Nars Gaiety Blush

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Jan 152012
 

 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 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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Jan 122012
 

I’ve sort of fallen in love with Zoya’s Fleck Effects, three polish topcoats that give a glass fleck-opal effect over any nail polish.  They give a holographic flake with mylar suspended in a very sheer jelly.  They dry beautifully–they leave a smooth finish (you’re free to add a shine topcoat over them if you like). Unlike glitters, they feel smooth to the touch and are easy to remove. I can’t stop staring at my nails when I wear them. They’re sold here on Zoya’s website, and at local stores for $8 each.

There are three colors–First Maisie is a gorgeous blue. It gives a green-blue iridescent effect:

 Second, Opal based on green:

Last, Chloe for pink tones:

Zoya Fleck Effects are true topcoats–by themselves, they are sheer with a bit of fleck.  They have little drama all alone like that, and they are almost entirely transparent:

Here are the three topcoats over Chanel Black Satin–on the far left, I’ve used two coats of Maisie, and on the rest of the fingers of single coat of Maisie, Chloe and Opal.

Here are some other combinations. First, Nars Zulu (a deep amazonian green) topped with one coat of Zoya Opal:

Zoya Opal and Nars Zulu

 Here is Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Au Chocolat (a deep red with chocolate undertones) topped with one coat of Zoya Chloe, and then Lancome’s limited edition Indigo Paris (a medium navy with shimmer) topped with one coat of Zoya Opal:

I love the transformative quality of these. They really come alive in the light. Here’s one last picture, with the same combinations as above and adding a pure white (Essie Marshmallow) topped with one coat of Zoya Chloe:

I’ve been looking for a pretty multishimmer fleck effect, and couldn’t believe my luck with these. They are very easy to use–just add over any other color and wait for the magic. Love.

Zoya sent these polishes to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

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Jan 122012
 

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 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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