Aug 252011
 

Fresh news from Nars!

NARS Concealers ($22) are using a new slim packaging, and growing from  its shade range from a total of six shades to ten. These are targeted to more closely match NARS’ Sheer Matte & Sheer Glow Foundation shades. Enriched with Vitamin E.  Shades include (from lightest to darkest):

  • Chantilly – for fairest of complexions, true ivory – NEW!
  • Vanilla – for fair complexions, tiny cast of pink tones
  • Honey – for light to medium complexion, warm peach tones
  • Custard – for light to medium complexions, yellow tones
  • Ginger – for medium complexions, golden tones
  • Biscuit – for medium to dark complexions, natural balance of pink and yellow tones – NEW!
  • Caramel – for medium to dark complexions, yellow and golden tones – NEW!
  • Amande – for medium to dark complexions, golden olive tones – NEW!
  • Café – for dark complexions, warm red tones – NEW!
  • Cacao – for dark complexions, deep-gold-brown tones – NEW!

These are due on Nars website beginning September 1s.

NARS Praline/Toffee Duo Concealer duo ($30) will be replaced with Caramel/Amande. The three Duo Concealers will include:

  • Vanilla/Honey
  • Custard/Ginger
  • Caramel/Amande – NEW!

These are available on Nars website on September 1st.

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Aug 012011
 

Nars Grand Palais Eyeshadow Duo ($33) is a part of the Fall 2011 collection.  The combination is named for the Parisian landmark built just after the Eiffel Tower, reflecting a similar vision in its open latticework structure.  A landmark in its own right, the interior has vast open spaces and has been a frequent backdrop to many couture fashion shows (including Chanel), as well as prominent location for numerous artistic events.

Nars describes this palette as “silver taupe/dusty rose.”  After comparing different colors, that’s a very accurate description.  The silver taupe is an unusual mix of shimmery pewter, silver and taupe.  The dusty rose is a soft deep rose mixed with soft gray tones with a faint hint of mauve.  Both are nicely pigmented and very smooth. The matte is impressive–the fallout was very minimal and the color went on very strong (although not uncontrollably so).

 The shimmer on the silver-taupe was very nice.  Although not as luminous as a metallic, it’s not promoted as such.  Those who enjoy a good, smooth wash of shimmer will be pleased.

 For the left silver taupe of Grand Palais, here are comparisons with a true silver (Shu Uemura ME Silver 950), a silvery grey shimmer (MAC Swan Lake, limited edition from the Danse Collection), and a true taupe (Shu Uemura ME Silver 945).  You can see that the left side of Grand Palais is more silver / lighter than a true taupe but more brown than a true silver or gray.

 

I wondered whether Grand Palais’s silver taupe was similar to a pewter tone, but found that Grand Palais is more firmly in the silver taupe category.  You can see that some pewter shades in my collection (here, Shu Uemura ME Brown 851 and Bobbi Brown Chrome Eye Shadow in Pewter), lean much more warm metal with a touch of silver and green.  By comparison, the left side of Grand Palais is quite brown/taupe.  (Karlasugar’s swatches of Bobbi Brown Pewter show the warm greenish tone as well).

Just as in the rest of his line, Nars develops colors that don’t seem to have exact duplicates anywhere else. In other words, NARS Grand Palais includes a shade that you could drive yourself crazy trying to find.

The next question is, how does Grand Palais work as a duo?  If your coloring is just right, Grand Palais is going to deliver a unique modern vision–really, I imagine it might be very striking on some.  You can see a lovely look here on Messy Wands. 

Personally, I found that Grand Palais took a fair amount of work to create a wearable eye on me.  I have no colors comparable to the dusty rose because this is not a flattering color for me to wear in the eye area.  I tried every lid/crease combination that I could think of, without success, washing the colors next to each other.  My recommendations to make this duo wearable:

  • Layer the colors –The top swatch pictures swatch (far right), shows how the shimmery wash changes the dusty rose.  Later, I found that this was the solution that Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog derived as well.
  • Use with a soft neutral brown — Using a crease or outer corner deep brown tone (similar to MAC Espresso) seemed to neutralize the combination and add a pleasant depth and contrast.  It is important the brown that you use have no red undertones, or it will just become worse.
The quality of NARS Grand Palais is excellent. The formula is lovely, and I love that the palette has a contrast of shimmer and a great quality matte.  Unfortunately, this color combination is very tricky for someone with my skin tones.  As a combination, I know that I will not reach for this very often.

