Jul 182014
 

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt01I’ve been waiting months for Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup line to come to the U.S. She’s worked so closely with Tom Ford that I suspected that she’s going to feature a line of top shelf products.

Tom Ford London Flagship Store - Launch PartyShe’s visionary. I couldn’t resist when this Charlotte Tilsbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set ($110) came up for sale as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. This set features a sculpting bronzer, highlighter and brush, lovingly packed together.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt02Inside, the compact is held in this complex, pretty box.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt03

This box is full of secrets..a cute little touch.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt07Beyond this complex folded paper is a touch of application advice for the sculpting bronzer and highlighter within.

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Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt09Inside, the compact is beautifully etched. Who does this so finely? Gorgeous.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt10Open the compact, and aside from the full-sized mirror are two pans holding the sculpting bronzer and highlighter:

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This sculpting powder is an easy-to-use, forgiving shade compared to some of the deep taupes we’ve seen from other lines. Foolproof!t

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Here is a comparison of this shade, compared to MAC’s Taupe Shape blush (LE, discontinued), and Chanel’s Notorious.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt16

The sculpting powder is finely milled and leans gold, without any sparkle effect. This goes on very smooth and beautifully.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt12

Here are some swatches comparing Chanel Mouche de Beaute and Chanel Poudre Signee. I found Tilbury’s easier to pick up on a brush (but similar to tone/texture) to Chanel Mouche de Beaute (which is a bit more gold compared to the Tilbury shade). Chanel’s Poudre Signe is more subtle and more ivory compared to Tilbury.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt17The Tilbury brush is the perfect size and shape to use with these powders, and is included in the set. This is a full-size goat hair brush.

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt05A close-up of the head:

Charlotte Tillbury Highlight Sculpt06Overall, I’m really pleased with this set. The color suits my Chanel Ivoire/MAC NC15/20 skin perfectly. The brush makes the set incredibly easy to use. These powders are gorgeous–finely milled, perfectly balanced, and worthy of the luxury label. This set is currently exclusive to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

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Jul 162014
 

Nars Philip Lim05The 3.1 Phillip Lim for NARS collection ($20 each/ nine colors) has just released, a series of nine modern shades with a lovely formula and inspired by colors that “exist in the shadows.” These are currently up for sale on NARS online site (Free Shipping on any order through July 21st), and can be expected at other sources within a few weeks. Indeed, although all of these colors are diverse, there is an undertone that runs through them all that makes them coordinate well together. Those into nail art take note—it will be easy to make stunning variations with these colors.

Nars Phillip Lim 41There seems to be something a little different with this series of NARS polishes–the brushes are wider, the formula more chip-resistant and easier to use. These are all changes for the better. The square bottles have lift-off square tops, revealing easy-to-hold knurled tops.

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Celebrating the longstanding collaboration between NARS and 3.1 Phillip Lim for runway events dating back to Fall 2007, this collection also includes a canvas Pochette ($80), which is perfectly sized to carry this well-edited collection. My Pochette came with this lovely slipcover:

Nars Philip Lim01Inside, the Pochette carries all nine colors plus leaves a little space for a top coat to come along for the ride.  The Pochette is a tough canvas with a zipper that means business, but is gentle to your nails.

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The bottles are protected by an insert which keeps them from clanking together. I can personally attest that mine made it through checked baggage in a cross-country flight and a six-hour road trip in my suitcase (and back again). Genius!  Certainly, the Pochette can be used for other brands of polish as well. In the past, I’ve never had a satisfactory way to travel with any amount of my beloved nail polish. So I love this bag beyond reason:

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Here are the shades in the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Nars Collection. I must apologize for the condition of my nails, given my cross-country move and travel these have seen better days. However, I am not going to wait for repair before showing you these lovelies. All of these are with a topcoat, except for the nail wheel at the bottom of the page which are color-only. First up,  NARS Shutter is a black sea green that looks deeper and more neutral/ gray than the lush grassy Zulu:

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On nails:

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NARS Gold Viper is a metallic gold that applies beautifully:

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Gold Viper on nails: Nars Gold Viper2Here is NARS Anarchy, a soft cool shell that NARS calls “angora.”

