Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel Review

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Jul 052015

Tarte Taupe brow gel 2Ever since I used up an entire Tarte Park Avenue Princess to pan, I’ve been wanting to love another Tarte product. Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel ($21) came so very close. Before buying, I tried it in the color Taupe under spotty Sephora lighting. For brow products, I’ve found remarkably few companies that understand that “Taupe” does not contain red tones. Of the ones that I’ve tried, they are Tom Ford, Shu Uemura (Seal Brown) and Nars. Despite its many strengths, Tarte’s taupe does not fit into that category.

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Tarte Amazonian Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel Review

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Jun 062015

Tarte Taupe brow gel 2Ever since I used a Tarte Park Avenue Princess all the way to pan a few years ago, I’ve been waiting to fall in love with another product in the line. Although I’ve lingered over the display, I took the plunge to try Tarte’s Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel Tarte Colored Clay Brow Tinted Brow Gel ($21). This came really, really close. There was so much to love about the product.

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Aug 282014

MAC Brow set2This summer MAC released a few permanent items, including the MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set ($17 0.17 oz.). Because brows are so important, I was curious to try it. I picked up MAC’s Brow Set in Quiet Brunette, described as a “muted mid-tone gray.” This product is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and other MAC sources.

MAC Brow set4

I’ve been wearing this for about a week, and find that it delivers well. The brush is short, and therefore easy to control. The product is highly controllable, so a light brush through will give a light application. You just keep adding for to add more color, drama and emphasis.

MAC Brow set6

I found the MAC Brow Set somewhat comparable to NARS Brow Gel ($22 /0.21 oz.), with a few differences. The NARS colors (swatched here) lean slightly more gray and so seem to be a touch more natural for my coloring. NARS runs a few dollars more per tube, but contains more product. NARS’ formula feels a slight touch dryer, which can translate is a bit less of a tendency to generate clumps. However, the difference is so slight that if I found that a MAC Brow Gel worked better for my coloring, I would  not hesitate to go for the MAC. Here’s a quick comparison between NARS Athens and MAC Quiet Brunette:

MAC and Nars Brown gel comparisons1


Here is quick MAC Quiet Brunette Brow Gel on my brow. As you can see, it covers the area quite evenly:

MAC Brow SetOverall, I found MAC Brow Gel a good workhorse product from their Pro Longwear line. I got excellent all-day wear, even in the heat and humidity and through a good workout. There are no problems from flaking, and any tiny clumps can be easily brushed away with the small, controllable blush. If you are in the market for a good brow gel, these are well worth a look.

This product is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and other MAC sources.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup) 

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Sep 132013

Nars brow pencils sleeve1

Nars Brow Perfector Pencils ($22 each) are twist-up colors that add a touch of emphasis to the brow while still providing a natural look. Unlike the Nars Brow Gels which is delivered on a large brush that can cover a brow in a single sweep and (if enough product is used) sculpt the brow’s shape, the Nars Brow Perfectors are a softer, gentler way to add color and shape to a brow.

Nars brow pencils sleeve2

These come in four shades:

  • Salzbourg is a soft light brown, suitable for very light brows
  • Kalamata is a light-medium brown
  • Caucase is brown (this shade and Kalamata are quite close in color).
  • Suriname is black.

These aren’t meant to be sharpened, rather they come out of the plastic holder by a quick little twist. Their shape is very slightly oval to help you direct the size of the stroke that you’d like to use.

Nars Brow Pencilsa1a

I felt that the pigmentation of these is quite controllable depending on how much pressure you use when feathering the brow. It’s important to be consistent–if you mix heavy/light pigmentation, you’ll get a spotty effect.  Consistent pressure (whether for heavy or light application) works best.  These give all-day lasting power.

Nars Brow Pencilsa2a

The Nars Brow Perfectors work quite well–I’ve switched between Caucase and Kalamata and liked the natural effect. I had no problems with fading or the like throughout the day. If you find a good color match, these are well worth a look.

Nars Brow Pencilsa6

Nars Cosmetics provided these to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).



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Aug 212013

Nars Brow Gels1a

I’ve been playing with the new Nars Brow Gel ($22 each/ 0.21 oz) for about two weeks. These are a nice way to add color, shape, and emphasis to the all-important brow. Have you ever rushed out of the house without remembering to do your brows? I sure have–and the reflection in my rear-view mirror left something to be desired. Brows are so important.

Nars Brow Gels2

Liz and I have been pretty delighted with them. They come in four colors:

  • Oural:  a clear gel
  • Athens: a light brown suitable for many blondes (this is Liz’s shade)
  • Piraeus:  medium brown (this works well for my brunette hair color)
  • Kinshasa:  a dark brown

For the color shades (the last three, above), I found that these layered color very quickly.  The gel is a good texture, and if you carefully remove the brush from the container you won’t get any clumps that might cling to your brows as you apply it. I’ve been using Bobbi Brown’s Brow Shaper, which contains about 1/3 less product at the same price point.

