Dec 082013

Sketch 2013-12-09 06_53_58

Nars has released a series of three blushes with the NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection ($29 each).  Two are new   limited edition shades (Coeur Battant and Day Dream). The third–NARS Exhibit A–is a repromote  from the permanent Nars line. I’m assuming that this third piece has been added because it shares the same name as a book authored by the collection’s inspiration, Guy Bourdin’s Exhibit A.

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NARS Coeur Battant is a bright fuchsia cool pink that rivals Tom Ford’s Narcissist in pigmentation and impact.

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Here are comparisons with Tom Ford Narcissist, Nars Coeur Battant–as you can see, they are quite similar. By comparison, Chanel Tubulent looks quite pink and well behaved. I’ve included two plums for comparison as well–Chanel Plum Attraction and MAC Lavish Living–to show you that Nars Coeur Battant is not as purple as it might appear.

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Although NARS Coeur Battant looks very bright in the pan–fear not–it can be worn beautifully on the cheek. Here is Nars Coeur Battant on Liz:

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As you can see, NARS Coeur Battant is a beautifully fresh pink. It will certainly work for both warm, cool, light, and deep skin tones. By comparison, Nars Day Dream is a soft peach-pink.

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For me, Day Dream seems like a more sophisticated, updated version of a soft blush that can be worn with a strong lip shade, or simply for an understated soft flush of color. The pigmentation is even, satin, and quite good. Of course, Nars Day Dream does not have the impact of Nars Coeur Battant (few blushes do!). Also, Nars Day Dream lacks the strong pink and shimmer of NARS Orgasm. Although they look similar in the pan, they are certainly not duplicative of each other.

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Day Dream has more color than the extremely subtle Tom Ford Frantic Pink, and has more life than the soft Chanel Rose Ecrin.

Nars Holiday Blushes13

Above, is Nars Day Dream on Liz–it’s a soft, well-behaved shade that looks beautiful in almost any situation.

Nars Holiday Blushes06NARS Exhibit A, as a permanent long-timer in the NARS collection, has been reviewed more times than I could possibly count. It’s a vibrant red-orange that looks incredible for summer wear, with a tan or on deeper skin tones. Here are swatches of all three of the Nars holiday blushes:

Nars Holiday Blushes27a

Overall, I like both Coeur Battant and Day Dream, for entirely different reasons. Nars Coeur Battant gives a pretty flush of soft, skin-brightening color and (unless you own Tom Ford’s Narcissist, or a few from the MAC world) is unlikely to already exist in your blush stash. Day Dream is one of those blushes that you don’t think you need, until you find that it coordinates so well with everything else that you end up using it most of all.

Available at online, Nordstrom, and other Nars sources.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cambodia: a rust-brown.

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Wishful Thinking:  a vibrant clear medium blue.

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Rage: a vibrant purple with a touch of red.

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

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Swatches of all shades:

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Another set:

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And one more for good measure:

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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 152013

Nars Cinematic Lipstick02

NARS has just released the limited edition NARS Cinematic lipsticks, a new moisturizing formula with vibrant color and soft shine in five colors–NARS Last Tango, Future Red, Full Frontal, Short Circuit, and Goodbye Emmanuelle ($26 each).  I’ve developed a bit of an addiction to these–especially Last Tango and Future Red, so I thought it worth featuring these.

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According to the NARS line, these limited edition lipsticks include a “blend of lip conditioners and antioxidants known to hydrate, nourish and protect lips,” including Monoï butter and Vitamin E. These NARS Cinematic lipsticks do feel very luxurious and hydrating, far more like the Chanel Rouge Allure line. These are gloriously pigment rich–although Goodbye Emmanuelle is clearly Liz’s favorite, I’m having a very hard time choosing between Last Tango and Future Red (oh, Future Red is a very, very nice red!). Last Tango has been living in my Louis Vuitton for the past several weeks, I hope it has enjoyed the traveling that I’ve subjected it to, as I’ve certainly enjoyed having it along during those drying flights!

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These are all creme texture (no shimmer) and pack plenty of pigment without depositing a lot of product:

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Here is my favorite Nars Last Tango:

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This is a lovely off-nude:

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Nars Last Tango on Liz:

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This is the beautiful rich pink Nars Goodbye Emmanuelle:

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Nars Goodbye Emmanuelle on Liz:

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Another of my favorites, Nars Future Red, which reminds me of a more moisturizing version of Chanel Pirate:

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Nars Future Red on Liz:

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Nars Short Circuit, a bright warm red:

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Nars Short Circuit on Liz:

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And of course, the dramatic Nars Full Frontal:

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Nars Full Frontal on Liz:

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Overall, I’d say “bravo” to NARS for this lovely formulation. These have gorgeous pigment, good wear time, gorgeous gloss and a moisturizing feel.  I adore the reds and the neutral Last Tango. Since using these for several weeks, I’ve upgraded this from “These are lovely and well worth a try” to “don’t miss these, they’re limited edition and you really need at least one.”

