May 212015
 

MAC Pro Longwear nourishing waterproof 4

A few weeks ago, there was a new foundation released to the world–MAC’s Pro Longwear Nourishing Foundation ($32/0.85 ounces). This caught my eye because the formula seems entirely new–not just for MAC, but new for the cosmetic industry. According to this piece in Stylcaster, MAC’s “product development team had been challenged to create a waterproof, modern concealer, and leveraged emerging trends from Korea around hybrid products to create something new.” MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Foundation is currently available at MAC, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, DillardsSelfridges, and other MAC sources.

In 16 shades that correlate to the standard MAC “NC” and “NW” naming scheme, this concealer/foundation is described by the line as follows:

A tenacious waterproof formula that can be used as a foundation or concealer, wearing for an unprecedented 24 hours. Neither rain nor tears can budge this oil-free watertight product that actually repels moisture from the surface of the face. The formula blends seamlessly on the skin with medium to full weightless coverage and a natural satin finish.

MAC pro longwear nourishing waterproof 3Karen’s review at the Makeup and Beauty Blog was helpful to me when using this foundation for the first several times. I want to expand on a few things based on my use of this over the past week plus. As a new formula, I found that many of my intuitions from applying liquids, creams, serums, tinted moisturizers, and bb/cc creams needed to be finessed to get the most out of this foundation.

mac pro longwear nourishing waterproof 6

 

This is my advice (your mileage may vary):

  • The coverage goes from light to full very quickly. When applied directly to the face, it’s important to do this in layers. Then wait a minute before you apply another layer. Trust me on this one. It’s really easy to over-apply, in which case the foundation begins to really highlight pores and look super-artificial. Unless you are going for that look, proceed slowly.
  • Once you are happy with a semi-light coverage, go back in and add product only where you need it. The formula gives you a good minute or more to play with it before it dries, and can be layered even later in the day if you like.
  • Use very little at a time. One drop really can cover the entire face.
  • The color designations seem to be lighter in my range compared to MAC’s standard range. I am typically NC15/20, so I purchased NC20 after swatching a few colors at a store. After wearing the shade, I thought that the match was fine for a pale look, but the NC25 looked more natural on me especially when worn with a bronzer for summer wear (I ended up purchasing both). By comparison, NC20 looked a little harsh, although technically I might have considered it an acceptable match in a sheerer formula. Who knows, maybe my own ghost-pale skin is just scary. Anyway, don’t be afraid to go to a deeper shade if you want to. It’s only makeup.
  • Because of its propensity for high-coverage with a satin finish, I recommend using some type of light Chanel Les Beiges or Guerlain Joli Tient bronzer to warm up the skin and add some life.
  • I had trouble mixing this foundation with a more conventional formulas from other lines. For example, a mix of this and NARS tinted moisturizer seemed to separate on my face when I went into a hot, humid environment. If you are going to mix colors to get your shade, I’d experiment in the comfort of your own home first.
  • MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof really does hold up well in hot, humid weather. My glowy dew (aka sweat), beaded up on my face without removing any foundation. If you are in a hot, humid climate, this one is worth checking out.
  • This foundation looked best on me with a primer (I used Tom Ford’s). It gave it a bit of “cushion” to make the MAC formula sit more lightly on the skin and was a bit more forgiving.
  • I suspect that those with dry skin will want to moisturize well before using this formula.Every bump, pore, flake and tiny line will show if you apply this heavily. For lighter coverage, it seems to be more forgiving.

MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing NC20

You might be wondering if this is worth the trouble of undertaking a learning curve, especially if you are not a foundation-obsessed beauty blogger.  If you are looking for a beautiful finish that lasts all, all, all day in hot, humid weather, then yes. It can be layered mid-day to give a beautiful satin finish. Worn in this week’s rainstorm, the foundation didn’t move (my hair, on the other hand….). The coverage moves from light to medium to full with very little product. The feel is extremely light and breathable–unlike MAC Studio Sculpt, the feel of Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof is feather-light.  I did not detect any scent. I have an incomplete ingredients list, because the Nordstrom label covered up the bottom:

ingredients mac pro longwear nourishing waterproof
MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Foundation is currently available at MAC, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Dillards, Selfridges, and other MAC sources.

