Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit ($59.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a limited edition kit for fall. Each eyeshadow is 0.04 oz., and the eyeliner is 0.01 oz. It also comes with a travel-sized contour brush. First, if you purchased NARS’ NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette last spring, then you already have the three shades featured in this kit. On the upside, Bali performed much better in this palette than in the larger one.

In order for this to be a decent offering in terms of pricing, you have to get some use out of the included brush, which NARS prices at $32 for the full-sized version (the travel-sized feels like a cheap, rougher, scratchier, less dense version of the full-sized), and the eyeliner. Otherwise, I feel like you’re really paying for convenience to have these specific shades in a single palette; the larger NARSissist palette contains 0.45 oz. of product for $79 (which works out to be $176/oz.). NARS’ single eyeshadows retail for $25/0.07 oz. and $35/0.14 oz. (duos), which puts the price per ounce somewhere between $250 (duos) to $357 (singles). NARS’ Larger Than Life Eyeliner retails for $24/0.02 oz. (or $1200/oz.), so you’re getting a $12 value in this palette from the pencil alone. If you’re only interested in the eyeshadows, you’re paying $492/oz. All in, you’re getting about $30 (taking the PPO of duos) worth of eyeshadow, $12 worth of eyeliner, and a $32 brush (though I would disagree at this value, as the quality is vastly different from the full-sized), which would be $74. There’s value in having your very favorite shades in a palette for easy access and making it travel-ready, but I feel that this is poorly priced relative to other palettes NARS has done, which is disappointing.

Madrague #1 is described as a “matte cream.” This shade was of good quality in both the larger NARSissist palette as well as in this one, as it was soft, finely-milled, and blendable. On me, the color wore well for eight hours before fading. It’s a more common shade, so there are many, many shades available that are quite close. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Bali is described as a “neutral.” It’s a dark, subtly cool-toned brown with a hint of gray and a matte finish. It is much, much better quality in this palette than in the larger palette; here, it is soft, finely-milled, and blendable. It lasted for eight hours on me before fading. Tarte Dream in Chocolate (LE) Too Faced Triple Fudge (P, $16.00) Laura Mercier Espresso (LE, $23.00) Too Faced Dark Chocolate (LE, $16.00) Tom Ford Beauty She Wolf #1 (LE) bareMinerals Boardroom (LE) NARS Bali (P, $24.00) MAC Najm el Lail (LE, $15.00) MAC Dance in the Dark (P, $15.00) MAC Showstopper (LE, $15.00) MAC Diamond Dove (LE, $15.00) Inglot #363 (P, $6.00) See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Mekong is described as an “espresso infused with shimmer.” It’s a dark, subtly warm-toned brown with fine sparkle over a matte finish. It was richly pigmented, and the texture felt soft and smooth, but it could have been more blendable. It lasted for eight hours on me. MAC Midnight Hour (LE, $15.00) is less sparkly. MAC Beluga (LE, $15.00) is cooler-toned. Disney by Sephora Cinders (LE) is similar. Guerlain Terra Azzurra #4 (LE) is less sparkly. Dior Night Golds #3 (LE) is lighter. Chanel Topkapi #3 (LE) is less sparkly. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Via Veneto is described as a “black.” It’s just that–a matte black. I have reviewed it previously here. It has good color payoff, but it is a stiffer eyeliner to use, so I don’t find it as comfortable to apply. It wears about seven to eight hours on my lower lash line before smudging. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Wide Contour Brush #43 is short-handled, angled eye brush. It has a very sharp, flat angled shape, but the brush is incredibly large. Of all the brushes to provide in a Smokey Eye Kit, it’s hard to imagine how many people will get a lot of use out of it. The only way I could feasibly use it was to finish up any blending all-over the lid, but I felt like this over-blended due to the scratchier, rougher bristles and over-sized shape.

The Glossover

LE
palette

Smokey Eye Kit

B+

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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P
product

Madrague #1

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Bali

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

NARS Zakynthos, Ithaque Nail Polishes
NARS Zakynthos, Ithaque Nail Polishes

These are the last two shades of NARS Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) that I have to review! :) There are a total of 43 permanent shades, and today (July 15th) is the official launch day. Both the formula and the brush have been changed. According to the brand, the formula is supposed to “improve wear and strengthen nails” with a “flexible, high gloss finish.” In the past, I’ve experienced really strong, long-wear (up to ten days with minor tip wear; after seven, tip wear appears very minor). I tested five shades–Thasos, Elbrus, Obscura, Pastorale, and Zakynthos–for wear, and they were fairly consistent with minor tip wear after seven days but no chipping (no top or base coats were used). I really liked the brush, as it wasn’t overly wide; I could still apply polish to my pinky nail (which is my narrowest nail) without getting polish all along the cuticle/skin along the nail. Most shades dried down faster than average, and generally, they applied well without streaking, bubbling, or pooling along the edges with good color coverage.