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The NARS Cinematic lipsticks were sent 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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Nov 012013

NARS Beautiful Stranger31

This is a short review of the Nars Beautiful Stranger Mini Nail Set ($35) so that you have a complete picture of all of Nars Holiday sets before deciding which are your personal must-haves. This set contains small bottles of four shades: the violet-purple Dance, Dance, Dance, a coral red Shameless Red, the lavender taupe Manosque, and the vibrant, assertive Lost Red. Each has 0.25 ounces (a standard bottle of Nars polish has 0.50 ounces).

NARS Beautiful Stranger32

Here are some quick swatches so that you can see the color. I did a few nail looks with Manosque and Lost Red, and found the formula typical of Nars cream formula–very nice coverage in two coats, medium shine, and smooth, fuss-free application.

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According to the literature provided by the company, this set will be available at all Nars sources as of November 1st.  It is currently available on

Nars Cosmetics provided this set 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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Nars Cosmetic Pouchette Review

 NARS  Comments Off on Nars Cosmetic Pouchette Review
Nov 012013

Nars Cosmetic Pochette01

This Holiday, NARS is featuring a leather Cosmetic Pouchette ($75) that is available now at its online site and in its NARS boutiques only. Although I was unsure about this in the promotional materials, I changed my mind completely when  I opened the box and found this gorgeous white leather bag inside.

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The pouchette comes packed within this protective outer slipcover, which has a soft satiny sheen.

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There’s something so elegant about this off-white leather. As you might expect, there’s a modern slimness to the piece, as well as a very slightly heavy feel that tells you this is leather (unlike many nylon or vinyls that we typically see). The tag inside indicates that the bag is made in Italy.

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The zipper pull says “Nars,” and the only other markings on the outside are the leather hearts.  Inside is a Nars-logo satin in a beige color. There is a size zipper pocket inside, for smaller items that might get lost in the clutch.

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I’ve placed some items from the Nars Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection inside so that you can see how it holds things nicely.

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This cosmetic pouch could pass as an elegant little clutch, there is plenty of room for a cell phone, keys, comb, and you could slip your cards and cash in the side pocket. It measures roughly 7 1/2 inches by 5 inches.

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The Nars Leather Cosmetic Pouchette is roughly the same design as the nylon version that comes in the Nars Voyeur kit (which comes with five mini eye liner pencils, but no side pocket and no leather construction).

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Overall, I found the Nars Cosmetic Pouchette to be a beautiful, modern pouch that I didn’t realize I was an absolute must-have until I held it my hands. It’s a high-quality, well-made solution for bringing cosmetics with us on our way through the day (and travels).

Nars Cosmetics sent this to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Nars Guy Bourdin Fling Set Review and Swatches

 Lip Pencil, Lipgloss, Lipstick, NARS  Comments Off on Nars Guy Bourdin Fling Set Review and Swatches
Nov 012013

Nars Flirt01

There are some makeup products that have such outstanding concepts that they defy categorization. The NARS Fling Set ($49) for Holiday 2013 is one of those items.

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First up, the set is housed in a highly re-usable molded red lip box that’s mostly genius with a dash of insanity. This outrageous, vibrant red sculpture can’t be touched by anything out there right now.

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At the widest part, the Nars Fling box measures approximately 7 inches across, so it is large enough to keep you your table for rings, hair accessories, and other necessities that require attractive storage (the outside depth is roughly 1 1/2 inches, the inside bottom depth is just over 1/2 inch. The inner lid depth for the top piece is hard to measure–the best I can do is to say that it is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch).

Although the packaging is not conservative, the lip choices are all crowd-pleasing beauties. This includes Nars Damage lipstick:

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Nars Roman Holiday:

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Nars Baroque Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil (mini) (full sized reviewed here):

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Here’s Nars Baroque from our review of the full sized version:

Nars Baroque 2

Also, the set includes the classic Nars Dolce Vita Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (mini):

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In the NARS Fling Set, the lipsticks are the full size 0.12 oz standards that we’ve come to know and love. Dolce Vita is lised as .06 oz. and Baroque is listed at 0.008 oz. As with the other lip pencils in the Promiscuous kit, these  pencils are approximately 3 1/2 inches in length. Swatches:

Nars Flirt12

For me, the selling point of this kit is the laquered box–it’s nicely made without seam lines, gloriously glossy, and indisputably fun.  The lip products are awesome, classic colors with a dash of the high-spirited Roman Holiday thrown in for good measure. All of these have the great Nars lip formula, and perfect for readying you from Winter through Spring.

Now available at Nordstrom, and soon available everywhere Nars is sold.

Nars Cosmetics sent this item 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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Oct 312013

Nars Promiscuous01

Like the NARS One Night Stand blush palette (have I mentioned my obsession with this palette yet?), the NARS Promiscuous Set ($45) released for Holiday 2013 will be available at Sephora exclusively (based on the materials that I’ve received). This set comes with a large cosmetic pouch, approximately  7 1/2 by 5 inches. It also happens to come with some of my favorite pencil shades from NARS incomparable line.

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This pouch is a tough, good quality vinyl and should provide years of use. I love a bag with a decent zipper, this one has one that is both robust and attractively integrated into the design.

