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

As my time in Paris comes down to a few hours, I’m posting a very few quick pictures of the two five eyeshadow palettes for Summer 2011 for the Electric Tropics collection, in Rosy Nude ($58 #534) and Rosy Tan ($58 #754).

Rosy Nude is a light toned palette, which will look beautiful for daytime for a summer look:

Another of Rosy Nude:

Here is Rosy Tan, which has the deeper tones that can be used for evening or for a more intense day look:

One last one of Rosy Tan:

I played with these at the Dior boutique, and the pigmentation seems quite good although I did not do a full swatch of all of the shades. I’ll do my best to swatch these next week.  In the meantime, hopefully you will find these helpful.


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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.


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 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 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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Feb 142011

Because I’m obsessed with edgy neutrals, I had to try NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Madere ($25), released for Spring 2011.  This is a very light matte nude that nearly matches my NC15 skintone.

Mattes are tricky, nude mattes are even trickier.  About five years ago, Angelina Jolie seemed to wear a matte nude everywhere.  She made Guerlain’s Divorna 480 famous by suggesting it was her favorite shade (it was discontinued a few years later).  Jolie did not become famous by cultivating a girl-next-door image.  The matte nude lip complimented her other-worldly glamour.  As you can from the movie poster (below) matte nude lipstick can look drying on even the most glamorous celebrity.  It seems to go with the territory.

NARS Madere is lighter and slightly pinker than Guerlain’s Divorna 480.  Chanel Rouge Allure Mythic is between them in tone, but has a glossier, moisturizing texture (and avoids the drying effect by forgoing attempts for the matte effect).  If your monitor is not very sharp, you might not see NARS Madere on the far left:

Liz and I tried Madere and, predictably, found the lipstick nearly matched our skintone.  This light matte color nearly disappears.  Liz disliked both the drying effect and the color, I thought this is pretty normal for a matte nude:

On Friday, I saw that Francois Nars used the Pure Matte Lipstick in Madere on the Thankoon runway for New York Fashion Week, topped with the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Hopi:

I began to suspect that there was more than meets the eye to Madere.  Liz and I tried Madere lipstick with Hopi lip pencil ($24) (review forthcoming), to see if we could recreate the look:

The Velvet Gloss lip pencil changed Madere completely, giving it a glossy gold finish.

I tried Madere topped with the deep purple Nana Lipgloss ($24) (review here) which is a highly pigmented deep purple gloss. Madere provided a neutral, creamy base that made Nana sparkle and shine.  The look was very modern and edgy, and I absolutely loved it.  Below is a picture on Liz.  Although Liz still wasn’t sold, I loved the Madere/Nana combination, in part because my skin tones are more mauve-based (Liz’s undertones are more pink), and also because our tastes are different:

Here, we compared Nars Velvet Gloss Pencil in New Lover.  On the left, no base or lipliner (just the pencil).  On the right, New Lover is applied over Madere:

NARS Madere Pure Matte lipstick is a niche product, targeted to those looking for an unusual and edgy look.  I was ready to return Madere on the first few tries, but now I realize that I’m going to be able to achieve some interesting looks with it.

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Feb 072011

If you were paying very close attention to Giorgio Armani’s Spring 2011 collection, you heard a sudden warmth and enthusiasm when beauty lovers discussed La Femme Bleue Long Wear Waterproof Eye Pencil ($27).  There was slightly hushed tone and a “don’t miss this one” intensity from those in-the-know.  The only item I ordered from this collection was this black pencil for one reason–to find out if it was, truly, the miracle pencil.  I’ve concluded that it probably is.

Released in three colors (black, brown and a deep green leaf), this pencil was previously released only in black and was sold out in an instant.  Although I’m enamored with my Le Metier de Beaute’s Precision Liquid Liner, I knew if I didn’t leap now that I’d risk missing out.

I’m not usually a fan of pencils because they tend to tug and pull, and go on unevenly.  Some have trouble smudging.  There are some exceptions, in fact Armani’s black pencil in their regular line is one of the best I’ve used.  Some of the Chanel and Shu Uemura’s are stellar.  I’ve had a few MAC Pearlglides that I’ve enjoyed.  For drugstore, Prestige’s Total Intensity is nice.

The Armani Le Femme Bleue blew them all out of the water.

This pencil goes on as soft as a gel.

It can be smudged.  I used my Chanel smudge brush (but any will do) during the first minute to create  perfect smudge.

Once it’s set, it’s really set.  Yes, it will last all day.

It lasted through a massive cry without budging.

The texture is very, very soft.

And its very waterproof.

And very black (no glitter, no shimmer, no gray).

Will it last on my waterline?  Yes, but I cannot say with certainty that it will last on yours–I’m to be cautious in this review as I’ve found that quality varies from person to person.

Downsides:  Curiously for a $27 pencil, there is no sharpener included (according to Charlestongirl at The Best Things in Beauty, sharpeners are free at an Giorgio Armani counter for the asking).  Unlike Armani’s standard pencils, there is no smudger on the flat end.  Unlike pen liners, it must be sharpened frequently to get a very thin, fine line.  Limited edition.

