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

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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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Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as an “iridescent orchid” and “regal blue.” The left shade is a pale pink lilac with a lavender iridescence. The color payoff is sheer and translucent. MAC Light Violet is a bit similar, though not as pink. Inglot #346 is also more lavender, less pink, and has a matte finish. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is similar, though perhaps a little pinker, and has more of a satin-like finish. The right shade is a darkened navy blue with a violet shimmer and sheen, which becomes more pronounced when applied (it looked less blue, more purple). The pigmentation on this is decent, but there is some sheerness in the swatch as well as when applied. Tom Ford Cobalt Rush is very, very similar–less iridescent. MAC Starless Night is much darker, deeper. MAC Imaginary is purpler.

This eyeshadow duo creased after six hours over an eyeshadow primer (NARS Smudgeproof, actually), and on top of the creasing, there was significant fading of both shades from this duo (the blue was on the upper half of the lid and in the crease while the lilac shade was blended above the crease). I have normal-to-dry lids, and NARS Smudgeproof is my go-to primer normally, and while NARS eyeshadows do, typically, have some minor creasing and/or fading when worn without a base after eight hours, the wear here was abnormal. The creasing became more apparent after eight hours, but the fading was surprisingly noticeable after six and steadily worsened as the day wore on. There was some minor fall out from the shimmer in the shades from this duo as well that occurred while it was worn (but I didn’t see any during application). The wear was just as bad without a primer–the creasing/fading just became noticeable at the four hour mark– I thought maybe the glaze-like finish would adhere better to bare lids but no dice.

The texture of this particular eyeshadow duo is unlike anything I can remember seeing from NARS. It has a very glaze-like finish, that’s almost a little wet, but still a powder. If you’re familiar with Stila’s Sparkle eyeshadows, Tom Ford’s Sparkle eyeshadows, or Urban Decay’s Stardust eyeshadows, you may have a better grasp of that kind of texture–these aren’t quite as “wet.” The closest texture would be to Tom Ford’s sparkle-finish eyeshadows. The bluer shade looks really lovely when applied–wet and shimmering–but it actually seemed to disappear as I was applying it. I went back three times to darken the color before leaving it alone. The lilac shade was pretty soft and didn’t want to build up in color at all; the iridescence in it is a lot less noticeable compared to the blue (it just looked like a pink-lilac).

I was exceptionally disappointed in the results of Marie-Galante.  As far as wear went, it killed me with three major no-nos:  creasing, fading, and fall out.  It had issues with color payoff, too, which was really just icing on an inedible cake–like a cake that looks delicious but turns out to be made out of plastic.

The Glossover

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NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

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I was exceptionally disappointed in the results of Marie-Galante. As far as wear went, it killed me with three major no-nos: creasing, fading, and fall out. It had issues with color payoff, too, which was really just icing on an inedible cake.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

4.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil
NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “nude beige pink.” It’s a light peach beige with a subtle shine. The color coverage is mostly opaque. It’s not quite as glossy or as shiny as other hues within the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil range, though. MAC Naturally Eccentric is lighter. MAC Peachstock is darker, more orange. Guerlain Guerlinade is slightly darker.  What I like about the color is that it’s more universally wearable–it’s not so pale and light that it becomes the kind of nude that can easily wash out complexions.  There’s enough warmth, color, and opaqueness to give lips a lighter look without washing them out.

When I wore Buenos Aires, it lasted for just over three and a half hours. There was a very slight tackiness after an hour or so–very subtle but still there. The texture is fairly lightweight and thin. While the formula is supposed to be moisturizing, I found it neutral; neither drying nor moisturizing. The tip of the pencil is soft and creamy, so it applies fairly easily and provides even coverage.  The packaging is a bit of a bummer, because the softness of the pencil means a lot of it gets stuck in the sharpener, so there is a fair amount of loss every time you sharpen it. You can freeze the pencil to help minimize it, but it’s still a problem.

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Buenos Aires

B+
What I like about the color is that it's more universally wearable--it's not so pale and light that it becomes the kind of nude that can easily wash out complexions. There's enough warmth, color, and opaqueness to give lips a lighter look without washing them out.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Vendanges Lipstick
NARS Vendanges Lipstick

NARS Vendanges Lipstick

NARS Vendanges Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “sheer grape.” It’s a semi-opaque plummy brown with a subtly glossy shine–it is a little more pigmented than I would expect for a shade from the sheer range. MAC Sheer Plum is much browner. MAC One of a Kind is quite similar. Estee Lauder Plum Fizz is redder. Guerlain Galante is lighter and less plum. Benefit I Think I Love You is shimmery. MAC So Very Good is darker. MAC Offshoot is plummier. Chanel Bel Ami is similar.

