Feb 252011

Nars has recently expanded the Illuminator line to add three shades:  Copacabana, Laguna and Super Orgasm ($29 each).  Recently, I bought two–Copacabana (1.2 oz) and Laguna (1.1 oz.)-to test drive the formula.  As background, I do not have an extensive collection of the multiple sticks.  I usually buy liquid and powder luminizers, over cream, as a personal preference.  Both Copacabana and Laguna are packed in squeeze tube with a flip-top closure.

The tube allows you to control the amount of product quite well, and the flip-top is a no-fuss closure.  Face it, if you are to the point where you are applying an illuminator, your makeup table has several other items and probably doesn’t need another loose cap.

I liked the texture of the Nars Illuminators very much.  They are cosmetically elegant, feeling wonderful against the skin and melting in quite nicely.  Copacabana is a party in a tube, seriously, this liquid does crazy beautiful magical things in the light.

Nars Copacabana Illuminator is like a “Benefit High Beam but better.”  I find that the texture of High Beam is a little thick and it seems to stand on my skin.  Copacabana is a cool pink, and so comes off as a quite dramatic on my warm, pale skin.  This will look banging hot on cool skin tones.  Those with warmer skin tones may want to swatch this before committing.  As a warm toned person, I enjoy wearing cool toned product but accept that they are going to be more dramatic than more golden tones on me.

For warmer skin tones, this will make a pretty upper-cheek highlighter. It’s nice on the brow bone, and as a “C” around the outer eyes.  Note well–the sparkle factor of Nars Copacabana Illuminator is on the high side. Also, if you have large pores or lines, try before you buy because you may find those features emphasized with Copacabana.  All of these factors are minimized if you wear this mixed with foundation or under foundation (which also knocks down the glow a few decibels).

Here is a texture/color comparison with Nars Copacabana and Soleil Tan de Chanel (in Sunkissed), Edward Bess cream highlighers in Sunlight and Afterglow, and Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in #2.  For fun, I also swatched Nars Multiple stick in Luxor because it’s another light, cool toned cream.

Another, because with illuminators the light makes a huge difference:

One more, different light.  There’s some serious glow with Copacabana (sign me up!) both in the swatch and when applied:

Laguna Illuminator has the same neutral with caramel tone as Nars Laguna powder bronzer.  Unlike Laguna in the powder form, Laguna Illuminator has an undeniably beautiful glow.  Like Copacabana, the glowing liquid is embedded with visible microshimmers that are visible on the skin even hours after application.  In case you missed it, the sparkle factor is high with both Copacabana and Laguna.

Although Laguna looks scary dark in the tube, I found that it applied in very manageable layers.  I used a bit on the cheeks to start, then built to a medium intensity with 3-4 layers.  Keep in mind, in California our idea of “way too bronze” may differ from your geographic region.  If you’ve seen the Real Housewives of Orange County you know what I’m saying.  Then, because I am a fearless bronzer tester when it comes to giving you the real deal, I slathered a thin layer all over my face.  I found this darkened my skin tone to about a MAC NC20/25.  Although I really liked the effect, I found that the sparkles were too visible. Unless you are a glitter lover, Laguna Illuminator is not meant for all over color.

Comparison and swatches–here, with Soleil Tan de Chanel in Terre Ambre, Nars Laguna powder bronzer, Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #11.

Another look:

Overall, with the Spring and Summer months approaching, I’m glad to have both Copacabana and Laguna in my beauty collection.  They’ll both get plenty of use.

This available with free shipping from Nordstrom.com.

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  9 Responses to “Nars Illuminators in Copacabana and Laguna- Review and Swatches”

  1. Hi,

    How does the copacabana compare to the rms living luminizer, im torn between the two. Thanks!

    • Hi Biz, RMS Living Luminizer is that it is not going to be as dramatic in the pearly reflective quality. Also, RMS’s really a pearl white, while Copacabana has a strong pink tone. Also, RMS is an all-natural product; Nars is not.

      • I’m aiming for a more day friendly and I like the idea of RMS being a smaller more independent sort of company, so RMS it is! Thanks so much for your dedication and work! Love the blog.

  2. Thanks so much for the swatches. I was interested in Copacabana but I think it’s too much for me… So shimmery!

  3. I’m really surprised by how shimmery Copacabana is. I thought I’d like it more than the Laguna, but Laguna looks like it would suit me better. Thanks for the swatches!

  4. I so need these! I think copocabana will be great for fair skins

  5. Thanks, Amy, for the wonderful photos, swatches, and descriptions. I’m looking for an illuminator, but Copacabana is not for me. I had to give away my Copacabana multiple because it was like nothing on my skin! I was considering Laguna, but, once again, it’s a matter of skin tone, and the look I’m going for. In summer, I can be NW25-30, so Laguna would be okay, but not great.

    Something will turn up for me!

  6. […] The new NARS Illuminators shades are also getting a lot of blogger attention. Check out Amy’s impressions at Café Makeup. […]

  7. thanks for this review, im gonna buy copacabana illuminator and im EXCITED!!!!

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