Aug 032011

I rarely photograph used items for review on Cafe Makeup, but I was unable to resist using Burberry Beauty Light Glow Natural Blush in Earthy ($42) long enough to put it in front of my camera.  To be more precise, I couldn’t stop using Burberry Earthy after I learned to use it at a recent makeover.

When I first received Burberry Earthy, I tried using it as a traditional blush.  When I did that, I was very confused.  The color didn’t apply as a blush on my warm NC15/20 (Chanel Cameo/Ivoire) skin tone at all.  Although I’m a fan of nude blushes, Earthy left me a little cold at first.  However, an excellent Burberry makeover artist explained that Earthy is a perfect contour color of pale skin tone girls.

Of course, it is possible for one to use a bronzer to contour and I frequently do.  This tends to look best with warm toned makeup looks, or for those with a brighter or beachy style. Here’s a picture of Paris Hilton, looking gorgeous as always (love her!)   This is a classic bronzer contour look:

The bronzer (topped with a touch of highlighter and soft pink blush) has a warmth that echoes her bronzy arms. In contrast, look at the contouring on Burberry runway:

This has a completely different contour look compared to the lovely Paris’s beachy look.  Another, also from Burberry runway:

As you can see, the Burberry runway pictures have a contouring that is more subtle, less warm, and coordinates nicely with the rest of the look. Although slightly warm, Earthy gives the impression much more like the pictures on Burberry runway, not Paris Hilton. It’s a softer, less golden and looks more natural. I do not (and cannot) use Earthy as a traditional blush.  Rather, I place it at follows:

  • On top of forehead around the hairline
  • On the side, stay near the hairline
  • Bring the color in slightly over the brows and cheek hollow
  • Add a touch under the chin to define
You can add a touch of blush (Burberry Tangerine was used at my makeover), plus a touch of highlighter (Burberry Fresh Glow) on the upper cheek and around the eye area.  Here are some comparison swatches with Burberry Earthy and other nudes and bronzes in my collection:  Nars Laguna Bronzer, Mac Taupe blush, Shu Uemura M Amber 83, Bobbi Brown Sandstone, and Chanel Joues Contraste Tempting Beige blush.

 Another, indoor light:

Some thoughts:

  • Nars Laguna is a traditional bronzer (see, Paris Hilton)
  • MAC Taupe is quite dark for pale skin tones, and can look muddy
  • Shu Uemura M Amber 83 can be used as a blush (it has a peachy pink undertone) or a contour
  • Bobbi Brown Sandstone applies on cheeks with a definite pink glow and is more of a traditional nude blush
  • Chanel Joues Contraste Tempting Beige is slightly warm and pink-peach, and can be used as a traditional blush
  • Burberry Earthy is far more subtle than the others and works best on my pale skin as a contour
If you’ve purchased Burberry Earthy, how are you using it?  How do you like to contour?

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Bobbi Brown Tortoise Shell Collection Fall 2011 Promo

 Bobbi Brown  Comments Off on Bobbi Brown Tortoise Shell Collection Fall 2011 Promo
Jun 202011

There are reports that this Bobbi Brown Fall Collection will include two eyeshadow palettes, Sand (left, with neutral to cool tones) and Shell (right with warm tones).  At first I thought that these compacts held Shimmerbricks, but judging from these pictures these palettes are tiered so that the bottom slides out.  That’s nice for travel.  These sell for $60 each, and they are now up on the Nordstrom website (here and here).

I like tortoise shell textures, so I find this brush set very appealing.  I know that Bobbi Brown’s full sized brushes are good quality, so I want to take a look at these for travel ($55 for the set):

There are also two lip sticks–in Soft Nude and Twig ($22 each).  In addition, two High Shimmer Lipglosses will be released–the names are Barely Sparkle, Beach and Citrus ($22 each).

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Feb 282011

I picked up a few samples of Bobbi Brown mascaras and, over the past few weeks, gave them a test.   First up, I tried Extreme Party Mascara ($24 for full sized version), which I really liked on first application.  It delivered on volume and curl nicely.  The volume was not as great a Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils, or Diorshow, but still quite respectable.  Unfortunately, Extreme Party smudged on my under eye area after several hours of wear.  This rarely happens to me, so I’m going to give this one a miss.

Second, I tried the sample size of Bobbi Brown’s Everything Mascara ($24 for the full sized tube).  This had fairly good separation, but almost no volume. Because I’m a volume-lash addict, I won’t be pursuing a second tube.

