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NARS Interstellar, Mozambique, Black Valley Eye Paints

NARS Mozambique Eye Paint
NARS Interstellar Eye Paint

NARS Interstellar Eye Paint ($25.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as a “silver.” It’s a bright, metallic silver. It had fairly good color payoff, but it was more prone to sheering out than some of the other shades. This is one of the less unique shades in the range, and you can find many silver eyeliners/cream eyeshadows on the market. Maybelline Cool Crush is slightly cooler-toned. Bobbi Brown Chrome is similar. Urban Decay Cuff is darker. Maybelline Silver Strike is similar. MAC Tundra is darker. Buxom Chihuahua is similar. See comparison swatches.

Mozambique is described as “olive.” It’s a mossy, yellow-toned, medium-dark green with a mostly matte finish. It was very, very creamy and pigmented. I felt like this one was prone to sheering out, though, on the lid because of how much slip it had.  I couldn’t think of any eyeliner or cream eyeshadow dupes for this shade–everything was either much darker or much less yellow.

Black Valley is described as “black.” It’s a rich, deep dark black with a matte finish. It is, obviously, a shade that you can find in many brands’ gel eyeliner ranges, so it’s not unique. It just comes down to whether the formula is better for you than others, so while it’s not particularly exciting, it makes sense for every brand to do their version of it since it is a basic. Here are many black eyeliners/black cream eyeshadows from other brands.

Please refer to my original review here for a more in-depth look at the formula as a whole. To recap, Eye Paints are designed to be a long-wearing, highly-pigmented gel formula that can be used as an eyeshadow or as an eyeliner. I applied each shade using NARS’ #38 brush to mimic applying it as an eyeliner (narrow swatch) and then applied the same color with the horizontal edge of the #38 to mimic applying it as an all-over lid color (wide swatch). The formua’s strength is its creaminess and intense color payoff, but it dries and sets very quickly so it can be difficult to blend the shades together or soften the edges if you do not work quickly.

I’m waiting on Tatar in the mail, so I’ll have a review of that shade later next week, but these are the least three shades I tested and found they were in line with the rest of the range. I layered powder eyeshadow over Iskandar and Mozambique (an Inglot gold eyeshadow and MAC Velvet Moss, which I believe is discontinued–I was just aiming to get as close to the base color). Layering powder over the Eye Paints seemed to be the best way to use them all over the eye, as it maximized the wear time–ten to twelve hours with very minimal fading and no creasing–while creating a perfectly even surface once the powder eyeshadows were layered on top. Alone, I had noticeable fading with Mozambique after six and a half hours (Iskandar holds up better–the shimmery shades have been slightly more fade-resistant for longer compared to the more matte shades) but no creasing. It was significantly faded after ten hours. Black Valley and Interstellar wear best as eyeliners, getting to eight hours of wear with no fading or migrating. On the lid, Black Valley manages well for seven hours but starts to fade from there, and it did crease just slightly after eight hours, while Interstellar lasts with just slight fading at eight hours but no creasing.

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NARS Transvaal, Solomon Islands, Ubangi Eye Paints

NARS Transvaal Eye Paint
NARS Transvaal Eye Paint

NARS Transvaal Eye Paint ($25.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as a “grey.” It’s a medium-dark, neutral-cool gray with a mostly matte finish. It was intensely pigmented and very creamy. NARS Madison Ave. is bluer, darker. Maybelline Audacious Asphalt is shimmery, warmer. See comparison swatches.

Solomon Islands is described as “turquoise blue.” It’s a medium-dark blue with a hint of teal/green to give it a more turquoise coloring. It has a matte finish and rich color payoff. MAC Mountain Air is darker and pearly, but it was the only turquoise-ish cream eyeshadow/eyeliner I could think of to compare. See comparison swatches.