NARS Zakynthos Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “beige.” It’s a medium beige with subtle, rosy undertones and a cream finish. It was opaque after two coats, and it applied fairly evenly, though it was somewhat streaky initially, leveled quite a bit, but there was still some unevenness. The consistency was on the thinner side, and the brush on this shade was very splayed/uneven. MAC Style Tip (LE, $16.00) is similar. a href=”http://www.temptalia.com/product/rescue-beauty-lounge-nail-lacquer/sheer-nude”>Rescue Beauty Lounge Sheer Nude (LE, $20.00) is warmer. China Glaze Dress Me Up (LE, $7.50) is similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Ithaque Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “light pink.” It’s a sheer, milky, light pink with a glossy, creamy finish. I wish NARS had thought to include “sheer” in the description, because after two coats, it’s semi-sheer. It was slightly streaky but leveled quite a bit while drying down. MAC Ke Ai (LE, $16.00) is warmer, has shimmer. MAC Delicate (LE, $16.00) is similar. MAC Confectionary (LE, $16.00) is more opaque. Cult Nails Enticing (P, $12.00) is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

P
product

Zakynthos

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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product

Ithaque

C+

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

6.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Monday, July 14th, 2014

NARS Torre del Oro, Shameless Red, Blow-up Nail Polishes
NARS Torre del Oro, Shameless Red, Blow-up Nail Polishes

Here are three bold, bright shades of NARS Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.), which will have a total of 43 permanent shades. The official launch is July 15th, and both the formula and the brush have been changed. According to the brand, the formula is supposed to “improve wear and strengthen nails” with a “flexible, high gloss finish.” In the past, I’ve experienced really strong, long-wear (up to ten days with minor tip wear; after seven, tip wear appears very minor). I tested five shades–Thasos, Elbrus, Obscura, Pastorale, and Zakynthos–for wear, and they were fairly consistent with minor tip wear after seven days but no chipping (no top or base coats were used). I really liked the brush, as it wasn’t overly wide; I could still apply polish to my pinky nail (which is my narrowest nail) without getting polish all along the cuticle/skin along the nail. Most shades dried down faster than average, and generally, they applied well without streaking, bubbling, or pooling along the edges with good color coverage.

NARS Torre del Oro Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “cherry red.” It’s a bright, medium-dark, blue-based red with a cream finish. It was very nearly opaque after two coats of the polish. The consistency was slightly thin but not watery or difficult to work with. It dried down to a glossy finish. This type of red is always beautiful, but it is also quite common: see comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Shameless Red Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “pink flamingo.” It’s a brightened, pink-coral with subtle, warm undertones and a glossy, creamy finish. It was fully opaque after two coats of polish, and it applied evenly, smoothly, and without streaking. Chanel Tutti Frutti (P, $27.00) is lighter. Chanel Tapage (605) (P, $27.00) is redder. Chanel Elixir (589) (P, $27.00) is more muted. Rescue Beauty Lounge Smile (LE, $20.00) is darker. MAC Vivid Effect (LE, $16.00) is more orange. MAC Impassioned (LE, $16.00) is lighter, more orange. Guerlain A La Parisienne (P, $23.00) is redder. Chanel Fracas (LE, $27.00) is very similar. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Extravaganza (P, $10.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Blow-up Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “mandarin orange.” It’s a brightened, medium-dark orange with warm, reddish undertones and a cream finish. It was richly pigmented and had opaque coverage in two coats. It dried down to a high-gloss finish without the need of a top coat. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, so it applied easily. MAC Bougainvillea (LE, $16.00) is lighter. NARS Libertango (LE, $20.00) is similar. NARS Lal Mirchi (LE, $20.00) is slightly redder. MAC Oriele Orange (LE, $16.00) is similar. MAC Ablaze (LE, $16.00) is redder. Guerlain Nahema (P, $23.00) is redder. Chanel Holiday (LE, $27.00) is similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

