Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


NARS Self Portrait 2 Eyeshadow Palette

A Trio of Shades for a Fading Smoky Eye

NARS Self Portrait 2 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) features a variation on Warhol’s Self Portrait (1967) painting. This palette is described as “black, white, and silver.” It is the second of three palettes, and it will be available at department and specialty stores, NARS’ boutiques, and narscosmetics.com on November 1st (so you have some time to think about it, to the say least!).

Each of the Self Portrait palettes has a black overspray, which will disappear quickly. I recommend taking a large powder brush (I used MAC’s 134) to brush back and forth, up and down, to get the majority off. Now, I say that with the expectation that you’d actually like to use the colors in the palette. Assuming you only intended to keep it as a collectible, then I’d recommend not using it much and would say to avoid the silver-white to maintain the facial structure/details.

The first shade is a brown-based soft black that’s a bit dry, somewhat stiff, but it’s not nearly as difficult to use as the black shade in Self Portrait 1–even though they look exactly the same in color. The color payoff is noticeably sheer but such an improvement from the first that you’re almost impressed by comparison. As I mentioned in the previous review, there are numerous matte black eyeshadows that are comparable; finding the intensity you’re looking for is very personal. Brands like Urban Decay, Inglot, Make Up For Ever, and Sugarpill all make excellent rich blacks.

The second shade is a bright silver-tinted white with a frosted, metallic finish. It’s a bit sheer, but it has decent to good color payoff. The texture is soft, mostly smooth, and a little powdery. MAC Misty is slightly darker. MAC Filament is a smidgen darker. It is also a lot like the silver-white in NARS Flowers 1 (and 2 and 3). Buxom Sheepdog is similar.

The third shade is a medium silver-shimmered gray with a pearly sheen. The texture is on the drier side, and the color payoff is decent, though there it is not fully opaque. Chanel Furtif is similar. MAC Electra is more metallic. Inglot #448 is more silver.

From initial swatching, I had higher hopes for this palette, but I encountered some application and wear problems.  All three shades were prone to fading after six hours, both with and without a primer (photos show the look with primer, which was slightly better but still rather unruly).  The silver-white shade separated somewhat, while the gray shade faded more evenly.  The black hue faded quite a bit after being applied, though it was more blendable than the black shadow in the first palette.  The gray and silver-white shades were powdery.  I’d recommend applying your eye makeup first, and then cleaning up and applying your foundation afterward, with this particular palette.

The Glossover

palette

Self Portrait 2

C-
I wish this wore better and wasn't so powdery--it could have made for an easy, classic smoky eye. I think they had a good mix of finishes (matte, satin, frost) and wide range of colors (almost white to black), so you could have played with the intensity and drama of the smoky eye quite a bit.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


NARS Self Portrait 1 Eyeshadow Palette

Best Left Untouched and Admired From Afar

NARS Self Portrait 1 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) features a variation on Warhol’s Self Portrait (1967) painting. This palette is described as “black, bright periwinkle blue, and vibrant green.” It is the first of three palettes, and it will be available at department and specialty stores, NARS’ boutiques, and narscosmetics.com on November 1st (so you have some time to think about it, to the say least!).

Each of the Self Portrait palettes has a black overspray, which will disappear quickly. I recommend taking a large powder brush (I used MAC’s 134) to brush back and forth, up and down, to get the majority off. Now, I say that with the expectation that you’d actually like to use the colors in the palette. Assuming you only intended to keep it as a collectible, then I’d recommend not using it much and would say to avoid the blue to maintain the facial structure/details.

The first shade is a brown-based soft black that yields sheer, uneven color payoff and comes complete with a dry, stiff texture that doesn’t like to blend or move much. It was as fussy as MAC Carbon was in its most recent release. There are numerous matte black eyeshadows that are comparable; finding the intensity you’re looking for is very personal. Brands like Urban Decay, Inglot, Make Up For Ever, and Sugarpill all make excellent rich blacks.