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May 022015
 

Algenist Repairing Tint 3I’ve recently be testing the Algenist Repairing Tint & Radiance Moisturizer SPF 30 ($42). I’ve been reading positive things about the line from some sources that have been happy with the company’s skincare. Being more of a makeup junkie than a skincare junkie, I thought that this product would be a good entree into the line.

patented-billboard

For this San Francisco-based company, algae is the foundation of its anti-aging and moisturizing properties. According to their description, a modified and extracted variation that derives from algae forms “a patented, powerful compound that is responsible for regenerating and protecting the micro algae cell, and that this ingredient has “significant anti-aging properties, helping to rejuvenate the skin for a more youthful appearance.” Another ingredient is Microalgae Oil, which “deliver[s] superior benefits to the skin, replenishing essential moisture and nutrient loss. Microalgae Oil is clinically proven to keep skin hydrated 5x longer than untreated skin over a 24-hour period.”

Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 5The Algenist tinted moisturizer incorporates these ingredients. As you probably garner from this description, this product works best for dry skin where the goal includes anti-aging.  In my view, the benefit from this tinted moisturizer happens after removal–the skin care ingredient seem to have some type of healing quality, it seems to fade darker areas and I found the sun protection worked well. The day after I used this, I notice my skin looked better. A week after, it’s looking even better, so the effects appear to be cumulative.

Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 6 copyPurely as a tinted moisturizer, I prefer other lines (Nars, for example). The feel of the Algenist tinted moisturizer is a little on the heavy side. The coverage is light-to-medium, and when I attempt to build up coverage I do start to see pores (a finishing powder seems to blend these away). It’s not feather-light like some of the serums, nor as light as Chanel Aqualumiere, or Nars Tinted Moisturizer. The Algenist has a slightly-perfumed suntan-lotion scent. Generally, the finish is near matte. However, it does mix well with luminizers-I’ve worn this with a healthy dollop of NARS 413 Blkr Street Illuminizer (a beautiful, cool gold color reviewed here) for several days with very nice results.

Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 4

Despite the negatives, I’m really impressed with the Algenist. The skincare properties are the best part, so as a multi-tasker it has a lot of offer. The longevity is excellent. And the skincare ingredients really did give me noticeable results–my skin feels lifted, plumper, more even, and healthier-looking. I’ve spent twice as much (or more) to get similar results, so color me impressed.
Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 1Because we are heading into summer, I went with Light/Medium, which is a touch too dark for my winter-pale MAC NC15/20 – Chanel Cameo/Ivoire skin tone.  More ingredients (click to enlarge):

Algenist Tinted Moisturizer 2 copy

The Algenist Repairing Tint & Radiance Moisturizer SPF 30 comes in four shades.


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Jul 232014
 

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand3Marc Jacobs Fall ’14 collection include its fourth foundation–the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand ($45/0.59 oz.). This is a sheer, emollient foundation with buildable coverage that is packaged in an elegant, unique, fun little wand. The Smart Wand is now available in four shades at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand4

I ordered this in the shade Light 210, which runs slightly cool and light on my NC15/20 Chanel Ivoire skintone. It was certainly in a good range for me, and I don’t mind going a little lighter on my foundations. Unlike his other foundations, Marc Jacobs’ Smart Wand is designed to make  “it easy to take with you for application on the go.” Indeed, I watched a girl do her full makeup on a commuter train the other day. She had good skin, neither dry nor oily, no marks and few imperfections. As I watched her blot a too-orange powder into her lovely skin, I wished that I could have handed this to her. It would have been perfect. The Marc Jacobs Smart Wand erases pores, gives a “natural but much nicer glow,” and makes the skin look polished and perfected in the ways that celebrity skin looks.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand5

My personal experience with the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand was over five days in very humid weather, sometimes with primer and sometimes without. The strengths of this foundation are in its ease of application, amazing texture, and build able coverage.  A first pass gives very, very light coverage, much less than I get with Giorgio Armani’s Maestro serum. This really gives the impression of amazing texture to my skin. It blurs, tones down discoloration (but doesn’t erase them), and gives my skin a really pretty, natural-but-much-better sheen.

