Aug 262012
 

This summer, Bobbi Brown’s Desert Twilight Eye Palette ($60) was released as part of the Fall 2012 collection. Although many beauty lovers have a weakness for lip products, mine is eyeshadow palettes. I bought one sight unseen. The palette comes in a beautiful brushed champagne metal package, and it sufficiently small to slip into a carry-on makeup bag to make it eminently travel friendly.

The palette contains a well-chosen, slightly mauve-toned selection of colors. This includes everything from a shell-matte highlighter to a deep espresso liner color. Two of the colors (top right, and third from the left on the bottom) are Bobbi’s sparkle formula, which gives a sheer wash of sparkle. Although this isn’t my favorite formula, I thought that the combination of mattes and shimmers in the palette made the sparkle colors inclusion tolerable.

 

Unfortunately, I found that the eyeshadow texture of this palette was not up to par. In the past, Bobbi Brown has released some buttery soft palettes that I still love (including this Modern Classic, which was limited edition and I still use quite frequently). The highlighter is very sheer even by Bobbi Brown standards. Most of the textures are quite hard using my standard eyeshadow brushes. It was hard to work up good pigment and texture with these.

Here is Bobbi Brown’s Desert Twilight Eye Palette swatched next to the comparatively richly-pigmented and buttery soft Guerlain Les Fauves. Although the Bobbi Brown palette was workable, I believe that you can do a little better in this season of richly-textured neutral palettes.

I’d like to compare Bobbi Brown’s Desert Twilight to the Nars American Dream (reviewed here by The Beauty Look Book), so I am going to get one. For now, I’d wait to invest in the Bobbi Brown.

Please follow us on....

Aug 152012
 

Guerlain has just released a new blush series, Rose Aux Joues ($50), which has a duo format of lights and darks (Messywands has counter-swatched them all). These come in the now-familiar Guerlain gold format palette, which includes the full mirror. It is relatively sleek for packing, yet has enough impact to retain elegance.

I chose Golden High ($50/ #05) as my first test into this new line. This is one of the more unique combinations, yet extremely versatile for frequent wear.

Golden High’s top color is an apricot-brown with a soft shimmer, and the small bottom shade is a matte soft peach that is a more pigmented version of Nars Sex Appeal. Swatches:

The duo is a nice combination for a subtle “nude with a splash of color” look. It’s sophisticated, will work well with nearly all fall colors (reds, burgundy, greys, khaki greens, and navy), whether worn with these colors as eyeshadows, accessories or clothing.

I found that the glowy shimmer in the top shade did not translate very strongly to my cheek. Although your effect may vary, the found that the shimmer was very slight once applied.  The effect of the lighter peach shade (in the bottom small pan) was very subtle.

The Guerlain Rose Aux Joues blush pans are relatively small–to apply the color separately, I first tried a MAC 168, which has a small, dense head. Because the top shade is so pigmented, I found this was unsuccessful. It concentrated the color too strongly in my application areas (I prefer a more subtle, glowing look). I had far better results with the Nars Yachiyo brush (reviewed here at The Non Blonde).  The small bristles at the top of the Yachiyo, in combination with the steep cut of the bristle head, allowed me to get softer color with edges that blended naturally into my skin.

Overall, I liked Guerlain Golden High. It doesn’t have a gasp-worthy effect of a Chanel Joues Contraste, but the effect is beautifully natural. The powder is very finely milled–it does melt into the skin. Golden High also fits well into the rest of Guerlain’s gray-toned eyeshadow palettes (there are a few in the line). Looking in my car’s rear-view mirror driving around town, I really liked the subtle and flattering effect. Those who find some blushes too “powdery” or obvious will love the very natural effect that these give.

It will be easy to pass these by if you look at the pans on a counter. The texture is a bit hard, and the colors do not jump out at you. At the same time, if you try these on during a makeover, I think you’ll be persuaded that these add a really nice, natural and sophisticated effect. I prefer this duo blush duo range to Guerlain’s 4-color blush line.  Except for Red Hot, I’m not tempted to get too deeply into the rest of this range. The colors are subtle and lovely, but some may find that they already have similar colors from other lines.

