Feb 022013

Nars Translucent Crystal Loose 2

Nars Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder in Crystal ($34 / .035 oz.) (now available at Nordstrom.com, Nars Cosmetics online and Sephora.com) is the loose powder version of the Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder previously reviewed here. Both sell for the same $34 price point. The loose version contains more product by weight (.035 oz. for the loose, and .24 oz. for the pressed), however the pressed has the convenience of the purse-friendly compact and mirror.

Nars Translucent Crystal Loose 3

I’ve found that, with the qualification that they be properly applied, both provide me with the same airbrushed-photoshop effect. I absolutely love it. By the way, you must, MUST see this comparison picture on Beautylish. Seriously, even if you don’t think you are interested in this powder…. well, you just should know about it.

Nars Translucent Crystal Loose

The reason that I’ve been delaying this review is that I’ve really been working with the loose vs. pressed question. When I first applied the loose Nars Light Reflecting Translucent, I used the same type of brush that I used with the pressed. However, I found that this gave me an overly powdery look.

Nars Translucent Crystal 4

I did not use quite this much, I swear.

After experimenting, I found that I’ve got to use a very light touch (sometimes, a duo-fiber brush), and then buff, buff, buff. This method of application gave me a seriously glowing-matte perfection finish that made my makeup last all day. The all-day effect actually got better as the day went along, as my natural oils mixed with the product.  Although this doesn’t prevent oil from coming from the skin, on me it did prevent me from getting the overly-shiny glow that becomes so prominent after 6-8 hours.

My application tip of the day, and I cannot stress this enough, is less is more. You need only the tiny, tiniest bit to really make your skin look amazing. And buff, buff, buff this into the skin so that it really melds with your foundation. Less. Is. So. Totally. More.

So, which to buy? Here are my thoughts:

  • The compact is for travel convenience and super-fast application. I seem to be able to pick up any random powder brush in my cup and whisk on the compact version with the greatest of ease. I haven’t had to re-apply this yet during the day as it is quite long-lasting. However, for travel there is something so effortless about tucking this into the pocket of a carry-on.


  • I had a slight–and I repeat–slight preference for the look of the loose. If I were going into a 16 hour work day, a wedding, or any event where I wanted my skin to be free of perceived imperfection, I’d choose the loose. If I had a less hectic travel schedule, I’d go with the loose as well.

Bottom line–I love these. Love. You must check these out. But don’t let someone layer too much on you. Properly applied, these really make my foundation and blush last all day and make my skin look a bit like luminous velvet. Or, as close as my skin can get to luminous velvet. There is a mattifying effect, but the lightness of the powder doesn’t look aging or layered so long as you use a very small amount and buff, buff, buff.

Available at Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com, and Nars Cosmetics.com and elsewhere.

 This product was provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This review contains affiliate links (please see About Cafe Makeup for more information)

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Jan 302013


Dior Las Vegas (phone: 702-734-1102) is receiving the Dior Pink Champagne collection in mid-February. This includes the Diorskin Nude Shimmer Compact (reviewed here by Mostly Sunny), two nail vernis polishes in the colors Golden Era and Tutu, as well as a twinset in Beige Ribbon (according to the store, a wonderful lid base color for other shadows). The collection will also include a Dior Lip Maximizer in a sparkle pink shade ($31, not pictured).  The store is taking orders as of now.

Nars Release

Nars is releasing some pretty gifts for the mid-winter season.  First, Nars 413 Blkr Multiple ($39) is a burgundy shade that echos the brick outside the New York City Bleecker street store, as well as the colors in the other Nars 413 Blkr Street line. This will be sold at the two Nars flagship stores–New York and Los Angeles–as well as on Nars Cosmetics.com starting February 1st.

NARS Bleecker Street1Nars is also introducing a lovely eye set  And God Created Woman (pictured above). This one looks drool-worthy, as it includes some of the nicest and richest shades collected from Nars duos and singles over the past several years. Seriously, the gold from Kalahari in the same palette as Galapogas? Sign me up.

For $59, the set includes a travel size primer and the No. 3 Eye Shader Brush. Available February 1st on Nars Cosmetics.com and it’s already up for sale at Sephora.com.


