Showing posts with label Bronzer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bronzer. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

NARS NARSissist L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour Eyeshadow Palette and NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette


NARS is killing it this spring. There seems to be something to love in every launch so far this year from the Hot Sand Collection, Velvet Matte Skin Tints and freshly launched Spring Color Collection (a few items to be reviewed on the blog soon but in the meantime check out swatches on my friend Café Makeup's page). I'm particularly smitten with the Hot Sand/Laguna Cheek Duo and the Velvet Skin Tints are  There are two new palettes this spring, one for eyes and one for cheeks, both limited edition. For eyes we have the NARSissist L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour Eyeshadow Palette ($59 for 12 eyeshadows) and for the cheeks there is the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette ($65, Sephora Exclusive). Both of these come in some seriously sturdy packaging - they are cased in hefty mirrored compacts and I think the presentation is exquisite.

The NARSissist L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour Eyeshadow Palette has twelve eyeshadows that seem to feature a new formula. Many of you have expressed dissatisfaction in the quality and texture of shadows in previous palettes (in particular the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette from 2014ish). I haven't tried all of the palettes NARS has launched, but never had an issue with texture. Size of pans has been significantly smaller in previous releases which I found a bit challenging to dip larger brushes into, but it seems as though NARS took all the complaints of past palettes and made changes for the better with this one.


The texture of these is feels slightly creamy, but they are all powders - pigment is smooth and easy to layer. Some of the dark matte shades will go on a bit patchy if you use a medium to large brush - so I recommend trying a small detail dense brush to layer and blend the dark mattes. Overall performance is really good. With the exception of the one coppery shimmer shade, I would say the effect of this one is cool-toned. I do think you need a slightly creamy eyeshadow base to help bring out the pigment richness of the colors, but they perform really well alone too. My favorites are the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base, Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Sticks in Rose Gold and NARS Velvet Shadow Sticks. Application is excellent - there will be a little bit of fall out from the powders when you apply on the eyes, but once you have them on the lids - they stay put without fading or smudging. I found they lasted all day long nicely.

Descriptions and swatches:

Row 1 features four larger pans each 0.11 oz/3.2 g, shades are named I, II, III, IV:
  • Matte creamy neutral with slight pink tones
  • Shimmering champagne with beige/ivory tones
  • Shimmering mauve taupe
  • Matte charcoal

Rows 2 and 3 have smaller pans, but are still large enough that you can easily fit an eyeshadow brush into without having to worry about mixing colors. These are 0.05 oz/1.5g each:
  • Frosted white gold
  • Shimmering warm copper orange
  • Matte mauve
  • Shimmering steel with slight olive undertone
  • Shimmering steel blue grey
  • Matte navy indigo
  • Shimmering cool grey-brown
  • Shimmering grey-black with blue tones and silver flecks




Here's a quick eye look with the neutrals using the four shades in the top row 1 and a little bit of the last color in row 2. I love that online at the NARS website, they did eye swatches of all 12 shades on three skintones. Check it out here.


If you're wondering how this compares to the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette (reviewed + swatched here), I would say both are excellent options. Picking one over the other is challenging because I think they are different in color options and texture. If you're looking for something cooler-toned and want a palette that can take your look from neutral to smokey, go with the NARS. If you want something with warmer more neutral options, go for the UD x Gwen Stefani Palette. The textures of course are very different in each palette. The NARS has a creamy smooth buttery texture. The Urban Decay palette has a wider mix of mattes, shimmers, and sparkles - also the pink and bright blue offer a more vibrant/less neutral option.

Onto the cheeks with the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette ($65, Sephora exclusive). Many asked how this compares to the Steven Klein One Shocking Moment Palette from Holiday. I wasn't able to buy (it sold out quickly) so I can't compare the two in great detail. The top three shades are the same in each palette. Based on a google search, it appears the newest one for spring offers two shades that are lighter options on the bottom left half and then darker options for the bottom right half. I do believe that the one from holiday had two existing blush colors in Luster and Dolce Vita. The new one for spring offers four new shades on the bottom. This seems to be an all-in-one kind of palette for the cheeks. It has contouring powders, a bronzer, and four blushes (two of which I think could pass for highlighters, at least on me).