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand6The Smart Wand has a noticeable scent, which I found pleasant. To put this through its paces, I made up to three additional passes with the Smart Wand to build the coverage, which it did beautifully without caking or showing pores (where are my pores? this seems to erase them). The product feels emollient and moisturizing on the skin. It does not dry down quickly, and I’m attributing this to the skin care qualities in the formula. I resisted the urge to powder it down because that will take away from its gorgeous texture. As the product description notes (this is a copy/paste from the site):

  • Moisturizer contains Coconut oil, Vitamin E and amino acids that nourish and hydrate
  • Proprietary blend of antioxidant green tea and refreshing cucumber fights free radicals while energizing the skin
  • Spherical powders with a photo luminescent diamond core work to diffuse light and blur imperfections

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand7

I must use a primer with this foundation (I used the Nars Light Optimizing). Without it, I got about four hours before I started to notice the foundation looking a little worse for wear. With a primer, I got six or seven hours. The foundation does not promise to be long-wearing, and I did not experience long wear with it either. Swatches in sun:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand8 More swatches in indoor light with flash:

Marc Jacobs Smart Wand9I tried a generous sample of the Marc Jacobs Marvelous Mousse Foundation ($55/0.63 oz) for several days recently as well. I used 14 Ivory Medium, which was a pretty good match. These two foundations are completely different. The Marvelous Mousse is a nearly full coverage gel product that has a satin-matte finish. To say that a little goes a long way understates the situation. For a full-coverage foundation, the Marvelous Mousee had a really nice texture, is infused with skin care, and gives a very polished, lovely look. I think it is more coverage than I realistically need. Here is the ingredient list for the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand:

Marc Jacobs Smart WandD1
Overall, I applaud the Marc Jacobs Smart Wand because it represents a re-design of foundation completely from the customer’s perspective. There is absolutely a need for the Smart Wand–easy, fast, convenient, for those looking to add just a little celebrity glow to normal skin without adding lots of coverage. Note that the product has no SPF rating, but the ingredients state that it “may contain” titanium dioxide (perhaps the product has not yet obtained regulatory approval to list an SPF rating yet, which is common for newly-released foundations–I simply don’t know). As I noted, the wear time was a bit on the short side for me. As we all know. foundation is a very personal and individual preference, and this will not work for everyone. Nonetheless, foundation variety is the spice of life, and I’m glad to see companies thinking about the woman/man who wishes to add a touch of magic. Here’s Marc Jacobs take on this new product:

The Smart Wand is now available at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty.

This review contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Jun 132014
 

 

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare01

Perricone MD has a full line of No Makeup Skincare: A Revolutionary Approach to Color that provides “good for you” benefits together with foolproof and versatile application.  Although I was aware of some of these products, I was impressed to see an entire lineup that, because of its liquid format, can be mixed and blended to create naturally beautiful looks. The theme of this collection are anti-aging skincare additions, which repair, restore, and to ensure that the overall look is youthful. In addition to antioxidants, DMAE, and neuropeptides, the line is formulated with high pigment that sits lightly on the skin, which can be built up, sculpted, modified, mixed and blended to achieve a look that is healthy, natural, and with a youthful look.The items are available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare14a

I loved several of these products. However, I loved, loved, loved the products together as a set.  First, I was shocked at how quickly I could do a face with this set. It’s no brushes required. The products are essentially fool-proof once I got comfortable with the format. They blend beautifully together, and their textures are ideal for layering. They are designed for very intuitive application. Although it is easy to layer them up to increase coverage, it seems impossible to over-do them. There is a real synergy in the design and formulation for use as a set. As an overview, the line includes:

  • No Foundation Foundation Serum
  • No Foundation Foundation (2 shades)
  • No Bronzer Bronzer
  • No Blush Blush
  • No Concealer Concealer
  • No Mascara Mascara
  • No Lipstick Lipstick

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare02a

Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation ($55/ 1 ounce) is a lightweight, creamy liquid foundation that applies in a single layer for light coverage with a dewy finish. At first, some readers may find the coverage too light compared to typical foundations or BB cremes. My sense is that, with continual use, your skin will improve with the use of this and other skincare products, so that less coverage will be needed. Nonetheless, the No Foundation Foundation can be easily layered and built without caking or looking heavy. Indeed, this product is ideal for those who do not like heavy feeling products on the fact, or those who may have imperfections, slight wrinkles or the like because the lightweight, non-caking texture does not emphasize flaws. As the line is designed for those with aging skin, this is ideal. Heavy-textured foundation is rarely desirable for skin of any age. I try to use the lightest coverage that I can get away with, and concealers as necessary. For this No Foundation Foundation, the key skincare ingredients are Alpha Lipoic Acid (designed to minimize wrinkles and pores while delivering powerful antioxidant protection, and Vitamin C to correct discoloration). The product also includes non-chemical SPF30 based on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, claiming protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare15

The product comes in two shades. The lighter #1 was a pretty good match for my MAC NC15/Chanel Ivoire skin tone. I would guesstimate that #2 runs at about an NC30-35. The products can be mixed to target shades in between. The Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer can be used to deepen the shade range higher than NC35. The products are dispensed through a pump.

Perricone Foundation pump1

Overall, I liked Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation. The product does have a dewy finish which does look lovely when first applied and those with drier skin will appreciate. Because my forehead gets oily throughout the day, I tended to powder this down on my forehead area, and left the other areas with a pretty sheen. Here is the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Perricone Foundation No 12
 Between this product and the Perricone MD No Foundation Serum, I found that they worked well together. On some days, I tried layering, and other others I mixed the two to get a lighter color match. Either way, they were a nice combination. If I were to be forced to commit to only one (arghhh!), I’d go with the serum because I prefer a more matte finish, and in my subjective opinion I loved the way that the serum felt on my skin. Also, the serum seemed to camouflage my pores into invisibility, really. I’m including swatches of all shades here, including Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum:

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare19I did a quick finger-blend of the swatches, above, without being very precise or careful. On the skin, a proper blending job delivers smooth and lovely results.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare21Overall, I really liked Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation. I love the way that I could mix the products to sculpt areas of my face, mix with the bronzer, and loved the all-day, highly buildable coverage. Other products from this line are reviewed here and here.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation is available at Sephora, and Perricone MD’s website.

The Perricone MD products were sent from the  company 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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Introducing Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare: No Foundation Foundation Serum

 Foundation, Perricone MD  Comments Off on Introducing Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare: No Foundation Foundation Serum
Jun 132014
 

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare14aPerricone MD has a full line of No Makeup Skincare: A Revolutionary Approach to Color that provides “good for you” benefits together with foolproof and versatile application.  Although I was aware of some of these products, I was impressed to see an entire lineup that, because of its liquid format, can be mixed and blended to create naturally beautiful looks. Here is the entire line (click to enlarge):

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare01The fundamental thread that goes through the entire line of products is anti-aging skincare, to repair, restore, and to ensure that the overall look is youthful. In addition to antioxidants, DMAE, and neuropeptides, the line is formulated with high pigment that sits lightly on the skin, which can be built up, sculpted, modified, mixed and blended to achieve a look that is healthy, natural, and with a youthful look.

