Apr 232012

Nars Calabria Soft Touch Eyeshadow Pencil ($24) is a beautiful soft and complex deep purple.



Although the pencil and swatch appear to be a deep saturated purple, the color applies a little bit like Chanel Taupe Grise on my lid.

The difference is that, as a creamy pencil, Nars Calabria has much more of “sheen” to it. As a deep violet-taupe, it’s very flattering on pale skin tones. In fact, I absolutely love this color.

Other bloggers have observed that Nars Soft Touch Shadow Pencils tend to crease. Temptalia’s review of Calabria found some creasing. I was hoping that would not be the case for me–my lids are not very oily.  I applied the pencil much more lightly than Christine at Temptalia, hoping that would do the trick. I tested the pencil for several days, both alone and over Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Primer. Without the primer, I found that the color tended to fade after 8-10 hours of wear. With the Nars eyeshadow primer as a base, I found color migrating into my lid crease.  It is something that I was able to easily sweep away once I noticed, however I thought you should know that I did experience this.  Bottom line–amazing color, but not as long-wearing as I would have liked. If anyone has any suggestions for making these pencils last longer, I’m happy to try them out because I really do love this color.

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

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Apr 192012

NARS has introduced two new lip pencils for Summer 2012. First, let’s look at NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($24), a lavender rose designed to make us all true Beliebers in the power of color.

True to its name, Never Say Never has a matte finish yet seems to leave the lips feeling and looking creamy, without the drying quality that some mattes have. On Liz:

NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24) has an entirely different texture–although it’s a pencil, there is a high-shine glossy look to this. I’ve been waiting forever for a good glossy nude pencil. This color can really add a touch of nude polish–it’s a quiet color that can be extraordinarily useful.

Unlike Nars Hopi which has a warm, almost golden cast, Buenos Aires is a true nude.

On Liz, you can see that the texture is quite glossy compared to Never Say Never:

Swatches of both Nars Never Say Never and Nars Buenos Aires:

Overall, Buenos Aires is an extremely useful glossy nude. Never Say Never is a strong, on-trend color designed to work perfectly with this year’s pop of color trend. If your look is otherwise neutral, you may need to wake up your lips with a touch of drama.  That pervasive orange that’s seems to be everywhere can pull really warm on some skin tones. The other on-trend shades are within the same family as Never Say Never — a fun hot-pink with a touch of lavender that fits well within the “C’mon, it’s summer, live a little” vibe.

In case you got the craving:

Nars provided Never Say Never and Buenos Aires to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Apr 192012

NARS Vendanges Lipstick ($24) has just been released for Summer 2012. I found Nars Vendanges truly fit its description as a “sheer grape.” One looks like one just finished a grape popsicle, but with a more sophisticated glow. Unlike some quieter sheers, Vendanges has a slight modern edge yet remains flattering.

 Perhaps because of my own coloring, NARS Vendanges fits within my lipstick color sweet spot. I find mauve/purple tones very flattering on warm coloring, although many with cool coloring reach for it as well. Here’s a comparison with some other shades in my collection. First, the much creamier Edward Bess Demi Buff.  Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bel Ami is redder and sheerer.  Nars Baroque Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil is more opaque and deeper, redder in tone. Guerlain Vega is a full on creamy deep red.  Chanel Rouge Coco Rivoli is more cool red and much more opaque.

Here you can see how sheer and pretty NARS Vendanges is on Liz:

The cool tones of Vendanges should work as a nice balance to the bronzes of summer. Here’s Liz wearing Nars Vendanges is a look featuring the new Nars Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo, and the NARS Orgasm/Laguna blush-bronzer duo.

Overall, NARS Vendanges is a modern, on-trend color for Summer 2012. Vendanges has been elevated into one of the few colors that I’m carrying in my bag right now–it’s an easy, quick color to apply but looks interesting, modern and slightly edgy. Love.

NARS sent Vendanges lipstick to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Apr 192012

NARS Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick ($25) is an intensely pigmented deep red matte that leans deep and warm. Although the lipstick appears has a touch of shimmer in the tube, we found that the color applied as a creamy opaque, and (true to its name) into a matte finish.

NARS Moscow fits into the sweet spot created in this collection by NARS Liberte Blush and the Ramatuelle eyeshadow trio–all warm reds. Here’s a comparison with Chanel Rouge Double Intensite Ultra Wear Lip Colour in Sandstone, as well as NARS 413 Bleecker Pure Matte Lipstick.  I’ve added Nars Hopi Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil, which is not a dupe but does make a nice topping gloss for Moscow.

