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

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 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 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, August 18, 2015

Current Base Testing Rotation

I have a love-hate relationship with foundation these days. The summer sun is impossible to avoid here in Southern California and I've gotten a bit of color even with sunscreen. On our three weeks trip to Europe we spent a lot of time outdoors and on beaches - I got 2-3 shades darker. I've been trying to stay indoors more since I've been home so my tan is fading and I'm in that in-between stage of foundation colors. Some I have to mix to get the right match. These days I've been loving sheerer coverage formulas that are more forgiving. They have enough coverage to even the skintone but are sheer enough that you don't need a 100% exact match.

Another tricky thing about foundation is color matching at the counter. In the past several trips I've made to the beauty counters and asked about foundation, the reps have looked at my skin and asked, "do you want to be darker or lighter?" Foundation is supposed to be a close match and I understand it can't always be exact, but I can't count the times I've been mis-matched at the counter. My solution is to ask to try 2-3 shades on the jawline, side by side and decide for myself. Or just go to Sephora where I know I can shop on my own and swatch at my own leisure.

I have a roundup of some new formulas I've been trying out along with a few tried-and-true. Some formulas I've found the next shade up is too big of a jump for me to purchase. Here are swatches of all the colors shown above. More detail below by coverage type.

Sheer Coverage

Sheer coverage foundations are something I haven't been able to wear for a long time, but my skin has cleared up over the past 6 months thanks to skin resurfacing treatments like the Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Night Serum and regular use of clarifying masks from Aesop, Caudalie and Glamglow.
  • I recently received a sample of the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint ($26 for 1 fl oz) in Medium. There is a skin chart online to help determine what color will be your match. I wasn't sure what to expect - this looks like the kind of product that looks so sheer it might designed for those with near-perfect skin. I've tested this for the past month and am really pleased with it. It is truly a skin tint. It's very sheer so it's forgiving but it gives the skin that natural healthy glow. It evens out the skin and brightens. I do need to set with powder or powder foundation but it's really good. It's lightweight and lasts all day without getting greasy. No breakouts or reaction to the formula either.
  • Armani Luninessence CC Color Control Bright Moisturizer ($52 for 1 fl oz) has been raved about by so many. I know Armani foundations are really well-loved, I like a couple of the formulas but find the color selection very limited in the ones I like (Luminous Silk has the most options and it's one I cannot wear more than 1 hour without getting greasy-looking). When this product launched I was in between shades. Since I got a bit darker I thought it was the perfect time to try Shade 5. It's pink-based but very sheer so it adjusts to my skin without looking too pink. I do wish it was a tad bit more olive, or that they released yellow versions of this formula. It gives the skin a natural glow with sheer coverage. It's on the hydrating side so I think it's better suited for normal to dry skin. If it had a wider color selection I'd give this a rating of 8.5 out of 10 stars.
  • By Terry Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream ($86 for 1.41 fl oz) is extremely expensive but in terms of formula for CC creams, it's the best I've tried. It's very lightweight, very hydrating and sheer but buildable. It gives the skin a well-rested glow look like you just had a facial. I like that it has enough yellow in it for my skintone. Right now it's a bit light but since it's sheer I can make it work by dusting a bit of darker powder like Chanel Les Beiges 30 on top. If the next shade up was a good match I would get it, but my rep said there's a huge jump and that it would be too dark. If you have oily skin I don't think this is the product for you. For normal to dry skin it's a great one.
  • Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid ($45 for 1 fl oz) is a sheer glow product. The colors pull pink but the formula is very sheer so applying this all over gives the skin a warm glow. I like to use this as a base and then layer a heavier coverage foundation on areas that need more coverage. It gives the skin a natural healthy look.

