Skin care

My Thoughts: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin SPF 60 Dry Touch Sunscreen

May 27, 2016

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A few years ago, I decided it was completely unacceptable that a product that was supposed to save your skin could also create breakouts. Since then, I’ve been on a quest to identify those that don’t. A few of my go-to success stories are:

I’m now adding another — La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin SPF 60 Dry Touch Sunsreen ($19.99/ 1.7 oz./available at Ulta).  This one has all the right boxes checked. This products against UVA/UVB, it absorbs moisture, is water-resistant, stays matte, and it works well under foundation. I’ve worn it to the gym, during long days, and during times when I’ve been battling cystic acne.

I happy to report that this one works, gorgeous. I used it as a primer, and found that my foundation stayed shine-free all day while the SPF protection kept those damaging rays away. The texture is a white cream that dries clear almost immediately (unlike Institute’s Estederm’s No Sun, which takes a good twenty minutes for the white cast to fade away. La Roche-Possay’s Clear Skin worked under a few different foundations without separating, balling up or clogging pores.

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The one issue that I have to note is that there is a sunscreen-like scent upon application. It fades pretty quickly, and it doesn’t seem to be artificial or perfume-like, but it’s something that I wish wasn’t there. Otherwise, I really love the formulation. It dries quickly and doesn’t feel “heavy,” although it does apply as a cream. It’s very pleasant.  Definitely worth a look if you are looking to play out in this sun this summer!

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin SPF 60 ($19.99) is available at Ulta.

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Bronzers NARS

Review: NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer

May 20, 2016

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NARS Laguna Liquid ($40/1 ounce) is a beautiful addition to your summer beauty routine. If you are new to liquid bronzers, you are in for a treat. Laguna works beautifully for a natural, no-streak, softly shimmering summer glow. The effect is so beautiful. As if Languna would get any better… and then it does. 

This liquid is housed in an opaque bottle that’s got a controllable pump. I had no problems getting just the perfect amount out of the container without over-spill. This easy-to-use liquid can be mixed into your foundation to add a touch of summer warmth to your typical look. But my favorite way to use it is to dab a touch onto the bronzing points of my face (where the sun would naturally hit), and blend.  So I put a touch across the tops of my cheeks, the bridge of my nose, the top of my chin, and the top of my forehead.  The effect of using a liquid bronzer is that it tends to melt into my foundation for a more natural, believable look. Yet the ever-so-slight touch of gold adds a little bit of richness that’s absolutely beautiful.

A few thoughts…

NARS Laguna Liquid starts out as a sheer liquid. I found NARS Laguna more sheer and slightly more liquid and lighter in tone compared to Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer 100 (originally reviewed here, and the same bottle is still going strong despite heavy use). Both are quite easy to use, and the NARS Laguna builds up nicely and easily using small washes.  Of course, NARS Laguna is extremely long lasting (thank you for being a professional makeup artist, Francois Nars!) for an all-day bronze glow.

NARS Laguna liquid has a very hard to detect scent, light a slight tropical coconut, that I’ve really got to put right under my nose to detect. It’s lovely, actually, and slightly relaxing if you love the beach (who doesn’t?).

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Overall, NARS Laguna Liquid is an A+ top-of-the-line bronzer. It melts into your foundation (or skin), so it doesn’t add any perceptible texture to the skin. I cannot feel it applied to the skin, it simply delivers a soft was of glowing health that is my must-have during the summer months. I typically add a powder or liquid blush as usually, and a highlighter as well. Wonderful and highly welcomed product. I love a new innovative formula, don’t you?

NARS Laguna Liquid is available at NARS online, Nordstrom, Sephora, Barney’s New York, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, and Neiman Marcus.

Affiliate links. Product sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

 

 

 

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Perfume

Review: Cartier La Panthère Eau de Perfume

May 18, 2016

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Cartier La Panthère Eau de Perfume ($55 and up) is a statement scent. I love it days when I need every bit of confidence. Walking into a room full of people, where I’d like to lead a wonderful impression, takes a great lipstick. From here on out, I’m adding some a spray of La Panthère as well. It literally gives me a soft lift that, although not overpowering, adds a bit of assertiveness that’s both lovely and entirely appropriate.

