Jan 082015
 

Estee Lauders Enlighten8 f
Before the holidays, I became obsessed with trying Estee Lauder’s new Enlighten products. I found very few blogger reviews (except for Pixiwoo‘s rave for the EE Skintone Corrector). Estee Lauder’s Enlighten series includes three items– the Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum ($62), the Enlighten Even Effect Skintone Corrector ($40) and the Enlighten Even Skintone Correcting Creme ($55). I’ve been using these three items for about two and one-half weeks. The Estee Lauder Enlighten line is available at all Estee sources, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora.

I want to preface my review by noting that, at the same time, I switched to Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Toner ($42) and Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective White Skin Brightening Exfoliator ($29) as part of my daily cleansing routine. Because these are used to address the very same concern, I want to let you know that.

Estee Lauders Enlighten1The Estee Lauder Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum is the cornerstone of the system. Despite the name designating this as  “Night Serum,” Estee Lauder’s website recommends using both day and night. The line says that this takes four weeks to see results (actually, they say “If you could see your skin 4 weeks from now, you’d start tonight.”) Personally, I used this serum only at night topped with the moisturizing Correcting Creme.

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It’s lightweight, easily absorbed, and has a gentle scent that fades. The serum is easy to forget once it’s applied–it really does seem to disappear into my skin. The ingredient list is here.

Estee Lauders Enlighten2

The second item is the Estee Lauder Correcting Creme. I didn’t buy this at first, because I thought that it would be very heavy. I did grab it the evening before I started the regime, because I felt that to fully assess the system I had to try it all together. I’ve used this night and day.

Estee Lauders Enlighten4Although the creme wasn’t quite as heavy as I feared, the Correcting Creme is on the very rich side. There is a strong perfumed scent. This feels a little old school.

Estee Lauders Enlighten3Compared to some other moisturizers that I’ve tried, this isn’t one that I’d necessarily re-purchase. Nonetheless, the results that I’m getting from the whole system might persuade me otherwise.

Estee Lauders Enlighten5

Finally, Estee Lauder has created an “EE Creme” (groan! that name!) that works with the other products. This comes in three colors only–I used 01 Light (its also sold in Medium and Dark). As luck would have it, Light seemed to work fine for my warm, fair skin. Unsurprisingly, it runs warm (I’m not sure how this would play on cool skin tones). Essentially, this feels like a tinted moisturizer that builds almost to medium coverage. The finish is very, very glowy (get ready to powder down if you have oily skin). I’ve mostly worn this by itself, the formula has something that optically blurs discolorations. That part works. Whenever I wore it, any areas of skin discolorations were significantly less apparent without a heavy or mask-like overall coverage. It’s nice to be able to see a touch of skin, have sheer coverage, and mimize discolorations at the same time. This EE cream can be worn under foundation if you prefer to add a different finish–I’ve done this several times, and it seems to work well. The optical blurring properties continue to work, even under another product.This product is listed as SPF 30 (and its ingredient list is here).

Estee Lauders Enlighten7

Above is a heavy swatch comparison with Estee Lauder Enlighten in #01 Light, against Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 20 Beige.  As you can see, the Chanel 20 Beige is actually slightly warmer.

The Enlighten EE creme photographs well for casual pictures (Pixioo was right on about that!), but I personally find it too dewy for more formal pictures. Worn alone, my forehead is glowy all day (morning to night) unless I powder it down. Applying the iPhone and white collar shirt test, I don’t seem to be getting huge transfer (it’s not perfect). The longevity of coverage and correction is quite good. This feels slightly on the heavy side; it’s not cake batter time but it isn’t weightless either. The weight is especially noticeable if you layer it up for more coverage. It’s scented (sort of sunscreen-ish), but it fades eventually.

MAC CC products

Unlike MAC’s CC correctors, which are spot-color-correctors , Estee’s EE cream is actually foundation-like and attacks all imperfections in a single product–redness, darkness, blue discoloration. As I said earlier, this aspect of the product does work on me. Of course, you can supplement its effect even more with a color corrector or concealer.

