Showing posts with label NARS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NARS. Show all posts

Friday, July 18, 2014

In Rotation | Beauty Look Book Mascara and Lash Primer Picks

I typically limit myself to a couple of mascaras I use at any given time since I keep them for 3 months max before tossing but I've been testing new ones and I've discovered some new favorites. I have half a dozen I'm using right now and I've picked out my favorites to share.

When it comes to my lashes, I'm really picky with mascaras or lash primers. I have really straight ones that often don't hold the curl with most mascaras even with a lash curler (my essentials here). I also find a lot of black mascaras turn grayish looking after they dry on my lashes, smudge or end up feeling crunchy and flake during the day. When it comes to mascara I look for something that will last all day without clumping, flaking, smudging and something that stays a true lush black color and holds the curl.

I'm hesitant to try lash primers and lash serums because I don't like having an extra layer of product on my sensitive eyes. I'm a novice in this area so if you have any recommendations I am all ears.
The mascara and lash products I have in rotation right now:

  • Shu Uemura Lash Builder ($33) is a lash builder serum to help create a longer lusher lash look, I've been testing this for a few weeks and am still undecided on what I think but it's been in my lash rotation, it darkens and defines the lashes when you apply it but I haven't seen a visible difference after I apply colored mascara, reviews seem to indicate you will see results over time
  • Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum ($28.50) is something I've used for several years, I don't use it everyday but it's a favorite base that helps mascara adhere better to the lashes and makes it catch the lashes resulting in a fuller look, I like that it doesn't impact the curl after using a lash curler
  • Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof ($30) is something I discovered thanks to RaeView, it's the first waterproof mascara I've tried that doesn't make my lashes feel crunchy, this one needs 2-3 uses to break it in, it gives lush rich black lashes, volumizes, doesn't clump/flake/smudge and defines the lashes nicely, I haven't tested it at the beach or pool but it seems to be sweat proof and lasts all day
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch ($32) is a staple in my beauty arsenal, I've repurchased this numerous times (probably a dozen tubes by now), it's my favorite mascara of all time because it does everything I want - lengthens, defines, thickens, darkens the color and stays put, it's easy to apply and gets the little corners easily because of the tapered brush tip, the bristles are well designed to grab on to the lashes and glides on easily
  • Chanel Le Volume de Chanel ($30) is the only Chanel mascara I like, it's a lightweight mascara that glides on easily and doesn't clump, it stays put and doesn't dry to a grayish finish like other Chanel mascaras do (at least for me), I like the Black and Bleu (navy) for fun, but mostly use the black
  • NARS Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara ($25) is another favorite that I've repurchased numerous times, it is one of my favorite volumizing mascaras that doesn't flake or smudge, this one has a big fluffy brush so it can be prone to clumping after a while due to buildup, I wipe down the brush with a small piece of paper wrapped around the tip (tissue or paper towels will get caught in the bristles, so paper actually is best to clean the brush) and then it's back to perfection
If I were pressed to pick just one mascara to live with the rest of my life, it would be the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch. If you're looking for something more wallet-friendly, a few other  less expensive favorites I've tested and purchased numerous times include Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16), Topshop 3d Curve Mascara ($20, or in this Eyeliner/Mascara Set for $24) and MAC Plushlash Mascara ($16) has been a long-time favorite. I've tried dozens of drugstore mascaras (literally) and for some reason they've all turned grayish in color on my lashes and I've never found one that holds the curl.

What are your holy grail lash primers, serums and mascaras? I've been researching lash serums and would love your thoughts on any you've tried.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On My Radar

Here are a few things on my radar this week. Fall collections are starting to arrive and I'm excited about the upcoming releases. From the top left, clockwise:
  • NARS Fall 2014 launches this week online at, I have my eye on Dolomites Eyeshadow Duo, Unlawful Blush and the two new Satin Lip Pencils in Bansar and Mandore
  • Marc Jacobs Beauty has launched some new Lust for Lacquer lip glosses, there are three new Lip Vinyl Sheers in Shiny, Magic and Superstar and two new Lip Vinyl Full shades in Shooting Stars and Satisfaction
  • I've been on the hunt for new sunglasses and after hours of searching, I think I'm finally narrowed it down to either these Marc by Marc Jacobs aviators or some Kate Spade classic shades that are on sale
  • Chanel Les 4 Ombres have hit counters, I'm in love with Poésie and Tissé Rivoli but have my eye on Tissé Vénitien (greens), Tissé Grabrielle (smokey) and Tissé Vendome because the formula is just so amazing with rich smooth pigment
  • For the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I picked up the MAC Coral Look in a Box, the eyeshadow trio has really pretty pigmented colors and the lips options are stunning peachy corals, I'll review this soon but I give this a huge thumbs up
  • In the past few months I've been testing out some cleansing oils from Chanel, Tatcha and Shu Uemura, I'll have a report soon on the ones I've tested but in the meantime I'd love to hear what your favorites are

What's on your radar this week? Were you able to pick up anything from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale yet? With fall beauty collections starting to trickle in stores, what do you have your eye on?