I’ve been terribly excited for these new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, just releasing now on Sephora.com. I was fortunate enough to be sent Luminous which I’m currently test-driving (review due soon). I’m hoping to pick up a few more of these as I’ve been impressed so far.

Hourglass Ambient

Which products have you found lately? Is there anything good, bad, exciting or not that you’d like to share?

Hourglass sent the Ambient Powder without charge to Cafe Makeup for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, please see About Cafe Makeup)

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Jan 242013

Nars Translucent Crystal 1a

Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder ($34/ 0.24 oz) has just become available on Sephora.com. This compact is a generous size (the compact is roughly 3 1/2 inches by over 2 1/2 inches), also slim and sturdy enough to fit into a clutch.

Nars Translucent Crystal 6

The compact comes in a protective fabric pouch with an elastic closure (no brush, but any face powder brush will do).

Nars Translucent Crystal 7

There’s a little white flat applicator that slips into its own individual pocket in the cloth holder:


This product is fascinating to me– here is the company’s description:

NARS Light Reflecting Complex utilizes a blend of pure ingredients that work in synergy to transform light like a prism. Light-active micro-prisms are combined with algae extract and Polynesian seawater to optimize light reflection on the skin.

The photograph-friendly Photochromic technology reduces the “washed out/chalky” appearance that can occur when makeup products are exposed to sunlight or flash photography. This unique powder assures a healthy, natural-looking complexion in any light. When makeup products are exposed to sunlight or flash photography, the powder actually becomes darker to prevent the complexion from looking washed out. The Photochromic technology is a hybrid powder developed from Shiseido’s Advanced Ceramic Technology. The hybrid consists of both Titanium Dioxide (which is white in color) and Iron Oxide (which is red in color). When exposed to sunlight, the UV rays have an effect on this dynamic and the darker shade from the Iron Oxide becomes more pronounced—resulting in the powder taking on a more natural tone and not looking washed out or chalky. Once out of the sunlight, the powder will revert back to the original color.

For me, this product is “photoshop” in real life. It blurs imperfections without changing the color. Although if you look microscopically close in a mirror (Liz and I do that squinting!), you’ll see the powder ever so slightly in real life, but back even just a bit and it disappears, along with lots of the textural imperfections (pores, fine lines, tiny scars) of our complexions. It diffuses and makes our foundation last longer throughout the day. Another interesting thing is that the powder doesn’t feel (or look) dry– the product description says that it contains glycerin and antioxidant vitamin E to help guard against dryness.

Nars Translucent Crystal 10

This finishing powder is completely clear, adding no color. Although a slight shimmer is perceptible in the pan, Liz and I agree that this does not translate to the face when applied.

Nars Translucent Crystal 5

Here’s a quick comparison of Liz, taken while were were testing out some lip products. In the earlier picture, we were getting a bit of glow from her Chanel Vitalumiere liquid foundation (you can see it on her forehead with the flash image on the left). After we changed the lips, she brushed on Nars Light Reflecting powder. These pictures were taken within a few minutes of each other. This isn’t a scientific comparison (the clouds were moving and the light was changing quickly, and I adjusted the flash and lens), but I think it shows the difference (the Nars powder was used on the right, no powder on the left).

Nars Translucent Crystal Comparison

You can see how the powder softens the “glow” from Chanel Vitalumiere’s foundation and the overall texture of Liz’s skin. It photographs beautifully. Incidentally, Liz is wearing the blue shade from Nars Spring 2013 Mad, Mad World eyeshadow duo under her eyes.  Her lip color on the left is Chanel Rouge Allure in Eclatante (reviewed here, where you can see Liz wearing the powder also) and on the right is Chanel Rouge Allure Suidisante (reviewed here).

Nars Translucent Crystal

Overall, I believe we have a winner. I do not want my picture taken without this powder.

Nars Light Reflecting Setting Pressed Powder in Translucent Clear is available now on Sephora.com. Review of the loose powder is here on Beautylish.

