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Bronzer + Blush NARS

NARS Pop Goes the Easel – Nordstrom Exclusive

March 9, 2017

NARS Pop Goes the Easel Nordstrom Picks | The Beauty Look Book

Happy Thursday everyone! I’m back and have a review of the NARS Pop Goes the Easel collection today. This is currently a Nordstrom Exclusive collection with new shades for lips and cheeks consisting of:

  • Three new Powder Blushes ($30 each) in Misconduct, Peep Show and Threesome
  • Four new Velvet Lip Glides ($26 to $28 each) in Bait, Suck, Impossible Red and Disruptor (not sure why one shade is listed at a higher price online)
  • Three Sheer Pop Multiples ($39 each) in Motu Tane, Cote Basque and Navagio Beach

I ordered two of the lip products and all three multiples to test out. I’ll say up front I love the Sheer Pop Multiples, the Velvet Lip Glide colors are nice but not must-haves in my opinion.

Up first are the Velvet Lip Glides. I picked the lightest color options in Bait and Suck since I don’t really wear a lot of orange or reds unless they’re sheer. (By the way I’m obsessed with the new Tom Ford Lip Balms, the colors are perfect for spring to summer and I love the formula.) Bait is a bright cool-toned pink that has a bit of a streaky finish with one swipe but it can be smoothed out with a finger or brush. Suck is a medium peachy nude, it’s like if you mixed Playpen and Unlaced (both of which were reviewed here and I didn’t really like color-wise). I do like this color, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a bit on the boring side. If you want a good neutral nude, the Tom Ford Revolve Around Me, Lips and Boys Bradley or Edward Bess Pure Impulse are much better although they are lipsticks versus the velvet lip formula.

NARS Velvet Lip Glide Suck Bait | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Velvet Lip Glide Swatches Unlaced, Playpen, Stripped, Suck Bait | The Beauty Look Book

Next are the Sheer Pop Multiples which appear to be a new formula. These have a more weightless formula that isn’t quite as dewy as the regular version. These have a soft shimmer finish and considering how sheer they swatched on the hand and arms I was surprised that the color payoff on the face is really good. Navagio Beach is a sheer champagne gold, Motu Tane is a light pink with impressive pigment, Cote Basque is a coral with tiny gold flecks of shimmer. They dry to a powdery finish although they stay creamy long enough that you can easily blend on the cheeks and layer depending on how much color you want. I would say the finish can definitely be sheered out for a sheer wash of color, but you can still build to medium coverage. I like these better than the regular multiples. They layer well over foundation and powder without looking cakey or dragging your base off the face.

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple | The Beauty Look Book

A quick comparison of the Navagio Beach Multiple to the Banc de Sable Highlighter Palette (Sephora exclusive). The palette is to die for gorgeous and I’ll review it soon. If you’re one who want a sheerer glow of shimmer go with the multiple. If you want more pigment go with the palette. Are they different enough to justify both? I think the formulas are different enough to justify both but I’ll have to do a bit more testing with both on the face at the same time to tell you. I’ll be sure to address this when I review the palette. At the moment I’m more inclined to say I like the palette more – but that’s mainly because I like the darkest shade A LOT.

NARS Banc de Sable Palette v Sheer Pop Multiple Navagio Beach | The Beauty Look Book

I’m trying something a bit different with face looks of the products. If you prefer the up close lip swatches let me know and I’ll resume that style in future posts. In both posts I’m wearing the Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation in Bisque with Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Finish Powder #2.

Look 1 has Sheer Pop Multiple in Motu Tane and Velvet Lip Glide in Bait.

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple Motu Tane and Velvet Lip Glide Bait | The Beauty Look Book

Look 2 has Sheer Pop Multiple in Cote Basque and Navagio Beach mixed with Velvet Lip Glide in Suck.

NARS Sheer Pop Multiple in Cote Basque and Navagio Beach and Suck Lip Glide | The Beauty Look Book

Overall love the Multiples. I like the Velvet Lip Glide colors but don’t think they are must-haves. Bound is still my favorite out of the bunch, but if you found the nudes in the original launch off, I think many will find the color Suck more wearable.

NARS Pop Goes the Easel Nordstrom Picks | The Beauty Look Book

You can find the NARS Pop Goes the Easel collection exclusively at Nordstrom. Have you checked out the colors yet? If you saw the powder blushes in person let me know what you thought!

P.S. My site has been migrated to a new host! If you have any issues with viewing the posts on your desktop or mobile device please shoot me an e-mail and let me know what device you use and also what browser you use (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc.) – thanks!

Base Makeup NARS

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer

February 17, 2017

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

NARS launched a new concealer called the Soft Matte Complete Concealer ($30 for 0.21 oz) and being the fan that I am of their bases I knew I had to try it. To date the Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30 for 0.22 oz) has been one of my favorites for under the eye and around the nose to help with redness and create a more brighter more awake look. Since I tan easily and also because I use a different shade under the eyes versus spot concealing, I rotate between three shades. I used to mix Custard and Ginger together for my best match. Then NARS added another color in between which is Macadamia with slight peachy tones. This one is perfect for me as I actually prefer something with the tiniest bit of peach for under eyes. The warmth helps brighten the eye are for me. For the Soft Matte Complete Concealer, I ordered the same three shades. The colors are pretty close between formulas for the ones I bought, not identical but pretty close.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

The Soft Matte Complete Concealer offers full-coverage finish with a soft matte look. It’s oil free, light weight yet ultra pigmented so a little goes a long way. It feels creamy and soft to the touch, almost like it has just the slightest bit of bounce. I tried it under the eyes and on a few spots using the finger to dab and blend. Under the eyes it was like an instant eye lift with a blurring effect. It didn’t cake or darken and lasted all day (I did set with powder). For spots it didn’t cover them 100%, but I would say that it still did a really good job at covering them to about 85% of the way. For the corners around the nose it works well to reduce redness.