As an overview, I loved several of these products. However, I loved, loved, loved the products together as a set.  First, I was shocked at how quickly I could do a face with this set. It’s no brushes required. The products are essentially fool-proof once I got comfortable with the format. They blend beautifully together, and their textures are ideal for layering. They are designed for very intuitive application. Although it is easy to layer them up to increase coverage, it seems impossible to over-do them. There is a real synergy in the design and formulation for use as a set. As an overview, the line includes:

  • No Foundation Foundation Serum
  • No Foundation Foundation (2 shades)
  • No Bronzer Bronzer
  • No Blush Blush
  • No Concealer Concealer
  • No Mascara Mascara
  • No Lipstick Lipstick

Perricone Foundation Serum1There were a few products that were true standouts. For me, the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum ($55) was amazing. It has a similar texture to the Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation, lightweight, layerable and very long-lasting (surprisingly so, this foundation didn’t move even on the longest days).This is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare03b

It has the most gorgeous, suede-matte texture. My pores disappeared. My face looked firmer and perfected. This still looked this good more than ten hours after application.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare04

I applied an extra layer or two to problem areas. The color is a touch on the darker side for my MAC NC15/Chanel Ivoire skin tone. In order to use the product, I put a good layer on my skin so that I could soak in the product’s anti-aging neuropeptides (to create suppleness and firmness), Vitamin C (to discolorations) and Alpha Lipoic Acid (to minimize wrinkles and pores).  Then I mixed this serum foundation with Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation in shade #1 (the lightest shade) to create a shade that matches the rest of me. The serum can be mixed with the Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer to deepen its color. Like the Armani, the Perricone MD uses a dropper as the applicator.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare17

The product is rated at SPF 30 (according to Perricone MD’s website, the No Foundation Foundation Serum includes a “non-chemical, mineral-based SPF 30 with Zinc oxide to protect from UVA and UVB rays” Here is the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Perricone Foundation Serum2  I’m including swatches of all shades here, including Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum:

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare19 As you can see, the serum color is a near-match for the No Foundation Foundation in #2. I did a quick finger-blend of the swatches, above, without being very precise or careful. On the skin, a proper blending job delivers smooth and lovely results.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare21Overall, I loved the look and feel of Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation Serum. In addition to the lovely texture and buildable coverage, the product’s skincare benefits was conferring some benefits throughout the day. Additional products from this line are available here and here.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

The Perricone MD products were sent from the  company 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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Jun 082014
 

By terry foundation02

For the past few weeks, I’ve been using By Terry Terrybly Densiliss Foundation ($115/ 1.0 oz.). After a short adjustment, I find that I absolutely love its look and longevity.  As you likely know, By Terry is a premier French company that creates some beautiful things. By Terry Densiliss is new this year, and so I tried a few healthy-sized samples. After the first very long day, I found that my skin had a beautiful, perfected look and I invested in the full-sized version. I chose #3 in Vanilla Beige after reviewing these swatches on The Beauty Professor and based on my experience with a few sample shades.

By terry foundation06

The finish of this foundation is superb. My skin looks creamy with just the right amount of natural sheen. My pores (which aren’t very large) are minimized.  The coverage of By Terry Densiliss is hard to pin down because it is so buildable. In other words, one sheer layer is sheer, but the entire face (or any part) can accept multiple thin layers without any caking or problems.  In fact, I discovered (by trial and error) that layering is the very best way to apply this foundation. Rather than using a traditional pumpful or two, I deliberately under-apply a too-thin layer with just a partial-pump, then wait a minute until it sets. Afterwards, I add another layer or two depending on the coverage that I want. I’ve never needed to keep going, because this gives me medium coverage.

By terry foundation08

I usually don’t add a powder, although lately I’ve been adding Corol from MAC’s Pedro Lourenco Collection just for fun (it’s not necessary, but it’s a nice variation).

By terry foundation11a

As with many French companies, By Terry’s Densiliss has a slight perfume scent that fades quickly with application. Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

By terry foundation01

The texture might seem a touch thick, but using the light layering technique seems to alleviate any problems in application.

By terry foundation05I’ve been impressed with the longevity of By Terry Densiliss, even in the extreme dry heat that we’ve been experiencing in California. Despite dry weather reaching near 100 over the past few weeks, my skin has not look a bit dry. In fact, it looks moisturized and youthful. I cannot say that this is 100% due to this foundation, but it is nice that the line states that this foundation “improves skin density, diminishes lines and simultaneously treats all signs of aging” with a revolutionary patented rejuvenating active ingredient with an optimal makeup correction that immediately targets surface wrinkles and provides deep-down and lasting global result.”

