Jul 092014

Note: Shop the NORDSTROM Anniversary Sale for Beauty Exclusives. Plus, get free shipping & returns on every order. To see them prior to July 18th, you might sign into your account linked to a Nordstrom charge card.

Nars Nordstrom Anniversay 2014NARS is offering three Summer Gifting sets as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Event. If you are a Nordstrom cardholder, you’ll get access to these items (and the rest of Nordstrom’s Anniversary Event items) on July 10th. For everyone else, the event begins the following week.


NARS Uninhibited Set: $52: A trio of intrigue and seduction – Dolce Vita Lipstick, Lip Gloss and limited edition Nail Polish presented in a sleek black lacquered box. I must admit, Dolce Vita is a perfect color for so many people. This would make an excellent gift, because these shades are so universal.


NARS Climax Set, $52: A fantasy of shocking pink in the legendary Schiap – featuring a Lipstick, limited edition Lip Gloss and Nail Polish housed in a matching pink, lacquered box. Is there a woman who doesn’t need Schiap? This entire set looks so confident, summer-ready, and beautiful.

Nars Domination Palette

NARS Domination blush palette, $49 A rush of blush – delivering insatiable glamour for cheeks, this exclusive palette features three signature Blush shades (Orgasm, Laguna and Mistinguette) and Devotee Highlighting Blush. I was fortunate enough to receive this item from NARS for review, and as usual the quality is absolutely stellar. This is a perfect palette for a sculpted cheek, with a touch of bronze, highlighter, and two beautiful blush shades. In sun:

Nars Domination palette 2

In shade:

Nars Domination Palette 3Here are swatches of the beautifully formulated palette:

Nars Domination Palette 4I think if I had to choose, I’d give the Dolce Vita set to my good friend (who is a bit conservative), Domination as a gift for my niece, and keep the Schiap for myself. What would you do?

Shop the NORDSTROM Anniversary Sale for Beauty Exclusives. Plus, get free shipping & returns on every order. To see them prior to July 18th, you might sign into your account linked to a Nordstrom charge card.

This post contains a product sent by Nars for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).



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Jan 062014

Spring 2014 is quickly approaching. One collection on my radar is NARS because (have you heard?) there’s a new multiple launching. The eyeshadows look fabulous as well. The details of the collection are as follows:

Rich, aquatic and anchored in glamour. The NARS Spring 2014 Collection kicks off the season with provocative appeal leaving winter in the wake. Eyes sizzle in gold lamé and iridescent smoky orchid, while cheeks glisten with a splash of shimmering rose peach. Gleaming cantaloupe for nails and a refreshingly glossy pout in guava and violet evoke a cool burning attitude with this fashion forward collection.

The items are listed with their images below.

China Seas Duo Eyeshadow ($34):  Iridescent turquoise with gold infusion and iridescent plum

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection China Seas Duo Eyeshadow - jpeg

Kauai Duo Eyeshadow ($34): Gold lamé and iridescent smokey orchid

NARS Spring 2014 Kauai Duo Eyeshadow - jpeg

Annees Folles Larger than Life Lip Gloss ($26): Sheer violet

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Annees Follies LTL Lip Gloss - JPEG

Bimini Larger than Life Lip Gloss ($26):  Sheer pink guava

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Bimini LTL Lip Gloss - JPEG

Timanfaya Satin Lip Pencil ($25):  Mandarin Red

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Timanfaya Satin Lip Pencil - jpeg

Khao Road Larger than Life Long Wear Eyeliner ($24):  Metallic aquamarine

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Khao San Road LTL LW Eyeliner - jpeg

Puerta Del Sol Larger than Life Long Wear Eyeliner ($24):  Parrot green with shimmer

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Puerta Del Sol LTL LW Eyeliner - jpeg

Wind Dancer Nail Polish ($19):  Cantaloupe

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Wind Dancer Nail Polish - jpeg

Na Pali Coast Multiple ($39):  Shimmering rose peach

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Na Pali Coast Multiple - jpeg

This is slated to release on Narscosmetics.com and NARS boutiques on January 15, 2014.