The second shade is a cornflower blue–blue with a hint of violet–that’s powdery, sheer, and prone to fading. The texture is soft to the touch, but it is hard to maintain any vibrancy. I’d say the only way to do so would be to layer over a cream base with similar coloring (which is a rather cheater-cheater kind of way to make a really inferior product work). It absolutely needed at least a primer (I used NARS) to show up, because on dry lids, it just wasn’t getting there. I had to pack it on, and after I moved from this color to the next, I had to go back to pat more on, because it does a disappearing act. Bare Escentuals On the Rocks is brighter, and it also has an iridescent sheen. MAC Dynamic Duo 2 is bluer and darker. NARS Rated R is bluer. MAC Cobalt is darker, slightly bluer.

The third shade is a medium grassy green with subtle yellow undertones and a satiny sheen. It had below average pigmentation, and the texture was on the drier side. It was less powdery than the blue shade, not nearly as dry as the black shade. By those standards, it was the best performing shade out of the three, but still rather disappointing. I had to do quite a bit of packing of the color on itself, and over a primer, to get decent color intensity.  MAC Fresh Flare is darker, less yellow. MAC Wondergrass is similar but shimmery. Inglot #384 is darker, more intense. Make Up For Ever #91 is brighter.

It includes 0.42 oz. of product, which is plenty o’ eyeshadow, and it does make it cheaper by the ounce than buying the brand’s duos, trios, etc. However, you’re far better off going for a quality single, duo, or trio, because this palette is really lacking in quality. None of the three shades are redeeming; none of them are even as good as an average-rated eyeshadow.  I have nothing positive to say about the performance of this palette; I had to use an eyeshadow base just to get the colors to show up, and even over a base, there was noticeable (and uneven) fading of all three shades.  As soft as the blue shade is, it’s so powdery and disappears quickly.  If you want to blend the colors together, do so with the most feather-light touch you can muster.

The Glossover

palette

Self Portrait 1

F
If you're a huge NARS and Andy Warhol fan, and if your intention was to collect and admire without using, this review is not designed to talk you out of it. I'm assessing the quality and use of the product itself, and on that front, this was a major disappointment to see from a brand so many readers love.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3/5

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Monday, September 3rd, 2012


NARS Flowers 3 Eyeshadow Palette

And All the Flowers Fall Away

NARS Flowers 3 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.45 oz.) features four shades, which are described as “white, pink champagne, and dark brown against a shimmering lavender grey background and black overspray.”

The first shade is a bright silver-white with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, but it was a bit powdery. It’s the same color as the silver-white in the previous two palettes, though the finish seems more metallic and less powdery (but still powdery). There are several similar shades, including MAC Crystal Avalanche (slightly cooler-toned), Buxom Sheepdog, Maybelline Too Cool (a bit cool-toned and more metallic in finish), theBalm Sassy, MAC Forgery (has a grittier texture), and theBalm Tempting Tara.

The shade in the background (which has the black powder overlay) is a gray-ish purple with a pearled finish. This shade is exactly the same in all three palettes, though it seems more metallic in finish in this palette–but more powdery. It was also a bit more pigmented in this palette. Urban Decay AC/DC is similar but more pigmented and less subdued. theBalm Matt Patel is darker, grayer. NARS Charade is matte and has less gray in it. MAC Joy & Laughter is a smidgen grayer. MAC Winterized is a touch darker.

The third shade is a medium-dark warm-toned amber brown with a pearly sheen. It had good color payoff, felt smooth and soft to the touch, and was not powdery. MAC Coil is darker, more copper. MAC Aurora is similar, slightly more matte. Bobbi Brown Champagne Truffle is similar. MAC Love Connection has more of a frost finish. Buxom Golden Retriever is a bit darker. Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa is more red-toned.

