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My Picks: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Collection

April 6, 2016

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Collection

I haven’t gotten deeply into Tarte’s line, aside from panning a Park Avenue Princess a few years ago (no regrets!). A few weeks ago, distracted amidst an in extremis deadline, I found myself drawn to the release of the Tarte Chicken Rainforest of the Sea Collection for no particular reason. A few of the products were surprisingly good, and others worth writing about in case you are thinking about them. I believe that these products are only available on Sephora and Tarte online at present.

Tarte Twinkle Palette 1

Tarte’s Rainforest of the Sea Skin Twinkle Highlighter palette was the winner. Although I’m biased and falling in love with all highlighter’s lately, let em tell you about this one. There are two giant pans of a gel-powder (the left is warm, the right is slightly rose). Applied with a fan brush, these are absolutely gorgeous reflective beauties without the dreaded glitter. They’re remarkably smooth, easy to work with and given their giant size, I’m hoping I never run out. These two Tarte pretties are a touch more subtle than Becca Champagne Pop and the other extreme shiners we’ve seen over the past year. Yet it’s not at all shy–the reflectivity is really there, and I’m loving it. 

Tarte Skin Twinkle 5

The middle shade is a matte yellow powder that must be ignored. Inexplicably, it’s a hard pan of nothing that’s sitting between two elegant  powders that will give you the upper cheekbones of an angel. This is packaged in a very slim, packable metal with a full-size mirror in the lid (no brush).

Tarte Skin Twinkle 2 swatches

I bought the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench & Drench Lip Set ($9). This is a set with two mini lipsticks–the lightweight mint-flavored Quench formula in Nude ($19 for full size), and the creamy Drench in Cabana Boy ($22 for full size, available separately).

I became addicted to the Nude Quench shade–it’s super moisturizing and mint-tingly.  Unfortunately, it’s packaged in cardboard and the formula is so soft it broke easily.  It is lovely, super wearable and gives a pretty nude glow. But it might be better in a pot.  The Drench Cabana Boy is a nice near-opaque shade in a somewhat moisturizing formula.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow 2

Tarte RFOTS Eyeshadow 1

I had high hopes for the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Eyeshadow Palette ($34). Who doesn’t love a neutral palette with the look of a shimmery metal, and a few good mattes? The palette is certainly nice, and provides countless options, for its price range. But I don’t believe that that higher-end palettes have much to worry about. That said, I found the shadows consistent–all were good, none were duds. But none were complete standouts, except maybe the taupe called “Wave.” All had excellent blendability.

tarte rainforest of the sea

TARTE RFOTS Eyeshadow 9

To some degree, I’m glad that Tarte packaged this collection in metal, not cardboard. This is especially true for Skin Twinkle, as gel formulas are fragile. But for this eyeshadow palette, the metal adds a lot of weight. It gives the product a nice heavy, substantial feeling. But the weight takes away from the travel-friendly quality that other palettes have

I should note that I’ve sampled the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Foundation in Fair-Light ($39/1 ounce). After wearing it for a few days, I’ve placed the full-sized version in my cart. It’s really nice, especially for dry or combination skin. It’s designed to add hydration, and it does leave my skin feeling and looking better after removal. It gave me 10-hour wear easily, without shifting or fading. It looks lovely, with a luminous satin finish all day long.  It’s as good as any high-end foundation out there under $60. Definitely worth sampling if you are near a Sephora

Overall, the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea had items that–although I bought in haste–do not regret.  I’m addicted to the Skin Twinkle highlighter palette (recommended!). The eyeshadow palette is nice, but in a field crowded with beautiful neutral palettes I’m not sure it’s unusual enough to put super high on your list. I love the Quench formula for its moisturizing and minty tingle, but the fact that it easily broke put me off buying any more.