My verdict so far on the system as a whole is a positive. I don’t want to gush over the line or create false hopes–there are downsides to the formulations as I’ve attempted to note. Note that I have added the Kiehl’s products mentioned above (which include Vitamin C) and wore this Chanel sunscreen consistently. Also, tackling discolorations can feel like a “two steps forward, one step back.” It’s a tough problem and there’s a plethora of offerings (Guerlain just began offering a new Pearl line, as one example).

My skin is without a doubt more even toned. Areas of discoloration after using this combination of products for 2 1/2 weeks has faded a good 60-7o%. Using the EE cream, it’s barely noticeable even in harsh bright light. I’m getting “did you do something different?” comments. It’s always nice to find solutions that don’t rely on hydroquinone and exfoliation as their primary actives. Estee Lauder’s Enlighten line actually feels quite gentle and hydrating and does not seem to be exfoliating at all. Indeed, when I add an at-home peel, my skin now looks really good. I should note that I don’t know how the system would work if I’d only used one or two products in the line.

My apologies for not being able to include more images (including the ingredient images) in this review. I discarded the boxes on my trip, unfortunately, and obtained these too quickly to set up a camera among the home renovation chaos that’s happening here before catching  a flight. There are so few in-depth reviews for these products at present, I thought it best to write something for those considering the line.  The Estee Lauder Enlighten line is available at all Estee sources, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora.

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Jan 052015
 

Chanel UV Essential01

Once upon a time, one of my favorite sunscreens was discontinued. You might remember it–this was the former Chanel UV Essentiel. I remember the beautiful, elegant primer-like finish. It seemed to protect my skin from harsh sun, and seemed to consistently minimize dark spots even though it wasn’t advertised to do so. I remember the last time I ordered a back-up, although maybe it wasn’t necessary because it was a “permanent” product.  By the time that I learned it was discontinued, it was too late to order another.

Chanel old UV essentielLife moves on. Today, Chanel has a new permanent sunscreen, the Chanel UV Essential Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($55 /1.0 oz.). This is available at all Chanel sources, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Chanel.com. Chanel offers UV Essential in SPF 20 and SPF 30 as well.

Chanel UV Essential02As with the prior version, you have to shake, shake, shake the new Chanel UV Essential prior to application. The rectangular package is perfect for doing so, and it’s beautifully lightweight, shatterproof and packable.

Chanel UV Essential08

This new version feels more lightweight than the former.  It applies with a slight white sheerness, which disappears in a bit. It dries quickly and is so light that it’s easy to forget that I’m wearing it. I experienced no pore-clogging, or other adverse effects. Note that I do have a very thorough days-end routine that involves an oil cleanser and a Clarisonic.

Chanel UV Essential11I’ve just come back from a week in the Caribbean, and am happy to report that I did not pick up any significant color when wearing this daily. Note: I did wear a visor in direct sun because we are getting pretty close to the equator there. Still, the Caribbean.

hondurus

According to the line, “Its UV filters block UVA and UVB rays, free radicals and urban pollution, responsible for hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and photoaging, to ensure external protection of the skin.” Like the former version, Chanel UV Essential SPF 50 is cosmetically elegant and plays very well with all of the foundations that I’ve tried over it.

Chanel UV Essential13As you know, I wear sunscreen rain, snow, clouds, or shine. After wearing this new Chanel for the past three weeks, I’m prepared to declare it a winner for me.  It is similar to its discontinued predecessor, although it feels lighter and sheerer. The packaging shape has changed a bit, but not in any significant way.

Chanel UV Essential10

Chanel UV Esstential SPF 50 is available at all Chanel sources, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Chanel.com.

Chanel UV Essential03

 

Ingredients:

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More ingredients:

Chanel UV Essential07

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Jan 032015
 

Chanel le lift 5aI’ve tried Chanel skincare since the mid-1990’s, as well as trying many other excellent lines. Since the Chanel Le Lift Creme ($165.00/ 1.7 oz.) was released, I tried a generous sample of the product. And then I went back for another generous sample. Finally, I realized that I actually loved the product and so I bought the full size. Chanel Le Lift is available at all Chanel locations, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Macys, and Chanel.com.

Chanel Le Lift 1According to the line:

Smart skincare customized to each woman’s unique needs. This soft, creamy and comforting formula features exclusive ingredient 3.5-DA to deliver targeted anti-aging benefits — for a visibly recontoured, toned and refined complexion.