The last shade is a burgundy-brown with a satiny sheen–more brown than burgundy in coloring. This, too, had nice pigmentation and was fairly smooth and soft. It was a smidgen powdery but barely compared to some of the other shades in these palettes we’ve seen. theBalm Sexy is more burgundy. Estee Lauder Violet Underground is very similar, slightly redder. Bare Escentuals Most Requested is similar but slightly more burgundy.

Of the three Flowers’ palettes, I think this is the best one. It wore slightly better overall, and pigmentation isn’t a major problem with this palette. I don’t think it’s great, and it’s not something I could recommend purchasing. The way the silver-white and gray-purple wear and apply makes up over half the palette, so they bring the other two shades (which performed better) down.  Here, the gray-purple was powdery when used, and it had a tendency to fade compared to the other shades.

The Glossover

palette

Flowers 3

B-
I think if you're a big fan of NARS and Andy Warhol, then it might appeal as a collectible. I think if you're just concerned about the overall quality, then it's something I would skip over.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

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Monday, September 3rd, 2012


NARS Flowers 2 Eyeshadow Palette

Another Flower Blossoms and Fades

NARS Flowers 2 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.45 oz.) features three shades, which are described as “white and heather blue against a shimmering lavender grey background and black overspray.”

The first shade is a bright silver-white with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, but it was a bit powdery. It is exactly the same shade that is in all three palettes, so note that you will have overlap if you were to purchase all three of at least two colors (the silver-white and gray-ish purple); the finishes of the third palette are slightly more metallic. There are several similar shades, including MAC Crystal Avalanche (slightly cooler-toned), Buxom Sheepdog, Maybelline Too Cool (a bit cool-toned and more metallic in finish), theBalm Sassy, MAC Forgery (has a grittier texture), and theBalm Tempting Tara.

The shade in the background (which has the black powder overlay) is a gray-ish purple with a pearled finish. This shade is exactly the same in all three palettes, though it seems more metallic in finish in the third palette. The pigmentation was decent, but it was powdery and on the sheerer side. Urban Decay AC/DC is similar but more pigmented and less subdued. theBalm Matt Patel is darker, grayer. NARS Charade is matte and has less gray in it. MAC Joy & Laughter is a smidgen grayer. MAC Winterized is a touch darker.

The third shade in this palette is a blue-toned icy lavender with a satiny sheen. It had disappointing color payoff, as it was on the sheerer side, but the texture was also stiff and dry, which made applying it more difficult. MAC Blue Orbit is similar but a smidgen darker. MAC Water & Ice is less blue-based. MAC Beautiful Iris is less blue-hued. MAC Digit is lighter.

I would skip this palette and pick up one of the other two, because this only has three shades and two of them overlap with the other ones. (Though, I recommend none, as none of them have high enough quality to merit a purchase.)  This palette was a nightmare to apply and looked horrific after a mere six hours (both over and without primer, but the photo is over a primer, showcasing the best it looked).  The silver shade faded and separated, while the purple shade required a lot of packing to get decent color payoff, but it was hard to blend and faded unevenly.  The gray-purple shade almost disappeared entirely after six hours.

The Glossover

palette

Flowers 2

D+
The quality is completely lacking here; not just in pigmentation and texture, but the actual wear was surprisingly awful. Whether used over bare lids or over NARS' own primer, the eyeshadows wore away well before the six hour mark.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Sunday, September 2nd, 2012


NARS Flowers 1 Eyeshadow Palette

The First of Three Flower Palettes

NARS Flowers 1 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.45 oz.) features five different shades with a black overlay over one shade (the background shade). The palette is a variation on Warhol’s painting Flowers (1965), and this one is described as a “white, brown rose, dark lavender, and gold against a shimmering lavender grey background and black overspray.”

The first shade is a bright silver-white with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, but it was a bit powdery. There are several similar shades, including MAC Crystal Avalanche (slightly cooler-toned), Buxom Sheepdog, Maybelline Too Cool (a bit cool-toned and more metallic in finish), theBalm Sassy, MAC Forgery (has a grittier texture), and theBalm Tempting Tara.