As is true of all matte lipsticks, NARS Moscow can tend to emphasize small lines. Many matte lovers wear a balm underneath to minimize that effect, if you find it undesirable. That aspect of it didn’t trouble me, I liked the strong, warm color and found it striking and sort of beautiful. Liz, who hasn’t met a matte lipstick that she’s liked yet, was not a fan until we topped Moscow with Nars Hopi Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil (swatched above), which softened the color slightly and gave it a glow.

Here’s Liz wearing Moscow alone (no base or gloss):

Here’s Liz wearing Moscow with Hopi on top:

Overall, Cafe Makeup was of two minds with Nars Pure Matte Lipstick. I’m wearing it now–I’ve always loved a good warm, strong red. The lipstick is excellent quality, has not taste or scent, and lasts beautifully. Liz, who favors a glossier or glower lip, thought it looked a little dry and needed a glossier overlay to make it work for her. Both of us thought that it worked well with a Liberte blush and fit in well with the Ramatuelle trio in the Summer 2012 collection.

Nars sent Moscow Velvet Matte Lipstick to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration and review.


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Apr 182012

Summer 2012 brings the new NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio ($45/ 0.15 oz.), which has a soft shimmery cool silver, a soft shimmery peach and a matte deep apricot. The trio coordinates beautifully with the new NARS Liberte blush (reviewed here). This mix of warm and cool shades appears designed to be a crowd-pleasing, universally flattering palette.

I found myself reaching for Ramatuelle every morning lately. The soft, pretty shades are natural, neutral, and add a slight bit of subtle shimmer and contour to the eye. Unlike most neutral palettes which run brown and gray, Ramatuelle introduces a pretty, wearable soft color that adds a brightness and draws subtle interest to the eye.

I must admit, since I saw Adele’s eye makeup at the Grammy’s, I’ve been craving a pretty wearable peach for an easy, elegant eye look. Here are some arm swatches that show the very subtle sheen of the silver and middle peach shades:

Here’s a quick comparison between NARS Ramatuelle and NARS Douce France (released for Spring 2012). As you can see, although both trios are light and soft, Douce France is more in the pink family and entirely matte.  NARS Ramatuelle has two shimmer shades (a cool silver and a warm peach shimmer), with a matte apricot. Women who are reluctant to wear pinks near the eye should investigate Ramatuelle–you get the soft, pretty color without any pinkeye effect.

NARS Ramateulle has been a lifesaver for me. It’s extremely easy to use. I put the center shimmery peach shade all over my lid. Then I put a little bit of the silver color in my inner corner, and sometimes in the center of my lid as well.  The deep apricot shade goes in the crease.

Here is the look that Liz did with Ramatuelle, paired with NARS Liberte blush:

You can see that the look is very soft, natural, and polished, here with Liberte blush on the cheek:

NARS Liberte has been a welcome, fresh, and on-trend addition to my eyeshadow collection. The colors are finely-milled, blendable, soft and brightening.

The layout and pigmentation make application foolproof. It really is very easy–peach on lid, cool silver on inner corner, and matte apricot in the crease. It’s a beautiful, refreshing look for summer that doesn’t look heavy or overdone. Beautiful. This is currently available on Nars website, and should soon be on counters everywhere. It is listed as “limited edition” on Nars’ website.

Nars sent Ramatuelle and Douce France to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.


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Apr 162012

NARS Summer 2012 includes NARS Liberte blush ($28), which has just gone online for sale. The shade is described as a “burnished apricot.”  Francois Nars’ blush imagination always stuns me–the colors are original, complicated, and almost universally flattering. I can see this color working on every woman from a cool-toned redhead to a deep-toned beauty. It’s exactly the color that one craves to wear during the warm summer months, even though Liberte is a color that I have never imagined existed before.

NARS Liberte is a pigmented matte terracotta red that fits in beautifully with the rest of the NARS Summer 2012 collection. Here is Liz wearing the blush, applied very lightly on cheeks, together with the NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio (review soon!), and the Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick (review soon!) topped with NARS Hopi Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil for  touch of shine.

Another, same makeup:

Here, Liz applied NARS Liberte with a standard Chanel blush brush to get a natural look. Later this summer, she’ll likely build up the intensity for a deeper cheek tone. Below are some comparison swatches of NARS Liberte with NARS Lustre, Nars Madly, and NARS Lovejoy.

Final verdict:  Yes, you need it. Seriously. Perfect summer blush. Plus, you are going to be reaching for this well into the Fall because it’s going to coordinate with colors like camel, forest greens, deep blues and (yes), even metallics. Sophisticated, easy to wear, modern, flattering and finely milled.

NARS Liberte, NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio, and NARS Moscow were sent to Cafe Makeup by NARS for consideration for review.

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