Please follow us on....

Aug 132012
 

Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Lip Color Paresse ($48 /M65) is a pigmented, liquid, matte medium pink lipstick. Packaged in a longer variation of the Guerlain Rouge G line, this is an intricately packaged formula.

Readers familiar with the Rouge G lipsticks will recognize the iconic packaging, which is based on the design of Lorenz Bäumer (both are affiliated with LMVH, and so the collaboration likely derives from this relation). The mirrored surface, although flawlessly executed, does show fingerprints.

The design is a bit high-maintence–one must first pull the small end out, then twist. It’s not rocket science, but it’s not necessarily intuitive either. Directions are included.

After the first pull, the mirrored top opens like a butterfly, just like Guerlain’s Rouge G lipsticks.

I must admit it is nice to have a mirror when I’m applying a highly pigmented formula–and these are highly pigmented in just the right way. Although these are bulky for a lipstick, they are certainly less bulky than carrying and opening a separate compact to apply. For craftsmanship, the packaging is beautifully done.

Unlike the lipsticks, Guerlain has added a color chip on one side so you can quickly tell which color tube you’ve grabbed. However, the color dot for Paresse is a vamp red but the color applies as a medium pink. Some mental translation will be in order.

The formula, which is applied with a doe foot applicator, has a light scent. It feels very moisturizing when applied, and dries down to an almost-entirely-matte finish.

Unlike many mattes, Guerlain’s Rouge G L’Extrait never feels drying. It doesn’t feel quite as moisturizing as the Chanel Velvets, but it is so much better than many others which seem to pull the moisture out of one’s lips entirely. It takes a few minutes to “dry down” and go matte. It doesn’t feel completely dry–there’s a little movement to the formula even after a while. Like anything else, you can top with a gloss if you like.

The wear time is quite good–nothing lasts on me, but the Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait did give me a few hours of color (even with my chronic water-drinking).

Guerlain Rouge G L’Exrait in Paresse (a medium/deep pink) on Liz:

I liked Guerlain Paresse so much better than Yves Saint Laurent’s Rouge Pur Couture (which I returned rather than doing a review). I found the YSL a little thinner in texture and I didn’t like the stain format (or the scent). The Rouge G L’Extrait is more of a pigmented, long-wearing liquid that wears as a matte. On Liz:

Because the color is so pigmented, this is about how it looks on my deeper toned lips as well.

Overall, I love Guerlain Paresse. At some point, I will probably pick up one of the deeper reds. I know that some want to pick up all of the line, but I will refrain. The packaging, although intricate and beautiful, does seem to be a major component of the price.

I wouldn’t hesitate to pull this out in a restaurant or the like, although others might find the gesture a bit de trop. The formula is lovely, but I believe that not all of the colors will work for me (for example, I tried on a deep mauve that seemed a little draining).

Some swatches next to some other medium range pinks–the very sheer Burberry Tea Rose Gloss, Chanel’s now-discontinued Rouge Allure Laque in Empire and Chanel Glossimer in Courtisane. This picture really shows the difference in texture–of course, no one makes a matte liquid lipstick so exact comparisons would be hard to find.

No stickiness (particularly important for passing the “kiss test”). Long-wearing. No feathering. Lovely texture. I completely trust Guerlain for excellent lip product formula. Liz and I both wanted (and now own) Paresse. It’s a beautiful easy-to-wear color. Love.

Please follow us on....

Aug 122012
 

Guerlain Fall 2012 introduces the Les Fauves eyeshadow palette ($59/ Ecris 4 Couleurs Les Fauves #14). This is a warm, pearly autumnal palette that gives a perfect Fall eye. The colors include a warm shimmery coral, a pearly mocha, a semi-shimmery warm brown, and a deep shimmery pearly deep brown. The overall impression is quite warm.

The tones should work beautifully with blue or green eyes, although those with deeper eye colors might still enjoy the pearly contour effects that the palette allows. Swatches:

I found that the ease and texture of Guerlain Les Fauves made this one a must-have. This has the soft, buttery texture that I adore. I found that using the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush made this extraordinarily easy to use. Below, Liz used the shimmery mocha color from the palette’s right side all over her lid. She used the bottom coral in her inner corner, and the top brown in the crease. The deep color on the left side is a good liner, although it can be used for a crease color as well. There is no highlighter in the palette, although most of us have multiple choices in our stash.

Another with the same lighting, the evening sun skating across the lids: 

Here is a full face, with Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Lip Color  in Paresse (review to follow). When the light is not shining directly on lids, the effect gives a subtle contour. In shade, no flash:

One more:

Guerlain’s pearly neutral palette was a must-have for each of us. A great palette for Fall (and the end of Summer).

Please follow us on....

Jul 262012
 

Nars Foreplay Blush Palette ($49/Sephora Exclusive) is a deconstructed version of the iconic Orgasm blush. This includes the original Orgasm blush (bottom right), together with the individual elements of the original–a matte fuchsia pink, a matte coral, and the shimmery gold highlighter.

The palette is a crowd-pleasing mix of colors that allows you to customize this universally flattering shade as you like. Personally, I’m so attached to cool pinks, I love popping a little bit of the fuchsia on my upper cheek, with the Orgasm down below. Here’s a swatch of all of the shades (softly on the left, more dense on the right):

A few close-ups of the colors:

More:

When I first saw the press for Nars Foreplay, I wasn’t sure as I hadn’t used my original Orgasm in a while (no double entrendre intended). Now that I’ve played with Nars Foreplay, I see its genius. I frequently layer blush in other lines, and having the ability to control the separate elements is sort of awesome. I love adding Fuchsia to Orgasm. It makes the whole color new. Here’s one look on Liz, playing with the colors:

Here, she started with Orgasm as the base shade, then added the fuchsia and coral separately, adding the gold as a highlighter at the end.

Bottom line–The price is right, the package is extremely convenient (especially if you live on the road as I do at times). Awesome, consistent Nars quality. You can get infinite looks easily. This gives a brightening glow. Love.

The Nars Foreplay Palette was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

Please follow us on....

Jul 242012
 

Nars Undress Me Multiple ($39) is a pink nude highlighter shade with a wash of fairy glitter. Right now many of the high concept fashion collections are playing with surface textures in a modernist framework. It seems to me that Nars Fall 2012 collection is made in this same tradition. The items have a beautiful internal connection, they bring something new to the innovative makeup realm. As with many new and inventive textures, these are not traditional. Undress Me fits within this framework–my guess is that very few readers have any duplicates that are close to NARS Undress Me.

This soft, glitter-rich color will act as a highlighter on all but the very lightest skin tones. Here is a comparison between Nars Undress Me Multiple, Nars Angelika Mutliple, and Nars Copacabana Multiple. In this case, I think that the picture tells the entire story, readers will either be entranced and delighted with the gorgeous sheen, and others may find that this does not fit within their personal sensibility:

Nars Undress Me was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

Please follow us on....

Jul 232012
 

Nars has released four (4) new lip product for Fall 2012, all in shades that mesh beautifully with the rest of the collection:

  • More Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24), a honey-brown glossy pencil
  • Autumn Leaves Lipstick ($24): A golden warm sheer lipstick
  • Amsterdam Pure Matte lipstick ($25), a deep brick-red matte pigmented lipstick
  • Rouge Tribal Larger than Life Lipgloss ($26), a deep ruby-jewel, high-shine gloss with sparkles
Here are swathes of all four:
NARS Autumn Leaves lipstick looks red and shimmery in the tube, but applies with a strong golden tone:
Here’s Nars Autumn Leaves on Liz:
More Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil is a soft honey brown:
Close up:
Here is a comparison with Nars Velvet Gloss Pencils in More, Burenos Aires and Hopi:
Here is the deep matte Amsterdam Velvet Lipstick:
Here is a comparison with some other deep reds. First, Nars Amsterdam and Nars 413 Bleecker. Then Chanel Rouge Coco lipsticks in Rivoli and Vendome:
Nars Rouge Tribal Larger than Life Lipgloss is an amazingly dramatic jewel. Not for the color-shy, this color is absolutely gorgeous for a dramatic impression:
Another:
Overall, NARS has some dramatic and unusual shades in its Fall 2012 collection. Overall, each of the colors is dramatic and works with the overall deconstructed theme of the collection.
All products featured in this post were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

Please follow us on....

