Friday, June 22nd, 2012

NARS Albatross Highlighting Blush
NARS Albatross Highlighting Blush

NARS Albatross Highlighting Blush

NARS Albatross Highlighting Blush ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “sheer, light golden sheen.” The base color is a a pale, almost cool-toned ivory and then it has a healthy dose of light-medim gold shimmer-sheen. MAC Lightscapade doesn’t have as strong of a golden sheen, and it has a slightly pinker base color. MAC Chez Chez Lame is more golden and beige. MAC Too Chic is more beige and uniform. theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer is much more golden.

I swear, I thought I reviewed this product previously, but I couldn’t find one! I’m in the process of reviewing all of NARS’ permanent blushes (including re-reviewing some shades), and Albatross is the first one up. It’s part of the Highlighting Blush series, which are blushes designed to illuminate the skin rather than add lots of color. This shade has won numerous distincts, even winning awards in Temptalia’s Readers’ Choice Awards over the years, for its highlighting prowess.

On my skin tone (about medium in color with warmer, yellower undertones), Albatross isn’t the most flattering on its own–that cooler ivory base color gives me a washed out look. On the flip side, cooler skin tones from light to medium could wear this alone and have it be much more flattering. When it’s paired with another blusher, it is more flattering across a greater number of skin tones, because that lighter base color mixes with your blush color, so it doesn’t look as pale or as cool-toned.

There’s a nice balance of glow and sheen without emphasizing pores and the natural texture of the skin.  The way it reflects gives it a very creamy, luminous look–definitely more along the lines of a sheen than a frosted or shimmery look.  It can be used as a barely-there highlighter or more intensely, depending on whether you’re going for a low-key cheek or wearing it alone.  When I wore Albatross to test out the wear, it managed seven and a half hours of excellent wear and looked a bit faded after eight and a half hours.

The texture is soft and silky without being too dense or dry–you don’t have excess powder being kicked up when you go to use it, but you don’t have to stab at it to get enough product onto your brush.  I like using a small stippling brush to apply it lightly, or a small, tapered face brush for a more concentrated application.

The Glossover

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product

Albatross

A
Cooler skin tones from light to medium could wear this alone and have it be very flattering. When it's paired with another blusher, it is more flattering across a greater number of skin tones, because that lighter base color mixes with your blush color, so it doesn't look as pale or as cool-toned.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Saturday, June 9th, 2012

5 Truly Orange Blushes

It’s summer — one of the best ways to add color to any look with ease is through a good blush. Tangerine is no doubt in this year, but how about some orange?  Benefit Cha Cha Cha is the closest you’ll find here for a tamer shade of orange.

  1. NARS Liberte — burnt orange
  2. Make Up For Ever #12 — light-medium orange with a gold sheen
  3. NARS Taj Mahal — pop of orange with soft orange shimmer
  4. Benefit Cha Cha Cha — tint of orange-coral
  5. NARS Exhibit A — matte red-orange

What’s your favorite orange blush?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

NARS Afghan Red Lipstick
NARS Afghan Red Lipstick

NARS Afghan Red Lipstick

NARS Afghan Red Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.086 oz.) is described as a “garnet.” It’s a muted, medium-dark raspberry red with a subtle sheen. MAC Rebel is purpler and more intense. Guerlain Guet-Apens is lighter, less opaque. MAC Deliciously Forbidden is pinker. Milani Sexy Rose is frostier. Guerlain Bee is just slightly purpler. YSL Forbidden Burgundy is redder.

It is part of the satin finish range, which is supposed to be “a lustrous, long-wearing lipstick infused with conditioners to provide comfortable wear and sumptuously, silky color.” Afghan Red applies opaque with little product, and the texture is soft, lightly pliant, and barely creamy. It glides across the lips with nary a pull or a tug. The wear is good, though not as outstanding as some of the other reds by NARS; I get a solid five hours with some lingering color after six hours. It’s comfortable to wear, and it doesn’t cling as much to the lips as a true matte finish would. I found it marginally hydrating but no substitute for a good moisturizing gloss or balm, so it didn’t dry out lips or leave me fishing for gloss as soon as this wore off. It’s scent- and taste-free.

The Glossover

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product

Afghan Red

A
It's not quite as moisturizing as NARS calls out (I wouldn't say this "nourishes" lips, but it doesn't dry them out), but the color is opaque, comfortable to wear, and long-wearing.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Saturday, May 26th, 2012

NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.086 oz.) is described as a “siren red.” This is an extremely intense, vibrant cherry red with pink undertones and a blue base. It’s very cool-toned and equally bright. It’s bluer than Maybelline Very Cherry. It’s more vibrant than Giorgio Armani #406. CoverGirl Hot has a similar brightness level but not the same blue undertones. Chanel Rouge Byzantin is darker. MAC Ruby Woo is redder and darker.

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencil formula is designed to allow you the precision of a lip pencil with the ease of all-over application like a lipstick. It’s supposed to be opaque, matte, creamy, long-wearing, and non-drying. Dragon Girl wears and wears and wears; its strongest suit is in how well and long it wears–a full six hours of excellent coverage and looks good enough not to need a reapplication until eight hours. It hardly transfers, so it lasts through a cup of coffee with ease. It’s not moisturizing, but it isn’t drying; you’ll want to properly moisturize and prep lips in advance (or just have a good lip health routine), since it’s not adding any moisture over the course of the day.

Dragon Girl has to be one of my favorites within the range, because it applies evenly and easily without tugging or pulling on the lip, so there’s just enough glide and waxiness in the base to get that even, opaque color, but it clings to lips so it wears a long time (not in a bad clingy way, though). It has a matte finish, but it appears so bright that it almost has a sheen.

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are large, jumbo-sized crayons, and you’ll need to sharpen them periodically. You will lose some product, but because the texture of this is fairly dry and firm, there is less product loss than from the brand’s Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils. Many readers have suggested freezing a pencil briefly prior to sharpening to help minimize waste.

The Glossover

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Dragon Girl

A+
Everything about this product is fantastic--except for some of the waste that happens when you sharpen the pencil, which is something that occurs with most pencil packaging--the color is rich and opaque, and this shade wears six to eight hours with ease.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Saturday, May 26th, 2012

5 Fantastic Matte Blushes to Try

I’ve had several requests to share some more matte finishes in the 5 Ways posts, so I thought blushes might be a nice way to go!

  1. Tarte Blissful — vibrant coral
  2. NARS Exhibit A — rich orange
  3. MAC Mocha — dirty plum pink
  4. Tarte Exposed — neutral beige with pink undertones
  5. Burberry Tangerine — neutral brown-tangerine

What’s your favorite matte blush?

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

NARS Koliary Nail Lacquer
NARS Koliary Nail Lacquer

NARS Koliary Nail Lacquer

NARS Koliary Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “cyan blue.” It’s a rich, light-medium blue–it’s almost cyan, though I’d say it’s a touch less intense. It doesn’t have the same brightness that traditional cyan has. Zoya Phoebe is darker and dries matte. Zoya Robyn is a smidgen lighter.

Koliary is opaque in two coats, and the formula is a dream to work with: not too thick or too thin, so it applies fluidly, evenly, and easily across the nail without pooling along the sides or bubbling. There wasn’t even streaking on the first coat, which made the resulting finish flawless. NARS did a tremendous job with their Thakoon nail collaboration; some really top notch shades with excellent formulas. I typically get a week of wear with NARS formula without chipping and just minor tip wear.

The Glossover

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product

Koliary

A+
NARS did a tremendous job with their Thakoon nail collaboration; some really top notch shades with excellent formulas. Koliary is an example of what high-end nail polish should be.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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