Nars Philip Lim11I love that Anarchy is not a flat white, rather this cream tone does seem to have a hint of grey that looks shadow-like. Colors this light are sometimes problematic in my nail polish experience. I found that by using care and light layering, NARS Anarchy applied very well. This is two coats without a base:

NARS Anarchy two1Nars Other Side is from the deep vamp family that I find irresistible. The line describes this shade as “bitter chocolate”–I call it yummy.

nars other side1 bottleI love Other Side on nails, it has a deeper/browner tone than many others in this category.

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NARS Hell-Bent is a rich, aggressive warm red.

Nars Philip Lim14On nails:

NARS Philip Lim Red1

Nars Wrong Turn is a metallic with multicolored micro glitter that shows dramatically in sun:

Nars Philip Lim09Here is NARS Wrong Turn on nails, which applies to cover nails in a single coat (but I prefer two for a more rich look):

nars wrong turn1Here is NARS Dark Room, described as a blue denim (I’d prefer to think of this as a darker denim because the color is quite deep):

Nars Philip Lim06On nails, NARS Dark Room covers beautifully in two coats.  However, I needed two passes with a remover to get this vibrant color off:

nars dark room three1NARS Crossroads is a dusty purple:

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On nails;

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NARS Insidious is a rich gold-green, shot through with beautiful micro glitter.

Nars Philip Lim18This one applies like a dream, really it’s irresistable.

nars insiduous1Here is the nail wheel with all shades:

NARS Phillip Lim swatches1

In my view, this is a highly successful designer/beauty collaboration. These colors are gorgeous, the formula is better than ever, I love the new brush, and the Pochette is both extremely useful and well made. As ever with these types of collaborations, these are limited edition items that are now for sale on NARS online site (note: Free Shipping on any order through July 21st), and due at other department and speciality stores soon.

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

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Jul 152014
 

Nars Liquid Highlighters02

NARS has recently expanded its illuminator range to include two new colors. I love these liquid aluminizes. To me, the liquid form can look more natural than some powders because they can be worked into foundation (and even worn mixed in or under foundation for a subtle effect). Unlike some lines, NARS Illuminators are beautifully formulated, never sticky or heavy, and give the perfect amount of sheen to add a healthy-fabulous glow. Their generous size and travel-friendly packaging make these perfect additions to your makeup collection this summer.

nars 413 blkr highlighter

NARS 413 BLKR ($__) adds a classic pearl shade to its Illuminator line. This color is so universal, or all skin tones and types. It looks amazing with many of the NARS BLKR line as well–those burgundy-based classics really look amazing with this beautiful shade.  This shade is part of NARS 413 BLKR Collection additions, and at NARS Boutiques.

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NARS Hot Sand ($30/1.0 oz.) adds a pearlized warm peach-gold to this line. Unlike the existing Orgasm and Super Orgasm (which have a strong pink-peach tone), Hot Sand is a softer, more neutral color. This is available at Nordstrom, NARS online (part of the NARS Summer 2014 Color Collection: Adult Swim, Bloomingdales and Barneys New York.Nars Liquid Highlighters05

Here are swatches of both NARS 413 BLKR, Hot Sand and a touch of Armani’s summer Fluid Sheer #13 (a limited edition shade which went quickly).Nars Liquid Highlighters08

Another:Nars Liquid Highlighters10Both of these are standards, and must-haves in my collection. You should note that NARS Hot Sand is limited edition, and some are still available available at Nordstrom, NARS online, Bloomingdales and Barneys New York. Don’t miss them.Nars Liquid Highlighters05

