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NARS Olympia Contour Blush

NARS Olympia Contour Blush
NARS Olympia Contour Blush

NARS Olympia Contour Blush ($42.00 for 0.28 oz.) features a highlight and contour shade, and they’re supposed to add “natural-looking dimension for the face with a lightweight luminous finish.” The finish is far closer to matte than luminous or satin for both shades, and depending on your skin tone and skin type, the more matte highlighter might not read very illuminating on the skin. The contrast on my skin tone did seem to give a slight illuminating effect without the shimmer or sheen, though. The powders lasted for eight hours on my skin before beginning to fade.

The Highlight shade is a very light–almost white–beige with neutral-to-warm undertones. In the pan and swatched on my skin tone, it has a smidgen of warmth. The texture was finely-milled and soft enough to be a little powdery in the pan, but it didn’t look powdery applied to the skin. It had good color payoff, and it was very true-to-pan. This is not your traditional highlighter–there’s no shimmer to it at all–as it is matte. It is going to resemble more of a very light-toned powder foundation than traditional highlighters — MAC Too Chic (LE, $24.00) is light and beige but much more shimmery. See comparison swatches.

The Contour is a rosy, medium beige-brown with subtle warm undertones and a mostly matte finish. The texture of this shade was soft, blendable, and finely-milled, albeit a little powdery in the pan again, but it didn’t appear powdery applied to the skin. Tarina Tarantino Neopolitan Lane (P, $25.00) is a bit brighter. Kevyn Aucoin Natura (P) is browner. NARS Douceur (P, $29.00) is browner, darker. MAC Blush All Day (P, $23.50) is pinker. MAC Baby Don’t Go (P, $23.50) is a touch darker. Burberry Earthy (P, $42.00) is darker, browner. See comparison swatches.

Also In This Review

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Contour

Permanent
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Cult Nails Casual Elegance, Intriguing, Winter’s Light Nail Lacquers

Cult Nails Casual Elegance Collection
Cult Nails Casual Elegance Collection

Cult Nails Casual Elegance Nail Lacquer ($15.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is described as a “lilac creme.” It’s a cool-toned, bluish-lavender with a cream finish. It was nearly opaque in a single coat, though I applied two to be sure. The consistency was slightly thicker, but it applied evenly, didn’t pool along the edges, and didn’t bubble. MAC Bleu Velvet (LE, $16.00) is more muted, almost gray-ish. Essie Rock the Boat (P, $8.00) is lighter, less purple. See comparison swatches.

Cult Nails Intriguing Nail Lacquer ($15.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is described as a “periwinkle with gray tones and some holographic shimmer.” It’s a faded, medium, gray-tinged blue with very fine white shimmer. The shimmer appeared holographic in the bottle, but I couldn’t see it on the nail at all, no matter whether I was outdoors or indoors. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it was opaque after two coats. Chanel Sky Line (LE, $27.00) is metallic, lighter. Zoya Skylar (P, $9.00) is darker, more shimmery. See comparison swatches.

Cult Nails Winter’s Light Nail Lacquer ($15.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is described as a “top coat with fine grain glitter.” It has a fuchsia-magenta jelly base with purple micro-glitter. In the initial release I read for this collection, it was recommended as a layering shade but could also be worn alone. On my index and middle fingers, I used three coats, and on my ring and pinky, I used two coats. I also showed one layer over black. The consistency is a little thick, and this one seemed to take longer to dry down. Once dry, it has a more matte finish that had some shine, but it was bumpy, so you’ll want to use two layers of top coat or a thicker top coat to smooth it out. Anna Sui Minnie Mouse Midnight Purple (200) (LE, $16.00) is cooler-toned, less glittery, more pigmented. See comparison swatches.

P.S. — If you’ve never purchased from Cult Nails before, if shop through this referral link, you’ll get $12 off $24 your first purchase.

