Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as a “lilac rose.” It’s a cool-toned rosy pink; it’s not as red as raspberry pink, but it’s not so cool-toned that it leans magenta or purple. NYX Rose is similar but has a very frosted finish, so it appears lighter. Guerlain Bloom of Rose is a warmer pink. Guerlain Belgravia is slightly pinker. Revlon Carnation is a bit frosted. MAC Unlimited is lighter and less cool-toned.

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is supposed to be richly pigmented, have a “velvety matte finish,” be long-wearing, and have a non-drying formula. NARS recommends using it as a lip liner, all-over color, or paired with another lip product. The drier, matte texture allows Never Say Never to wear long and hard–a solid five and a half hours–but my lips feel dehydrated after four hours. After six hours of wearing this shade, my lips weren’t cracked or severely chapped, but I did feel the pull for a boost of hydration.  The texture is soft, creamy enough that it doesn’t pull or tug too much at lips during application, but it is dry enough that it does feel like a matte lipstick.

It comes in a large, jumbo-sized crayon that needs to be sharpened, so you will lose product when this occurs, though it’s not as much as with the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils, since this formula is drier and harder (not as soft and as pliant as the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils). Readers have recommended freezing the pencil prior to sharpening it to minimize the waste.

The Glossover

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NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
This shade will flatter the cooler-hued products in the collection, which is primarily the Marie-Galante eyeshadow duo. It doesn't pair as well with the warmer shades, like the Ramatuelle eyeshadow trio!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick
NARS Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick

NARS Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick

NARS Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “strawberry red.” This is an orange-red coral with a natural sheen that reads mostly matte from afar. Guerlain Habit Rouge is redder. Guerlain Sheer is a bit glossier, a touch lighter. NARS Joyous is a browner, more muted version.  Moscow has incredible pigmentation with opaque color in a single pass.

NARS’ Pure Matte Lipstick formula lives up to the majority of the brand’s claims, and it’s one of the better matte lipsticks on the market, because it doesn’t have that dry, agitating formula that makes lips look chapped and cracked after wear. It’s not the most moisturizing formula, period, but it’s one of the most hydrating matte lipsticks I have tried. Even after eight hours of wearing this–it wears well for seven full hours and starts declining after that–my lips feel good; healthy and hydrated enough that I don’t feel compelled to immediately apply balm. It’s also scent- and taste-free. The consistency is lightly creamy; not slippery but it glides on easily enough and deposits opaque color with very little product.

The Glossover

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product

Moscow

A
I love how it's rich and deep in color but still has a softer, muted quality to it; it's not the in-your-face bright orange-red that you might expect for summer. This shade should flatter deeper and warmer skin tones, and it will complement the Ramatuelle trio.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Liberte Blush
NARS Liberte Blush

NARS Liberte Blush

NARS Liberte Blush ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “burnished apricot.” It’s a burnt orange-red with a very subtle sheen. Fans of NARS Exhibit A will probably enjoy this–it’s just a bit darker, more muted compared to Exhibit A. It’s not as bright; it reads softer, and the subtle sheen gives it a more luminous look on the cheeks. MAC My Paradise has a similar feel, though it is a touch lighter.

Admittedly, it’s horrible on me, but I think this is something that will look absolutely stunning on deeper complexions. There’s just something about this color and my particular skin tone that makes it read “terribly sunburnt” rather than “gloriously blushing.” It is also an interesting shade, because it reinforced my feelings that this collection was more of a split personality than anything else–this blush would complement the Ramatuelle trio, but it doesn’t work at all with the Marie-Galante duo (similarly, Moscow looks awful with Marie-Galante but would work with Ramatuelle).

It can be used both intensely and more sheered out, depending on how heavy-handed you are and what brush you use.  I’d recommend a stippling or really fluffy brush if you wanted a softer look, because this powder is rather pigmented.  The texture is a little on the drier, powdery side, so blending wasn’t effortless–it did take some maneuvering to get the edges to diffuse properly.  I ended up cheating a bit and using a pat or two of foundation over the edges, because it just wasn’t getting there for me.  A good method to try is to apply a very soft layer first, diffuse that, and then apply a bit more exactly where you want it.  I wore this yesterday for wear, and it wore for seven hours with just a little fading along the cheekbones.

The Glossover

product

Liberte

B+
If it was easier to blend, this would product would have been an A- product, but it takes substantial effort to get it to blend out and soften along the edges. The pigmentation is fantastic, and this will be lovely on deeper complexions.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio
NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio ($45.00 for 0.15 oz.) consists of a “silver, icy peach, [and] matte apricot” as described by the brand. This is the only limited edition product within the summer collection. I like how NARS’ trios are packaged with three individual wells, which means that there’s less cross-contamination from excess powder. The downside is that the trios are only 0.15 oz., whereas their duos are 0.14 oz.–but the duos are only $34, which is a $11 difference!

The first shade is a light gray with a silver shimmer and subtle silver metallic sheen. It has good color payoff–there’s an underlying sheerness in the swatch, but it is more pigmented when applied to the eye. Tarina Tarantino Lovely has a similar shade that’s a touch lighter and frostier. Guerlain Les Aquas has a similar shade, which has a more metallic finish.

