Mar 122012

For Spring 2012, Nars released three new lip products as part of its iconic collection. If you fall in love with one, the Nars online site has free 2-day shipping right now with no minimum and no code needed.

First up is the soft, crowd-pleasing warm nude Nars Bilbao satin lipstick ($24).

Accurately described as a “shimmering topaz” this semi-sheer color gives a has a golden beige wash to lips.

It’s a near-nude that has enough color so that it doesn’t wash you out, it leaves a honey glaze color that can be very flattering especially on warm skin tones. Here is Nars Bilbao on Liz:

Here’s a quick swatch comparison with Nars Bilbao, which was closest to Chanel Rouge Coco Baroque. However, Nars Bilbao applies more softly and sheerly than Baroque. Also here is Chanel Rouge Coco Patchouli and Burberry Nude Rose #25.

This Nars collection is a real collection of widely diverse colors and the lip colors are no exception.


Nars Spring 2012 brings Pure Matte Lipstick in Valparaiso ($25) a deep beautiful cool red berry.

Although not a traditional color, Valparaiso looks right with evening wear and on cool spring days. Here’s a comparison with a few other vampy darks which I had nearby: Nars Nana Lipgloss, Guerlain Vega, Chanel Rouge Coco in Rouge Noir and Burberry Blueberry Lip Mist.

Here’s how Nars Valparaiso looks on lips, in all of its matte velvet glory:

Nars has also released a Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Mexican Rose ($24):

Nars Mexican Rose is an astoundingly beautiful color, particularly on pale lips. It’s a beautiful pink-rose with plenty of color and depth. You can see that it is a beautifully wearable saturated deep rose-pink. Here, it’s compared to the more red Chanel Flamboyante and the more bright pink Chanel Kensington:

Nars Mexican Rose on Liz’s pale pink lips:

Because this pencil has a bit of sheerness, the color is much more muted and deep on my mauve-toned lips. Liz’s lip color is quite light, and so the deep saturated color of Mexican Rose really stands out on her.

All in all, I’d say Nars did an amazing job with three very different lip colors, all suitable for immediate wear. Unfortunately, Liz obtained my Mexican Rose pencil, so I will be buying a replacement for myself. Ah, the joys!

These three lip colors-Mexican Rose, Valparasio and Bilboa–were provided by Nars to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review.

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Mar 032012

Spring ’12 brings the new Nars Paramaribo Eyeshadow Duo ($34), an lighter olive-gold-brass and a greyed green-bronze. As with many Nars eyeshadow duos, the texture of these was soft, easy to use and blended beautifully. The colors look vibrant in the pan, especially to one who has green/blue eyes and therefore doesn’t own many green eyeshadows. I was pleased to find that the yellow tones in the lighter shade seemed to recede on application into a pretty metallic green-brass that stayed wearable.

When Paramaribo is applied, the colors became gorgeous metallic neutrals. This is unquestionably an amazingly textured eyeshadow duo–the powder is extraordinarily fine and dimensional. One can tell that these colors were formulated with care and attention. Quick swatches:

When Nars Paramaribo is applied, the colors become instantly wearable. The colors neutral bases come out, giving just a subtle wash of color. Although Liz is warm toned, you can see that the yellow tones in the eyeshadow seem to recede when applied, and the olive tone becomes much more of an everyday shade. Is olive the new taupe? You decide.


Here, Liz is wearing Nars Gaiety blush. I’ve been wearing Gaiety several times every week–it’s a great Spring blush that looks fresh on warm-toned skin. Of course, it’s lavender tones will look amazing on cool skin tones as well. We did not add any other colors to the lid, and Liz is wearing Chanel Super lipstick.

Both Nars Gaiety Blush and Paramibo product was provided by Nars Cosmetics to Cafe Makeup for review.

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Nars Gaiety Blush

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Jan 152012

 Nars Gaiety blush ($27) is a cool candy pink matte blush with a touch of orchid.  Nars description says “joyful exuberance”–Cafe Makeup says “love.”

