Oct 222012
 

Tom Ford’s Bronzer Brush ($115) is a luxurious investment. Rather than attempting to create a brush that might mimic others, this brush is lovingly made to deliver incredible results, albeit with the price tag to match. The bristle end is soft as kitten fur, lush and thick.

 The handle is balanced without being too heavy.

Of course, the brush is designed to work with the large, luxurious pan of the Tom Ford Bronzer. Below is Gold Dust, which is a beautifully shimmered glowing-with-gold powder perfect for light, warm skin tones. It has a very large, flat pan.

In fact, the bristle head of the Tom Ford Bronzer brush is far larger than the pan of a Chanel Joues Contraste blush. Of course, most bronzers are on the larger side. Some of the Guerlain special edition pans are almost the size of European dinner plate. However, if your favorite bronzer has a small pan, the Tom Ford Bronzer Brush might actually be too large for it.

Together, the combination of the Tom Ford Bronzer Brush and Gold Dust is a wonderful experience that delivers beautiful, transformative results.

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

 

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Oct 192012
 

Tom Ford Noir Absolue for Eyes ($35/0.12 oz.) is a creamy dark blue-black eyeliner designed to brighten and define. Like many of you, I have a few black liners. I’ve been using Bobbi Brown’s Black Ink Gel Eyeliner for at least ten years–I’ve used up (and replaced) several pots. Tom Ford’s is along the same lines with a few differences.

First, Tom Ford Noir Absolue is infused with a pretty blue tone and slight micro-shimmer. According to the sales associate, this is intended give a brightening effect to the whites of the eye. I think it’s pretty–the blue tone is not nearly as blue as a true blue or midnight blue, such as Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Sapphire Shimmer.

The difference in effect is subtle–if you have a very good monitor I suspect you will see that the Tom Ford swatch on the left is cooler.

Second, Tom Ford’s Noir Absolue seems to have a firmer texture compared to my familiar Bobbi Brown Black Ink. I use Laura Mercier’s flat-top synthetic push brush, as the Tom Ford sales associate recommended using this, rather than investing in the Tom Ford brush. I have to sort of aggressively push the brush into the pot to get full eyeliner coverage. There seems to be plenty of pigment, but the product isn’t as soft as a Bobbi Brown gel. So as an application tip, get in there like a tiger woman–don’t be shy.

Because of the micro-shimmer, I have not used this on my waterline. Typically, I add tightlining to my upper waterline by using another Laura Mercier push brush and the mascara straight off the spoolie.

Finally, the overall effect is amazing particularly when a I add a tightline. It’s fascinating how a subtle twist can really make a difference that leads to perfection. This liner does look really amazing, particularly if you are using a cool toned shadow (but I’ve worn it will all colors). Lasts all day.

 

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Oct 112012
 

The Tom Ford Enchanted Eye Color Quad ($75) is one of my favorite makeup purchases of the year. The color applies with a beautiful luminousity that is smooth and incredibly flattering. I invite you to click to enlarge:

Tom Ford’s Enchanted quad has a pearly texture that the other eye color quads in the line. There is subtle sparkle throughout, rather than a single shade. The texture applies beautifully with my Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush. Typically I use the lower left taupe-mauve shade as the base color. I tuck some of the deepest burgundy shade in the outer corner. Then, I use either of the top shades in the inner corner.

In shade:

Packaging: 

I found that using a base was necessary, particularly so because I am currently in a very humid warm climate.  I used Laura Mercier’s Eye Basic as mine. Swatches:

The department store stock images of this palette give a peach impression, which is quite inaccurate. Instead, the shades are mauve burgundy. The taupe shade in the lower left is incredible.

 

This shows the subtle sparkle:

The best way that I can describe this is as a more robust version of Chanel Ombres Perlees. The Tom Ford Enchanted Four Color Quad seems to be infused with fairy pearl and beautiful things, yet the palette remains sophisticated (as you would expect from Mr. Ford). If I hadn’t gotten this quad, I would have regretted it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of my life.

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Oct 052012
 

First- This Chanel Inside No 5 video is brilliant. It makes me a bit breathless–I think it’s the narrator’s pacing.

