Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

NARS Cadaques Multiple=
NARS Cadaques Multiple Tint

Perfect for Perfect Skin

NARS Cadaques Multiple Tint ($38 for 0.52 oz.) is a fantastic barely-there flush if you have naturally lovely skin.  If your skin has enough imperfections where you tend to use foundation or powder for coverage, the new Multiple Tints just don’t seem to be worthwhile. I swatched all three of the Multiple Tints at Nordstrom a few weeks ago, but I also tested Cadaques at home.

The staying power of Cadaques is excellent–really lasts all day and then some.  It’s not heavy or greasy once it finally dries down, but it took at least fifteen minutes before it seemed to settle on the skin.  I experienced this issue with drying when I swatched them on my arm, too–imagine holding your arm away from your beige shirt for twenty minutes!  Personally, this is a total deal-breaker for me, because the last thing I want to do is add another fifteen minutes to my makeup routine.

It layers best directly onto skin, and the best application method is straight from the tube, because the product is very sheer.  It gave my medium skin a nice, subtle flush without a fuss, but it did not seem to be buildable other than that initial flush.   The application wasn’t as smooth or as even when applied over foundation (even liquid), and it seemed kind of gross (to me) to smear the stick on top of foundation, too.

This is kind of where the perfect skin bit kicks in — it’s best on natural skin, but it’s so subtle, layering foundation on top, even lightly, nearly covers up all the blush.  I also found that the staying power definitely lived up to expectations when applied directly to skin, but on top of foundation, it seemed to fade by mid-day.  It really is just better over the skin rather than over foundation.  If you rock the no-foundation look often and like gel-like blushes, I think the Multiple Tints may be up your alley.

I found the texture of them to be almost watery/slippery on the surface, even though they’re completely solid.  You get plenty of product, but these are actually incredibly reminiscent of Tarte’s Cheek Stains ($30 for 1 oz. — nearly double the product for a little less).  The subtle raspberry pink of Cadaques will complement cooler skin tones beautifully, but it is not so cool that it doesn’t work just as well as warmer skin tones.  It has a soft sheen that’s not oily or greasy-looking, and if I have another good skin week, I’ll definitely give this another go.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t wear foundation often and want a subtle flush for cheeks that doesn’t fade during the day, NARS’ Multiple Tints were made for you!

AVAILABILITY: NARS, Sephora

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Friday, June 25th, 2010

NARS Taj Mahal Blush
NARS Taj Mahal Blush

Orange You Glad for Blush?

NARS Taj Mahal Blush ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is a vibrant tangerine orange with a soft, golden sheen.  It is pigmented to the max, as many NARS blushes are, but this one is even more so than the average NARS blush.  I found it really difficult to get the amount I needed, so keep a buffing brush on standby for quick fixes.

When worn lightly, it can be a beautiful shade of lightened peach-orange with a golden shimmer-sheen.  It looks absolutely gorgeous on warmer skin tones, especially those with deeper complexions.  It can, quite obviously, be built up for a very intense look, if so desired.  Texture is soft, smooth, and the blush looks luminous when applied to skin.  It gives skin an added warmth and subtle glow from the shimmer-sheen, and if you go easy, it’s very, very wearable and flattering.

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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

NARS Sephora Exclusive Lip Gloss
NARS Lip Glosses: Albatross, Luxor, Super Orgasm, Luster, Angelika, Oasis

NARS Sephora Exclusive Lip Glosses

…coming to a Sephora near you!  These officially launch on July 29th, and they are exclusive to Sephora and limited edition.  Each shade is designed and created after several of NARS’ best-selling blush shades that go by the same name. I showed you swatches and photos a week or so ago, but now I’m pleased to be able to give you lip swatches, too! :)

NARS Lip Glosses have a thinner texture, and they feel lightweight and don’t dry out lips.  They’re not ultra hydrating, but they impart some moisture into lips while you wear ‘em.  I find them a little tacky but not sticky, but it definitely depends on how much you apply.  They’re scent- and taste-free, and you get a good amount for your $24 (0.28 oz.).  Colors are on the sheerer side, like most lip glosses, but they all gave lips a different look than au natural, which is fantastic.

  • Albatross is a semi-sheer champagne beige base with brighter champagne gold shimmer with a glossy sheen.
  • Luxor is a sheer milky pink base with brighter pink shimmer and a glossy sheen. It’s very similar to Albatross, just pink-toned. Luxor has a bit of an iridescent flash to it, which makes it a step up from your ordinary lip gloss.  (This shade is a Nordstrom exclusive!)
  • Super Orgasm is a light pink with golden sparkle. It has a slight milky, jelly kind ofl ook, but it gives some color, though it’s hot opaque.
  • Luster is a brownish beige with orange-gold shimmer. It’s semi-sheer, and it’s one of the shades that didn’t seem to apply as evenly as I’d have liked. From a normal viewing distance, you couldn’t really tell, though.
  • Angelika is a bright pop of blue-based pink with a slight lilac edge. Despite the strong cool undertones, it’s definitely wearable on warmer skin tones.
  • Oasis is a mauvey pink with golden shimmer and a glossy look. This one was definitely my favorite, because it gave me some color but looked really lovely all on its own. More jelly, less milky, but still plenty glossy.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of NARS’ Lip Glosses (or even Blushes) and see a shade that suits you, they’re definitely worth a look-see once they launch.

