Mar 222015
 

Chanel Micro Beauty serum04a

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum ($110) has become a staple lately for my skincare routine. This light serum seems to lift, hydrate, plump and revitalize my skin from the first application, and the effect gets even better over time. Chanel has partnered with a research company, and worked for five years to develop skincare based on micro-fluidics, which re-engineers fluids at the microscopic level. The result gives the product powerful efficacy with an ultra light, elegant, Chanel-worthy feeling. This serum is currently available at Chanel onlineNordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macys, Bloomingdales and other Chanel sources.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum12a

This serum is extremely easy to use. Just a pump or two before applying sunscreen (one can use other serums underneath). If you would like extra hydration, you can use an additional moisturizer. Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum is a moisturizing serum, and does add hydration, so you will likely need less (or lighter) moisturizers when using this formula.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum21 The product feels invisible and non-existent. It absorbs quickly, leaving only results. It smooths, plumps, and hydrates. I love the effect.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum16aFrom the line:

THE BREAKTHROUGH
CAMELLIA MICRO-DROPLETS:
Patented micro-droplet technology delivers the purest form of Camellia Oil Extract, exclusive* new Camellia Alba OFA, to infuse skin with exceptional hydrating and plumping power.

CAMELLIA ALBA PFA:
This remarkably pure HYDRA BEAUTY ingredient, created by Chanel scientists, stimulates skin’s natural ability to restore and retain moisture for a smooth, radiant appearance.

BLUE GINGER PFA:
To protect the benefits of Camellia Alba PFA, Chanel revealed one of nature’s most powerful anti-oxidants, Blue Ginger PFA. This exceptional ingredient acts as an environmental shield, blocking and neutralizing free radicals to help reinforce the complexion.

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I love companies that push research and innovation forward, especially when the results are this good. As with all skincare, results will vary. However, the reviews for this have been very positive, so I thought it was important to report mine.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum08

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Feb 222015
 

MAC Lightful C01MAC has reformulated its Lightful line to incorporate Vitamin C into these brightening products. Because Vitamin C has been clinically proven to benefit skin, I couldn’t resist trying out a few products to see how they feel. This is not uber-luxury skincare, or even luxury skincare in my opinion. But I’ve had surprisingly good results with the Marine Bright formula in the past, and who doesn’t love some good bang for their buck in the mid-price category? I decided to try out the new MAC Lightful C Softening Lotion ($35), the Vibrancy Eye cream ($35), the Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Essence ($44), and the MAC Lightful C Marine Bright Formula Moisture Cream ($44). The full line is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources (except for an SPF 30 tinted cream, which is due to become available this April and, just like Magnum in Zoolander, will blow us all away).

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I’ve used the prior version of the MAC Softening Lotion, and can confirm that this MAC Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Softening Lotion provides the same toning, softening effect on the skin to leave it feeling soft, woken-up, and baby-fresh.  This is one of those products that you think you’ll never use and then, when your glowing skin looks back at you in the mirror, you realize that it does, in fact, make a daily difference.

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I splash a little bit of this clear, water-like liquid on, using fingers or a cotton pad, to get the effect. This is a softening toner–a separate cleanser is necessary to truly clean the skin.

MAC lightful C softening lotion1

I have to admit I’m a fan of spray toners, and this top is designed to splash or swipe on. Still, I appreciate the no-spill guard.

MAC Lightful C15

Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C softening lotion ingredients1

For me the magic item in the collection is the Mac Lightful C Marine Bright EssenceI had good luck using the former version to fade darker marks/spots. I’m delighted with the addition of Vitamin C to the line. The non-sticky texture that absorbs quickly is the same.MAC Lightful C09

Nice no-spill, locking, travel-friendly packaging.

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Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C essence ingredients 21

I took a chance and ordered the MAC Lightful C Marine Bright Formula Moisture Creme.  I’m happy with my current stock of moisturizers, but I find a mid-priced gel moisturizer hard to resist. The problem with having oily skin (and now combination skin) most of my life is that I tended to avoid moisturizers as too heavy and adding “too much glow” toward the end of the day.

MAC Lightful C06After I discovered the lightweight, fast-absorbing properties of gel moisturizers, my skin is much more balanced and doesn’t over-produce oil anymore. If anyone is in the same boat, this MAC is a nice one to try because of the addition of Vitamin C and the lightweight feel. It absorbs, is very lightweight, and doesn’t add “glow” to already oily skin.

MAC Lightful C21This is housed in a lightweight plastic jar. The texture of this product is much lighter and featherweight compared to Estee Lauder’s Enlighten Moisturizer.

