Jan 172016

Serge Lutens LipstickSerge Lutens has added to his incredible lipstick line with two shades ($75 each).

Serge Lutens Lipstick Case

Comparative size of the packaging:

Serge Lutens Lipstick - 1

Number 11 is La Ceinture Du Cardinalwhich roughly translates to “The Cardinal’s Sash.” Like so many Serge Lutens names, this name evokes a story. The name refers to the bright fuchsia red sash worn by senior members of the Catholic church–a striking, vibrant, lush color. The formula is incredible–it is opaque in a single coat, is moisturizing and and is incredibly pigmented. It’s so beautiful.

Serge Lutens 11c

La Centure du Cardinal comes in a compact case (see the comparison, below) that holds 0.08 ounces, is refillable and fits nicely into a clutch. As seen on the right, the bullet comes to a charming point that can be applied very precisely with a brush or directly onto the lips.

serge lutens lip swatches 1 - 1

Serge Lutens #12 swatch


I’ve put up some comparisons to the left so you can orient yourself to a true red (Dior 999) and a purple-pink (Nars Fanny). As you can see, Serge Lutens La Ceinture du Cardinal is a striking fuchsia rose red.

Serge Lutens 11b

Serge Lutens Lipstick 12 a

Serge Lutens L’Hypocrite (No. 12) is a medium sheer plum beige neutral shade. This neutral-with-a-twist is a very modern sheer, which can be built up to add more opacity. L’Hypocrite feels moisturizing and has a slight sheen. L’Hypocrite is so on-trend, and is very easy to wear. The plum pulls it toward the cooler end of the scale, and the beige softens it enough to become a very universal and interesting shade.

serge lutens lip swatches 3 - 1

I pulled out a few other neutrals-with-a-twist, including Chanel Culte (limited edition) and MAC Shitake (limited edition). As you can see, Serge Lutens L’Hypocrite is lighter, sheerer and quite easily wearable.

Similar shades in other lines tend to be in opaque formulas, which can be challenging to wear. There is enough openness and sheerness to L’Hypocrite that enhances its wearability. It’s beautiful.

Serge Lutens 3

I love that Serge Lutens continues to find fresh and interesting colors and formulas in his capsule makeup line. Note that these colors are only available at Barneys New York in the U.S. Above, Liz is wearing Serge Lutens L’Hypocrite, Chanel Vitalumiere foundation, Nars Vengeful Blush, Make Up For Ever Aqua Waterproof Eyeliner, and the Nars L’Amour Toujours eyeshadow palette (reviewed here).

Overall, both Serge Lutens La Ceinture du Cardlinal and L’Hypocrite are so different, and both are stunning. Just when I think I’ve seen everything. Serge Lutens creates this incredibly unique and beautiful shades.

Both are available at Barneys New York.

Affiliate links. These samples were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.


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Jul 192015

Paris Beauty CrawlHave you ever heard of a “pub crawl”? Or a “food crawl”? If you haven’t, these are little excursions where one can go from place to place, enjoying just a little bit from each, whether it’s drinking, eating, or what have you. I thought it might be fun to put together one possible Parisian beauty crawl  in case that you find yourself in the City of Light with some spare time on your hands. This is one of several possibilities.

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May 012015

Serge Lutens Corrector Palette - 1The elegant line Serge Lutens Beaute has recently released Une Bonne Correction Concealer Palette ($170). I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to try any Serge Lutens Beaute items, but they are on another level–somewhere above sublime. The original Eyeshadow Palette (reviewed here) is one of my favorites, it has a silky quality and incredibly blendable texture and gorgeous, gorgeous color. Even the eye makeup remover wipes feel like they are made like magical cashmere.

Serge Lutens Corrector Palette - 2

Like the eyeshadow palettes, the Serge Lutens Beaute Une Bonne Correction comes in an elongated rectangular shape. The palette include three different concealer colors, a translucent setting powder and brushes included. In other words, everything you need for a perfect eye.  Whether you wish to keep this on your makeup table, or slip it into a bag, it’s pretty much everything.

