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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May 022012
 

For Spring 2012, Chanel released an Asia-exculsive collection, Le Blanc de Chanel (previewed here at Rouge Deluxe). Through the kindness of a fellow beauty lover, I was able to obtain the Fleur de Lotus Joues Contraste Blush (#69). My hope is that this might be picked by a U.S. source and released in this country (and elsewhere in the world).

Because of its current limited availability, this review will be short. Essentially, Fleur de Lotus can be summed up in a single word:  Spectacular. This is a finely-milled, brightening coral that adds a beautiful glow. Yes, it is the baked formula, but we’ve talked about this before. I found that the overall texture of Fleur de Lotus was sufficiently soft, a standard blush brush was fine (I found it similar to Rose Tourbillon in texture).

Here are swatch comparisons with Chanel Malice (which is more pink) and Chanel Espiegle (which is more peach):

I found that the closest that I had in my stash is MAC Hipness, swatched on the far right for comparison.

Obviously, the Joues Contraste formula sets Fleur de Lotus apart.

Maybe if we all contact our favorite department stores (do you hear me Nordstrom?? Neimans? Saks? hellooooo?), and we all do lots of good deeds for others we can all get our hands on one. I’d certainly get another. This thing’s gorgeous.

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Apr 242012
 

Le Metier de Beaute Color Core Lipstick in Fiji ($32) is a vibrant pink coral moisturizing luxury lipstick. Although it looks rather gentle in tone in the tube, Liz found that it applied with a vibrancy and comfort that demonstrates that the pigments and ingredients of this lipsticks are truly top-drawer. Here are comparisons between Le Metier’s Dubai, Fuji and Paris:

Here’s a bullet comparison between the soft dusty rose Le Metier de Beaute Dubai and Le Metier’s warmer, lighter Fiji:

 

Liz and I found that Fiji applied as a very gentle light pink on lips. Liz’s warm skin tones brought out some of the pink in Fiji–the peachy tone of Fiji in the tube does not seem to have translated to Liz’s lips. We both went “oooooh!” when she applied it because it seemed to transform a bit. On me, it applies much less vibrantly, as a quieter gentle warm somewhat light rose.

The coverage is very opaque-Le Metier’s Fiji covers my pigmented lips entirely. This is very unusual for a lipstick with such a light tone. Usually, lighter toned lipsticks are too sheer on me. As a tribute to its quality, the opacity does not create any chalky or require a thick layer of lipstick. I think we’ve all seen the “pile on the lipstick” effect that starts to creep into lip lines (not attractive, and very aging). The Le Metier Color Core formula means business–it covers with a thin layer of product, and the moisturizing formula adds a youthful, creamy glow.

Bottom line–awesome formula for someone who wants to look sophisticated without piling on layers of color. Moisturizing, lovely universal color and awesome coverage without requiring layers of pigment. Unfortunately, my love affair with Fiji will be short-lived, as Liz has claimed Fiji as her go-to Spring 2012 color. It’s ready for you, Liz!

Le Metier de Beaute sent Fiji to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review.

 

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Mar 262012
 

One cannot escape that neon pops of color are a prevailing trend for Spring 2012. Although I’m not likely to be purchasing an orange skinny crop jean just to follow along, I have been drawn to the bright nail colors that can tweak an otherwise neutral look.

I thought it would be fun to pull together some brights in a little sketch-type post. This is just a quick, fun one, just to see a few of the choices out there.

Most were purchased in the past two months, and so most should still be available now. In keeping with our Cafe Makeup aesthetic, few (if any) are neons. Instead, I’ve focused on brights that can still be considered wearable. Really, a bright accent–whether its nails, bracelet or other small accent– is something that anyone from age 10 to 100 can pull off. Fabulous nail colors are out there for under $10–I’ve been really impressed with L’Oreal’s new releases (two are pictured below). Click to enlarge:

Here are some informal thoughts about the shades:

  • L’Oreal Check Me Out–a pleasant bright pink that looks expensive. Seriously worth “checking out”
  • Dior Pink Graffiti–Part of Dior’s Anselm Reyle Collection. Awesome formula.
  • Butter London Disco Biscuit–Although this makes many blogger’s “favorite” lists, I found this needs 3-4 coats to reach a vibrant color, so it falls into the “fussy” category.  Try Zoya Layla if you like this blue-pink idea (not pictured because Liz needed it) but want to use fewer coats. Layla doesn’t have as much sparkle, but its a nice vibrant cool pink.
  • CND Poppy Field–This was part of CND’s line last year, a very pleasant vibrant coral-red
  • OPI Red Lights Ahead–Part of OPI’s Holland collection, this creme is very similar to CND Poppy Field
  • Deborah Lippmann Lara’s Theme–An vibrant deep orange
  • Laura Mercier Sizzle–Part of the Spring 2012 collection, this one is limited edition. A sophisticated coral-red.
  • OPI A Roll in the Hague— Another bright from OPI’s Holland collection
  • L’Oreal L’Orange—another delight from L’Oreal’s new line. Two coats to perfect. Nice vibrant opaque formula that is surprisingly good on wear time.
  • Zoya Paz— Matte orange roughly the color of a hunting jacket (or a street cone).  The closest thing to neon in this bunch.
  • Rescue Beauty Lounge Bangin’– I’ve long loved this searing red-coral. Recent twitter traffic suggests that supplies are getting low on this color at the Rescue Beauty Lounge. You’ve been warned.
  • OPI Big Apple Red–This color is a nice true red, I’m only  including it so you can compare the swatches to the coral-reds to see the difference.

Swatches, swatches, swatches:

Who needs an alarm clock when you’re wearing ten of these?  Are you having any fun with brights this season?  How are you wearing them?

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Mar 122012
 

For Spring 2012, Nars released three new lip products as part of its iconic collection. If you fall in love with one, the Nars online site has free 2-day shipping right now with no minimum and no code needed.

First up is the soft, crowd-pleasing warm nude Nars Bilbao satin lipstick ($24).

Accurately described as a “shimmering topaz” this semi-sheer color gives a has a golden beige wash to lips.

It’s a near-nude that has enough color so that it doesn’t wash you out, it leaves a honey glaze color that can be very flattering especially on warm skin tones. Here is Nars Bilbao on Liz:

Here’s a quick swatch comparison with Nars Bilbao, which was closest to Chanel Rouge Coco Baroque. However, Nars Bilbao applies more softly and sheerly than Baroque. Also here is Chanel Rouge Coco Patchouli and Burberry Nude Rose #25.

This Nars collection is a real collection of widely diverse colors and the lip colors are no exception.

 

Nars Spring 2012 brings Pure Matte Lipstick in Valparaiso ($25) a deep beautiful cool red berry.

Although not a traditional color, Valparaiso looks right with evening wear and on cool spring days. Here’s a comparison with a few other vampy darks which I had nearby: Nars Nana Lipgloss, Guerlain Vega, Chanel Rouge Coco in Rouge Noir and Burberry Blueberry Lip Mist.

Here’s how Nars Valparaiso looks on lips, in all of its matte velvet glory:

Nars has also released a Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Mexican Rose ($24):

Nars Mexican Rose is an astoundingly beautiful color, particularly on pale lips. It’s a beautiful pink-rose with plenty of color and depth. You can see that it is a beautifully wearable saturated deep rose-pink. Here, it’s compared to the more red Chanel Flamboyante and the more bright pink Chanel Kensington:

Nars Mexican Rose on Liz’s pale pink lips:

Because this pencil has a bit of sheerness, the color is much more muted and deep on my mauve-toned lips. Liz’s lip color is quite light, and so the deep saturated color of Mexican Rose really stands out on her.

All in all, I’d say Nars did an amazing job with three very different lip colors, all suitable for immediate wear. Unfortunately, Liz obtained my Mexican Rose pencil, so I will be buying a replacement for myself. Ah, the joys!

These three lip colors-Mexican Rose, Valparasio and Bilboa–were provided by Nars to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review.

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Nars Gaiety Blush

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Jan 152012
 
Nars Gaiety1

 Nars Gaiety blush ($27) is a cool candy pink matte blush with a touch of orchid.  Nars description says “joyful exuberance”–Cafe Makeup says “love.”

Of course, Gaiety is going to work beautifully for cool skin tones. Although I have warm-toned skin, I’ve long loved the look of a cool pink blush. It really makes me look healthy and glowing. The contrast is not jarring, instead, it adds a soft glow of color that adds a dash of interest. Yes, I love my reds, peaches, and bronzes, but candy pink awakens my skin like nothing else.