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Unlike many lip pencils which provide a color base for lipsticks or gloss, NARS pencils of this type are meant to be used as  the main event–they are complex colors and thoughtfully designed textures used to create the lip look on their own.

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The NARS Promiscuous set contains mini versions of Cruella Matte Velvet, Sex Machine Velvet Matte, Dolce Vita Velvet Matte, Never Say Never Velvet Matte, and New Lover Velvet Gloss. These are some of my favorites, so I think this is a well-chosen, nicely wearable and versatile selection.

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Swatches of all shades:

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One more set:

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If you haven’t tried NARS pencils, the Nars Promiscuous set is a wonderful place to start. The pouch is a nice addition–the size is excellent for keeping things together in your office desk, weekend bag, the gym, or your purse for those necessary touch-ups.

Note: The Cruella, Sex Machine, Dolce Vita, and Never Say Never Pencils are listed as 0.06 oz, and New Lover as 0.08 oz in size. These measure roughly 3 3/4″ in size each.

NARS Cosmetics provided this set 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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Oct 312013

Nars Crime of Passion02

The NARS Crime of Passion palette ($59) packs some beautiful, highly wearable colors together in a remarkably compact space. This system is well-designed to accommodate a nice range of neutral looks, with high quality products that accommodates a wide range of skin tones and looks. This will be widely available at all Nars sources, and currently available on

Nars Crime of Passion03

Also called the NARS ‘Guy Bourdin – Crime of Passion’ Eye, Cheek & Lip Palette, the size of NARS Crimes of Passion is a small 3 1/2″ by 3″ size, and about 1″ deep.

Nars Crime of Passion05

The top layer includes three eyeshadows, which are all new shades. First a new light shimmery Jezebel, a new metallic rose-brown Naiade, and a super pigmented black matte Pandora. There is also a mini Deep Throat Larger than Life Lip Gloss (another new shade). This layer flips up to reveal a pan of Deep Throat blush, and a Laguna Bronzing powder.

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The design of the Nars Crimes of Passion set is aesthetically pleasing, functional, and efficient. And, let’s face it, these are great colors for a gorgeous, neutral look.

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Swatches of all colors:

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NARS Crime of Passion is genius.  I love a good neutral palette with versatility–this is certainly a well-chosen range of classic colors that is highly wearable. I was surprised to find this treasure has such a nice range of product in such a well-packaged, compact space.

Nars Cosmetics sent this palette 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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Nars Voyeur Eye Pencil Set Swatches and Review

 Eyeliner, NARS  Comments Off on Nars Voyeur Eye Pencil Set Swatches and Review
Oct 312013

Nars Voyeur01

For Holiday 2013, NARS is releasing the NARS Voyeur set ($49) at all department and specialty stores, Nars online and Nars boutiques. This set comes with a generous 7 1/2″ by 5″ vinyl zippered cosmetic bag, and five mini versions of the Nars Larger than Life eyeliner pencils. This set is also called the Nars Guy Bourdin Larger than Life Eyeliner Coffret.

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The Nars Voyeur set includes Via Appia (a coppery brown), Most Wanted (a new shade that a vibrant violet), Blue Dahlia (a bright cyan blue), Santa Monica BLVD (matte white), and the deep black Via Veneto.

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These pencils are long wearing, high pigment, high quality pencil liners. As with all Larger than Life pencils, the points of these can be brought back into shape with small sharpeners built in the removable tops of each. Swatches:

Nars Voyeur11

The Nars Voyeur set is a nice way to try out a variety of this great line of pencils. The pouch is well made, and an excellent size for a generous supply of makeup that could accommodate a day-to-night switch, or an entire weekend.

Nars Cosmetics sent this set 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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Nars One Night Stand Blush Palette Review and Swatches

 Blush, NARS  Comments Off on Nars One Night Stand Blush Palette Review and Swatches
Oct 312013

Nars one night stand do-over3

Tis the season to pick up a NARS blush palette–this year’s treat is the NARS One Night Stand ($65) available at Sephora. This year’s offering brings three new shades, as well as three classics. This format is truly wonderful for anyone (like me) that spends time on the road. I have the feeling that this would be parfait for a trip to Paris or any other multi-week trip.

Nars One Night Stand Palette1

 Why did NARS call this a “One Night Stand”? This palette is perfect for a long term relationship!

Nars One Night Stand Palette2

According to the back label of this palette, each pan has a total of 0.14 oz (4 grams), and a standard Nars blush has 0.16 each, so each pan is slightly smaller than a full sized standard Nars blush. Because standard blushes are $29 each, this six pan is a fabulous value at $65.

Nars one night stand do-over1

This palette contains: Laguna bronzing powder, Deep Throat (flirty, sheer peach), Orgasm (peachy pink with golden shimmer), Mistinguette (bright matte pink), Goulue (medium pink), and Devotee (highlighter). I especially enjoyed Devotee (top left), which has more pretty shimmer than Albatross.


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Another set:

Nars one night stand do-over22

Overall, NARS One Night Stand is another winner. With three new shades (including that gorgeous highlighter Devotee), this palette includes a highly usable set of extremely high quality blushes in a single, slim, easily stored-and-packed package. Love.

Nars Cosmetics sent this palette 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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