A

Limited Edition

9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total
Intriguing
Intriguing
A

Limited Edition

9
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
94%
Total
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Limited Edition

8.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
8
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
91%
Total

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Sneak Peek: NARS Artistry Brushes Photos

NARS Artistry Brushes
NARS Artistry Brushes

Launching April 1st, NARS Artistry Brushes will feature 16 different shapes. (You can see the full list of what’s to come with pricing and information here.) The brushes range from $28 to $52. Each has a long, matte black handle with a matte black metal ferrule. The bottom of the handle is round and flat with a shiny red tip. It’ll take me at least a couple of weeks to work through these and use them enough to give you some thoughts–I really like to use and test brushes for several weeks (sometimes months) to see what I reach for, what works for this application or that one, and to see how they hold up to multiple washings. Stay tuned!

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Urban Decay Bondage Adhesive & Heavy Metal Loose Glitters

Urban Decay Summer 2014 Collection
Urban Decay Bondage Weightless Makeup Adhesive

Urban Decay Bondage Weightless Makeup Adhesive ($14.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is described as a “clear, water-based adhesive [that] sets and holds glitter.” It’s supposed to help the brand’s new Heavy Metal Loose Glitter apply “for a full-on jewel-encrusted effect that lasts all day (with very little fallout).” It’s a good thing they added that little bit “with very little fallout,” because I tried two different shades of the new glitters on top of the adhesive, and there was still some fall out. It seemed like one or two glitter particles fell per hour, but in general, the glitter adhered well and was comfortable to wear over the adhesive. The consistency is very much weightless, and it doesn’t feel tacky or thick, so it’s easy to spread across the lid, but I found you needed a fair amount of it on the skin if you wanted a solid glitter effect. If I spread out the adhesive, the glitter tended to apply in a sheer, sparse layer. The adhesive definitely breaks down easily with water, though getting all the bits of glitter off is a different story (more on that below).

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Loose Glitter ($12.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as an “easy-to-use loose glitter.” Each shade had the same instructions included on a separate pamphlet in the box, which said to lay down a layer of their adhesive first, then with fingertips or brushes, apply the glitter. I didn’t like using fingertips, because the majority of the glitter stuck to my finger and only a smattering adhered to the lid.

The jar has a plastic sifter that is level with the top of the jar, so you have to tap out the glitter into the lid, which makes closing it a glittery mess. I wish the sifter was dropped, so that there was a couple millimeters of space for the glitter to sit on top of the sifter but still inside the jar. When I used a brush, a lot of the glitter didn’t stick to my brush–there is a very small window of how you make the journey from jar to eyelid and keeping your brush just so, and then patting it on the lid and hoping that most of it sticks to the lid. I had three or four times the amount of glitter underneath my lid as on it unless I really slathered on the adhesive, and I had to put adhesive straight onto the brush, too.

The included instructions said to brush away any excess during application, and while those glitters might not stay on the lid on their own, they weren’t easy to remove them from the skin. I tried several different methods, but I ended up resorting to tape. Urban Decay’s loose glitters aren’t really any more difficult or easier to use than most loose glitters available–they’re simply not an improvement on the status quo. With the particle size of these, I prefer using something like Lit Cosmetics’ adhesive base, because I can easily apply it to the lid and my brush to really minimize the fall out during application and get a much more glitter to adhere at once.

ACDC is described as a “bright purple glitter.” It’s a medium, cool-toned purple glitter.

Catfight is described as a “pink glitter.” It’s a medium-dark, pinky-red glitter. MAC Pink (P, $21.00) is finer. See comparison swatches.

Goldmine is described as a “yellow-gold glitter.” It’s a medium-dark yellow-toned gold glitter.

Loaded is described as a “bright, deep green glitter.” It’s an emerald green with cool undertones glitter. Lit Cosmetics Yoda (P, $12.95) is lighter, finer. See comparison swatches.

Pyrotechnics is described as an “iridescent glitter.” It’s a multi-colored mix of iridescent pink, lilac, and gold glitter.

Reverb is described as a “bright, deep blue glitter.” It’s a medium-dark blue glitter. Lit Cosmetics Bar Star (P, $12.95) is finer, more multi-dimensional. See comparison swatches.

