May 292012
 

This is a somewhat imperfect review of Chanel Vitalumeire Aqua Foundation ($58), introduced about a month or two ago. This foundation is a medium-coverage cream foundation sold in a luxe round compact. I found that it gave a flawless finish, particularly when applied with Chanel’s Blending Foundation Brush #7 ($54) (review forthcoming).

When applied, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua feels like air, there is no heavy foundation feeling or any oiliness. I find that cream foundations like this look amazing for formal occasions, whether for work or social activity. It provides an airbrushed finish. There is a very slight “silicon” feeling to the foundation. It lasts well throughout a long day and holds up beautifully without a powder. No breakout for me.

Here are some swatches of most of the shades (B50 and  BR32 are missing, but I’ll try to fill in the gaps throughout the week). As you can see, the “B” tones are warmer, and the “BR” tones seem to have a touch of cool rose.

And now for the imperfect part of the post–a beauty confession. I was matched to B30 at a mass make-over at a local department store, although I realized it was too dark I went ahead anyway. As frustrated as I am with myself, now that my overly generous sample has been used (it lasted about five days), I may exchange my untouched full sized B30 for another more appropriate color.

Thank you to Tressa from Nordsrom Seattle for patiently sending me these samples for us all to enjoy. To be clear, Tressa took no part in the color matching for me, or my own personal decision to cave to the makeup artist’s inaccurate recommendation.

Onward and upward, and I hope you learn from my mistake.

 

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Mar 022012
 

I’ve been wearing the just-released Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 Sunscreen/ PA +++ ($42) for about one month. I picked up the product when I read the Nars brochure, which promised broad spectrum sun protection, increased hydration, giving skin a more radiant and luminous surface and “helping to reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots in just four weeks.”

Part of me wondered whether Nars Tinted Moisturizer was an ambitious effort to deliver skin care protection in an everyday foundation-type product. Last year, Le Metier de Beaute’s Peau Vierge promised skin care benefits in its tinted moisturizer, why not other companies? As many of you have noticed, the BB Creme trend promises skin care as well, and currently Dior, Estee Lauder, Boscia and others are introducing those products to the U.S. I chose to investigate Nars, in part because it seemed to offer something seriously different than the others. Nars Tinted Moisturizer improves skin through protection and hydration, relying on Octinoxate 7.4% and Titanium Dioxide 6.1% to keep skin protected from the sun.

Nars Tinted Moisturizer comes in nine shades. At my local Nordstrom, I was matched to Alaska (the 2nd lightest shade), which is a touch too yellow and slightly dark, although not noticeably so once I add bronzer and blush. Some Makeupalley users wear Alaska and they are NC 20/25. Note that I’m really pale now in this post-winter phase, although sometimes I lean NC 15/20, I’m definitely a solid NC15 now.

If I apply this with my fingers, I get medium coverage (with a brush, I can sheer it out). The texture is very lightweight and it feels a little like a gel. It’s weightless and lasts the entire day (14-16 hours). It gives a slightly glowy look that I absolutely love. It doesn’t emphasize any pores. No breakouts or clogging.

The most delightful part is that my skin has noticeably improved. Some darker old acne marks have noticeably lightened. Although the formula is hydrating, it doesn’t feel oily or heavy (the brochure says that the product is oil-free). I love the small size, which I can tuck into my bag without the weight or breakage of a glass product (will be loving this for travel!). It’s a generous 1.9 oz. size (most foundations have 1 ounce only).

Dear reader, I know that foundations are very much “your mileage may vary.” I’ve been absolutely loving this one for me. Unlike Chanel Perfection Lumiere, the Nars has more “life” and luminosity. It has a solid dose of sun protection, which I greatly appreciate living in sunny California. Unlike the vast majority of my foundations, I’ve seen improvement in the texture and even toned texture of my skin. Great, lightweight formula. Love.

The ingredient list for Alaska is:  Water, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Glycerin, Nylon-12, Cyclomethicone, Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Diphenylsiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Stearic Acid · Phenoxyethanol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Fragrance, Dimethicone/Vinyl, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Trisodium, Edta, Aluminum Distearate, Talc, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Polysilicone-2, Vibrio Alginolyticus Ferment Filtrate, Tocopherol, Alteromonas Ferment Filtrate, Maris Sal (Sea Salt), Hydrogen Dimethicone, Bht, Algae (Algae Extract), Sodium Metabisulfite, Curcuma Longa [Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract], Potassium Sorbate, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral, Linalool [+/- (May Contain): Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Ci 77491 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77492 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides)].   Note that Sephora.com has the ingredient list for all shades.

