May 072016

Sephora Gel Concealer 2

Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer ($14) was an unexpected miss for me. I’m usually a careful buyer, although I’ve had occasional problems when buying sight unseen. This was one, unfortunately.

As background, this concealer is a liquid gel, with a doe foot applicator that is said to have brightening properties and that is perfect for the sensitive undereye area (it is infused with pineapple ceramide, promoted to improve skin texture and promote brightness). I ordered in the shade Buttercream #4 (light with a neutral undertone). I found this shade far too light for my NC15/ Chanel Ivoire skin tone. In fact, I’ll say this is unwearably light for my fair, warm skintone. Obviously, I should have purchased this in person.  Just keep in mind, if you are thinking of ordering online, maybe don’t do that. 

The texture of the concealer is, indeed, quite lightweight and pigmented. Unfortunately, I had problems with the longevity. It seems to migrate and move on my undereye area. Perhaps your experience will be different, and this is just my opinion and experience, but I found  it difficult to get more than a few hours wear before I needed to touch up.

Sephora Concealer 1

I wish I had better news on this.  As with all reviews, your mileage may vary. Color issue aside, the coverage was quite good. The concealer didn’t seem to have any moisturizing properties, if anything it seem ever-so-slightly drying. I didn’t find that this gave me the all day wear that I was hoping to get. I far prefer the Guerlain Precious Light, Burberry Sheer Luminous #2, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (Custard), and Marc Jacobs Beauty Remedy Concealer Pen (Wake Up Call #2), among others.

Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer is available at Sephora (affilate link).

Ingredient list:

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Triethylhexanoin , Dimethicone, Isododecane, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Silica, Disteardimonium Hectorite, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Ethylene Brassylate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone , Propylene Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Galactoarabinan, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Tocopherol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. May Contain: CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491/CI 77492/CI 77499 (Iron Oxides).

Affiliate links


Please follow us on....

Apr 062016

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Collection

I haven’t gotten deeply into Tarte’s line, aside from panning a Park Avenue Princess a few years ago (no regrets!). A few weeks ago, distracted amidst an in extremis deadline, I found myself drawn to the release of the Tarte Chicken Rainforest of the Sea Collection for no particular reason. A few of the products were surprisingly good, and others worth writing about in case you are thinking about them. I believe that these products are only available on Sephora and Tarte online at present.

Tarte Twinkle Palette 1

Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Skin Twinkle Highlighter palette was the winner. Although I’m biased and falling in love with all highlighter’s lately, let em tell you about this one. There are two giant pans of a gel-powder (the left is warm, the right is slightly rose). Applied with a fan brush, these are absolutely gorgeous reflective beauties without the dreaded glitter. They’re remarkably smooth, easy to work with and given their giant size, I’m hoping I never run out. These two Tarte pretties are a touch more subtle than Becca Champagne Pop and the other extreme shiners we’ve seen over the past year. Yet it’s not at all shy–the reflectivity is really there, and I’m loving it. 

Tarte Skin Twinkle 5

The middle shade is a matte yellow powder that must be ignored. Inexplicably, it’s a hard pan of nothing that’s sitting between two elegant  powders that will give you the upper cheekbones of an angel. This is packaged in a very slim, packable metal with a full-size mirror in the lid (no brush).

Tarte Skin Twinkle 2 swatches

I bought the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench & Drench Lip Set ($9). This is a set with two mini lipsticks–the lightweight mint-flavored Quench formula in Nude ($19 for full size), and the creamy Drench in Cabana Boy ($22 for full size, available separately).

