Jan 142014
 

NARS Kaui Eyeshadow Duo2 copy

Nars has released some unbelievably beautiful eyeshadows for Spring 2014–Kauai and China Seas ($34 each). I hope they’ve made enough of these. They’re so gorgeous.  You can order them right now on NARS website, and they are up for backorder sale shipping 1/31/14 on Nordstrom.com. Particularly for Kauai, which is absolutely must-have in my opinion, I would get one as soon as circumstances allow.

NARS Kaui Eyeshadow Duo1

We’re seeing some stunning mettalics this season, and so far Nars Kauai is the most stunning of all. The soft cool gold metal can be buffed into the eye for a beautiful sheen. The multidimensional, complex purple on the right provides a stunning accompaniament in the crease.

NARS Kaui Eyeshadow Duo5

Here are some very quick arm-swatches, which do not do justice to the beauty of these shades. I’ve found that the best way to use these is with a flat-paddle shaped brush (similar to this one). You don’t need to place much on the brush. Then buff, buff, buff the shade into your lid in a back and forth, windshield-wiper motion. This prevents migration and fall-out. These colors are so complex and vibrant, you still retain much of the complexity and sheen. I used these with Nars eyeshadow primer for wear that only began fading after a 14-hour work day (no creasing either). This is a dream duo, the colors are so elegant. The gold is not too warm, and the purple goes violet on my lid and brings out the green in my eyes. I love, love, love Nars Kauai.

NARS China Sea Duo1

China Seas is an unusual combination of two incredible shades. The light blue is a pretty, complex, and yet not overpowering shade. The red-purple is a deep and mysterious color that I cannot imagine finding anywhere else. The combination of the two is brilliant.  Who else but Francois Nars would imagine that these work together as well as they (in fact) do?

NARS China Sea Duo3

Both shades are beautifully pigmented, but can be sheered out for a less dramatic effect. They are complex satin shimmers. I’ve been pairing the right red-violet shade with a taupe-mauve in the crease. As the weather warms and the sun begins shining again, I’ll add the blue shade under the eye together with a cool bronzer.

NARS China Sea Duo5

Here are the shades applied a touch sheerly (they can be built up to full force easily enough). You can see that they have a slight duo chrome effect that is simply stunning.

Nars Kaui and China Seas1 copy

I was so excited about both of these duos that I could not wait to post these swatches. I urge you not to let these go without picking them up, or at least a good look as they begin to arrive at counters. Both are absolutely stunning.

Available at Nordstrom.com and  NARS website, and other Nars counters and boutiques.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup) These eyeshadows were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Jan 062014
 


Spring 2014 is quickly approaching. One collection on my radar is NARS because (have you heard?) there’s a new multiple launching. The eyeshadows look fabulous as well. The details of the collection are as follows:

Rich, aquatic and anchored in glamour. The NARS Spring 2014 Collection kicks off the season with provocative appeal leaving winter in the wake. Eyes sizzle in gold lamé and iridescent smoky orchid, while cheeks glisten with a splash of shimmering rose peach. Gleaming cantaloupe for nails and a refreshingly glossy pout in guava and violet evoke a cool burning attitude with this fashion forward collection.

The items are listed with their images below.

China Seas Duo Eyeshadow ($34):  Iridescent turquoise with gold infusion and iridescent plum

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection China Seas Duo Eyeshadow - jpeg

Kauai Duo Eyeshadow ($34): Gold lamé and iridescent smokey orchid

NARS Spring 2014 Kauai Duo Eyeshadow - jpeg

Annees Folles Larger than Life Lip Gloss ($26): Sheer violet

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Annees Follies LTL Lip Gloss - JPEG

Bimini Larger than Life Lip Gloss ($26):  Sheer pink guava

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Bimini LTL Lip Gloss - JPEG

Timanfaya Satin Lip Pencil ($25):  Mandarin Red

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Timanfaya Satin Lip Pencil - jpeg

Khao Road Larger than Life Long Wear Eyeliner ($24):  Metallic aquamarine

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Khao San Road LTL LW Eyeliner - jpeg

Puerta Del Sol Larger than Life Long Wear Eyeliner ($24):  Parrot green with shimmer

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Puerta Del Sol LTL LW Eyeliner - jpeg

Wind Dancer Nail Polish ($19):  Cantaloupe

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Wind Dancer Nail Polish - jpeg

Na Pali Coast Multiple ($39):  Shimmering rose peach

NARS Spring 2014 Color Collection Na Pali Coast Multiple - jpeg

This is slated to release on Narscosmetics.com and NARS boutiques on January 15, 2014.