The middle shade is a soft, pale peach with a satiny sheen–it’s a little more amped up and reflective than your average satin, though. The color payoff is good, though there is a touch of sheerness to the color. Tarina Tarantino Delightful has a shade that’s a few shades darker. Inglot #328 is similar in color but is darker. Inglot #330 is very close in color but has a matte finish.

The last shade is a warm, muted orange with a matte finish. This shade was also on the sheerer side, but I didn’t have any problem getting it to show up closer to opaque color when I applied it on the lid, which is not an uncommon result with matte textures. Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa has a shade that’s a bit richer, darker, more orange. MAC Fresh Daily is deeper, brighter. MAC Rule is more orange, darker. Inglot #368 is more tangerine.

NARS’ eyeshadow formula is supposed to be long-wearing, crease-resistant, and highly-pigmented according to their website (and it still drives me batty that they have it listed as “highly-pigminted“).  NARS’ eyeshadow formula can also be used wet or dry, depending on your preferences.   I applied the light gray shade to the very inner tearduct, pale peach to the inner half of the lid, and the orange shade on the outer half of the lid and into the crease to test out the wear.   Without a primer, it wore for eight hours without creasing and just very minor fading around the edges.  All three shades were easy to apply and blend together; the matte shade is very workable and while it feels dry, it’s just as blendable as the shimmery shades.

This should be very flattering on warm and neutral skin tones, and cooler complexions should still be able to wear this, because of the inclusion of gray as well as the softer, lighter feel of the other two distinctly warm shades.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
This should be very flattering on warm and neutral skin tones, and cooler complexions should still be able to wear this, because of the inclusion of gray as well as the softer, lighter feel of the other two distinctly warm shades.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Trouville Nail Lacquer
NARS Trouville Nail Lacquer

NARS Trouville Nail Lacquer

NARS Trouville Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “seashell pink.” It’s a soft pink with a hint of coral and yellow undertones. It’s nearly opaque in two coats–under diffused flash, there’s faint visible nail line, but in studio lighting, I couldn’t tell it wasn’t 100% opaque. OCC Femme is a yellow-toned pink, but it’s a bit pinker and has shimmer. Chanel Mistral is also a yellow-toned pink but darker, pinker, and has shimmer. Chanel Morning is the closest in tone, but it’s darker.

The consistency of Trouville was just slightly thicker than ideal, but it applied fairly evenly and easily. Each coat takes a little longer to dry, and if you go too quickly, you risk pulling up the color of the first coat a bit.  I think this is a really lovely choice for spring and summer; it’s warm, breezy, and feminine without being too pastel or too bright.  I could see this working well on toes, too!  I’ve had excellent luck with NARS’ formula–it wears like iron and lasts a full seven days without chipping.

The Glossover

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product

Trouville

A
I think this is a really lovely choice for spring and summer; it's warm, breezy, and feminine without being too pastel or too bright. I could see this working well on toes, too!

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “shimmering plum.” It’s a dark burgundy plum with softer plum shimmer. Bare Escentuals Passion is slightly redder, less frosted. Le Metier de Beaute Fig is very similar, perhaps a little warmer. Guerlain Boulevard de Montparnasse is plummier. Tarina Tarantino Fantastical is purpler.

I have to emphasize how NARS markets the formula: “easy, portable, long-wearing application,” “functionality to shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye,” “an ideal base for layering with a powder shadow for increased color intensity,” “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula.” Then, from the press release for this collection and specific shade, “This versatile, shimmering plum Soft Touch Shadow Pencil is the ideal complement for color on lids. Named for the region south of Naples, at the “toe” of the Italian Peninsula—it can be worn solo, as a base for powder shadows, or as a liner.”

The reason why this pencil can’t make it past five minutes (let alone an hour) without creasing is that it never dries down. It remains glossy and creamy for as long as I wear it–after three hours, I removed it and tried using it as a base with powder eyeshadows over it, but it creased horribly after an hour. The areas where the product has creased and accumulated are very slick, while the color on the lid will transfer onto my finger even with the slightest tough. There’s always a fine line between too quick and too slow when it comes to a cream eyeshadow/base product, but this one takes “too slow” to new lengths. I used it as an eyeliner and set it with eyeshadow, but it was entirely smudged after two hours and I had to remove it. The consistency is very, very creamy, which means it doesn’t tug or pull on the lid or lash line when it’s used, but it has a tendency to apply unevenly as it slides around the lid.

I am often asked why do I keep reviewing this formula only to give it a bad rating:  would (or should) I stop reviewing new shades of a good product? I don’t think so.  My policy is to review as many products as I can, whether or not they are good, bad, or just so-so.  Aside from the idea that all shades are individual and may perform better/worse than other shades in the same formula, there’s still value in reviewing a product, even if it’s consistently good or bad.  There’s opportunity to confirm that it is or isn’t consistent, how it may differ, the color, better alternatives on the market, and the like.  I wouldn’t seek this product out, but if NARS keeps making them and sending them to Temptalia for review, I’ll keep letting you know how they perform.

If you’ve been able to work these, I’d love to hear your thoughts! A review is always bolstered by reader comments – shared experience is what creates a fuller picture of how a product does and doesn’t perform.

The Glossover

LE
product

Calabria

If you're been looking for a product to deliver a creased, glossy look, perhaps for an editorial, maybe this is up your alley. I suspect you could find a cheaper cream product to do something similar or else use Vaseline mixed with a similar-colored shade.
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