Nov 262014
 

A few weeks ago, I began testing Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation ($80). The foundation was released in Fall ’14, and is described by line as a “natural-finish, long wearing, humidity-resistant foundation” that hydrates and evens skin tone to create a “flawless, supple, and pore-less canvas on which to sculpt the features.” Tom Ford Beauty categorizes this as a medium-to-full coverage foundation with SPF 15 broad spectrum protection. Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation02 copyHere are my thoughts based on my testing:

  • This liquid is sold in a plastic bottle that is modern, unbreakable, sanitary and travel-friendly.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation08 copy

  • There is a built in pump.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation09 copy

The pump twists up, keeping the product spill-proof and sanitary.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation10 copy

  • There’s a slight chemical scent to this liquid when first applied, which may be sunscreen ingredients. It fades quickly. I don’t detect any perfume scent.

 

  • Some report that this has a matte finish. On my skin, the finish is natural to slightly glow-ish (especially as the day progresses), probably because of its moisturizing ingredients. On application, the foundation does dry down to the point where it does not transfer. In my opinion, those looking for a true matte finish will want to powder down.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation06 copy

  • The moisture-add does help my winter-stressed skin, so the description that the foundation includes helpful skin benefits rings true to me. Those with oily skin may notice a bit of a glow as the day wears on (when worn without any primer or powder).

 

  • The claim to a poreless finish rings fairly true to me as well.  This foundation did have a noticeable pore-minimizing finish.

 

  • Like Armani and Burberry (and some other) foundations, this layers beautifully. I can add just a whisper, or build up past medium toward full. I haven’t tried to go all the way to full.

 

  • The longevity was quite good for a moisturizing foundation.  The glowy-moisturizing aspects makes this a little tricky—there are few moisturizing foundations that truly last all day.  I get more wear time out of my long-wearing foundations that do not have any moisturizing properties, including the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick, Chanel Perfection Lumiere (the standard and the velvet), MAC Pro Longwear. Nonetheless,  on me the Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting lasts about 70-90% of the time that the others named here do (rough estimate). Also, I don’t get any shifting or “looks like its lifting off” effect. As the day goes on, I notice that the coverage seems to lessen, and a glowy sheen starts to emerge.

 

  • Some may be wondering how the Tom Ford Traceless Perfection stacks up next to the By Terry Densiliss Foundation (reviewed here). Of course, both are premium liquid foundations that have skincare benefits. In my opinion, Tom Ford’s Traceless Perfection feels more moisturizing and behaves more like a standard layerable liquid foundation with the slight-glow foundation. In contrast, By Terry Densiliss feels a bit closer to a cream when applied, tends to dry down closer to a matte-satin, does not have the pore-control of Tom Fords, and lasts a bit longer throughout the day. In other words, those with dryer skin may prefer Tom Ford, while those with oily/combination skin may prefer By Terry.
  • The foundation includes Tom Ford’s Infusing Complex which helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I can vouch for this–this does give me a beautiful canvas.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation07 copy

After spending nearly an entire Spring and Summer in California, I was counter-matched to Tom Ford Traceless Perfection in #3 Fawn. On this snowy winter day, this is a bit warm and dark for my current complexion but still wearable. If I were to buy another today, I’d go a shade or so lighter (in Ivory or even Cream). Here’s a swatch of Tom Ford Fawn #3 compared to my MAC Studio Sculpt in NC15 for color.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation11 copy

This foundation is said to be particularly good in warm-to-cold conditions. Those who are running from the cold outdoors into overheated buildings will appreciate that the foundation does, indeed, seem to hold up well in highly varied temperature conditions (as well as those who get super warm due to, ahem, other reasons). I get this same quality from Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation, and the other long-wearing foundations in my stash including By Terry, Chanel Perfection Lumiere and MAC Pro Longwear.

Tom Ford Firming Foundation07 copy

In addition to octinoxate and titanium dioxide for sun protection, the product includes the following: (click to enlarge):

Tom ford ingredient list copy

Unlike many foundations that I’ve tried recently, I’m not seeing alcohol listed here, which is a very good plus.

