Jul 302015
 

erborian 1I began noticing Erborian Paris-Seoul Korean Skin Care Therapy both at Sephora,  and numerous Parisian beauty stores a few years ago . According to Erborian, According to the line, its laboratory in Seoul formulates gentle, effective skincare that are based on Asian beauty rituals.

Erborian continuously innovates by offering surprising, unprecedented, ground-breaking products, vehicles for “intelligent beauty”. Our exclusive formulas, developed by our laboratory based in Seoul, use the most advanced technologies, at the cutting edge of the cosmetic industry. These intriguing formulas rapidly deliver active ingredients, for ultimate benefits. Erborian combines the most sophisticated technologies with high-quality ingredients derived from Korean herbs, to create innovative and exclusive formulas that reveal luminosity, radiance and younger-looking skin. Inspired by ancient Korean traditions, Korean herbs have a dual advantage: they are incredibly effective as they are exceedingly pure, but they are also very gentle and very well tolerated.

I stopped by the Erborian Parisian Boutique on the Avenue de L’Opera just near the Opera Garnier. This line is based on three fundamental premises:  Detox, Boost and Finish…Because Erborian’s offerings at many local US stores are rather small in size, I took numerous photographs in the boutique so that you can get a better sense of their full range of products.

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Apr 082014
 

Clarins Opal Primers01

Clarins has recently introduced two shades of the Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in 01 Rose and 02 Champagne ($37 each). Who doesn’t like champagne and roses? Given my ever-present interest in the perfect completion, I thought that I would take these out for a spin. (note: These are available at Macy’s and Nordstrom)

Clarins Opal Primers07

According to Clarins, these Complexion Bases are each “a moisturizing base that illuminates and corrects your skin tone, while hydrating and soothing with moisture-rich Katafray Bark extract.” The company explains: “Two shades cast a veil of corrective light on the skin: Rose brightens all complexions, Champagne corrects redness. In just seconds, the complexion becomes luminous and radiant.” I used these as moisturizing primers with a touch of sheer color correction.

Clarins Opal Primers12

My thoughts on the “PRO’s” of these products:

  • Although not advertised as such, both helped provide a smooth base for foundation and really extended the wear time for foundation.
  • On my light, warm skin tone (MAC NC15/Chanel Ivoire), I preferred 01 Rose on a completely subjective basis. The rose color seemed to add the slightest hint of luminosity (it was not as dramatic as Burberry Fresh Glow). More significantly, Rose neutralized the warm tones in my skin.
  • Clarins’ claim that these are moisturizing held true for me. My skin looked refreshed and healthy after removal. Neither of these had any drying effect.
  • Even more delightfully, neither seemed to make my skin any oilier or “glowier.” Perhaps the hydration was not overdone, but my skin looked very good without making my forehead or t-zone area break through with shine.

Now for the “CON”:

  • Unfortunately, there is some ingredient in these that disagreed with my skin.  This may not happen to you, but after using these continuously for 2-3 days, I noticed that some of my pores were clogging. Now that I’ve discontinued use, this effect has stopped. Although I can’t be certain that it was this product, I’m a bit wary and thought it best to pass this along, so that you can sample before you buy.

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Clarins Opal Primers05

Here are a few heavy swatches of the shades (you’ll want to use these more sheerly):

Clarins Opal Primers14

Another:

Clarins primer opal

Overall, if my skin had agreed with these, I would have loved them (especially the Rose!). These gave me an excellent base for long-term foundation wear, nice skin-care benefits, and lovely texture. Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base are available at Macy’s and Nordstrom.

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Feb 282014
 

Bite lip products01 copy

This is a quick little post to highlight some lip products that I’ve been enjoying from Bite Beauty. A relative newcomer in the beauty world, they’ve been generating some good buzz.  Still, I wasn’t sure whether I’d love them too. I’ve been intrigued by their display at Sephora, and thought that my winter-battered lips could benefit from their TLC.

Bite lip products02 copy

Few lipsticks last for hours on me, and some more emollient formulas certainly benefit from having a good base to help their staying power. The Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer ($22.00) was a good problem solver. The product comes housed in a matte dark gray tube.

Bite lip products03

The product is clear and does not cause the lipstick to color shift. The tip is pointed, so that you can get a good sharp line (there’s a sharpener in the back to keep the point fresh). There is a slight mint scent, which fades after a few minutes.

Bite lip products04 copy

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

DSC_0006

Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer does deliver. It probably doubled my wear time, and had a slightly moisturizing formula that is kind to lips. It has a slightly tacky, matte feel that allows lipstick to grip and hold on longer. I liked the easy packaging, and the easy twist-up formula that allows the product to be used quickly and easily during quick day-to-night changes.