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I find that NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer and Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Creme (Liz’s favorite) give a more noticeable moisturizing effect. By comparison, MAC’s is lighter in texture.  Ingredients for the MAC Lightful C:

MAC Lightful C moisturizer ingredients1

Finally, I ordered the MAC Lightful C Vibrancy Eye. This one-half ounce product has a sorbet texture in a pump-top container. It’s very pleasant to use, sinks in instantly, and gives an immediate moisturizing and de-puffing effect.  I’ve been using on my winter-stressed, wind-burned eye area and it’s vastly improved since last Friday when I began.

MAC Lightful C19Consistent with the other products in the light, the MAC Vibrancy Eye is lightweight, non-oily, and disappears quietly very soon application. Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C vibrancy eye ingredients1Skincare swatches (except the toner, which is a clear liquid):

MAC Lightful C26My personal favorites in this group are the Vibrancy Eye and the Essence, however hopefully I’ve put in enough information to give you a sense of which might work for you. The full line is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

MAC Lightful C20

In other news, I’m loving my little sample of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum Intense ($110) and am placing an order for the full-sized as soon as I hit “publish” on this post. It’s giving me a smoothness and glow that’s both immediate and improving with every day that goes by.  Although I’ll do a full review soon, here’s a quick picture of the sample (check out your local Nordstrom, gorgeous! That’s where I found mine) and the ingredient list.

Chanel Micro serum min1Les ingredients:

ingredients1Hope you are having a lovely, ice-free weekend!

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Feb 162015
 

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment02 copyThis L’Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Skin Program ($130) is set to release this week on February 19th. I’ve been fortunate to try out the full program over the past month. Here’s my report, and a chance to win a set of your own. As with the other L’Occitane Immortelle Divine products, this set is based on the immortelle flower from the island of Corsica, which is know for its extraordinary longevity. The line distilled its active ingredients into an essential oil that forms the foundation of this skincare set.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment05 copyThis elegant gold box holds 28-mini vials of treatments. This is an entire course of treatments–the 28-day cycle is broken into four separate weeks, each with a specific benefit:

Week 1 – Gentle exfoliation to even skin-tone, make it smoother and more luminous

Week 2 – Hydration & Nutrition: The skin seems nourished and moisturized

Week 3 – Balance: to strengthen and ready the skin for the final week

Week 4 – Renewal: For radiance, rebalance, and smoother texture

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I used one vial per day, working my way through each week’s benefits before moving forward to the next. Formulas are held in easy-to-use, daily, single-use doses. I applied each vial, allowed it to soak in for a few minutes. Each “week” has a slightly different scent, and all smelled heavenly to me. I love the natural beauty of L’Occitane products–they add a touch of luxury and remind me of the beauty of the French countryside.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment27 copyBecause these vials are in a lightweight plastic pod, I was able to break off the right number, and place them into my bag for travel to a West Coast conference during the middle of my treatment regime. So convenient!

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment18 copy

 

Each of the little oil vials is marked with the appropriate week (can you see the little “1’s”?) so even though I was traveling and moving into my new addition, I could keep track of my progress. The first week’s exfoliating regime felt wonderful. The oils really do melt into the skin, and feel very luxurious. However, I could tell that they had an exfoliating effect when I examined my skin first thing in the morning. Also, I was able to continue to use my other skin care products over these little serums, and still got all of the benefits of the L’Occitane regime.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment12 copy

The second week’s regime was very rich and moisturizing. It’s perfect if you have drier skin, or would like a little mid-winter boost, these are amazing. They felt especially good after the exfoliation from the week before, like they are rebuilding the skin in all the right ways. I can absolutely see why these are sold as an integrated system.

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The third week–for balance–feels very calming. It gave me beautiful, smooth, glowing skin every morning.  I’m really enjoying the nightly ritual and lovely scent of this set. It’s easy to use, you just break off the one you want, fold down the top until the top is broken, and squeeze the liquid out. For me, I found enough in each vial to do the face, neck, and hands.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment16 copyI loved the scent from the fourth week–it smells velvety-good. This regeneration week is said to use “carrot, cypress and superior-quality organic immortelle essential oils help rebuild the skin.”

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment30Having gone through the entire cycle of the set, my skin looks firmer, smoother, more even-toned, and more youthful. I really like the result, especially as this time of year I start looking for ways to renew my skin for the coming spring. This elegantly formulated box of solutions was perfect. Ingredients (click to enlarge):

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment06 copy

All in all, a gorgeous, good-for-you luxury treat, and highly recommended. This is now up for sale on L’Occitane’s website. If you’d like a chance to win your own, please feel free to enter the drawing below. The winner will be sent their own Immortelle 28-Day Divine Renewal Skin Program directly from L’Occitane. To enter, you must leave a blog comment. You can also get extra points for following @cafemakeup on twitter, and also for tweeting about the giveaway (once per day maximum). Bon chance!
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L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment10 copyThanks for reading, gorgeous! This was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains an affiliate link (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jan 142015
 

The Body Shop is running this deal through Thursday only: Buy One Get One Bath & Body Products Although some exclusions apply, this does include some popular products including the Hemp Hand Protector, Satsuma Shower Gel, Coconut Body Butter, Shea Body Butter, and Satsuma Soap, among other things.  Yummmm satsuma. I’m obsessed with those oranges right now.satsuma-soap_lOle Henriksen is giving away a free 3 piece deluxe mini set (minis!!!) ($32 value) with orders of $50 or more. Code: WINTERRETREAT

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Nars has a complimentary mini Deep Throat Blush with any order. Use code JANMINI15 at checkout.

