Jul 262012
 

Nars Foreplay Blush Palette ($49/Sephora Exclusive) is a deconstructed version of the iconic Orgasm blush. This includes the original Orgasm blush (bottom right), together with the individual elements of the original–a matte fuchsia pink, a matte coral, and the shimmery gold highlighter.

The palette is a crowd-pleasing mix of colors that allows you to customize this universally flattering shade as you like. Personally, I’m so attached to cool pinks, I love popping a little bit of the fuchsia on my upper cheek, with the Orgasm down below. Here’s a swatch of all of the shades (softly on the left, more dense on the right):

A few close-ups of the colors:

More:

When I first saw the press for Nars Foreplay, I wasn’t sure as I hadn’t used my original Orgasm in a while (no double entrendre intended). Now that I’ve played with Nars Foreplay, I see its genius. I frequently layer blush in other lines, and having the ability to control the separate elements is sort of awesome. I love adding Fuchsia to Orgasm. It makes the whole color new. Here’s one look on Liz, playing with the colors:

Here, she started with Orgasm as the base shade, then added the fuchsia and coral separately, adding the gold as a highlighter at the end.

Bottom line–The price is right, the package is extremely convenient (especially if you live on the road as I do at times). Awesome, consistent Nars quality. You can get infinite looks easily. This gives a brightening glow. Love.

The Nars Foreplay Palette was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jul 252012
 

Nars Fall 2012 has a number of contrasting deep and light shades, playing with texture and light. Nars Storm Bird ($18) is a deep gray cream nail polish with a high-shine finish. Storm Bird compliments the rest of the collection well.

Nars Storm Bird reminds me of a standard photographic color called “18% grey,” which was intended to standardize black and white photographs across the tonal spectrum  (non-photographers won’t get this reference, but you might find something familiar about Storm Bird nonetheless as it reflects deep winter shadows).

It is a high-shine urban color–I actually own shirts and a scarf in this color. It makes lighter warm skin tones really stand out, because it is a cool deep contrasting color. Cooler skin tones will find it harmonizes well. Everyone will find it a universal color that looks good with a wide variety of winter clothing–blacks, sage, burgundy, and some blues.

I think most companies go to shades in nudes and browns, and perhaps taupes, when formulating neutral nail colors. Here, Nars has taken a bolder step and gone with a very modern, edgy gray. I don’t have any other grays in this color category for comparison. I can say that NARS formula is consistently excellent–this is two coats to full opacity, no visible nail lines. There is no topcoat there, the formula is providing the shine.

Nars Storm Bird was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jul 242012
 

Nars Undress Me Multiple ($39) is a pink nude highlighter shade with a wash of fairy glitter. Right now many of the high concept fashion collections are playing with surface textures in a modernist framework. It seems to me that Nars Fall 2012 collection is made in this same tradition. The items have a beautiful internal connection, they bring something new to the innovative makeup realm. As with many new and inventive textures, these are not traditional. Undress Me fits within this framework–my guess is that very few readers have any duplicates that are close to NARS Undress Me.

This soft, glitter-rich color will act as a highlighter on all but the very lightest skin tones. Here is a comparison between Nars Undress Me Multiple, Nars Angelika Mutliple, and Nars Copacabana Multiple. In this case, I think that the picture tells the entire story, readers will either be entranced and delighted with the gorgeous sheen, and others may find that this does not fit within their personal sensibility:

Nars Undress Me was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jul 232012
 

Nars has released four (4) new lip product for Fall 2012, all in shades that mesh beautifully with the rest of the collection:

  • More Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24), a honey-brown glossy pencil
  • Autumn Leaves Lipstick ($24): A golden warm sheer lipstick
  • Amsterdam Pure Matte lipstick ($25), a deep brick-red matte pigmented lipstick
  • Rouge Tribal Larger than Life Lipgloss ($26), a deep ruby-jewel, high-shine gloss with sparkles
Here are swathes of all four:
NARS Autumn Leaves lipstick looks red and shimmery in the tube, but applies with a strong golden tone:
Here’s Nars Autumn Leaves on Liz:
More Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil is a soft honey brown:
Close up:
Here is a comparison with Nars Velvet Gloss Pencils in More, Burenos Aires and Hopi:
Here is the deep matte Amsterdam Velvet Lipstick:
Here is a comparison with some other deep reds. First, Nars Amsterdam and Nars 413 Bleecker. Then Chanel Rouge Coco lipsticks in Rivoli and Vendome:
Nars Rouge Tribal Larger than Life Lipgloss is an amazingly dramatic jewel. Not for the color-shy, this color is absolutely gorgeous for a dramatic impression:
Another:
Overall, NARS has some dramatic and unusual shades in its Fall 2012 collection. Overall, each of the colors is dramatic and works with the overall deconstructed theme of the collection.
All products featured in this post were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jul 212012
 

Nars Fall 2012 brings us two new eyeshadow palettes. Nars High Society Eyeshadow Trio ($45/ limited edition) is a deep mix of three medium-to-deep jewel tones.  Nars Vente Glace Eyeshadow Duo ($34) is a light-toned cool silver and light green which act as shimmery light tones. Both palettes are deconstructed, unconventional and edgy. Unlike many multi-toned palettes, High Society has three deep tones. Nars Vent Glace has two shimmery light tones. I found that the palettes work well together–sisters, of a type–and so I’m reviewing them together.

Here are the deep swatches of Nars High Society, which is the star product of the Nars Fall 2012 collection:

Another:

 

The Nars Vent Glace duo is in the familiar palette format with two light shades. This reminded me of the Nars All About Eve duo, in that it’s geared to give a tonal effect. Both shades of Nars Vent Glace are light and shimmery:

Here are swatches of the Nars Vent Glace duo. Here, I compare it to a more traditional, multi-tonal duo, the Chanel Khaki Clair. I also found the closest colors in my collection were some discontinued Shu Uemura singles (a cool silver ME Silver 950 and a shimmery mossy green ME Silver 851):

Another, same order:

 

Here, we combined the two palettes in this look on Liz.  We used the left (silvery) side of Vent Glace on the inner portion of the eye, together with the violet shade on the outer corners of the eye:

Steps:

  • Nars Undress Me Multiple as an eyeshadow base, up to the brows
  • Left side of Vent Glace duo on the inner half of the eye, blended with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush
  • Violet color of Nars High Society trio, blended on the outer half of the eye with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush

Here’s a overall look with the same eyeshadow combination. We also used other products from the Nars Fall 2012 collection, including Nars Outlaw Blush, Nars Undress Me Mutliple, and Autumn Leaves lipstick.

The Nars High Society Eyeshadow Trio, Outlaw blush, Nars Undress Me Multiple, Autumn Leaves Lipstick, and Vent Glace Duo were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

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Jul 132012
 
Last days1

Over the next few days, I’ll be busy packing for the long flight home. I had a few thoughts about some products before I leave:

First, on my flight over Air France had full bottles of Clarins One Step Facial Cleanser ($32.50/6.7 fl. oz.) in the restroom.  In the blur of the overnight flight, it felt nice to have a high end beauty product available. I bought one after I arrived. According to Clarins, the product is a toner and cleanser in one. It’s intended to remove everything with no need to rinse.

This cleanser is very, very gentle. It does remove makeup and mascara. However, I’d ignore the  “no need to rinse” advise. It left my skin feeling oily, so I rinsed most of the time. When I didn’t rinse, I had a few clogged pores the next day. Unlike my DDF 10% Glycolic Toner, this Clarins doesn’t appear to be exfoliating. I probably should have gone with the Toning Lotion with Iris, made for oily skin, instead.

Second, Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk ($18/3.2 oz (150 ml)) quickly became my best-loved dry shampoo. The scent is the lightest and most pleasant of any dry shampoo that I’ve tried. It does come out a bit white, but brushes away neatly without a trace.

Best of all, Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo ($18/3.2 oz.) left my hair with plenty of body, life, and manageability. It had a nice shine, looked polished, and took care of any oilies. Wonderful. This is available in the U.S. from several sources. The only drawback is that I seemed to go through it a little more quickly than some others that I’ve tried.  Overall, I believe I’ve found my favorite–thank you to all of the commenters who suggested it!

Third, in my quest for a multicultural beauty experiment, I went to Guerlain’s main store on the Champs Elysee to find a perfect red lipstick. My advice to everyone traveling to another country (or even region) is to ask for local makeup advice. You will be surprised to find how different makeup artists and sales associates “see” you through their eyes. I always learn something.

Those familiar with the Guerlain Champs Elysee store will note that, on the left, Guerlain has opened up a little pop-up store to celebrate Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire, as well as a few other perfume and beauty products. It’s more inviting than the more formal main store–it’s street level so you can just wander in. (As is typical of many French boutiques, the door guard told me not to take pictures inside.).