Bite lip products05 copy

I thought that the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26) was extraordinary. This rich conditioner was both pleasant and transformative in its effect. It’s a youth-giver for dehydrated lips, delivering a clear satin-glow that makes lips looks beautifully healthy.

Bite lip products11 copy

This comes in a sealed tube, similar to a small toothpaste tube. The product is clear, and can be used under lipstick (some matte formulas really need something). This has a very slightly sweet taste that lasts for a bit, but it’s subtle and sort of pleasant. For what it’s worth, I find this tube formula is more friendly to bringing along in a makeup bag (compared to pots, which seem to have lids that can loosen and cause all kinds of shenanigans inside a bag). Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

DSC_0048

Overall, I found both Bite Beauty products impressive. The Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask gave me the most impressive results, although the Bite Beauty Line & Define Lip Primer is a good practical product that fills a good niche–that is, for a clear, pleasant, primer that can form a good base for lipsticks.

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Feb 172014
 

Sunday Riley Primer box1

I’ve really enjoyed using the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer ($48/1.0 fluid ounce) on those days when I want an absolutely flawless complexion that lasts until removed. Over the past several months, it is not unusual for me to be in several series of meetings and dinners that run up to 18-20 hour days. I simply don’t want to look ragged or tired as the day wears on, despite how I might feel. When it really matters, I’ve depended on Sunday Riley’s Effortless Breathable Primer to make sure that my skin looks incredible for the entire time.

Sunday Riley Effortless Primer1

Sunday Riley’s primer is available in three shades: Light, Medium and Deep (I’ve been using Light). As you might guess, this sheers out to near-invisibility. Yet there is an ever-so-light flaw-reducing property that acts like a very subtle veil. It’s a beautiful effect, and with a bit of powder I think I could almost wear this alone. So color choice does matter, although nearly not as much as a foundation.  The effect lasts all day, working hard to prevent those little “something somethings” from peeking through.

Sunday Riley Effortless Primer2

This is an ideal workhorse product. The texture is very light and fine. A very slight (orange-ish?) scent fades quickly. The texture is elegant, and it feels literally like nothing. As the name suggests, you won’t know you have it on. It’s less noticeable than serums, sunscreens, and anything else that you might wear under foundation. It’s certainly lighter than any foundation.  The product leaves a very slight, skin-like sheen that dries down to a near-matte. It seems to have some oil-absorbing properties, because when I wear it, my foundations do not get glowy until after 15 hours or so of wear (your results will vary with your skin type).  In other words, this product is a cosmetically elegant, “Confident-on-the-Red-Carpet” primer. I love it.

Sunday Riley Effortless Primer3

This liquid primer comes in a packable plastic bottle with a pump top. Primer swatch of the Light, to show how it sheers out:

Sunday Riley Primer big swatch1

Here’s a comparison to the color/texture differences with some other primers. First, the yellow color-correcting Make Up For Ever HD Primer in #6 (yellow), Guerlain’s Meteorites Perles, Burberry’s Fresh Glow, and Nars Radiance Enhancing.  Except for Make Up For Ever’s, these all sheer down to near-nothing color. Nonetheless, comparisons are always useful so I thought I’d include these.

Sunday Riley Swatches2

A little more about the product (click to enlarge):

Sunday Riley Primer box2

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Sunday Riley Primer box3

Overall, the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Primer is an A+ primer. It has a noticeable texture-refining effect that reduces pores. It gives foundations that would otherwise fade and shift very noticeable long-wear properties. It helps hide flaws, and textual issues. It’s gorgeous, has a refined texture, and gives me the confidence to face the most scrutinizing eye. One of the best primers on the market.

Available at Nordstrom.com and Barneys.com.

This primer was 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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Jan 182014
 

NARS Pore Perfecter1

NARS is adding to its Pro-Prime line, which has already brought us some lovely facial primers and a highly effective eye primer. New to the line is NARS Pro-Prime Instant Line & Pore Perfector ($28/0.05 oz.). Do you have large pores on your cheeks that prevent you from wearing shimmery blushes?  Well, now you don’t. This small tube acts as a “magic wand” to provide a smooth, pore-less finish. With a bit of time, this product also minimizes very fine lines.

NARS Pore Perfecter2

According to NARS, this new “targeted primer features an advanced, lightweight formula that smoothes and preps skin in a single stroke, creating the ideal canvas for makeup application.