Lately, Nars blushes seem to have a more consistent formula. Some of the older designs (Mounia, now discontinued) required careful control with a stippling brush.  Perhaps it’s just me, but lately I can use a standard blush brush and average pressure to get a good glow every time. I put Gaiety in this same line–I love the formula, quality and sleek packaging of Nars blushes, and that there is also a vibrant pink-pink that I can apply without special care. Really, this one’s easy.

Of all my cool candy-pink blushes (oh, I can hear the comments already! Yes, I have a few), Gaiety is closest to the long-ago limited edition Chanel Turbulent, but does not require the special care and handling that Turbulent does (for more about this, see this review–really, it’s nuclear).  Unlike the vibrant, pearly Chanel Tubulent, Nars Gaiety can be applied normally and has a matte finish.

You can see the tonality difference here, with Nars Gaiety and Chanel Turbulent being the closest friends. Bobbi Brown’s French Pink (in the old round pot) is far less bright and clear.  Chanel Rose Tourbillon has a touch of rose red, but Nars Gaiety leans more blue/orchid.

Another comparison–here is MAC Full Fuchsia (reviewed here) which is an amazing color, but far more blue and fuchsia compared to Nars Gaiety.  Chanel Pink Explosion (reviewed here) is a soft cool pink, but not as cool as Gaiety. Finally, Chanel Tweed Fuchsia (reviewed here) has much more red and is deeper in tone.

I swatched some of the closest shades. As you can see, Chanel Turbulent was the closest. Keep in mind that Turbulent is applied very lightly here, because I tried to keep the tonality the same.  Turbulent shows as a more pearly texture, compared to the matte Nars Gaiety.  You can see that Chanel Rose Tourbillon is slightly more red and has a pearl texture.  MAC Full Fuchsia is a much deeper violet tone.

Same blushes:

Overall, one of my favorite pieces from this Nars collection. I’ve been worried that I might run out of Chanel Turbulent, and regretted the time investment needed to make it work. Nars Gaiety is a far more workable formula, in more sleek and packable packaging. I love the color, the forumla and the final effect. Again, my apologies that Liz isn’t here to model–she’s working quite hard and I hope that sometime soon her schedule will allow her to return.

Nars Gaiety was sent to Cafe Makeup for review without charge.

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Jan 142012
 
Nars Lhasa1

Nars Lhasa eyeshadow ($23/ 0.07 oz) is a perfect eyeshadow for understated elegance. If you love a neutral with a kick, you need this.

Part of Spring 2012 now online, Nars has a way of releasing must-have staples seasonally. Lhasa is a soft lavender gray that manages to emphasize one’s natural eye color and add a little sophisticated polish. It’s a beautiful wash, or staple lid color that could be supplemented with a touch of deep gray/black in the crease or a touch of shimmering ivory in the inner corner.

Is this a taupe? I’d say it’s not. The lavender has a mink-brown tinged with gray, but it’s different enough from my taupes to declare it one-of-a-kind. It brings out the warmth of my skintone and a touch of green in my eye color. I found that my closest color is Chanel Fauve, although Fauve is comparatively shimmery compared to Nars Lhasa’s satin-matte finish. Here, I compare Lhasa to some “true taupes”–Chanel Safari and Shu ME 945 Silver.  For fun, I added the right half of the Nars Habanera duo, which is clearly more purple, more deep in tone and more shimmery than Lhasa.

Swatches of all shades:

Do you need? Yes. This one is a must.

 

Cafe Makeup received this eyeshadow from Nars Cosmetics without charge for consideration for review.

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Zoya Spring 2012: True Collection

 Nail Polish, Zoya  Comments Off on Zoya Spring 2012: True Collection
Jan 122012
 
Zoya spring

Zoya Spring 2012 True Collection

Zoya is just set to release the True Collection for Spring 2012, a wardrobe of soft on-trend colors with enough of an edge to keep things interesting. I really like Zoya’s product and have for years.  Their polish is free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalates) and camphor. Zoya polishes has a reasonable price point– $8 per bottle, really good service, lovely colors and occasional deals.  As a whole, their polishes have always performed extremely well for me. They have 300 colors, and some are absolute standouts.

The True collection has two purple-violets.  Lotus is soft with shimmer, and is infused with a greyed down tone. It’s a pretty transition color to take you from the cooler winter months into Spring.

 Lotus on nails:

Tru is a more dramatic violet–the red tones and high shimmer give Tru more drama:

  Tru on nails:

One of my favorites is Skylar, a soft shimmering wedgewood blue with little glass fleck.

