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10 Worst Beauty Products of 2012

10 Worst Beauty Products of 2012

There have been several disappointing products released over the past year, but these are ten that really frustrated me… They’re in no particular order! ¬†Now that these are out of the way, we can end 2012 and start 2013 on a happy, positive note going over all the bests of the year ūüôā

What was the worst product you tried this year?

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NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette

NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette
NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette

Another Disappointment from the NARS & Andy Warhol Collection

NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette ($65.00 for 0.42 oz.) consists of one blush, one highlighter, and four eyeshadows, tucked into a matte black palette with a full-size mirror on the interior. Each shade sits in its own pan and well.

Shimmering Pink Champagne is a soft, rosy plum with silver sparkle. The sparkle is very, very loose and doesn’t bind at all to the underlying color, so it either doesn’t translate to the cheek or disappears throughout the day. It had a very dry, stiff texture, though the color payoff was so-so. It wore for seven hours when I tested it. NARS Oasis is a bit more muted, less pink. theBalm Cabana Boy has a soft sheen. MAC Plum Foolery is less pink, more frosted.

Brilliant Cream is a shimmery, pale beige. It had good color payoff, and it wasn’t dry–a little powdery–but not dry, at least. It was also blendable on, and it lasted for six and a half hours. NARS Albatross has a golden sheen. theBalm Promiscuous Pearl is more beige. MAC Snowglobe is similar.

Twinkling Purple is an eggplant purple with a matte finish. It was dry, powdery, and had dismal color payoff. Tarte Napa Grapes is more intense. Guerlain Boulevard du Montparnasse has a satiny sheen. BareMinerals Nightcap is very similar (more pigmented). MAC Fig. 1 is purpler (also more pigmented).

Sparkling Turquoise is an aqua-green with a satiny sheen. It had so-so color payoff, but this one was such a pain in the behind to use. It was very soft, powdery, and prone to pulling a disappearing act if you made any attempt to blend it. Sugarpill Mochi is very similar in color.

White Shimmer is a shimmery white with silver sparkle (that doesn’t bind with the base color, so it gets lost). There are so many shimmery white eyeshadows on the market, so there is no shortage of dupes. MAC She’s Got Class, Cinderella Ball Gown, MAC How to Marry, and MAC Crystal Avalanche are all very similar–just to name a few.

Starry Black is a matte black (with silver sparkle, but it never shows up and doesn’t even make it onto the swatch!). This shade had the best payoff of the four eyeshadows! It was stiff and a bit dry, but it wasn’t powdery. Like the white eyeshadow, matte black eyeshadows are numerous (it’s a classic, basic shade, and everyone should have at least one!). When you put out core/basic shades, you have to do them well, because there are too many options available to settle for less.

Technically, all four eyeshadows had silver sparkles in them, but they come loose as soon as the brush hits the pan–they just flake away or get caught in the bristles of your brush. It was a disappointing palette and not worth the $65 I spent on it. I had hoped that this palette would be better than the other Warhol palettes, because each product was in a separate well, but it was not meant to be. It’s hard for me to comprehend how the textures and payoff throughout the collection were so far off the norm for NARS.

Dry and powdery is one of the more¬†frustrating¬†textures to work, because you don’t even get the blendability and payoff that really soft eyeshadows (which can be powdery) have to their advantage. ¬†The highlighter was the best product in the palette, but there was a general theme: poor color payoff, dry/stiff/powdery textures, and fading throughout the day. ¬†Despite layering the eyeshadows over NARS’ own eyeshadow primer, these were looking very faded after eight hours (and without a primer, they had disappeared after six and a half).

P.S. — There is no step-by-step for this palette, because I tested and took photos prior to starting those!

NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette


Video: Mid-Week in Review – NARS Andy Warhol Collection

Video: Mid-Week in Review, Vol. 003

This is a long one, so grab a snack! ūüôā ¬†The video is really dual-purpose — it’s really a recap of the past four days, but it also is a recap of the NARS and Andy Warhol collaboration (from what we’ve seen so far). ¬†I hope you enjoy!

Products mentioned:

Makeup Breakdown

On eyes: Le Metier de Beaute Nouvelle Vague Kaleidoscope Eye Kit (Nouvelle, Gamine, Icon), Urban Decay Rockstar Eyeliner (lower lash line), and Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Lengthening Mascara. On face: Make Up For Ever HD Foundation (125), Milani Dolce Pink Blush, Guerlain Les Voilettes Mineral Powder. On lips: Guerlain Paresse Rouge G L’Extrait Lip Color.

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NARS Andy Warhol Larger Than Life Lipglosses

NARS Candy Says Larger Than Life Lipgloss

These Lipglosses Might Surprise You

NARS Larger Than Life Lipgloss ($26.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) comes in five hues for the holidays: Candy Says (shimmering strawberry pink), Hollywoodlawn (bright orange-red), International Velvet (pink glace), Penny Arcade (raspberry), and Viva (rich rose). In the press release, these are described as having “brilliant shine” that “stays in place for hours” with “intense color” in a formula that keeps lips feeling “protected and moisturized.” NARS’ website describes these as “high-shine,” “long-lasting,” and “nourish[ing].”

Candy Says is a light-medium warm pink with subtle yellow undertones and a large dose of white micro-shimmer. It provides semi-opaque color coverage that is close to opaque, but the natural lip color does come through and will be more apparent the more pigmented your natural lip color is. This shade was hard to dupe, because of the more opaque color–most glosses that might be similar lacked the color in the background. It wore for five and a half hours. MAC Sewet Bean is sheerer and has multi-colored shimmer. MAC Karin has pink shimmer. Bobbi Brown Pastel is sheerer and has larger sparkle.

Hollywoodlawn is red-orange (more red than orange) with no shimmer. It yielded semi-opaque color coverage, but more importantly, it was very even, smooth-looking color that didn’t settle too noticeably into lip lines (and certainly, not noticeable from a normal viewing distance!). It lasted for six hours on my lips. NARS Wonder is similar, a smidgen darker, and has shimmer. MAC Knockout is creamier looking, slightly more orange. Illamasqua Temper is more orange.

International Velvet is a pale, milky pink with almost a neutral undertone–it looks almost cool-toned in the tube, but it doesn’t look very blue-based on. It is incredibly milky, though, which resulted in uneven color application and noticeable color settling into lip lines. This was my least favorite out of the five, because of the application problems. It lasted for four and a half hours. MAC Pagoda has shimmer. MA Angel is more opaque and has shimmer. Tom Ford Sugar Pink is darker and yellower. Bobbi Brown Pink Sorbet is darker, more yellow-toned, and has shimmer. MAC Japanese Spring is bluer in undertone.

Penny Arcade is a raspberry pink with no shimmer. It doesn’t apply as nicely as Hollywoodlawn did, but it was better than International Velvet. The color isn’t quite as even, and there is minor settling of color into the lip lines. The latter wasn’t so noticeable from afar, but the unevenness was. The color coverage was semi-opaque. It wore for five and a half hours. MAC Cherry Electric is lighter and has glitter. MAC Galaxy Rose is less fuchsia. NARS Mexican Rose is rather similar. Le Metier de Beaute Hibiskiss is similar but sheerer and has shimmer. Illamasqua Petulant is more opaque, brighter, less raspberry–more fuchsia.

Viva is a rose-tinted brown with mostly neutral undertones. In some ways, it’s almost like a subdued, browned coral. It has a creamy appearance, but it doesn’t look milky on. It does take a little more patience to apply, because any unevenness is noticeable. The color coverage was semi-opaque–not fully opaque but close–and allowed some of the natural lip color to peek through. This shade wore for five hours on my lips. MAC Strictly Plutonic is sheerer, softer. MAC Whoops! is darker, more orange. Hourglass Nectar is brighter, more coral. MAC Viva Glam Cyndi is lighter and has shimmer.

Overall, I found all five lipglosses to be comfortable to wear, on the longer-side of wear, and hydrating. ¬†International Velvet was the under-performer, both because of application, as well as wear. ¬†The texture is gel-like initially, but it gets progressively tackier as the color wears (it’s noticeably tacky after a half hour or so). ¬†It has a tiny brush-type applicator, and I find that if I use it to apply, I really end up using the hard plastic applicator above it, too. ¬†I know NARS wanted to make it smaller to increase precision, but it seems to leave a lot of brush strokes behind.

NARS Andy Warhol Larger Than Life Lipglosses


NARS TV Party Nail Lacquer

NARS TV Party Nail Lacquer

Where’s the Remote? It’s Time for a TV Party!

NARS TV Party Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “vivid orange.” It’s a medium-dark orange with a cream finish. It’s vibrant without being neon. Nails Inc. Porchester Place is a bit less orange, almost subdued in a way. Illamasqua Gamma is brighter. Zoya Jancyn is lighter. MAC Morange is darker and more red-toned. ¬†It’s bright without being blindingly neon, and it’s not too dark. ¬†It also doesn’t have strong red undertones, so it is a bit different than some other oranges I have in my stash.

TV Party was opaque in two coats, and it was a cinch to apply: ¬†flowed evenly and fluidly across the nail without bubbling, streaking, or pooling at the edge of the nail. ¬†The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it dried down faster than the average polish. ¬†It even has a glossy shine in the dried finish, so a top coat could be optional. ¬†I usually get a full week of wear or longer with NARS’ polishes–no chips, just very minor tip wear.

P.S. — Am I the only one who wanted to wear black and orange nails after seeing both shades in this collection?

NARS Nail Polish TV Party
TV Party

NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette

NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette

One Out of Three Isn’t So Bad, Right?

NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) features a variation on Warhol’s Self Portrait (1967) painting. This palette is described as “dark brown with shimmer overspray, rose pink, and heather blue.” 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 actually a matte medium-dark brown with warm undertones. It had a stiff, dry texture and, subsequently, poor color payoff. However, when applied to the lid, it was able to pack a bit more color, and at least, it was buildable to mostly true-to-pan color. It required some extra effort to blend. Dior Aurora is more shimmery. Bobbi Brown Cocoa Berry is darker. Benefit Dandy Brandy has more shimmer. Urban Decay YDK has a frosted finish. MAC Lie Low is similar but more pearly.

The second shade is a softened, burnt orange with a faint satin sheen. It’s a little terracotta-like. It was soft without being powdery, smooth, and had good pigmentation. MAC Hot Paprika is a bit brighter.

The third shade is a dusty gray-tinged purple with a hint of blue. It had a matte finish, and it was a bit powdery, but the color payoff was good–some sheerness. It was harder to use on the lid, though, as it was prone to fading and disappearing. Blendable, yes, but so blendable that trying to blend it resulted in most of it billowing off the lid in a little puff of powdery smoke. As a result, it tended to look faded from the get-go. theBalm Matt Horowitz is darker.

Of the three shades, the only one I experienced major issues while wearing them was the purple shade, which faded quickly. The brown shade takes some extra effort, but it’s do-able, and it wears well. This, of course, shouldn’t be necessary at this price point. It’s better than the other palettes, but I don’t think it’s a fantastic palette overall. The color combination can work, but it’s an unusual one, so some may not feel it’s versatile enough.

NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette


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