Oct 202012
 

As a devout Francophile, I’ve been loving  reading blogger So Lonely in Gorgeous reviews of some Laduree’s makeup items that have been released in Japan. One day not too long ago, she surprised me by sending over this lovely Les Merveilleuses de Laduree Lip Rouge in 06, a creamy nude neutral that fits my taste exactly. Although her reviews of the lip products were favorable, I was delighted to try this myself.

 As with all things Laduree, the presentation in perfection. The smallest details are beautiful, there is a little flourish which makes the experience special. The Laduree box is embellished with images of flowers and leaves, a garden theme. The tube looks like a pearly frosting, evoking the filling of a Laduree macaron. The tube has a small chain and cameo attached–the cameo as another symbol of the Laduree line.

 The little cameo (close up), where you can also see some of the elaborate details on the white pearl tube:

Les Merveilleuses de Laduree Lip Rouge uses a twist-up format (it cannot be retracted once turned up). The formula is highly moisturizing and luxurious. Color 06 is a softly rose toned nude:

On Liz:

I must admit I love the feminine appeal of this design. The tube is long enough to give me a “magic wand” feeling, and the elaborate cameo charm is an adorable touch. Inside, the product is beautiful. Well done, Laduree. Very well done. For an incredible picture of a Laduree makeup counter, see So Lonely in Gorgeous’ post here.

 

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May 052012
 

Elizabeth Arden Rose Aurora Spring/Summer 2012 Collection is a blend of bronzes and rose tones that looks beautifully gift-able (as Mother’s Day approaches, this may solve your shopping dilemma). This color story is a modern twist on the original 1950′s collection designed by Elizabeth Arden herself, with soft rose gold packaging. I loved the originality and beauty of this summer-lovely packaging–it evokes art nouveau in my mind. The colors are a built around accentuated eyes, a soft shimmery lip and glowing skin.

The Pure Finish Bronze Powder comes in three colors ($38 each/0.30 oz.))–Soft Radiance, Warm Radiance, and Deep Radiance. These have a soft, shimmering finish. All three tend to run warm, consistent with the Rose Gold theme of the collection. These bronzers include Zin’cite, an ingredient said to energize and protect skin cells, together with green tea, white tea and minerals that provide antioxidant protection.

For applying these, I found that a large soft brush (including Elizabeth Arden’s own ($22, pictured below) worked perfectly. These bronzers are well pigmented, so put that kabuki away! You do want to chose the right color for your skin tone–going too light or too dark won’t be as flattering as it might be.

Soft Radiance was the right choice for my warm-toned fair skin (NC15/Chanel Cameo/Ivoire). By my estimate, I would suggest those with NC30-40 to go with Warm Radiance, and deeper tones with Deep Radiance. These have a fairly large amount of product for the price point (the pans are fairly large), and with the good pigmentation one should last quite a while.

Here are swatches, including the Honey Ceramide Cream blush ($24), a very natural deep warm rose tone:

Here’s Honey blush:

The collection includes a rose gold shimmering highlighting powder, the Pure FInish Highlighter in Rose Illumination ($34), which delivers very high shine. This pictures shows the new Elizabeth Arden All Over Face Powder Brush ($22):

A close of the shimmering powder–those who wear this will want a very reflective glow, keeping the application to the upper cheeks, and perhaps a touch to the brow bone. Like the bronzers, the highlighter includes Zin’cite, green tea, white tea and minerals.

My favorite piece of the collection was the Rose Aurora Ceramide Ultra Lipstick ($22.50). I loved the light, wearable rose with the rose gold shimmer.

The collection includes two liquid liners with felt tip applicators–these Elizabeth Arden Liquid Eyeliners come in both Black and Brown ($18 each).

You can see the tips of these liners are nicely defined:

Here are swatches of these items:

Elizabeth Arden sent a sample of a new fragrance, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Cherry Blossom ($29/1.7 fl. oz. and $39/3.3 fl. oz., Honey Drops Cream is $29.50 for 8.4 oz.).

