Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

NARS Coeur Sucre Larger Than Life Lipgloss
NARS Coeur Sucre Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Coeur Sucre Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Coeur Sucre Larger Than Life Lipgloss ($26.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) is described as a “shimmering vibrant pink.” It’s a medium cotton candy pink with blue undertones and a silver-white micro-glitter/shimmer. I couldn’t think of too many shades that came close to this. MAC Vanity Fair is much lighter and has no shimmer (more like a liquid lipstick formula). NARS Angelika would be much closer, except it’s not as opaque and applies fairly streaky. MAC Sassy Lassy is darker and brighter.

The Larger Than Life formula is designed to give “intense color” with “brilliant shine” while being long-wearing. It also has moisturizing ingredients and “natural lip enhancers” that will plump lips. The consistency of Coeur Sucre isn’t too thick or too thin, and it’s not a gloss I’d call lightweight, but it doesn’t feel thick and goopy either. It has a gel-like texture initially, which is non-sticky, but after a half hour or so, it delivers a tackiness that gets rather sticky after an hour and a half (much as I experienced with Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armani). It delivers semi-opaque color and applies surprisingly evenly for a gloss in this color–there is some minor settling into lip lines that is barely noticeable because of the high-shine finish.

Coeur Sucre wore for five and a half hours, which is longer than the average gloss wears (three to four hours; as little as two for lighter shades).  I found the formula to be hydrating–sometimes when you wear just gloss all day long, your lips can easily show signs of dehydration, but even after twelve hours of wearing the Larger Than Life formula, my lips felt lush and lovely.  I don’t see (or feel!) any plumping effect; the glossy shine does give lips a larger, more luminous appearance.

Here is what I loathe about this product–and I don’t use the word lightly–the applicator. It is like applying lipgloss with a toothpick, or nearly so. It’s just absolutely miniscule, and if you have very thin lips, I think this may be the applicator you’ve been looking for, but even you may find it takes several pumps of gloss to get enough product to cover your lips. I get that NARS is hoping this applicator will give you the precision you want, but it’s unnecessarily small. You can maneuver around the lip lines with something double the size. In order to cover my lips, I had to go back five times for color.

The Glossover

P
product

Coeur Sucre

A-
It's not quite the "intense color" that NARS promises, and the applicator is too small--it makes applying this a more painstaking process than it should be. I think there is a happy medium available; something slightly larger (perhaps wider), that's still a bit tapered and smaller than a doe-foot gloss, could still achieve precision without taking so much time.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, April 2nd, 2012

NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “matte smoky plum” and “muted mauve.” NARS fans that prefer duos with more contrast may like this one, because the shades differ from each other noticeably but still complement each other well.

The left shade is a pinky-plum brown finished with a satiny sheen. I found the color rather hard to describe, because I can see a hint of plum, but it seems pinker yet toned down by a lot of beige/brown. It has pretty good pigmentation, and it applies smoothly across the skin. The texture was slightly powdery, though. MAC Jete is similar but has a more metallic finish, and it’s warmer, not as neutral. Guerlain Boulevard du Montparnasse is slightly pinker, less brown. Giorgio Armani Sweet Fire is pinker and more metallic.

The right shade is a smoky, played-down purple with subtle red undertones. It’s almost a neutral purple. Like the left shade, the color payoff is good, though it could be slightly improved. This shade had a soft, smooth feel and wasn’t as powdery as the other hue. theBalm Curvy Cami is redder in undertone. MAC Azuki Bean is slightly darker. Paul & Joe Purple Clover is fairly similar.

NARS touts their eyeshadows as long-wearing and crease-resistant, though they’re not quite impervious to creasing/fading over an eight hour period. They do just fine over a primer (no problems after as long as ten hours), but there was subtle but noticeable fading after eight hours with this duo.  Charade is a wee bit powdery but certainly easy to work around (tap excess off the brush and use a lighter touch against the powder itself when you use your brush), and there’s no fall out problems once it is applied.

The Glossover

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NARS Charade Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
Charade is a wee bit powdery but certainly easy to work around (tap excess off the brush and use a lighter touch against the powder itself when you use your brush), and there's no fall out problems once it is applied.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Beautiful Beginnings with NARS

What was the first NARSproduct you ever tried?  Did it pave way for a real romance or did it put you off the brand entirely?  What was the first NARSproduct you purchased?  Did you love it? Hate it? Still own it?

my answer:  One of the first NARS products I ever reviewed was actually their skincare, which is surprisingly good (but less surprising, when you realize they’re owned by Shiseido, which is a brand that really knows skincare!). I still love their Hydrating Moisture Cream! There are some great NARS products, but I’ve also tried several products that I really haven’t liked (Shadow Pencils, I’m looking at you!). My all-time favorite product is their Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Primer, though!