The colors in this palette include:
  • Paloma Contour Duo which is available separately. It offers richly pigmented matte powders in a soft pinkish cream color and a deeper contour shade that pulls mauve on my skintone.
  • Laguna Bronzer is a classic shade (also available separately) that warms up the complexion and adds depth without looking orangey or too dark. It's easily buildable for a natural glow or deeper bronze. In my college days there were many times where this was all I would apply on the cheeks.
The bottom row has colors that are listed as blushes:
  • I is a pale pink that glows. It's a matte base but if you look closely at the pan you will see tiny bits of finely milled gold shimmer. I was worried this would not show up on my skin, but it offers the prettiest baby pink glow. I hope this makes an appearance in full-size eventually.
  • II is is light pink in the pan, but applies darker on my skin like a soft natural rose pink glow, I adore this shade. It has tiny flecks of silver sparkle but it's not glittery on the skin.
  • III is a deeper warm reddish color but as you can see from the swatch below, it's not orangey (however it will pull darker, warmer and almost orangey on fairer skin tones like The Non-Blonde)
  • Goulue is a new shade, currently a VIB Rouge Exclusive at Sephora, it's a stunning medium-deep rose with golden shimmer


I think this palette will be a versatile one that will go with a wide range of looks for lips and eyes, but the overall color scheme seems to be on the medium to dark side which may be too much for fair skins if you find blushes tend to darken/oxidize on you. For me - I love a strong blush to add a bit of color and life to my face when I wear neutral lips. The texture of the blushes is smooth and easy to blend. I think it contains classics one can wear every day. The colors with the exception of the Paloma duo are all shimmery, but they don't emphasize my pores or look frosted.

There are a few new launches for face palettes to choose from this spring including the Urban Decay x Gwen Stefani Blush Palette (new shades) and MAC Contour and Sculpt Palette (value set with cult classics). You may want to browse stores or research swatches online before committing to a palette. I feel like this season we are on highlighter, foundation and blush overload. I just got both of the other two, I'll try to review and compare them as soon as I can.


I deem both of these palettes winners in terms of color selection, quality and packaging. They are travel-friendly and I love that they come with in a sturdy compact with a decent sized mirror which makes it easy to apply them on-the-go. They are both limited-edition. I think given the size and packaging the prices are very reasonable for a luxury beauty palette.

You can find the NARSissist L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour Eyeshadow Palette for $59 online at NARS, Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue (for some reason right now it's listed at a higher price at Saks). The NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette retails for $65 and is exclusive to Sephora online and in stores.

Have you checked out these NARS palettes yet? What did you think?

Both palettes were sent courtesy of the NARS team for review consideration.

Monday, January 4, 2016

NARS Hot Sand Collection (Nordstrom Exclusive)

NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection

For the new year NARS x Nordstrom have launched an exclusive collection called Hot Sand which is all about glow. There are six pieces in the collection all with a champagne color focus which give the most natural incandescent luminous finish. I've teamed up with Nordstrom to share a review on the collection along with lots of comparison swatches to other champagne shimmers.