I became addicted to the Nude Quench shade–it’s super moisturizing and mint-tingly.  Unfortunately, it’s packaged in cardboard and the formula is so soft it broke easily.  It is lovely, super wearable and gives a pretty nude glow. But it might be better in a pot.  The Drench Cabana Boy is a nice near-opaque shade in a somewhat moisturizing formula.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow 2

Tarte RFOTS Eyeshadow 1

I had high hopes for the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow Palette ($34). Who doesn’t love a neutral palette with the look of a shimmery metal, and a few good mattes? The palette is certainly nice, and provides countless options, for its price range. But I don’t believe that that higher-end palettes have much to worry about. That said, I found the shadows consistent–all were good, none were duds. But none were complete standouts, except maybe the taupe called “Wave.” All had excellent blendability.

tarte rainforest of the sea

TARTE RFOTS Eyeshadow 9

To some degree, I’m glad that Tarte packaged this collection in metal, not cardboard. This is especially true for Skin Twinkle, as gel formulas are fragile. But for this eyeshadow palette, the metal adds a lot of weight. It gives the product a nice heavy, substantial feeling. But the weight takes away from the travel-friendly quality that other palettes have

I should note that I’ve sampled the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation in Fair-Light ($39/1 ounce). After wearing it for a few days, I’ve placed the full-sized version in my cart. It’s really nice, especially for dry or combination skin. It’s designed to add hydration, and it does leave my skin feeling and looking better after removal. It gave me 10-hour wear easily, without shifting or fading. It looks lovely, with a luminous satin finish all day long.  It’s as good as any high-end foundation out there under $60. Definitely worth sampling if you are near a Sephora

Overall, the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea had items that–although I bought in haste–do not regret.  I’m addicted to the Skin Twinkle highlighter palette (recommended!). The eyeshadow palette is nice, but in a field crowded with beautiful neutral palettes I’m not sure it’s unusual enough to put super high on your list. I love the Quench formula for its moisturizing and minty tingle, but the fact that it easily broke put me off buying any more.

Affiliate links

Please follow us on....

Aug 132015

belif bergamont herbal extract tonerBelif is a skincare brand sold in the U.S. through Sephora. Based on natural ingredients, the brand bases its formulas on ancient traditions combined with modern knowledge. A few months ago, I began to wonder whether my toner was too harsh. Still, I wanted something strong enough to wisp away any last remaining mascara and makeup after using my oil cleanser and Clarisonic. Here is a bit about the company’s philosophy (click to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.20.56 PM

Continue reading »

Please follow us on....

Aug 122015

Having been through many limited edition battles in the past, I want to underscore that I have never seen anything like Monday’s Sephora Epic Rewards event. I’m sure many of you saw the press, and others of you actually experienced trying to add “available” rewards that wouldn’t go into your cart, rewards taken out of your cart before hitting the “order’ button, or never seeing the rewards go online at all because the window was so micro-short.

From the Sephora Beauty Talk Forum:Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 7.09.16 AM

From a public relations perspective, I believe that direct contact with affected consumers is the right move rather than the current social media onslaught. Twitter got very un-pretty, y’all. At any rate, you can see the statement that suggests an email to Sephora at the special address. I hope anyone who reads this with a sufficient number of points takes advantage of this communication channel.

Please follow us on....

Aug 092015

Here’s a few things that I’m thinking about this weekend…

1. Gird Your Loins:  As you likely know, Sephora has been running an “extra points” promotion for its members.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.03.24 AM

On August 10th, it will unleash some Sephora Epic Rewards for those that have 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 rewards points. I’m not certain what time this will be posted (do you know?) I’ve been reading that its during “business hours” but the Sephora Facebook page doesn’t commit to anything. The last round of epic rewards went very quickly, and many were disappointed that they weren’t able to get them. I’m hoping that the reward are more plentiful this time around. I wish I had enough points to try for the Armani or the Drybar (5,000 points each), alas I do not. The Givenchy set looks like a nice pick at 1,000 points, and the Yves Saint Laurent at 3,000.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.24.50 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.24.37 AMScreen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.24.20 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.24.12 AM

Of course, you need to make a purchase to get the reward. I’m not sure that I’ll be trying with fingers hovering over the “buy” button, but I thought I’d show you some suggestions. Most are on the lower end of the price scale.

