Jul 102015
 

MAC Pro Longwear powderDuring a makeup emergency (long story!) I bought the new MAC Prolongwear Pressed Powder ($26) in Light Plus on a trip several weeks ago. I integrated it into my daily routine immediately, without photographing the product or keeping the box as I usually do.  In the meantime, I’ve been impressed with this light-coverage, velvet-matte powder. I thought it was worth discussing even if my pictures aren’t complete. This comes in eleven (11) shades from Light to Dark Deepest. MAC’s Prolongwear Pressed Powder is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Dillards and other MAC sources.

Continue reading »

Please follow us on....

Jun 112015
 

Chanel Les Beiges 5I was pleasantly surprised to see such a lovely collection at my local counter–the Chanel Les Beiges collection. Although I’ve refreshed my Chanel staples over the past few months, I have not been drawn to any of their recent collections. Happily, their Chanel Les Beiges is based on everything that the line does superbly–it is minimal with excellent textures that make one look and feel beautiful. Bravo!! This collection is currently at Chanel online, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Selfridges UK, and Bergdorf Goodman.

Continue reading »

Please follow us on....

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.

MAC Bao Bao Wan01a

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.

MAC Bao Bao Wan11

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.

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

Please follow us on....

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.

Nars powders3 copy2

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:

Nars soft velvet loose powder 3b
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)

Please follow us on....

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)

Please follow us on....

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

Nars preview06

Nars preview10

 

Please follow us on....

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.

Guerlain Meteroites new formulationa1

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.

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

Please follow us on....

Dec 042013
 

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites3

This year, the Guerlain Holiday Collection includes the Crazy Meteorites Pressed Radiance Compact ($69) (limited edition), a finely milled pressed finishing powder with a pattern evocative of the Guerlain Meteorites Voyage Compact/Mythic ($170) (originally reviewed here). Unlike the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites Pearls (reviewed here), the effect of the Crazy Meteorties pressed is subtle, less shimmery, and slightly more neutral in color.

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites1

Let’s talk first about the differences between the Voyage and the Crazy compacts. The amount of powder in the Crazy pressed is slightly more (.35 oz. compared to .28 oz. in Voyage). As you can see, the Guerlain Voyage has a more complex and more pastel powder pattern. By comparison, the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites has a simpler, brighter color pattern. Those who love their clutches take note–the Guerlain Voyage has a heavy, luxurious, slimmer compact (roughly 5 5/8 ozs. including the powder and compact together), compared to the lighter, plastic/composite compact of the less expensive Guerlain Crazy Meteorites pressed (roughly 3 1/4 ounce all together).

Guerlain compact comparison1

The powder color with the Guerlain Crazy pressed is slightly more vibrant healthy pink color. The Guerlain Voyage is slightly, subtly more illuminating. This is a difference which could give you a slight color glow with the Crazy, but most of you will not notice a a strong color when applying lightly with a soft powder brush. I did my best to do a color comparison, but am not super hopeful that you will actually see much here unless you click to enlarge and unless you have a very, very good computer screen. These comparison swatches are the Guerlain Crazy (pressed), the Guerlain Voyage, and the Guerlain Illuminating and Mattifying pressed powder (which matches my skin tone and therefore looks virtually invisible). Click to enlarge:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites8

One more, same order and different light:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites9

Like the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta, the Guerlain Crazy Meteorites compact looks like a dark brown-black in typical lighting. However, the compact has a neon pink effect in the “68” pattern (the Paris address of the main Guerlain boutique and spa at 68, Avenue de Champs-Élysées) in bright light:

Guerlain Crazy Meteorites5

 Overall, the Guerlain Crazy pressed is an excellent and finely milled glowing finishing powder, at a lower price point compared with the ultra-luxurious Guerlain Voyage. Texture-wise, both are excellent. Guerlain knows its powders (as well as its fragrances, lip products, and nail polishes, oh my!). The packaging and powder construction is different(and therefore, so is the price point). The Crazy provides a slight pink glow (that is hard to detect with typical application), while the Voyage is slightly more brightening and ethereal.

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

Please follow us on....

Nov 232013
 

Guerlain Crazy Pearls1

This holiday brings many special products, and this year I made Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder ($58/ 1.05 oz./30 grams)(also available at Nordstrom) a must-have on my list. I’ve been a fan of these beautiful powders for years, and so I cannot pass them by when they are released.

