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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