SMART TECHNOLOGY:
Scientific research has revealed the importance of “youth proteins”, key proteins that can significantly slow down the signs of aging, influencing the tone, suppleness and resilience of the skin.

TARGETED LIFTING:
After 12 years of research, Chanel scientists isolated a remarkably potent extract from the Edulis Morning Glory, proven to boost the production of these key youth proteins. Researchers created a patented compound 50 times more concentrated than the original molecule. The resulting ingredient, 3.5-DA, intuitively detects and targets individual factors of aging at a molecular level to restore skin to its optimal firmness.

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There’s something very lightweight and very effective about this product. I typically use this after a Vitamin C serum both morning and night. During the day, I top this with sunscreen, and then any foundation. On first application, my complexion looks hydrated and fresh. After continual use, it looks younger, brighter, and more alive. I personally notice the firming effect after about two weeks of use.

Chanel Le Lift 3Compared to other Chanel moisturizers, the Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Cream is a product that is perfectly suited to my daughter Liz (who is in her ’20’s), who does not need the lifting and anti-aging properties of this one.  Many people ask Liz about her skincare, and she uses very little except Chanel Hydra Beauty. For someone in her age range, it’s really good.

Although I’ve finished a tub of Chanel Sublimage, I find Sublimage is a bit too rich for me at this point in my life. I find that Sublimage is best reserved for spot treatments of damaged skin or during the most very drying days of winter. As an aside, there is something shockingly healing about Sublimage. For example, when my eye area was recovering from an allergic reaction, Sublimage had the area healed overnight. It’s like using some kind of magical potion. However, it feels quite heavy on my skin for everyday use. For now, Chanel Le Lift has been doing a wonderful job making my skin glow with health (despite many late days, stress, and other health disruptions). I’ve had no breakouts, this is a beautiful texture that doesn’t clog pores or give me any adverse effects.

LeLift_textures_enhancedpdpChanel Le Lift comes in three textures—Fine (oil-free) for the lightest texture. I use the Creme, which is the mid-weight version.  For those with dry skin, the heaviest is Creme Riche.  Here is the ingredient list:

Chanel Le Lift ingredientsAt present, I’ve moved to testing the Estee Lauder Enlighten series (the beauty blogger’s curiosity got the best of me, I’ll do a review of the three products soon). Still, I can’t wait to get back to using my Chanel Le Lift, as I can absolutely tell when I haven’t been using it. Indeed, I can use the Chanel Le Lift as a part of my other skincare favorites, and so I don’t think I’ll have to give up anything to integrate it back into my routine. As with all things skincare, everyone’s results will vary. Nonetheless, I feel that Chanel Le Lift is a wonderful addition to the line and is quickly becoming a go-to product for me. Definitely sample-worthy, possibly perfect for full size as well.

Chanel Le Lift 6

Chanel Le Lift is available at all Chanel locations, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Macys, and Chanel.com.

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Dec 202014
 

Zellens Age Control Foundation1 copy copy

For the past two weeks, I’ve been testing out a new foundation–Zelens Age Control Foundation ($105), which many have declared to be their “holy grail” foundation (my earlier review with a full ingredient list is here). I can see why. This premium skincare/foundation has proven to give a very high overage (with minimal product, translating into a “no cake” texture). In addition, the foundation seems to fill in pores, giving one a porcelain like finish, while retaining a lightweight, breathable feel. In other words, one doesn’t feel as though one is wearing a silicon mask, but it gives an airbrushed finish. Zelens Age Control gives a beautiful color that gives a lit from within glow with a skin-like, near-matte finish. Finally, this foundation does not quit.  Despite experiencing over-heated restaurants, freezing cold wind, dryness, humidity, this foundation lasts all day like you wouldn’t believe. Really, I can see someone finding this foundation and never buying any other ever again.  It’s really good.

Zellens Age Control Foundation6 copy copy

The line states that the formula “helps restore firmness and elasticity with a complex of 17 active ingredients including peptides and antioxidants. Photo-luminescent diamond spheres optically veil imperfections, helm minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” This claim is a little difficult to evaluate, because I really do pour on so many other skin care products in my regime. It makes my skin look younger, although this could be its “veil-like” properties.