By terry foundation09Overall, my first weekend convinced me to get By Terry Densiliss, but the weeks that I’ve been using it have confirmed my love for it. Although this is one of the more expensive foundations on my counter, I’ve really loved the results and feel really good about the investment. This is available online at Barneys New York in all shades.

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May 112014
 

Chanel Perfection Velvet08I’ve been testing the new Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation ($45/ 1 ounce), which I love 1,000 times more than the similarly-packaged Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. The finish of this is not matte, but rather a soft satin. The finish is light and buildable to a solid medium. The lasting power is a solid ten hours. Chanel Pefection Lumiere Velvet is a step forward for Chanel’s foundation line.

Chanel Perfection Velvet07Rated at SPF 15, Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet’s sunscreen is modest and not a substitute for a separate, and necessary, sunscreen. Lately, I’ve been using Chanel’s sunscreen. Both of these products play very well together.

Chanel Perfection Velvet05The discreet square bottle is lightweight, well-designed to shake-shake-shake, and very travel-friendly.

Chanel Perfection Velvet10My Chanel Cameo/Ivoire (MAC NC15) skintone was matched to B20, which is slightly warm but works very well. My apologies for no comparison swatches on this one–I’ll be living on the road for a while and I’m blogging under less than ideal conditions.

Chanel Perfection Velvetc1After a few minutes to settle in, the finish is gorgeous. Here she is wearing Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in B20 with Dior Fluid Stick in Pandore, Nars Lost Coast eyeshadow duo, and Nars Olympia Contour Blush. Ingredient list (click to enlarge):
Chanel Perfection Velvet03

Overall:  Love, love, love.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet is available at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s.

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Mar 082014
 

Armani CC Cream07

For the past several days, I’ve been using the new Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminessence CC Cream (available at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Barneys and Saks)($50/ 1 oz.). This series, just released in eight (8) shades, provides glowing and moisturizing medium-to-light coverage.

Armani CC Cream01

According to Armani, there are skin care benefits in the formula:

A good night sleep in a cream. Luminessence CC Cream is a color control bright moisturizer with SPF 35. It features a triple technology on skincare for its energizing and antioxidant complex, color for its pinky “rose glow” pigments and light for its liquid mirror technology. Apply once and the skin looks as rested as a good night’s sleep.

According to the product insert, the point of this product is to use 1) the product’s color to correct and even skin tone, 2) the formula to deliver moisture, antioxidants and sunscreen protection, and 3) luminzers to impart a soft glow. Essentially, the coverage is medium toward light with one pass (and buildable on problem areas). You can trust that Armani knows how to create a buildable foundation. In my opinion, the line is one of the best at developing formulas that can be layered and this Armani Luminessence CC Cream is no exception. The product comes in an easily packable squeeze tube.

Armani CC Cream09

I used this product as my foundation, although it could be used as a color-correcting, moisturizing base. Those who want more coverage might consider using a powder foundation over this formula to increase both the coverage and overall wear time. On application, you will immediately notice a dewy glow. I powder down my forehead right away with a finishing powder. The overall effect is youthful. Here’s a quick swatch on a portion of my arm that shows you the dewiness in very bright sun. I think you can see that it creates a pretty satin sheen without any sparkle:

Friday late13

Armani Luminessence CC Cream is genius at delivering all-day moisture. I’m not sure of the magic that Armani puts in the formula, but my skin looked young, moisturized, and perfected. With a touch of layering, the product evens out my dark patches and small acne scars to invisibility. The enclosed literature suggests that it’s nice to put a little more around any areas that you want to photoshop–the labial folds, for example. The effect makes me look rested, younger, and my skin looks moisturized and softer.

Armani CC Cream14

As with many moisturizing formulas, Armani Luminessence CC Cream is not a true long-wear formula. After about the eighth or ninth hour, I started to notice some imperfections peeking through. Fortunately, this can be easily refreshed with a concealer (Armani’s Maestro Concealer is wonderful, but any will do).