Line and pore-filling microspheres with hyaluronic acid instantly smooth and provide a gentle plumping effect to fine lines

Spherical Line Smoothing Powder visibly reduces the appearance of wrinkles to create a seamless look. The spherical shape and innovative optical technology reflect light evenly to brighten the dark areas within wrinkles

The angular stick format provides artistic precision and convenience for touch-ups, while the non-greasy formula absorbs oil and mattes out shine without drying the skin.

Vitamins A, C and E help provide antioxidant protection. Dermatologist & ophthalmologist tested.”

Notice, although the effect of this primer is temporary, there are some anti-oxidants also provides some skin-care benefits. This product has a highly effective, magic wand quality against pores. Now you see them, now you don’t. The pore-elminating effect is immediateMy one request is to increase the size of the tube, because after I saw how wonderful this made my skin look I sort of wanted to use it over my entire body. I sort of wanted to take a bath in it, actually. However, to help manage your expectations, the tube is small–about the same size as a NARS Pure Matte Lipstick.

NARS Pore Perfecter3

Here is a comparison of two images on which I used the product on my arm. Both images are the same, but with one I’ve outlined the area where the primer is applied (no photoshopping):

Before and after nars pore perfector

Another with the same format. These are the same unretouched image, but one has the area marked where the NARS Pore Perfector has been used:

NARS Pore Perfector before and after 3 NARS also intends this product to be a line-filler. As you can see from these images, the tiny lines on my hand are arm are, in fact, softened and in some cases erased. As you might expect, this does not eliminate deep creases and expression lines, for which you would typically go to a dermatologist for an injectable or surgery. Also, the results for fine lines take a bit more time to appear–I would give it a full minute, or even five minutes, for the product to warm and work. I tried to do a little experiment on the bottom part of some fingers to show you. I’m not sure how successful this experiment is, but I thought it best to post it.

nars before and after

 Overall, I applaud NARS for the pore-reducing and line-softening properties of this effective primer. NARS Pore Perfector is another well-formulated, workhorse product from this innovative line.

NARS Cosmetics sent this product 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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Jun 262013
 

Nars Primer1

Nars Radiance Enhancing Light Optimizing Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($34/ 1.o oz.) is a workhorse, oil-free primer which is designed to enhance the skin’s luminosity. Nars Light Optimizing Primer is available at Nars Comsetics online, Nordstrom, Sephora, and other places where Nars is sold.

Nars Primer2a

If you are familiar with Nars legendary eye primer, you know that Nars knows how to deliver a highly stable, tenacious primer that don’t distort the texture or color of your makeup. Nars Light Optimizing is within this same tradition. Although this formula for allover application for the face is quite different than the one designed for the eye, I found that this fuss-free, easy to use primer held onto my makeup beautifully throughout the day.

This will work well for someone who is looking to stabilize their makeup, but not seeking to invest is some of the options that promise significant skin care results (which can run significantly higher in price, and aren’t necessary for everyone). Additionally, this primer is ideal for skin that is prone to clogging, as it contains no oil, alcohol, and synthetic fragrance (there is a soft fruity scent on application, which fades in less than a minute on my skin). The primer is certainly non-comedogenic–I didn’t suffer a single clogged pore after days of testing.  There is a touch of sunscreen included (it’s rated at SPF 15):

Nars Primer4

The primer blends quickly into a stable, clear base very quickly.

Nars Primer5

If you look at the primer in certain light, you can see it has tiny light-reflective particles in the mix. This is virtually imperceptible once covered with a tinted moisturizer or foundation. It does, however, have a very slight luminizing effect that is very very subtle.

Nars reports:

95% agree that this product prepare the skin for effortless makeup application

90% agree that this product prolonged foundation wear

87% agree that their foundation look more luminous when applying this primer beforehand

93% agree that they feel that their makeup looked fresh and vibrant for hours when using this product

Overall, what I liked best about Nars Light Reflecting Primer was the fact that it quietly did its work–my foundation, blush and powder remained quite stable during long workdays.  As I took my makeup off at 10:00 pm, I was pleased to see it all intact. This was accomplished with adding any pore-clogging ingredients or unnecessary features. Which is, in my view, exactly what a good working primer should do.

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Jun 172013
 
Omorovicza Complexion Corrector1

omovoricza complexion corrector01

Omovoricza Complexion Corrector ($155/ 1 oz.) (also available from Omovorica’s website) is a premium multi-tasking product made for day.  I’ve been testing this product for a few weeks getting my mind wrapped around all of the thing that it can do.  Which is considerable, because it is one of the products that you don’t realize that you wanted, because you didn’t think it could exist. And yet, here it is.

omovoricza complexion corrector02a

One of the unique properties of Omovoricza’s Complexion Corrector is that it hydrates and gives a matte /satin finish at the same time.  You begin to realize the full import of that after you reach your late 20’s, and realize that all skin– even oily skin — needs hydration to look its best. Omovoricza’s Complexion Corrector can be used as alone, or as a primer, to hydrate and plump up my skin cells, so I get the “I spent all day in a spa” effect even after its removed for the day.  However, unlike many hydrating primers (or worthwhile moisturizers), Omovoricza’s hydration does not get greasy or heavy.  It remains as steady as a porcelain surface on the skin, very lightly so you do not notice it is there.  Except for the fact that your skin looks glowing, hydrated, and healthy.