Vendanges is part of the Sheer Lipstick range, which is a formula that is supposed to be long-wearing with translucent color and “sophisticated shine.”  The lipstick is scent- and taste-free (and no waxy scent either–it seems NARS has fixed any issues they had with that particular scent, because I haven’t come across one in a very long time).   The consistency has just enough slip to yield that pretty shine in the finish as well as enables it to glide across the lips and deposit color evenly without being so slippery that it slides around.

This kind of sheer is lovely–there is a translucency that is apparent but there is still a healthy amount of color deposited.  It’s a deeper shade that’s not too vampy, so it’s easy to wear and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.  When I tested the wear of this shade yesterday, it wore well for four hours.  My lips felt hydrated after wear, too, so the formula is on the moisturizing side.

The Glossover

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Vendanges

A-
This kind of sheer is lovely--there is a translucency that is apparent but there is still a healthy amount of color deposited.  It's a deeper shade that's not too vampy, so it's easy to wear and doesn't require a lot of maintenance.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

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Thursday, April 12th, 2012

NARS Spring Break Larger Than Life Lipgloss
NARS Spring Break Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Spring Break Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Spring Break Larger Than Life Lipgloss ($26.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) is described as a “pale golden beige sheen.” This shade is exclusive to Sephora. It’s a pale, light beige with peach-gold micro-shimmer. MAC C-Thru is very similar, perhaps a smidgen darker. MAC Scottish Lilt is warmer. MAC Jest for Fun is more peach-pink. MAC On the Scene is warmer, no shimmer. MAC Fashion Whim is just slightly warmer. Urban Decay Max is darker, peachier.

I actually really like the way this looks on the lips; for such a pale, light color, it applies fairly evenly and doesn’t settle too noticeably into lips (at least not from a normal viewing distance). The soft peach-gold shimmer gives it necessary warmth and dimension. The color coverage is not quite opaque but close.  When I tested this shade for wear, it did surprisingly well for such a pale shade–a solid five hours.  It was also hydrating enough that my lips didn’t feel any worse for the wear while I wore it.

Larger Than Life Lipglosses have a gel-like texture, which slides across lips well and enables mostly even application.  Though it doesn’t feel sticky when you first apply it, it does get noticeably tacky after a half hour and gets tackier while it wears.  It never approaches super sticky territory, but it’s definitely not non-sticky. The only downside to this product is the really, really tiny brush-type applicator.  It could be about double the size and still be several sizes smaller than the average lipgloss applicator while retaining the ability to apply precisely.

The Glossover

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Spring Break

A-
It delivers well on most of the claims that NARS made with respect to the formula--the only downside is the applicator with this particular shade. It's just too small; there's nothing wrong with going smaller than a doe-foot applicator, but I think this is the other extreme.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Saturday, April 7th, 2012

NARS Norma Larger Than Life Lipgloss
NARS Norma Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Norma Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Norma Larger Than Life Lipgloss ($26.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) is described as a “cherry red.” It’s a bright subtly blue-based red with no shimmer, just bold, bright color. It’s mostly opaque once applied. MAC Driven by Love is darker, more opaque, and has gold shimmer. Illamasqua Succubus is less blue-based, more opaque, brighter. MAC Wicked Ways is comparable in color but does have some shimmer. Illamasqua Fume is just slightly brighter. MAC Russian Red is a bit brighter.

I like the texture and overall quality of the Larger Than Life formula. It delivers rich, intense pigmentation with a really lovely consistency that’s not too thick or too thin–it has an almost gel-like feel on the lips, so it slides and moves around for easy evening out of color but doesn’t slip around and feather around the edges. While it doesn’t feel sticky initially, it gets progressively tackier while it wears. I’ve already expounded on the attribute I dislike most about the product, which is the incredibly small applicator. Precision is certainly possible with something that’s not quite so tiny, because it’s a little annoying having to go back multiple times to get enough product to cover my lips.

Norma managed to hang on and look good doing so for just under six hours.  I felt like reapplication was necessary by the seventh hour.  It fades evenly, too, so you don’t have a ring of color around the edges of your lips.  While it wears for such a long time (at least for a gloss), it keeps lips hydrated–mine never felt dry after wearing one of these glosses for hour after hour.  NARS talks about a natural plumping effect, but I didn’t see anything other than an enhanced shape as a result of the ultra shiny finish, which gives an illusion of fuller lips.

The Glossover

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Norma

A-
It delivers well on most of the claims that NARS made with respect to the formula--the only downside is the applicator with this particular shade. It's just too small; there's nothing wrong with going smaller than a doe-foot applicator, but I think this is the other extreme.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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