Third, I’m on my second tube of Guerlain Le 2 Volume Mascara ($36).  I’ve reviewed the regular version of this mascara, Guerlain Le 2 Mascara here, which I loved but wondered whether more volume would be better.  Readers will recall that this is the same mascara released during Guerlain’s Holiday collection, except that the regular version does not have the gold on the small wand side–instead, it’s all black.


The standard Le Volume 2 is all black, but otherwise identical


  • Both Liz and I love this mascara.
  • It really delivers dramatic volume without clumps.
  • This gave less curl than the non-volume version Guerlain Le 2 mascara.
  • The small brush is not a brush, per se, it looks more like a doe foot applicator. I rarely used it, and I’m not sure I understand it.  I wish it was a brush.
  • Every so often, this mascara gave me the slightest smudge.  Not very often, I wondered whether it was my moisturizer or other emollient that I wore on particular days, but I have seen it happen on Liz as well very occasionally.
  • The large brush comes out very clean from the applicator, which is probably why there is so little clumping.  Having said that, the large brush must really be wiping the side of the applicator hole, because it became quite messy after a while.  Be careful handling the tube, the excess mascara that spills out can translate to your hands.  I clean the outside of the container down occasionally.

Overall, Guerlain Le 2 Volume was a big winner, based on the pure volume and look.  Really, I loved it more than another volumizing mascara that I’ve tried.  Recommended.

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Nov 172010

This time of year I’ve amped my water intake up to ensure that my skin is hydrated and clear.  I’ve gone through gallons of Brita-filtered water, a water bottle is never far from my side.  Moisture, moisture, moisture is a winter survival skill.

There are some products that I cannot wait to photograph for Café Makeup, so I can start using the item sooner.  Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 ($17) is one of those products.

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Nov 162010

Bobbi Brown’s Holiday 2010 collection includes the Day to Night Cool Eye Palette ($45), which features a mix of six eyeshadows–3 matte and 3 shimmer shades especially tuned for cool skin tones.

This palette has a nice range of shades, from highlighter to liner, with plenty of drama potential with Rockstar and Gunmetal from the shimmery side of the palette.  There is unquestionably a cool cast to each of these shadows (except for Ivory, which is a neutral highlighter).

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Nov 152010

Bobbi Brown has an extraordinarily wide array of Holiday 2010 offerings–I can not think of anyone who would be unable to find something gift-able in this collection. I’ve been a long-time fan of many of Bobbi Brown’s palettes–although not all of them have caught my eye, several of them offer practical, well-thought-out and high-quality offerings.  Her Holiday 2010 collection is no exception.

Bobbi Brown’s Day to Night Warm Eye Palette ($45) is my favorite format for eyeshadow palettes–her familiar long rectangle, six-pan form, which gets right down to business to provide options, excellent quality and a usuable brush in a very compact space.  As usual, the palettes have sturdy construction, a handy mirror, and a size than easily be slipped into luggage.  (I could not resist having mine signed by her when I went to the Nordstorm San Francisco Centre event earlier this month).


Day to Night Warm is a mix of three practical matte shades on the left, with three beautiful shimmer shades on the right.

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Nov 072010

Happy 400th post to the lovely readers of Café Makeup!  What a lovely journey this has been!

To celebrate the occasion and thank you for your support during the first year of this blog, I’m giving away the Holiday 2010 Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip and Eye Palette ($75) that has been personally signed by Bobbi Brown!

How awesome is that?  How about–really really awesome!!!

Here’s the back story:  Last Friday, I went to Nordstrom in San Francisco Centre for an event featuring Bobbi Brown.  I blogged about it here.  It was a lot of fun–there were a lot of makeup artists to tailor-make a look just for you.  It was unbelievably busy!  It looked like over two dozen stations were staffed by trained and talented makeup artists.  Each had a mirror so that one could watch the application as the makeover went along.  Together with bottles of Evian, makeup lovers who made purchases were given a Bobbi Brown tote bag and water bottle.  Thanks to one of my favorite Nordstrom sales associates, Kristy who manages the Burberry Beauty counter, for telling me about the event.

Those who purchased Bobbi Brown’s new book, Beauty Rules, were given the chance to have the book autographed by Bobbi Brown:

She looked absolutely beautiful!  Gorgeous, fit and smart–the perfect combination!  She was extremely sweet and wonderful, sincerely greeting and interacting with the many women who wanted to meet her.