Medium Coverage

Three medium coverage base products I've had in rotation are from La Mer, Charlotte Tilbury and NARS. This is my foundation coverage of choice. I like medium coverage to cover the entire face but something that still has a bit of transparency so if it's not an exact match it will adjust.
  • La Mer The Reparative Skin Tint ($95 for 1.4 fl oz) is the most I think I've ever spent on foundation. Color selection is limited but it's sheer to medium in coverage and adjusts to the skin after it sets. My closest match is Light Medium 3. It looks pinkish in the swatch but it blends out really nicely. The warmth gives a glow to the skin and makes it glow. When I went to the counter to try this I really appreciated the honesty of the rep who helped me. His initial thought was that I would be in between shades but was really nice and swatched two colors, one on each side. We were both surprised #3 matched. I had one of my friends with me to give a second opinion. She gave it the thumbs up so I bought it. It gives a similar glow to that of the By Terry but it has more pink undertone and it has more coverage. It has SPF 30. I hate to say it but I really love this one.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder ($45 for 1.4 fl oz) is an amazing foundation. It gives the appearance of a youthful glow with perfect medium coverage. It's thin-to-medium in texture so it feels weightless. It blends into the skin flawlessly and lasts all day long. The downside is the color selection and until now I've been in between colors. I swatched #6 and #7 above to show you the jump. If you're at the counter and look at the shades in consecutive order you may find them confusing. There's a huge jump in colors and undertones. Right now I'm a perfect match to #7 but I can tell any day I'll have to mix in a light color to adjust it. If you can find a good color match this one is amazing in formula.
  • NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($43 for 1.9 fl oz) has been my holy grail medium coverage tinted moisturizer for a long time. My go-to shade has been Groenland but over our trip I found St. Moritz to be a better match. I got even darker than St. Moritz however the next shade up is too dark. I still love this formula - it's the best tinted moisturizer I've tried but it doesn't have that tinted moisturizer feel. It has medium coverage and feels super lightweight. It evens out the skin and looks very natural.

Medium to Full Coverage

I have a few favorites for medium to full coverage but I can't wear all of them now with hot humid weather. There are only two that truly hold up to the heat.
  • Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet ($47 for 1 fl oz) has never let me down. In my lightest I wear 20, I'm normally a 30, right now I'm a perfect match to 40. It's been a long-time go-to for me. It has a perfect velvet finish without looking too matte. It holds up really well in the heat and for the coverage and pigment I'm really happy it doesn't oxidize or darken.
  • Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Oil-Free Foundation ($48 for 1 fl oz) is my new favorite (tied with the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet). It's an oil-free foundation that comes in a wide selection of color undertones. I matched myself at Sephora to Golden Medium which is really yellow (I swatched 4 different colors on my face at the store). It's concentrated but fluid so you only need 1-2 pumps to cover the entire face. It's lightweight but gives medium to full coverage. It blends out nicely and is easy to layer. I don't know what took me so long to try it but it lasts all day.
  • Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation ($80 for 1 fl oz) is something I repurchased recently. I'm usually Bisque 4 but it pulls light so I went up to Natural 5. I really adore this for the coverage, color selection and finish. In hot humid weather this time of year it just feels too heavy. It holds up pretty well to the heat but on the skin if I'm outdoors I can feel it.
  • Chanel CC Cream Complete Correction Sunscreen ($55 for 1 fl oz) is another Chanel love of mine. It has a high SPF of 50 and covers the skin really well. I wore this all through spring and have been using it on and off in the summer. In 83+ degree weather it feels thick on the skin although it holds up well and looks good. I'll be saving this for cooler days. It still works on warm days I just prefer something that feels more lightweight.

Overall my top three picks for right now include the Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, Marc Jacobs Genius Gel and Glossier Skintint. The La Mer follows close behind but due to the price and limited color selection I don't know how likely it is I will repurchase once I finish it up. NARS is almost always at the top of my list but I don't have a color match. Do you have a summer favorite right now? If yes, please share!