Overall, Tom Ford Traceless Perfection is worthy of the title premium foundation in its excellent finish, skincare benefits, and overall look. This has excellent buildability. Those looking for skincare infusion and moisture, especially in these drying winter months, may find that this is a favorite.

Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman.

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Aug 222014
 

Tom Ford Fall 201407Some items arrived from Tom Ford Fall 2014 late this afternoon, and so I thought I’d post some quick pictures. From all experience, this appears to be another “blink and you’ll miss them” releases. In other words, limited quantities especially for the Tom Ford Nude Dip quad.  These are the times when the relationships that we’ve formed with sales associates become invaluable. Sometimes the online releases are gone in a remarkably brief time, so call your Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, and Bergdorf counters now if you are interested. It breaks my heart to tell readers that I have no sources a month (or even a day) after some of these collections release.

Tom Ford Nude DipThe Tom Ford Nude Dip Palette ($79) includes four gorgeous neutrals that are high-pearl in texture. So far, so good–the pigment seems to leap onto my brush and apply with a beautiful smooth texture. Let’s walk through each shade separately, shall we? Oh, yes, we shall..

Tom Ford Nude Dip

The top left is a pearly champagne highlight color.

Tom Ford Nude Dip

The top right is a soft light brown.

Tom Ford Nude Dip

The bottom left is a soft pearly taupe.

Tom Ford Nude DipThe bottom right is a deep pearlized brown. Here are some early swatches in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

Tom Ford Nude DipAnother set of the Nude Dip palette.

Tom Ford Nude DipThere are two Tom Ford Contouring Cheek Color Duos ($77 each). Stroked is a soft warm golden coral combination,and Softcore is a dramatic pink-highlight and deep, complex red-mauve-burgundy.. These powders include a highlight color, and a blush/contour shade. They are fabulous.

Tom ford Soft Core Stroked

Here is Tom Ford Stroked:

tom ford stroked

The highlighter portion of Stroked:

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedThe blush shade of Stroked:

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedHere is Tom Ford Softcore:

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedThe highlight color of Softcore is slightly cooler and whiter than the highlighter in Stroked.

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedThe Softcore blush:

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedI did some quick swatches, again not in ideal lighting conditions. When I ordered these from Bergdorf, they suggested that Stroked was perfect for day, and Softcore for evening.

Tom ford Soft Core StrokedAgain, I’m working quickly because I suspect that anyone interested in this collection is going to need to move this week to find the items. I haven’t had time to play with these extensively yet, but I can say that I’m very impressed so far.

Tom ford Soft Core Stroked

These are available at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.

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Mar 052014
 

Tom Ford Spring Lipsticks01

Tom Ford has released a series of new limited edition lipsticks for Spring 2014 ($49). Here, we chose three shades from the line-up chosen primarily from The Beauty Look Book’s helpful review.  Pink Dune is a soft neutral with shimmer. Summer Fling is a soft medium pink. And Paradiso is a vibrant pink.

Tom Ford Spring Lipsticks02

Overall, the pigmentation of these is softer than the standard Tom Ford lipstick line, and stronger than his Color Shines. The colors with shimmer feel ever-so-slightly gritty on application, but seem to soften to a moisturizing feel.

Tom Ford Spring1

These apply well, as you may expect. There is a soft vanilla scent. Although your experience may vary, both Liz and I find that the Chanel Rouge Allure formula feels more moisturizing and more luxurious than these three Tom Ford choices. The wear time on the Chanel is longer. We found that the wear time on these three Tom Fords was short to medium. Nonetheless, all three Tom Ford Spring colors that we chose are undisputedly gorgeous and we’ll use them to the last bit.

Tom Ford Spring Lipsticks09

Pink Dune is a soft neutral pink with a beautiful golden shimmer.

Tom Ford Spring Lipsticks07

)n Liz:

Tom Ford Pink Dune on Liz21a

Summer Fling is a soft sheer pink with shimmer.