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Feb 102012
 
At Creatures of the Wind, NARS Director of Global Artistry James Boehmer created a look with gorgeous skin and strong eyes. He’s using Nars new Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF30/PA+++–something I’ve been test wearing for about a week and really enjoying so far. As a quick preview, it has a good physical sunscreen and is said to reduce the appearance of dark spots, give brighter, more even skin and provide moisture. I’m enjoying it so far–it has a very soft, lightweight feel and has a lifelike glow compared to some others I’ve worn. It has medium coverage (a full review forthcoming). If you’re interested, Nordstrom is running a gift with purchase for the foundation here.
I love the way that Nars Cayenne looks on that eye!  “The look is about ethereal, forest-wet skin,” said James Boehmer, NARS Director of Global Artistry. “You can’t use enough moisturizer – it’s dewy and really radiant. The eye should be defined in its shape but worn-in with its effect. As if you can see the eyelid through it, which we get from the gloss.”
Below are the key products used to create the exclusive look:
FACE
EYES
·         Cayenne Single Eyeshadow
·         Mambo Eyeliner Pencil
·         Bengali Single Eyeshadow
·         Coconut Grove Single Eyeshadow
·         Kuala Lumpur Duo Eyeshadow
LIPS
·         Rouge Tribal Larger Than Life® Lip Gloss (new for Spring 2012)
·         Triple X Lip Gloss
All products, except where noted, are available at narscosmetics.com.  Here’s the look on the runway:
Another:
One more:

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Jul 302011
 

About a week ago, I went to the Burberry Beauty counter at Nordstrom San Francisco Centre for an event, and had one of the best makeovers of my life.  I wanted to record the products used and update you on my experiences with the Burberry Sheer Luminous Foundation (swatches of all shades here).

For the makeover (products used)

Base:

  • Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base as a primer (reviewed here)
  • Burberry Sheer Luminous Fluid Foundation No. 6
Face:
  • Burberry Light Glow Blush in Earthy (review forthcoming) as a contour
  • Burberry Light Glow in Tangerine (review forthcoming) on upper cheekbones as a blush
  • Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base around eyes, nose bridge and chin as a highlighter
  • Burberry Fresh Luminous Powder (forehead only)
Eyes:
  • Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Rosewood (reviewed here) as an lid wash and lightly under the lower lashline
  • Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Midnight Black (not pictured) as a liner
  • Burberry Sheer Midnight Brown (reviewed here) in the crease and outer corner
  • Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Pearl White (review forthcoming) heavily in the inner corner and lightly on the browbone
Lips:
  • Burberry Lip Cover in Nude Rose (review forthcoming)(reviewed here at The Beauty Look Book)

For the foundation update, I’ve been using Burberry’s Sheer Luminous Foundation for about a year.  I’ve finished one entirely (No. 5, my original color), and just repurchased a bottle in No. 6.

Burberry foundation is my go-to whenever I want a typical foundation that doesn’t affect my skin, looks polished and can be applied very quickly.  The U.S. labeling does not reflect this (the U.S. FDA is slow to recognize certain ingredients as sunscreens), but there are some physical sunscreen ingredients in it (I supplement with a sunscreen) (ingredient list is here).  It never clogs, it never irritates, and in many ways I prefer it to the former Chanel Tient Innocence.

When I was getting my makeover, the artist told me something that almost made me drop my nonfat decaf latte.  He said that it could be used as a heavy cover foundation.  Given that the name of the foundation includes the word “Sheer,” I had to know more.

As a former Armani specialist, he explained the Armani technique for applying foundation.  Having had an excellent foundation makeover at an Armani counter in Harvey Nichols/London years before, we were already speaking the same language.  Essentially, to start one brushes the foundation on very sheerly.  Second, one takes the brush and builds coverage only where needed.  Third, you do a quick finger-swipe to remove brush marks. He was right, of course.  This is a highly buildable foundation.  It didn’t look cakey at all–it looked just like…skin. He explained that he had been persuaded to work for Burberry Beauty based solely on his experience with their foundation.  It’s that good.

I hope that you find this little sketchbook helpful.  I’ll post reviews of the products that I haven’t reviewed yet as soon as I can.

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

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Mar 162011
 

One of the most enjoyable parts of makeup shopping abroad is the ability to discover products that are not sold in the U.S. Chanel Vitalumiere Eclat Comfort Radiance Compact Makeup Foundation SPF 10 (56 euros) is a powder foundation that can be used either alone, or brushed on as a finishing powder.

The large Chanel-embossed compact is packed in a luxurious velvet pouch, slight thicker and plusher than the thin ones that come on most U.S. products.  Inside, there is both a brush (for lighter application) and sponge (for heavy application) included.

The finish is creamy and slight luminious, unlike the matte Double Perfection Compact sold in the U.S.  Although I am an NC15/Chanel Cameo, I was matched to B30 Beige Sable.  The instruction booklet that comes with the product indicates that the compact is refillable (approximate 40 euros), I will probably pick up a few more shades in the refill version while I am here to try out the different color range.

I wore this yesterday as a finishing powder over Chanel Vitalumiere foundation in B20, which was applied over the Le Blanc de Chanel finishing base.  I thought it looked fabulous, but it’s hard to be objective just after a lovely makeover in such pleasant surroundings.   I’ll do my best to update after more road tests.

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