P
product

Torre del Oro

A-

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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product

Shameless Red

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Blow-up

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Sunday, July 13th, 2014

NARS Thasos, Ikiru, Kalymnos Nail Polishes
NARS Thasos, Ikiru, Kalymnos Nail Polishes

Today, I have three of the more pastel-hued polishes from the newly reformulated NARS Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.), which will have a total of 43 permanent shades. The official launch is July 15th, and both the formula and the brush have been changed. According to the brand, the formula is supposed to “improve wear and strengthen nails” with a “flexible, high gloss finish.” In the past, I’ve experienced really strong, long-wear (up to ten days with minor tip wear; after seven, tip wear appears very minor). I tested five shades–Thasos, Elbrus, Obscura, Pastorale, and Zakynthos–for wear, and they were fairly consistent with minor tip wear after seven days but no chipping (no top or base coats were used). I really liked the brush, as it wasn’t overly wide; I could still apply polish to my pinky nail (which is my narrowest nail) without getting polish all along the cuticle/skin along the nail. Most shades dried down faster than average, and generally, they applied well without streaking, bubbling, or pooling along the edges with good color coverage.

NARS Thasos Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “mint green.” It’s a light-medium, sea foam green with a cream finish. It was opaque after two coats, and the consistency of the polish wasn’t too thick or too thin. It was really close to being opaque after one coat, which was impressive, but what was even more impressive was the lack of streakiness even on that initial coat. This shade lasted for seven days with minor tip wear. MAC In the Limelight (LE, $16.00) is bluer. Illamasqua Nomad (P, $17.00) is darker, brighter. China Glaze Keep Calm, Paint On (LE, $7.50) is greener, warmer. Zoya Wednesday (P, $9.00) is darker. Butter London Fiver (P, $15.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Ikiru Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “light blue.” It’s a softened, light-medium blue with a cream finish. It had full color coverage after two coats, and the polish applied evenly and smoothly without issue. The formula was slightly thick but not problematic. Cult Nails Nakizzle’s Shizzle (P, $12.00) is lighter. NARS Koliary (LE, $20.00) is brighter. Chanel Coco Blue (LE, $27.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Kalymnos Nail Polish ($20.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “lilac.” It’s a muted, grayish lavender with a cream finish. It was very nearly opaque after two coats. The formula was slightly thick in consistency but applied evenly without streaking or pooling along the edges. Essie Warm & Toasty Turtleneck (P, $8.00) is warmer. Essie Full Steam Ahead (P, $8.00) is warmer, brighter. Rescue Beauty Lounge Forgiveness (LE, $20.00) is slightly darker. Cult Nails My Kind of Cool Aid (P, $12.00) is darker. Zoya Marley (P, $9.00) is a touch lighter. Essie Cocktail Bling (LE, $8.00) is darker. Essie Bangle Jangle (LE, $8.00) is warmer. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

P
product

Thasos

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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P
product

Ikiru

A

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

Kalymnos

A-

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Here are five blushes worth considering for darker skin tones! Again, this is a short and sweet list but is by no means exhaustive; I tried to include a variety of colors, finishes, and undertones, but just because you don’t see a blush listed here doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work :) I’d love to hear your personal favorites for dark skin tones in the comments!

  1. Milani Bella Rosa — a bright, medium-dark pink with cool undertones and a matte finish
  2. NARS Lovejoy — a medium-dark plum with warm, gold shimmer and a soft satin finish
  3. Becca Papaya/Topaz — a gold-shimmered, copper-brown
  4. NARS Taj Mahal — a vibrant tangerine orange with a luminous sheen
  5. Kevyn Aucoin Fira — a rich, orange-red with a matte finish

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

Friday, July 11th, 2014

NARS Gifting for Fall 2014 - Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Gifting for Fall 2014 – Smokey Eye Kit

Smokey Eye Kit ($59.00) (Limited Edition)

For Fall 2014, NARS Cosmetics introduces the NARSissist’s most coveted essentials for eyes with the Smokey Eye Kit. The limited-edition kit features a compact with three must-have shadows for captivating, compelling eyes, a mini Via Veneto Larger Than Life® Eyeliner and a newly designed travel size Wide Contour Brush #43 for easy application on the go.

  • Madrague I
  • Bali
  • Mekong
  • Via Veneto Mini
  • Wide Contour Brush #43 Travel-sized

Availability: July 15th at NARS online, August 1st at boutiques and department stores