The six items in the Hot Sand Collection are all exclusive to Nordstrom, items include:
  • Hot Sand Lip Gloss ($26 for 0.18 oz/6 ml) is a pale sandy gold, it has a bit of shimmer in it which comes off as a shimmering frost, finish is sheer to medium but smooth and makes the lips look light and glossy
  • Hot Sand Illuminator ($30 for 1.1 oz/30 ml, repromoted) is a sheer pearlized champagne peachy glow, this is one of my favorite liquid illuminators to add the most natural sheen, it's perfect for my medium-olive skin because the peach gives it color while most champagne highlighters look light and pearly on my skin, it gives the skin that glow from within candlelit look without looking frosted
  • Hot Sand Multiple ($39 for .5 oz/14g) is a new color, it's almost identical to the Illuminator, it gives a more visible glow to the skin, I find it slightly lighter in color because of the pearl particles and more pigmented, two swipes on each cheek are just slightly lighter than my natural skintone and once blended the skin simply glows
  • Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand + Laguna ($42 for .35 oz/10g) is called a blush / bronzer duo, it has a powder blush which on me acts more like a soft highlighter, it's a champagne pearl similar to the Illuminator and Multiple, the powder has a more shimmery glowy finish while the others are more natural looking, Laguna is a cult-classic bronzer, in this compact I found the color to be just slightly different from the regular full-size, the compact one is slightly cooler-toned and sheerer
  • Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm ($42 for .35 oz/10g) is a blush duo with Hot Sand Blush a peachy champagne shimmer combined with Orgasm a peachy pink shimmer
  • Hanamachi Kabuki Brush ($42)

NARS Hot Sand x Nordstrom Collection


Wearing above: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Groenland mixed with St. Tropez, Powder Foundation in Punjab, Blush Duo in Hot Sand + Orgasm, Bronzer in Laguna, Lip Gloss in Hot Sand, Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia, Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve

First up is the new Kabuki Brush. This is a small domed brush that is very dense but soft. Size-wise it fits nicely in the hand - it's small enough to be compact, but not so small I feel like I can't grip it easily. The bristles are evenly distributed and it's very soft and smooth around the edges. There are no hairs poking out and it blends powders seamlessly around the cheeks. I own a number of other kabuki brushes and this one is extremely good. I can see myself using it for setting powders as well. I've shown it below next to the #21 Contour Brush for scale.
NARS Kabuki Brush and Contour Brush

Next up are the Hot Sand + Orgasm Blush Duo and Hot Sand + Laguna Bronzer Blush Duo. Both contain Hot Sand which is listed as a powder blush. The texture of both duos is very good. It's smooth, finely milled, easy to apply and blend. There is a luminous quality to Hot Sand which is very pretty and glowy. I like that they have a slight peachy tone to them which makes for a more natural glow rather than a pearl shimmer which contrasts with my olive skin. I can't pick one over the other, but I do think the Hot Sand + Laguna Duo is my new favorite contouring duo. It's super easy to use for the contouring-challenged (like me). It's great for a no-makeup makeup look to add depth and dimension without looking over the top.
NARS Hot Sand Nordstrom Blush Bronzer Duos


There are three individual items in the collection with the name Hot Sand. Below is the Illuminator, Multiple Stick and Lip Gloss. I'm a huge fan of pale pearly glosses but since I have pigmented lips, many often end up looking like concealer on me. Hot Sand thankfully has enough color to show up with some shine. It's pale but not too pale and the application/color goes on smoothly without streaks. It makes for a good layering gloss too.
NARS Hot Sand Illuminator Multiple Lip Gloss


Close up of the Hot Sand Multiple:
NARS Hot Sand Multiple Nordstrom

Close up of the Hot Sand Lip Gloss:  

NARS Nordstrom Hot Sand Lip Gloss

Hot Sand Lip Gloss on bare lips:


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Some comparison swatch sets in case you're wondering how these compare to other champagne shimmered items from NARS:


Illuminator in Hot Sand
Illuminator in Orgasm
Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush in Hot Sand (part of the duos)
Eyeshadow Duo in All About Eve
Eyeshadow Duo in Alhambra
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Multiple in Hot Sand
Blush and Bronzer Duo in Hot Sand/Laguna
Bronzer in Laguna (individual one is more luminous and warmer)
Dual Intensity Blush in Jubilation
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Lip Glosses in Supervixen, Chelsea Girls, Striptease, Greek Holiday, Sweet Revenge and Orgasm
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NARS Hot Sand Collection

Overall lots to love in this collection - especially those looking for a natural luminous glow. I am addicted to glowy highlighters so I found it necessary to buy all the Hot Sand face items even though the colors are similar among the different formulas. I've owned the Illuminator for a long time and I find the peachy undertone unique in a beauty world filled with pale white champagne highlighters which I love, but often want something that doesn't look white on my skin. The peach in the Multiple, Powder Blush and Illuminator meld more with my olive skintone which makes for a more natural looking glow.

