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NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “shimmering plum.” It’s a dark burgundy plum with softer plum shimmer. Bare Escentuals Passion is slightly redder, less frosted. Le Metier de Beaute Fig is very similar, perhaps a little warmer. Guerlain Boulevard de Montparnasse is plummier. Tarina Tarantino Fantastical is purpler.

I have to emphasize how NARS markets the formula: “easy, portable, long-wearing application,” “functionality to shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye,” “an ideal base for layering with a powder shadow for increased color intensity,” “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula.” Then, from the press release for this collection and specific shade, “This versatile, shimmering plum Soft Touch Shadow Pencil is the ideal complement for color on lids. Named for the region south of Naples, at the “toe” of the Italian Peninsula—it can be worn solo, as a base for powder shadows, or as a liner.”

The reason why this pencil can’t make it past five minutes (let alone an hour) without creasing is that it never dries down. It remains glossy and creamy for as long as I wear it–after three hours, I removed it and tried using it as a base with powder eyeshadows over it, but it creased horribly after an hour. The areas where the product has creased and accumulated are very slick, while the color on the lid will transfer onto my finger even with the slightest tough. There’s always a fine line between too quick and too slow when it comes to a cream eyeshadow/base product, but this one takes “too slow” to new lengths. I used it as an eyeliner and set it with eyeshadow, but it was entirely smudged after two hours and I had to remove it. The consistency is very, very creamy, which means it doesn’t tug or pull on the lid or lash line when it’s used, but it has a tendency to apply unevenly as it slides around the lid.

I am often asked why do I keep reviewing this formula only to give it a bad rating:  would (or should) I stop reviewing new shades of a good product? I don’t think so.  My policy is to review as many products as I can, whether or not they are good, bad, or just so-so.  Aside from the idea that all shades are individual and may perform better/worse than other shades in the same formula, there’s still value in reviewing a product, even if it’s consistently good or bad.  There’s opportunity to confirm that it is or isn’t consistent, how it may differ, the color, better alternatives on the market, and the like.  I wouldn’t seek this product out, but if NARS keeps making them and sending them to Temptalia for review, I’ll keep letting you know how they perform.

If you’ve been able to work these, I’d love to hear your thoughts! A review is always bolstered by reader comments – shared experience is what creates a fuller picture of how a product does and doesn’t perform.

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NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as an “iridescent orchid” and “regal blue.” The left shade is a pale pink lilac with a lavender iridescence. The color payoff is sheer and translucent. MAC Light Violet is a bit similar, though not as pink. Inglot #346 is also more lavender, less pink, and has a matte finish. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is similar, though perhaps a little pinker, and has more of a satin-like finish. The right shade is a darkened navy blue with a violet shimmer and sheen, which becomes more pronounced when applied (it looked less blue, more purple). The pigmentation on this is decent, but there is some sheerness in the swatch as well as when applied. Tom Ford Cobalt Rush is very, very similar–less iridescent. MAC Starless Night is much darker, deeper. MAC Imaginary is purpler.

This eyeshadow duo creased after six hours over an eyeshadow primer (NARS Smudgeproof, actually), and on top of the creasing, there was significant fading of both shades from this duo (the blue was on the upper half of the lid and in the crease while the lilac shade was blended above the crease). I have normal-to-dry lids, and NARS Smudgeproof is my go-to primer normally, and while NARS eyeshadows do, typically, have some minor creasing and/or fading when worn without a base after eight hours, the wear here was abnormal. The creasing became more apparent after eight hours, but the fading was surprisingly noticeable after six and steadily worsened as the day wore on. There was some minor fall out from the shimmer in the shades from this duo as well that occurred while it was worn (but I didn’t see any during application). The wear was just as bad without a primer–the creasing/fading just became noticeable at the four hour mark– I thought maybe the glaze-like finish would adhere better to bare lids but no dice.

The texture of this particular eyeshadow duo is unlike anything I can remember seeing from NARS. It has a very glaze-like finish, that’s almost a little wet, but still a powder. If you’re familiar with Stila’s Sparkle eyeshadows, Tom Ford’s Sparkle eyeshadows, or Urban Decay’s Stardust eyeshadows, you may have a better grasp of that kind of texture–these aren’t quite as “wet.” The closest texture would be to Tom Ford’s sparkle-finish eyeshadows. The bluer shade looks really lovely when applied–wet and shimmering–but it actually seemed to disappear as I was applying it. I went back three times to darken the color before leaving it alone. The lilac shade was pretty soft and didn’t want to build up in color at all; the iridescence in it is a lot less noticeable compared to the blue (it just looked like a pink-lilac).