Tom Ford Spring Lipsticks10As you can likely guess, Tom Ford Summer Fling is a go-with-eveything pink.  If you are undecided, Summer Fling is a safest choice.

Tom Ford Spring Lipsticks11

Tom Ford Summer Fling on Liz:

Tom Ford Summer Fling on Liz21a

Tom Ford Paradiso is a beautiful rich pink, which can pick up a bit of coral tones when applied.

Tom Ford Spring Lipsticks04

How beautiful is this color?

Tom Ford Spring Lipsticks05

Tom Ford Paradiso on Liz:

Tom Ford Paradiso on Liz21a

Swatches of all shades:

TOM FORD SPRING SWATCHES1

Overall, another successful release from Tom Ford. I believe that the pictures speak for themselves. These are beautiful.

Tom Ford Beauty is available from Neiman Marcus, Saks and Nordstrom.

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Dec 272013
 

Tom Ford Stick Foundation1

I’ve been using the Tom Ford Traceless Stick Foundation ($78./0.5 oz) occasionally for the past year. I purchased this last January, where I got into an arm-wrestling match over my color. You can see swatches of all shades helpfully here at The Beauty Professor. I ultimately settled on #3 Fawn, although this is on the deeper side for my Chanel Cameo/MAC NC15/20 skin tone. I had just returned from a sunnier climate, and I suppose my neck and body were a bit deeper then. The reason that I mention this is that stick foundations tend to be higher coverage, and we all know what that means. The more coverage you get, the more the color match matters, and the less forgiveness you have if there is a mis-match.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation3

The rather massive and gorgeous packaging holds 1/2 ounce of product. Although this is less than a typical bottle of liquid, you do not need much of this foundation to get medium coverage (more will give you full coverage). I’m an old hand with stick foundations, all the way back to the Chanel stick foundations of the 1990’s, so my application is a bit fearless.  First of all, the formula is very, very emollient and yet long-wearing. This rather miraculous combination of attributes allows you to have controllable, all-day coverage.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation5

Your application technique matters very much with this foundation. I have read reviews that describe this coverage as “heavy” and “too much.” It is true that it is a real challenge to get light coverage with this stick foundation. On light coverage days, I opt for another foundation choice and can use this as a concealer (if at all). For medium coverage, I dot this very lightly on my forehead, cheeks, and chin. The formula is very emollient, and as your skin and fingers warm the product it is very easy to spread over my face to get medium coverage. The product can be built up over any problem areas for more coverage. The effect is beautiful. It dries down, and makes my skin look gorgeous and very Tom-Ford-fabulous. It gives just enough of a sheen to look moisturized and youthful, and stops well short of looking even the slightest touch oily.  Although this looks amazing on my combination skin, those with drier skin will truly adore this slight sheen effect.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation4

I tend to use this when I’m looking forward to a formal event, whether a meeting, all-day conference, or evening event with a strong lip.  The wear time is phenomenal. This foundation does not break down, period. I do not get breakthough-glow on my combination skin, it just does not quit. So if you are looking for a luxury look that lasts all day, Tom Ford is your man.

Long Wearing Foundations11

As you can see, Tom Ford #3 Fawn is a little deeper and warmer than a few others in my foundation stock.

Same comparisons in different light:

Long Wearing Foundations09

Overall, Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation gives a beautiful effect to make my skin look far better than it actually is. I understand that the foundation does not promise skin care benefits, it just makes my skin look fabulous. So I apply my skin care and sunscreen underneath. As with all stick foundations, removal is important to fully cleanse the skin and remove all traces of the product. I use an oil remover (currently, Shiseido), a Clarisonic with a cleanser, and a toner.  I need these to fully remove my sunscreen, so this is not a variation from my usual routine.

Tom Ford Stick Foundation2

 Like a perfect pair of pumps, Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation makes me look fabulous, well-dressed, and comfortable without concern for breakdown or breakouts. When I’m getting ready for an event, I’m happy to have Tom Ford along for the (usually overly long) day.

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Nov 122013
 

Tom Ford Ice Queen1

This holiday, I’ve invested in the Tom Ford Ice Queen Palette ($78.00), a cool combination of icy whites and grays. This winter-themed wonder is a must-have for those with cool coloration, although I’ve spent a bit of time to discovery ways to wear it with my warm skin.

Tom Ford Ice Queen 5

Housed in the typical luxe, sleek compact, the Tom Ford Ice Queen palette contains a bright white shimmery highlight color, a sparkle icy gray, a satin light cool dove gray, and a deep gray that is a near-matte.

Tom Ford Ice Queen3

This is a beautifully formulated palette. Using a few simple techniques, Ice Queen has a wonderful texture that goes on effortlessly. However, those with warmer skin tones will want to proceed with care. As the name foretells, this is not a palette that goes well with warm-toned bronzers or corals. It’s “Ice Queen” all the way, with an emphasis on the “Ice.”

Tom Ford Ice Queen Palette21

To wear this, I prep my skin with the Chanel Light Revealing Brightening Makeup Base (reviewed here), which neutralizes my naturally warm coloring. I keep my blush on the cooler side, such as using NARS Dolce Vita blush or Chanel Plum Attraction. I keep lips in the cool vamp red or blue-pink category.  Swatches of Tom Ford Ice Queen:

ice queen swatch2 copy

The colors apply very easily and vibrantly, including the white. To emphasize the coolness of this palette, here is a comparison to Edward Bess Soft Smoke:

Tom Ford Ice Queen swatches1

Here are the colors individually–first, the white highlighter:

Tom Ford Ice Queen6

The dove gray color on the bottom left:

Tom Ford Ice Queen4

The snowy sparkling silver/gray:

Tom Ford Ice Queen 4

Finally, the dark gray near-matte:

Tom Ford Ice Queen5a

Here are the colors on Liz:

Tom Ford Ice Queen on eyes 4a

Another:

Liz Tom Ford Ice Queen

With eyes closed in full sun, after loading the lid with the sparkle shade:

Tom Ford Ice Queen on eyes6b

Overall, I loved Tom Ford Ice Queen in terms of high quality. Those who wear cooler toned eyeshadows will find this a must-have. Those with warmer tones, or for those who love their bronzer, will find this challenging. I was able to manage some looks with some care and by neutralizing my warmer-toned skin.

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Aug 222013
 

Tom Ford Orchid Haze Palette03

I was able to pick up the new Tom Ford Orchid Haze Eye Color Quad, one of three new permanent quad eyeshadow palettes that are being introduced.  This is a beautiful mix of a shimmering champagne, dusty rose, a shimmering mauve-taupe, and a satin-matte, toned down deep aubergine.
Tom Ford Orchid Haze Palette05

Eyeshadow palette formulations really do not get much better than this. Each color is beautifully smooth, excellently pigmented and unbelievably easy to blend.

Tom Ford Orchid Haze Swatches7

Last Fall’s limited edition Tom Ford Enchanted Eye Color Quad had a shimmery, sparkling quality that was quite unique. Unlike Enchanted, Tom Ford Orchid Haze has a more standard texture–none of the shades are as sparkling as Enchanted. Rather, Orchid Haze’s three shimmery shades are smooth and apply without the same visible glimmery bits.

Tom Ford Orchid Haze Swatches5

Tom Ford Orchid Haze has a mauve tone, not a purple one. Here are swatches next to Guerlain’s Attrape-Couer (which does have true violets and purples), so you can see the color differences.

Tom Ford Orchid Haze Swatches1

Tom Ford’s Orchid Haze, so far as my testing has gone so far, really applies beautifully. The deep shade is particularly strong and dramatic–it’s going to be a liner or evening color for me unless I use it with a light touch or some good blending. The shimmer in the highlight color melts down to a pretty, smooth surface when blended.  The other colors are gorgeous everyday, crowd-pleasing neutrals with a kick. Although I’m still working with the palette, I’m not getting any creasing or fading despite the lack of any eyeshadow base. So far, the quality seems superb.