For those who are glow-conscious - I do think these are suitable for those who are ultra conservative in the glow department. Many with oily skin often are wary of anything that glows since oil + shimmer tends to = shiny by afternoon. If you have oily skin the Illuminator is the most natural of the face items. The Multiple Stick has a nice semi-matte finish compared to other multiples and I found it stayed put. The most glowy of the face items is the Powder Blush which I really like - it's not too shimmery but shimmery enough that you can see it.

If I had to pick just one of the face products, I would say I can't because I really like all of them, but I think the Multiple adds the most natural luminous quality in a highlighter I've seen that makes the face glow - your mileage may vary depending on your skintone.

Bottom line thumbs up. I'm really liking the way Hot Sand Lip Gloss looks - it's what I wanted Striptease to look like on the lips which is too pale for me to wear alone while Hot Sand just works. Alone or layered.

Have you checked out the NARS Hot Sand Collection yet? Or do you already own the Illuminator? For this time of year what's your go-to for a glow?



Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions my own.


Monday, September 28, 2015

NARS Pro Palettes


Earlier this month, NARS finally launched their first customizable palettes with inserts for eye and cheek products. They are called the NARS Pro Palettes and the palette themselves come in two sizes, Small ($14) and Large ($18). A select number of their colors are available for purchase as inserts in blush, highlighter, bronzer, contour duos, and eyeshadows (prices range from $18 to 30). I've been a long-time NARS fan and I've depotted some of my powders to put into other palettes. The rubberized casing sometimes gets ruined and sticky over time so the only way for me to keep using them is to depot. I've tried a number of methods and about half of the products became ruined (cracked, dented, burned, etc.) I am so so happy that NARS finally has launched these palettes. I have the small one to share today. Prices and options are as follows:
Both palettes come in a magnetic black case (not rubberized like the full-size packaging). The small one measures a little over 7 inches wide and a bit over 5.5 inches tall, depth is about 1/2 an inch.


Each insert comes in a clear sturdy plastic case:

Products are labeled on the back in case you mix them up, you will still be able to see what colors you use if you look on the back:


The base of the pan is magnetized so the pans adhere to the bottom. I tried several variations and found that there is plenty room around the pans which makes it easy to insert or remove without touching the edges. Since everything is magnetic - once they are set in the pan, the pans stay put.


A few variations I tried to show what fits where and in what combinations. Online at on the Build Your Own Pro Palette Section of narscosmetics.com you can customize your own palette by playing with the different colors to see what fits. The small one fits the powder blushes perfectly. The other items have a lot more room around them which I don't mind - it makes it easy to interchange the colors or move them around.


Swatches of the shades featured above: Miss Liberty, Angelika, Desire, Orgasm, Deep Throat, Torrid, Luster, Lovejoy and Laguna Bronzer


Eyeshadow duos in: All About Eve, Alhambra, Sugarland, Cordura, Kalahari


Here's a quick size comparison of the NARS Pro Palette in Small to that of a couple MAC Pro Palettes (Blush x6 customized by me and Nordstrom's Finest x15):


I'm overall beyond thrilled that NARS has released these palettes. Since they are designed for makeup artists, they're currently exclusive to NARS boutiques and narscosmetics.com. The shade selection is limited but I really hope they will expand the color offerings soon. In the meantime I'm going to be ordering a few more base palettes and attempt to depot some of my current compacts as carefully as I can.