 

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May 112011
 

Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($24) was released over the past year, and I viewed it as a high-end alternative to Urban Decay Primer Potion, my then-current favorite primer.  I know that Urban Decay’s gets plenty of criticism, but it’s easy, cheap and lasts forever (especially if you literally cut open the old tube design to get the residual primer left inside).

Nars practical packaging and overall quality made this an interesting alternative.  My thoughts:

  • Easy application with the doe-foot applicator
  • Dries clear
  • Doesn’t change the color of my eyeshadow
  • Makes all powder eyeshadows last all day, hours longer than they would without any primer

As with any primer, less is more.  You can bet your last blush that you’ll run into trouble if you put on too much primer.  A whisper is appropriate, a layer is too heavy.

The downside with Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, based on my own opinion and experience, is that it grips the powder very quickly and makes the shadow very difficult to blend.  There’s a ‘fly paper’ aspect to it–the eyeshadow powder sticks to it.  And sticks.  It doesn’t seem to move well once placed on the lid.

Therefore, although I appreciate the long wear-time and elegant quality and packaging, the primer works best on looks that don’t require softening or blending between shades.  I’m happy if you find that this is your holy grail must-have,  all that I can give is based on my own experience and opinion.  For that reason, I find that Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is a little too smudge-proof for me–because I frequently knock down and blend my shadows, it’s not something that I anticipate re-buying once it’s gone.  Proceed with caution.

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Apr 072011
 

Nars Velvet Gloss Pencil in Baroque ($24) is a deep blue-based red that adds a sheer wash of glossy gorgeousness.

If you aren’t sure you were meant to wear reds, trying a sheer red like Nars Baroque will give you a good chance to experiment.  It will allow some of your natural colors show through.  The deeper color looks great with both fair and deep skin tones.  The touch of blue helps whiten teeth just a touch.

On Liz:

This is one of my favorite sheer reds.  I love the pencil format.  Although it has a slight crayon scent (which I believe is the packaging and not the gloss), these are so easy to use.  A nice, fool-proof burgundy red.

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Apr 062011
 

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Happy Days ($24) is a sweet coral with a tiny gold twist.

These Velvet Gloss Pencils are so easy to use and apply.  There’s enough color and shine to add some pretty, but they are not so opaque that you have to be super careful with the application.

Swatch:

This is a great, easy summer color.  On lips, it adds just a touch of shine and peachiness to Liz’s naturally pink lips:

Note that, because of its sheerness, Happy Days will look different on different lip tones.

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Mar 102011
 

Nars Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Clubmix ($24) is a red with a hint of blue that delivers a rich, deep glossy color.  It gives impressive pigmentation and shine.

Swatches:

Nars Clubmix gave Liz a red look.  Because these pencils have a slight sheerness, you can expect that it will look slightly different on everyone, depending on the wearer’s natural lip color.  Liz is wearing Bateau Ivre on her eyes, as described in this post:

 

Overall, we loved Nars Clubmix.  It’s a good deep color that flatters light skintones.  It’s light enough so that it does not look too heavy or too creamy.

 

 

 

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Mar 042011
 

Nars has released a very limited edition product, 413 Bleecker Pure Matte Lipstick ($25), to commemorate the opening of the new boutique at that address. Fortunately for me, New York City native Joeybunny of The Pink Sith, was able to purchase the item for me because it is only available at the Nars boutique at that address.

As background, Nars new boutique is an uber-cool little store designed to suit the Nars aesthetic.  It has gorgeous white walls, sells Nars entire line as well as a few items chosen especially for that location, including books and other gorgeously-designed things that suit Nars’ vision.

Here’s a video explaining the concept and design of the Nars boutique:

 

The store is in a gorgeous tree-lined neighborhood populated by several Marc Jacobs boutiques, including Jacob’s charming fashion-themed bookstore “BookMarc.”

Consistent with the brick-ish feel of the neighborhood, Nars 413 Bleecker is a warm, brick toned red in a matte formula.  It’s an edgy, yet wearable neutral.