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Easy Summer Look

 Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Guerlain  Comments Off on Easy Summer Look
May 102010

Spring is turning slowly into summer where I live–sometimes our weather will seem warm, while others (like today) there is a grey rain with the attendant cloud cover.  Summer brings some of my favorite months, and so I’m impatient for it to arrive.  To get me in the mood, here is an easy summer look that I wore over the weekend:

  • Avene Emulsion 50+ Sunscreen
  • Guerlain Terracotta Tinted Moisturizer in Blondes (this is truly moisturizing–I wish Guerlain made this in an everyday version) reviewed here.
  • Chanel Joues Contraste Blush in In Love – reviewed here
  • Chanel Aqualumiere Gloss in Bondi – reviewed here
  • Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Espresso Ink, topped with Guerlain’s Terracotta Eye Kohl in Mirage (reviewed here)
  • Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils mascara
  • RMS Beauty eyeshadow in Lunar (reviewed here).  This was a sample that I got gratis from the Spirit Beauty Lounge, but I recently discovered that similar samples can be purchased quite cheaply at this link.

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Holiday Makeup for the Rest of Us, Part Two

 Bobbi Brown, Eyeshadow  Comments Off on Holiday Makeup for the Rest of Us, Part Two
Dec 192009

This is the second post in a series about holiday looks for anyone who (like me) admires the glamorous looks of Lady Gaga and others, but wishes to modulate them for her own individual lifestyle.

A new decade is about to start.  I was so heartened to see this article describing H&M’s Paris fashion show at the Grand Palais.  It looks fun. The holidays are a great time to play.

What better way to play than to go out?  An easy way to add some shimmer and shine to your look is a wash of shimmer across the lid.   Using a liquid eyeliner adds more glamour.  Add two or three coats of a high-volume mascara.

My favorite eyeshadow of this entire year is Bobbi Brown’s Chrome Eyeshadow in Pewter ($22).  This is fool proof.  It’s neither a bright silver nor a harsh gold.  Rather, it’s a soft, warm glowy color that brightens the eye area without taking over your entire face.  In other words, you can still see the person, without being struck by the eyeshadow.  I am not alone in my love for this eyeshadow;  if you aren’t convinced read this review, or this one.  The texture wonderful.   Want to wear it to the office?  Pair it with a dark suit or dress–it really works, especially if you do a light sweep with your brush.  It’s limited edition, so if you want to try this one you should move fast.  Another nice choice for the holidays is Shu Uemura’s ME Silver 950, although I find this shade less daytime-friendly because it is both brighter and a little more difficult to apply sheerly.

Just for fun, I’m including some Becca Jewel Dusts ($24), which are subtle, grown-up shimmery pigments.  The colors are less vibrant, and so more wearable, than more striking color pigments on the market. Becca’s Jewel Dusts come in small, easily storable containers with square lids that don’t work themselves loose in your makeup drawer.  Also, Becca adds a sifter top to minimize spilling.  Because these are loose powders, try wetting your brush to intensify them.  In the swatch, they’re applied dry.  Applying them with a wet brush would give a perfectly even surface.  (If you’re still intimidated, here’s a quick primer from the Makeup and Beauty Blog that describes most of what you need to know about pigment eyeshadows).

I hope that you are enjoying this holiday season!  I have one more post on this topic before we move on.  Thanks for reading!

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Why You Should Care About Nude Blushes

 Blush  Comments Off on Why You Should Care About Nude Blushes
Dec 042009

When I first heard the term “nude blush” –I thought, “why bother?” After all, what’s the difference between nude blush and no blush at all?

When I was in Paris, I had a makeover at a Bobbi Brown counter. Well, I didn’t ask for one (my French is not all that good). I was sort of “invited” and my language skills weren’t really good enough to refuse. So, the sales associate approached applying makeup on me in a way that no other Bobbi Brown specialist every had before. She was determined to give me a natural, glowing look. And one of the first things that she did was to try on Sandstone blush. Which, I would have thought, was like no blush at all.

But I was wrong.

A nude blush gives your skin a polish, a contour, some DEPTH, that an actual makeup-free cheek does not have. As Calvin Klein once said, ““The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural.” And that’s what nude blush does.

Here are three of my most-loved nude blushes: Shu M Amber 85, Bobbi Brown Sandstone (matte) and Bobbi Brown Bahama Brown (Shimmer blush).

So the main reason you should care about nude blushes is because they make you look completely natural. The other reason is that, if you are doing a strong eye or strong lip, a nude blush is a nice, understated way to keep from going too far. That is, if your lips are very red, you don’t want a strong cheek because it’s going to “compete” with the lip.

Nude Blushes 1

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