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Jan 032014
 

Urban Decay Naked 302

Urban Decay has released another in its Naked line–the Urban Decay Naked 3 ($52.00)–and reviews are pretty uniformly on the “good” to “excellent” side.  Here are a few:

Temptalia’s A Rating

Makeup and Beauty Blog’s WOW

The Beauty Look Book’s “definite must-have”

Sona Gasparian’s “my favorite of the three Naked Palettes”

With these glowing reviews, I had to find out whether this would work for me. So I ordered one, and with some qualifications, I am happy to report that this palette is surprisingly good in many respects.

Urban Decay Naked 301

 I won’t repeat the information in the other reviews, as they are all easily reachable at the links (above).  If you click the image below, you can see twelve rose-gold toned eyeshadows. This combination of mattes, shimmers, and glitters is picking up on the rose gold moment that’s been building since Tiffany’s blew us all away with the Rubedo collection.

Urban Decay Naked 305

 The palette is m ore sturdy that the typical Urban Decay flocked-paper ones, this one seems to be made of a plastic or composite that is more robust (although it’s not as protective for its size and dimension as a Giorgio Armani, Chanel, or Bobbi Brown package).

Urban Decay Naked 304

 For me, the included double-ended brush was unusable because it gave me almost no control over the pigmentation. Every sweep gave me application that was far too heavy, and I was unable to achieve the right blending or light, layered application that I prefer.  Instead, I used the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush, which worked far, far better.

Urban Decay Naked 308

Most of the shades are beautiful, pigmented, and apply and blend very, very well.  I found myself using a combination of Liar, Factory and Mugshot for an everyday, rose-gold toned eye.  So, the mid-to-deep shades were a huge success.  The lighter shades were more problematic for me. Strange makes a nice base color, but otherwise became a bit invisible. Dust–which was the bright rose-gold wonder that beckoned me from the promotional images–has a high level of fallout and was not a flattering texture on my lid. Swatches:

Urban Decay Naked 309

I’m not sure whether I’ll Blackheart for anything other than a liner.  Another set of swatches:

Urban Decay Naked 311

Overall, I was surprised at the high quality of most of the shades of the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette. My sense that 9 or 10 of these shades are really lovely.  Although we can hope for 100% success for our palette criteria, Urban Decay swung for the bleachers in this one and so making it to the outfield was a pretty good result. As an aside, I’m unaware of any other company that’s released a palette with this same rose gold tonality. I hope we do. Because, Pantone’s edict aside, my own personal color of the year for 2014 is rose gold.

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Nov 292013
 

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows14

Holiday 2013 brings us the Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows ($24 each), a limited edition set of an entirely new formulation of colors. The formula is interesting and nothing like any other product out there. These are shimmery with a very delicate texture. Applied sheerly, these are so finely milled and highly pigmented that they leave a very delicate wash of color that sort of melds to the skin.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows06

There are five colors in the formula, three neutrals and two brights. The neutrals are the light champagne Mississippi Mermaid, the rust Cambodia, and the charcoal Bad Behavior. The brights are the clear blue Wishful Thinking and the complex purple Rage.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows15

This formula is so different and it took me a bit of time to fully understand it.  I’ll s hare my thoughts, but of course you should reach your own conclusions. First, I will say that this is a formula that you should not miss examining, especially if you are beauty aficionado and love unusual and unique formulas. Some part of me wonders whether these are a bit ahead of their time. There are pro’s and con’s to the formula (more about this later), but anything this innovative is very addictive and beautiful. Treated correctly, these are one-of-a-kinds that I almost immediately learned to love.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows07

First, the cons (let’s get those out of the way):

The formula is fragile, so no dropping and care must be taken during shipping. You can see at Tempalia’s post that some arrived shattered. You will want to buy from a trusted source that takes returns, and if you do ship these you will want to bubble wrap them and place them in a protective box (rather than a mailing envelope).

Also, these kick up a lot of powder during application, and there can be fallout. Part of me wonders whether there should be a new brush developed for using these. As an aside, my more expensive brushes (Hakuhodo) seemed to do better than my MAC’s.

Now, the pro’s (in my own opinion):

These sheered out and built up so beautifully–like nothing I’ve ever seen.  Even the sheerest wash was a pixie-dance of highly pigmented color and beautiful light-attracting texture that transformed my lid-space.

These hid lid imperfections with the barest wash.