Of course, Gaiety is going to work beautifully for cool skin tones. Although I have warm-toned skin, I’ve long loved the look of a cool pink blush. It really makes me look healthy and glowing. The contrast is not jarring, instead, it adds a soft glow of color that adds a dash of interest. Yes, I love my reds, peaches, and bronzes, but candy pink awakens my skin like nothing else.

Lately, Nars blushes seem to have a more consistent formula. Some of the older designs (Mounia, now discontinued) required careful control with a stippling brush.  Perhaps it’s just me, but lately I can use a standard blush brush and average pressure to get a good glow every time. I put Gaiety in this same line–I love the formula, quality and sleek packaging of Nars blushes, and that there is also a vibrant pink-pink that I can apply without special care. Really, this one’s easy.

Of all my cool candy-pink blushes (oh, I can hear the comments already! Yes, I have a few), Gaiety is closest to the long-ago limited edition Chanel Turbulent, but does not require the special care and handling that Turbulent does (for more about this, see this review–really, it’s nuclear).  Unlike the vibrant, pearly Chanel Tubulent, Nars Gaiety can be applied normally and has a matte finish.

You can see the tonality difference here, with Nars Gaiety and Chanel Turbulent being the closest friends. Bobbi Brown’s French Pink (in the old round pot) is far less bright and clear.  Chanel Rose Tourbillon has a touch of rose red, but Nars Gaiety leans more blue/orchid.

Another comparison–here is MAC Full Fuchsia (reviewed here) which is an amazing color, but far more blue and fuchsia compared to Nars Gaiety.  Chanel Pink Explosion (reviewed here) is a soft cool pink, but not as cool as Gaiety. Finally, Chanel Tweed Fuchsia (reviewed here) has much more red and is deeper in tone.

I swatched some of the closest shades. As you can see, Chanel Turbulent was the closest. Keep in mind that Turbulent is applied very lightly here, because I tried to keep the tonality the same.  Turbulent shows as a more pearly texture, compared to the matte Nars Gaiety.  You can see that Chanel Rose Tourbillon is slightly more red and has a pearl texture.  MAC Full Fuchsia is a much deeper violet tone.

Same blushes:

Overall, one of my favorite pieces from this Nars collection. I’ve been worried that I might run out of Chanel Turbulent, and regretted the time investment needed to make it work. Nars Gaiety is a far more workable formula, in more sleek and packable packaging. I love the color, the forumla and the final effect. Again, my apologies that Liz isn’t here to model–she’s working quite hard and I hope that sometime soon her schedule will allow her to return.

Nars Gaiety was sent to Cafe Makeup for review without charge.

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Jan 142012

Nars Lhasa eyeshadow ($23/ 0.07 oz) is a perfect eyeshadow for understated elegance. If you love a neutral with a kick, you need this.

Part of Spring 2012 now online, Nars has a way of releasing must-have staples seasonally. Lhasa is a soft lavender gray that manages to emphasize one’s natural eye color and add a little sophisticated polish. It’s a beautiful wash, or staple lid color that could be supplemented with a touch of deep gray/black in the crease or a touch of shimmering ivory in the inner corner.

Is this a taupe? I’d say it’s not. The lavender has a mink-brown tinged with gray, but it’s different enough from my taupes to declare it one-of-a-kind. It brings out the warmth of my skintone and a touch of green in my eye color. I found that my closest color is Chanel Fauve, although Fauve is comparatively shimmery compared to Nars Lhasa’s satin-matte finish. Here, I compare Lhasa to some “true taupes”–Chanel Safari and Shu ME 945 Silver.  For fun, I added the right half of the Nars Habanera duo, which is clearly more purple, more deep in tone and more shimmery than Lhasa.

Swatches of all shades:

Do you need? Yes. This one is a must.