The Glossier Skintint was provided as a courtesy sample for review consideration. All others purchased by me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

NARS Fall 2015 Collection - Beauty Look Book Picks

NARS is among the first to launch their fall beauty collection for 2015. The collection has a mix of bronze and smokey colors for eyes and neutral gloss for lips with a nude shimmer blush. Everything is quite stunning. For the lips NARS relaunched two lipgloss shades in Baby Doll and Chelsea Girls. They now come in wand form without the plastic scent that the potted glosses had (yay!). A couple older formulas/colors for the eyes have been relaunched in the Velvet Shadow Stick form including Hollywoodland, Goddess and Aigle Noir. My picks include:
Here are swatches of my fall picks side by side:

Baby Doll and Chelsea Girls Lipglosses are both stunning colors. In pot form Babydoll was always a favorite although I hated the taste/scent. The wand form is taste and scent-free. I don't have the original to compare but from what I remember the pot version was deeper in color on me. The wand form is quite shimmery. With my slight tan this is very cool-toned on me which works but I think it looks better with a neutral lipliner mixed in. Chelsea Girls is a creamy peach pink beige. On the hands it fills in the tiny crevices so I was worried it would emphasize lip lines. I was relieved to find that once on the lips it does not sink into the lip lines and goes on smoothly. It is semi-sheer so my natural lip shows through.

Swatch comparisons to:

Dual Intensity Eyeshadows in Telesto and Pasiphae are the winners in the collection. I'm a huge fan of the Dual Intensity Eyeshadows and the two new colors for fall are exceptionally pretty. They look pretty wet or dry, alone or layered together.

Swatch comparisons to:

Velvet Shadow Sticks in Hollywoodland, Goddess and Oaxaca are shimmery. They have a satiny feel that dries relatively quickly so you need to blend fast once they are on the lids. I prefer to have a slightly creamy base (like a tiny bit of foundation or eye cream) underneath these to help them blend on my eyes better. The pigment is medium to full and the colors are easy to build. They aren't the most unique shades though so you may want to shop your stash if you want to avoid duplicates.

Swatch comparisons below to:

Tribulation Blush was a surprise for me. When I saw it, I thought it would be frosted and chalky on my cheeks as a blush. On deeper skintones I suspect it will be more like a highlighter. On super fair skin this one might not show up. On medium-tan skin this has the perfect mix of nude and gold to look like a natural glow on the cheeks. It's an odd color for a blush in my opinion but it works. I like it alone even though it doesn't add much color. It also works nicely layered on top of neutral blushes to soften the entire look.

Here are a few swatch comparisons next to Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Highlighter in Dreamy Glow (review soon), Becca x Jaclyn Hill Highlighter in Champagne Pop, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light.

There's a lot to love with the fall collection. I'm completely in love with both Dual Intensity Eyeshadows, Tribulation Blush and the Baby Doll and Chelsea Girl Lip Glosses. Based on how similar some of the Velvet Shadow Sticks are to other cream shadows I think I could have skipped them but I spotted them in store at my Sephora and couldn't resist. They are classic neutrals that will go with everything so I know I will get frequent use out of them - they do last longer than the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks but since the NARS does dry faster they aren't quite as easy to work with.

The NARS Fall 2015 Collection is available now at NARS Boutiques and It will launch at all other retailers starting August 1st at Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barney's New York, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Some of the items featured were press samples including Telesto, Tribulation, Chelsea Girls and Baby Doll. Other items purchased by me include the Velvet Shadow Sticks and Pasiphae.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Peachy Makeup Loves

Right now I'm obsessed with peachy makeup for lips and nails. All variations from peachy nudes, lush peachy apricots and bright coral peaches. Anything with peach is actually a staple for me - the color is almost a neutral to me because I find it goes with everything, almost every occasion or any color outfit. I've pulled a few of my favorites that I have had in rotation this summer.