Sephora has a FREE Fresh Rose Hydrating Gel Cream Deluxe Sample with any $25 purchase. Use code: FRESHROSE

Okay, now for the rumor part, via the Cut.   Of course, as avid Tom Ford watchers here at Cafe Makeup we’re all abuzz. What would happen to the Gucci and Tom Ford Beauty lines if so?

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Jan 132015
 

Clarins lip oil08Clarins Lip Comfort Oil ($23/0.1 oz./limited edition) seems perfectly suited to this time of year. Baby, it’s cold outside. Of course, this French line is a skincare specialist and so I was drawn to try this out when I noticed it at a local counter. It comes in two colors (01 Honey (yellow tint) and 02 Raspberry (pink tint)) and the product is now becoming available at Clarins sources, including Nordstrom, Macys, and Clarins online (by the way, if you register with Clarins.com, they are very generous with their special offers and sample kits).

Clarins lip oil01

According to Clarins, this little lip-saver is formulated to “transforms lips from dry and damaged to plump and luscious while adding just a hint of color. The formula nourishes, soothes and enhances the natural way, with oils of mirabelle plum, jojoba and hazelnut for lips that look comfortable and appear fuller. Its innovative gel-like, non-sticky texture hugs your pout in gorgeous color.” It does do a lovely job moisturizing and re-conditioning lips. It smooths out lip lines beautifully, re-conditions this delicate area, and does make my lips feel so much healthier.

Clarins lip oil04aAt $23, the price runs about the price of a lipgloss and the container includes roughly the same amount of product. The is fairly modest for a skincare item–I foresee using this tube up by March quite easily. The formula is very sticky and extremely long-lasting. I have trouble having any gloss last more than an hour (or two), but the Clarins Lip Comfort Oil gave me a good four hours. Because of the sticky texture, if you walking through a stiff wind, it’s ponytail time. Then again, if you are walking in the wind it’s probably ponytail time anyway.

Clarins lip oil15

The formula starts out very, very shiny and sheer over either bare lips or lipstick. After an hour or so, the formula mellows to give my lips a moisturized, semi-gloss look. Eventually, it absorbs and leaves softer, line-free lips behind. The formula works very well over lipstick, there did not seem to be any significant color shift.

Clarins lip oil02The applicator is a big, spongy paddle. You can dab it on or use it as a gloss, or close your lips over it as you move it from side to side (dab, dab, dab).

I don’t believe that the color difference is terribly distinct between the raspberry and honey colors–the honey is slightly yellow/orange, and the raspberry is slightly pink.  As someone with mauve-toned lips I went with pink. The scent is a very strong sweet candy, which takes a bit of time to fade.

Clarins lip oil14aSome may be considering whether to buy the Clarins Lip Comfort Oil versus the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask.

Bite lip products05 copyHere are my thoughts on the comparisons:

Bite lip products10

  • The packaging of the Clarins Lip Oil is far more purse friendly. The Clarins big square top fastens with a satisfying click, and placing it in any side pocket in a purse will keep the large square top from turning. The little cap on the Bite Beauty has fallen off a few times in my travel kit (although the product hasn’t splooged out, I think it’s only a matter of time).

 

  • Bite Beauty’s formula seems more moisturizing and conditioning to me, and the product comes in different colors (clear, Champagne, and Smashed Agave (the Beauty Look Book has reviewed Champagne and Smashed Agave so that you can see how strong the colors are). Clarins’ colors are very sheer by comparison, and can be easily layered under or over lipstick.

 

As long as we’re talking balms, those who prefer premium formulas in a pot will prefer Tatcha’s Camellia Nouring Lip Balm ($36)…Tatcha camillia lip balm05

 

Or By Terry’s Baume de Rose ($60)…but I don’t want to get too far off course. This post is about Clarins Lip Oil.

By Terry Kevyn Aucoin05

Overall, I believe that Clarins Lip Oil fills a niche in the beauty world–the portability and packaging are lovely. The scent, sticky texture, and small quantity are some of the factors to consider. However, the convenience factor is huge. It’s nice to tuck this little bit of luxury into my down jacket on the way to a long, cold commute to allow my lips to live another day.

Clarins lip oil10
Clarins Lip Oil is available at Nordstrom, Macys, and Clarins online, and is limited edition. Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Clarins lip oil03
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