Zellens Age Control Foundation5 copy copy

There are a few things to be aware of when using this foundation.  First, the coverage goes medium to high with very little product. That means that you will either find a match, mix two if you are in between, or keep looking for another foundation. In my previous post, I noted that I had trouble applying the foundation.  Well, it’s a good thing that the brand sent me two shades because my “trouble” stemmed from using the lighter Cameo shade. When I applied the Porcelain shade with my fingers, no special technique required, it applied beautifully with no trouble at all. So, no surprise for those of us who are used to trying out high-coverage foundations–the color match really does matter so very, very much. Speaking of which, I owe you some swatches:

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Cameo is very, very light–maybe an NC10?  N5? Porcelain is closer to my NC15.

The second thing to note is that this foundation lasts, and lasts, and lasts, and so full removal at the end of the day is important.  I definitely had a clogged pore or two when I “oops! missed a spot!”  I use an oil cleanser (MAC), a toner (DDF), and a Clarisonic (full 2 minutes!). When I thoroughly removed the product, I had no trouble at all.

This seems to work beautifully for my combination skin.  Those with very dry skin may prefer By Terry’s Densiliss. Those looking for a broader shade range should look at Tom Ford’s Traceless Perfecting Foundation  Also, please keep in mind that buying foundation is a very, very personal thing.  Yes, I love this (and I think you will too), but it’s impossible to say for sure until you try it for a few days.

Zelens Age Control Foundation ($105) is available exclusively at Barneys New York in the U.S. Outside the U.S., it is available at Space NK.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup) This foundation was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Dec 072014
 

Tatcha skincare overview1 copyJust a reminder the 20% off at Tatcha.com ends soon (on December 8th) with code FF2014. Here are some of my favorites:

Tatcha 11The Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydrating Eye Mask ($12 each) is truly a pleasure to use. It’s a treat on a evening after a long day, and especially lovely just before going to a party or dinner. Personally, I love the effect.

Tatcha skincare09 copy 1

 

 

Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48/ 5.1 ounce) is a rich, comforting and effective cleaner. This feels so luxurious. This oil is clear, and comes in an elegantly packaged container with a pump top.

Tatcha skincare10 copy 1aNow that we are heading into the cold winter, Tatcha’s Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream ($185/ 1 oz.) is a beautiful evening moisturizer. This is formulated with a number of premium ingredients with deep anti-aging benefits and promotes microcirculation to reduce age spots and renew appearance.

Tatcha skincare36 copy

 

This is beautifully packaged, with a small gold spoon to depot the product.

Tatcha skincare35 copyThe moisturizer:

Tatcha skincare38 copyThere is also the Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Eye Cream ($135/0.5 ounce).

Tatcha skincare28 copyThe cream is designed “nourishes and purifies skin, resulting in a decreased appearance of puffiness under eyes, dark circles, sunken eyes and eye spots” It feels wonderful, I love the way my eyes look using this.

Tatcha skincare30 copyI’ve had the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist ($48/1.35 ounce) on my desk for months. I love how refreshing a mid-day spritz feels (and re-hydrates). If you live an an area with drying winter heat, using this is a real treat.

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I love the little spritzer–it puts out just the right amount, and it looks so elegant.

Tatcha skincare15 copyThe last item that you might wish to try are the Tatcha Polished Classic Enzyme Powder ($55 / 2.1 oz.).

Tatcha skincare18 copyThis contains “a water-activated enzyme powder of rice bran, papaya + HADASEI-3 Bioactive Complex” to reveals skin’s natural gleam.”

Tatcha skincare22 copyThe packaging is thoughtfully designed to keep the powder from escaping (or getting wet when not in use).

Tatcha skincare23 copyWith water, the product becomes a creamy paste that has no abrasive feeling. It feels lovely, like cashmere.

For those new to the line, I recommend giving the trial sized options a try or the holiday gift sets. Also, if you love beautiful items for the home, you might wish to look Tatcha’s curated gift section. Remember the 20% off code is FF2014.

These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. Also, this post contains affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup)

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