Lips: Clarins, NARS, Tom Ford, Smith & Cult, Marc Jacobs Beauty, YSL and Fresh

  • Clarins Instant Light Lip Balm Perfector Sticks (c/o) have been in regular rotation. I'll have a review of all six shades hopefully this next week. All the colors have the perfect amount of color and shine for a tinted lipbalm. 02 Coral is a sheer light peach.
  • NARS Chelsea Girls Lip Gloss (c/o) is a new shade for fall, it was previously in pot form. It's now in tube form and seems a bit deeper in color compared to the original making it more wearable.
  • Tom Ford Skinnydip Lip Color Sheer is my favorite peachy nude gold shimmer, it makes the lips look shiny and naturally full.
  • Smith & Cult Her Name is Bubbles is something I've been testing out. I ordered 3 glosses, so far the gloss in Her Name is Bubbles is my favorite, it's a bright coral in the tube but goes on the lips a sheer lush peach. It smells like soft vanilla.
  • Marc Jacobs Uproar (c/o) is the prettiest sheer peach sparkle. It has an ultra luxe cushiony texture that feels super moisturizing on the lips. Review and swatches of all Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquers in this post here.
  • Tom Ford Lips & Boys in William is a high shimmer warm gold peach nude. The frost factor is high but I like it. If you can't do high shimmer frosts, try Skinnydip instead.
  • YSL Pop Water Glossy Stain in Wet Nude is the best sheer nude peach gloss ever. (Swatches and review of more colors here.)
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Shines now come in more shades, Sugar Nude is a sheer peachy nude shimmer with a high shine finish.

Lip swatches of a few of the colors:

Nails: Dior, Smith & Cult, Chanel and Essie

  • Dior Sunkissed is the prettiest peach nude I've ever tried. It's super flattering and brightening on the hands without looking too pale, too pastel, or too peach.
  • Dior Majesty was released in the US as a Nordstrom Anniversary Beauty Exclusive. It's a brighter peach but still a soft color. Against a tan it makes the hands look darker but it's a fun bright peach without being too bright.
  • Smith & Cult Ghost Edit is a super sheer glossy nude peach. It took three coats for me to get the color to show. It's a nice glossy neutral that lets the whites of your nails show through. The look is polished and natural.
  • Essie Sunday Funday is such a pretty coral peach with a tiny hint of shimmer. For the price, the pigment and color is really good. I have yet to find a good base/top coat combination that makes an Essie nail polish last more than 3 days on me (I am still getting major tip wear by day 2). But the colors are fun to wear and affordable.
  • Chanel Mirabella is my favorite orange peach. I'm glad it hasn't been discontinued even though it was released last year. It's a pretty bright orange.

What's your favorite peachy lipstick, lipgloss or nail polish?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Travel Beauty For Three Weeks in Europe

Today I have a roundup of what makeup I brought with me on my 3-week vacation. My travel beauty picks for makeup and tools were packed into my Anya Hindmarch In Flight Patent leather-trimmed travel case and MustaeV Bloom Pouch (liquids, skincare and fragrance packing in this post here). These kept everything compact, organized and made everything relatively easy to find. Above photo: Longchamp Expandable Tote, Marc by Marc Jacobs Rimless Aviators, sandals by Hermes. Beauty details broken down below.

First up makeup breakdown. I limited myself to 1 eyeshadow palette. I usually almost always bring one of the Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palettes with me on travel because they are versatile and can be used to create a number of looks. I decided to try something new for this trip and brought the MAC Nordstrom Naturals Palette with me instead. It worked just as well to create a number of different looks - I like that there's a good mix of matte and shimmer. If you're limited on space - there are some good browns that can double as brow powder.

For face products I brought a mini tube of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Moritz (currently only in one size, I was lucky it was a good shade match). Other face cream products listed in my liquids post. For powder I brought my Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder in Shade 2, I knew there was a chance I would get a tan on my trip so I brought the Chanel Powder Foundation in Beige 30 and 40 with me (40 shown above).