Skylar’s cool blue looks nice with my warm skin tone and really came alive in the light:

Another of Skylar:

Another one of my favorites is a soft, sage green called Bevin. This doesn’t have the fleck of Skylar, but there is a soft pearly sheen that is very soft and pretty.

Here’s Bevin on nails:

Zoya’s True collection includes two light nudes–one cool and one warm.  Cho is a pearly cafe au lait color that has a touch of warmth:

Cho on nails:

Zoya Cho

Farrah is very similar, but slightly cooler and a touch deeper in tone:

Here is Farrah on nails:

The formula on these were extremely good.  The first four–Lotus, Tru, Skylar and Bevin go on smoothly and beautifully in two coats. As might be expected from a light opaque, Cho and Farah took a little more care–I had to practice on one nail to make sure I could apply it evenly.  Also, colors like Cho and Farah can be invaluable. They’re light neutrals that give a gorgeous, sophisticated nude look. Sometimes, colors like this can make my skin tone look a little redder but that’s the nature of this type of color.

Ultimately, these went on without a problem with two coats. These were far easier to work with than some of the light opaques that I’ve tried (cough–Chanel Mimosa–excuse me!). All pictures are without a topcoat.

Overall, I’d recommend the colors from this collection. Zoya makes a fun, sophisticated and highly wearable collection. Lovely colors, lovely price point. I understand that these will be released very soon.

Zoya’s True collection were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jan 112012
 
NARS Bilbao Lipstick

Nars Spring 2012

Here’s an upcoming preview of Nars Spring 2012, a collection that is a study in contrasts: bold color underscored by sophisticated shimmer. For eyes, either tones of lavender and pink or bronze accented with navy on eyes. Cheeks are flushed with candy pink. Lips gleam in topaz or pop with berry. Metallic violet nails add a finishing touch to a collection that’s bright, strong and iconic. Here are the details of the complete Spring 2012 Nars collection.

Douce France Trio Eyeshadow ($45), with three gorgeous powder eyeshadow variations on pink—a cool light pink highlighter, a medium rose-petal pink and a deep rose with a touch of brick:
A minky silver-lavender single powder eyeshadow Lhasa ($23), named for the Tibetan region that hosts many Buddhist palaces:
An powder eyeshadow duo, Paramarimbo ($33) with a soft metallic green-brass and green-bronze tones. These are both shimmery textures with a rich complexity.

Gaeity Blush ($27), which I’ve been waiting for with my breath held. This is an extremely cool-toned pink:

Mexican Rose Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24). I love this formula. This is a red/hot pink combination made to make your lips look gorgeous and glossy:

Valpraiso Pure Matte Lipstick ($25), an deep rose with a touch of coolness:

A shimmering gold-topaz deep nude in Bilbao Lipstick ($24)

Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24)

Diamond Life nail polish ($17) (not yet arrived)

In person, everything so far looks gorgeous. I’ll be providing you with updates and reviews on these products in the coming days.

These products were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

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Jan 042012
 
Dior Waterlilly1

Dior Spring 2012 brings Dior Vernis Garden Party nail polish in Waterily ($23 #504). This is a soft green with microshimmer that reminds me of some of Chanel’s more unique polish shades. As always, the bottle has that wonderful Dior brush that–although it seems to have a mind of its own–certainly knows what it’s doing.

The polish is labeled as “scented.” When the polish is wet the scent is that of….nail polish. However, when it dries down there is a faint, pleasant floral scent that evokes roses and perhaps lilies as well. To me, the scent is not strong and the sillage does not travel far. I catch the scent as I take a sip of water or use the phone, but I cannot when my hands are on my keyboard. Application was smooth and opaque in two coats.

Here, I’ve swatched two (2) coats of Dior Waterlily together with three (3) coats each of Chanel Jade, Chanel Nouvelle Vague and Chanel Riva. No topcoat or base.

Dior’s formula is more pigmented than any of the Chanel.  Although it is close to Chanel Jade in color, Dior Waterlily is deeper in tone and slightly less yellow. Both have very subtle microshimmer.  If you like a high-shine look, you’ll want to add a topcoat–on its own, the polish dries down to a satiny texture. One more.

I don’t know whether Dior Waterlily will sell out as fast as Chanel Jade did, but the Dior will sell out. It’s an unusual, high-fashion color that’s going to look interesting and trendy during Spring. It’s delicate and pretty in two coats, and it unquestionably makes a statement. I love the color, and think it will look beautiful with creams, peaches and pinks as the weather warms.

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