The shade in the background (which has the black powder overlay) is a gray-ish purple with a pearled finish. The pigmentation was decent, but it was powdery and on the sheerer side. Urban Decay AC/DC is similar but more pigmented and less subdued. theBalm Matt Patel is darker, grayer. NARS Charade is matte and has less gray in it. MAC Joy & Laughter is a smidgen grayer. MAC Winterized is a touch darker.

One flower is purple, and when swatched, it is a sheer violet purple with a soft satiny sheen–it is really quite stiff as far as the texture went, and the color payoff was dismal. I really had to pack it on to get any color to show up on the lid, and it had to have a base used under it to get any visible color. Clarins Enchanted Summer is more intense, stronger red undertone. Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm is brighter, more opaque. MAC Plush is more pigmented and a smidgen more red-toned.

Another flower is a rusty red with subtle warm, orange undertones and a soft, frosted finish. This shade had the best pigmentation out of the five shades in the palette. MAC Spicy Smoke is comparable. Milani Primary is a bit redder. MAC Raving Mad is more orange. Urban Decay Gash is more burgundy.

The third flower is a bright pop of sunshine yellow with a soft sheen. This had good color payoff, but it was somewhat powdery and loose. It’s best to pat it on, rather than sweep. Illamasqua Hype is similar but matte. Make Up For Ever #24 is a little darker, warmer. MAC Bright Sunshine is a smidgen lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bright Idea is slightly softer. Inglot #323 is a bit darker and has a matte finish.

I know a lot of readers are really excited for the collaboration between NARS and Andy Warhol, and I wanted to like the palette, but I didn’t.  Some shades were sheer, others were powdery, and a couple of them were less blendable than I’d like (or even expect from NARS).  The silver is kind of chunky; it adheres in a way that emphasizes the texture of the skin, while the yellow needs to be patted on to avoid a powderiness (and blending it is difficult, because it disappears).  The purple was the most disappointing shade out of the five, because it was sheer, stiff, and dry–it didn’t want to apply (and faded almost instantly), and it was hard to blend it once on the lid. I had to use primer (NARS’) underneath the purple shade just to get color to show up.  The best-performing shade was the rusted red, which had good color payoff, fairly smooth texture, and was easy to blend.  The wear was all over the map; the purple faded so quickly (even over a primer!), while the rusted red shade was slightly faded after six hours, and the silver-white shade had some post-application fall out (minor but noticeable), and the yellow shade didn’t seem to fade too much after six hours.

NARS gives you plenty of product in the compact, which is over-sized (larger than their blushes), so for your $55, you’re getting nearly half an ounce of eyeshadow, which works out to be ~$122/oz., while a duo works out to be ~$243/oz. (Trios are the worst value at ~$265/oz.) You’re just not getting the highest quality product.  For the most part, each color is accessible enough to work with when using eyeshadow brushes, but you will get excess powder kicked up, so you may find that some of the colors mix.  I recommend using a large face brush to brush off the black overlay, because it just makes everything kind of sooty the first time you use it.

The Glossover

palette

Flowers 1

C
I think if you're a big fan of NARS and Andy Warhol, then it might appeal as a collectible. I think if you're just concerned about the overall quality, then it's something I would skip over.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Friday, August 31st, 2012


Urban Decay Feminine Eyeshadow Palette (2012)

Oh, a Touch of a Feminine Edges

Urban Decay Feminine Eyeshadow Palette (2012) ($36.00 for 0.18 oz.) includes six eyeshadows: Bordello (pale mauve with gold micro-glitter), Skimp (light peachy pearl), AC/DC (smoky greyish purple), Gunmetal (dark metallic grey with silver micro-glitter). Hijack (deep metallic teal), and Lost (medium metallic brown) and one Lip Junkie in Wallflower (nude creamy pink).