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May 152012
 

Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum ($65) is a best-in-class primer for dry skin. According to Hourglass, the “28” in the name refers to the key ingredients in the primer, which includes 14 essential oils, 10 lipid-rich plant oils, and 4 vitamins. I’m no stranger to using rich and essential oils on my skin, having used Rodin’s legendary Olio Lusso for the past year whenever my skin feels dry and in need of nourishment. I’ve finally learned that even my combo-oily skin can benefit from the caring properties that well-chosen oils can bring.

Unlike Olio Lusso, Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum is a true primer intended to act as a hydrating base for foundation. In my opinion, the ideal user for this product has dry (or combo-to-dry) skin, and is concerned about anti-aging because the treatment properties are an important part of this treatment. The scent is light and pleasant, to my mind it seems like a slight floral with a touch of sandalwood. I find the scent far more pleasant and unobtrusive compared to Olio Lusso. I didn’t notice the scent after about 1/2 hour after application (and that’s being generous).

The product applies as a sheer liquid. With this product, you do not need very much to get a velvety base–I used at most three little droplets. It absorbs quickly. My liquid foundation applies like a dream over it, giving me a very smoothly textured base. I used Nars Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30++, as well as Burberry’s liquid and Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere.  These foundations lasted all day. I was surprised to find that my skin did not feel “oily” in any way–rather, the finish was more velvety. Truly a “best in class” primer.

Using so little, I can see that this bottle is going to last a very long time. Note that, according to Hourglass, the Nº 28 Primer Serum can be used as a night treatment and even to put on the ends of your hair as a conditioning treatment.

Some of you may be wondering how this compares to another of my favorite primer, Burberry Fresh Glow Luminious Fluid Base.  These really do serve two different purposes.  The Burberry is intended to add a glowy highlighter to the skin, but not to add any skincare properties. On the other hand, the Hourglass is completely sheer (no added glowy bits), but is intended to treat and moisturize. I really love both for different reasons, and I think you can see that those with dryer skin types (or those who live in dryer climates) are really going to love the moisturizing benefits of Hourglass Nº 28. And (because I know your wondering)–no breakouts from the Hourglass primer. Trust me, it’s always a concern.

Bottom line: Loved this best in class primer.

Ingredient list (from Sephora.com): Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Dimethiconol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Ceramide 3, Sphingolipids, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) Oil, Rose Hips Seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Sweet Almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) Oil, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Oil, Olive (Olea Europaea) Oil, Hazelnut (Corylus Americana) Oil, Borage (Borago Officinalis) Seed Oil, Kukui (Aleurites Moluccana) Nut Oil, Cherry (Prunus Avium) Pit Oil, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Linoleate, Panthenyl Triacetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Octyldodecanol, Dioctyl Succinate, Peg-8, Tridecyl Stearate, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Lithospermum Officinale Root Extract, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Citric Acid, Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) Oil, Geranium (Geranium Maculatum) Oil, Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Roseum) Oil, Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) Oil, Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllus) Oil, Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) Peel Oil, Petitgrain (Citrus Reticulata) Oil, Amyris (Amyris Balsamifera) Oil, Benzoin Siam Absolute, Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonum) Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Leaf Oil, Bois De Rose (Aniba Rosaeodora) Oil, Cedar (Thuja Occidentalis) Leaf Oil, Ylang Ylang (Cananga Odorata) Oil.

Hourglass Nº 28 Primer Serum was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jul 302011
 

About a week ago, I went to the Burberry Beauty counter at Nordstrom San Francisco Centre for an event, and had one of the best makeovers of my life.  I wanted to record the products used and update you on my experiences with the Burberry Sheer Luminous Foundation (swatches of all shades here).