Serge Lutens Corrector Palette - 5 The three brushes included:

Serge Lutens Corrector Palette - 7The palette has a full size mirror:

Serge Lutens Corrector Palette - 9

The texture of the three concealer colors is divine. It melds effortlessly to the under eye area to seemingly become part of the skin. If you would like to conceal, but do not wish anyone to know that you are wearing concealer, you have found the product that allows you to do so. Except for its perfecting quality, it is undetectable.

Serge Lutens Corrector Palette - 11


The shades are designed to be mixed together so that you can find your perfect match, so that it looks absolutely undetectable. For my fair warm skin tone, the center shade seems to blend perfectly. However, I found myself mixing the shade with the deeper shade to better cancel out the blue tones in my under eye area. Then I set the result with a very light of the bottom translucent powder shade, which disappears into the skin and makes the concealer last all day. Did I already say that the texture of these is divine?  Below is a picture that shows the entire configuration:
Serge Lutens Corrector Palette - 12 Bottom line, this is a beautiful concealer palette. As one might expect from the Serge Lutens line, this is the best of the best. Here is unblended swatch so that you can see the color choices:

Serge Lutens Corrector Paletteb - 1 acopy

The Serge Lutens Beaute Concealer Palette is currently available from Barneys New York (please note that all purchases have free shipping in the U.S.).

Serge Lutens Corrector Palette - 10

This items was sent 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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Serge Lutens De Profundis Review

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Aug 252011

Serge Lutens is set to release an exclusive fragrance, De Profundis due out on September 1st (for more about Serge Lutens’ exclusive fragrances, see here).  Although U.S. buyers will have to enlist the help of a European friend or get on a plane to obtain a bottle, Cafe Makeup was able to obtain a review sample from the Serge Lutens Palais Royale Boutique/Paris from the incredible staff, for which I am extremely grateful.

Unlike the golden and amber tones of most of the Serge Lutens fragrances, De Profundis is a violet tone that echoes the walls of the Palais Royale boutique.

I understand from reading other blogs that De Profundis will be sold in two versions of limited edition bottles, both are expected to be very limited in quantity.  This bell jar is coated in a metallic silver tone:

This one with elaborate glasswork and lettering:

The name “De Profundis” (“from the depths”) evokes a letter written by Oscar Wilde while imprisoned, in which he recounts his prior life and then describes his spiritual growth.  As a fragrance, De Profundis is rich, deep and transformative.  The predominant notes are chrysanthemum and incense, although I’m detecting some violet, a persistent green scent, spice and something earthy.  My best description is that the fragrance parallels the experience of being inside a large stone cathedral–there is a cool earthiness, an unyielding stone, an inspiring height and remnants of incense from ceremonies performed over the past centuries.  It’s complicated, dark, and yet the green notes provide a strong sense of hope.

De Profundis will work beautifully for men and women.  Serge Lutens is able to use the notes of his scents as a communicative medium–De Profundis is as content-rich as a good film.  De Profundis is a combination of aspiration, spirit and deep humanity expressed through scent.  Excellent, gorgeous, and well worth seeking out.

A sample size of De Profundis was sent to Cafe Makeup free of charge for review.



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Aug 222011

Serge Lutens has just released Vitriol D’Oeillet in Europe, due in the U.S. in September. Although a rough translation might be “anger of a carnation,” this rather literal treatment underplays the meaning of the word “vitriol,” which refers to a caustic, damaging rage. Before I tried the scent, I suspected that I would like the rage more than the carnation.

Carnations scents are difficult, in the U.S. this is a very common funeral flower. Of course, Serge Lutens plays off dark references easily, his description of the scent is quite dark:

…Yet the carnation is an obsessive and intrepid flower.  When it doesn’t bloom on market stalls and in open fields in southern France,  the carnation – blood red, as if bitten by a dapper criminal with a fox-like smile – perishes.  North, across the English Channel, London gentlemen wear white carnations in the buttonholes of their silk lapels.  In the crimson velvet interior of a cinema, a girl in a film is being used as bait. She  stumbles in the eerie flicker of a street light. As usual, she’s poor and her hair is  dishevelled. The street corner suddenly goes dark. Unable to see, the poor thing  braces herself for the worst. And one fears (and hopes) that it will happen. And  it will, unless the projector providentially overheats and the film catches fire,  plunging the room into inky blackness. Yes, things look very bad for our heroine.  We hear her shriek – «No!» – and read the French subtitle: «Non!»