For cheeks products I brought the NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Craving, Edward Bess All Over Seduction in Afterglow, Edward Bess Bronzer in Daydream, Tom Ford Cream Blush in Pink Sand (discontinued) and Charlotte Tilbury Blush in Ecstasy. I definitely could have skipped a few of these but I'm one who always layers cheek products.

Eye makeup included my favorite stick shadow Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rosegold. For pencils I brought Marc Jacobs Ro(Cocoa) which is the perfect bronzey taupe liner (it lasts all day). I also brought the Tom Ford Liquid Eyeliner, NARS Brow Perfector, Chanel Fresh Effect Eyeshadow in Caroube and Charlotte Tilbury Chameleon Pencil in Amber Haze. I also brought my NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia which is a good bronzey tan beige shimmer for the lids and one waterproof mascara by Guerlain.

I kept my lip products edited to one lipliner in Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk. For lipsticks I brought three including Tom Ford Summer Lip Color Sheers in Skinnydip and Rose Soleil and one Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Reveuse.

Tools and brushes:

Above (excuse the messy brushes, I haven't had a chance to wash them yet):

MustaeV Bloom Pouch (large, also featured here and here)
MAC 135 Large Flat Powder Brush is a new brush from MAC, it's large fluffy and flat which is perfect for a sheer dusting of powder or bronzer
MAC 239 and MAC 219 Brushes
Chanel Powder Brush is a dense brush ideal for powder foundation
Chanel Eyelash Curler (discontinued)

Several of you have asked about the Anya Hindmarch case that I've previewed on a few posts and on Instagram. I bought mine from Net-A-Porter although several have told me they've found it discounted at Duty Free locations while they were traveling. Based on online photos and reviews I couldn't tell if it was one open case with two openings or if it had two compartments. It has two compartments - one is slightly deeper than the other. It's fairly pricey for a makeup pouch but the material is very sturdy and it's very well made.

The MustaeV Bloom Pouch comes in two sizes, small and large. I discovered the line at The Makeup Show LA earlier this year and love them. I brought the large one with me on this trip. The small one was featured in this travel post back in April. I've added a repost shot of the large one below to show how it stands up.

For three weeks I brought plenty to last me the entire trip. I did miss my eyeshadow palettes and lip glosses but given the heat and warm weather a good portion of the trip was makeup-free for me so it didn't really matter. I worried that skipping concealer would be a mistake but my skin has cleared up pretty nicely in the past few months so for face coverage, tinted moisturizers and powder was enough.

In case you missed it, how I packed all my liquids in this post here (Muji containers, clear pouches, his and hers travel skincare, fragrance and body care):

What do you like to bring with you on extended trips? Do you have any packing tips or favorite carrying cases?

The MustaeV bloom pouch and easy go brush was gifted during The Makeup Show. The Afterglow highlighter was also a gift courtesy of Edward Bess.

Monday, July 6, 2015

His and Hers Travel Essentials: Skincare and Fragrance

I've been working on a three-part series focusing on travel and packing. I'll be sharing what I packed for a three week trip through Europe - all of which I fit into a travel backpack and a medium-sized nylon tote. I would say about 1/4 to 1/3 of my luggage contents consisted of beauty products (primarily skincare and sunscreen). Part one is going to cover skincare, bodycare and fragrance. Part two will focus on makeup. Part three will cover a full list of all the items I fit inside my bags and thoughts on surviving three weeks in Europe with a carry-on.

Up first is skincare, body care and fragrance in a his and hers overview. For me packing skincare is a challenge with the liquid restrictions for carry-on bags. I almost always do a carry-on because I find it easier and less stressful compared to lugging large suitcases or waiting for items at the baggage claim. Most US airlines allow for slightly larger carry-on suitcases compared to the airlines in Europe. I tried to keep my list of beauty products as edited as possible. Thankfully my husband didn't have a lot he had to pack in terms of liquids so I borrowed some of his space.