Cafe Makeup received this eyeshadow from Nars Cosmetics without charge for consideration for review.

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Jan 112012

Nars Spring 2012

Here’s an upcoming preview of Nars Spring 2012, a collection that is a study in contrasts: bold color underscored by sophisticated shimmer. For eyes, either tones of lavender and pink or bronze accented with navy on eyes. Cheeks are flushed with candy pink. Lips gleam in topaz or pop with berry. Metallic violet nails add a finishing touch to a collection that’s bright, strong and iconic. Here are the details of the complete Spring 2012 Nars collection.

Douce France Trio Eyeshadow ($45), with three gorgeous powder eyeshadow variations on pink—a cool light pink highlighter, a medium rose-petal pink and a deep rose with a touch of brick:
A minky silver-lavender single powder eyeshadow Lhasa ($23), named for the Tibetan region that hosts many Buddhist palaces:
An powder eyeshadow duo, Paramarimbo ($33) with a soft metallic green-brass and green-bronze tones. These are both shimmery textures with a rich complexity.

Gaeity Blush ($27), which I’ve been waiting for with my breath held. This is an extremely cool-toned pink:

Mexican Rose Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24). I love this formula. This is a red/hot pink combination made to make your lips look gorgeous and glossy:

Valpraiso Pure Matte Lipstick ($25), an deep rose with a touch of coolness:

A shimmering gold-topaz deep nude in Bilbao Lipstick ($24)

Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24)

Diamond Life nail polish ($17) (not yet arrived)

In person, everything so far looks gorgeous. I’ll be providing you with updates and reviews on these products in the coming days.

These products were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.

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Sep 112011

 During New York Fashion Week, Nars artist Diane Kendal used Nars to create this clean look based on strong brows.  The picture above shows a clean skin with a touch of new Gaiety blush, a soft pink due out for Spring 2012 over NARS  Zen blush.

The look was inspired by “the ideal of the iconic American cowboy gone multi-cultural. The color story came from India, inspired by the spice market — but with a cowboy flair,” said designer Thakoon Panichgul.  The hair was laced with bright colors.

Get the look:


  • Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer – new for Spring 2012! For a similar affect try a light application of Sheer Glow Foundation
  •  Zen Blush
  • Gaiety Blush – new for Spring 2012! For a similar affect try Desire Blush




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Sep 102011

NARS National Makeup Artist Francelle did the backstage work for designer Mandy Coon at this week’s New York Fashion Week (for more about Mandy Coon, see here and here).  During the show, the makeup was very clean.  According to Francelle, “The skin is dewy for a really whimsical, effortless affect. I also took a cue from Mark Rothko’s color-blocking and created a modern version on the eye with purple and pink.”

The chart relied on a number of products that will be released next Spring by Nars.



Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizers (new for Spring 2012) For now, try a light application of Sheer Glow Foundation

Laguna Bronzing Powder

Lhasa Single Eyeshadow (new for Spring 2012) For now, try the smoky lilac side of Egea Duo Eyeshadow

Douces France Trio Eyeshadow (new for Spring 2012) For now, try Goddess Soft Touch Shadow Pencil and Nymphea Single Eyeshadow

Santa Monica Boulevard Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner

– Madison Avenue Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner

– Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara

Bilbao Lipstick (new for Spring 2012)

Valparaiso Pure Matte Lipstick (new for Spring 2012)

Although designed for the runway, Francelle’s look easily translates to the street.  I can see many women who might look fabulous in this color combination.  I like how the “blush” is a hint of bronzer, for a very clean cheek.  I’m excited to see the Douces Frances Trio Eyeshadow–I’ve been waiting to jump on one of these, and this color combination might work well for my skintone.  The eyes are beautiful–not the heavy, smudgy look we’ve seen on runway shows in the past, but rather a softer smoke that does not overwhelm and lets the gorgeous lip color provide the emphasis.  Lovely work, Francelle!

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