The packaging is embossed with the words “Champs-Élysées” to evoke this year’s Holiday 2013 Guerlain Crazy Paris theme, as well as the location of the primary House of Guerlain in Paris. As an aside, the House has just been re-opened in a completely renovated and renewed format (details are at the Guerlain video from their November 2013 Google+ hangout).

guerlain-store

Guerlain’s re-designed flagship store at 68, Avenue des Champs-Élysées

My package seemed packed with meteorites this time, with a generous helping of pink, lavender, shimmering peach-gold, beige and lavender colors.  With these colors, I was expected a strong wash of color akin to a blush, however I found that this was not the case. Instead, I got a soft wash of pore-less texture with a slight, soft glow of the powder. The effect is more “my skin but better” rather than a wash of color.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls3

I must admit that I use these with a very soft brush, usually the Bobbi Brown Face Blenderwhich has very pliable bristles and is a good shape to fit into the Meteorites packaging. Another one that works well is the Shu Uemura 18R.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls4

Even when I tried to build up the color of the  Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder using a very dense buffing brush, I was unable to build up color to a point of detection. If you are concerned that using this will give you a pink-toned face, I’ve concluded that it cannot at least for me. Of course, if you are hoping to wear this as a blush, I cannot give you any encouragement on that use either.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls2 copy

As always, these are scented with a slight violet Meteorites scent. Liz is wearing these over her makeup as an all-over soft veil in this picture, and I think it gives her a lovely, soft glow:

T3 Roller close ups liz3

She’s also wearing the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta Bronzer, and Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait in Paresse, and has used the T3 Bodywaver on her hair.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls6

Overall, I’m enjoying the Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder. Although these are more classic than unusual, I love using these powders to add a touch of Paris and glow to my makeup routine. Guerlain Crazy Pearls Meteorites Illuminating Powder is a lovely addition, and of course highly gift-able to first time users (especially for a Francophile in your life). Those who love the standard Guerlain Meteorites should take note that it appears that the company has a reformulation in the works, as detailed here at Rouge Deluxe.

Guerlain Crazy Pearls are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, and other Guerlain sources this holiday.

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

Please follow us on....

Jul 102013
 

Chanel Les Beiges01

Bonjour from Paris!  I stopped by Chanel at 31 Rue Cambon, the main store for the line, and discovered that the Chanel Les Beige Poudre Belle Mine Naturelle (Healthy Glow Sheer Powder) were on display. Because I find that the sales professionals in this store are superbly well-informed, I thought it best to purchase mine here so that I could best understand this new pressed powder product.

Edit: Chanel’s Les Beiges powders are now available in the U.S. ($57.50).

Here is the display at the store, showing the five new shades (and the brush that is included in each compact). I initially gravitated to No. 20, the lightest shade in the upper left corner.  My Chanel color is typically Ivoire/Cameo, on the light/warm end of the spectrum.  However, the Chanel professional firmly insisted that No. 30 was my “belle mine” shade.  We had a bit of a verbal tussle about it, actually.

Chanel Les Beiges03

Through our discussion, I discovered that the key to this product is the phrase “belle mine” (a variation of the term “bonne mine”) in the French name. Typically, this phrase is used to denote a natural, softly tanned color that is lighter than a bronzer and is worn all over the face.  This is the color that one hoped to obtain for a light, gentle tan (in the days when tanning was popular).  Released in the Spring/Summer season here in France, these powders are intended to be used as an all-over face color to give one a softly tanned glow.

Chanel Les Beiges04

Once the Chanel professional explained the purpose, I felt that this Beiges powder served a purpose that my finishing powders do not–that is, to give me the “bonne/belle mine” glow. Above is the slim, softly curved brushed that can be stored in the powder compact.

Chanel Les Beiges16

Here is my Chanel Beiges No. 30 powder. In the pan, it has a matte finish with almost invisible microsparkle that are so sparse that I was unable to find any once the powder is applied to my face.

Chanel Les Beiges18

Ingredient list:

Chanel Les Beiges02

Although I’m still playing with my Chanel Beiges Powder Compact, I wore it all day in 80-degree heat over my Guerlain BB Creme.  The Chanel powder gave me a pretty, even color that allowed my sun-block protected face to better match my arms and hands (which have picked up a touch of summer color).  Overall, I was glad that the Chanel associate insisted on No. 30 for me–this semi-sheer powder gave me a visible, pretty, summery glow. Of course, the Chanel Beiges is also an excellent, finely milled finishing powder, which helped the Guerlain BB Creme’s stability and texture on this very warm day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here are some swatches to show the Chanel Beiges powder in No. 30 (applied heavily), compared with Guerlain 4 Seasons in No. 2 Naturel Blondes (applied lightly) and Givenchy’s #4 Extreme Croisiere (a gingery tan).

Chanel Les Beiges08

One last image of the back of the Chanel compact, above. I understand that the Chanel Beiges collection will be released in the U.S. in August. (Update–this range is now available in the U.S.).

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

Please follow us on....