First some quick thoughts and options on how to pack your liquids. I've done several travel features in the past. Most of my trips have been around 1 week long so I usually just pack liquids in a traditional ziploc bag. You can see how I fit everything in this post here and also this one here. Ziplocs vary in durability depending on what kind you have. I've had several break on me so I usually try to bring a backup although some airports have disposable ones at the security gate. This round I knew that a ziploc wouldn't last 3 weeks so I looked for some more durable options that are flight approved. I found a good option on Amazon from Flight001 and also a few from Muji.

Muji has two flight-approved options called the TPU Clear Case which measures W11 x D18.5 x H4 cm. Another options is a flat zip pouch called the TPU Clear Case S which measures 19.5 x 16 cm. For other items like passports, cards, currency etc. we really liked the EVA Zip Pouches from Muji. They have ones that are a bit frosted but clear and then others that are completely clear. The one at the Top/Middle is the EVA Zip Case B4 which my husband and I really liked for currency and passports. We used some of the others for tour or bus tickets. Having things separated in a few pouches for day trips makes it easy to find things quickly.

I also ordered a bunch of the travel-sized containers from Muji - there are a lot of different options and sizes. I filled mine with moisturizer, foundation and other creams (I threw a few away on the trip as the products were used up).

The bottom right case is the Flight001 Clear Carry-On Quart Bag which says "carry-on approved." It does seem to fit a lot more than a flat ziploc because of the depth (it measures 2 x 5 x 7.1 inches; 2.1 ounces). It's very sturdy and durable. For flying within the US you should be completely ok using this. In Europe your mileage may vary depending on security. I had one upset agent at the airport security when flying from Paris to Rome. One agent didn't want to let it through. There was a mini discussion between three agents about the liquids, two of them inspected the labels on all the bottles to make sure they were under the 100ml limit and let me through although the first one was still visibly upset about it. 

Different bags side by side for size comparison. We used the Muji case in the middle and Flight001 at the bottom for our liquids. The others were used for non-liquid travel items. Ziploc included below for size reference only.
Note, the bottom left zip Muji pouch is sold empty, the above featured pouch was filled with cotton and q-tips from my own collection for size reference

Onto the travel products we brought with us. I brought three sheet masks with me including one Tatcha Deep Hydration Mask and two SK-II Facial Treatment Masks. I used all three. Since it was very hot and warm in Paris, Rome and all through Greece, I could have skipped these as my skin did not need any additional moisture. They were still nice to have but for summer I would say they aren't must-haves. For body/fragrance, I brought along the Lavanila Pure Vanilla Deoderant which lasts all day long and doesn't leave any white or sticky residue. (There is a mini travel-size option available too in one scent.)

For body sunscreen, I fell in love with the Korres Suncreen Spray with SPF 50 that we found in a pharmacy in Athens. It is easy to apply and helped tremendously - we didn't get any sunburns when we used this although we did still get quite a bit darker (some areas it was impossible to avoid the sun). I wish Korres would bring back their full line to the US - I always loved their body lotions and shower gels which were really good for my super sensitive skin. You can find the SPF 30 version at Asos, otherwise it seems pretty impossible to find in the US.

Another sunscreen I tried on our trip was the Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil Broad Spectrum SPF 50 in the mini size from Sephora. I am extremely sensitive to body sunscreens - I get an allergic reaction to most and end up with red bumps all over my arms and legs with most. This one from Supergoop! proved to be gentle enough for me for the body (I can't say how it works on the face). It's lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin. You don't feel greasy or oily after applying it. The scent is very light unlike other sunscreens. I like that they have a small travel size option - even though it worked for me, I recommend you patch test first before applying all over.