Vitriol D’Oeillet mixes spice with cream. Serge Lutens’ interpretation pares out many of the unpleasant notes from the flower to create a polished, creamy clear fresh note.  The spices include cayenne pepper, pink pepper and black pepper and clove.  There is a slightly woody base, but it is very subtle and very soft.

The scent was extremely strong on first application, a rush of intense flower, creamy carnation and very strong dark spice.  The scent is refined and complex, and takes over the senses.  As the scent dries down, the spice predominates although the creamy flower never recedes entirely.   I found the combination so intriguing that I missed the scent when I wasn’t wearing it.  The scent is uncompromising without being sharp or overpowering.

I have read that Vitriol D’Oeillet dries down to a gentle scent, with a sillage that remains steady and subtle hours after application.  This was my experience on my quieter days.   The scent’s lasting power was at least 24 hours, although at far lower volume than the initial hour.  In that sense, its office-appropriate (although edgy).  I find myself holding my wrist up occassionally, as its does recede quite significantly to a subtle spice.  To be clear, it did not fade gradually to nothing–rather, it dropped down after the first hour and then remained at approximately the same level of subtlety for at least a day.

However, even a dozen hours after application I found Vitriol D’Oeillet extremely responsive to my body temperature.  On days when I became very warm late into the evening, the deeper, spicier notes of the scent came back very strong– and perhaps even stronger than when I first applied it–like a secret released under very strong heat.  I’ve concluded that Vitriol D’Oeillet perhaps does not dry down, but rather it rests a bit until awakened.

Vitriol D’Oeillet works beautifully on both men and women.

Gorgeous.  Highly recommended.

U.S. buyers can look for Vitriol D’Oeillet at Aedes, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, and from some Neiman Marcus locations. Scents are also sold on Serge Lutens website. This sample-size was sent from the Serge Lutens Palais Royale Boutique/Paris without charge to Cafe Makeup for review.

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May 062011

Serge Lutens Eyeshadow Palette ($160) is part of a very select group of Beauty Essentials.  I previewed this palette, from my visit to the Serge Lutens boutique (here), but waited to a return to the U.S. to get better pictures and swatches.  As the only eyeshadows made by Serge Lutens, these are intended to work for any number of occasions and nearly all skin tones.  There is a deep black, deep brown (tinged with mauve), aubergine and light creme.   This last color is a near-matte that almost matches my NC15/Chanel Cameo skin tone.

The palette is packaged in a very sleek, discreet, slim black compact designed to fit anywhere.  It includes three sponge applicators, which I do not anticipate ever using.  The case is well-made and fuss-free.  It opens flat, which is a nice feature.  I love a compact that just does whatever I ask.

Serge Lutens got this combination right–I was hard-pressed to identify a skin tone on which this eyeshadow palette would not work.  Three of these colors are deep and strong.  The deep aubergine and cool red-brown keeps these neutrals on an edge.  Close up:

Swatches (the light creme on the far left nearly matches my skin tone, but it is there):


I must confess that I love this palette more than I thought that I would.  I bought it as a treat, to commemorate my tour of Les Palais Royale boutique, but find that I’m reaching for it more and more.  This is surprising to me, given that this is the Spring season when I should be focusing on the new collections.  Yet there it is.  I find that the black liner is a soft, sooty sexy black that lasts all day.  I find myself loving the softer, intense look that this very intensely-pigmented powder gives my eye over the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner, which looks more “makeup-y” and a touch artificial by comparison.  I should note that I’ve used five Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners in Black Ink all the way to the bottom, and so I do love that product.

All colors last all day without a primer.  I use all shades dry because they do not need to be intensified.

Like the Serge Lutens perfumes, the colors are mesmerizing, gorgeous and extremely intense.  They are timeless and modern, clean but a touch bruised, and they set off the slight mauve undertone in my coloring beautifully.  True love.

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Mar 232011

At Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royale, I purchased a lipstick in #6, Mauve de Swann ($70).  I tried on another color, a deep red, and was very tempted, but decided to go with this neutral instead.