This scent is an extremely pleasant floral mix, well-named as it does have a lovely cherry blossom scent. Really, it evoked the beauty cherry trees that I remember from my East Coast childhood. This is tempered with a light green tea undertone..

Because the packaging is so lovely, I could easily see these appreciated as gifts for several women that I know in my life. This time of year seems to be a particularly heavy gift-shopping time for me–teachers, principals, coaches, Mother’s Day (which seems to include my many “mother-like” mentors), and birthdays. Depending on your recipient, I can imagine many would appreciate the beauty and usefulness of any one (or more) of these items in this collection.

The Elizabeth Arden Rose Gold Collection was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge or consideration for review.

 

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Apr 142011
 

 

Since I posted this preview, Guerlain’s introduction of Rouge Automatique ($32 each) lipstick has already become a success.  The combination of the sleek, beautiful and thoughtfully functional packaging and the moisturizing, pigmented formula is a winner–this line fits within so many criteria that women want.  I’m in love with all of the lipstick innovations that we’ve seen so far in 2011, and Guerlain’s Rouge Automatique is part of the leading edge.

Guerlain Rouge Automatique’s packaging incorporates a sliding mechanism that pulls the lipstick bullet up as the piece is pushed down.  On the top, there is a little door which is pulled down with the slider, and is tucked into the package as it goes.

The picture, above, shows the little door opening as the square is pulled down.  If you look closely, below, you can see where the square tucks into the package:

Overall, the packaging is well-machined, lightweight and smooth.  I’m not concerned about snagging the mechanism on fragile scarves or sweaters, and it is no larger than the average lipstick tube.

To turn to the formula, Guerlain kindly sent Cafe Makeup two colors for testing:  Nahema (#143) and Vega (#125), both named for two of Guerlain’s iconic scents (all of the lipsticks in the Rouge Automatique are).

Nahema is a soft, warm red-pink-coral that has a lovely shimmer.  It’s a gorgeous summer color, very fresh and beautiful.

Closer (you can see the shimmer on the bullet):

Here, I compare Nahema to the peachy-coral Lancome Chris n Tell (reviewed here), as well as Chanel Flamboyante (reviewed here).  I found that Nahema was closer in tone to Chanel Flamboyante but applied more sheerly and with more of a peachy tone.

Liz and I found Nahema nicely pigmented and had a pleasant, moisturizing feel.  Nahema is quite luminous, and gives quite a good amount of color to Liz’s naturally pink lips.  My estimate is that these have about 90% coverage–there is a bit of your natural lip color that will show through using no lipliner and average application techniques.

Vega is a deep, warm red with a touch of brown.  It looks quite dramatic in the tube and when first applied.  There is virtually no shimmer to Vega.

Closer:

Vega applies as a nearly-opaque warm red, with the same lovely moisturizing feel as Nahema.  During the first hour, Vega retains its color and glow nicely.  After some sips and normal lipwear, Vega faded to a beautiful matte rosewood color.  It still retained some of the moisturizing feel even during the second hour.  I should note that my wear time with these was comparable to other high end lipsticks, such as the Chanel Rouge Allure.  The wear time of the Guerlain Rouge Automatiques is certainly longer than Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine line. I should mention that I go through lipsticks rather quickly, I’ve never tried a lipstick that lasted any longer than 2 hours on me with acceptable color.

Here is Vega swatched next to the comparatively browner and deeper Chanel Rouge Coco Rouge Noir and Chanel Rouge Coco in Baroque.  The closest color to Vega in my stash is Chanel Rouge Coco in Vendome, which is another warm, browned-red, although Vendome is a slightly more sheer red.

Guerlain’s Vega on Liz:

Overall, I love the formula, packaging, price-point.  I’m sincerely looking forward to exploring more colors in this line as I’ve been very impressed with the product that I’ve seen so far.  The formula and look of this line transcends age (they look good on younger lips, as well as on the rest of us), and the color has a universal appeal (Liz is now the happy owner of Nahema, and I’ve kept Vega).  Highly recommended.