2. Sign me up!  Speaking of Sephora, the store is launching a subscription box service similar to Ipsy and Birchbox, called Play! for $10 a month. It’s going to interface with a Spotify playlist–it appears that the first set is called “Uncover the Essentials” and will contain a Marc Jacobs eyeliner, a GlamGlow mask, a Sephora lipstain, a Bumble and Bumble hair oil, an Ole Henriksen moisturizer, and a bonus Elizabeth and James fragrance. Set to launch in select cities in September (I’m jealous of you, Boston and Ohio), there will be a national roll out in 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 9.34.21 AM

3. Is Marula the new argan? I was able to try out Marula oil available at (you guessed it, Sephora), a soft, moisturizing oil to make your summer skin glow like a goddess. According to the line, this oil is:

marula oil 1

Specially formulated for the face and neck, premium Marula Oil is a naturally soothing treatment that provides intense hydration, protection, and rejuvenation to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for soft, radiant skin. It is suitable for all skin types and contains a high content of fatty acids, resulting in fast absorption to leave skin smooth with a matte finish.

Marula Oil

The oil is cold-pressed from African madula nuts. I found it lovely, it’s very moisturizing and has a soft scent. It doesn’t feel “too rich” because it sinks in quickly. I love that the Sephora site has a try-it size for $15.

How is your Sunday going for you? Feel free to share in the comments…

Affiliate links. The Marula oil was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review

Please follow us on....

Jul 272015

Sephora No 50 blush brush - 1This is a quick review of the Sephora Pro Flawless Light Powder Brush #50 ($38). Sometimes while testing products as Sephora, I’ve asked the makeup artists to borrow a brush. Each time that I’ve borrowed this Sephora #50, I’ve admired its easy of use and excellent results. For example, I’ve used it with Laura Mercier’s Ritual Baked Bronzer ($36), and loved, loved, loved the results.

Sephora No 50 blush brush - 5

Continue reading »

Please follow us on....

Jul 242015

Sephora Champs Elysee 27French line Sephora has an enormous Champs Eylsee location. Some things have changed since I did a previous trip report in 2010 here.  Yet still, this Sephora is the most impressive in size, depth and selection in Paris, and beauty lovers will want to allow at least an hour. Of course, there are numerous other Sephora’s sprinkled throughout the City of Light, but this one is centrally located and has the largest selection. The front area still has a “featured brand” area that is different every time that I’ve visited (this time, Hermes). Also near the front door is “grab and go” setup of items for quick Parisian-themed gifts, including $50 Hermes fragrance samplers and other delights.

Sephora Champs Elysee 26

Continue reading »

Please follow us on....

Apr 132015

Here are some things that I’ve got my eye on….

What do you think?

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

Please follow us on....

Apr 062015

Sunday13Sephora shipped over a few of their favorites looking forward to the upcoming Coachella and other spring music festivals. Because I travel frequently, I thought I’d share some thoughts on these goodies, and also highlight a few formula. Of course, if you are the festival-going demographic, there are definitely some things that you would love.


First up, I don’t know how these Sephora Luster Matte Long Wear Lip Colors ($16 each). This formula is amazing–it’s opaque, long-wearing and totally on trend. Next time I’m headed out, I’m going to check out the other shades in this line. Here, swatches of Nude Pink (left) and Electra-Pink (right):

Sunday19 The Luster Matte in Electra Pink is bright pink opaque neon. These are long-wearing, and benefit by putting a balm underneath. Here’s a super quick swatch:

Sephora Electra Pink

Here’s a quick swatch of Nude Pink, an neutral shade that goes a bit pink when applied. Like Electra Pink, it’s opaque and benefits from application over a balm. These are long-wearing.

Sephora nude pink lustre matte

The Sephora Shine Beautifully Metallic Gold Temporary Tattoos ($10 for three sheets) are very high shine, easy to apply and needed an oil cleanser to remove. Let the sunshine and rain come down–these lasted far longer than I imagined!

Sunday26 You just cut them apart, remove a plastic shield, and hold them wet against your skin for about a minute. Easy, peasy!

Sunday28 The shine in the sunshine was throwing off my camera settings–these are true metallics.