Currently there are three makeup companies associating with Marilyn Monroe presently (Chanel, MAC and Dior). Two with Andy Warhol (Chanel and Nars). None of these seems to be a detraction from these icons’ incredible status. I’m enjoying every minute.

It does seem the makeup industry is having a 1960’s revolution moment.

By the way, I have some of the original Andy Warhol postcards based on the collaboration mentioned in the video. They have little peel-off fragrance samples on the back. When I get back home, I’ll have to post some pictures of them.

Second-  Louis Vuitton. Speaking of a 1960’s revival, during Paris Louis Vuitton’s models wore a simple peach shimmered eyeshadow with soft lips complete with a 1960’s headband-bob.

The show featured the Damier check, extending the pattern into four escalators which formed the stage background.

Third- Tom Ford. I took me until a few months ago to make a few tentative passes at the Neiman’s counter. I’m not done going back yet.
I’ll be posting reviews (but if you want a head start, this Bronzer Brush is to die for). I cannot say that I’ve loved everything I’ve tried, but trust me this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Apr 012012
 

Thus far, I’ve been tempted to try Tom Ford’s Nail Lacquer ($30/each for 0.41 oz.), but didn’t cave on that impulse until I saw the limited edition Spring 2012 line of four colors (all four are swatched on The Makeup and Beauty Blog, and three are featured on The Beauty Look Book).  The only color that I found interesting was the platinum toned Silver Smoke, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Generally, Tom Ford’s Silver Smoke Nail Lacaquer is a complex platinum taupe color that has some golden tones in some light. It’s complexity means that it looks very different according to the light that it reflects. All pictures in this post are the same nail polish–Silver Smoke–but taken in different lighting conditions. This is a real chameleon, but all of these are pretty.

The application was smooth and opaque in two coats, although I’d allow plenty of dry time. It didn’t seem to become frosty/streaky as with some high-shine formulas.

 In some late evening sun, Silver Smoke turned into a cool gold.

Overall, Tom Ford has made a highly wearable, gorgeous, and rich polish to wear with gorgeous, luxurious fabrics that are the hallmark of his line. There is a lot of multicolor sparkle and color-changing pigment in Silver Smoke… a bit of magic perhaps? At any rate, it’s both bold and appropriate at the same time. It was a good choice for me to try out this line, and I’m sure because I love metallic accents that it is a color that I’ll use often.

 

 

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Apr 012012
 

I picked up a few items from Tom Ford Spring 2012 collection, a series of limited edition items based on a metallic, multidimensional texture. Here, I’m reviewing the Cream Color for Eyes in 01 Platinum and 02 Guilt ($40/each). Both smooth creams are in heavy glass containers, with 0.21 oz. of product. This $40 Tom Ford item includes more product than the 0.14 oz. in the Chanel Illussion D’Ombre (which sell for $36).

Chanel’s Illusion D’Ombre which are a cross-linked gel, which tends to hold together like a gummy bear–indeed, my Chanel’s still behave nicely, have plenty of moisture, and apply well although they are several months old. In contrast, Tom Ford’s Cream Eyeshadow have a soft, soufflé buttery texture almost like the inside filling of an excellent French macaron. Both lines have a texture that is unbelievably complicated–I would imagine it is nearly impossible to get this type of complexity and depth in a powder.

There are four colors in the release (all swatched here on Karlasugar), but I limited my selection to two–a warm golden Guilt, and a cool minky brown called  Platinum.  The price for these is high–although not as high as the $700 Tom Ford velvet slippers that I tried on just to confirm that they were fabulous (they were).  But at $40 each, the total for one eyeshadow approaches the cost of a single palette in nearly any other high end beauty brand, and the $80 for both of these is equal to a palette in Mr. Ford’s own line.

First up, Guilt is an over-the-top beautifully sparkling pot of richness:

The label:

Second, there was Platinum, an extremely complicated brown-taupe, which goes on more silvery on my eye that it does on my arm. Again, this looks very brown in the pot, but more silvery mink when applied:

Label:

Swatches:

This combination reminds me of two Guerlain Terracotta liners from a few seasons back (Gold Rush and Smoky Metal), but the texture, color, and overall look of these Tom Ford Creams is far superior. The Tom Ford’s are so easy to apply and to blend, and to get a quick, sophisticated look.