Armani CC Cream11

What was surprising is how good my skin felt after removal. There are a few CC Creams that deliver is in the skincare department, and Armani is one of the top of the list. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised–bathing my skin all day in Armani sounds luxurious and it is.  It’s lovely to see a company deliver on the technology that has been promised. Armani is not kidding around.  If this product is meant to get customer’s interested in Armani’s skin care range, it is working (at least for me).

Friday late06a

The Nordstrom sales associate that I worked with matched me to Shade #4 which is a bit darker than my usual. As we are heading toward spring and summer (really, I promise!), and my arms typically pick up some color during that season, I didn’t fight back very hard. For the record, during the makeover we used a highlighter on my upper cheek and it was not too much. That’s the thing about lines like Armani–they are never too much. Packaging (click to enlarge:

Armani CC Cream05

And more of the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Armani CC Cream06

Overall, Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Control Bright Moisturizer successfully delivers on its mission to deliver skin that looks awake and alive. I love that it has a decent SPF level, and the moisturizer seems extraordinarily effective. The color corrective properties provide both medium-to- light coverage and mask color variations well. No breakouts or clogging pores. This is designed to works best on skin that benefits from a moisturizing formula, although my combination skin loved it.  I needed a powder-down and concealer refresh after about the eight-hour mark, although your own mileage may vary.  So far, one of the best–I’m loving this one.

Available at Neiman Marcus, NordstromBarneys and Saks

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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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Jun 052013
 

Chanel CC Cream first look09a

This is a first look at the Chanel CC Cream ($55/ 1.0 oz.), which has just become available to certain Chanel boutiques across the U.S. This will soon be available where ever Chanel is sold. Although this has been released internationally for some months, this is the first tube that I’ve seen in person. I was so excited to experience this product, so I thought that I can’t be the only one. I’m posting this quick overview of pictures so that you can see it with me.

Edit/updated:  My in-depth review has now been posted here.

Chanel CC Cream first look02

As far as I know, this is just released in one shade–20 Beige–at least so far. There are five primary attributes of the product:

  • Anti-aging:  Includes Rejuvencia, an active ingredient derived from marine micro-organisms to stimulate the natural production of collagen to prevent the appearance of aging.
  • Moisturizing:  Contains hyaluronic acid to help maintain skin hydration levels.
  • Soothes: Uses cornflower water to comfort skin.
  • Sun protection:  Broad spectrum SPF 30 helps to block UVA and UVB rays using physical protection.
  • Covers and perfects: essentially, has coverage in the nature of a sheer foundation

Chanel CC Cream first look11a

 Here’s the product literature (in English) (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look15

 The packaging is a travel-friendly squeeze tube:

Chanel CC Cream first look14

 The Chanel CC Cream in 20 Beige runs fair and warm. Here is a comparison with Chanel CC Cream, Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 32 Beige Rose (which is much pinker/cooler), Chanel Lift Lumiere in Ivoire (14) (similar, but with a bit more coverage), MAC Pro Longwear in NC15 (more coverage, lighter), and Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska (darker).

Chanel CC Cream first look20

Here is the active sunscreen agent, titanium dioxide 12%:

Chanel CC Cream first look05

The additional ingredients (click to enlarge):

Chanel CC Cream first look08

Additional packaging information:

Chanel CC Cream first look07a

I asked the Chanel cosmetic specialist, who was in the boutique for the weekend, whether the product had any color-reducing properties (for example, the Smashbox CC Cream advertises that it will help fade acne scars and discolorations). In other words–does this product correct permanently with skincare ingredients, or does it “correct” by covering up?  The Chanel representative said that this product is not advertised to actually correct discolorations permanently, but that it could be used with the Chanel Le Blanc line (which is designed for those purposes).

hope you enjoyed this first look. I’ll post again in a few days once I’ve had more of a chance to test this out.

Available with free ship and return at Nordstrom.com, and other Chanel sources.

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