The bullet is encased in a deep red-brown hexagon, and refills can be purchased separately ($55).  The line has a range of ten colors:

My wonderful contacts at the boutique were kind enough to provide this sample card to me, which includes six of the shades to swatch for you:

As you can see, these six shades include three reds and three neutrals:

  • Mise a Mort:  A warm red
  • Roman Rouge:  A deep, cool red
  • Pourpre Maure:  A deep plum
  • Or Perle: A sheer gold cream that is very moisturizing
  • Rose des Glaces:  A soft cream-rose
  • Mauve de Swann:  A soft mauve-pink

To see the swatches, click “continue reading”….

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Mar 232011

During my visit to Serge Luten’s Les Salons du Palais Royale, I was introduced to his makeup line.  The line is a highly edited collection (called “The Beauty Essentials“) that is made of products that are intended to look good on every woman, regardless of her skin tone.  The reason that one might choose one item over another is really personal preference and the look that you would like to project.

Unlike the vast counters from other lines, the depth of quality is excellent and the color selection is well-chosen and few in number.  For example, the eyeshadow range is one palette, there are two nail colors, one eyeliner (black), and ten lipsticks.

In the U.S., you can purchase these from Serge Lutens website or Barneys.  Les Salons had a display of some of the engraved compacts that are only sold in this Paris location.  There are only 15 made every year.

I was extremely tempted to try the nail polish and a few other items.  This gorgeous red nail polish (Sang Bleu/ $65) was one of the items that I wanted (but didn’t get):


Instead, I got the eyeshadow palette ($160), which has a warm ivory, a blue-based aubergine, a deep brown and a deep black, in a black compact:

Here is a close-up of the pans.  Because of the subtlety of these colors, I’m going to swatch this at home for you.  I would rather have color-accurate swatches done more carefully with lighting that I can control.

The compact is extremely well made, and of course the shadows are very luxurious.  I can see that these colors are universal enough to work for almost anyone.

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Mar 212011

While in Paris, I had the pleasure of visiting Les Salons du Palais Royale, conceived by the creative genius Serge Lutens (website here).  Lutens is one of those rare individuals who infuses everything with an extraordinary, magical and highly original touch–a film maker, makeup artist, perfume creator, photographer and fashion designer–his creations seem to affect one at an aesthetic and emotional level.  He adds to an already long history of excellence, having worked with Dior, Shiseido and photographed for Vogue.  He has a touch that is both other-worldly and intensely human.

If you are in or near Paris, go to Les Salons du Palais Royale. This is a “must.”  Go.

Lutens founded these Salons in 1992, establishing this colorful and universal space based on Féminité du Bois, a scent still available today.  As you can see from the above image, entering this space is a transformative experience–the atmosphere is warm and quiet, comfortable, foreign yet familiar, grounded in history and completely different from the real world.  Anything seems possible.  Les Salons du Palais Royale is a testament to the fact that there are some places that are magic in this world.

Sandrine, the manager, made herself available for my visit, assisted by her very pleasant and extremely knowledgeable staff.  Their multi-lingual capability is excellent, so if you are nervous about your French, let me put you at ease. It seems customary to be offered tea when one arrives for a longer visit, which was a treat.  I also went up the magnificently detailed metalwork staircase to the Morrocan-themed meeting room above.  Unlike the mauve and purple tones below, the upstairs is paneled with warm yellows and red accents, both exotic and welcoming at the same time.  There is a long, low conference table upstairs, populated with the Serge Lutens product line and surrounded by modern, diamond-backed wooden chairs.  Large windows upstairs look out onto the pleasant trees of the Palais Royale, reminding me that I had not left Paris (although I felt completely transported).

This boutique sells both Serge Lutens perfume and makeup. Because of the wide range of products, I’ll discuss perfume today and makeup tomorrow.

If you have not visited this location before, you should know that there are two series of perfumes offered here.

First, the Exclusives are sold only in this boutique and to a limited number of locations within Europe online.  Period.  There are currently 28 or so perfumes in this series, sold in this beautiful bell jar.  If your time allows, you will be able to have the jar personally engraved (if you go early during your stay, it may give you enough time to have the engraving done).  The range is deep, gorgeous and every one more life-changing than the last.

