Nov 172013
 

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta01

Holiday 2013 brings the Guerlain Crazy Paris Terracotta Healthy Glow Powder ($69) is a bronze and pink confection that delivers a healthy glow.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta05

The Guerlain Crazy Terracotta packaging looks like the traditional Guerlain tortoise shell, but titled just right in the light and the address of Guerlain’s Paris flagship store is revealed–68, Champs Elysee, Paris. Inside the palette has the traditional Guerlain color mosaic in a pattern of pinks, bronzes, and beiges.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta02

Although the pink portions are few in number and area, they do predominate to give an overall pink-bronze glow when used lightly allover the face.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta06

 When concentrated on cheeks, Guerlain Crazy Terracotta works beautifully as a blush. This is how Liz used Guerlain Crazy Terracotta here–all over her face and more focused on her cheeks as a blush.

Liz Guerlain Crazy Terracotta

As with so many Guerlain products, using Guerlain Crazy Terracotta as an allover face powder added a touch of bonne mine healthy color and makes Liz’s skin look even more flawless than usual. Honestly, the texture of this finely-milled, enhancing powder looked amazing on her skin. For highlighting, she’s also wearing Giorgio Armani Eccentrico Face Palette ($88) on her cheek and over her brows (review is upcoming).

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta15

I compared the Guerlain Crazy Terracotta with the Guerlain Terracotta Sun Blondes 04, the Guerlain 4 Seasons 00 Nude (reviewed here), the Guerlain 4 Seasons Naturel 02 (reviewed here), and Chanel’s Rose Bronze. Most of these record as quite bronze–only the Guerlain 4 Seasons Nude has a similar fresh pink tone. Overall, the Guerlain is the most natural for a soft rosy bronze flush, and it delivers slightly more pigment than the Guerlain 4 Seasons Nude 00.

Guerlain Crazy Terracotta12

Overall, we found Guerlain Crazy Terracotta a lovely powder for a winter appropriate healthy glow. We expect that this will sell out quickly, so if you are interested it is best to act quickly. Many of the Guerlain limited edition powders are made in very small quantities, and so as with previous years you’ll want to commit before it sells out.

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

Please follow us on....

Oct 102013
 

Guerlain vega31a

I’ve been falling in love with Guerlain Vega Nail Polish ($23). Actually, I’ve been loving any and all Guerlain nail products that I’ve gotten my hands on, including the Guerlain Gel Topcoat and Guerlain Rouge D’enfer. I can see that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Guerlain vega41a

Guerlain Vega is a rich, dark vamp color. So-dark-it’s-almost-black, and not quite black. With a high gloss Guerlain Gel Coat, it looks very expensive and a little edgy (in other words, perfection). As soon as it starts wearing off, I replace it with the identical manicure. It’s a beautiful Fall color that applies perfectly in two coats. I love the big chisel brush, it gives me a steady application with about two swipes.

Guerlain Vega63

On fingers, with the Guerlain Top Coat.

Guerlain vega1

Here are comparisons with Chanel Rouge Noir (redder, lighter), Chanel Madness (browner, lighter), Chanel Accessoire (lighter, redder), and Zoya Paris (closest in color, slightly lighter).

Guerlain Vega61a

I’ve been enjoying Guerlain Vega as my go-to Fall shade.  Highly recommended.

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

Please follow us on....

Sep 252013
 

Dior Spring 2013 Nail composite

Although I love the convenience of a two-week UV gel cured manicure, I’ve been looking for ways to prolong nail polish wear that doesn’t involve the difficult acetone removal process that UV manicures appear to require. Toward that end, I’ve been playing with some of the “new generation” gel topcoats.  In early April 2013, I gave a preliminary report on Dior’s Gel Coat (reviewed here).

Dior Spring 2013 Nail Polish30

I got amazing longevity using Dior’s gel topcoat. My nails grew, protected by the tough topcoat. I got beautiful, glossy results that lasted for days longer than my usual topcoats. This gives a deep, glossy gel-like coat which dries hard but retains flexibility. In late June, I began to notice that I had used quite a bit of the Dior up, and that it was getting considerably thicker and goopier as the contents of the bottle went down.

Gel Topcoats 21

Around the end of June, I threw my Dior Gel Coat into a drawer and headed for Paris. While in the City of Light, I picked up Guerlain’s Le Topcoat Gel.  I found the Guerlain worked equally as well as Dior–given that the companies are owned by the same parent, they may be the same formula for all I know.  The key is, if you can’t find one, you can get the other and be assured of good results.  The benefit to the Guerlain is that it is $1 less, and has the ball bearings inside to keep the contents stirred.