Friday, July 11, 2014

NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows | Dione, Callisto, Himalia and Subra

I picked up four more NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows in Dione, Callisto, Himalia and Subra ($29 each). I've been using the more natural Europa and Andromeda on a regular basis for a natural glowy eye. The other shades in the line are more intense in color and sparkle. It was hard to narrow down my picks and I will probably pick up at least one more shade sometime in the future. All the colors are phenomenal in texture, pigment and lasting power. They have a sort of creamy finish but act like a powder. The texture makes these adheres well to to the skin and while I wouldn't call them budge-proof, they last quite long without fading. 

  • Dione is a sparkly silvery taupe, it pulls very cool on my arm but on the lids it's more neutral
  • Callisto is a very sparkly cool lilac champagne, it's similar to Dione, but on me Callisto is more pinkish/lilac and paler in color
  • Himalia is a neutral warm and cool kind of gold, it has a warmish base but the shimmers are cool, on me it's a neutral tan-nude golden color, it's shimmery but not frosty
  • Subra is a dark purple, red, brown shimmer, it also has a subtle shimmer finish
Dione and Callisto are similar on my arm and in the pan but the difference is noticeable on the lids. Both have a high shimmer factor that borders on frost but aren't too frosty. I was really happy to see that there was no fall out on the face during application or throughout the day. Himalia and Subra are shimmers as well but the shimmer is more subtle in finish.

Here they are swatched next to Europa and Andromeda. They are swatched dry with fingers.

Close ups of each shade show how they have a good base color and different colored shimmers. It gives these shadows a multi-dimensional look.

Some comparisons, two sets with:

MAC Coco Pigment (discontinued)
Tom Ford Platinum Cream Color (discontinued)

Chanel Magic Night Eyeshadow (discontinued)

Huge thumbs up. The Dual-Intensity shadows have a really smooth pigmented finish. They apply easily with fingers or a brush. I've found them extremely versatile - you can wear these alone with a liner, layered together, under or over powder shadows. The uses are really endless. Applying with a damp brush intensifies the color. Between Dione and Callisto, I prefer Dione because it has less contrast with my skin and therefore looks less frosty.

The Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows retail for $29 each. There are currently twelve color options and every color looks amazing. I bought mine from Nordstrom.

Have you purchased any yet? What are your favorite colors?

Monday, July 7, 2014

3.1 Phillip Lim for NARS | Crossroads, Other Side and Insidious Nail Polish

This month there will be nine nail polishes released for the 3.1 Phillip Lim for NARS Collection ($20 each for 0.5 fl oz/15 ml) - available July 15 on I have three shades to share today in Crossroads (a deep purple cream), Other Side (chocolate cherry perfection) and Insidious (a metallic blackened bronze khaki). You can see all the shades on Vampy Varnish.

All the colors come with removable caps. The brushes are wide and slightly rounded at the tips but I found them to be on the larger side making it a bit hard for me to apply on my small fingers. It was still manageable but I had to do a lot of cleaning up with remover and Q-tips after application. I had to play around with various base and top coats. The new formula of the NARS nail polishes did not perform well with my usual Deborah Lippmann Rehydrating Base Coat (the polish didn't glide over it) and Chanel Top Coat (it didn't want to cover the polish smoothly). After testing with several of my go-to's I found these worked best with Sephora Formula X Base and Top Coat.

The shimmer color applied well with just one coat. The creams I tested looked streaky with the first coat but evened out with the second for full smooth coverage.

Crossroads is a dark violet cream. It looks lovely on the hands but the texture of this one was a bit hard for me to work with. It bled easily making a mess of the cuticles. This one was really difficult to remove although it didn't stain the nails. If you're patient with this one, I think it's worth the extra work it takes to apply.

Other Side is the perfect chocolate cream with a hint of red. It applied unevenly with the first coat but smoothed out with a second. It's a dark almost vampy color but there is enough brown to prevent it from looking too dark.