Ubangi is described as a “black with blue shimmer.” It’s a cool-toned black with medium blue and navy blue micro-shimmer. This particular shade had a very slippery consistency–it was wetter than the others–and the color payoff was less intense as it had a tendency to sheer out. Urban Decay Sabbath is bluer. MAC Night Trail is similar. MAC Petrol Blue is lighter, bluer. MAC Waveline is lighter, less shimmery. bareMinerals Noon is more muted. See comparison swatches.

Please refer to my original review here for a more in-depth look at the formula as a whole. To recap, Eye Paints are designed to be a long-wearing, highly-pigmented gel formula that can be used as an eyeshadow or as an eyeliner. I applied each shade using NARS’ #38 brush to mimic applying it as an eyeliner (narrow swatch) and then applied the same color with the horizontal edge of the #38 to mimic applying it as an all-over lid color (wide swatch). The formua’s strength is its creaminess and intense color payoff, but it dries and sets very quickly so it can be difficult to blend the shades together or soften the edges if you do not work quickly.

As a cream eyeshadow, the wear is just okay; there is some fading apparent after six to seven hours, and Ubangi seemed more prone to fading than the other two shades. I did not experience creasing with any of these shades. When worn as an eyeliner, Solomon Islands did not fade or migrate, and it seemed to last quite well over a nine-hour period. These definitely perform best as eyeliners, less so as cream eyeshadows. If you want to use them as a base, they wear well with powder eyeshadow on top–no creasing or fading after ten hours of wear.

See more photos & swatches!

NARS Iskandar, Mesopotamia, Snake Eyes Eye Paints

NARS Iskandar Eye Paint
NARS Iskandar Eye Paint

NARS Eye Paints ($25.00 for 0.08 oz.) is supposed to be a long-wearing, highly-pigmented gel formula that can be used as an eyeshadow or eyeliner. The consistency is very creamy, and just about every single shade I tried was incredibly pigmented. These dry down very, very quickly, so you have to work fast, and they take some work to blend with each other as a result. Using one or two isn’t so bad, but add a third into the mix, and it can be troublesome. The edges need to be blended almost immediately, or else layered with a similar-colored eyeshadow to help diffuse the drier edge. Yesterday, I wore these primarily as eyeshadows (but also two as eyeliner on the lower lash line) over bare lids. I experienced very slight creasing after seven hours of wear as well as some slight fading, which worsened and was noticeable after eight and a half hours of wear. As an eyeliner, they lasted better and did not fade or migrate over a nine hour period.

Iskandar was the easiest to apply and blend out, while Mesopotamia was the one that set the quickest and was most difficult to blend. I like a fairly flat, somewhat narrow, brush with a little thickness and a domed edge for applying these (I used MAC’s 242), because it’s useful for placing dense color but also has enough density and thickness that it can blend out the edges, too. Today, I’m testing a couple other shades for wear (alone) but as well as with eyeshadow on top (so more as a base) to see how they perform that way. Tomorrow, I’ll try them over NARS’ Smudge Proof Primer to wrap everything up with a neat little bow.  One last thing: the size on these is slightly smaller than average gel eyeliners (usually around 0.10 oz. or so).

Iskandar is described as “gold.” It’s a rich, medium-dark gold with orange and bronze undertones and a copper and gold shimmer. It has a frosted, metallic finish. The color payoff was rich and opaque whether applied as an eyeliner or as an eyeshadow–I used NARS’ #38 brush for the thinner swatch and then turned it horizontally for the larger swatch. NARS Campo de Fiori is similar. Maybelline Bold Gold is less warm-toned. MAC Going for the Gold is darker. Illamasqua Alchemy is yellower. See comparison swatches.

Mesopotamia is described as “brown.” It’s a deep brown with subtle warm, red undertones and a matte finish. It is richly pigmented and applied smoothly. Bobbi Brown Chocolate is warmer. Urban Decay Demolition is similar. MAC rich Experience is also similar. Buxom Two by Four is slightly warmer. See comparison swatches.