Gel Topcoats 23

The Guerlain works beautifully, by the way. Although my bottle isn’t old yet, the hardening/goopiness doesn’t seem to be quite as bad with this one (however, I do shake those ball bearings up quite a bit).  To be honest, both of these formulas have given me unprecedented longevity for my nail polish–literally, days longer than normal and very little tipwear.  Still I would, occasionally, get chips with unusually heavy nail wear.

Gel Topcoats 15

Now for the secret sauce. Still not being satisfied with these superb results, I had heard that Revlon’s Colorstay Gel-Smooth Base Coat. The only place that I’ve found this so far is Target (accept no substitute). Using the Revlon Base Coat under my nail polish really eliminated the chipping, giving me near-perfect nails up to 3-5 days. Okay, so far so good with the Revlon Base Coat–but what about the Revlon Gel-Shine Top Coat (also pictured above)?  It is a thinner formula than Dior’s or Guerlian’s. It does does prolong my nail wear somewhat. However, the Revlon does not give me the lush gel-like glossy look of the Dior or Guerlain Gel topcoats. Also, the Revlon Top Coat does not give me quite the longevity and protection of the Dior/Guerlain (even when using two coats of the Revlon top coat).

Gel Topcoats 11

What of that bottle of Dior that was tossed into a drawer prior to Paris?  Regrettably, the contents became a gummy solid in the bottom of the bottle. I thought I’d try to revive it with Seche Restore– for more information about this miracle product, see Scrangie’s post here.

seche restore

I pulled out the old lab notebook like a high school science experiment.

Gel Topcoats 12

Sadly, the Dior was too far gone for this method to work. I basically ended up with a glacial-like substance with bits of liquid Seche Restore creating a little ice floe. My thesis proved incorrect, but that Dior was really far gone when I tried this. Perhaps I’ll try again with a bottle that has more life and get better results?

In summary, I found that using nail polish over Revlon Colorstay Gel Smooth Base Coat really adds wear time to my manicure. Then, adding either the Dior or Guerlain Gel topcoats gave me the closest thing to gorgeous, glossy and protected nails that I’ll obtain outside of a UV cured gel manicure. Using these products, I get 3-5 days of wear (which never happens), and a beautifully glossy, gel-like texture. For me, this wear time is highly unusual. I’ve heard of people getting longer wear but I’ve rarely gone this long. These all remove easily with a standard nail polish remover (no acetone needed). I love it. Of course, the downside is that one wants to use up the bottle that’s been opened (given my experience with the drying out of the Dior Gel). I’m concerned about storage for bottles once they’ve been opened.

Do you have any polish pointers?  Please share them… remember, sharing is caring!

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

Please follow us on....

Aug 252013
 

Nars Fall 2013 Nails05

Nars Fall 2013 introduces two new nail polish colors–the deep purple cream Fury and the dove-gray cream Galathee ($19 each).
Nars Fury Nail Polish

I liked Nars Fury more than I thought that I would. This formula feels like it has more volume, so it applies a little more plushy that the typical Nars polishes we’ve seen over the last year. So, this lays down with a more luxurious feel and look. There’s a touch of red to the purple which gives the color a nice vibrancy. I can see this color going well with so many Fall colors. Below, I’ve added Guerlain’s Gel Top Coat for extra brilliance and wear. By the way, I’ve been wearing this Guerlain Gel Top Coat for weeks and I love it. It adds a good 2-3 days of wear to my manicure and doesn’t seem to dry out or thicken in the bottle.

Nars Fall 2013 Nails07

Nars Galathee is a pretty dove gray cream. The formula is thinner than Fury, it was near-opaque in two coats (below). The color gives a flat, modern look.

Nars Fall Nails1

Here, I played with Galathee as a base color, adding a Sephora Formula X Topcoat in Chaotic. This topcoat, which includes bits and bars that give a paint-splatter effect, will be part of a breathtakingly large 200-lacquer release due out in September. It looks exciting–there are lots of interesting textures and colors in this new line (most shades will be in the $10.50-14.00 range).

Nars Fall Nails3

Overall, I like both Nars Fury and Galathee, although Fury seems to be more unusual and I prefer its formula. Overall, both are welcome additions to the Nars Fall line.

Nars Fury and Galathee, and Sephora Formula X in Chaotic were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge  for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

Please follow us on....

Jul 202013
 

This is a wandering post, just a few thoughts and updates on my last few days in Paris.

France Saturday 01

Château de Chenonceau

One nice thing that we did during our time was a day trip to the Loire Valley. Before we left, we bought tickets to the TGV fast railway to Tours, France as our hub. From there, we hired a service which took us to see four castles on an all-day mini-van ride. We had an hour or two at each one, which was quick but manageable for our limited purposes. If I were to do it again, I would have spent the night in Tours. As it was, we took an evening TGV back to Paris. I’d highly recommend a bit of time outside of Paris if you choose to visit.  It’s wonderful to see a bit of the French countryside–it’s so beautiful.

Continue reading »

Please follow us on....