I would be expecting the Tom Ford Orchid Haze Eye Color Quad, together with the new In the Pink  (I might have to back that one up). and She Wolf trios (ditto), and the other two Eye Color Quads, soon at all Tom Ford counters.  Absolutely worth your time to look.

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Aug 202013
 

Tom Ford She Wolf3

Tom Ford Ombre Eye Color in She Wolf is a beautiful series of brown gray taupes in a matte, shimmer, and sparkle texture. You’ll see that this palette is a bit of a chameleon–like many taupes, there is a color shift depending on the light. Indoors, Tom Ford She Wolf’s cool gray side shows–this is the more typical coloring for the palette.

Tom Ford She Wolf1

Although all three shade are lovely, the center shade is particularly gorgeous. Swatches:

tom ford taupe1

Here are swatches with Tom Ford She Wolf and In the Pink:

TF She Wolf1

 Here are some more images–I wanted to include a true black (Shu ME 990), a good grey (Chanel Gris Exquis), and a few more taupes for comparison.  Here, I’ve included Chanel Taupe Grise, Chanel Safari and Shu Uemura ME Silver 945:

Tom Ford She Wolf Comparisons2

Same (slightly different lighting):

Tom Ford She Wolf Comparisons1a

 I’ll continue to play with both throughout the week, and post more as I learn more.

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Aug 182013
 

Tom Ford In the Pink4

I was able to pick up this limited edition Tom Ford In the Pink Ombre Eye Shadow.

Tom Ford In the Pink1

 

I haven’t have much time to play with this yet, but thought it useful to post some preliminary images. Although this is named “In the Pink,” the colors are closer to the peach side. This appears to be designed for a pretty, nude eye. It consists of:

  • On the left, the first shade is a soft matte peach (which blends into my skin into a true nude);
  • In the middle, the second shade is a shimmery peach-apricot;
  • On the right, the third shade is a sheer sparkle color.

Swatches (the first shade is nearly invisible as it nearly matches my skin):

Tom Ford She Wolf7

So far, the shades seem buttery smooth with no fallout. I’ll play with these beautifully formulated shadows this week and do a full update later on. In the meantime, here’s a quick eye look using In the Pink on Liz:

Tom Ford Eye Swatches5

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Jan 012013
 

By popular request, here are some quick swatch comparisons between the Chanel Raffinement eyeshadow quad (reviewed here) and Tom Ford Enchanted (reviewed here). I hope you find them helpful!

First:

Chanel Tom Ford Comparison3

You can tell that Tom Ford Enchanted as a more pink/mauve impression. Second:

Chanel Tom Ford Comparison8

Third:

Chanel Tom Ford Comparison4

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Jan 012013
 

Yesterday, we looked back at some of our favorite products of 2012. Today, we’re going to look forward to create a wish list and observe a few things about the future of beauty. At this same time that this is posting, Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book is posting her thoughts as well here. This is Cafe Makeup’s little thought piece, looking at potential directions and trends. We’re speculating and opining, so take this needs to be taken with a wink and a grain of salt.

So, here we go, what do we think will (or should) happen in 2013?

Cafe Makeup believes that the key concept is “giving the customer a reason to buy.” At this point, the beauty and skincare market has myriad options. Which will customers find most compelling?

1. Color trends for the face.  Over the past year, nail colors have gotten more vibrant. At the same time, companies have worked to improve makeup formulations to create strong color with thinner layers. We suspect that the bright color trends that we’ve seen in Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense lipsticks and MAC’s Iris Apfel collection will continue into 2013. We predict that bright pops of color using new technology will spread to other lines, and also to eye products. Color is decidedly back!

pop of color

If you’ve tried this look, you know that it starts with a flawless face and a neutral canvas. Skin care and subtle products that cover and contour will continue to be important.