Sunday30The liners were festival worthy in their color range. The Sephora Colorful Shadow & Liners ($14 each) are truly waterproof–no kidding! I had them on my arm when I was doing the tattoo and even though I had water on them for a full minute, they didn’t budge. Nice for the price!



Here are swatches of the White Matte pencil, Fresh (the green), and the Sephora Long-Lasting 12HR Wear Eyeliner ($12) in Fancy Blue:

Sunday24 This Art of the Updo hair set is awesome:

Sunday27There are few more travel-ready goodies that look very useful for my next carry-on bag. I love the great closure/packability of these. Sometimes drugstore removers dry out on the plane, but these Express Cleaning wipes ($4 for 10) have a decent closure.

Sunday14 The Sephora Express Eye remover wipes ($9/20) and super gentle on eyes



Although work deadlines will prevent me from actually going to Coachella, I’ll probably just fire up my Spotify, rock some great liners and lip lusters, and let my Springtime state of mind roll.

These products were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup)




Please follow us on....

Jan 112015

Sephora marsala01Happy 2015! Sephora’s Pantone Color of the Year is Marsala, a wearable shade that is office-friendly and flattering on many skin tones. To commerate, Sephora has gathered an entire range of products from different lines that fit within this beautiful neutral. In addition, Sephora has put together its own items built around the Marsala color story. These include the Sephora +Pantone Universe Facets of Marsala Multi-Finish Eye Palette ($39) and the Sephora +Pantone Universe Pure Marsala Matte Lip Creme ($18). The eyeshadow palette is sold out online at present, but there were four or five at my local Sephora on Friday (so hopefully there will be some in yours as well).

Sephora marsala04

These items are packaged in a marsala-toned metallic-colored finish that actually very pretty. The eyeshadow palette is lightweight, slim and highly functional. Although it won’t keep the packaging designers for Marc Jacobs or Tom Ford all night, their simple design is reflected in this highly affordable price point.

Sephora marsala08

If you want my honest opinion, I think that the line put the money into the product not the packaging. At $39 and $18 respectively, that’s a good call. The quality of the product to the applied to the eye and lips is surprisingly good. The pigmentation, texture, and range of colors and textures is outstanding.

Sephora marsala07As you can see, there are different textures of Marsala-toned colors in the top center. Surrounding these are a range of beautiful colors that coordinate nicely. I found that these applied beautifully–the texture is soft, does not kick up a lot of dust, and are a breeze to apply and blend. If you are heading to the stores today, you’ll want to stop by your Sephora and try out the tester.

Sephora marsala09



Sephora marsala10


Sephora marsala11

Sephora marsala12

Sephora marsala13

The Sephora Marsala eyeshadow palette was swatched with the NARS Artistry Smudge Brush #45 #45 ($28)(reviewed here), which is a pretty awesome brush. I did an eye with the Wayne Goss #6 brush ($25) and found that the colors applied and blended very impressively. For the price, this Sephora eyeshadow palette is a steal.

Sephora marsala02

The Sephora + Pantone Universe Marsala lipstick ($18) is a nice reddish-brown neutral that is semi-matte.

Sephora marsala06Swatch of the lipstick:

Sephora marsala14I attempted a lip swatch to give you a sense of the color:

sephora marsala lipstick4The good news is that those gorgeous geniuses at Sephora have provided Cafe Makeup with a fresh never-used eyeshadow palette and lipstick for giveaway!  Fun, right? If you’d like a try, you must leave a comment here on Cafe Makeup through the Rafflecopter form for one point (only once for the entire contest, please). If you’d like additional points, you can voluntarily tweet about the giveaway for another point (you are limited to one tweet per day) through the Rafflecopter form below. The comment is mandatory to enter, the tweet is not.

Note that the tweet must be through the Rafflecopter form. 

The contest is open the U.S. readers only and ends on Friday 1/16/15 at 12:00 am Eastern time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck to everyone!! Sephora marsala03 Sephora marsala02 These items were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for review and give-away. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

Please follow us on....