Nordstrom Trend Show NARS Makeover (edited)

June 3, 2012
This past weekend I attended a Nordstrom Trend Show with my sister. It’s been a few years since my last trend show (this was my sister’s first). For this particular event, I was particularly excited about our NARS makeovers, hoping to learn new tips and tricks from the NARS specialists on how to mix and match various shades from one of our favorite brands. My sister and I both have loved NARS since our college days.

For this makeover, I asked for a smokey-eye look incorporating NARS Cordura Duo. The artist decided to go in a different direction focusing on other items, but did incorporate a tiny bit of the bronze/golden side of Cordura. The colors she used created a nice palette, but the application wasn’t flattering and I looked like I had punched eyes. The final result wasn’t one of the best I’ve had. My sister confirmed so right after with a discrete shake of her head. (It’s always good to bring a trusted friend with you to these events to tell give you an honest assessment.) I immediately ran to another counter to wipe off the eye makeup. I did get some new ideas on colors to coordinate but revised/edited the look as soon as I got home. Below is the edited version of my makeover. I’ll indicate what was originally used as well for inquiring minds.

Personally Edited Version List of Products Used


  • Sheer Matte Foundation in Santa Fe (testing a sample of this color)
  • Duo Concealer in Custard/Ginger
  • Loose Powder in Eden (I substituted my own powder at home)


  • The Multiple in Laguna
  • Powder Blush in Deep Throat


  • Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (giving this a second try with a sample)
  • Shimmer Eyeshadow in Cyprus (applied all over lid)
  • Eyeshadow Duo in Brumes (dark navy smudged along lash line, then smoked upwards slightly, a tiny bit of the gray side mixed in at the end to darken/define)
  • Eyeshadow Duo in Cordura (golden shade, applied with a fluffy brush blended on top of the navy, mixing/blending it to diffuse harsh edges)
  • Larger than Life Mascara (my current favorite mascara)


  • Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Belle du Jour
  • Larger Than Life Lip Gloss Gold Digger

The products I used, more photos and swatches:

 Original Makeover Version 
(not photographed/swatched, you can see that the look was only slightly adjusted)
  • Cheeks:
    • The Multiple in Laguna
    • Powder Blush in Lovejoy (I think this combo will look better with a softer eye)
  • Eyes:
    • Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
    • Shimmer Eyeshadow in Cyprus (applied on inner corners blended to the 1/2 way point of lid)
    • Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Rue Saint-HonorΓ© (applied in a
      winged cat liner way, blended up, found the pencil too harsh to be used
      as a blended eyeshadow)
    • Eyeshadow Duo in Cordura (golden side, applied on outer corners
      and blended in for a fake crease, not flattering for Asians without
  • Lips:
    • Pure Sheer SPF Lip Treatment in Paloma (so sheer it didn’t show up)
    • Larger Than Life Lipgloss in PirΓ©e (also sheer, sometimes sheer+sheer=meh)

If you haven’t been to a Nordstrom Trend Show, I suggest you do attend if you get a chance. What to expect? high-energy speakers, brightly lit runways with models, mini talks from brand specialists/artists, giveaways, cheering pumped-up women. All what seem like the perfect ingredients for a successful event. I’ve enjoyed
many of them in the past, especially ones with special guest appearances like Deborah Lippmann (that one was so awesome!). My experience this particular time was luke-warm at best. It all seemed like one hard-sell after
another. Each speaker claimed to have the “best in industry” miracle-type of products. I do appreciate the efforts to teach/expose as many brands, trends and skincare items as possible in a short period of time, but I felt the two hours lacked substance. There was too much covered without focus. I left feeling like I didn’t learn as much as I
had hoped to.

In general, I have liked Nordstrom Trend Shows. Nordstrom is indeed at the top among retailers for having best in class customer service. Trend Shows offer an excellent environment to generate buzz, have fun with friends, learn new tricks and makeup tips and brands etc. However I feel that the sheer volume in the number of women that attend, overbooked “makeover” appointments, hard-sell gimmicks etc. water down the quality of customer focus. Bottom line, in the future I’ll look for smaller events to attend with trained national artists (versus free-lance artists who in my experience have mixed levels of talent) or make an appointment with my favorite specialist/counter manager with specific brands for a better result.

Have you had a recent NARS makeover or attended a Trend Show event? What were your thoughts? Experiences?

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  • christine

    I have had a freelance Nars makeover and it was also mediocre at best — the makeup artist obviously had little experience with Asian eyes and had a difficult time figuring out how to do something that was both edgy and flattering. He panda-ed my eyes with blue shadow, drawing a harsh teal line underneath. It was uneven, unprecise, and unblended! I ran away and scrubbed off the whole thing. In the future, like you, I'd only go if it was a national artist.

