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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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


NARS Superstar Nail Lacquer

Maybe Not Teal, But It’s Still Quite Nice

NARS Superstar Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “teal.” It’s a dark, smoky blue with just a hint of teal (which is more apparent in the bottle than on the nail) and a cream finish. Essie Go Overboard is quite similar, though I’d say it leans a bit closer to teal with less blue. MAC Deep Sea is darker and greener. Rescue Beauty Lounge Teal is darker and more teal.

It’s almost opaque in one coat, but you definitely need two for fully opaque color. The consistency is the right balance between thick and thin, so it yields good coverage and applies evenly without pooling along the edges of the nail. It dried down quickly and had a naturally glossy shine (swatches are without a top coat). I typically get a full week of wear with NARS’ formula with very minor tip wear and no chipping.

The Glossover

LE
product

Superstar

A+
Lovely formula, rich color, amazingly shiny dry down--there's nothing to criticize here!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Monday, September 3rd, 2012


NARS 15 Minutes Nail Lacquer

A Pop of Spring in Your Holiday Line-Up

NARS 15 Minutes Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “lemon yellow.” It’s a slightly pastel sunshine yellow. MAC Near Beth Experience is much lighter. Rescue Beauty Lounge Yellow Fever is much darker. China Glaze Lemon Fizz is also much lighter. In the end, I couldn’t think of any dupes from previous shades I’ve reviewed.

This reads very springtime to me, though I can see why it’s a hue incorporated into this collection as a result of the collaboration with Andy Warhol.  Of all the five individually releasnig shades, 15 Minutes was the “worst” performing.  It is a bit streaky, and it did have a longer dry down time compared to the other four.  For a yellow, it’s rather good, though.  I think with a couple of practice applications, most of the streakiness can be dealt with. The color is opaque after two coats, though, and the formula doesn’t feel too thick, but it is on the slightly thicker side.  NARS’ polish typically wears well on me with very minor tip wear after seven days–some shades I’ve worn for as long as ten days.

The Glossover

LE
product

15 Minutes

A-
It's a color I couldn't think of a dupe for, so that always counts for something, but the formula isn't perfect. It's particularly good given how difficult it is to find a good pastel yellow polish, though.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

3.5/5

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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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