As you might expect with a fragile formula, these are very soft. The pigment leaps onto the brush in a way that takes  a bit of adjustment. I’d practice on the back of your hand at your first try to get used to the pigment level.

The high pigmentation with a small amount of powder means that you can get impact without a lot of layering and without any heavy powder look.

They look so different and modern–nothing separates a look like something entirely new.

 Now, the Nars Cinematic Eyeshadow colors:

Mississippi Mermaid: a pretty, shimmery champagne neutral.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows09

Cambodia: a rust-brown.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows10

Wishful Thinking:  a vibrant clear medium blue.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows02

Rage: a vibrant purple with a touch of red.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows01

Bad Behavior: an incredibly highly-pigmented complex charcoal shimmer. This packs a lot of color into every brushstroke.

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows08

Swatches of all shades:

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows16

Another set:

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows18

And one more for good measure:

Nars Cinematic Eye Shadows18

Here is a combination of Mississippi Mermaid and Cambodia on Liz:

Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows on Eye1

Here is is the softest wash possible of Wishful Thinking so that you can see this high-impact color can be worn so very sheerly on the lid if you like:

Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows on Eye2

Pulling the lid back a bit to show the reflective, multi-dimensional texture (with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush) again with the sheerest possible wash:

Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows on Eye3

Of course, these build up quickly if you like. This is a heavy wash of Bad Behavior, again with the Edward Bess Luxury Eye Brush to show you that it’s quite easy to build up to strong color:

Nars Cinematic Eyeshadows on Eye5e

I personally found that the Nars Cinematic eyeshadows are a remarkably versatile, highly workable and innovative formula. I found them well worth dealing with the fragility and a bit of dust-up. They’re soft of awesome, in my book, and well worth taking a look before these limited edition shades disappear.

Nars Cosmetics sent the Cinematic Eyeshadows to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate link (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Nov 142013
 

Chanel Charming Palette01

The Collection Nuit Infinie collection brings us the Chanel Charming Ombres Matelassees eyeshadow palette ($80), a neutral-with-a-twist palette that gives a foolproof dark smokey eye. This selection includes five workhorse shades that lean toward the deeper side of the neutral palette.

Chanel Charming Palette03

 Chanel Charming is housed in the traditional 5-pan format of the Pearl River and 51, Montaigne.

Chanel Charming Palette05

Inside are four near-matte shades and one near-shimmer. The overall impression of this palette is matte once applied to the skin:

Shade #1 is a neutral matte beige that is the only truly light shade in the palette, and it is not very light. In  tonality, it is close to my natural skin tone although it is a touch cooler/neutral. It can be used as a matte highlight (for example in the inner corner), or to add a bit of light once the other darker shades are applied.

Shade #2 is a neutral light brown that provides a good base color for the overall lid.

Shade #3 is a complex shimmery metal cinnamon color that applies as a soft red-brown.

Shade #4 is a dark neutral matte brown.

Shade #5 is a dark mauve grey.

Chanel Charming Palette08

 The shades are finely milled, well-formulated and look appropriate in numerous work and play situations. As I said earlier, the overall impression on the eye is much deeper than many neutral palettes. Although it looks “dupable” compared to other palettes such as Urban Decay’s Naked, the superior, more refined texture sets Chanel Charming apart. In sun:

Chanel Charming Palette10

However, I will say that I did experience a little deja vu using this palette–it reminded me of a deeper toned version of the Guerlain 10 Rue Des Francs-Bourgeois 6 pan palette (reviewed here) ($86), a palette in Guerlain’s permanent line which has been my neutral go-to eyeshadow palette over the past few weeks. The palettes are close in price (about a $6 difference). The Guerlain palette does not have the mauve dark shade of the Chanel Charming palette, and the metallic shade in the Guerlain’s is more prominent and brighter. Here are swatch comparisons (the Guerlain on top, Chanel Charming on the bottom row):

Chanel Charming Palette12

Another (with Guerlain 10 Rue Francs-Bourgeois on top, and Chanel Charming on the bottom.

Chanel Charming Palette11

As you can see,  Chanel Charming is the choice for a darker, smokier look. Given my paler skin tone, I find Guerlain 10 Rue Francs-Bourgeois a better choice for an everyday, work palette.

Overall, Chanel Charming is not the ‘star product’ of the Holiday 2013 line that I was expecting with Chanel’s unparalleled creativity that we’ve seen in past seasons. However it is a well-formulated, beautiful everyday palette and genius for an easy, dressy eye for the Holiday season and beyond.

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