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Eyeshadow NARS

Review: Nars Narssisist L’Amour Tourjours Eyeshadow Palette

January 7, 2016

Nars Lamour Toujours 3

NARS The Narsissist L’Amour Toujours Eyeshadow Palette ($59/limited edition)(also available at Nordstrom, Sephora and Barneys New York) is a must-buy for a classic, thoughtful, all-in-one gorgeous collection of everyday eyeshadow looks. There are so many good basics, and a few interesting shades to add a little variation. It’s a wonderful update to your existing makeup collection, and the perfect one for someone who wants a go-to for the entire season. Nars L'Amour Toujours Palete 1 Liz and I have found this NARS palette format indestructible during our travels, so we love the packaging for its sleek practicality. L’Amour Toujours is no exception. Although some companies pack their palettes into cardboard or pad it with space around the pans, the design of L’Amour Toujours quietly reveals that the line’s lead designer is a professional artist. Measuring roughly 4 inches by 5 1/4., L’Amour Toujours packs maximum beauty into a manageable size. It is arranged to provide four generous (.11 ounce x 4) pans across the top for the most-used shades. The top row includes a Cream Bisque (matte beige), Shimmering Pink Sand (a beautiful shimmery warm highlight), Amethyst Ash (a complex, pigmented purple-gray-taupe, and a Black Truffle (deep black). The remaining eight shades are 0.05 ounces each, for a mix of mattes, shimmers, and complex shades that include: Golden Starlight; Sunburst Copper; Café Au Lait; Pistol Grey; Industrial Steel; Regal BlueShimmering Taupe Cashmere; and Shimmering Liquorice. Nars L'Amour Tourjours 2

I found the performance of the Narsissist L’Amour Toujours excellent. The top four shades are easy to use for an everyday eye. For example, it’s quite easy to lay down a base layer using Cream Bisque, a matte beige, and then add Amethyst Ash as a wash. If you like, you can add Shimmering Pink Sand as an inner-eye corner shade. The Black Truffle is a beautiful liner color. The rest of the palette adds exponential possibilities. In the look done for this post, Liz used Golden Starlight as a base shade, then she layered a touch of the Shimmering Taupe Cashmere, and a touch of the Industrial Steel (all with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush). Trust us, it is so easy to get a polished, sophisticated eye with some very simple washes.

Nars Toujours Lamour palette 5

These shades are designed to coordinate, you really cannot go wrong.

Nars Lamour Toujour - 34a

Nars Lamour Toujour - 1 (1)

Nars Lamour Toujour - 14

Nars Lamour Toujour - 26

Nars Lamour Toujour - 28

In this look, Liz is wearing Chanel Vitalumiere foundation, Nars Vengeful blush, the Narsissist L’Amour Toujours palette, and Tom Ford Forbidden Pink lipstick (in stock at Neiman Marcus, review coming soon). The Nars Narsissist L’Amour Toujours eyeshadow palette ($59) is in stock at Nordstrom, Nars online, Sephora, and Barneys New York.

This palette was sent without charge for consideration for review. Affiliate links

 

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Eyeshadow Lipstick NARS

NARS Spring 2016 Collection: Nouvelle Vogue Review and Look

December 28, 2015

Nars Spring Instagram

Lis put this beautiful look together using Nars Nouvelle Vogue collection, including the Nars Hammamet Eyesdhadow Duo, Impassioned blush and Vida Loca lipgloss..

Liz 4

NARS has just released its Nouvelle Vogue Spring 2016 Color collection (now up at Nordstrom) at its online store and its boutiques (elsewhere February 1st), using the theme Nouvelle Vogue:

The new wave of chic. Seasonal shades suit up for resort mode with high-sun and high-style. For Spring 2016, NARS debuts a fresh and modern mix of seasonal shades and innovative textures for eyes, cheeks and lips. Orchid blush radiates from a natural, matte complexion and lips captivate in shimmering apricot, rose and mulled wine. Eyes mesmerize in icy mint, matte beige and bronzed rose tones paired with a bold, winged liner.

Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in a sumptuous, versatile spectrum that can be applied dry for a sophisticated sheer effect, or wet for a dramatic, high-shine finish ($29 each)

  • Tarvos Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow: Icy Mint
  • Cressida Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow: Shimmering midnight blue
  • Kari Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow: Soft rose pink

Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows Spring 2016a

Instant Crash Lip Gloss ($26) Soft shimmering apricot Vida Loca Lip Gloss ($26) Guava Rosecliff Lipstick, $28 (Soft rose) Banned Red Lipstick, $28 (Mulled wine) Hammamet Duo Eyeshadow, $35 (limited edition)

  • Left: Matte beige
  • Right: Bronzed rose; limited edition

Nars Vida Loca Instant Crash 2

Impassioned Blush, $30 (Pink orchid)

Nars Impassioned Blush 1

This collection is currently available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York and Nars online.

NARS Banned Red and Rosecliff lipsticks were some of the loveliest products of this collection. Liz and I had another arm-wrestling match over Rosecliff, one of those perfect pinks that looks amazing with everything (Liz won). Absolutely universal, unique and lovely.

Nars Banned Red Rosecliffe 6

Nars Banned Red Rosecliffe 7_edited-1

NARS Instant Crash Lip Gloss, a shimmering apricot and Vida Loca in a soft beige Guava, are both limited edition.  I’ve noticed that these glosses need two layers to get the best look. Nars Vida Loca 1
Nars Spring Vida Loca Instant Crash_edited-1

Liz is wearing Vida Loca in this lip swatch.

Nars Vida Loca 1

I love the Hammamet Duo Eyeshadow. These two near-neutrals have a sophisticated look that is a lovely variation of All About Eve, arguably one of the most brilliant neutral eyeshadow palettes of all time. You need this one.

Nars Hammamet Duo 1 On Liz:Nars Hammamet Duo Eyeshadow 1_edited-1

Hammamet Duo NARS 3_edited-1

The NARS Nouvelle Vogue collection is rounded out by a neutral pink blush called Impassioned. This is a softly pigmented color that will work for the palest beauties, and perhaps as an accent shade on those with darker skin tones. Impassioned is a pink version of Nars Sex Appeal blush–its very soft and ethereal. If you are looking for something with more punch, there are other blushes that would better fit that criteria. Many neutral collections benefit from a few touches of color, and NARS Spring delivers in two colorful Dual Intensity eyeshadows–the icy mint Tarvos and the midnight blue Cressida.

Nars Spring 2016 2

I adore this formula, and both of these are gorgeous, soft, shimmery jewels. Both very Spring-appropriate colors which should add interest to a neutral look. Kari is a soft rose pink eyeshadow in the Dual Intensity formula (swatched above). It’s softer–not as shimmery–as Tarvos or Cressida.  If you are interested in the Hammamet Duo, Kari coordinates beautifully with it. Liz is wearing Rosecliff lipstick in this close-up.

NARS Rosecliffe 1

Overall, NARS created an amazing, unique and wearable collection for Spring ’16.  It’s beautiful. The formulae, the textures, the colors, and the overall coordination is perfection.This collection is currently available at Nordstrom, Barneys New York and Nars online. In the above images, you can also see a preliminary image of the NARSissist L’Amour Toujours L’Amour Palette (reviewed here).

Nars Spring 2016 1

These press samples were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. Affiliate links

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Eyeshadow NARS

Review: Nars Steven Klein Stud, Mortal, and Never Too Late

December 15, 2015

Nars Steven Klein Single Eyeshadows 1

Every year, NARS releases a small capsule collection of extraordinary single eyeshadows that should not be missed. This year’s NARS Steven Klein collection is no exception:

  • Stud:  an extraordinary shimmering taupe with a touch of metal.
  • Never Too Late: a beautiful complex soft satin green
  • Mortal: A warm shimmering white

I was particularly impressed with Stud and Never Too Late, these are both worthy of the label “high end luxury” colors. The taupe Stud really surprised me–I had thought I’d seen every possible variation of shimmering taupes. Not so!  There is something edgy about Stud that is incredible.

Nars Steven Klein Stud, Mortal and Never Too Late ($25 each) are available at NARS online, Nordstrom, Lord and TaylorNet-a-Porter, Bloomingdales, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.

Nars Never Too Late:

Nars Never Too Late 1

Nars Mortal:

Nars Mortal 2

Nars Stud:

Nars Stud 1_edited-1

You do need one more taupe in your life–NARS Stud. Both Stud and Mortal have a similar shimmery-metal texture. Stud’s a clear winner–it’s amazing. Mortal is too, however some readers might approach brighter, pigmented whites a little differently than they do a taupe. Both are highly reflective, have excellent pigmentation and apply with buttery softness with excellent blendabilty.

Never Too Late is lovely. NARS seems to excel at creating unusual neutrals. Sometimes I think of colors like Never Too Late as a “neutral with a twist”–that type of color looks so good with winter colors. You can never get enough of these colors.

 

Nars Mortal Stud Never Too Late 5

Nars Mortal Never Too Late Stud 4

Nars Steven Klein Stud, Mortal and Never Too Late ($25 each) are available at NARS online, Nordstrom, Lord and TaylorNet-a-Porter, Bloomingdales, Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.

