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Lipstick NARS

NARS Audacious Rita (Holiday Edition) Giveaway….

November 12, 2016

nars-rita-2Those lovely geniuses at NARS sent us an AUDACIOUS gift–a Holiday-themed Audacious Lipstick in Rita (swatched here). It’s a gorgeous red in an amazing party-ready tube. Although Rita is a permanent color, the holiday-themed version is a Sephora Exclusive (no surprise, sold out). Although there’s a chance of a re-stock, no worries! Cafe Makeup is running a giveaway for U.S. readers that will end at midnight on December 2, 2016.

All you have to do is enter a blog comment that tells us what you’re loving right now. If you really, really want it, you’ll also get a point by tweeting about your entry (maximum one tweet per day).

Remember–tell the Rafflecopter form what you’ve done so we can keep track.

Thank you for reading! I’ve missed you all so much!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

This item was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. Our gain could be your gain!

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Blush Bronzers Brushes and Tools Highlighter NARS

Summer Loves: Nars Hot Sand Orgasm and Laguna Duos

May 30, 2016

NARS Hot Sand Collection - 17

It feels like this weekend has turned the corner from spring to summer. This is the perfect time to stock up on some summertime staples, NARS Hot Sand  – Orgasm and Hot Sand – Laguna powder duos. ($42 each). These slim compacts are full of summer goodness. Typically, I think of NARS staple highlighter as Albatross. For me, Hot Sand has a warmer, softer color that’s beautiful and very flattering. Of course, Laguna is an amazing bronzer that looks wonderful on a wide range of skin tones.  Of course, Orgasm is a glowing, flatter shade.

The formulations on these powders is superb.  As I go about my summer travels, these two will definitely be slipped into my carryon.  They’re gorgeous.

NARS Hot Sand  – Orgasm is available at Nordstrom and NARS online.

Hot Sand Palettes - 3

To go with these beautiful powders, this collection includes a limited edition brush, the NARS Hanamachi Kabuki Brush ($42). This fluffy, dense brush is designed to work with the Hot Sand palettes. It’s gorgeous, easy to work with and control. Here’s a comparison with the gigantic Givenchy Bronzer Kabuki ($50) and the MAC 182 brush ($53) (this one, from the Catherine Deneuve collection from several years ago).

NARS Hot Sand Collection - 14

The same brushes, set on their sides:

NARS Hot Sand Collection - 13

As you can see, NARS is a comfortable travel size but large and fluffy enough to provide a beautiful, diffused and blended looks.

The NARS Hanamachi Kabuki Brush ($42) is available at Nordstrom and Nars online.

Affiliate Links / These items were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for review.

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Bronzers NARS

Review: NARS Laguna Liquid Bronzer

May 20, 2016

Nars Laguna Liquid - 1 (1)

NARS Laguna Liquid ($40/1 ounce) is a beautiful addition to your summer beauty routine. If you are new to liquid bronzers, you are in for a treat. Laguna works beautifully for a natural, no-streak, softly shimmering summer glow. The effect is so beautiful. As if Languna would get any better… and then it does. 

This liquid is housed in an opaque bottle that’s got a controllable pump. I had no problems getting just the perfect amount out of the container without over-spill. This easy-to-use liquid can be mixed into your foundation to add a touch of summer warmth to your typical look. But my favorite way to use it is to dab a touch onto the bronzing points of my face (where the sun would naturally hit), and blend.  So I put a touch across the tops of my cheeks, the bridge of my nose, the top of my chin, and the top of my forehead.  The effect of using a liquid bronzer is that it tends to melt into my foundation for a more natural, believable look. Yet the ever-so-slight touch of gold adds a little bit of richness that’s absolutely beautiful.

A few thoughts…

NARS Laguna Liquid starts out as a sheer liquid. I found NARS Laguna more sheer and slightly more liquid and lighter in tone compared to Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer 100 (originally reviewed here, and the same bottle is still going strong despite heavy use). Both are quite easy to use, and the NARS Laguna builds up nicely and easily using small washes.  Of course, NARS Laguna is extremely long lasting (thank you for being a professional makeup artist, Francois Nars!) for an all-day bronze glow.

NARS Laguna liquid has a very hard to detect scent, light a slight tropical coconut, that I’ve really got to put right under my nose to detect. It’s lovely, actually, and slightly relaxing if you love the beach (who doesn’t?).

Nars Laguna Liquid - 4 (1)

NARS Laguna liquid - 10

Overall, NARS Laguna Liquid is an A+ top-of-the-line bronzer. It melts into your foundation (or skin), so it doesn’t add any perceptible texture to the skin. I cannot feel it applied to the skin, it simply delivers a soft was of glowing health that is my must-have during the summer months. I typically add a powder or liquid blush as usually, and a highlighter as well. Wonderful and highly welcomed product. I love a new innovative formula, don’t you?

NARS Laguna Liquid is available at NARS online, Nordstrom, Sephora, Barney’s New York, Barneys New York, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, and Neiman Marcus.

Affiliate links. Product sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

 

 

 

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Blush NARS

Photos: NARS Biggest Orgasm Blush

May 13, 2016

Nars Orgasm 1

NARS Limited Edition Orgasm blush ($39) is a wonderfully giftable item (or something that you might like to gift to yourself!). Essentially, this big beautiful compact holds 3.04 ounces of NARS’ classic at $39, compared with 1.92 ounces for the $30 regular-sized version. Of course, this blush has a well-deserved reputation for looking good on virtually everyone. Perfect for year-round wear, Orgasm is a soft pinky-peach with soft shimmer that gives beautiful light and color to wake up almost all skin tones. It’s lovely.