 These highlighters were sent by NARS 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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Jul 132014
 

nordstrom sale It’s that lovely time of year again when Nordstrom has its Anniversary Sale. If you are a Nordstrom cardholder, you have early access to their products. The items will be up for sale for all on July 18th (if they haven’t sold out). I went by my local Nordstrom today to test the waters. Movado rose gold bold watchI love some of the jewelry discounts that I’ve gotten in the past. In the midst of my rose gold obsession, I looked at a few of the watches at the event and chose this Movado Bold Rose Gold watch ($434.90/down from $650). I compared this with some other strong contenders–this very elegant and work-friendly Michael Kors Rose Gold Bailey ($166) which had a very pretty brushed metal on the band, and this fun bold Marc Jacobs uber-bold Rose Gold Blade ($183). This Burberry Bracelet Watch ($330) made it to the final four as an understated classic in a steel color. In the end, the Movado won out because–in my heart of hearts–this face is everything. movado Another piece that I picked up is this Laundry by Shelli Seigal Tweed Reefer Coat ($109.90). The length is really nice, the weight is between a blazer and a coat. What really won me over was the cut and quality of the fabric. It nips in a bit at the waist in a flattering way, and the fabric is very rich (especially for that price!). You can see a touch of leather detail above the pocket, which adds a little something. laundry coat I also took a chance on this Marc by Marc Jacobs James Sweater ($198.90) in Century Blue Melange. This looks all sorts of wrong on the hanger. The sales associate tried to talk me out of trying it on. It really is crazy wide. It’s completely contrary to every form-fitting trend we’ve seen for years. Of course, that’s exactly what drew me in–rethinking the whole idea of a sweater? Sign me up! With tights and either ballet flats or thin-leather boots (and hair up with perfected makeup of course!), this is going to be genius for Fall.  Also it will get me in the mood to test out some Marc Jacobs Beauty Fall items (below is a Kiss Pop lip pencil and Smart Wand Tinted Face Stick). Plus the sweater is perfect for cocooning on a plane, or curling up with a good book until another Polar Vortex passes.marc jacobs sweater nordstrom As far as beauty items go, I’ve already given some thoughts on NARS offerings this year (a first look is here). And yes, in person they are absolutely beautiful. Nars Domination Palette 3 Although I was tempted to get these Dior lipsticks, I decided to try something completely new this year. I took a chance on this Charlotte Tillbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones set ($110).  I’ve been dying to try this line (seriously!) for months since it launched in the UK. I ordered this online, and cannot wait till it arrives (I’ll post an “in real life” picture then, I promise!) charlotte tillbury As I wandered around the store, I saw a few other things that remain on my mind. In addition to some basics that I picked up (hello, Barefoot Dreams!), I decided to give my debit card a little rest. I found that I already have some items in my closet that are “close enough” to these that I’m passing. Still, I thought that the quality level of them was very nice. frye These Frye Patty Riding Booties ($218) are going to go quickly in my opinion. You don’t see Fryes with this much style often, and almost never at a pre-season discount. I was very tempted by this Vince Two Tone Coat ($449). Again, another item that I suspect won’t be around long. It’s modern and classic. This 90% wool coat looks like it will keep out serious cold while still looking cool. Pair this with a nuclear-bright scarf and you’re set. vince coat   Are we ready for Fall? Did you pick up anything from the event? Feel free to share in the comments.

