Mar 042015
 

MAC Bao Bao Wan09MAC has released another “blink or you’ll miss it” collection in collaboration with fine jewelry artist Bao Bao Wan.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 9.04.07 PMThis review will be brief, because unless you are ready to go search the stores tomorrow–and it is not entirely clear which stores will carry this collection–or luck out online then this post will be moot. Stock is limited, and demand appears to have drained Nordstrom’s online site already. As is MAC’s predilection, they have some stunning, saturated lipsticks and nail colors with this collection that I let get past me. Instead, I focused on the Bao Bao Wan Jewels Deluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow palette ($44) and the Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28). Oh, and it’s a very cold, dark and stormy night so I’ll do the best with the light I have. Tonight, there’s limited stock available at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and MAC online.

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The Bao Bao Wan Jewels Deluxe Pearlfusion eyeshadow palette. This is a complicated metallic palette. These are not smooth or finely milled compared to some of the lines carried on this blog, and I did experience fallout both during and after application. The colors are unusual and they make a beautiful, complicated, exotic looking lid. The warm golds and the cool grey metallic is an interesting mix. This is something to kick up your routine, and only for those who like warm metallics. I definitely needed a true matte in the crease with this to knock down the glimmer effect–I used the dark brown espresso color from this YSL palette–but there are lots of other choices. Of course, there are more finely-milled metallics out there, but the combination of these colors really does do some beautiful things in the light.  Swatches:

MAC Bao Bao Wan14 The top pink is a bit like a Bobbi Brown sparkle shade with a transparent base and pink glimmer. There are two golds–warm, and warmer–and the two bottom shades to anchor things down. I like using the cool gray as a liner color, it gets very vibrant against the golds.

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Things smooth out nicely when the shades are used wet. Still not as smooth as some eyeshadows, but the rougher texture melts together, the fallout stops, and the shades become much more smooth. I’m going to be using the palette applied with a wet brush from here on out.

MAC Bao Bao's Jewels

As I suspected, the Bao Bao Wan Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28) was the star item for me in this collection. MAC’s Beauty Powders really defy categorization–they are finishing powders, but with a little extra je ne sais qua that keep them from being typical. Their uses seem to vary by collection and skin tone.  Blush? Finishing powder? Highlighter? Really, there’s no answer. You have to try it and see what happens on your skin. Anyway, for my pale NC15/20 skin tone, Summer Opal is a soft beige-pink highlight with slight reflectivity. I suspect that there are some glitters in the mix, but I’m not seeing them translate to the skin. The whole thing applies really smoothly on my upper cheek, down the center of my nose, and around my eye area.

MAC Bao Bao Wan03 copyI suspect this will look pretty over a bronzer or blush as well. The highlight effect is soft and subtle–it’s not highly reflective. Swatch:

MAC Bao Bao Wan15Although not for everyone, I think those with warm skin tones (light through dark) may find something extraordinary and fun in this collection. It really seems like a ‘fast fashion’ type of collection, not for those looking for the everyday classic. There’s limited stock available at Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and MAC online. This is due to be released in some stores on March 5, 2015, but  please call ahead because there is conflicting information about the stores that will be getting it.

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Nars Soft Velvet Loose Powder Swatches

 NARS, Powder  Comments Off on Nars Soft Velvet Loose Powder Swatches
Mar 012015
 

Nars powders2The new NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powders ($36 for 0.35 ounces) are winning my heart. These very finely milled powders provide a perfect finish,  perfect my foundation for all-day wear, eliminate any “glow” that typically happens at the end of the day and add just a touch of natural color. These are available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Designed to be worn alone or over foundation, the line describes:

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder sets foundation, controls oil and smoothes the texture of your skin while giving it a soft-focus finish. Infused with hyaluronic acid bonded powder, the non-drying, innovative formula visibly blurs the appearance of fine lines and pores while wearing comfortably all day. Photochromic technology keeps your skin looking naturally polished in every source of light.

The powders come in eight shades, from a near-white Snow to the deeper Valley:

Snow: For fair skintones

Flesh: For fair skintones

Eden: For warm medium skintones

Desert: Light rose undertones to enhance medium skintones

Beach: For deep yellow medium skintones

Mountain: For deep reddish-brown skin tones

Heat: For the deepest true brown skin tones

Valley: For the deepest neutral skin

Nars soft velvet loose powders

These have a similar melt-into-your-skin effect of the Nars Light-Reflecting Setting Powder, but add a light color coverage. I’m MAC NC15/20, Chanel Cameo and match well to Eden. Flesh can work for me, but it’s a little rose-toned and emphasizes my winter paleness. Eden makes me look a little more alive and matches my neck more closely. For the NARS genius factor, I’ve been adding Mountain to contour. It looks incredibly natural and adds just the right touch of dimension.

Nars powders1Here are some heavy swatches (applied very heavily so that you can see the color well):

Nars Soft Velvet Powder4Of course, these swatches look powdery because they are heavy, heavy, heavy.  You’d never wear them this heavy, but these just blend too much into my skin tone to see if I apply them naturally (especially Flesh, Eden and Desert). Also, I’m using one of the sharpest lenses on the planet literally. Liz calls this my “scary lens.” Another:

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Here are more:

Nars Soft Velvet Powder2Last one:

Nars Soft Velvet Powder Swatches 1a

If you are trying to decide on a powder, I have to say that these are gorgeous and as lovely as some of the higher-priced French lines. I love that the shade range is so complete–some companies appear to ignore the very light and deep skin tones. Also, it’s a bit unusual (and welcome!) to see a line that acknowledges those crucial warm-cool skin tone differences. As far as brushes, I’ve been using a duo-fiber Chanel or MAC 187. I’ve also used the NARS Loose Powder Brush #10–this is also a good brush to just sweep all over the face to remove any excess powder.