I was exceptionally disappointed in the results of Marie-Galante.  As far as wear went, it killed me with three major no-nos:  creasing, fading, and fall out.  It had issues with color payoff, too, which was really just icing on an inedible cake–like a cake that looks delicious but turns out to be made out of plastic.

NARS Marie-Galante Eyeshadow Duo


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NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil
NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “nude beige pink.” It’s a light peach beige with a subtle shine. The color coverage is mostly opaque. It’s not quite as glossy or as shiny as other hues within the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil range, though. MAC Naturally Eccentric is lighter. MAC Peachstock is darker, more orange. Guerlain Guerlinade is slightly darker.  What I like about the color is that it’s more universally wearable–it’s not so pale and light that it becomes the kind of nude that can easily wash out complexions.  There’s enough warmth, color, and opaqueness to give lips a lighter look without washing them out.

When I wore Buenos Aires, it lasted for just over three and a half hours. There was a very slight tackiness after an hour or so–very subtle but still there. The texture is fairly lightweight and thin. While the formula is supposed to be moisturizing, I found it neutral; neither drying nor moisturizing. The tip of the pencil is soft and creamy, so it applies fairly easily and provides even coverage.  The packaging is a bit of a bummer, because the softness of the pencil means a lot of it gets stuck in the sharpener, so there is a fair amount of loss every time you sharpen it. You can freeze the pencil to help minimize it, but it’s still a problem.

NARS Vendanges Lipstick

NARS Vendanges Lipstick
NARS Vendanges Lipstick

NARS Vendanges Lipstick

NARS Vendanges Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “sheer grape.” It’s a semi-opaque plummy brown with a subtly glossy shine–it is a little more pigmented than I would expect for a shade from the sheer range. MAC Sheer Plum is much browner. MAC One of a Kind is quite similar. Estee Lauder Plum Fizz is redder. Guerlain Galante is lighter and less plum. Benefit I Think I Love You is shimmery. MAC So Very Good is darker. MAC Offshoot is plummier. Chanel Bel Ami is similar.

Vendanges is part of the Sheer Lipstick range, which is a formula that is supposed to be long-wearing with translucent color and “sophisticated shine.”  The lipstick is scent- and taste-free (and no waxy scent either–it seems NARS has fixed any issues they had with that particular scent, because I haven’t come across one in a very long time).   The consistency has just enough slip to yield that pretty shine in the finish as well as enables it to glide across the lips and deposit color evenly without being so slippery that it slides around.

This kind of sheer is lovely–there is a translucency that is apparent but there is still a healthy amount of color deposited.  It’s a deeper shade that’s not too vampy, so it’s easy to wear and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.  When I tested the wear of this shade yesterday, it wore well for four hours.  My lips felt hydrated after wear, too, so the formula is on the moisturizing side.

This Week’s Sales for April 16th, 2012

Feel free to share any upcoming deals you’ve spotted!

Deal Sites/Rebates

  • EBATES:  DermStore (7.5%), Lancome (7%), Beauty.com (6%)
  • FAB:  —
  • GILT:  StriVectin (4/16)
  • HAUTELOOK:  CARGO (4/17), myfaceworks (4/17), Hairdo by Jessica Simpson & POP (4/18), Goldfaden Skincare (4/18)
  • IDEELI:  —
  • MRREBATES:  Proactiv (25%), Sheer Cover (25%), WEN (25%), Murad (12%), SkinStore (10%), Apothica (10%), DermStore (10%), Clinique (8%), ULTA (8%), Beauty.com (8%)
  • MYHABIT: Belli (4/17), Amal Oils (4/19), Pharma Skincare (4/20)
  • Rue La La:  Freeze 24/7 (4/16)