There’s a floral touch, some fruit, and a bit of musk. The blend synergistically combines to create something new–it doesn’t smell like anything specific but there is something familiar about it. Introduced in 2014, I’m happy to have discovered it now. The bottle has a highly styled panther carved into the glass.

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It’s a gorgeous, heavy presentation with a large, flat spray top. It’s gorgeous.

There are floral notes (gardenia, predominately) in the scent, but they do not predominate. In other words, I don’t find that this has the overall impression of a floral scent. It may be because they are mixed with fruits, as well as musk and oak moss. It’s lovely and assertive. It’s feminine but not erotic. I believe the best way to describe it is to say that it’s one of favorite scents to wear when I have to meet important people, and to come across as confident and ready to lead.

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There are scents that are made for relaxing, and others for a casual day. Cartier La Panthère Eau de Perfume is custom-made for days when you are pushed outside your comfort zone. Don’t worry–you can totally do this. Which is true whether or not you’re wearing Cartier, but still. It’s nice to have it along with you.

Affiliate link. Product sent without charge for consideration for review.

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Blush NARS

Photos: NARS Biggest Orgasm Blush

May 13, 2016

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NARS Limited Edition Orgasm blush ($39) is a wonderfully giftable item (or something that you might like to gift to yourself!). Essentially, this big beautiful compact holds 3.04 ounces of NARS’ classic at $39, compared with 1.92 ounces for the $30 regular-sized version. Of course, this blush has a well-deserved reputation for looking good on virtually everyone. Perfect for year-round wear, Orgasm is a soft pinky-peach with soft shimmer that gives beautiful light and color to wake up almost all skin tones. It’s lovely.

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NARS Limited Edition Orgasm is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Nordstrom, Nars Boutiques, and Nars online.

The outer sleeve is beyond adorable with the summer sunglass theme, which is repeated on the plastic protector that protects the blush during shipment.

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The full-size mirror has “#what makes you blush” inscribed to make you smile.

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I can think of one or two girlfriends that will love this as a gift. As always, I love the travel-friendly packaging, the oversize mirror, the glorious texture, and the gorgeous flush of color. The formulation is superb. This big Orgasm is one yes, yes, YES!.

NARS Limited Edition Orgasm is available at Sephora, Nars BoutiquesNars online, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom.

Affiliate links, product provided without charge for consideration for review

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Dior Powder

Review: Dior Nude Air Summer Glow Shimmering Loose Powder

May 12, 2016

Dior Nude Air

Dior Nude Air Summer Glow Shimmering Loose Powder ($56/0.56 oz.) is a finishing powder that delivers a softening, blurring effect with a bit of an ethereal warm glow. Limited edition as part of Dior’s Milky Dots collection for Summer ’16, this powder immediately caught my eye.  I’m a fan of beautiful textures (and I’m a bit over-saturated in highlighters), so I thought that Summer Glow would be a fun addition to my summer beauty collection.

Bottom line–Some will love this and back it up, while others will not love it. I found that this works as a beautiful glowing summer finishing powder when applied with a large fluffy powder brush. Despite the sparkles you see in the powder, I found that this application method doesn’t appear to translate those sparkles to the face (checked in several different types of lighting). It gives a beautiful, warm, glow effect that is similar to some of the “glowing foundations” that we’ve seen released lately. I love the effect. Alternatively, Dior Summer Air can be used as an glow over blush for those looking to add a touch of warmth.

Dior Summer Air Shimming Loose Powder is available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Bergdorf GoodmanLord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue (and Harrods in the UK).

This lush tub of luxury powder appears to be made of a plexiglass, which makes it both strong and pretty. It’s packed with a puff (no brush). Although the Dior specialist recommended using the puff for all-over application, I haven’t worked up the bravery to do that yet.  I don’t think she was wrong, she was quite insistent in fact (she said it three times! okay!) If you look closely at the powder, you will find that it is full of a very fine iridescence (this accumulates on the plastic sifter lid, below right). This powder’s name includes “Shimmering Loose Powder.” With a concentrated highlighting brush (like this one from Charlotte Tillbury, but others will do), Dior Summer Sun can create a subtle highlight.

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 Keep in mind that this powder works best applied sheerly, and the tone is deeper than a typical highlighter. Here’s a comparison with Dior’s Nude Air Highlighter in Glowing Pink. After playing with Dior Summer Air, I decided that the Dior sales associate was on to something. Although I don’t like using the puff (I prefer a large fluffy brush), Dior Summer Air is a beautiful all-over glowing finishing powder. In fact, it reminds me of a deeper, summery version of Chanel Feerrie.

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Dior Nude Air 2_edited-2I suspect that if you are (like I am) beautiful face powders, Dior Summer Air is worth your time. Applied softly all over the face, it gives a similar impression to some of this Spring’s glowing foundations (not as glowing as Becca’s, more similar to Giorgio Armani’s). If you go this route apply in a very sheer layer with a large fluffy powder brush. It dds a touch of healthy summer color without going all the way bronzed.

Alternatively you can apply with a smaller brush as a concentrated soft highlighter or glowing powder over blush.

The packaging is beautiful Dior–lighter than glass, but still makes my heart race with the quilted silver top. Certainly, it will work as a body powder as well if you love the look.

Dior Summer Air Shimming Loose Powder is available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Bergdorf GoodmanLord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue (and Harrods in the UK).

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Giorgio Armani Perfume

Review: Arman Code Profumo

May 11, 2016

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Giorgio Armani makes lovely makeup formulas. It’s no surprise that Giorgio Armani Code Profumo is a beautifully formulated scent. Although designed for men (does that restriction even matter any more?), I find that I love this on myself as well. This is a warm, comforting and spicy scent that is based on notes of tonka bean, cardimom, and woody amber. There’s a sweetness in the scent as well that adds a light complexity that’s just gorgeous.

I think the sweet vanilla combined with the spice and amber are blended into something that women will find attractive on men. It’s a rich scent, with plenty of strength and longevity.  Although I think that it’s sort of trendy to disparage large perfume brands, I genuinely love this one (I tend to like heavier, richer scents). With Father’s Day around the corner, this is definitely one to keep at the top of your list.

Armani Code Profumo is available at Macy’s.

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This scent was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review/ Affiliate links

 

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Concealer Sephora

Review: Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer

May 7, 2016

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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.

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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).

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Hair Shu Uemura

Review: Shu Uemura Color Lustre Shampoo and Conditioner

May 5, 2016

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If you color your hair (including you, if you have highlights!), you already know that keeping it in excellent condition is a challenge. Coloring can be harsh, even if one goes to excellent salons. Shu Uemura’s Art of Hair Color Lustre’s series is targeted to preserve color, deliver shine, and protect the hair from damage. I’ve been using the Color Lustre Sulfate-Free Brilliant Glaze Shampoo and Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Conditioner for the past few weeks, and have experienced a noticeable improvement in shine, bounce, softness and smoothness. What’s not to love?

Shu Uemura’s Sulfate Free Brilliant Glaze Shampoo (10 oz. $48) is a lightweight, pearly liquid that cleans hair perfectly while leaving it soft and shiny. My hair felt clean, but never dry or stripped. It’s rare to find a shampoo that strikes this balance just right, and is also kind to color. I experienced no color fading. In fact, my color looked better than ever because the condition of my hair improved significantly.

This shampoo includes Musk Rose Oil, which has healing and nourishing properties. It also has Goji Berry Extract (a source of anti-oxidants) to protect color.

The shampoo has a subdued scent with the following notes:

FRAGRANCE: Rose of Japan
TOP NOTE: Mandarin, Grapefruit, Black-Currant, Cardamon Essence
HEART NOTE: Rose, Freesia, Violet
BASE NOTE: Sandalwood, Musk, Vanilla

She Uemura’s Color Lustre Brilliant Glaze Conditioner (8 oz./$58) surprised me. This conditioner feels lightweight and non-greasy. Usually light conditioners isn’t really effective for me.  However, The Brilliant Glaze conditioner absorbed very easily and really delivered soft, shiny, healthy hair.  This conditioner is worthy of the premium name.

Like the shampoo, Shu’s Color Lustre adds Musk Rose Oil and Goji Berry Extract. The scent was quite similar to the shampoo. For both, I found that the scent didn’t last far beyond the treatment time and did not clash with my perfume. Overall, big love for both of these. It’s wonderful to see that Shu Uemura’s Art of Hair delivers so beautifully.  Highly recommended.

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These are both available at Shu Uemura Art of Hair online. 

These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. Affiliate links.

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Laura Mercier Skin care

Review: Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Moisturizing Creme

May 4, 2016

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Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Moisturizing Cream ($68) is a remarkably effective, lightweight moisturizing cream that I recommend for those with combination to dry skin.  I’ve used many moisturizers, from the French pharmacy lines, various high end brands including Chanel Sublimage. In my view, Laura Mercier’s delivers quality that far exceeds its price. This particular version, infused with a rose scent, delivers glowing, fresh-looking skin, while feeling very pleasant (and not at all heavy).

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The moisturizer is remarkable for being both effective and lightweight. This is especially effective at allowing my skin to recover from stress. The scent is sophisticated and calming. I just adore it. It’s one of those Sunday-afternoon facial products that makes you feel very pampered, or one that I apply at night that allows my skin to look refreshed in the morning. It’s been delivering excellent results.

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Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Nourishing Creme is available at Laura Mercier online, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdales.

Sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for review/ Affiliate Links

Ingredient list

Aqua/Water/Eau, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Myristyl Myristate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Hexyldecanol, Isohexadecane, Panthenol, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip Oil) Seed Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteareth-20, Myristyl Laurate, Xanthan Gum, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Hydroxide, Bht, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit/Leaf/Stem Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Disodium Edta, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Citric Acid, Fructose, Sodium Hydroxide, Urea, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Protein, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Maltose, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Pca, Trehalose, Amino Esters-1, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract, Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Glucose, Pearl Powder, Sorbic Acid, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Beta-Carotene, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Tocopherol, (Rose) Fragrance/Parfum, Citronellol, Geraniol.

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Blush Tom Ford

Tom Ford Bicoastal Blush Duo Review

April 17, 2016

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I picked up two items from Tom Ford Summer this year–first, a refill of Tom Ford Gold Dust Bronzer ($98) as a replacement for one that I’ve used to pan. But the new item that created the most excitement is Tom Ford Bicoastal Blush ($78). I find this formula, which echoes the same from the Moonlight Sculpting duo, to be excellent. As others have warned, I’m sure that Tom Ford Bicoastal will sell out quickly. Please move quickly.

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Tom Ford Bicoastal is currently available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora (this goes in and out of stock here).

Tom Ford Bicoastal includes a highly pigmented deep pink-red blush that applies with virtually no powdery texture. It melds beautifully to the skin to delivery a soft healthy glowing color. As its name suggests, there is an additional soft pink highlight shade included that provides a highly sophisticated cool shimmer. I absolutely adore Bicoastal–to me, this is going to make a top ten list of 2016. The soft glowing look that it imparts gives life and youth, and these are beautiful colors that are face-brigtening to an entire range of skin tones. Yes, you need this one.

Of course, I’m a big fan of Tom Ford Gold Dust as well. Liz has worn this in countless photographs on this blog, and in her real life. I find myself reaching for Gold Dust on my high-stress days, when I know I want to look cool, confident, and softly tanned. I love it.

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I’ll look at Tom Ford Summer at least one more time before I decide whether I’ve gotten everything that I love from it. However, I knew that Bicoastal blush was a must-have, given my love for this incredible texture. This is well worth your attention. Please do not hesitate on this one–it’s beautiful.

Tom Ford Bicoastal is currently available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora (this goes in and out of stock here).

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