  • I love nars's products, those colours look realy pretty πŸ™‚

    Rose x

  • I love the Nordy's Trend bi-annual Trend Shows. I always make it a "girls" day with a group of friend. I the ones I went to in the DC area are always fun but informative. I agree that not all the freelance artist are the best. Since I've gone to a few of these over the years, I've gotten to meet artist at the different counters and now feel comfortable with whoever I sit down with. I did go to a Nars event with a National artist and she WAS amazing and I learned so much.

  • Eileen

    Thanks for sharing your modified palette. You have an excellent eye for color combinations. Anyone who has makeovers often enough will eventually have a terrible one. But, to look on the bright side, it's only makeup and can be washed off. Over the years, I have learned to carry an emergency kit with me: cleansing wipes, moisturizer, and some basic makeup. Sad to say, I've had to make use of it on more than one occasion. I always ask about the MA's status. Unless it's a national artist or, at the very least, one who has a long association with the brand, I don't bother booking an appointment.

  • I had a very similar experience at one of these events. A freelance makeup artist also did my makeup and I was shocked by how poorly she applied my makeup and she applied colors that were categorically unflattering on me. I looked washed out and awful. What made matters even worse was the fact that she was unfriendly bordering on rude. It was a pretty unpleasant experience πŸ™

  • Never attended a Nordstrom event (am sort of new to the US), but in general, I haven't had great experiences with the actual makeup part of the events that I have attended. Most of the times, I just wipe off most of the heavy-handed application and re-do a "normal" version version myself. I have picked up helpful hints from some of the makeup artists, though, and I like going when there isn't much of a crowd.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, though..now I know what to expect at a Nordstrom event πŸ˜€ I like the shop, though, on regular days – they are awfully nice with the explaining things and handing out samples too πŸ™‚

  • Aw, I'm sorry to hear how your experience went this time around. I actually attended my first Nordstrom Trend Show at the SF Westfield last Saturday and I actually had a blast! The speakers were really cute haha, and the energy was great, and I actually had an absolutely lovely (unplanned – I am really not much for crowds and had a physical therapy appointment to get too soon after) makeover at the Le Metier de Beaute counter by the director of makeup himself! I also got to meet the west coast sales manager of Diptyque who was incredibly charming haha. I bought a lot more than I intended but I am really happy with how everything went. I think I was quite lucky though – I've also had some terrible makeovers before too. ^^;;

  • What is a trend show? Do you have to buy a ticket or buy a certain amount of product to get the make over?

  • Thanks for sharing your makeover details! Lovely color choices πŸ™‚ I had considered attending a Nordstrom trend show a few months ago, but at the last minute wasn't able to make it. Maybe next year! But I think I would also prefer a more quiet event that is more focused on teaching rather than the sales aspect. πŸ™‚

  • Cassy

    I went to a Nordstrom Trend Show last September and my NARS appointment SUCKED. It made no difference that the national makeup artist for NARS was there because he matched my NC 10 yellow toned skin to the pinkest foundation possible. As a result, my face turned in to the most digusting shade of orange. Then he walked off and left me with another artist that used the Tzsarine duo and I ended up looking like a cheap hooker.

  • Petunia

    I have had horrible experiences with freelance makeup artists. Not only have I received some TERRIBLE make overs, but also I have had to educate the freelancers on the product line. NOT good. I prefer to go to events with National Artists as I want to learn more about the line and discover new trends, not just get a make up application.

  • Sal

    I have had mixed experiences at Nordstrom trend shows. You have to go in with the right attitude – just try to have fun and not take it seriously. The quality of the information is not good – it's just the usual hard sell typical of the industry. The trend shows of the past had better samples, better door prizes, and better artists. The Dior counter manager at the last show I attended actually apologized to me for the freelance artists. I hadn't even said anything to her. Even if the makeup is not great, you will still probably come away with a few items you really like.

  • Nordstrom understands appeal, marketing, public relations and advertising in ways that many companies still struggle to control; something in itself that Nordstrom is admired for. The company commands attention without asking for it and I think that's what draws people in. Almost as if the company wants to give away fashion secrets, but they sell them to you in an exclusive manner.
    Nordstrom is definitely a company who listens to consumer needs and knows how to capitalize on them. Great company.

  • I've had a makeover with a Nars Makeup artist in the UK, she used the summer 2012 colours with the Paris duo. Loved it, the artist was amazing, she used blusher and other products I never would have tried.

  • I haven't generally had very good luck with any applications during big events (though I haven't had the chance to attend a Nordstrom's one). I find the pace and the pressure to buy alarming for me, and generally not conducive to artistic excellence on the part of the MUA. The only exception to that is my experience with the regional rep for Guerlain, who was extraordinarily good.

  • Wish our Nordstrom had something like this. NARS has gorgoeus stuff.