For other body and fragrance items, I packed my By Terry Baume de Rose Crystal Gloss for my daily lip balm treatment. In Paris I picked up a cute Hand and Lip Duo from Nuxe (also available online, on sale in July). I had a mini Huile Prodigieuse from an online order that I brought with me although one of the hotels in Paris that we stayed at had these as toiletries. I brought the Tatcha Indigo Hand Cream mini with me as it's one of my top picks for hand creams - it's a must if you get dry skin from flights. For perfume I picked up a roll-on L'Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons Rollerball in Paris although it looks like they just started carrying it in the US too. I brought one mini L'Artisan Mûre et Musc Extrême with me for the trip - so after the end of the first week, I had two perfumes to alternate.

For face skincare and other liquids, I probably could have skipped all the foundation. Most of the days it was very warm and too hot for any makeup. I think I wore makeup on only 1/2 of the trip. I did not bring any concealer with me and didn't miss it at all. Left to right includes: Tatcha One-Step Cleansing Oil (travel size), Chanel UV Essential SPF 50, Chanel Sublimage SPF 50 (exclusive to Europe right now, I picked this up in Paris), Chanel CC Cream in 40 Beige (swatches here), NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Travel Size in St. Moritz, MAC Prep +  Prime Blemish Control Gel, Muji Containers filled with moisturizer and toner, minis of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Sérum and Makeup Remover, Tatcha Indigo Rice Enzyme Powder travel size, First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser mini size (from Sephora Beauty Insider points).

For my husband's skincare and fragrance, he brought a few staples. He packed his L'Occitane Cade Plisson Razor and Shaving Cream Duo. The L'Occitane Shaving Cream is one of the few he can use. Most other creams won't prevent razor burn. Chanel Bleu de Chanel is his go-to cologne, he loves the travel size versions because you can refill them. (Refills are available at, travel options also come in the Allure Homme Sport Eau Extreme and Allure Homme Sport scents). We shared sunscreens throughout the trip to see which one was sweat proof and water proof. We found it too hot for anything to be truly sweat proof although he really liked the Korres Sunscreen because of the dry down. Most others felt oily to him.

Also in his packed bag included the L'Occitane Cedrat Stick Deodorant (c/o). He rarely tries new ones because they often make his skin peel, this one from L'Occitane is non-sticky and free of alcohol or aluminum salts and dried quickly. It lasted all day on him even in the hot summer heat. Other staples he brought in his bag included a tube of the small travel-sized Jack Black Turbo Wash, Dream Team Duo which has a small Face Moisturizer with SPF 20 and Deep Dive Glycolic Face Cleanser. At our local Target he picked up a travel tube of Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen (I can't use this because it make my skin blow up, his skin is tougher though and it works just fine for him).

Last but not least, he brought his pot of the Kiehl's Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting Eye Repair eye cream. He's almost finished with this one (it's his second pot) and likes it enough to repurchase a third time. Although if you have any good eye cream recommendations for men, he says he would really appreciate any recs.

Items we skipped and bought and threw out along the way included shampoo, body soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and other things you can find in hotels. So how did it all last for us during our three week trip? I ran out of my face cleanser and makeup remover by Day 8 (when we were in Rome). Luckily I had a few extra minis from Paris that sales associates threw in from the Chanel counter so I could take off eye makeup. For face cleanser, after I ran out, I used my husband's Jack Black Deep Dive. I found out that he somehow managed to pack two, one in the clear bag, one buried somewhere in his clothing. I could have limited myself to one foundation product - the CC cream offered good coverage with high SPF but it felt a bit thick in super hot weather. During the trip we were exposed to a lot of sun - there was no avoiding it. I wore long sleeved lightweight tees to protect my arms but most of the time it was too hot for anything but tank tops or short sleeved tees.

What I missed: I missed a lot of my face masks, especially the purifying ones. I had a few minis I thought about bringing with me but decided against it because of the limited packing space. I also missed my nail polishes. I did buy one polish on my trip (Dior Sundown) and had a manicure refresh half way through our trip. I also missed all of the shower gels I alternate between at home. I am more of a shower gel person versus bar soap, but most of the hotels had nice ones to try out. One last thing I missed included hair products. I skipped bringing all gels, creams and pomades. 