Snake Eyes is described as “black with green shimmer.” It’s a deep black with brown undertones with emerald green pearl. It had fairly good color payoff but to make the pearl stand out, two layers are needed. Urban Decay Loaded is lighter. MAC Dark Envy is greener. MAC My Next Indulgence is lighter. See comparison swatches.

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How to Contour & Highlight with Cream Foundation


Before Contouring / After Contouring with NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

Contouring with cream foundation is an easy way to achieve seamless, blended contours and highlights because you’re using products designed to work together in order to create a canvas that transitions from shadow to skin to highlight beautifully. Highlighting and contouring bring back definition and shape to the face, especially after you’ve created a beautiful, flawless blank canvas with your foundation. Because foundations are one color, and depending on the coverage, they can leave the face looking flat and shapeless.

More of us are familiar with highlighters–shimmering powders and creams patted along the high planes of the face to reflect light–but contouring can be a more difficult and daunting task. The best part about makeup, though, is freedom of choice; you can go as defined as you’d like, so you don’t have to go for a dramatic contour and highlight but something subtle that just defines and helps lift the face. I’ve tried to show a more dramatic contour (but you could go further and make it even more dramatic) so that you can clearly see the differences before and after.

Don’t be afraid if you’re new to contouring!  Uzo, NARS International Lead Stylist, recommends beginners to use cream foundations for contouring “because they are easier to blend” as “powders in an unskilled hand can make contouring look harsh and un-blended while liquids don’t give enough definition. It is not about having a stripe of darker, un-diffused color along the sides of the face but subtly blended dimension that defines the cheekbones (and jaw line).”

With the full range of NARS Radiant Cream CompactAdvertisement at my disposal, I matched my skin tone match to Santa Fe, which is described as a “medium with peachy undertone,” and it is categorized as “Medium 2.” This is the product I used to create the blank canvas (as my regular foundation) to even out my skin color and cover any blemishes and imperfections.

Find your shade match using our NARS + Temptalia Foundation Matrix–just enter your current foundation and out pops your new shade match!

To highlight, I chose Siberia. Generally, your highlight shade should be two to four shades lighter than your actual skin color. To contour, I used Cadiz along with Benares. I opted for two, because I wanted a subtler contour on areas like my nose and eyes, but I wanted a deeper, more dramatic contour for slimming and defining my cheekbones and jawline. Generally, you will want to select a shade that is two to four shades darker than your natural complexion and opt for a shade that has similar undertones to your skin tone or one that is more neutral.

Now, get the step-by-step! 

5 Gorgeous Lipsticks for Autumn (2013 Edition)

From blushes to lipsticks, I have my personal five favorites for fall lip color! This idea is courtesy of readers Maribel, Sara, Shahnaz, Camille, and Rebecca, who all wanted to see some great shades for autumn. As always, I look forward to hearing about your top five!

  1. NARS Train Bleu — matte, purple berry
  2. Burberry Bright Plum — bright, bold berry-pink
  3. MAC Endless Drama — deep red
  4. Buxom Runaway — rusty plum
  5. Urban Decay Venom — shimmering berry

What are your top five fall lip colors?

Top 5 Blushes for Autumn (2013 Edition)

With fall coming around the corner, reader Maribel’s suggestion for a top five on blush picks for fall was spot-on! In this list, I wanted a good variety in color, not just a bunch of plums. I thought about the colors we tend to see more often during fall, like berries, plums, and burgundies, but not just on cheeks but lips, too. When I wear a stronger lip, I like pairing it with cool pinks or neutral browns/beiges, so cheeks can still have color and definition but not too much color.

  1. NARS Dolce Vita — medium-dark, rosy plum with a satin finish
  2. Burberry Earthy — satin-finished medium brown-beige
  3. Chanel Inspiration — slightly cool-toned, light-medium pink
  4. MAC Ambering Rose — warm, rusty plum
  5. NARS Oasis — shimmering plum

What’s your favorite blush for fall?