Share your first time experiences with NARS in the comments! :)

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “brown sugar” and a “chestnut.” This is an interesting duo that desperately needs to be swatched! I can’t emphasize that enough, because it looks very, very different swatched and in practice than it does in its pretty pans. Both shades are much darker–so much so that not only did I swatch this duo twice, but I googled and looked through dozens of other images and saw similar results. In my old school NARS Duo product photos and swatches, the products look lighter than they do when swatched.

The left side of the duo is a rich, orange-red-toned dark brown with a smattering of gold shimmer and finer burnt red micro-shimmer. It has such a beautiful, silky texture with excellent color payoff. NARS Galapagos is slightly darker, more of a yellow-toned brown. Bare Escentuals Pumped is similar but not as red-toned. MAC Roasted Chestnut is similar, just a touch lighter and more metallic in finish. MAC Make Your Mark is not quite as intense or as red-toned. Laura Mercier Cedar is slightly less red-toned. MAC Swiss Chocolate is very similar but matte and a bit browner.

The right side of the duo is a warm, red-toned medium-dark brown with red shimmer. Like the left shade, this has a soft, smooth texture that yields rich, opaque pigmentation. Make Up For Ever #14 is more metallic and a deeper brown. theBalm Tres Moi is similar but more frosted. MAC Take Root is less intense and red-toned. MAC Antiqued is browner. theBalm Racy Kacy is a bit lighter and less brown.

This duo represents what NARS is capable of:  soft, silky smooth textures combined with rich pigmentation.  Both shades blended out beautifully and with ease, though a little goes a long way.  These shades could be used together, but you’ll find they work even better when paired with a lighter shade for more contrast.  When applied over the lid without a base, it lasted for eight hours with very, very minimal fading but no creasing; and when applied over the lid with a base, there were no issues after ten hours.

The Glossover

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NARS Surabaya Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A
Luxurious textures, intense color payoff, and beautiful colors to boot--NARS really nailed this duo. It's virtually an A+, if you always use an eyeshadow primer, since you shouldn't have any wear issues (NARS does, however, state these are long-wearing and crease-resistant).

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a duo of “iridescent storm blue” and “deep matte indigo.” It’s part of NARS’ permanent range of eyeshadow duos.  NARS’ eyeshadow formula is supposed to be long-wearing, highly pigmented, and crease-resistant.  They can also be used wet or dry.  I never get quite crease-resistant, long-wear out of NARS’ eyeshadow formula–typically about six to seven hours of good wear, but slight fading and/or creasing after eight hours.  I don’t have any problems over a primer, though.

On the left, there is a muted blue-based purple with a slightly frosted finish. There is some underlying sheerness to the color, so it doesn’t have a completely smooth appearance. It’s not as blue as MAC Wintersky. MAC Illegal Cargo is similar but not as blue. Urban Decay Blue Bus is brighter, less faded. Estee Lauder Untamed Violet is a bit darker, less shimmered.

On the right, there is a dark, faded purple with a gray-ish overcast to it. It has a matte finish, and while it looks a bit sheer swatched, it actually performs very well. It applies with good color payoff and doesn’t disappear once you start blending. theBalm All the Way Annie is similar but not as dark or as faded. Urban Decay Rockstar is more eggplant-hued, not as dusty. Giorgio Armani Green Jacquard has a similar shade that’s just a touch purpler.

The Glossover

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NARS Demon Lover Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's a cool-toned purple eyeshadow duo that will look really lovely against paler skin tones, though it should work for a variety of complexions. The quality is good overall, but it could be a bit more pigmented.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Saturday, March 17th, 2012

5 Bold Blushes to Try

Want a blush that really packs a punch? Here are five outrageous blushes that will give you a bold cheek look!

  1. NARS Exhibit A — rich, matte orange-red
  2. Make Up For Ever Truth or Dare — creamy fuchsia-pink
  3. Make Up For Ever #75 — bright, nearly neon fuchsia-pink
  4. Make Up For Ever #99 — matte red
  5. MAC Full Fuchsia — brightened pink

What’s your favorite bold blush to wear?