Monday, September 3rd, 2012


NARS Heat Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencils ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) come in four shades for the holidays: Empire (black), Heat (teal), Silver Factory (aluminum), and Trash (vivid purple). Silver Factory is limited edition, but the other three are permanent.

If I had a makeup nemesis, I imagine it would look a lot like NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, because it’s one of the worst products I have ever seen, and I get frustrated every time I use a new shade in the same disappointing formula. I wish I could tell you that the latest four showed improvement, but I can’t. They’re as awful as expected. I have reviewed these thoroughly. I have tried them in various ways; as a base, alone, over a base, over a primer, over eyeshadow, under eyeshadow, as eyeliner, as brow highlighters.

NARS describes these as having an “easy, portable, long-wearing application” to “shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye.” They’re supposed to make for “an ideal base for layering with powder shadow or increased color intensity. All four shades creased on me within five minutes if used on the lid; it did not matter whether I used it alone or over NARS’ eyeshadow primer. I tried them as an eyeliner, as well, even though I fully intended not to bother, and they were migrating onto my waterline (FYI, Heat and Trash burned terribly), into my eye, and below my lash line within minutes. Empire didn’t smudge, but it did disappear, as an eyeliner.

  • Empire is a medium black that has a slightly drier consistency compared to other shades as well as the ones in this launch. Realistically, black eyeliner (in general) looks just like this. As a base, you might opt for a gel eyeliner (MAC Blacktrack makes for an excellent all-black base).
  • Heat is a bluish-teal with so-so color payoff. It’s very, very creamy and retains a rather glossy finish. Maybelline Edgy Emerald is greener. Make Up For Ever #21 is more shimmery.
  • Silver Factory is a bright silver with a metallic finish and silver glitter. It doesn’t really get opaque–but it’s not too uneven when it applies, at least. MAC Virgin Silver is similar.
  • Trash is a medium-dark royal purple with strong pink-red undertones. This had good color payoff for a purple; when used in a single pass, it looks rather pink-purple, but layered, it looks more purple. Make Up For Ever #26 is similar, slightly pinker. Urban Decay Delinquent is less red/pink-based.

There are lots of jumbo eyeshadow pencils on the market; using them does not require applying in a myriad of ways in hopes to find the one way that will last longer than an hour. They don’t take days and days of usage just to figure how to use them for longer than five minutes. Imagine me fumbling down the hallway with my eyes closed so that I can get at least one photo where it doesn’t look like Crease City. Suffice to say, these were consistent with the past shades I’ve tried. If you’re so inclined, I recommend reading my past reviews for a full lecture on these.

The Glossover

product

NARS Andy Warhol Soft Touch Shadow Pencils Reviews, Photos, Swatches

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 pat Vaseline or gloss over your eyeshadow of choice.
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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

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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

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Saturday, September 1st, 2012


NARS 47th Street Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner

It’s a Starry Night on 47th Street

NARS 47th Street Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “black with silver shimmer.” It’s a dark black with chunky silver sparkle–it’s definitely larger than what you’d expect of shimmer. I couldn’t think of anything similar to this (not to say that there aren’t dupes, just nothing I know of). The closest that I could come up with was MAC Black Swan, which is black with more of a blue shimmer-sheen. MAC Smooth Manoeuvre is also black with a couple of bits of silver shimmer but hardly any. Update: A few readers suggested Urban Decay Oil Slick, which is a silver-shimmered black, and it is a softer, lighter black (almost looks gray in comparison), and the sparkle is a lot subtler/smaller, so it’s not quite the same, but it is similar!

It applies well and evenly, with just enough glide to slide on smoothly without tugging, skipping, or pulling but not so much that it impairs the wear.  The black seems to stay put, even after eight hours–no budging or smudging or fading–but some of the silver glitter travels below the lash line where it was originally. It doesn’t appear to travel far and wide, but it does migrate somewhat.  47th Street had good color payoff in a single pass, and it provided a nice dark black line with silver sparkle–not a super intense black, but it’s darker than a soft black. I liked this shade more than some of the past shades I’ve tried in this formula.

The Glossover

LE
product

47th Street

B+
47th Street had good color payoff in a single pass, and it provided a nice dark black line with silver sparkle--not a super intense black, but it's darker than a soft black. I liked this shade more than some of the past shades I've tried in this formula.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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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

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