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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Aug 212011
 

Hourglass was kind enough to send one of their newly released Film Noir Lash Lacquer ($28), together with a sample sized Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara (full size runs $28) to try at Cafe Makeup.  Film Noir Lash Lacquer is a newly designed product that is like a top coat for nails, or gloss for a lipstick.  It is used to add a wet look, together with the addition of length, volume and shine.

As you can see from the photograph, above, it comes with a brush applicator to “paint” lashes similar to the way that one would paint nail polish on your nails.  Application tips:

- Film Noir Lash Lacquer works with many mascaras, and works best on lashes already coated with a good lengthening mascara (not tubing or volumizing)

- Hold the wand at a horizontal angle to your lashes and delicately paint in short strokes

- You can use all over lashes (top and bottom), or just the ones on the outer corner

Liz and I were very impressed the Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara.  We liked the separation and length, and thought that it was a real contender against Guerlain’s Le 2 mascara ($36/ reviewed here).  Liz said that she would definitely re-purchase it. It had great separation and curling properties.  Our little sample gave us plenty of reasons to believe that this is an excellent choice at $28.

Film Noir Lash Lacquer was easy to use–the directions were clear, and we found the brush easy enough to control.  For these pictures, Liz applied Lash Lacquer over the Full Spectrum Mascara.  We found that it did add a deep glossy look to lashes.  The volumizing properties tended to occur by adding volume.  We did experience some clumps, but expected that effect from a volumizing product.  Perhaps this is due to the brush configuration, which does not attempt to separate lashes.

Here is a comparison without Film Noir Lash Lacquer.  Only the Full Spectrum Mascara is applied, below:
Overall, Film Noir Lash Lacquer adds drama, volume and a deep black lacquer effect.  We found the product easy to use.  I separately tried Film Noir Lash Lacquer, and got a very similar effect to Liz’s–it gives a very fringy, very black, with a tendency to pull the lashes together (rather than having separation).   We thought that it achieved the promised effect of maximizing lashes.  We actually loved the Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara by itself more, which should not be surprising given that we prefer a more natural look.  However, if you are looking for drama, the Lash Lacquer certainly delivers.

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Aug 012011
 

Benefit They’re Real Mascara ($22) has just released to lovely reviews all around.  Liz and I recently bought one at our local Sephora to test the claims that:

  • 94% saw dramatic length and volume
  • 90% saw base-to-tip curl
  • 94% saw visible lift
  • 100% saw long wearing results
We decided to subject this mascara to a comparison with Benefit Bad Gal mascara.  We used what we call “the scary lens” –it is very sharp and it focuses very close.
Benefit’s packaging gives application advice using the wiggle-method.  They add another step–to hold the wand vertically to stroke upward to curl and separate.
The tube holds a respectable 0.3 oz/8.5 grams, and is a pleasant, fun shape in a shiny gunmetal colored plastic.
The brush uses the spikey shape that seems designed to give good separation while still grabbing plenty of mascara.  Here is a comparison between Benefit They’re Real (on the left) with Benefit Bad Gal (on the right).  As you can tell, They’re Real delivers very voluminous results.  Liz’s lashes are dramatically fringed, with plenty of length.  However, as you layer on the product the mascara has a tendency to clump.
 
Liz applied They’re Real in several layers, going a little strong.  As you can see, after several layers the mascara started to clump.  We weren’t getting the clean separation that we have experienced with some of the more high end (but much more expensive) mascaras.

Side view (note that Liz did not use an eyelash curler before application):
After wearing the mascara for a full day, Liz found that her lashes stayed soft and flexible.  She reports that after a full day, she got no smudging or flaking.  In short, the formula is very flexible, volumizing and lengthening.  As these pictures show, Liz had plenty of curl (without curling her lashes first).
 Overall, Benefit They’re Real had some very good qualities:
  • High volume
  • Dramatic curl
  • Good lengthening
  • No flaking
  • No smudging
  • Lashes stayed soft
The “con” is the tendency to clump, as you can see in the pictures, during heavy application. Wearers will want to keep a mascara comb nearby, or be ready to work the brush to maximize separation.  The $22 price point could cut either way, depending on what you are used to paying for mascara.  By they way, I’ll be receiving my tube that I bought from Benefit.com soon.  I’ll post a separate update after I’ve played with it a bit.
  • Bottom line: Our initial tests show a clumping, which will be a dealbreaker.  Liz reports that yesterday she wore it much more lightly so the clumping was not as noticeable–but the effect was not as dramatic.
  • For other helpful reviews, see Scrangie’s test here on her site and also this review on The Coveted.

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Apr 082011
 

 

A month ago, I offered this look inside my suitcase to show you what I brought to Paris.  Now that I’m returning, I wanted to do a quick sketch of what worked, what didn’t and what I missed most from my permanent stash.