These are available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. If you are trying to decide between these and the NARS Light Reflecting Loose, they are two different products.  The Light Reflecting Loose adds no color, but the Soft Velvet do.

Nars soft velvet1

These powders were sent 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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Feb 222015
 


Nars powders3 copy2This is a quick preview of the NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powders ($36 each).  I’ll be doing a full post with swatches soon, but could not keep these beautiful colors from you a moment longer. These are available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

According to the line:

NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder sets foundation, controls oil and smoothes the texture of your skin while giving it a soft-focus finish. Infused with hyaluronic acid bonded powder, the non-drying, innovative formula visibly blurs the appearance of fine lines and pores while wearing comfortably all day. Photochromic technology keeps your skin looking naturally polished in every source of light.

How to use: Use alone or to set foundation and concealer. If using a brush, dip into the powder then tap off the excess powder. Apply to the face using circular motions starting in the center of your face to absorb shine and working your way out until blended. If using a puff, dip it into the powder then tap off the excess powder. Apply by pressing and rolling the puff onto the skin.
0.35 oz.
Alcohol-free; oil-free; fragrance-free.
Dermatologist-tested.
Non-comedogenic.
By NARS.

 These powders were sent by Nars Cosmetics to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jan 092015
 

This is just a quick teaser post of some Nars items that arrived.  This box contains the new series of Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, several Soft Velvet Loose Powders, Eyeshadow palettes, eye pencils, a new lipgloss, a more.  Please keep in mind that this is just an “open the box” style post. These pictures are not color-accurate as I have not set up the correct lighting.  Still, so exciting!  I can feel my heart beat faster and faster….

Nars preview01

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Nars preview10

 

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Jan 252014
 

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation1

Guerlain has repackaged and reformulated its iconic permanent line of Meteorites. I tried the new Guerlain Meteorites in Clair #2 ($60) (available here from Nordstrom, here from Sephora).  If you are new to the product, Guerlain Meteorties are a vanity-display-worthy container of color correcting finishing powders. Guerlain explains this concept in a more elevated tone:

A subtle blend of matte, rosy and radiant blue-toned white pearls, combined with corrective coloured pearls – yellow to counter redness, pink for freshness and mauve to catch the light – they light up the face in an illuminating and corrective halo to give endless radiance.

I have loved all of the previous powders beyond reason. I have long thought that there are not true “dupes” of the colors. I actually liked the subtle violet scent (which this updated version retains). Perhaps some of their more beautiful meteorites are in their limited edition range, and so it was with some trepidation that I approached this new reformulation.

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The new packaging is beautiful, the design is updated, delicate and simplified. This lightweight metal product is pretty, although still not extending into the “travel friendly” category (Guerlain makes meteorites compacts for those purposes).

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation4

The container comes with a soft flocked padded sponge, which keeps the little meteorites in their place. The color-correcting, illuminating powders are inside:

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation5

The new reformulation is said to be “softer” in texture, meaning that it is easier to pick up on a brush. I found that these new reformulations are in fact much softer. Indeed, I found that a few meteorites had slight breakage, and there was a pool of loose powder on the bottom of the container that had collected (perhaps during the shipment process). Some of the perles had chipped at bit. The entire contents:

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation6

You can see some of the powder in the open jar as it sits on its side:

Guerlain Meteroites new1 copy2

Certainly this loose residue is still usable as a powder, although it seems to defeat the purpose of the meteorites concept.  I found that I could not use the same powder brush as I have with the prior version on the unbroken perles.  The application was too “white” and heavy. I’ve had to switch to a duo-fibre brush (Chanel’s version of the MAC 187).

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation7

I am thinking of trying the bronzier-toned Guerlain Meteorites in Dore, as a soft bronzer along the lines of the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow #30 powders. Then again, the Chanel Les Beiges is working out so beautifully, comes in a travel-friendly compact, and gives me a beautiful finish. So I’m reluctant to mess with success. After I swept the little meteorites back into their container, the below image shows the residue that was left. Some powder was knocked off during shipment and came from the container during the spill, and some from handling during the spilling and sweeping.  Although I tried to handle these gently, this should indicate my experience with how soft these new meteorites are.

Guerlain Meteroites new formulation8

I trust Guerlian’s powder products so much–they truly understand the concept of finely milled on an entirely different level. These are beautifully formulated, but it will take me some adjustment to learn how to apply this new reformulation properly so that it compliments my skin. I’ve heard different criticisms of the prior version, such as that the effect was too subtle, or that the price point was too high to be justified by the effect. But I had not heard that the prior version wasn’t soft enough. Guerlain thought differently, and they are certainly in a better position than I am to understand and respond to customer feedback.

By reader request, here is an image of the ingredient list. I’ve amped up the contrast because the original box has subtle printing which is hard for me to read/photograph for a blog.  Click to enlarge:

guerlain ingredient list meteorites1

My sense is that, if were not a beauty blogger trying to understand the newest and latest, I would have continued using my existing Meteorites. In the meantime, I am wondering whether the new version of the Guerlain limited edition lines will use this new format as well. If you’ve heard anything, please feel free to share in the comments.

Available here from Nordstromhere from Sephora.

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