Sunday, March 8th, 2015

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) was an interesting concept, but I think that the texture could have been differentiated a bit more from the eyeshadows, because–as we have learned this year–that what makes a good eyeshadow may not always make a good blush and vice versa. Most blush brushes are less dense and often cut with more tapered fibers compared to a lot of eyeshadow brushes, but the texture of this formula is firmer (like the eyeshadows), so it can require some experimentation with tools and techniques to get decent to good pigmentation out of it.

Secondly, NARS claims that damp application results in a “translucent wash of color,” which is the exact opposite of damp application for their Dual-Intensity eyeshadows (the wet application is described as “mind-blowing impact with dramatic luminous matte and high shine finishes”). These perform very much in line with the eyeshadows with a damp application–they’re more richly pigmented, deeper and more intense, and the finishes are more shimmery, more metallic. Everything about them is absolutely amplified with a damp application, regardless whether one uses their specific brush (which is one of the worst brushes for using these damp), moistened fingertips, misted brush, or dampened sponge.

Funny enough, but one trait of the eyeshadows is they’re supposed to be “a sheer soft touch of sensual color” dry, whereas the blush formula is supposed to have “a bold flush” when applied dry. I’ve found many of their eyeshadows to actually be more pigmented than sheer when applied dry, which was the case with the majority of the blushes. In reality, pigmentation is pretty good either way, it just gets richer and more shimmery damp, but the formula remains more blendable and buildable dry.

They’re now available at NARS and Sephora. I was actually very curious if NARS’ would have different verbiage on their site at launch (perhaps it was a mistake), but their verbiage is the same as the press release sent to me by NARS. As of this morning, Sephora actually states: “Apply these shades wet to achieve a high-impact flush or dry to get a natural-looking glow.”

A few readers have asked if I like them:  so if I take off my reviewer cap a bit and just look at them as your typical powder blush, they’re decent to good, but it depends on the shade and finish.  I’m not in love with the firmer texture, and even dry, some shades still made my skin look worse, but some were really luminous and glowy in a good way.  I’d prefer them as singles as well. I like a few, don’t love any, and would reach for a lot of other formulas first (regardless of claims).

Report Card

Here are all the shades I’ve reviewed ordered from highest scoring to lowest scoring. Click the shade name below to read the full review and/or view the full set of photos and swatches.

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

NARS Last Resort Collection for Spring 2015
NARS Last Resort Collection for Spring 2015

Tahiti Bronzer ($59.00) (Limited Edition)

An extravagant exclusive for skin, steeped in NARS’ iconic Laguna bronzing powder and mini Ita brush. Intoxicating warmth. Instant tan. The golden life.

Tattoos ($35.00)

The pulse of Tahiti, the mark of a moment: a set of four limited-edition temporary tattoos transport and transform with exhilarating edge.

Body Glow ($59.00) (Limited Edition)

The burnished aura of high noon tropics, captured in an addictive blend of shimmer and shine. Part glistening monoi oil, part gardenia-infused coconut oil—pure paradise.

Monoi Body Glow II ($59.00) (Limited Edition)

Escape into the senses with the essence of Tahiti. Monoi oil imparts instant hydration and exaltation with the sumptuous splendor of gardenia, refined in coconut extract.

Availability: Now at NARS and Sephora; April 1st at specialty and department stores

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Saturday, March 7th, 2015

NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a warm-toned duo that is for those who love shimmer and metallic finishes. The texture of both shades is a bit firmer, so using ultra-soft brushes may get you poor results (e.g. blue squirrel haired brushes don’t work well, but goat hair and synthetic brushes worked fine). The color payoff was good regardless of dry or damp application, though the shimmer in the finishes was amplified when I used the shades damp. The “translucent wash of color” for damp application continues to elude me–I get nothing but intense color (and my brush is lightly misted, not sopping wet!). I would recommend a duo fiber brush like MAC’s 159 for applying these damp, rather than NARS’ own brush, as the damp application easily lifts base products and/or moves the brush around together while lifting it from place to place rather than blending it out, and I’ve had the best luck with the duo fiber brushes as they swirl without lifting the best. Damp application is a lot more work, because it is quite fussy.

Jubilation (Left) is described as a “sparkling yellow gold highlighter.” It’s a brightened, light-medium yellow gold with warm undertones and a metallic finish. It is actually rather metallic whether it is used dry or wet, though it is even more metallic when used wet and the pigmentation is richer. It emphasized pores very slightly when applied dry, and it lasted for seven hours. When I tested it with a dampened application, it definitely made my pores look bigger and skin more textured, and it wore well for eight hours.
NARS Frenzy (Left) (P) is much lighter. Dior Transatlantique (LE, $58.00) is similar. MAC Centre of Attention (Inner) (LE, $30.00) is similar. Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder (LE, $70.00) is darker. Chanel Or (LE, $45.00) is lighter. bareMinerals The Shining Moment (LE, $26.00) is less shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Jubilation (Right) is described as a “shimmering soft nude peach.” It’s a softened peachy-orange with a warm, golden metallic sheen. It had rich color payoff regardless of wet or dry application, but a wet application brought out the metallic shimmer and also tended to give it a chunkier, more textured look (the powder seemed thicker). Applied dry, it illuminated the skin and added warmth without emphasizing the skin’s natural texture and lasted for seven hours. Applied damp, it was thicker and more metallic, which amplified pores and my skin’s texture but wore well for eight hours. NYX Beach Babe (P, $6.50) is darker. Laura Mercier Rosegold Shimmer (LE) is less shimmery. Becca Guava/Moonstone (P, $27.00) is a cream product. MAC Fairly Precious (LE, $30.00) is lighter. bareMinerals The Many Splendors #3 (LE) is darker. MAC Perfectly Poised (Outer) (LE, $30.00) is darker. Becca Rose Gold (LE, $38.00) is less warm-toned, less metallic. MAC Trace Gold (P, $21.00) is very similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