Ingredient list (from Sephora):

  • Reflecting Complex™ (Sea Water, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Barium Sulfate, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Aluminum, Iron Oxides): Transforms light like a prism; optimizes light reflection on the skin.
  • Glycerin/Vitamin E Mineral Powder (Glycerin, Tocopherol, Silica): Allows for targeted release on the skin; gives a soft-focus effect on the skin; guards against dryness and leaves the skin feeling comfortable; offers antioxidant benefits.
  • Advanced Smooothing Blend of Spherical Powders and Polymers: Gives a perfect glide, easy blending ability, and silky feel.
  • Photochromic Technology (Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide): Alters the tone of the complexion according to the intensity of the light.

This product was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information, see “About Cafe Makeup”) 

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Jan 032013

Nars Skincare 15

Nars Gentle Cream Cleanser ($29/ available here) has been a lifesaver on my winter-stressed skin. This is a lightweight but very thorough cleanser that is extremely pleasant to use. It allows me to cleanse my skin, leaving it feeling clean but without feeling stripped of moisture.

According to Nars:

A gentle, creamy cleanser that helps to maintain skin’s moisture balance while removing makeup and impurities. Infused with Monoï Oil, Wild Rose Extract, and Chamomile, it leaves skin feeling soft and looking radiant.

Contains the NARS exclusive Light Reflecting Complex™ designed to restore skin’s youthful radiance and reflect light like a prism.

Ideal for normal, dry and seasonally dry skin.
Dermatologist Tested & Non-Comedogenic
Synthetic Fragrance Free, Paraben Free, Alcohol Free

There is a slight, pleasant fragrance which I find mildly addictive because it is both comforting and fresh. I love this stuff (and, yes, it also works well on a Clarisonic).

If you are checking into this product, you will find it is part of Nars Moisture Travel Set ($140/ available here). This contains a mix of Nars skincare products that were reformulated during Fall 2012. This is a very lightweight line, designed to improve the skin’s luminousity and youthfulness. The set includes:

Full sized 15ml Total Replenishing Eye Cream
30 ml Optimal Brightening Concentrate
50ml Multi-Action Hydrating Toner
30ml Gentle Cream Cleanser
15ml Luminous Moisture Cream
Deluxe NARSskin Travel Bag

This set is designed for normal to dry skin:

NARSskin Luminous Moisture Travel set-1

For those with oily/combination skin, look for the Nars Luminous Aqua Travel set ($140/available here). This includes a different cleanser (a gel), and the very lightweight Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer (reviewed here), which is one of the most effective lightweight moisturizers I’ve experienced. The full details of this set are:

Full sized 15ml Total Replenishing Eye Cream
30 ml Optimal Brightening Concentrate
50ml Multi-Action Hydrating Toner
30ml Purifying Foam Cleanser
15ml Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer
Deluxe NARSskin Travel Bag

 Both sets include the Optimal Brightening Complex, a lightweight pearly primer/skincare solution designed to fade dark spots and repair skin.

NARSskin Luminous Aqua Travel Set

Both sets come in a travel bag, which is opaque (and therefore should go in luggage on flights, not carry on):

NARSskin Travel Bag

The sizes are pretty generous on these–the toner (which feels like a micellaire toner but without leaving as much residue) is 1.6 ounces. The gel moisturizer size is 30 ml., which translates to over an ounce. Based on my average use, I could see taking one of these on a month-long trip (or several shorter ones) and having plenty of product to use. The sets are available online at Nars Cosmetics online.

Nars PR sent the Nars Gentle Cream Cleanser to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links. For more information, please see About Cafe Makeup.

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Nov 032012

A few weeks ago, Nars quietly released a series of four Eyeliner Stylo ($27 each). These are liquid, brush-pen eyeliners in four colors–Carpates (black), Nuku Hiva (a deep brown), Atlantic (a deep ocean blue), and Koala (gray).

 As you might expect from NARS, these work beautifully. Go in confident, you’ll get a perfect line with a single stroke. I like that these are offered in wearable colors. Of these, I’ve love Atlantic–this deep blue is unusual enough and gives plenty of definition. Yet it’s not the same “same old, same old” black. Swatches:

Bottom line:  All day wear, easy to use, highly wearable colors. Well done.

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

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