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Dec 042013

burberry nailBurberry Nail Polish ($21) is currently being rolled out as a new product category for the line. I’ve been impressed with many of Burberry’s formulas, and so I couldn’t wait to try it. Although some of my choices are still on backorder, I wanted to give you a few thoughts on some colors that have arrived– Nude Beige and Oxblood. Both are classic “Burberry” colors, and reminded me of the iconic plaid color that evokes the brand’s neutral aesthetic.

Burberrry nail01

At $21, the price is friendly and the commitment is low. The bottles hold roughly 0.27 fluid ounces of product, which is on the smaller end for a premium polish (Chanel are typically marked at 0.4 oz., and Dior and Guerlain at .33 ozs.). Honestly, I rarely evaluate products on their volume. As the Chanel, Dior and Guerlain come in at a higher price point than Burberry, I suppose that overall the price point seems all in line (as high end beauty goes). Purchasing from outside the U.S., Color Me Loud has more colors in the Burberry line as well as some comparisons.

Burberrry nail02

The bottles use a rich glass etched with the line’s logo, and the iconic plaid on the cap is etched in (just as it is with Burberry’s other fluid products).

Burberrry nail03

When the caps are removed, you can see that the bottle extends upward:

Burberrry nail07

The brushes are slightly wider than normal, which eases application (although not as wide as Guerlain’s or Dior’s). I found the Burberry brush highly workable and the formula was quite easy to apply.

Burberrry nail08

Burberry Nude Beige is a neutral beige with high opacity and high shine (without a topcoat).

Burberrry nail06

I approached this color with some trepidation–indeed, I ordered this color to see how Burberry could handle something so pale. In other brands, lighter whites, pastels, and beiges can go streaky or require numerous coats, which causes them to look too thick once applied. However, Burberry appears to have mastered the challenge quite successfully–this is opaque in two to three coats (depending on how heavily you apply this with the brush). It didn’t streak up or look goopy or thick. Pretty amazing. Burberry Nude Beige on my nails:

Burberrry nail17

Here are some comparisons with some other light neutrals, including Orly Country Club Khaki (a taupe), Rescue Beauty Lounge Plie (a light pink), Chanel Beige (which runs sheer), and Burberry Nude Beige (which is opaque):

Burberrry nails08

Burberry Oxblood is a beautiful rich cool red. I adore this color beyond all reason.

Burberrry nail05

Burberry Oxblood is shiny and opaque in two coats. It is gloriously pigmented. Yes, you need it.

Burberrry nail12

Burberry Oxblood is lighter and more red, compared to some other vampy darks in my collection. Here are comparisons with the very dark Guerlain Vega, the shimmery Chanel Malice, and the dark red/black Chanel Madness, Accessoire, and Rouge Noir.

Burberrry nails09

Overall, Burberry’s nail colors are impressive. The formula so far is excellent, the application is easy, and the overall look is gorgeous. These will fit well within the aesthetic of the rest of the line–excellence in formula, classic colors, and highly wearable and beautiful colors.

Available at Nordstrom, and other Burberry sources.

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Formula X for Sephora: The X Look and The Holiday Ornament Reviews

 Nail Polish  Comments Off on Formula X for Sephora: The X Look and The Holiday Ornament Reviews
Nov 282013

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set01

Thera are a few more treats from the Formula X for Sephora collection to see. Above is the Formula X for Sephora Holiday Ornament, ($14) which includes Out of Sight, is a festive gold fleck topcoat that catches the light on bare or polished nails.

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set07

This sparkler adds a touch of holiday to virtually any color manicure. Probably my favorite item is this The X Look set for Formula X for Sephora ($22.50), perhaps because I love the look of layered glass fleck. The packaging is simple and modern:

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set14

This set contains a glossy black base coat (Dark Matter), and four glossy, sparkling topcoats geared to add a touch of glamour as glittery topcoats. There are also two sets of nail decals included to create an accent nail look.