First:  What worked? As some of you probably guessed, I brought way too much.  Like Rachel Zoe packing shoes for Fashion Week, I could have easily left one-third of these items at home.  On the road, I almost never had time to play with new looks.  Also, the culture of makeup in Paris emphasizes great skin and minimal eye color.  When I saw so many women like myself wearing understated color (except for lips, of course!), I didn’t think about deeply pigmented teal shadow.  If you’ve read Café Makeup, you already know my aesthetic.  Multiply that times 1,000, omit bronzer in favor of a nude blush and you’ll get my perfect Parisian face.

My standard everyday face included:

  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B10 Great coverage, no breakouts.  By the way, if you haven’t seen this video by Lisa Eldridge on Chanel Confidential about the use of Vitalumiere Aqua, you should. I highly recommend watching this, even if you already own and love the product.

  • Nars Maui multiple. This added just the right touch of nude glow, contour and highlight.  Liz picked it up for me before I left, and I’m glad that she did. I loved it, wore it nearly every day.
  • By Terry Eye Primer. Adds a touch of moisture.  I followed up by adding a touch of concealer on top (usually the Cle de Peau).

  • Sublime de Chanel Mascara. Reviewed here. I’ve falled in love.  According to Chanel, it’s coming to the U.S. in August.
  • Edward Bess Soft Smoke Eyeshadow trio. Hello, I’m in Paris–a nice neutral deep eye is perfect here.  Edward Bess’ Soft Smoke has a subtle highlight, the perfect mid-tone grey and a nice black liner color (reviewed here). I wore this almost every single day.  These colors look simple, but really they look extremely good when applied on the eye.  I’ll never take that for granted–it’s much harder to find an excellent near-matte neutral that makes you look luminous and alive than you would ever think.  It’s an investment palette–but well worth it in the long run.

  • Le Metier de Beaute Precision Eyeliner.  No extra brush required.  It can go subtle or heavy, depending on the application.  I used this almost every day.  Plus, it’s tiny and so easy to pack.

  • Lip Product de Jour. I liked the options that I brought, plus I added some Chanel Rouge Coco Shine on arrival.  Overall, I had a nice variety to add color to an otherwise neutral face.

Second:  Let’s talk skincare!

  • Suncare:  Even in the cloudy, grey days of March, I didn’t go anywhere without sun protection.  When I travel, I’m outside for hours at a time, and sometimes all day.   Sometimes the weather was gloriously sunny, but even cloudy days let some UV light do their damage.  Every day, I applied EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46, which is absolutely awesome for my acne prone skin.  It includes physical sun protection and seems to disappear into my skin without leaving a tint or white cast.  Because I wasn’t bothered by the paparazzi (note to self: work on that!) I can’t comment on how this looks in flash photographs.  In daylight, the texture was very workable.  Most importantly, it didn’t break me out.  I bought mine at my dermatologist’s office, but it’s also available online from the Dermstore and elsewhere.  Worth every penny.

  • Cleansers/toners: Good skin must be cleansed.  This time around, I threw in a travel-sized Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Buffing Beads from this Sephora Fabulous Four set, a decant of my Shu Uemura Cleansing oil, and a decant of my DDF 10% Glycolic toner.  Perfect combination.  It’s really important to bring an oil cleanser to get any sunscreen off.

Third:  What could I have left behind? My biggest packing error was too many duplicate products.  Here’s what I would have pared down:

  • Too many eyeliners.  I had three–Bobbi Brown’s Chocolate Shimmer and Black Ink, plus Le Metier de Beaute’s liquid eyeliner pen.  I should have picked one black liner.
  • Too many concealers. I have three in the picture above, then I added another in my carry-on bag.  Really, one is enough.
  • Duplicate bronzers.  NARS Maui multiple and Chanel’s powder bronzer was one too many.
  • Sephora straightener for Europe.  A few years ago, a blogger recommended buying a European-specific hair straightener because her U.S. version had blown up even when using a converter.  So I got a Sephora straightener (which is made by Corioliss) made for 220 volt systems.  This year, it stopped working the first week–what a waste of suitcase space and money.  Next time, I’ll look at a battery-powered option.


Fourth:  What did I miss?

  • Brow pencil. I had nothing for brows–no pencil, and no good powder substitute.  I bought Chanel’s new Crayon Sourcils Sculptant almost immediately when I arrived and used it every day.  I like that it includes an eyebrow brush on one end, because I hadn’t packed one of those either.  I loved the texture.  I bought it in the lightest shade, Blond Clair 10, which is a touch too yellow for me.  I’ll be excited to see the other shades when they arrive in the U.S. in August.

  • Clarisonic Skin Cleanser. I made the right call to leave this at home.  It’s really bulky (although the new, smaller Mia might be better).  Unlike my computer and camera equipment, it’s not compatible with Europe’s 220 electric system.  There is no comparable product sold in Europe.  So, even though I was correct to leave this out of my already-overflowing suitcase, I really missed it.

  • I missed my nail polish range. Again, I made the right call not bringing more than two bottles–a clear Sally Hansen and Chanel Strong. My nails get completely trashed when traveling, there’s no avoiding it.  Still, I missed not having any nude or taupe options, or a nice clear red.  I don’t think there’s a good answer for this.  You just have to give up some things when you’re on the road.


Well, my dearest readers, how did I do?  Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?

 

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