Monday, April 23rd, 2012

NARS Odalisque Larger Than Life Lipgloss
NARS Odalisque Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Odalisque Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Odalisque Larger Than Life Lipgloss ($26.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) is described as “cantaloupe.” It’s a beige peach with a creamy, almost milky, finish. MAC Woo Me is pinker. MAC Super is browner, darker. MAC Lust is a bit darker. MAC Pretty Quick is warmer, peachier.

It’s in the nude family, but it’s very different from Spring Break. This is actually a more wearable nude because it is darker–less pastel, less pale. So while the color is lovely and a nude that suits a lot of skin tones, the way it looks and applies leaves something to be desired. Because of the creamy/milky finish, it settles into lip lines quite a bit, and there is some streakiness to the application.  I think this gloss is best worn over a lipstick than it is on its own, because it just doesn’t look that great alone.

This particular shade had a slightly thicker consistency, though still best described as gel-like, as it slides around and feels smooth. It develops a tackiness over time (non-sticky for the first half hour or less, then progressively stickier as it wears). Odalisque wore for four and a half hours. It’s scent- and taste-free.  The color coverage is semi-opaque, and it’s really the overall streaky feel that gives it that less-than-opaque look.  It is hydrating while worn, though, as my lips never feel like they’re in need of balm post-wear.

This lipgloss formula has a really small brush-type applicator, which I find to be too small–I’d have liked to have seen a smaller brush, sure, but I think it could have met in the middle, rather than going to the opposite extreme. The idea behind the smaller applicator was to make application more precise, which it does, but the trade-off is that it takes much, much longer to apply it. I can’t apply this gloss nearly as well without a mirror as I can with others, and I feel like I’m going back three to five times to get enough color to cover my lips.

The Glossover

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Odalisque

B+
While I'm not sold on the applicator (I think it's an interesting idea to go smaller, I just think they went too small--there's a happy medium to be achieved), I'm also not thrilled with the gloss itself. The settling, streaking, and milkiness work together to create a less appealing finish and result--the color doesn't look smooth and even. Such a shame, because the color itself would work well as a nude on many skin tones.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3/5

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Monday, April 23rd, 2012

NARS Makeup Removing Water
NARS Makeup Removing Water

NARS Makeup Removing Water

NARS Makeup Removing Water ($28.00 for 6.7 fl. oz.) is touted as a “soap-free, oil-free, and alcohol-free water that removes face makeup and tones the skin.” It’s designed as a gentle formula that will remove makeup without requiring rubbing while hydrating skin.

This is a makeup remover that is best described as gentle, because that’s exactly what it is, but it’s gentle in every way–it’s not at all stinging, burning, or irritating against the skin, even around the eyes, but it doesn’t effectively remove all your makeup, though it specifically says “face makeup” and not “eye makeup.” Just so we’re clear: if you wear eye makeup, don’t expect this to do much in the way of removal. All it ever seems to accomplish is smudging everything around so I end up looking like a mutant. I absolutely would not use this for anything that says “long-wearing” on the label, including face products.

If you want it to remove light eye makeup, I recommend gently pressing the soaked cotton pad against the eye for 15-20 seconds before gently swiping the product away. You’ll get some, perhaps not all, of it removed this way. Since NARS only mentions face makeup, it seems like you would use something else for your eye makeup.  It’s packaged in a clear plastic bottle with a flip-top that has a small hole so only a little comes out as you need it.

I’d like to think of this as a remover for gentle makeup; lightweight, natural, soft makeup. However you want to term it, it’s good for lighter makeup days. For me, it seems to remove face makeup as well as most facial cleansers are able to. It is very lightweight, doesn’t feel greasy or oily against the skin, and it leaves no trace of residue once it’s wiped away with a cotton pad.  It really does have the consistency and feel of water.  There’s no stickiness, dried, or tightened skin after use either. I need at least two cotton rounds in order to remove about 90% of face makeup.

It doesn’t remove makeup completely, so I feel like I need to use a cleanser afterward or yet another cotton pad. Instead, the way I found this product to be most useful was after using a facial cleanser, so it was only responsible for removing the last bits of makeup the cleanser missed.  You can definitely use it before your cleanser of choice as well–I just like the visual of seeing the cotton pad just picking up stray makeup and knowing that my face is clean.  It also means that I can better control how much product or how many cotton pads I use since this doesn’t eliminate a cleanser.

It’s a superfluous product in my night time regimen; it seems to be an extra step rather than a time-saver. It’s more like a toner in my routine–I don’t trust it to remove all my makeup, but I do trust it to remove the last vestiges of makeup my cleanser may have left behind (especially around my hairline and the edges, which I don’t push the cleanser around as much so it doesn’t get into my hair!). And if I’m going to use NARS as my toner, I’d rather use their Hydrating Freshening Toner, which is one of my favorites, and for me, hydrates a little better than the remover does.  You can use this like you would a toner, however, so if you do include one in your regular routine, this could take its place.

If you’re a fan of micellar water removers, then you may enjoy this recently launched remover by NARS, which has all the earmarks of one (though I didn’t see NARS officially billing it as such).  There are quite a few on the market internationally and a couple in the U.S., but this year has shown major progress with more U.S. brands launching their own versions.  Bottom line:  this will remove some but not every type of makeup, particularly longer-wearing products and heavier textured products, but it’s not designed to do much more than it does do, so it’s pretty good from that standpoint.

Ingredients

Water, Butylene Glycol, Peg/Ppg-35/40 Dimethyl Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Trisodium Edta, Cucumis Sativus [Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract], Chamomilla Recutita [Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract], Sodium Hyaluronate.

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Video Review: NARS Summer 2012 Collection

Some impressions/first thoughts on NARS’ summer collection! :) P.S. — We are working on figuring out the lighting situation for videos! Still trying to figure out why it turns out so dark!

Photos, Reviews, Swatches

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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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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