For this experiment, I went into the main store. I found a delightful (and patient) Guerlain expert to help me. After several tries and swatches, we decided that Guerlain Rouge G Gala (#21) was my perfect red (swatched here by Temptalia). This is much more vibrant and bright than I typically wear, but why not? When in Paris….

Anyway, thank you for indulging me in my Parisian adventures over the past few weeks. Hopefully I’ll be back next week with some reviews of some Fall 2012 collections. See you then!

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Jul 122012
 
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 Foyer of the restaurant at Laduree, Rue Royale, Paris.

Window display with stuffed white peacock, Palais-Royal.

Chanel vintage cuff, Didier Ludot, Palais-Royal. I’m guessing 1980’s era.

Door handle, 7th Arrondissement.

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Jul 112012
 

Burberry Sheer Luminous Concealer ($40) is a creamy, opaque concealer that comes in a brush-pen format.  I think we are all familiar with other brush-pen concealers–Yves Saint Laurent (or should I say “Saint Laurent Paris”) has the most famous version–the three shades that promise to impart subtle luminosity just under the eye. I must confess that I never appreciated the Yves Saint Laurent version. It’s too sheer and subtle for my taste. After using two or three, I stopped repurchasing because it seemed to add an unnecessary extra step.

Burberry’s is decidedly not like the Yves Saint Laurent. Burberry Sheer Luminous Concealer, despite the word “sheer” in the name, is a true concealer that has a pigmented opacity. It truly does conceal. It is more similar to Lancome Effacernes in that it takes very little to cover dark under eye circles, but the Burberry is not nearly as dry-looking. I get lasting coverage that doesn’t seem to migrate into creasy areas.

When Burberry first launched, I was gutted that there was no concealer in the line. Now I see the wisdom of the plan–they wanted to get it right. And they did. Bullet-proof. By the way, it takes a good 20 clicks or more to get this started.  But once it’s primed, it’s only one or two clicks per use. This NC15 (leaning NC20 right now) chose No. 1, the lightest of the eight available shades.

It’s quite a light shade–bordering on a just maybe a touch too light, but I’ll keep it. Here’s the swatch panel from Burberry’s website so you can get a sense of the range of colors:

Right now, Burberry’s and Edward Bess’ Platinum concealers are my favorites. Which are yours?

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Jul 112012
 
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The drought of new collections coming into France continues. Here, “Fall 2012″ actually means Fall 2012.  I saw one exception today going through Sephora–Lancome is launching a new mascara– Hypnôse Star.  They’re using Betty Boop as the star, who is adorable (between you and me, is Betty Boop’s mascara photoshopped?). Anyway, here’s the introductory video for the mascara, starring Betty Book and Daria Werbowy:

What really caught my attention is that Lancome has appeared to have  entirely changed its eyeshadows–these are called Ombre Hypnôse Mono Eyeshadows. They are separated into three categories. On the left, light neutrals in Fresh and Luminous.  In the center, deep, striking, and accent colors in Sophisticated and Chic.  On the right, deep crease and liner colors in Glamour and Intensity (click to enlarge):

I really loved the Fresh & Luminous shades (No. 102 was an especially nice pearly beige), but there were so many buttery soft and gorgeous ones in this entire grouping. I noticed that Lancome (wisely) retained Erika F (it’s in the middle Sophisticated and Chic group on the top).

I’d certainly love to see these come to the U.S. someday (hint, hint!). In my opinion these are so different from the ones available in the states. They would really add depth to Lancome’s U.S. offerings.

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Jul 112012
 

If you are a Nordstrom cardholder, keep in mind that today July 11th, is the first day for the Anniversary pre-sale. I’ve received word from the Nordstrom Seattle location that the Chanel Fleur de Lotus collection will be part of the pre-sale. Cardholders should call their local counter.

If you like, the Nordstrom Seattle (206.628.2111) is a lovely one to try.

The products:

  • Blush – Fleur de Lotus – A Pink Coral tone
  • Quad – Rives – Neutral tones in the European formula
  • Illusion D Ombre – Riviera – A shimmery sea foam green
  • Yeux Waterproof Eye Pencil – Beige Claire – a light nude eye pencil for the waterline
  • Aqua Lumiere Gloss – Alize- a warm beige nude gloss
  • Aqua Lumiere Gloss -Roselin- a light pink gloss with no shimmer

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