although I don’t own this foundation yet, it did provide a very lightweight, moisturizing feel. The finish was lovely. I do own at least three of the Platinum Concealers, which I keep at home, work, and in my purse.  It has amazing coverage and the quality is excellent. I’m discontinuing the use of the Cle de Peau stick concealer in favor of the Edward Bess.

He then began to dab on the blush and highlighter from the Back to Basics Palette to add subtle color to Liz’s cheeks:

He used very soft lipstick and pencil on lips:

Edward then used the South of France Quad Royale ($45) applied with his Luxury Face Brush ($56) to add a glow to Liz’s complexion.  This quad gave Liz a very natural sheen–really, we couldn’t leave the counter without picking one up for her.

The Beauty Look Book’s review and swatches of the South of France Quad Royale are here. If you love a soft, subtle, beautiful glow, this is a must have.

I hope you enjoyed this little essay–we certainly felt very fortunate to have met with Edward Bess. What an enormous talent–I cannot wait to see what else he will be releasing in the coming months.

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Aug 292011
 

For the past few weeks, I’ve become ridiculously lash-obsessed.  During my quest for perfect fringe, I was introduced to a new line of false lashes, Faux, which has just launched an online website.  Faux’s philosophy is to provide gorgeous, sexy, high quality, very affordable and green-conscious lashes.

These lashes are beautifully made.  There are several different collections available.  I received two options from their Luxe line, which have a criss-cross feathery effect.  The ones above and below are Audrey ($16):

Liz tried on Audrey:

Because this was our first attempt to ever use a false lash, we were pleased to find these very flexible and easy to use (apologies, we cut Audrey a bit too short for our experiment, the actual lash is quite a bit longer).  We used clear Duo glue (not included); for this experimental picture we did not add eyeliner yet. This is how the lash looks on the eye without any added mascara.  We did give it a quick curl with a Shu Uemura curler before we took the picture. We both felt that Audrey gave a gorgeous look.

This is Sasha ($16), also from the Luxe line:

One more close-up of Sasha, which I think is just a gorgeous lash.  We’re going to try these on next:

The third is from the Runway Collection, called Diamonds ($12), which are studded with tiny black diamante beads:

Serious party lashes:

Overall, Liz and I were very impressed with the high quality, affordable price and overall glamorous look of Faux lashes.  The feel like very well-made lashes, easy to use and well-designed.  We’re looking forward to playing more with them, but wanted to give you this preview in case you’d like to play too.

Here’s a tutorial to help you put them on:

We also found Lisa Eldridge’s tutorial helpful as well.

Disclosure:  Faux Lashes sent these to Cafe Makeup without charge for review.

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