Availability: July 29th at Sephora

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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

NARS Oasis Highlighting Blush
NARS Oasis Blush

Quick Vacation to a NARS Oasis

NARS Oasis Blush ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “sparkling pink champagne.” I wonder how they settled on that description, because this shade is extremely difficult to describe aptly!

It actually looks like a rather muddy mess of pink, berry, and gold shimmer in the pan, but it’s quite beautiful when applied onto skin.  It really doesn’t look gorgeous in the pan, as many blushes often do, but don’t judge a book by its cover.  On skin, it becomes a rosy berry mauve with soft flecks of gold shimmer-glitter (not quite glitter, but larger than glitter!). The pigmentation is excellent, and like many NARS blushes, a light hand is a must!  (In fact, you may want to use a stippling brush or have a buffer brush on hand for diffusion of color.)

Despite being neutral to neutral-cool, it wears well on my warmer skin tone (which may be a little tanner, since I spent the weekend outdoors, though I was lathered in SPF for sure!) and is a great alternative to starkly cool pink blushes for those with stronger warm undertones.  There is some glittery bits in this blush, but it’s not overwhelming and doesn’t even seem to translate onto cheeks at all (just seems to disappears into a magical puff of glittery smoke and mirrors!), but cheeks do have a soft, subtle luminous sheen–that doesn’t emphasize pores–when all is said and done.

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Saturday, June 19th, 2010

NARS Pro Prime Skin Smoothing Face Prep

How Pore-less Can You Be?

NARS Skin Smoothing Face Prep ($30.00 for 0.26 oz.) is a skin prepping product, not quite a primer, that’s supposed to minimize the appearance of fine lines and pores to give skin a smoother look.

Get closer to an Immaculate Complexion with NARS Skin Smoothing Face Prep. With one application, skin is smoother and the appearance of fine lines and pores is minimized. A truly multi-use product, it may be used before primer to create a flawlessly matte finish or used throughout the day to combat shine and rejuvenate the complexion. Apply to fine lines, large pores or rough spots for an instant smoothing effect. For all skin types.

I’ve seen some mentions about the product size being small for a primer–but it’s not meant to be used like a primer–perhaps a targeted primer, but even NARS describes it as being used before primer or as a blotting agent during the day. It still feels like it’s on the small size based on packaging, but I don’t see using too much per usage either. However, it does very much the same thing as MAC’s Prep + Prime Line Filler ($19.50 for 0.5 fl. oz.) (review here, swatches here), though Line Filler is listed as a primer.

NARS has a better consistency for on-the-go, since it’s almost like the consistency of a candle (yes, a candle!)–it’s thick and solid–but melts a bit when you apply it to the face or use your fingers to apply. It smooths out well against the skin, and it does minimize the appearance of the lines and imperfections on the back of my hand. It can be applied over or under foundation, but I think it may make a nice blot powder alternative, because of the silicone and silica in it, which both will help to give skin a softer, smoother appearance. The whole effect is very much a diffused, soft focus kind of look.

Because this is loaded with silicones, I didn’t (and won’t be) testing it fully on my face any time soon, so this is only a partial review (and why there is no rating) based on testing it on my hand and playing around for consistency and the like. I did notice that my hand slowly but surely made its way back to its usual state of more visible lines and the like after about two to three hours.

I also applied it on top of my cheeks and around my nose to see how it handled pores (I think mine are getting bigger… I never obsessed over them before, but now I feel like they’re about to become black holes and suck all life into them!).  Even though I didn’t test it for wear over time, the improvement in my fine lines and pores really just wasn’t significant.  It did, however, give my skin a very soft, silky feel when I ran my fingertip over the areas I used the product on, and it had a softer look.  Like as if someone blurred the skin there a bit, but the fine lines underneath my eyes were still as noticeable as ever, even if slightly diffused.

If you have the most minute fine lines and just the beginnings of the slightest wrinkle, this may fade those into oblivion, as it does an impressive job on the back of my hand.  It just didn’t show up to the party so much on my fine lines.  When it came to my pores, the side with the Face Prep looked softer and smoother, but the pores were still there.  It worked (hey, NARS doesn’t say it will erase all, just “minimize”), but it’s just not as effective as I’d want it to be in order to justify adding the product into my routine.

Recommendation:  This might be a nice product for those with more oily skin or for those with oilier and drier areas where a full-on primer may be too much on drier patches of skin.  It’s a product that can be applied both under and over makeup, which is nice, and it could definitely work to help keep the oilies at bay throughout the day.  It might be nice if NARS included a little sponge that fit inside the jar for those afternoon touch-ups, though.  If you’re looking for something to miraculously fill in your fine lines and shrink your pores to nothing, I think you may be disappointed.

Availability: NARS, Sephora.com

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Friday, June 18th, 2010

NARS Niagara Lipstick
NARS Niagara Lipstick

The Summer Season: NARS Niagara Lipstick

NARS Niagara Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a smooth shade of lightly brightened coral-pink with a frost-gloss sheen.  It’s not a fully glossy look, but it’s not quite frosty, either.  Thus, frost-gloss sheen texture is born!  The shade is quite pigmented, giving pretty much full, opaque color without having to layer heaps on.  NARS Lipsticks are scent- and taste-free, though they have a little waxy scent to them (which is more of the “natural” scent, e.g. from the ingredients themselves, rather than infused with fragrance).  It’s lighter and not as shimmery as MAC Crosswires, which runs a little more coral, and this one leans a little pinker.

Is this the right coral for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →