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.

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Jun 302014
 

Marc Jacobs Love Lust02Free Marc Jacobs? Sign me up. I put the Sephora Beauty Insider Marc Jacobs Love and Lust set (1000 points) into my cart when this promotion went live. Marc Jacobs Love Lust03Inside, there is a booklet that introduces the line, as well as full sized Marc Jacobs Beauty Lovemarc lip gel in #146 Cabernet ($30), a new limited edition shade that is currently exclusive to Sephora VIB Rouge members.  There is also a full sized Marc Jacobs Beauty Lust for Laquer Lip Vinyl in #316 Shooting Stars ($28). Marc Jacobs Lust Life1 Cabernet is a wine plum. Shooting Stars is a warm red, with a touch of rust and soft sparkle. Hit me like a ray of sun, Shooting Stars. As with Marc’s other glosses, this one is refreshingly mint-scented. Marc Jacobs Love Lust10The gloss was our favorite by far. Here is Shooting Stars on Liz: MARC JACOBS LIPGLOSS1 If you’ve been saving your Sephora points, this set is definitely worth a look. Marc Jacobs Love Lust05   Marc Jacobs Love Lust08   Marc Jacobs Love Lust06   Marc Jacobs Love Lust04

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Dec 152013
 

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush01

Although my reactions to the new Marc Jacobs makeup line have not been uniform, I felt that it was important to look at several items in the line to get a sense of the quality level. It is not everyday that an important fashion designer launches a beauty line, especially one so comprehensive in scope. I did not love the mascara, the foundation, and I haven’t felt compelled to try the blushes. But one of the items that has won my heart is the Marc Jacobs The Bronze Bronzer Brush No. 12 ($78), a consistent, well-made tool that has increased the usability and beauty of the other products in my collection.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush02

I knew this brush was special the first time that I saw it, and Seth Barton-Roberts’ video review also piqued my interest. Running nearly 8 inches in length, this oversized powder brush is well balanced and substantial, without being heavy.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush03

The head is densely packed and soft, like a combination kabuki/duo-fibre. It gives superb control for all types of powders, including blushes, powders, bronzers. It applies baked products, including MAC’s Mineralized Skin Finishes, like a boss.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush10

The bristles have plenty of oomph, so that you don’t have to spend too much time building up product. Designed for bronzers, I found a few sweeps adequate. It gives a similar application effect to the large (and now unobtainable) Chanel must-have powder brush that I bought in Paris years ago.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush12

Because of the oversized head, I tend to reserve this for products that are used over larger areas of the face. Just to experiment, I also tried this with my hyper-pigmented blushes (such as the MAC pro blushes, and some NARS). I found that I still had to be careful about how much pigment I put on this brush. Some of the pigmentation of those blushes are pretty nuclear, so I wasn’t surprised to find that I still had to sweep the brush over a mirror or tissue to knock product off before applying. However, I did find that the Marc Jacobs The Bronze brush  did allow me to apply the blushes with very soft, soft, soft blended edges.

Marc Jacobs Bronzer Brush04

I reaching for the Marc Jacobs The Bronze brush almost every day since I bought it. I wash it the same way as my other brushes, and dry time is overnight if I remember to shake out excess water (but a day and a half if I forget).  I haven’t experienced any staining with any of my products (including the super-pigmented blushes). Everything seems to wash out easily. According to Sephora’s website, the brush is made from synthetic, antibacterial hair. The feel is pure luxury and the function is perfection.

Jacobs brush with annotations

Bottom line–this is one of my favorite buys from the past several months. It is available exclusively from Sephora.

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Dec 092013
 

Marc Jacobs Mascara1

When the Marc Jacobs Beauty line opened in August, I went to a Sephora in New York City (where I was visiting at the time), and asked the store manager to point out the hero products for the line. He pointed to a few products, including Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Gel Definition Mascara ($26).  I took a chance, and bought a tube. I’ve been playing with it for the past few months, on and off, trying to pull my thoughts together to create a cohesive review.

Marc Jacobs Mascara3

First off, the packaging is oversized in that Marc-Jacobs-fun sort of way. Getting out this giant tube feels both luxurious and a little playful. The packaging has a large hole in the top–far larger than most mascara openings. I mean, it’s noticeably larger than any I’ve tried before.

Marc Jacobs Mascara23

Because the hole is so large, and there doesn’t seem to be much resistance pulling out the brush, you don’t get much “scraping” action when you pull. With many formulas, that might give you clumps. Not this one. The formula is decidedly very wet, without any clinging fibers that I could see. The brush can be quite loaded up with uber-black gel formula.

Marc Jacobs Mascara5

Whether you like this mascara will depend, I think, on how much you like your own lashes. It will magnify what you have, so if you like your lashes you will be pretty happy I think. It doesn’t give a natural look because it adds a super-dark black, a bit of length and bit of curl. So, yes you will get a fringe effect. However, the Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter is not consistently transformative in its effect, in my opinion, to give va-va-voom lashes. If you find your lashes aren’t as long as you’d like them to be, or too straight, and you want to add far more drama, you might keep looking. I didn’t think that Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter curled as dramatically as Yves Saint Laurent’s Baby Doll or Guerlain Le 2. I did not find that this mascara had as much of a volumizing effect compared to Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils, Giorgio Armani, Guerlain, NARS, or some of the Chanel formulas over the recent years.

Marc Jacobs Mascara2

The formula is quite long-lasting, I experienced no smudges or flaking. My lashes didn’t get any “crunchy” feeling. They remained soft to the touch throughout the day.

Also, and I may be the only individual who noticed this, I had some inconsistency with application. This might be because there can be a lot of mascara on the brush when you pull it out on some days, while perhaps not on other days. Honestly, I’m not sure. But the inconsistency happened several times and so I cannot write this review without mentioning it. Some days I was pretty happy with the effect. Other days, much less so. That’s unusual for me–I usually know what’s happening when I pick up a tube.

Perhaps a more expert makeup artist would say that the wet formula, and generous amount retained by the brush, gives one better control. After several weeks of trying, I didn’t figure out why one day my lashes looked acceptably long and separated on the first coat, and the next day needed three coats and still seemed a bit inadequate. Also, one word of warning with this mascara. Never, ever, ever touch your lashes without giving them some serious dry time. If I tried to touch up my liner after applying this mascara, it destroyed the nice separation that the brush allows with normal application.

In the bonus point category, this formula makes an awesome eyeliner. Sometimes I used my Laura Mercier push brush to pick up some of this deep black formula and worked it into my lash line. This was a perfect, long lasting liner that went perfectly with this mascara. Really, so long lasting and awesome when used that way.

Marc Jacobs Mascara21

Overall, the Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Mascara is a premium version of a super-wet formula. I don’t know any high end mascaras that give this same ultra-black effect in a wet gel. There is some lengthening and curling, and a very long-lasting and non-crunchy formula. Those looking for dramatic volume or length might wish to keep looking elsewhere. As with all things in the beauty world, viva la difference– although I personally prefer a more dramatic formula, I know that some readers might have been looking for something with these qualities for a very long time. Undoubtedly unique, I’m sure that there will be many aficionados who will find that this is their “hero” formula. Again, these are just my opinions and (of course) your mileage may vary.

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Sep 202013
 

I’m continuing to play with various parts of the Marc Jacobs Beauty line. Here, I’m looking at two of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Hi-Shine Nail Lacquers in Sally and Blue Velvet ($18 each), two stunning deep shimmery jewel toned shades.

Marc Jacobs sparkle nail polish1

As the name suggests, Marc Jacobs Blue Velvet is a sparkling deep blue.

Marc Jacobs sparkle nail polish3

The formula is really nice. Blue Velvet goes on very smoothly, it’s sort of the perfect consistency. This is opaque in one coat, but here I’ve used two. On the nails:

Marc Jacobs Nails01

I had a little bit of a tough time removing Marc Jacobs Blue Velvet–I had a little bit of staining that required me to do another round of remover to get all of the color off. Another:

Marc Jacobs Nails06 copy

Marc Jacobs Sally is an emerald green that is so deep that is is a near-black.

Marc Jacobs sparkle nail polish2

Like Blue Velvet, this formula is good–very smooth and easy to apply. Sally required two coats to reach opacity. On nails:

Marc Jacobs Nails07

Here is a comparison with both Marc Jacobs Blue Velvet and Sally, together with China Glaze Emerald Fitzgerald, OPI Live and Let Die, Chanel Nuit de Russie, Chanel Blue Satin, and Butter London Big Smoke:

Marc Jacobs Nail Blue Green1

I liked both Marc Jacobs Blue Velvet and Smoke. Both are unusual deep tones that are quite pretty for fall and winter. Definitely worth a look. Both are available exclusively at Sephora.

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Aug 282013
 

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish1

I’ve been playing with a few items from Marc Jacobs Beauty new line, including Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Desire ($18. / 0.43 oz.). I picked this color up during a sweep through a rather crowded Sephora on the first day of the release.

Marc Desire Lacquer box1

The back of the box has a little window to show the color as you search through the back stock. Also note that the box has a tape-shut so that you can tell if you are getting a brand new bottle (smart!).

Marc Desire Lacquer box2

Although not everyone will love the packaging style, I think the bottle shape is sort of fun and consistent with the Marc Jacobs aesthetic. The large black cap (which would be  unwieldy to hold for polish application) pulls of to reveal the smaller, more manageable top.

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish2

The brush is the standard narrow style which takes me about 3-5 sweeps to cover a nail.

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish3

Marc Jacobs Beauty in Desire has a high shimmer finish. The formula was interesting. It applies smoothly and is opaque in two coats. At two coats, the color looked okay and the finish dried down to a satin. This was a little confusing, given that the name of the polish is “Hi-Shine.” So I kept going and added a third coat. When I did so, the color dried to a more shiny texture and the color was much more lush and rich. All of these images are with three coats (and no added topcoat or basecoat).

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish21

As you can see, in sunlight the shine and color saturates the image so that it is almost hard to capture. One more:

Marc Jacobs Desire Nail Polish23

Overall, I like Marc Jacobs Lacquer in Desire. I wonder if I should have bought a more unique color. Desire is a relatively duplicable shade compared to Marc Jacob Beauty’s Petra reviewed by Sabrina on The Beauty Look Book.  Nonetheless, in my crazy beauty blogger’s mind, I deliberately chose a standard red shimmer shade because I wanted to see how the Marc Jacobs Beauty formula compares with a standard (less expensive) OPI or the like, and a luxury brand like Chanel. Here’s a comparison with Marc Jacobs Beauty Desire, Chanel Malice, OPI Dankeshiny Red, and Zoya Blair.

Marc Desire comparisons1

After working with Desire, I’m pretty close to concluding that it preforms in a similar way to OPI and Zoya (and China Glaze Ruby Pumps, which is also in this shimmer red category). Chanel Malice is a pretty delicious shade no matter how you slice it, so let’s not even go there. Bottom line:  Unless I learn anything new, in the future I’m more likely to go with non-duplicatable, unusual shades in the Marc line as the formula seems on par with the mid-priced nail polish companies out there (like OPI, Essie, Butter London, Zoya, and the like). So there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to go with the $18 Marc Beauty shades when an OPI or the like (at $10ish) will do. Just this one crazy beauty blogger’s opinion.

Marc Jacobs Beauty is sold exclusively at Sephora.

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Aug 042013
 

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er1

Quite unexpectedly, my favorite item from the Marc Jacobs Beauty preview was the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen Eyeliner in Blacquer ($30). The pen was as delightfully well-balanced as a Mont Blanc (though, thankfully, not as heavy). It has an expensive well-made feel and is a pleasure to use.

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er5

The cap is a pull-on, pull-off with a satisfying, secure ‘click.’  The color flows from the tip with the perfect amount of cool black. You can go heavy or extraordinarily thin and light. The tip of the pen is quite small and sharp. It delivers a a very predictable flow, which is a very good quality when you are working close to the all-important eye area.  This has excellent staying power–the color never flakes, fades, or moves all day until I hit it with my oil cleanser.

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er

I’m a fan of liquid liners. I love that you don’t need an extra brush (unlike a gel), and that you get no pulling, tugging, sharpening, or sometimes too-light pigmentation (as with some pencils). I’m looking for good, dependable, beautiful color and that is what the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er delivers.

