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.

NARS Beautiful Stranger37

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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May 252013

Nars Pierre Hardy Nail2a

Nars Pierre Hardy collaboration includes six sets of nail polish colors ($29 per set) that are pre-coordinated for your tips and toes. These are fun for summer, when sandal season brings our bright-colored nails out in the open. These bottles are marked as containing 0.5 ozs., and are packed in shoe-box styled packaging that includes a little shoe-type dust bag, all of which evoke Hardy’s core reputation as a shoe designer.

Nars Pierre Hardy Nail3a

Taking the shoe theme on step further, each bottle has a theme with each bottle named “left” or “right.” How you choose to wear the colors is, of course, entirely up to you. I love the concept, and it’s as well-executed as any that I’ve seen.

Nars Pierre Hardy Nail4

Here’s an overview of all pairs, each swatched with two coats on my nails. All nail pictures were taken with a top coat (Dior Gel Coat), unless otherwise noted.

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Jul 252012

Nars Fall 2012 has a number of contrasting deep and light shades, playing with texture and light. Nars Storm Bird ($18) is a deep gray cream nail polish with a high-shine finish. Storm Bird compliments the rest of the collection well.

Nars Storm Bird reminds me of a standard photographic color called “18% grey,” which was intended to standardize black and white photographs across the tonal spectrum  (non-photographers won’t get this reference, but you might find something familiar about Storm Bird nonetheless as it reflects deep winter shadows).

It is a high-shine urban color–I actually own shirts and a scarf in this color. It makes lighter warm skin tones really stand out, because it is a cool deep contrasting color. Cooler skin tones will find it harmonizes well. Everyone will find it a universal color that looks good with a wide variety of winter clothing–blacks, sage, burgundy, and some blues.

I think most companies go to shades in nudes and browns, and perhaps taupes, when formulating neutral nail colors. Here, Nars has taken a bolder step and gone with a very modern, edgy gray. I don’t have any other grays in this color category for comparison. I can say that NARS formula is consistently excellent–this is two coats to full opacity, no visible nail lines. There is no topcoat there, the formula is providing the shine.

Nars Storm Bird was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Apr 232012

NARS Trouville Nail ($18) is a soft, flattering pink that should look lovely on both pale and deep complexions.

It’s much softer than some of the Pepto cool pinks we’ve been seeing this summer. I found the formula good, although sheer. It took me 3-4 coats to build the color to make the nail line disappear.

Verdict:  Pretty, soft and highly wearable. One of those all-purpose shades when you want to look polished and elegant.

Nars sent Trouville to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review.

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NARS Space Odyssey for Fashion’s Night Out Preview

 Eyeliner, Nail Polish, NARS  Comments Off on NARS Space Odyssey for Fashion’s Night Out Preview
Sep 072011

Nars Cosmetics now has the Fashions Night Out 2011 online for sale.  Two items are this collection, which is called Silver Odyssey:

First, a Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Crispi ($23)

Second, Space Odyssey Nail Polish ($17)

These are swatched here at

Both were inspired by this famous image by famed photographer Guy Bourdin.  One of the most significant fashion photographers of the 20th Century, Bourdin is a favorite of NARS Founder and Creative Director, François Nars.

NARS Charity Contribution:   On Thursday, September 8, NARS will post Bourdin’s arresting image on its Facebook wall and encourage fans to “Like” the image. While on Twitter, followers of NARS can tweet their support with the hashtag #SilverOdyssey.  On behalf of all who participate, NARS will make a donation to the New York City AIDS Fund, the official charity of FNO.

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Oct 132010

Nars Full Metal Jacket ($16) is a cool metallic gray with a hint of frost.  Re-released as part of their Vintage Collection, this color is an edgy classic that is timelessly modern.

In sun:

In shade:

Truly a neutral-with-a-kick.  This color will work with any color that is cool or blue-based.  With warms, you’ll get a dramatic contrast so watch your step–it can go so right or oh, so wrong.

This was two coats without a top coat.  I was pleased to see that the shimmer/frost dried without streaking.  The formula is quite workable, but go quickly, courageously and definitively to lay down the polish to get the most even coverage. And after all, with a color like this “courage” is the attitude du jour.  Otherwise, you’d be wearing sheer pink.  Highly recommended.

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Mar 042010

NARS Purple Rain nail polish ($16) plays tribute to the Prince song and film. Purple Rain is described on the NARS website as “intensely gothic purple” and “bright and audacious.” I have to agree with both the letter and the spirit of that description.  In addition, I’d add “complex,” “beautiful” and “rich”.

The nail polish delivers a deep and rich purple that would be incredible on its own.  Add little flecks of red, as well as a deep violet-blue, add a high gloss finish and you have something truly spectacular.  This nail polish gets noticed.

The application was easy.  The brush is permanently connected to the large black squarish rubberized cap, which is a bit unwieldy but manageable.  The polish is opaque in one coat.  I’ve done two coats in the swatches, below, out of habit.

Along with Nars Purple Rain, I’ve added China Glaze’s Let’s Groove, ($2.50 from Victoria’s Nail Supply);  Zoya Yasmeen ($7.00) and Chanel’s Vendetta ($23) (this last one wasn’t even close!).

Here’s a picture with my results.  China Glaze’s Let’s Groove was the closest.  The purple tones, and red/violet flecks looked very similar.   China Glaze’s polish took an extra coat but the price is dramatically lower when purchased online:

True to the namesake of its author, Purple Rain adds a dramatic touch to your nails.  It screams and shouts “Baby, I’m a star — might not know it now, baby but I are, I’m a star!”  Is it work friendly?  That’s hard to say.  This color draws major attention to your nails.  But remember, blacks and vampy red-blacks used rare in the workplace.  Maybe NARS is starting a trend?

EDIT: After wearing both NARS Purple Rain and China Glaze’s Let’s Groove for several days each, I can confirm that NARS does give me better wear.  Also, I’ve decided that NARS Purple Rain is work-friendly.  Either that, or it is so pretty that I don’t really mind if it isn’t.  It’s gorgeous and worth it.

P.S.:  Did you hear the rumor?  NARS is bringing back the greatest green ever–Zulu!  Next fall! I can’t wait!

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