I used Guilt on my inner lid, then dabbed Platinum in the crease and outward from that. I used my finger, although a concealer brush would work well too.  So pretty!  Platinum applied slightly cooler and the silvery sheen really came out. The colors have a slight micro sparkle that’s absolutely lovely. So far so good. I hope that I don’t fall completely in love with these, or I’ll need the two remaining colors. I’ve paid so much for these, I know I’ll make a point to use them over the next several weeks to see how much of a dent I can make. They’re gorgeous, flattering and universal colors.

At $40, these are clearly a luxury product with a unique texture and complexity. They feel plushy on the lids, and have a luxury look and feel. They don’t emphasize lines, bumps.  They can be worn sheerly or with heavily for extra pigment.

Some might look at L’Oreal Eternal Sunshine and L’Oreal Bronzed Taupe as the closest substitutes. In my personal opinion, these aren’t “dupes,” given the texture difference, but these will put you in the same color family. The L’Oreal’s don’t have the plushy, buttery feel of the Tom Ford, and they are not as complicated. The L’Oreal’s have a thinner (although highly metallic and pigmented) texture.

You can see more reviews of these eyeshadows here:

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May 082011
 

Like many women, my hair and skin has tended to be oily for nearly all of life.  I remember the horror of my reaction when I went to the Shu Uemura boutique in San Francisco and was given a sample of their gorgeous cleansing oil.  Why would anyone with oily skin put more oil–on their face?   Yet the boutique’s associate had glowing, absolutely clear skin and he swore that his was oily too.  I began using Shu Uemura’s oil religiously.  I learned that Shu Uemura had personally developed it as an effective way to break down the chemicals in heavy theater makeup and sunscreen gently, without clogging pores.  Followed by a toner, it works beautifully.

I was also caught up in the Moroccan Oil craze.  My one (and only) bottle, now half-full (half-empty?) is in the photograph above. I bought it without reading the ingredient list (what an idiot).  As Beauty and the Brains points out here, the product ingredient list includes more than oil and some silicons.  In fact, I thought it would be interesting to compare the ingredient list with Leonor Greyl’s hair oil:

  • Moroccan Oil:  Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Butylphenyl, MethylPropional, Argania Spinoza Kernal Oil (Aragan Oil), Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum) Extract, Fragrance Supplement, D&C Yellow-11, D&C Red-17, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone
  • Leonor Greyl Huile de Palme:  Natural Oils (97%) – Fragrance

Some difference, huh?  I find Leonor Greyl’s works well as a deep conditioner, or for use as a tiny whisper to tame frizz and condition my ends.  Although the $48 is expensive, the bottle is quite large, there are virtually no fillers.  So a little goes a very long way.  I’m secretly hoping Liz steals my Moroccan Oil so I don’t have to deal with the heartbreak of throwing it away.

I’m working my way through Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (sold for around $30 on Beauty.com) as well, although it looks brand new.  It absorbs almost immediately, without leaving any little stains on my keyboard or clothing.  On legs and arms, it adds a touch of condition and sheen.  After using this for several weeks, creams feel too heavy and take too long to absorb.  L’Occitane used to sell as a comparable product, the Buriti oil, but it seems to have disappeared from their website.  As you can see, I haven’t used much of mine because I got it late last summer and neglected it since falling in love with Nuxe’s.

There are several gorgeously scented summer oils that add sheen and condition the body, together with deeply heady fragrances. I remember ordering these two–Tom Ford Black Orchid and Estee Lauder Azuree–after reading about them on Blogdorf Goodman.  Although I don’t use them frequently, they are a gorgeous addition to a summer conditioning routine.

I’m gradually learning more about oil-based skin care products (you may have seen my Rodin Olio Lusso review here).  Although I had long avoided these as an option, I’m finding that I love their benefits.  I have not experienced a single break-out from any of them.  If anything, they allow my skin to cleanse and moisturize well without chemicals.  They are lightweight, effective and pleasant (and sometimes downright gorgeous).  Although I’m not likely to re-buy Moroccan Oil, I’ve enjoyed the others tremendously.

 

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