Marc Jacobs Marc'er1

The shape of the Marc Jacob’s Magic Marc’er is perfect for those mornings when you haven’t had enough coffee, or too much. On those days, it’s just too daunting to use the sharp tip all across the lash line–the possibility for shakes and wiggles is too great (really? we have to start over now? argggggh!). I mean, you can do it perfectly with a “go in confident” and “I’m in control, here!” attitude. But we don’t always wake up in perfect condition, do we?

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc'er7

 With the Magic Marc’er, sometimes I use the long tip sideways, horizontally across the lash line and pull it along. That allows the long side of the tip to be guided by the natural ridge above the lashes.  Pull, pull, pull, as gently or a heavily as you like. Then, I fill in the inner corner areas with the very precise small tip.

Another good technique is to do a series of feathery horizontal lines that you connect by overlapping them. That way, the pen is only in contact with the lash line for a very short stroke. This works really well too.

Here’s a comparison with two lines of the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er in Blackquer. This is next to an admittedly well-worn, year-old Le Metier de Beaute Precision liquid liner ($42) (it’s used it so much that the pigment is starting to suffer, so the comparison isn’t really good but it’s the only other liquid liner I had on hand). Also, there is Chanel Ebene, an off-black and a Prestige Total Intensity black pencil liner that we buy at our local drugstore.

Marc Jacobs Marc'er2

One more, same:

Marc Jacobs Marc'er3 copy

I was surprised to find that the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er was the highlight of my beauty routine this past week. I’ll be taking it on the road next week, and hoping that it holds up to the rigors of air travel (I’ll report back). As with other liquid liners, you’ll want to pull the cap straight up-and-down on so you don’t bend the brush.

The Marc Jacobs Beauty Magic Marc’er Precision Pen in Blacquer will be available at Sephora starting August 9th.

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Aug 032013
 

Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer1

Marc Jacobs Beauty Lust For Lacquer Lip Vinyl ($28 each) have a high-shine formula and lovely, highly wearable color. The packaging is pure Marc Jacobs “sophisticated/fun.” The black applicator side is practical, there’s just no dropping this one with that big paddle. Still, there’s something cute and modern about it too. In other words, very Marc.

Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer2

I tried two shades–the warm pink Kissability and the cool burgundy Studded Kiss. On application, there’s a sweet vanilla scent with the faintest touch of floral scent. Within about 30 seconds, the scent transforms in a breath-freshening peppermint that’s delightful. The peppermint scent lingers for a good 20-30 minutes, and gives the gloss an ever-so-slight tingle. The fun shape of the tube, the lovely color, and the scent made these slightly addictive to use. I kept reaching for them all week, I just love that touch of peppermint.

Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer5

Kissability is a warm pink-rose infused with gold. This is one of those crowd-pleasing, goes-with-everything colors that can be used up because it’s such a good, staple color. It’s medium-sheer. On Liz, the color is quite sheer–her lips are lightly pigmented.

Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer7

The color looks deeper and more rose on me, because my lips have more pigment. It’s my lips but better, and because of the shine it’s also my lips but wetter. Here is Liz wearing Kissability:

Marc Jacobs eye palette01

Here, Liz is wearing Kissability with:

Here are some swatches using Marc Jacobs Kissability, using other shades to orient the color among others (not as possible dupes). Burberry Nude Rose is a light cream. Nars Dolce Vita has no shimmer, and is not as pink. Chanel Paillettes is a sheer shimmery gloss.

Marc Jacobs Lip Laquer Swatches1

Studded Kiss is a pigmented burgundy infused with deep red-violet with a high-lacquer shine.

Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer6

 On Liz:

Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer8a

Here’s Marc Jacob’s Studded Kiss on Liz:

Marc Jacobs Lip Lacquer111

As you can see, Marc Jacobs Studded Kiss doesn’t have a duplicate in my stash. Chanel Ironic Tonic is warmer. Buberry Hibiscus is a sheer cream, with more red. Le Metier de Beaute In the Know Bordeaux is deeper and more burgundy.

Marc Jacobs lip gloss swatches1a

Overall, I loved these new Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyls. If you are sensitive to peppermint, you’ll want to pass these by. I found them really pleasant, and kept reaching for them. I’ll definitely be looking for more now the full line is released.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).  Nars Brow Gel, Dolce Vita lip gloss and Nars Realm of the Senses blush were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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