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Jul 112014
 

Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows All ShadesHere is an entire line of the new formula NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows ($29 each/0.05 oz.), which has a mix of a unique texture, wearable colors with a touch of NARS-edge, and gorgeous reflectivity.  I’m posting this from Colorado using pictures that I took in the drought-million-degree temperatures of California, and playing with these shadows every day as I ready myself for a day of conferencing. Part of this is my excitement of this new line, and the other part is that I genuinely love you all and don’t want you to miss out on these beautiful new shadows. These are currently available at NARS online, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New YorkBloomingdaleand Nordstrom.Nars Dual Intensity Shadows All 31 The shade names have a celestial inspiration, which is appropriate given that these resemble stars. What is difficult to understand from a single static image of the line is the amazing way that these eyeshadow interact with changes in light, and yet still retain their ability to hold onto their beautiful color. So my reviews of these shadows will include more pictures than usual to convey how they look when you are holding and using them. All shadows are in the same order as they are in the pictures above: Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows05According to the line, these shades can be applied dry for a sheer finish, or wet for more intensity. All swatches in this post are dry, and in many cases with a few swipes. So you can see that you do not have to use these wet to get intense colors. With many, I got intense color with a soft brush and a single pass. The other aspect of these is how beautifully these shadows coordinate together. I put together a few “quads” (groups of four) without much thought, hoping to show that these are a well-thought out set of colors that integrate well together. Here’s a mix of cools and warms:   Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows09 I love the way that these colors play off of each other for a beautiful mix:Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows08 This mix has two metallic shades–Dione and Himalia-which are extraordinary accent colors that will coordinate well with the satins and mattes that you likely already have in your collection.Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows10 Here are some sets of swatches of all shades. First up is the satiny, complex black NARS Syncorax and the deep starry navy Giove that has pink-purple reflects. This set also includes two ephemeral highlight shades, which primarily reflect color. Cassiopeia reflects pink, and Andromeda reflects a soft gold similar to the NARS Alabaster highlighter for face. Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows15a Swatches: Nars Sycorax Giove Cassiopeia Andromeda Another: Nars Sycorax Giove Cassiopeia Andromeda Here is another set. It was important to me to swatch the last three shades (Subra, Phoebe and Desdemona) together, because there are some similarities looking at their pans in that there are violets/mauves/purples throughout all. As you can see, on the skin they are completely different. First is the soft peach-with-a-touch-of-pink Europa, a beautiful highlight shade that is a smoother version of many soft highlight shades. NARS Subra Nars swatch shadows3 Here are the swatches (please note that these are a different order than the picture, above, but properly labeled in all pictures). You might click on this one to enlarge it so that you can see the complexity of these shades.

NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe1a

Another, slightly tiling away from the (blazing!) sun. Of these, shimmery Phoebe changes the most when moved in the light:NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe2a

 

One more:

NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe3aFinally! The gorgeous metallic shades. These will not look “soft and buttery” in their pans but let me tell you that if you place a brush on these and sweep them across your lid these are heaven. The pigment is highly layer able, so if you want a subtle “sheen” on your lid, do a single sweep (use a soft neutral matte in the crease, and you have an amazing eye). You can layer these up to full metallic intensity if you keep building them up. On my eye, I do one or two sweeps. For evening and on my arm, I built up three to four layers.Nars swatch shadows2All of the above shades have the same metallic qualities. Nars Callisto has soft pink/mauve undertones and pairs well with Phoebe and Subra. NARS Himalia and Dione are currently both killing it with soft golden tones. Himalia is more of a soft true gold, and Dione is a “cool gold.” Because I have been searching for years to find a pretty cool gold, I’m delighted to see it in this collection. NARS Lysithea is a remarkable silver with a slight sage tint, which looks remarkably good on warm tones (and of course is made for cool skin tones as well). Lysithea looks amazing with Sycorax smudged into the lash line, by the way. Nars Callisto Himalia Dione Lysithea If you think that all of these look too good to choose between them, you are right. In my opinion, you need them all. They are different enough that they aren’t really substitutes. If you have to cut out one, I’d get Dione if you have cool skin tone, and Himalia for warm. Yet I am  not taking my own advice, because I’ve worn Dione for several days and I cannot seem to stop (I have warm skin tones). More: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaTilted away from the California sun: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaThe NARS dual intensity metallics change the most in the light. Here are the same swatches in shade, you can see that these are far more subtle: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaOverall, I adore these. They are all winners, honestly. The question is going to be which to get first, and when to get the rest. I’m going to keep playing with these and update with another post focusing on the individual shades. Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows06

These are currently available at NARS online, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New York, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.

These were provided 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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