Another Disappointment from the NARS & Andy Warhol Collection
NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette ($65.00 for 0.42 oz.) consists of one blush, one highlighter, and four eyeshadows, tucked into a matte black palette with a full-size mirror on the interior. Each shade sits in its own pan and well.
Shimmering Pink Champagne is a soft, rosy plum with silver sparkle. The sparkle is very, very loose and doesn’t bind at all to the underlying color, so it either doesn’t translate to the cheek or disappears throughout the day. It had a very dry, stiff texture, though the color payoff was so-so. It wore for seven hours when I tested it. NARS Oasis is a bit more muted, less pink. theBalm Cabana Boy has a soft sheen. MAC Plum Foolery is less pink, more frosted.
Brilliant Cream is a shimmery, pale beige. It had good color payoff, and it wasn’t dry–a little powdery–but not dry, at least. It was also blendable on, and it lasted for six and a half hours. NARS Albatross has a golden sheen. theBalm Promiscuous Pearl is more beige. MAC Snowglobe is similar.
Sparkling Turquoise is an aqua-green with a satiny sheen. It had so-so color payoff, but this one was such a pain in the behind to use. It was very soft, powdery, and prone to pulling a disappearing act if you made any attempt to blend it. Sugarpill Mochi is very similar in color.
Starry Black is a matte black (with silver sparkle, but it never shows up and doesn’t even make it onto the swatch!). This shade had the best payoff of the four eyeshadows! It was stiff and a bit dry, but it wasn’t powdery. Like the white eyeshadow, matte black eyeshadows are numerous (it’s a classic, basic shade, and everyone should have at least one!). When you put out core/basic shades, you have to do them well, because there are too many options available to settle for less.
Technically, all four eyeshadows had silver sparkles in them, but they come loose as soon as the brush hits the pan–they just flake away or get caught in the bristles of your brush. It was a disappointing palette and not worth the $65 I spent on it. I had hoped that this palette would be better than the other Warhol palettes, because each product was in a separate well, but it was not meant to be. It’s hard for me to comprehend how the textures and payoff throughout the collection were so far off the norm for NARS.
Dry and powdery is one of the more frustrating textures to work, because you don’t even get the blendability and payoff that really soft eyeshadows (which can be powdery) have to their advantage. The highlighter was the best product in the palette, but there was a general theme: poor color payoff, dry/stiff/powdery textures, and fading throughout the day. Despite layering the eyeshadows over NARS’ own eyeshadow primer, these were looking very faded after eight hours (and without a primer, they had disappeared after six and a half).
P.S. — There is no step-by-step for this palette, because I tested and took photos prior to starting those!
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Lightweight, Quick-Absorbing – Better for Oily Skin Types
NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer ($58.00 for 1.8 oz.) is described as a “aqua-rich gel-cream that hydrates, revitalizes, and fortifies the skin.” It’s supposed to improve water retention, keep skin feeling supple, and soften fine lines. It is “synthetic fragrance-, paraben-, alcohol-, and oil-free,” according to NARS.
In the past, I’ve used the previous version of the Aqua Gel, and I really liked it and found it hydrating enough for my skin type (normal-to-dry; more normal when I was testing this, as it was during the summer). It was actually a go-to product for when my skin was getting dry. A lot of what was great about the original is true here: it’s lightweight, feels and glides on like a gel-based moisturizer, and it sinks into skin quickly. There is a little tackiness, though, even if it doesn’t look or feel oily/greasy. It has a pleasant smell, though it is hard for me to articulate the scent; it’s not quite herbal, but it seems natural enough–not perfume-y or anything like that. During the summer, it was lovely against the skin, because it felt cool when applied.
This moisturizer is much more suitable for combination to oily skin types; it was not hydrating enough for me with normal skin. I would use it at night, but my skin really need more moisture. NARS says it is ideal for normal to combination/oily skin types, but it was not hydrating enough for when my skin was normal. I went through the jar in a month, only using it at night time. I didn’t notice an impact on minimizing or softening fine lines.
Ultimately, this is a lightweight, quick-absorbing gel moisturizer that will be most suitable for oilier complexions.
NARS Gentle Cream Cleanser ($29.00 for 4.2 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “gentle, non-drying cream cleanser with a luxurious lather designed to pamper the skin while washing away makeup and surface impurities.” NARS says it is best for normal, dry, and seasonally dry skin, and it is “synthetic fragrance, paraben, and alcohol” free.
I’ve been using this for the past two and a half months as my morning cleanser (though I have also used in the evenings on occasion). It’s lightweight, incredibly gentle, non-drying, and a little goes a long way. I don’t even think I’m half-way through the tube, even though I consistently use it every morning. It lathers up quickly, but it’s not at all drying. I tend to have normal-to-dry skin, which is more normal than not during the spring/fall, but it gets drier as we head into winter. What I like most about the cleanser is really how genuinely gentle it is; there’s no stinging or burning sensations if this gets into your eyes at all. It doesn’t cloud your eyes or anything like that either.
It cleans well, and for something marketed as “gentle,” it is surprisingly effective at removing makeup. It won’t get long-wearing products off fully, but it did break down my liquid foundation well. I like how it leaves my skin post-cleanse, which is soft and supple–my skin never feels stripped or dried out. Given how long I’ve been using it, and how much is left, the price tag stretches out a bit.
I have one complaint, though, and for me, it’s enough to look for something else: the packaging. It looks sleek, and just looking at it, everything seems in order. Using it, however, is another matter. It leaks cleanser, mostly into the cap, but unscrewing the cap will leave you with half an inch of cleanser just sitting inside the cap. More leaks out as you unscrew the cap, so then the cleanser runs over and down the sides. A little goes a long way, and it’s hard to get just a little out, because it has such a fluid consistency. I feel like a lot of cleanser has gotten washed down the drain as a result, and it keeps the tube perpetually slippery and sudsy. It might be better with a pump or if you could stand it on the opposite side (the tapered end).
Bottom Line: I really enjoyed the cleanser itself, but the packaging made it hard to use and wasted product.