Insidious is a metallic blackened khaki. It's dark but not too dark. The shimmers make it glow in the sunlight. This shade will be exclusive to NARS boutiques and

Comparisons to Tom Ford Bitter Bitch
Chanel Vamp
Chanel Diabolic (discontinued)
Dior Ultra Violet (discontinued)
Chanel Vendetta (discontinued)

I'm in love with NARS Other Side and Insidious as a close second. The colors are rich in pigment and with two coats you get full coverage. I did find application a bit hard because the brush is on the larger side. The formula has a medium liquid texture, not thin but not thick. I wore Cross Roads on the nails for 5 days before taking it off to test another color. By Day 5 I had a bit of tip wear on the index finger and thumbs but the rest were fine.

The nine shades will be available online at July 15th and all other NARS locations starting August 1.

This review contains press samples sent by NARS for review consideration. For more information refer to my Disclosures.

NARS Lip Gloss Swatches | Sweet Dreams, Istria, Angelika, Risky Business, Tasmania, Supervixen, Ophelia and Sixties Fan

Here are the lip swatches of my NARS Lip Gloss picks, left to right include Sweet Dreams, Istria, Angelika, Risky Business, Tasmania, Supervixen, Ophelia and Sixties Fan. (Descriptions and arm swatches one post below.)

Thumbs up for almost all the shades. Only Istria needs extra work because it's so sheer and milky. I like to apply Tom Ford Spanish Pink or Pink Dusk Lipstick underneath. Risky Business and Ophelia are pretty close, only a few shades away - Risky Business is darker and deeper while Ophelia is lighter in color but just as pigmented. In terms of texture, most of the shades all have the same lush glossy smooth texture (even shimmer ones). Angelika is slightly thinner and drier (at least mine is) but it's still very smooth.

All shades are listed as permanent (yay!), available now in stores and online at Nordstrom, Sephora and (complimentary mini Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base on orders over $25 through 7/8/14 at 11:59pm ET or while supplies last with code SUMMERHEAT at checkout).

Have you tried the new formula yet? What's your favorite? 

NARS Lip Gloss Relaunch/Reformulation - Beauty Look Book Picks

NARS launched a new reformulation and packaging design for their Lip Gloss back in April. There are 30 shades that were released ($26 each for 0.18 fl oz/6 ml). I splurged on several shades over the past few months. The new NARS Lip Glosses have a similar design to the original tubes but now come with a modern updated look with a sleeker looking tube. The pigment of the new glosses is slightly smoother with better pigment. NARS also removed the plastic smell from the gloss (which didn't bother me but the new ones smell better).

The colors I splurged on from Nordstrom (at one of the trend shows) and Sephora (because I love their Beauty Insider program) include:
  • Sweet Dreams is a stunning pale pink sparkle, the shimmer in the new one is more finely milled and less chunky (although the old one was one of my favorite glosses)
  • Istria is a pale sheer milky pink with a slight iridescent quality
  • Angelika is a hot cool pink with gold flecks
  • Risky Business is a lovely deep raspberry shimmer
  • Tasmania is a sheer cantaloupe peach color
  • Supervixen is a complex nude brown rose shimmer
  • Ophelia is a lighter watermelon pink shimmer
  • Sixties Fan is a sheer plum that applies like a wine/red color

The original packaging came in a clear but frosted tube at .28 oz, the new one comes with a completely clear tube at .18 oz. Differences in packaging and colors for a few of the shades shown below. The overall color is pretty similar for Angelika and Supervixen. There is a huge difference in pigment for Ophelia, the new version has much better pigment:

Close ups and swatches:

I'm in love with the new formula of the shimmers. The pigment is smoother and richer with really good coverage. The non-shimmers are hit and miss for my lips. I was head over heels in love with Istria and Tasmania in the tube but on the lips they are really sheer. They do perform well over lipsticks with similar tones though. It's hard to pick a favorite, but so far my top three picks include Risky Business, Supervixen and Sweet Dreams. Lip swatches in this post.

NARS Lip Glosses come in 30 shades at $26 each. Available at all NARS locations, online at Nordstrom, Sephora and

Saturday, July 5, 2014

On My Radar / New In Beauty

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! A few items currently on my radar, from top left clockwise:

What's on your radar this week? Have you seen any other new fall items in stores yet? I'm eagerly waiting to see Tom Ford and all the Chanel quads.


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