2. Luxury Travel Products: Tom Ford’s successful launch may signal that some women are ready, willing, and able to invest in looking right, including while on the road. We suspect that we’ll see more travel-friendly products, like this Nars skincare set that is set to release soon. Will other companies follow suit? We suspect that they will.

Nars skin

3. Wishing for a most customized customer experience.  Luxury fashion has discovered a customized experience, and will pay a premium to do so. Although sometimes makeup companies promise customized products, that typically means that the product “adjusts” to your coloring. This isn’t really controllable, and sometimes delivers dubious results.

We’re left to self-mix foundations, mix blushes, or top a lipstick with a gloss to get everything right. We wonder when (or whether) makeup companies will give customers a genuine custom experience, including the ability to choose textures and colors. Wouldn’t you love a foundation that was genuinely customized to your skin?

Louis Vuitton

Moving toward a customized experience

4. Resistance against micro-releases.  Although some might believe that in the thrill of the hunt, our reading is that customers are growing weary. Some items sell out in less than an hour. Some are understandably questioning the entire system. Some great makeup companies,  like Nars, Chanel, Guerlain, and many others, manage to do limited edition releases in a balanced way. Why can’t everyone?

Sold out

5. UV/LED Gels: The next nail frontier.  Over the past year, we’ve seen the gel nail trend blossom. This nail polish is set with a UV light, and lasts for up to 2 weeks. After First Lady Michelle Obama wore a chip-free blue at the Democratic National Convention, we discovered that she had used a UV-set polish. We’re wondering why no high-end polish company has executed this trend safely and well. That set would get our vote!

Gel nails

6. Untold color stories.  We’re hoping that some makeup companies can leave their personal drawing boards to ask women about color stories that don’t yet exist. As one tiny example, why not pick up on the Chanel Notorious frenzy, and apply this mauve blush idea to bronzers? Some women found Notorious too grey, so that would have to go. Mixing mauve with a bronzer would dispel the unfortunate orange that now seems so passé (especially as Jersey Shore has officially aired its last episode) and work better on cooler skin tones.

What other color stories could be told, if customers were meaningfully consulted? What would you like to see?

Notorious

7. Double-duty products, merging science and beauty. This year, BB Creams became mass-marketed. These products promised coverage plus sunscreen and skincare benefits. Eyeliners promise longer lashes, and lipsticks promise conditioning and SPF protection. Cafe Makeup believes this trend will continue, as more become responsive to customer’s skin/sun care needs.

68a13d9btw1dqye9o7rdcj-copy

8. Customized sampling (for a price).  A while ago, free beauty samples seemed to became more scarce unless you developed a good relationship with a sales associate. Now we see a proliferation of samples in charge-per-month sample services like Glossybox, Birchbox, and others. These samples are usually larger, and some items are full-sized. In addition, some companies sell “try it” sets.

Samples

We believe that the more customized experience for these boxes, the better. We don’t love paying for items we don’t wish to use. We’d like to see more samples from high-end skin lines and foundation samplers for different skin tones (whether from a single brand, or a mix).

9. The continued proliferation of inspired similarities. High end brands may find that their products inspire others to offer similar features at lower price points. These may be authorized, but does put pressure on the high end companies to continue to justify their prices.

Dupes galore

Cafe Makeup suspects that this will encourage luxury companies to offer super-special formulations that are impossible to deliver at low prices. This may include drawing on hand-created custom palettes and the creation of entirely new versions. For consumers, this will widen choice but might entail ever-higher prices at the “super luxury” end.

10. Natural beauty. Despite the proliferation of color, Cafe Makeup knows that many women prefer a subtle look and will always continue to do so. Although sometimes this is accomplished with genetic advantages, it might be created with an artful application of well-formulated skincare and makeup (shhhh–we won’t tell!). We’re hoping that companies continue to love and appreciate this market sector with fabulous products for a flawless face.

no makeup makeup

As we said, please take these observations and opinions with a grain of salt. We have no inside information, but plenty of hopes, thoughts and dreams. We’d love you to share yours as well!

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