For the makeover (products used)

Base:

  • Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base as a primer (reviewed here)
  • Burberry Sheer Luminous Fluid Foundation No. 6
Face:
  • Burberry Light Glow Blush in Earthy (review forthcoming) as a contour
  • Burberry Light Glow in Tangerine (review forthcoming) on upper cheekbones as a blush
  • Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base around eyes, nose bridge and chin as a highlighter
  • Burberry Fresh Luminous Powder (forehead only)
Eyes:
  • Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Rosewood (reviewed here) as an lid wash and lightly under the lower lashline
  • Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Midnight Black (not pictured) as a liner
  • Burberry Sheer Midnight Brown (reviewed here) in the crease and outer corner
  • Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Pearl White (review forthcoming) heavily in the inner corner and lightly on the browbone
Lips:
  • Burberry Lip Cover in Nude Rose (review forthcoming)(reviewed here at The Beauty Look Book)

For the foundation update, I’ve been using Burberry’s Sheer Luminous Foundation for about a year.  I’ve finished one entirely (No. 5, my original color), and just repurchased a bottle in No. 6.

Burberry foundation is my go-to whenever I want a typical foundation that doesn’t affect my skin, looks polished and can be applied very quickly.  The U.S. labeling does not reflect this (the U.S. FDA is slow to recognize certain ingredients as sunscreens), but there are some physical sunscreen ingredients in it (I supplement with a sunscreen) (ingredient list is here).  It never clogs, it never irritates, and in many ways I prefer it to the former Chanel Tient Innocence.

When I was getting my makeover, the artist told me something that almost made me drop my nonfat decaf latte.  He said that it could be used as a heavy cover foundation.  Given that the name of the foundation includes the word “Sheer,” I had to know more.

As a former Armani specialist, he explained the Armani technique for applying foundation.  Having had an excellent foundation makeover at an Armani counter in Harvey Nichols/London years before, we were already speaking the same language.  Essentially, to start one brushes the foundation on very sheerly.  Second, one takes the brush and builds coverage only where needed.  Third, you do a quick finger-swipe to remove brush marks. He was right, of course.  This is a highly buildable foundation.  It didn’t look cakey at all–it looked just like…skin. He explained that he had been persuaded to work for Burberry Beauty based solely on his experience with their foundation.  It’s that good.

I hope that you find this little sketchbook helpful.  I’ll post reviews of the products that I haven’t reviewed yet as soon as I can.

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Jul 202011
 

Burberry Beauty has just released Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base ($48/ 1 oz.), a product that has a sheer pearl effect that adds luminosity, smoothes the skin’s surface and feels weightless.

Fresh Glow is packaged in the same heavy, luxurious container as Burberry’s Sheer Foundation (reviewed here). However, rather than opaque color, Fresh Glow has a slight pink tint that goes onto the skin almost clear, leaving a very subtle and natural glow.

Swatches, applied sheered out on the left, and heavier on the right:

You do not see many primer reviews on Cafe Makeup.  This is because I’m not a huge primer fan.  On a typical day, I wear a serum, a day moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation.  Enough.  When I went to Nordstrom for a makeover, I was determined not to buy it.

However, I found that, like many Burberry Beauty items, Fresh Glow is a “best in class” product.  It is remarkably light–I do not feel like I am wearing anything.  I’m told that is made with a rose derivative that infuses your skin with Vitamin C, which as you know is an antioxidant that helps repair damage caused by free radicals.  So not only does Fresh Glow make my skin look immediately fresher, it has the added benefit of Vitamin C to improve my skin throughout the day.

Once again, Burberry’s uncompromising standard proved me wrong.  This is the primer to end all primers–that is, the one for people who hate primers.  My skin looks much better with Fresh Glow.  I get compliments.  Liz got compliments.  Great looking skin makes an enormous difference.

Here are some application tips:

  • Fresh Glow can be applied lightly as a primer under foundation.  A single pump gives me enough for my entire face.  I let it settle for a minute before applying your foundation.  Because I did not want to destroy the glow that the product gave my skin, I used powder on my forehead only (which tends to get dewy mid-day).
  • Fresh Glow can be worn alone.  It gives a subtle sheen to the skin.  Keep in mind, this product is quite sheer, so you will not get any coverage if you wear it this way.
  • You can also wear Fresh Glow as a fluid highlighter over foundation.  During my makeover, we used Fresh Glow first under my foundation, then added a touch on the upper cheek, bridge of nose and chin.  It gave a subtle touch of light to these areas.  The effect is not as strong as many liquid highlighters (such as Rouge Bunny Rouge’s Sea of Tranquility (reviewed here).  In keeping with Burberry Beauty’s aesthetic, the effect is more natural, like skin– discernible, youthful, and glowing.
Here is the ingredient list.  I don’t see any products ending in the suffix “-cone,” but I’m not a chemist and so I cannot swear that this is silicon-free.  It certainly doesn’t feel silicon-ish (click to enlarge).
Bottom line:  Absolutely fabulous. (available at Nordstrom).
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