There are paper swatches of the scents out for you to review, which I suggest you use to narrow your choices.  As you become interested in a certain scents, then apply them.  I suppose if you have enough skin area you can try them all.  You can also ask to be directed to particular kinds of scent (I was interested in leather and smoke, for example).  Prepare to spend some time, the range is vast and each scent is complex and gorgeous in its own way.

A word about the beautiful bell-jar-A few years ago, I bought Fumerie turque and hand-carried it home at the time before airline liquid restrictions began.  Today, of course, the world has changed.  The boutique cannot assure you that these bell jars travel perfectly well in packed luggage because the bell jar is closed with a glass stopper only.  (you didn’t hear it from me, there are some places on the Internet which can give you a few pointers about how to get a bell jar home in packed luggage). Right now, I’m very tempted to go back for Boxeuses (referring to a female boxers), it’s gorgeous and I’m finding it difficult to put out of my mind.

The boutique also displays one of the custom bottles created every year around the holidays.  Each is thematically engraved to coordinate with an Exclusive fragrance chosen for the series, and only thirty are made each year.  As one example, the year that Fumerie turque was featured, the bottle was engraved with swirling smoke shapes.  There are several of them featured on Serge Lutens Facebook pages.

Here is the most recent bottle, for Boxeuses:

I love how it reminds me of both stars, and boxer punches at the same time.  Serge Lutens plays the edges of light and dark beautifully.

Second, are the Serge Lutens spray bottles are sold here and are also carried elsewhere in Paris and throughout the world (sometimes referred to as the “export line”).  You can buy these in the U.S. at Barney’s, and I’ve noticed them on Beauty Habit and Luckyscent as well.

I fell head over heels for Jeux de Peau (‘skin game’), a scent inspired by Serge Lutens childhood memories of visiting a bakery in his childhood.  From an interview (from the Serge Lutens Facebook page):

I was often distracted: “Don’t forget to get the bread!”

If I described the bakery as a “golden place”, it’s because that’s how I saw it. Part of its bright aura was due to the amber loaves of French bread – bâtards, ficelles and baguettes – waiting in fragrant rows.

When I got to the bakery, I woke up from my day-dreaming to enjoy the sight of the bread. “Bread opens your eyes” just as surely as it whets your appetite. The crowning touch was the whiff of freshly baked bread, still warm, coming through the basement window.

At first glance, there was nothing but good humour on the face of the lady at the bakery. Her make- up gave her face a jolly look, yet one suspected that it was a mask concealing bitterness.

What could she have been suffering from that would, at busy times of day, make her purse her lips sharply and suddenly? The fact that it was barely perceptible made it even more obvious. Obeying a suspicious mind, her mouth, like the seal affixed to a judicial document, passed judgment on all comers. The smile that she gave when returning change had infinite variations: it could be suspicious, jaded, resigned, disdainful, stiff or disillusioned….

Something about Serge Lutens fragrances are so honest and centering–the impact on me is hard to describe.  Jeux de Peau has a bready, milky sweetness, but there is also a sandalwood, as well as some deeper incense notes that Lutens seems to love.  It’s insanely beautiful, and I’m sure that my description is not doing it justice.  It’s comforting and edgy, and has an undeniable ability to affect my metabolism.

I purchased a full sized bottle (and may return to the boutique to get Daim Blonde as well).  The lovely boutique gave me a sample Jeux de Peau which I’ve been using up since the day I obtained it, together with a much lighter sample L’Eau Serge Lutens, which I haven’t yet opened (but hope to as the weather warms).

Sample Jeux de Peau

L’eau Serge Lutens:

Sample L’Eau Serge Lutens

The boutique provided me with a book of perfume samples of the Serge Lutens range:

According to Sandrine, Serge Lutens has never discontinued a fragrance, and has no current plans to do so.  Although different fragrances float in and out of the export line, they all appear to be here to stay.

I cannot imagine going to Paris without visiting this treasure.  Les Salons du Palais Royale is a one-of-kind experience that evokes history, the senses, imagination and a full range of emotion.  You. Must. Go.

Note:  One of the best ways to keep up with Serge Lutens is to “like” them on Facebook, and follow them in English on Twitter.

Tomorrow’s post:  Serge Lutens makeup at Les Salons du Palais Royale.  Non-watermarked images are from Serge Lutens.  Any typos are mine (let me know if you see any in the comments, pls!)

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