Do you have any packing tips for liquid skincare/bodycare and fragrance products? Any other tips or advice you want to share for carry-on travelers?

The L'Occitane Cedrat Deodorant was provided for review consideration. Post also includes mini gift with purchase items from various events or retail point programs including the Chanel minis, First Aid Beauty cleanser and Nuxe mini oil. All other items purchased by me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Christopher Kane for NARS: Quantum and Violet Atom Multiples + Silent Nude and Starscape Blushes

There are four limited-edition cheek products in the NARS x Christopher Kane Collection for summer. There are two Powder Blushes ($30 each) and two Illuminating Multiples ($39 each). I'm in love with all four items although I will say upfront the blushes can probably duped while the multiples are the colors that are more unique. The four shades in this collection:
  • Silent Nude Blush is a warm-neutral beige nude with a matte finish (no shimmer)
  • Starscape Blush is a neon warm pink that comes in a satiny matte finish
  • Violet Atom Multiple is a pale iridescent lilac that flashes opal and green
  • Quantum is a violet pink with a satiny sheen (this is exclusive to NARS Boutiques and NARS online)
Swatches of all four Christopher Kane + NARS cheek items:

Both powder blushes are classic shades which makes them pretty standard. If you're looking for something super unique you may want to skip these and shop your stash for something similar. That being said, I really like both of these. They work well for my skin tone and they have a rich velvety texture that blends nicely on the skin. They add a natural wash of color that is easy to layer and build. 

Swatch comparisons to: Burberry Hydrangea Pink, Tom Ford Narcissist, Tom Ford Wicked, NARS Desire, NARS Gaiety, NARS Zen, Chanel Les Beiges 40, Burberry Earthy, Marc Jacobs Dream Filter Contour Duo (right side)

I find true nude blushes hard to find for my particular skin tone. Many either turn grey, look more pink rather than nude, disappear on my skin or just look like bronzer. Burberry Earthy and Dolce & Gabbana Tan are my perfect nude blushes, but NARS Silent Nude comes in close third.

Starscape is a soft but bright neon pink. It's easy to layer and on my medium skin it brightens the complexion. It adds just the right amount of pop of color to the face to give it some life. It's a bright color but layers nicely so you don't have to worry about overdoing it. One swipe on each cheek is sufficient for me to get enough color. It's very pigmented but still applies smoothly. 

The multiples are both very unique and the colors are flattering on medium-toned skin. The texture is a bit more gel-like rather than emollient like most of my other NARS multiples. You may have to swipe off the top layer on a paper towel to get the product going. Quantum gives the cheeks a really pretty berry stain. This one is exclusive to the NARS boutique and Violet Atom gives the prettiest sheen of shimmer. On the skin it almost disappears but it makes the skin glow with a very interesting greenish/silver/lilac shimmer. I like this one on the eyes as well. For both, I apply these straight on the cheek in a back and forth swiping motion and then blend with fingers.

Swatched comparisons to two other discontinued multiples:

All four items are winners in my book. I like that they are different from the traditional peach or bronze shades you think of when it comes to summer colors (although I'm one who can never have enough bronzer or peach blushes). They work to add color to the face in an easy effortless way and even though each is distinct in color, they are versatile enough to go with a number of different lip colors: pink, peach, nude or plum. I like layering the colors in this collection together. The combination possibilities are endless. Violet Atom Multiple is my favorite of the four items, it's such a unique color that I wouldn't have ever thought to pick out or even dream up, but it gives such a pretty sheen to the skin. I don't think I have seen anything like it before.

The four Christopher Kane for NARS Cheek Products are limited-edition. The Quantum Multiple is exclusive to NARS Boutiques and NARS Online. The other three items are available at all NARS counters and online at NARS Cosmetics, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Selfridges.

The two Christopher Kane powder blushes were provided courtesy of NARS for review consideration. Multiples purchased by me.


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