As a quick update, there was a mess-up with one of my NARS orders so I ended up with a few duplicates. Instead of returning them, I've decided to give them away! Entry details below in the widget (must be 18 years or older, USA or Canada residents only). I'm giving away 1 small palette with Orgasm, Torrid, Deep Throat, All About Eve, Kalahari, Alhambra and Cordura (all brand new), entries must be made via the widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you looked into the NARS Pro Palettes yet? Or do you already depot your current compacts?




The NARS Pro Palette was provided courtesy of NARS for review consideration.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Le Métier de Beauté Ken Downing Paris and Full Stream Kaleidoscopes


It's been over a year since I've featured anything from Le Métier de Beauté. Long-time readers know that I used to be a huge fan of the line. Their kaleidoscope kits feature some of the most beautiful colors for eyes and cheeks - over the past 5+ years I accumulated quite a few and loved them (I still do). However I found that many kits contained repeat colors and at $95+ each, I found them too pricey to end up with duplicate colors (as seen in one of my last posts on the line from 2014). Fast forward to this month and I decided to splurge on two for the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event (which ends tomorrow 9/23) - both of which seemed unique enough to justify. One is the Ken Downing Paris Eye Kaleidoscope $125 (which isn't new, but still available for purchase) and the other is a new one called Full Stream Kaleidoscope $95.



The Le Métier de Beauté Ken Downing Paris Eye Kaleidoscope has four eyeshadows. This one is more expensive than most, priced at $125 for 0.49 oz/ 14 g. I was also really drawn to the Ken Downing London Kit, but 2 of the 4 shades seemed very warm. In my experience, Le Métier de Beauté always surprises me with how wearable the reddish/orangey shades are on the eyes, especially when layered with cooler tones, but I decided to opt for the cool version.

The four shades include a soft satiny cool pink shimmer, a warm copper metallic, a cool pale silver dove grey shimmer and a warm brown shimmer. The mix of warm and cool is pure genius, especially when the colors are layered together (although I've shown them swatched separately). Pigment is easy to build. The two lighter shades are sheerer in finish with a soft satiny texture while the darker ones are more metallic, more buttery in texture and more pigmented.


Close ups of each shade:





There are four new Kaleidoscopes exclusive to Neiman Marcus. The four are called Full Stream, Lift Off, Bon Voyage and All Aboard (not available online yet). Each kit has a translucent pressed powder and variations of blush, bronzer, highlighter and eyeshadow. I originally pre-ordered two, but since all have a pressed powder, I remembered my hesitation in getting duplicates and picked Full Stream.

All four photographed in store from Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills:


Full Stream has a translucent powder, one cool pink shimmery blush, a warm tan bronzer and a soft peachy shimmer eyeshadow (also works as a highlighter). The kit is very simple and basic - but it's perfect for on-the-go and touchups. I was worried the powder would look really white on my face because swatching it showed it was really pigmented. On the face, even on my tan skin, it disappears and leaves a matte-looking finish.


Close ups of each color:






I'm happy with both of my purchases. They did make a serious dent in my wallet and although Full Stream is easily dupeable with other colors, sometimes it's nice to have something basic that doesn't require much effort or thought to apply. It brightens the face in a natural polished way and adds color without looking overdone. I can see this going really well with bold lips. Even though these are expensive at $95 and $125 each, if you break it down per pan, it's about $23 to $31 per color which isn't too bad given the product amount. Comparing it to other brands at the per gram or per ounce price, it's reasonable. Still, if you're like me, you probably budget beauty splurges at the bottom line total, so yes, these are still pricey. The only gripe I have about these two is the sticker at the top. I like the fun designs and they are really pretty - however the kits have a slightly rounded top and the stickers are flat so the result is a bubbled sticker that looks uneven. I had one in my purse in my makeup bag (I don't recommend doing this) and the tops are not scratch proof. One of mine wasn't applied on the kit evenly so the edges started to come up. It bothered me enough that I pulled the sticker off which is a shame because the designs are really cute.

In summary, I think the new kits are definitely worth looking into. You can find both the Ken Downing Paris and Full Stream Kaleidoscope exclusively in store and online at Neiman Marcus.

 

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