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NARS Limited Edition Orgasm is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Nordstrom, Nars Boutiques, and Nars online.

The outer sleeve is beyond adorable with the summer sunglass theme, which is repeated on the plastic protector that protects the blush during shipment.

Nars Orgasm 2_edited-1a

The full-size mirror has “#what makes you blush” inscribed to make you smile.

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I can think of one or two girlfriends that will love this as a gift. As always, I love the travel-friendly packaging, the oversize mirror, the glorious texture, and the gorgeous flush of color. The formulation is superb. This big Orgasm is one yes, yes, YES!.

NARS Limited Edition Orgasm is available at Sephora, Nars BoutiquesNars online, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom.

Affiliate links, product provided without charge for consideration for review

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Foundation NARS

My Thoughts: NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint

February 11, 2016

Nars Velvet Tint Foundation - 19

Over the past few weeks, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint ($44/ 1.7 oz) has earned a place as a staple in my foundation rotation. There’s so much to love. According to the line, this has an oil-free formula with SPF 30, a wonderful all-day oil-absorbing matte finish, an easy-to-pack tube, and anti-oxidants (Vitamin C and E) galore. The formula contains Rose Fruit Extract to minimizes pores and control shine.  Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint is available at Nordstrom, Sephora, NARS online, Barneys New York (free ship always), Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Nars Velvet Tint Foundation - 23

Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint is said to give sheer to medium coverage. I applied with fingers, and noticed that there is a “sunscreen-like” scent when first applied. The scent, which resembles that used in Smashbox’s and Kiehl’s SPF tinted moisturizers, fades after roughly a half-hour.

Nars Velvet Tint Foundation - 8

I used a light layer, and then another to get to medium coverage. The texture of the product needs a good five minutes to settle beautifully onto the skin (don’t judge until that five minutes passes, or you won’t get an accurate picture of the final texture). The texture is a true matte, but it does have some life in it (there is nothing mask-like about the texture). Although my combination skin does tend to glow in the t-zone throughout the day with other foundations, it did not with Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint. I was able to get a good eleven-hour day out of this foundation without powdering (except for one day, when I used a heavy moisturizer underneath). The texture is beautiful– my skin looks matte, but very natural. It’s a soft matte.

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According to NARS, Velvet Skin Tint has the following benefits:

SOFT-FOCUS EFFECT
Transparent Blurring Powders instantly enhance the look of skin by helping to diffuse imperfections with a powerful optical effect.

SOFT-TOUCH FEEL
The powders’ unique, spherical shape compresses like a cushion, delivering a velvety-smooth, touchable feel and superior comfort on application.

REFINED PORES & SHINE CONTROL
Rose Fruit Extract visibly minimizes the appearance of pores, while controlling shine.

ANTIOXIDANT DEFENSE
Vitamins C, E, and broad spectrum SPF 30 protect against free-radical damage caused by environmental stress.

THE SOFT-TOUCH LOOK
Simply touch and go for an effortlessly perfected look. Glide on Velvet Matte Skin Tint to instantly even skintone with a soft-matte effect. Follow with Radiant Creamy Concealer where needed to instantly diffuse imperfections.

Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint 14

Here are some comparisons with Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska, Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Finland, Alaska, and Groenland.  Along on bottom is Nars All Day Luminous in Fuji, Make Up For Ever in Y235, and Estee Launder Double Wear Intensity Light in 1.0. In person, Nars Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska and the new Velvet Matte Skin Tint are virtually identical shades.

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A good matte foundation is important to have in your beauty stash, even if you are partial to glow. Sometimes I want to control the area of my face that I want to glow (upper cheek, not forehead!) It’s lovely to have the NARS option–it’s definitely my favorite matte foundation at present. Of course, NARS Matte accepts highlighters, blushes (glowing and matte) and other products extremely well.

I got no breakouts, clogs, or other complications (I cleanse carefully with an oil cleanser, a Clarisonic and toner every evening always). In fact, the antioxidants in the formula are promised to give long-term benefits.

Overall, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint is very well done. One of the things that I love about NARS is its professional grounding, sophisticated formula, and beautifully formulations.  NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint exemplifies all of these qualities.

Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint is available at Nordstrom, Sephora, NARS online, Barneys New York (free ship always), Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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

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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.

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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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Lip Pencil Lipstick NARS

NARS Matte Lip Pencil Coffret: An Abnormal Female Swatches

December 31, 2015

Nars an Abnormal Female 6a

Sometimes packaging design goes beyond functional and the design becomes an entirely new facet of the product. The NARS x Steven Klein An Abnormal Woman matte velvet lip pencil coffret ($65) is in that category. Honoring the edgy work of photographer Steven Klein (some of his images are to the right), this metallic bullet-shaped container has a burnished warm finish and plenty of edge. This set combines three (3) Velvet Matte Lip Pencils (typically sold at $26 each), which are some of the absolute best in the business in their high-concept packaging. The weight and metallic glow of the coffret is substantial and interesting.

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An Abnormal Woman comes with these universal colors in the Velvet Lip Pencil: Sex Machine,  Dragon Girl, and 413 BLKR. 

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Nars An Abnormal Female 1

Liz is wearing 413 Blkr Street.

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One attribute that sets NARS as a company apart is its willingness to go all-in on its special packaging. Some of my all-time favorite makeup items of all time are the NARS Andy Warhol items (some are featured here) and the Guy Bourdin items. This Steven Klein collaboration has all of the same brilliance and excellent execution.

This limited edition item is available at Nars online.

This was sent to Cafe Makeup 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..

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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.

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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

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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.

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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:

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Nars Mortal:

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Nars Stud:

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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.

 

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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.

Press samples/ affiliate links

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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.

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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.

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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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