See more photos & swatches!

Urban Decay Chaos & Bang Nail Colors

Urban Decay Chaos Nail Color
Urban Decay Chaos & Bang Nail Colors

Urban Decay Chaos Nail Color ($15.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is described as a “vibrant cobalt blue with floating tonal pearl.” It’s a brightened, medum-dark blue with a purple tint–just enough to make it a cobalt blue–with lighter blue micro-shimmer. It had a glossy finish when it dried down, and it was mostly opaque after two coats–there was a shadow of visible nail line that sometimes was apparent depending on the angle/light. Formula X Beacon (P, $12.50) is darker. MAC Blue Gaze (LE, $16.00) is darker, less shimmery. Illamasqua Force (P, $17.00) is darker, less shimmery. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Pond (P, $10.00) is less shimmery, slightly darker. China Glaze Blue Year’s Eve (LE, $7.50) is a touch darker. See comparison swatches.

Urban Decay Bang Nail Color ($15.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is described as a “bright orange with subtle floating iridescent pearl.” It’s a bright, medium orange with warm, orange-red undertones and molten gold micro-shimmer. It was opaque after two coats, and it applied evenly without visible brush strokes. Zoya Amy (P, $9.00) is more shimmery, brighter. Cult Nails Ay Poppy (DC, $12.00) is less shimmery. NARS TV Party (LE, $19.00) is less shimmery. MAC Morange (P, $16.00) is less shimmery. Illamasqua Gamma (P, $17.00) is brighter, less shimmery. China Glaze Riveting (LE, $7.50) has larger shimmer. See comparison swatches.

Chaos
Chaos
9
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9.5
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total
Bang
Bang
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9.5
Longevity
5
Application
96%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Gaze Brush Set Review & Photos (Quick)

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Gaze Brush Set
Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Gaze Brush Set

Sephora + Pantone Universe Color Gaze Brush Set ($68.00) is a limited edition, six-piece brush set with a “Radiant Orchid”-hued carrying case. It comes with two face brushes, three eye brushes, and one lip brush. The set has some limitations and, as tends to be the case with brush sets, you’ll want to see it in person to judge the sizes to see if they’re right for your features.  The handles of all six brushes were well-balanced and weighted; they didn’t feel too light or too heavy, and they fit well in my hands.  This is only a brief review (almost more of an overview), as I haven’t tested them for long and don’t intend to use them long-term to test wear and tear and the like.

The Stippling Brush was noticeably scratchy when I used it in a stippling motion; sweeping it lightly across the planes of the face to apply foundation, it didn’t seem as scratchy, but using the flat edge or stippling motions was unpleasant. The longest bristles were soft, but the shorter ones looked dry and felt that way. The other six brushes were very soft, and I didn’t have any issues with them from a softness/feel standpoint.

The Angled Blush Brush seemed a little larger than the average brush of this shape, but it worked well for blending and placing color, though it doesn’t pick up powder products perfectly (makes everything seem a little under-pigmented). The All-Over Shadow Brush was massive–it looks almost like a small face brush–and even seemed too large for under-eye concealing, blending, or setting (which is something I often use larger eye brushes for). The Shadow Brush was slightly larger than the average eyeshadow brush for patting and packing on eyeshadow, and it worked fairly well but did not deposit as much color in one go as some other brushes I have. I really liked the Crease Brush, as it was incredibly soft, not too dense or too sparse, and wasn’t floppy. If you have smaller eyes, I think that all three of the eye brushes are on the larger side.

Oddly enough, what I liked most about the set was the case. It’s slim, but fairly large (about ten inches tall and five inches wide) and easily accommodates the seven brushes from the kit and then some. It reminded me of a more freeform version of a brush roll or bag. It was actually designed to open and stand up on its own, which is does, and it was a nice feature–handy when traveling. The bag seemed sturdy with a pebbled “Radiant Orchid” exterior, silver zipper, and lined inside with a darker purple.