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Eyeshadow NARS

Review and Swatches: Nars Dead of Summer Palette

December 9, 2015

Nars Dead of Summer 4

NARS Steven Klein Dead of Summer palette ($49), is a four-pan presentation of Dual Intensity Eyeshadows designed to be worn either wet or dry, together with a mini black eyeliner. I love the Dual Intensity formula, in the singles some of the shades are remarkably complex and beautiful. Nars Steven Klein Dead of Summer includes:

Studly Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow
Stag Film Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow
Subra Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow
Blackmail Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow
Mini Via Veneto Larger Than Life Eyeliner

These colors work beautifully together. The soft light gold is an ideal highlight for the inner corner. The soft rose and burgundy compliment each other beautifully. Of course, the deep black is a must to create a dramatic look, or to strengthen the liner color for an ultra-black line.

Nars Dead of Summer 5

This is a brilliantly designed palette in terms of the coordination of colors, uniqueness, and usability. Once again, the NARS brilliance shines through. There’s always something so useful, yet unexpected. The formula of the eyeshadows was a touch more rigid and stiff compared to the Dual Intensity eyeshadow singles, and some lacked complexity. At this price point, however, Nars Dead of Summer is a beautiful, artistic find that remains eminently usable throughout the year. The pigmentation and color is excellent.

Nars Dead of Summer 6

Nars Dead of Summer 2

I’m growing very fond of this palette format. Although NARS has always provided packaging that packs and travels well, this recent release of this more squared version has a straight and portability that wins my heart.

Nars Dead of Summer is available at Nars online, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Lord and Taylor, and Neiman Marcus

Press sample. Opinions are my own. Affiliate links.

 

 

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Butter London Eyeshadow

Review: Butter London Shadow Clutch in Natural Charm

September 26, 2015

Butter London Compact - 25

Butter London’s Shadow Clutch ($39), a configurable eyeshadow palette that allows you to switch out the shades to suit your needs. This pretty, pretty palette comes in two versions–here, I’m featuring the Natural Charms palette which comes with some beautiful neutrals. The mix of matte, shimmer, and satin shades is so pretty as it comes.

Butter London Compact - 6

Gorgeous, right? Well, the palette can be opened and the shades replaced with others from the Clutch Wardrobe Duos ($15 each).

Swatches of all:

Butter London Compact - 48a

Switching out the eyeshadows is super easy. You just lift a little bar built in to the compact, and the little pans slide in and out.

The quality of the eyeshadows was lovely. The mattes were a little tricky, but the other formulas were (pardon the pun) really buttery.  So, beyond the nice looking compact and convenience, these shadows were actually quite excellent. According to the line, they are primer-infused, oil absorbing, and skin-balancing solutions.  Some of these shades are just beautiful.

 

Easy to change up your look

Easy to change up your look

Butter London Compact - 22

As someone who travels frequently, it’s lovely to be able to switch out shades and keep some favorites. The lovely, slim, and high-quality eyeshadow palette is perfect for those who want some flexibility. This palette and the duos are available at Ulta.

 

Butter London Compact - 13

Butter London Compact - 51

Affiliate links/ This was sent to sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

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Blush Eyeshadow Highlighter NARS

NARS Fall 2015: Tribulation Blush, Pasiphae and Teslesto Dual Intensity Eyeshadows

September 19, 2015

NARS Fall 2015 Color Collection Stylized Image - low res

NARS Private Screening Fall 2015 brings some outstanding limited edition products worth highlighting.  The first is Tribulation Blush, a glowing nude.  This makes a beautiful skin-finishing highlighter on many skintones or can be worn as a nude blush on those in the NC10-25 range. It’s so unique, I don’t know of any other blushes that come close to Tribulation.  The finish is so gorgeous.

Nars Tribulation blush - 1

These products are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Nars online, Barneys New York (Tribulation blush, Parsipahe  and Teslesto), Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

NARS Private Screening Fall 2015 also includes two new, limited edition shades of the Dual Intensity Eyeshadows:  Pasiphae and Telesto. Frequent readers of this blog know that I am head-over-heels for this format. Pasiphae is a extraordinary, unusual shade that evokes the many complex colors of a peacock feather.  Telesto is a shimmering brown with a slightly metallic edge.

Nars Fall 2015 Eyeshadow

These products can be used to give a glowy, intense gorgeous Fall look.