Here’s a comparison of Nars 413 Bleecker with several darkish tones for comparison.  Here, Chanel Rouge Coco Rivoli is far more red.  Chanel Rouge Coco Patchouli is much lighter in tone.  Finally, Chanel Rouge Coco in Rouge Noir is much more plum-black.

Nars 413 Bleecker on Liz’s lips:

Nars 413 Bleecker fits my preference for edgy neutrals, as well as my predilection for special, commemorative items.

 

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Mar 012011
 

Nars Spring 2011 collection includes the Bateau Ivre eyeshadow duo ($33), a combination of two ruthless blues.  This includes a lighter periwinkle with a subtle sheen and a deeper matte gray-blue.  There’s no question that this a duo outside our comfort zone, although it looks fabulous here on Lipglossiping’s website.  From these pictures, you can see that Bateau Ivre delivers plenty of pigment, if that’s the look that you want.

We wanted to try something different with these two intimidating shades.

Liz and I wondered how we could make these deep, intense colors work with the soft Spring neutrals that we’re seeing from top designers.  These looks are soft, light and the makeup is minimal.  We weren’t sure we could make Bateau Ivre work into these types of looks applied full force.  Although color blocking Bateau Ivre might work, I wondered whether it would overwhelm those with small features.

We both felt that the intense color and texture had to be broken up, perhaps with an eye gloss or other texture-breaking product.  Liz had the inspiration to use the lightest shade in Chanel’s Ombres Perlees palette (reviewed here).  Because this is a powder, we knew we could create stability that would last all day.   Cream glosses might work, but could crease.  Here’s Liz’s step-by-step:

  • Lay down a wash of the lightest color from Ombre Perlees all over the lid
  • Apply a soft layer of the lightest shade of Bateau Ivre on the lid, using a MAC 226 brush
  • Work in the darker shade of Bateau Ivre near the lashline, both over and under the eye, using a small smudge brush
  • Add some of the lighter shade of Bateau Ivre under the eye, using the smudge brush
  • Layer more of the lightest shade of Ombre Perlees over the top of all of the work, blend and smudge

Here’s our result:

Another, both eyes:

If you are worried about buying shades that might seem too intense for pale skin, or threaten to look dated if not applied well, give this a try.  We thought this non-traditional application increased its versatility and helped modernize the look for Spring.  No color blocking required, this palette can provide a gorgeous, subtle look with some willingness to play.

 

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Feb 252011
 

Nars has recently expanded the Illuminator line to add three shades:  Copacabana, Laguna and Super Orgasm ($29 each).  Recently, I bought two–Copacabana (1.2 oz) and Laguna (1.1 oz.)-to test drive the formula.  As background, I do not have an extensive collection of the multiple sticks.  I usually buy liquid and powder luminizers, over cream, as a personal preference.  Both Copacabana and Laguna are packed in squeeze tube with a flip-top closure.

The tube allows you to control the amount of product quite well, and the flip-top is a no-fuss closure.  Face it, if you are to the point where you are applying an illuminator, your makeup table has several other items and probably doesn’t need another loose cap.

I liked the texture of the Nars Illuminators very much.  They are cosmetically elegant, feeling wonderful against the skin and melting in quite nicely.  Copacabana is a party in a tube, seriously, this liquid does crazy beautiful magical things in the light.

Nars Copacabana Illuminator is like a “Benefit High Beam but better.”  I find that the texture of High Beam is a little thick and it seems to stand on my skin.  Copacabana is a cool pink, and so comes off as a quite dramatic on my warm, pale skin.  This will look banging hot on cool skin tones.  Those with warmer skin tones may want to swatch this before committing.  As a warm toned person, I enjoy wearing cool toned product but accept that they are going to be more dramatic than more golden tones on me.

For warmer skin tones, this will make a pretty upper-cheek highlighter. It’s nice on the brow bone, and as a “C” around the outer eyes.  Note well–the sparkle factor of Nars Copacabana Illuminator is on the high side. Also, if you have large pores or lines, try before you buy because you may find those features emphasized with Copacabana.  All of these factors are minimized if you wear this mixed with foundation or under foundation (which also knocks down the glow a few decibels).

Here is a texture/color comparison with Nars Copacabana and Soleil Tan de Chanel (in Sunkissed), Edward Bess cream highlighers in Sunlight and Afterglow, and Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in #2.  For fun, I also swatched Nars Multiple stick in Luxor because it’s another light, cool toned cream.

Another, because with illuminators the light makes a huge difference:

One more, different light.  There’s some serious glow with Copacabana (sign me up!) both in the swatch and when applied:

Laguna Illuminator has the same neutral with caramel tone as Nars Laguna powder bronzer.  Unlike Laguna in the powder form, Laguna Illuminator has an undeniably beautiful glow.  Like Copacabana, the glowing liquid is embedded with visible microshimmers that are visible on the skin even hours after application.  In case you missed it, the sparkle factor is high with both Copacabana and Laguna.

Although Laguna looks scary dark in the tube, I found that it applied in very manageable layers.  I used a bit on the cheeks to start, then built to a medium intensity with 3-4 layers.  Keep in mind, in California our idea of “way too bronze” may differ from your geographic region.  If you’ve seen the Real Housewives of Orange County you know what I’m saying.  Then, because I am a fearless bronzer tester when it comes to giving you the real deal, I slathered a thin layer all over my face.  I found this darkened my skin tone to about a MAC NC20/25.  Although I really liked the effect, I found that the sparkles were too visible. Unless you are a glitter lover, Laguna Illuminator is not meant for all over color.

Comparison and swatches–here, with Soleil Tan de Chanel in Terre Ambre, Nars Laguna powder bronzer, Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #11.

Another look:

Overall, with the Spring and Summer months approaching, I’m glad to have both Copacabana and Laguna in my beauty collection.  They’ll both get plenty of use.

This available with free shipping from Nordstrom.com.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see “About Cafe Makeup”)

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Feb 152011
 

One of the most edgy items from Nars Spring 2011 collection is Nana Lip Glosss ($24), described as a “deep black grape” that is “quintessentially French.”  As anyone who loves Chanel Rouge Noir as much as I do knows, a deep vampy lip is an essential part of a women’s color wardrobe.  My question was whether this gloss had the same power as the famous deep red-black lipsticks.  You can see a runway deep lip on pale models at this recap of Theyskens’ Theory show earlier this week at New York Fashion Week (MAC was used there).  Could Nars Nana let the deep lip translate to women in the real world?

I have to admit, the tube of the NARS Lip Gloss looks pretty cool.  It’s rare to see a lipgloss with that deep pigmentation in a department store line:

“Deep purple grape” certainly describes how the product looks in the tube, although I found more red in the color when applied:

Nars Nana absolutely fits within the vampy dark lipstick category.  Here, swatches compare with Guerlain Rouge G in Bee (reviewed here), and Chanel Hydrabase in Rouge Noir and Rouge Coco in Rouge Noir (both here).

My thoughts:

  • Nana is a gorgeous deep wine color.
  • It applies with a cushiony gel feel, with minimal stickiness.
  • It is super pigmented,  you can get the super-pigmented deep vampy lip pretty easily.
  • It is relatively long-lasting for a gloss (a few hours with sips).
  • The texture is very high gloss, in a good way.
  • One point of caution–this sinks into liplines.  It shows it all.  There are glosses that skim over the texture, Nana is not one of them.
  • Another point of caution–the super pigmented gloss is unforgiving when you apply it.  Small mistakes show.  Be ready for clean up.
  • Third point of caution-it’s a little tough to spread this evenly.  It grabs and pulls as you put it on, even when your lips are newly exfoliated.

If you want my advice, use a lipliner with this gloss. I grabbed Chanel Beige, and it created a little cushion fill between my lips and the gloss.  Although Chanel Beige diluted the strong color, you won’t have that effect with a deeper lipliner.

Here’s Nana on Liz with no lipliner (just Nana gloss, nothing else):

You might say that Liz is quite an expert at applying gloss by now, she’s been wearing Chanel Glossimers since she was thirteen (not a typo). The uneveness that you see is not because she isn’t applying it properly-she knows how to apply lipgloss (it’s a lip. gloss.) and this is still our result.  I found that the gloss applies much, much smoother over a lipliner.  But we wanted to give you the straight up pure gloss version, ’cause that’s how we roll.

Here’s Nana over Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Madere (reviewed here):

As with Madere, Nars Nana is a niche product that requires some thought and care.  Not for everyone.  If you’re into the vampy look, and go with a good lipliner, you’ll adore Nana.

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