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NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer Review

NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer
NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer

Lightweight, Quick-Absorbing – Better for Oily Skin Types

NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer ($58.00 for 1.8 oz.) is described as a “aqua-rich gel-cream that hydrates, revitalizes, and fortifies the skin.” It’s supposed to improve water retention, keep skin feeling supple, and soften fine lines. It is “synthetic fragrance-, paraben-, alcohol-, and oil-free,” according to NARS.

In the past, I’ve used the previous version of the Aqua Gel, and I really liked it and found it hydrating enough for my skin type (normal-to-dry; more normal when I was testing this, as it was during the summer). It was actually a go-to product for when my skin was getting dry.  A lot of what was great about the original is true here:  it’s lightweight, feels and glides on like a gel-based moisturizer, and it sinks into skin quickly.  There is a little tackiness, though, even if it doesn’t look or feel oily/greasy.  It has a pleasant smell, though it is hard for me to articulate the scent; it’s not quite herbal, but it seems natural enough–not perfume-y or anything like that.  During the summer, it was lovely against the skin, because it felt cool when applied.

This moisturizer is much more suitable for combination to oily skin types; it was not hydrating enough for me with normal skin.  I would use it at night, but my skin really need more moisture.   NARS says it is ideal for normal to combination/oily skin types, but it was not hydrating enough for when my skin was normal. I went through the jar in a month, only using it at night time.   I didn’t notice an impact on minimizing or softening fine lines.

Ultimately, this is a lightweight, quick-absorbing gel moisturizer that will be most suitable for oilier complexions.

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Chanel Variation Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Variation Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Variation Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Variation Eyeshadow Quad ($58.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a cool-toned palette that featuers shades of “light rose, silver-grey, deep purple, light shimmering plum.” It will be released sometime this month online and at Chanel retailers, and it joins the permanent range (according to the press release).

The first shade is a pale pink with a soft, frosted finish. It is nicely pigmented, but it does have a very slightly powdery texture. Chanel Harmonie du Soir is yellower. theBalm Matt Chung is similar but matte in finish. Dior Aurora is frostier. MAC Young Venus is more shimmery. Dior Garden Pastels is similar.

The second shade is a dirty gray-brown with a frosted finish. It had so-so color payoff, but it was definitely on the sheer side. When I wore this shade, it gave me some trouble with fall out during wear. NARS Vent Glace is warmer. Buxom Pug appears darker, as it is more opaque. theBalm Selfish is browner. NARS Grand Palais is similar, a bit warmer. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is lighter.

The third shade is a medium-dark brown with reddish undertones. It had decent pigmentation, but it was powdery. It is best applied patted against the lid. MAC Smut is similar. theBalm Presto is a bit redder. Urban Decay Barlust is shimmery. Urban Decay Busted is a touch darker.

The last shade is a burgundy-purple with a pearly sheen. It had great color payoff, and it applied evenly and smoothly. MAC Round Midnight is more purple, less red. MAC Rich Core is more shimmery but the color is dead-on. Make Up For Ever #311 is very close in color, but the finish is more frosted.

Like Intuition, this quad is a mix of more basic shades, but the quality is not there across all the shades, so what could have been a classic, go-to palette, ends up looking weak when it’s so dupable.  All four shades were finely-milled and extremely easy to blend, but the pigmentation was too varied (ha!) and the fall out from the taupe shade was disappointing.  When I wore this palette together, it lasted eight hours with no fading or creasing without a primer.

Chanel Variation Eyeshadow Quad

B
8
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4
Application
84%
Total

L’Oreal The Queen’s Ambition Nail Lacquer

L'Oreal The Queen's Ambition Nail Lacquer
L’Oreal The Queen’s Ambition Nail Lacquer

Bold and Black — The Queen’s Ambition

L’Oreal The Queen’s Ambition Nail Lacquer ($5.99 for 0.39 fl. oz.) is a deep, dark black with silver glitter in multiple sizes. It is very similar to Illamasqua Creator, though Creator photographers more warm-toned on me. It is also comparable to NARS Night Breed, though The Queen’s Ambition is smoother.