Free Shipping, Coupon Codes, GWPs

  • APOTHICA: Free shipping on orders of $49+.
  • BATH & BODY WORKS:   20% off exclusive candles, wallflowers, body care, gifts, etc. with code FAVORITESCENTS, expires 4/29.
  • BEAUTY.COM:  Get $10 off $50 through THIS LINK
  • BENEFIT: Free shipping on $50+ purchases. Free international shipping with $125+ purchases.
  • BLISS:  Free silver and chocolate bag filled with Sisley mini goodies with $300+ Sisley purchase with code CUTEBAG, expires 4/30. Free kit with any $75+ purchase with 10ml Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask, 50ml Triple Oxygen Energizing Cleansing Foam, 15ml Triple Oxygen+C Energizing Cream with code TO2MINIS, expires 4/30.
  • BLOOM:  25% rewards back on your first purchase with code 25BACK. 30% rewards back on your first purchase with code 30BACK.
  • BLOOMINGDALE’S: Free shipping on orders of $150+ with code FS150.
  • BOBBI BROWN: Free shipping on $65+ orders.
  • CLINIQUE:  Free shipping on $50+ orders. Pick 3 mini spring favorites with any purchase, no code necessary, 4/16 through 4/18.
  • DERMSTORE:  10% off when you shop for your My Favorites List, expires 6/2/12.
  • GIORGIO ARMANI BEAUTY:   Free shipping with $75+ orders + 2 samples of choice for registered members. Free shipping with any $75+ purchase with code DESIGNER10, no expiration. Free shipping with any fragrance purchase with code SATIN, expires 4/21.
  • KIEHLS:  Free shipping on$50+ orders.  Free Lip Balm #1 with $65+ order with code EARTHDAY, expires 4/30. Purchase any eye treatment and enjoy a deluxe sample of your choice with code GLOW, expires 4/23.
  • LANCOME: Free 4-piece sample set plus free shipping with $45+ order with code LANAPRIL, expires 4/30. Free 7-piece deluxe gift set with clutch and 50 Facebook credits, plus free shipping, with $60+ orders, no code necessary, expires 4/15.
  • MOLTON BROWN:  Free 300ml Hand Lotion and free shipping with £45+ orders with code HANDSUP, expires 4/17.
  • NORDSTROM:  Free shipping & free returns everyday. Free lancome gift (valued up to $139) with any $39.50 Lancome purchase.
  • OJON: Free shipping and free returns.
  • ORIGINS:  Free shipping on $50+ orders, no code necessary. Free Origins eco-friendly tote + travel-size duo of Make a Difference Hand Treatment & Peace of Mind with $30+ orders.  Free shipping on any order, expires 6/30.  Free A Perfect World cleanser (30ml) with any skincare purchase, 4/10 through 4/21. Free wish bracelet with any skincare, plus plant a tree on your behalf, expires 4/28.
  • PHILOSOPHY:   Free shipping on $50+ orders, no code necessary.
  • SAKS FIFTH AVENUE:  Spend $150 and get a free subscription to Harper’s Bazaar with code BAZAAR. Spend $250 to $499, get $25; Spend $500 to $999, get $50, etc. Free shipping on $150+ orders with code APRSFA.
  • SEPHORA:    Choose 1-4 fragrance sample bags with $25+ purchase with code 6SCENTS, 4/27 through 5/31.  Free Lancome Hypnose Instant Drama mascara deluxe sample with $25+ purchase with code DRAMA, 4/24 through 5/24.  Choose 1-2 deluxe fragrance samples with $25+ purchase with code SCENT4U, 4/24 through 5/24.  Choose 1 of 2 free Origins deluxe moisturizer samples with $25+ purchase with code EARTH12, 4/21 through 5/21.  Free Narcisco Rodriguez for Her Eau de Toilette deluxe sample spray with $25+ purchase with code 4HER, 4/18 through 5/21.  3 free Stila Eyeshadow Palette cards with $25+ purchase with code TRYSTILA, 4/17 through 5/20.  Free PTR Retinol Fusion PM deluxe sample with $25+ purchase with code PTRSERUM, expires 5/24.  Free Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Tote with purchase of 3.4 oz. EDP with code WONDER, expires 5/24.  $30 off Philosophy Hope in a Jar and Eye Hope Duo with code HOPEDUO, expires 4/23.
  • SKINSTORE.COM:  20% off select gift ideas under $200 with code NEW2012, expiration unknown.
  • TARTE: Free shipping on $40+ orders.
  • THE BODY SHOP (USA): Buy 2, get 1 free on select products, 4/2 through 4/29. Free shipping on $25+ orders with code MDAY, expires 4/29.
  • ULTA: $3.50 off $10+ purchase with code 78857, exclusions apply.
  • YSL:  Free shipping on any order, no code necessary. Free Touche Eclat mini with $75+ purchase with code TOUCHEMINI, expires 4/10.