Jul 212012
 

Nars Fall 2012 brings us two new eyeshadow palettes. Nars High Society Eyeshadow Trio ($45/ limited edition) is a deep mix of three medium-to-deep jewel tones.  Nars Vente Glace Eyeshadow Duo ($34) is a light-toned cool silver and light green which act as shimmery light tones. Both palettes are deconstructed, unconventional and edgy. Unlike many multi-toned palettes, High Society has three deep tones. Nars Vent Glace has two shimmery light tones. I found that the palettes work well together–sisters, of a type–and so I’m reviewing them together.

Here are the deep swatches of Nars High Society, which is the star product of the Nars Fall 2012 collection:

Another:

 

The Nars Vent Glace duo is in the familiar palette format with two light shades. This reminded me of the Nars All About Eve duo, in that it’s geared to give a tonal effect. Both shades of Nars Vent Glace are light and shimmery:

Here are swatches of the Nars Vent Glace duo. Here, I compare it to a more traditional, multi-tonal duo, the Chanel Khaki Clair. I also found the closest colors in my collection were some discontinued Shu Uemura singles (a cool silver ME Silver 950 and a shimmery mossy green ME Silver 851):

Another, same order:

 

Here, we combined the two palettes in this look on Liz.  We used the left (silvery) side of Vent Glace on the inner portion of the eye, together with the violet shade on the outer corners of the eye:

Steps:

  • Nars Undress Me Multiple as an eyeshadow base, up to the brows
  • Left side of Vent Glace duo on the inner half of the eye, blended with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush
  • Violet color of Nars High Society trio, blended on the outer half of the eye with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush

Here’s a overall look with the same eyeshadow combination. We also used other products from the Nars Fall 2012 collection, including Nars Outlaw Blush, Nars Undress Me Mutliple, and Autumn Leaves lipstick.

The Nars High Society Eyeshadow Trio, Outlaw blush, Nars Undress Me Multiple, Autumn Leaves Lipstick, and Vent Glace Duo were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

Please follow us on....

Jul 042012
 

Guerlain has sent product information for its Fall 2012 collection. The one has a large variety of new lip products which (in addition to powders and foundations) is one area of Guerlain’s excellence.

In August 2012, Guerlain will introduce a new liquid lipstick range in the Rouge G series–called “Rouge G L’Extrait.” This appear to be highly pigmented, liquid lipsticks that dry to a matte finish that has “exceptional hold.”  $48 (click to enlarge)

Guerlain is introducing new Rouge G colors, a new lip pencil, and two new Kiss Kiss Gloss colors. I’ve reproduced all of the information that I have here (click to enlarge). We’ll have to wait to correlate the shade names to their colors.

 To round out the collection, there are six new Rose Aux Joues Blush Duos, which contain one shade for contouring and the other for a pop of color on the cheek. It’s nice to see Guerlain reformulating the blush range. They do such a nice job with powders, and “Red Hot” sounds like it has real potential. Also, there is a new (permanent) warm eyeshadow palette, Les Fauves.

Guerlain has indicated that it will not be sending Cafe Makeup test product, so I’ll have to see these in person before investing. I’m most interested in the new liquid lipstick formula and hopeful for the blush duo’s. How does this collection look to you?

By the way, I was in a cafe the other day, and I did see one or two Parisian women pulling their Rouge G lipsticks out of their purses for a quick touch-up. It looked rather elegant.  It is evident they fit nicely for some women who love the house of Guerlain.

Please follow us on....

Jul 022012
 

Due August 1, 2012, NARS will offer Sephora Foreplay, an exclusive blush/highlighter palette ($49). Inspired by NARS best-selling Orgasm blush, Foreplay is Orgasm “deconstructed.” The original is a peach, pink, and gold combination. This palette includes the original Orgasm, plus each of the components separately–pink, peach, and gold. You can layer the iconic original with shimmery gold highlighter, or intensify either the peach or pink by adding the matte tones to create your own signature Orgasm glow.

Please follow us on....