Bottom line: Expensive but buzz-worthy.  I deeply, deeply wish these were permanent.  Karlasugar has the other colors swatched here.

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Feb 062011

I had a few reader requests to compared the Spring 2011 NARS Calanque Trio with Urban Decay’s Naked Palette.  Here are the results, together with some thoughts about the NARS Calanque now that I have been living with it for a few days.

NARS lightest shade is more olive compared with Urban Decay’s Virgin and Sin, both of which have a softer pink tone by comparison.  By far, the biggest difference between these colors is the texture.  The Urban Decay is soft and buttery, with virtually no fallout.  NARS has fallout, which I could control somewhat by patting the shadow on the lid.

However, over the pasts few days I have noticed that the NARS lightest shade does go on in patches both on the arm and the lids–the texture of this eyeshadow does not meld to the skin like Urban Decay’s shadows do.  Instead, there are areas of the skin to which this shade does adhere, and others where it does not.  Unfortunately, I noticed that this did not adhere smoothly to my brow bone either.  Also, the NARS does have far more sparkle that Urban Decay’s lightest tones.  I found this amount of sparkle overwhelming on the brow bone.

NARS middle shade is a soft latte creamy brown with a sheen.  You can see that Calanque’s middle shade is lighter than the deeper, matte Naked and Buck colors from Urban Decay.

NARS deepest shade leans very slightly more olive green than the deeper brown Darkhorse and more bronze Smog:

Since living with NARS Calanque for a few days, I’ve concluded that it doesn’t work for me.  Although I love the two deeper shades, the lightest shade goes on too patchy and sparkly to reach for with any frequency.   As you can see, these two palettes are roughly the same price and Urban Decay’s texture on the lightest shades is far more wearable.  In the meantime, I’ve seen that Best Things in Beauty and The Beauty Look Book are concluding similarly.  Although you might find Calanque workable with a cream base, after several attempts I’ve concluded that there are too many other options out there that don’t require that level of effort for a similar or lower price point.

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Feb 032011

EDIT: Since posting this “first look” review, I have posted comparisons with Urban Decay’s Naked Palette and have further thoughts about the Calanque Trio here.

NARS Calanque Trio ($45) is a limited edition palette released for Spring 2011.  This is my first experience with a NARS trio.  This comes is the same standard sized palettes as NARS eyeshadow duo’s and blushes, with a full sized mirror in the lid.

There are three colors pressed together into a single pan:

  • The lightest shade, a light gold infused with platinum, cream and silver sparkles
  • The center carmel with a pearl texture
  • The deep green infused with bronze and gold

Continue reading »

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Jan 282011

NARS Nouveau Monde ($32) duo eyeshadow palette is new for Spring 2011, and is the perfect solution for  a very easy, sophisticated eye.  There are two medium-shimmer colors.  On the left is a soft, shimmery grey-lavender that adds luminosity without being jejune or overwhelming.  As a person with warm skin tones, I have to be careful about wearing lavenders, as it almost the opposite of my skin tone some lavenders can overwhelm or look cartoonish.  Fortunately, NARS understands colors so well, because there is not a hint of shrill tones–instead, this heathery lavender is very grown-up, very finely milled, and sets off my blue-green eyes perfectly.

The right green is a rich mossy-khaki green, that has a slightly more rich and soft metal tone.  It’s absolutely gorgeous, and quite complex.  It’s shockingly easy to do a very beautiful eye with these tones.  First, I tried a wash of the lavender on my lid with my MAC 217, then placed the green in my crease, smoked above it toward the brow bone.  It was perfect.

Another idea is to use the lavender as the lid color, and the green as a liner, smoked up in the outer corner.

Third, it’s quite easy to use the green as the main lid color, and a touch of the lavender in the center of the lid as a highlight.

Although these may not appear to be traditional pastel colors, they pair perfectly with the minimal neutrals that fashion is presenting this Spring.  Consider how gorgeous would this palette look with these soft, modern tones from Phillip Lim:

This is the type of palette that will carry into Summer:

Here’s some suggestions for coordinating the shade with other colors-here, with NARS Sex Appeal blush, OPI’s Not Like the Movies (Katy Perry collection), which goes really nicely with the lavender shadow of Nouveau Monde.  They both have a very silvery, light soft lavender glow.

Think about adding a peach or neutral lip (here, either Chanel Rouge Coco in Patchouli or Peregrina), or a very soft sheer cool pink, like Le Metier de Beaute Cap d’Antibes (not pictured, review to follow).  For me, the key is to keep the rest of the makeup luminous and with some sheerness, and keep in mind that the Nouveau Monde duo’s lavender side is a touch on the cool grey side.  I wouldn’t weigh this down with a bright or opaque tone, at least for my coloring:

Here are some swatches and comparisons–the lavender shade of Nouveau Monde with Chanel Lavande single eyeshadow.  For the mossy khaki green of Nouveau Monde, I compared this with MAC’s Scarab (from the Catherine Deneuve collection), Chanel Vert Khaki and Chanel Khaki:

The texture of Nouveau Monde is just perfection–the light shade is luminous and believable, the deep shade is rich and buttery.  Love this duo!

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