P
palette

Jubilation

C+

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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P
product

Jubilation (Left)

C+

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Jubilation (Right)

C+

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Monday, March 2nd, 2015

NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a highlighter and bronzer duo. The two work together well, and when applied dry, they can be quite flattering on the skin, though dry application doesn’t have the best staying power. Both shades tended to emphasize the skin’s natural texture and any imperfections when applied with a damp brush, unfortunately, as the shimmery finishes intensified. To reiterate what I’ve mentioned in previous reviews: NARS describes the damp application as a sheer wash of color, but the reality is that this type of application yields deeper, richer, more opaque coverage than dry, and it also makes it harder to work with, as it doesn’t blend as readily as the formula does used dry.

Craving (Left) is described as a “sparkling seashell pink highlighter.” It’s a pink-tinged iridescent white with a metallic shimmer-sheen finish and cool undertones. Applied dry, it was semi-sheer with a frosted, metallic finish, which didn’t emphasize pores and lasted for seven hours on me. Applied damp, it was semi-opaque with a metallic sheen, which did emphasize pores and stayed on for eight hours before fading. NARS Devotee (LE, $29.00) is more sparkly. Urban Decay Luminous (P, $29.00) is less pink. Lancome Moonlight Rose (LE, $42.00) is darker, pinker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Craving (Right) is described as a “shimmering beachy bronze.” It’s a medium-dark orange brown with warm undertones and a gold shimmer. Applied dry, it had opaque color coverage that was fairly blendable and had a lovely satin sheen that didn’t emphasize pores. It wore well for seven hours this way before fading. When I tried to apply it with a dampened brush, the finish was more like a high frosted sheen, which did give my skin a more noticeable texture, though the color lasted for eight and a half hours. NYX Beach Babe (P, $6.50) is lighter. Bobbi Brown Bronze (LE, $45.00) is more muted. Urban Decay Strip Bronzer (P) is darker. MAC Alpine Bronze (LE, $27.00) is less shimmery. Too Faced Sun Bunny #1 (P) is darker. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bikini Contest (P, $3.99) is less shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

P
palette

Craving

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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P
product

Craving (Left)

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Craving (Right)

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Sunday, March 1st, 2015

NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush
NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush

NARS Wet/Dry Blush Brush ($42.00) is a brush designed to work the brand’s new wet/dry blush formula. It’s a smaller-sized, circular dome-shaped brush; it reminded me of a mini buffer brush with a longer brush handle. The dome seems a bit too rounded and raised, so you lose surface area to apply it on the cheeks and don’t get a great “buffing” diameter. The brush head is 21mm in width, 25mm in height, and 21mm in thickness. It had a total length of 15 centimeters with an open ferrule. I’ve been using this brush for a week, but I’ve exhausted so many ways trying to make it work.

I had really poor luck using this brush with NARS’ formula, and it wasn’t much better with other brand’s powder and cream blushes either. In general, I’ve found NARS’ brush range to be extremely disappointing. There is a real lack of quality when it comes to the cut, shape, and fibers used, and this brush has an uneven cut with noticeably sharp or rough bristles when the brush is patted or buffed against the skin. The fibers felt finer than some of the other NARS’ face brushes and wasn’t quite as scratchy. It’s a much denser brush (again, like a buffer or kabuki brush!), so in theory, you would expect it to apply a lot of color, but it doesn’t. It seems to pick up a fair amount of powder when you tap and swirl it against the blush’s surface, but the color doesn’t transfer well from the brush to the skin. I could feel the bristles, and some are irritating/scratchy, whenever I tapped, patted, or swirled the color in; the only time it seems smooth is if I only do a very gentle, slow sweeping motion outwards. It was impossible to even out or blend NARS’ blush formula when this brush was damp, as the brush would lift the color without blending it out, so there were whole areas where it would show bare skin.

The Glossover

product

Wet/Dry Blush Brush

It seems to pick up a fair amount of powder when you tap and swirl it against the blush's surface, but the color doesn't transfer well from the brush to the skin. I could feel the bristles, and some are irritating/scratchy, whenever I tapped, patted, or swirled the color in; the only time it seems smooth is if I only do a very gentle, slow sweeping motion outwards.
Results
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Sunday, March 1st, 2015

A tried and true favorite of mine, coral lipstick is a shade I reach for throughout the year. If you’ve been looking for a way to warm-up your spring, consider these five beautiful shades:

  1. YSL Peach Passion — a glossy, peachy-coral
  2. NARS Julie — a soft, pink-coral
  3. Estee Lauder Eccentric — a light-medium pink-coral
  4. Urban Decay Streak — a medium coral-pink
  5. Maybelline Coral Burst — a luminous pink-coral

>> See side-by-side swatches! <<