These lipsticks were provided by Guerlain free of charge for review and consideration.

 

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Mar 232011
 

At Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royale, I purchased a lipstick in #6, Mauve de Swann ($70).  I tried on another color, a deep red, and was very tempted, but decided to go with this neutral instead.

The bullet is encased in a deep red-brown hexagon, and refills can be purchased separately ($55).  The line has a range of ten colors:

My wonderful contacts at the boutique were kind enough to provide this sample card to me, which includes six of the shades to swatch for you:

As you can see, these six shades include three reds and three neutrals:

  • Mise a Mort:  A warm red
  • Roman Rouge:  A deep, cool red
  • Pourpre Maure:  A deep plum
  • Or Perle: A sheer gold cream that is very moisturizing
  • Rose des Glaces:  A soft cream-rose
  • Mauve de Swann:  A soft mauve-pink

To see the swatches, click “continue reading”….

Continue reading »

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Feb 112011
 

Dior’s recent Spring/Summer 2011 Couture show in Paris (video here) featured an incredible fantasy by John Galliano, an almost unbelievable artistic vision made real.

The models featured a strong red lip, in Rouge Dior Ara Red ($30/ #999), a color created by Galliano, a rich true red that looked incredible on the runway.

I wondered if non-models could pull over a gorgeous red lip with Ara Red, I was happy to find that it’s a current color up for sale on Dior.com.  If you’d like a treat, this page of Dior’s website details the entire line of Rouge Dior colors, and their heritage.  Each shade of the line is based on a Dior Haute Couture dress — when you select the shade name, the dress and it’s collection name and year appears on the right:

I was delighted to find free downloadable Dior wallpapers for your computer, iPhone and iPad–so beautiful! I’m adding this one to iPad immediately…

When Liz was home the other evening, we played.  We’ve both concluded that if you want to buy one unbelievable item to change your look, Rouge Dior in Ara Red is a wonderful choice.  We honestly thought that it actually makes sense to spend $30 on one legendary lipstick, but then again if you’re reading Cafe Makeup you probably already know that’s how we think.

In the tube, Rouge Dior Ara red comes in the luxurious tube with the gorgeous Cannage texture:

Close up:

Applied, close up:

We found Ara Red is a full commitment color.  There are some lipsticks that you can wear sheerly on the lips if you are wearing less than a full face of makeup.  That didn’t really seem to be the case with Rouge Dior Ara Red.  Rather,the color calls for flawless skin and careful application.  There is no need to wear a gloss with Ara Red, the color stands perfectly clear on its own with a gorgeous glow.

Here’s Liz in makeup posted here, full face:

I loved that this strong color still looks wearable, and compliments Liz’s other features without overwhelming them.

Like every strong red, Liz applied Ara Red very carefully.  First, she exfoliated her lips with Lush’s Bubblegum.  Then, she applied Ara Red with a lip brush all over.  Finally, she ran Ara Red directly from the tube over the lips.  No base or gloss was used.

Here are some comparisons with other reds in my stash  First, Rouge Dior Ara Red, Chanel Rouge Coco Gabrielle and then MAC Red No. 5 (from a limited edition Couture line some years back).

These swatches really don’t tell the whole story–when applying them, I found that Rouge Coco Gabrielle can be worn dabbed on the lips sheerly, and then “dressed up” to full formality with a gloss (Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in Emoi works well, as does Exces).  In other words, Gabrielle can be worn more casually, and doesn’t have the impact of Dior Ara Red.  Rouge Dior Ara Red stands on its own, but really needed full application to look right– a few sheer dabs just didn’t seem wearable.  Obviously, MAC’s Red No. 5 is a different color all together–it’s a much pinker red than the others.

I got an email yesterday asking an interesting question–why do women wear bold colors?  Why do some women not wear them?  What do these colors say when they are worn?  Are there occasions when you won’t wear them?  When you will?  What do you think?

Liz and I would love to know your thoughts?

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