Bordello is a pinky plum with a frosted finish and barely-there gold micro-glitter. This shade had good color payoff but it wasn’t great–slightly sheer in comparison to other shades in the palette. The micro-glitter wasn’t very noticeable, so there was very little fall out after it was applied. NARS Charade is darker, more matte, less plum. Guerlain Boulevard du Montparnasse is more matte and pinker. Inglot #399 is very similar, just slightly pinker. Giorgio Armani #7 is also very similar.

Skimp is a pale, light beige with subtle warm undertones and a satiny sheen. The color payoff was good, and it applied smoothly. It was a smidgen powdery. Urban Decay Sellout is more frosted. MAC Sahara Dust is quite similar. Illamasqua Slink is slightly pinker. theBalm Hiii-Yaaa! is more shimmery.

AC/DC is a medium-dark purple with a slight smokiness and noticeable red undertones. It had good color payoff and applied smoothly overall. Urban Decay Gravity is a smidgen darker. MAC Highly Charged is darker, less frosted. MAC Grand Galaxy is cooler-toned. Dior Garden Roses is very similar. Esete Lauder Cyber Lilac is a bit darker.

Gunmetal is a dark silver-shimmered charcoal gray with a frosted finish. This particular shade has been in a ton of palettes (I think it shows up in the Swatch Gallery three or four times). It’s nicely pigmented with a fairly smooth texture, though there is some micro-glitter there–a lot of disappears before it gets to the lid, though. Urban Decay Asphalt is less silvery. Tarina Tarantino Silver Shoes and Tarina Tarantino Lovely are both similar. Bobbi Brown Gunmetal is more matte and slightly blue-tinged.

Hijack is a charcoal teal with a hint of green and a very frosty finish. It has good pigmentation, and it applies smoothly for the most part. Illamasqua Android is darker and more nuanced. Bare Escentuals Vapor is similar but more metallic in finish.

Lost is a warm coppery bronze with a frosted metallic sheen. It was the smoothest, softest shade of the six, and it had excellent color payoff. MAC Havana is a bit darker, warmer. NARS Surabaya has a stronger red undertone and more of a matte finish. Benefit Dandy Brandy is lighter. MAC Roasted Chestnut is has a softer sheen. MAC Make Your Mark is similar but mostly matte. Inglot #421 is more coppery.

Wallflower is a neutral pink with milky/creamy finish. The color coverage is semi-opaque, and it does settle into lip lines a bit, though not too noticeably from a distance. MAC Deelight is a bit pinker. This shade wore for three hours when I tested it.

Last year’s Feminine Palette included Stray Dog, SWF, Midnight Cowboy, Aquarius, Darkhorse, and Ecstasy, plus it came with an eyeliner and primer potion. It had a total value of $80.83 and retailed for $34. This year’s palette six 0.03 oz. eyeshadows and a 0.11 fl. oz. Lip Junkie. The value of this year’s palette is $64.80 worth of eyeshadow and $6.15 worth of gloss, which results in a total value of $70.95. There are surface similarities (e.g. both palettes contain a teal, brown, purple, and lighter color), but the only shade that’s somewhat duped is Lost (by Stray Dog/Darkhorse).

Overall, this palette has two shades with micro-glitter, which does mean that two shades were more prone to having some fall out both during and after application.  It’s more noticeable with Bordello than Gunmetal, and there wasn’t a lot, but I did spot a few stray glitter particles.  Bordello was also the weakest in pigmentation, though still good.

P.S. — Like the giant gouge in Lost? Courtesy of my thumb slipping while trying to remove the eyeshadow portion to show the clutch, LOL!

The Glossover

palette

Feminine

A-
Overall, this palette has two shades with micro-glitter, which does mean that two shades were more prone to having some fall out both during and after application. It's more noticeable with Bordello than Gunmetal, and there wasn't a lot, but I did spot a few stray glitter particles. Bordello was also the weakest in pigmentation, though still good.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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