Nars Night Clubbing Eyeliner 2 - 1

These products are available at Nordstrom, Sephora, Nars online, Barneys New York (Tribulation blush, Parsipahe  and Teslesto), Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Products sent without charge for consideration for review

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Eyeliner Eyeshadow NARS

Review: NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette

September 17, 2015

Nars palette - 1

The NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette ($65) represents a well thought-out all-purpose product that’s going to be perfect from Fall through the Winter.
Nars Matte Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette - 2

This mix of on-trend and classic powder eyeshadows includes a top row of Day Series eyeshadows that is easy for a grab-and-go neutral look. These mattes and satins are very nice quality, and applied very well with my Tom Ford Eyeshadow Brush. These include:

Narsissist Matte Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette 4a

  • Nassau, a base shade that leans neutral and nearly matches my skin color
  • Maya Bay, an all-purpose soft brown that can be used as a beautiful neutral crease color
  • Ithaca, a satin brown that works well in the outer corner
  • Dogon, a deep charcoal gray

The Night Series eyeshadows (bottom row) are beautiful, especially the three toward the left. Buttery soft and gorgeously pigmented, these shimmery shades apply in a gorgeous, pigmented way. These include

  • Mandchourie, a gray-blue shot through with a touch of gold
  • Bonifacio, a shimmery peach
  • Zagreb, an rich chestnut red-brown
  • Heraldion, a near-black charcoal with microsparkle

Nars Matte Shimmer Eyehsadow Palette 1a

The NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Eyeshadow palette comes with a mini version of the Night Clubbing Night Series Eyeliner.

Nars Night Clubbing Eyeliner - 3

Here’s a swatch next to the soft matte black Nars Kohl Liner in Minorque, so you can see how Night Clubbling shines.

Nars Night Clubbing Eyeliner - 4

Overall, this is a gorgeous, well designed set. Much love! The NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette ($65) is available at Sephora.

Affiliate links. NARS sent this palette to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review.

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Brushes and Tools Eyeliner Eyeshadow NARS

Review: NARSissist Hardwired Eye Kit

September 8, 2015

Narsissist Hardwired Palette 3

The NARSissist Hardwired Eye Kit ($59) is fast becoming a go-to beauty item for Fall. The beautiful softness of the eyeshadows, all in beautiful neutrals with a rich green accent shade, gives a lovely mink-with-metal combination that’s sexy and striking. The set comes with the six-pan eyeshadow palette, a travel sized eye brush, and a travel sized deep bronzy-brown eyeliner.

The NARSissist Hardwired Eye set is available at Neiman Marcus (don’t forget–it’s beauty event week!), NARS online, Nordstrom.com, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Lord & Taylor,

NARSissist Hardwired Eye Kit 2

 

The NARSissist Hardwired Eye Kit comes with this six-color palette:

The set includes:

  • A creamy matte that can be used as a soft base
  • A minky matte taupe
  • A rich shimmery bronze brown
  • A shimmering cream
  • A rich shimmery green with a touch of metal
  • A soft matte charcoal

This set also includes a travel size #43 contour eye brush, and a travel sized Via De’Martelli Larger than Life eyeliner.  Perfect for Fall travel, or just to keep on the side of your makeup counter for the coming months.

NARSissist Hardwired Eye Kit - high res

Affiliate links. This item was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

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Eyeliner Eyeshadow NARS

Nars Fall 2015: Nars Velvet Shadow Sticks

September 6, 2015

nars velvet shadow sticks - 1

Nars Velvet Shadow Sticks ($28) are new, creamy eyeshadow pencils that can be worn either as an eyeshadow or smudged liner. The colors apply with buttery smoothness, and they set for long-term wear. I’ve been using a few of these colors blended together, and they’ve been giving my lovely, all-day wear.

I am assuming that these Nars Velvet Shadow Sticks are newly formulated replacements of the former Nars Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, which are listed under the “discontinued favorites” on Nars’ website.  I know that the Soft Touch Pencils had less-than-stellar reviews.

I’ve found that these new Nars Velvet Shadow Sticks have the longevity that the former soft touch pencil liners seemed to lack.

Nars Velvet Shadows are available at Nars online, Nordstrom, Sephora,  Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York.

 

The colors show here are:

  • Aigle Noir – Black infused with gold shimmer
  • Glénan – Navy
  • Goddess – Pink Champagne
  • Oaxaca – Quartz (shimmery taupe)
  • Sukhothai – Shimmering Peacock
  • Flibuste – Black
  • Reykjavik – Grey

Nars Velvet Shadow Stick Swatches

 

nars velvet shadow sticks - 1

Affiliate links. Nars Cosmetics sent these pencils to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

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