It’s completely opaque after two coats, but one coat was almost enough for total opacity.  The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it applied very fluidly and evenly across the nail without bubbling, streaking, or pooling along the sides.  If you couldn’t bring yourself to pay the price for Creator, this makes for a more budget-friendly version that is incredibly close.  I don’t think you could tell the difference!  I haven’t tested the wear of this specific shade, but I have done wear tests for six or so of L’Oreal’s Colour Riche line, and they’ve worn very well; a full week without chipping, just very minor tip wear.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Nail Lacquer The Queen's Ambition
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9.5
Longevity
5
Application
99%
Total

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L’Oreal The Bigger the Better Nail Lacquer

L'Oreal The Bigger the Better Nail Lacquer
L’Oreal The Bigger the Better Nail Lacquer

A Splatter of Black Glitter

L’Oreal The Bigger the Better Nail Lacquer ($5.99 for 0.39 fl. oz.) contains black and silver glitter suspended in a clear base.  The silver glitter appears to be in one size, while the black glitter comes in multiple sizes, which makes it look a lot like black paint splatter. It looks super, super dark in the bottle–so much so that it also looks a lot like The Queen’s Ambition, but it’s completely different. I don’t have anything like this, and the only polish that reminds me of the effect is China Glaze Tinsel Town, which is black with silver glitter.

I layered this over a silver polish so you could see it layered, and the other two nails show the polish on its own with two coats. It’s best used as a layering polish, especially since the base color is clear. The glittery bits and bobs spread evenly across the nail and didn’t get too clumped up.  I picked this up from a holiday display, though I haven’t spotted it online yet, but it was at my local CVS.   L’Oreal’s Colour Riche line has worn really well on me from the half-dozen I’ve tested thus far–a full week of wear with no chipping and very minor tip wear.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Nail Lacquer The Bigger The Better
9
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
92%
Total

Chanel Vision Illusion d’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow

Chanel Vision Illusion d'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow
Chanel Vision Illusion d’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow

Chanel Vision Illusion d’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow ($36.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “gold.” It’s a bright, yellow gold with a glittery, metallic finish. L’Oreal Eternal Sunshine is softer. L’Oreal Gold Imperial is similar but not as dark or as yellow. Giorgio Armani #1 is similar but more orange, less metallic. OCC Triptych is yellower. Inglot #404 is a bit darker but comparable in color.

The texture of this felt smooth when really sheered out, but if you make an attempt to layer or go for opaque color, it does not apply smoothly no matter how much I tried to coax it. The best way to wear it is really as a wash, just a sheer bit of color, because it minimizes its tendency to ball up into chunks on the lid.  I recommend applying prior to foundation, too, as quite a few sparkles will get elsewhere.  I had some minor fall out during wear, but by and large, it stayed put.  After wearing this for eight hours, again, there was some fall out, but it hadn’t creased.  It isn’t yet out, but it is part of the soon-to-be-released Les Expressions de Chanel collection.

Chanel Illusion d’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow Vision
Vision
Vision
8.5
Product
7
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
3
Application
79%
Total

Chanel Intuition Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Intuition Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Intuition Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Intuition Eyeshadow Quad ($58.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a warm-toned palette that features shades of “light pink, gold, chocolate brown, and brown-grey.” It will be released sometime this month online and at Chanel retailers, and it joins the permanent range (according to the press release).

The first shade is a soft pink-beige with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, and it was fairly smooth. Urban Decay Freebird is pinker. Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle is similar in color but has a sparkly finish. MAC Hush is more matte but close in color. Urban Decay Sin is more metallic.

The second shade is a yellowed gold with gold sparkles. You could and feel the glittery bits in this shade, which gave it a sheerer appearance, and it made it difficult to apply. I had a great deal of fall out during application as well as during wear with this shade. Cinderella Gus Gus is brighter, yellower, less orange. Milani Gold Dust is more orange. Tarina Tarantino Mr. Gold is slightly less orange. Bare Escentuals Remix is yellower. Chanel Blazing Gold is a smidgen yellower. MAC Goldmine is more metallic.

The third shade is a subtly warm-toned dark brown with bronze shimmer. It had good color payoff, though the texture was a touch dry. Cinderella Jaq is darker. Urban Decay Muse is darker and more red-toned. Make Up For Ever #15 is warmer. Bobbi Brown Chocolate is similar.

The fourth shade is a warm-toned, copper-brown with a shimmer-sheen finish. It had nice pigmentation, and the texture was a smidgen powdery but applied really smoothly on the eye. MAC Mulch is a touch lighter. MAC Havana is similar, perhaps a little darker (when used wet). Benefit Dandy Brandy is similar. MAC Roasted Chestnut is comparable.

The gold is particularly troublesome, and at this price point, harder to accept as-is; the sparkly finish resulted in noticeable fall out during wear, and it made application more difficult, as it had to be packed on and worked into the skin to smooth it out.  Both the darker brown shades are lovey, though together they can get a little lost.  I like it, but I don’t love it.  If the gold shade was improved, it would be more versatile and easier to use.

Chanel Intuition Eyeshadow Quad

B+
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4
Application
87%
Total

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