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set08

The polishes in The X Look set include a deep green Positivity, the gold Bond, Ionic Bond, and Atom + Eve (a glittering red):

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set16

This well-priced, gift-able set was impressive the range of looks that you can get, especially if you have a few nail standards lying around that you can mix with these topcoat effects.

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set22

I spent a bit of time playing with both the Formula X Holiday Ornament’s Out of Sight, the colors from The X Look set, and my own bottle of OPI’s New York Apple Red.  Here’s the whole mix (click to enlarge):

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set30

Here are some close ups:

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set32

I was happy to see that Sephora Formula X Dark Matter (which is also a permanent seperate item in the 0.4 ounce size) can be used as a base coat to give a good glossy nail-line-covering opaque black in a single coat.  It tries my patience to do multiple layers for slow-drying sheers, but these were not that way. In fact, the ease of use and quick dry time of these polishes made this process fast and fun.Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set34

Here are some looks over OPI New  York Apple Red from my stash:

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set36

 I loved the black and gold combinations, especially adding Atom + Eve, Out of Sight and Dark Matter as a 3-coat layer. It’s crazy stunning in a fun way.

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set40

An even closer look of Dark Matter, Atom + Eve, and Out of Sight (click to enlarge):
Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set48

You can even say it glows–more in sun over OPI New York Apple Red:

Sephora Forumula X Holiday Set45

The accent decals are meant to go on only one finger for a manicure. They were fun to play with–here’s a short little tutorial that shows that they are easy to go on (although this is my first decal experience):

Sephora Accent Nail Directions

All in all, I’d say that The X Look  won my artist-loving heart for the most sheer hours of fun, and something I’d enjoy playing with through the next month leading to the holiday. The Holiday Ornament is a good Secret Santa gift, because it goes over everything (including a clear gloss, if you like). It contains the Out of Sight glorious glitterfest which is not work appropriate, but who’s going to be thinking about work as you cup your hands around your cocoa mug with your jewel-loned nails showing?

The X Look and Holiday Ornament were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Nov 262013

creaive gifts from sephora

For the nail artists in your life, Sephora is offering a few fun options including this The Twenty Two Formula X for Sephora set ($55). Before you start singing Taylor Swift’s 22 (ooohh ooh ooh!), keep in mind that this Sephora set includes a variety of twenty-two shades and textures in small-scale 0.13 ounce bottles.

Sephora The Twenty Two01

The packaging looks expensive and generous–Liz and my husband were both quite impressed (and I think it’s safe to say, by now they’ve een quite the range of beauty products go through the house). Inside, there is enough variety and color to keep someone happy for months to come. Click to enlarge:

Sephora The Twenty Two06

I’m sometimes daunted by Sephora’s Formula X range–it’s really extensive and this sampler gives you a nice chance to play in case you wanted to get it for yourself. The set includes a sample from all of the formulas, which according to Sephora’s website are:

Creams provide ultralong wear and incredible saturated color in just one swipe.

Neons are mega bright and dry down to a matte finish.

Chromes glide on creamy and dry to a smooth, reflective finish.

Xplosive top coats create the ultimate splatter effect with a matte confetti glitter that can be worn alone or over any nail color.

 I found the formula quite good. The chromes applied in one smooth coat. The paler creams when opaque in two coats, which is better than average.  The topcoats were fun and interesting–I sort of scooped up the bits to get a cool splatter paint effect. The neons were good with two coats, as well.

Sephora The Twenty Two08

 Let’s start in with some closeups and a review of the shades:

Sephora nails 21

Two topcoats included are Wham! is a white confetti and Turbulent, which has bright blue and black confetti. White Matter is an opaque bright white.

Continue reading »

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Nov 012013

NARS Beautiful Stranger31

This is a short review of the Nars Beautiful Stranger Mini Nail Set ($35) so that you have a complete picture of all of Nars Holiday sets before deciding which are your personal must-haves. This set contains small bottles of four shades: the violet-purple Dance, Dance, Dance, a coral red Shameless Red, the lavender taupe Manosque, and the vibrant, assertive Lost Red. Each has 0.25 ounces (a standard bottle of Nars polish has 0.50 ounces).

NARS Beautiful Stranger32

Here are some quick swatches so that you can see the color. I did a few nail looks with Manosque and Lost Red, and found the formula typical of Nars cream formula–very nice coverage in two coats, medium shine, and smooth, fuss-free application.

NARS Beautiful Stranger37

According to the literature provided by the company, this set will be available at all Nars sources as of November 1st.  It is currently available on Nordstrom.com.

Nars Cosmetics provided this set to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. 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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Oct 022013

Chanel Rose Moire Nail02

There are two new Chanel Le Vernis shades–Rouge Moire and Rose Moire ($27). Both are good formulations of some classic metal and frost/shimmer shades.

Chanel Rose Moire Nail03

Although neither is headline-grabbing in uniqueness, I found the formulation of both quite good.  They weren’t prone to denting, didn’t require long dry times and the coverage was quite good.

Chanel Rose Moire Nail05

Chanel Rouge Moire is a slightly pinky red metallic shimmer.

Chanel Rose Moire Nail07

This was essentially opaque in one coat, so yay for the one-coat wonder. I’ll still use two, but it’s nice not to have to do three. These “moire” shades are said to be super glossy. I found Rouge Moire glossy for a metal shimmer —sometimes these formulas can dry down dull, and Rouge Moire did not. Here are two coats with no base and no topcoat, in sun with flash:

Chanel Rose Moire Nail 208

Rose Moire is a softly metallic frost/shimmer light cream/pink.

Chanel Rose Moire Nail04

Rose Moire is not a shade in my comfort zone–lighter frosts can be a little 1970’s-ish (and not in a good way).  Chanel Rose Moire had enough color to bring it out of that era, although I’m not sure it’s entirely modern. A nice soft classic sounds  more appropriate for this shade.

Chanel Rose Moire Nail10

The formula was really good. Unlike some others that I’ve tried, the dry time was normal and I didn’t experience a problem with denting.  Two coats, no base or topcoat:

Chanel Rose Moire Nail 205

 Another, just to bring out the pink satin ribbon qualities of Rose Moire:

Chanel Rose Moire Nail 207

Overall, I thought that the Chanel Le Vernis shades–Rouge Moire and Rose Moire were nice, quiet additions to the Chanel line. I enjoy the Rouge Moire as a shade more in my comfort zone, and it is certainly a good one for Fall and to use during the holidays. There’s something very happy about that dash of pink mixed into the vibrant red; for that reason it is sweeter than the more blue-toned and stormy Chanel Malice. For Rose Moire, it is really going to come down to personal preference. The formula on both is very nice, these are both well-executed versions of some pretty shimmer/frost shades.

Chanel Rose Moire Nail09

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Oct 012013

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection - BTS Image 3

In addition to the NARS Guy Bourdin Sephora Gift Items (previewed here), and the NARS Guy Bourdin Color Collection (previewed here), NARS is releasing additional gift sets online and at select department stores. Below is all of the information that I have for these. These are due out beginning on November 1st.

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Crime of Passion Packaging - jpeg

This NARS Crimes of Passion palette ($59) is something that is certainly on my radar. This will be available at NARS boutiques, NARS online, and department/specialty stores.

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Crime of Passion Face Kit - jpeg

NARS Crimes of Passion includes:

  • Deep Throat Larger Than Life Lip Gloss: New Shade, Shimmering Sheer Peach
  • Jezebel Eyeshadow: New Shade, Shimmering Sable
  • Naïade Eyeshadow: New Shade, Metallic Rose Mist
  • Pandora Eyeshadow: Rich Black Matte
  • Deep Throat Blush: Sheer Peach
  • Laguna Bronzing Powder: Brown Powder with Golden Shimmer

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Voyeur Packaging - jpeg

The NARS Voyeur eye pencil set ($49) will be available at NARS boutiques, NARS online, and department/specialty stores. The pouch:

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Voyeur Pouch - jpeg

The NARS Voyeur pencil set includes:

  • Via Appia Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner: Copper Brown
  • Most Wanted Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner: New Shade, Cyan Blue
  • Blue Dahlia Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner: New Shade, Deep Violet
  • Santa Monica BLVD Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner: White
  • Via Veneto Mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner: Jet Black

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Voyeur Eyeliner Set - jpeg

NARS Beautiful Stranger ($35) includes four nail polish colors and will be available at NARS boutiques, NARS online, and department/specialty stores.

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Beautiful Stranger Packaging - jpeg

The shades are:

  • Lost Red Nail Polish: Bright Red
  • Shameless Red Nail Polish: Bright Pink
  • Dance Dance Dance Nail Polish: Bright Purple
  • Manosque Nail Polish: Deep Smoky Lavender

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Beautiful Stranger Nail Set - jpeg

The NARS Splendor in the Grass Palette ($49) is a blush palette that will be available at NARS Boutiques, NARS online, and select retailers.

Splendor in the Grass Packaging - jpeg

Splendor in the Grass includes Sex Appeal (matte soft peach), Albatross Highlighting blush (luminous glow), Dolce Vita blush (matte dusty rose), and Angelika blush (cotton candy pink).

Splendor in the Grass Cheek Palette - jpeg

The NARS Cosmetic Pochette ($75) is available at NARS Boutiques, NARS online, and select retailers. The outside box:

Cosmetic Pochette Packaging - jpeg

The pouch:

Gifting Cosmetic Pochette - jpeg copy

The NARS Fling Lip set ($49) has two pencils and two lipsticks will be available at NARS Boutiques, NARS online, and department stores/select retailers.

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Fling Packaging - jpeg

The Fling pouch:

Fling Lacquered Lip Case

The lip items include:

  • Dolce Vita Mini Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Dusty Rose
  • Baroque Mini Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil: Raspberry Sorbet
  • Roman Holiday Lipstick: Pretty Pastel with Delicate Hint of Pink
  • Damage Lipstick: Sheer Muted Grape

Fling Lipstick Pair - jpeg

NARS Guy Bourdin Collection Fling 2

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Oct 012013


NARS is sending out previews of its holiday collection built on the inspiration by fashion photographer and film maker Guy Bourdin.  Here, we are looking forward to new entirely new formula eyeshadows and lipsticks, both called Nars Cinematic.

Nars Cinematic eyeshadows

The new NARS Cinematic eyeshadows include these vibrant colors ($24 each) (click to enlarge image):

  • Wishful Thinking: macaw blue
  • Rage: Electric orchid
  • Bad Behaviour: Deep pewter
  • Cambodia: Pink copper
  • Mississippi Mermaid:  Champagne

Nars Cinematic Lipstics 1

Nars Cinematic Lipsticks 2

The new Cinematic lipsticks ($26 each) (click to enlarge image):

  • Future Red:  Cherry
  • Short Circuit: Fire coral
  • Last Tango:  Dusty rose
  • Goodbye Emmanuelle:  Hot pink
  • Full Frontal: Rose violet

Nars Holiday Blushes

The blushes in the collection are $29 each:

  • Exhibit A: Matte, vivid red (repromote)
  • Coeur Battant:  Magenta (woah!)
  • Day Dream: Peachy pink

Nars Guy Bourdin Nail

The nail colors are new shades ($19 each):

  • Tomorrow’s Red: Scarlet flame
  • Follow Me: Deep Fuchsia
  • No Limits:  Bright pink violet
  • Union Libre:  Blossom pink

These are launching at the NARS Boutique and NARS online on October 15th, and elsewhere after that. I’ll post more gift sets (which look fabulous) later today.

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