Nars Brow Gels3

Between the two, I found the Nars Brow Gel to come out of the tube slightly wetter than Bobbi Brown’s. This allows me to use the Nars to give more affirmative shape to my brow–for example, to sweep all the brow hairs horizontally in a way that holds them all day and gives the brow an overall flat appearance.  Also, the Nars can be used to push some of the brow hairs upwards, while sculpting the rest to the side. Also, I tended to need fewer sweeps through the brow to get good color coverage–one sweep with the Nars, and done.

Nars Brow Gels4

The packaging and wand of the Nars is far longer than the Bobbi Brown Brow Shaper, and overall the Nars actually “shapes” the brow better due to the gel texture. Here are some good arm swatches of the four Nars shades:

Nars Brow Gel swatches1

Overall, the Nars Brow Gel is an excellent product. I get all day wear (and some of my days lately have been quite long!) There’s no stiffness in the brow, no flaking, no fading. I’ve had no dripping or any problems with the unusual warm, humid weather we’ve had lately (or when I was caught in the rain earlier this month). This is a professional-type product that I had confidence using even when speaking to large groups.  Here’s a shot of Liz wearing Nars Athens in her brow, which she applied lightly for a natural look:

nars brow gel liz2Two thumbs up for value, convenience, quality, and price (particularly when the quantity is compared to Bobbi Brown).  Available at Nordstrom and other stores where Nars is sold.

Nars Cosmetics sent these to Cafe Makuep without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see About Cafe Makeup.

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Jul 022013


At the Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 Runway show, Nars previewed some brow products which are now set for release. Specifically. on July 15th on Nars online site and at Nars boutiques, the line is set to release four shades of a NARS Brow Perfector ($22 each) and four shades of the new Nars Brow Gel ($22 each).  I’m assuming that these will be more widely released during August (although there is no official word on that, just a guess).

NARS Brow Gel - hi res

According to the company describing the new Nars Brow Gel, “Keep brows in place with a unique precision-tapered brush that adds shape and definition to every angle while creating a fuller, smoother brow look to perfectly set the symmetry of the face.” The shades are:

  • Kishasa: Dark brown
  • Piraeus: Medium brown
  • Athens: Blond
  • Oural: Clear

Regarding the new Nars Brow Perfectors, the company states “A propel/repel pencil allows you to reshape, fill, and design brows for a full and flawless, natural matte finish, while an innovative oval shape gives complete control over brow shape, angle, and size. Natural ingredients ensure brows are nourished, soft, and smooth. The shades are:

  • Suriname:  Black
  • Caucase: Brown
  • Kalamata: Light brown
  • Salzbourg: Blonde


NARS Suriname Brow Perfector - hi res

NARS Caucase Brow Perfector - hi res

NARS Kalamata Brow Perfector - hi res

NARS Salzbourg Brow Perfector - hi res

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Mar 092012

Recently, Bobbi Brown introduced two new brow products based on her natural look philosophy. First, powder brow Brow Kit compacts in two colors– The Bobbi Brown Light Brow Kit (pictured above) and Bobbi Brown Dark Brow Kit ($45 each).  She’s also just released the Natural Brow Shaper & Hair Touch Up ($20) in five colors (above, pictured in Blonde).

Until now, I’ve been using mostly either a Shu Uemura Brow Pencil in Seal Brown, or a Chanel Sculpting Brow Pencil in Blond Clair, or the former Chanel 3-color Perfect Brows powder compact (discontinued, formerly $70). My brows are full but light, and the color is quite uneven.

For the Bobbi Brown Light Brow Kit, the compact resembles the Chanel compact  (although at a much lower price point). The compact has two light brown shades, which can be mixed to customize the shade. Also included is a magnifying mirror, a tiny pair of tweezers and a brow brush with a very, very tiny handle. As you would expect, the powder is extremely finely milled, looks natural when applied and is incredibly convenient. Personally, I use the lightest shade alone.

The bigger surprise for me was the  Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper & Hair Touch Up, a mascara-styled liquid product that can be quickly brushed through the brows to polish and add a touch of color. Although these products are intended to be used together, for the last few days I’ve been using the Natural Brow Shaper alone and been pleased with the results. I find that it deposits just enough color, and the wand deposits just enough liquid, to give me a polished, tamed and very natural brow. Based on convenience alone, I love the Natural Brow Shaper for a quick touch-and-go before heading out the door. This one’s worth checking out.  It comes in five shades–Auburn, Blonde, Clear, Mahogany, and Rich Brown.

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