Color-wise these look a bit dark in the pot. Also side by side I thought they all looked the same in the container. Even when swatched on the back of my hand and arm I thought they were all going to be too dark but they actually work better than I expected on the face. I love that it blends effortlessly on the skin and even though the coverage is near full it still manages to look natural on the skin. I will say that I have normal combo skin – since it’s matte and opaque I do think if you have dry under eyes it could emphasize dry patches. In this case I would just make sure you have a good primer to hydrate the eye area (I like the Marc Jacobs Coconut Primer for dry skin days).

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer

3 shades of the matte formula swatched on the face, under eye area and along jawline, on the lips is Kat Von D Beauty Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Ludwig:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Custard was too light for me, but I put Macadamia on one side and Ginger on the other, both look like they’re a good match, right now I have a slight preference for Macdamia:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

The Radiant Creamy Concealer has been a long-time go-to for me. I tend to prefer something with a tiny bit of radiance because I find it blends better on my skin type and also looks more natural. Matte often looks too opaque, too matte and therefore a bit fake on the skin. For years the Radiant Creamy Concealer was one of the few I could use under the eyes no matter what condition my skin was in regardless of season and weather. I still love it.

If I had to pick one, I would say Radiant Creamy wins because of the packaging and also because I like something a bit more creamy. I’m not the biggest fan of pots because they tend to get messy. I also really don’t like matte finishes because I find they don’t work the best with my skin – they tend to emphasize pores, imperfections and look cakey. However for a matte formula the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer is seriously impressive and I do think it’s worth owning even if you have the other formulas. I found it easy to blend, but that being said if you need something with a bit more slip to blend easier, go with (or stick with) the Radiant Creamy Concealer formula.

I didn’t swatch the Radiant Creamy one on the face as it blends out slightly sheerer so it’s a bit more forgiving color-wise. When I use any of the shades, Custard, Macadamia or Ginger, it blends to match the skin really well – it looks so natural you can barely tell there’s anything on the face. I do have side by sides of the corresponding shades in both formulas. You can see the difference in finish. Colors are pretty close but I feel the Radiant Creamy formula has slightly more yellow undertones.

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line a solid win. Macadamia is the best match for me, but if I need a bit of brightening I can mix in some of the Custard to lighten or brighten certain areas. Since I tan easily I suspect Ginger will be a match within the next few months and as I’m often in between shades I don’t mind owning multiple colors so I can mix them as I transition between colors. I don’t know how I feel about the pot style. I’ve avoided this type of packaging for years and a quick look at my concealer stash shows that they are literally all either wands or twist/click up pens. I also don’t like that NARS does that matte almost velvety finish packaging on their face products because it gets dirty so easily. If you get any bit of concealer or cream product on it, it’s pretty much stuck there forever (I’ve tried getting it off, but it’s near impossible). It’s not a deal breaker though and that’s just me being picky.

You can find both the Soft Matte Complete Concealer and Radiant Creamy Concealer at all counters now. I bought the new Soft Matte Complete Concealer from Sephora. It’s also available at NARS, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and all other NARS counters.

Have you tried this one yet? What did you think? If not, what are your current go-to concealers?

P.S. I’m also testing out concealer formulas from Too Faced, Tarte and will compare them to Kat Von D in the next couple of weeks.

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Bronzer + Blush NARS Sephora

NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palettes I and II

December 21, 2016

NARS Narsissist Unfitered Cheek Palette Review

NARS has two new cheek palettes called the NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palettes I and II ($59 each for 0.12 oz / 3.5g x6). These launched early at Sephora for as a Cyber Monday sneak preview for spring launches and I ordered them sight unseen. Update: back in stock now at Sephora but you can enter your email for notification for when they are back in stock. Right now you can find both online at NARS Cosmetics. They launch officially at other counters starting February 1st.

I’ve been a long time NARS fan and I love blush and highlighters. Both of these palettes have good-sized pans, pigment and texture is very good across all colors, and the color options in each are excellent. That being said NARS has released quite a few cheek palettes this year so if you already own other palettes or individual shades I suspect you will have a lot of similar colors or dupes and may want to shop your stash. Each palette has a mix of matte and shimmers shades for blush along with a few lighter colors that can be used as highlighters. These have a colorful tinted cover and come in a very sturdy mirrored compact.

NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palettes Packaging

Unfiltered I has deeper and darker tones with a bold vibe. The top three shades in the palette are easy for me to wear for my medium-toned olive skin (for reference I mix NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints in Groenland and St. Moritz). The bottom three colors are really dark and bold on my skin and I have to use with a super light hand or blend like crazy otherwise they are too dark for my complexion. Colors include:

  • Watch Me a shimmering light gold
  • Me First a shimmering soft peach
  • Takeover a gorgeous bronze nude shimmer (can they please make this in a single?!)
  • Out There is a matte deep reddish brown
  • Chic is a matte plum
  • Exhibit A is a bright vibrant red

NARS NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palette I Review via The Beauty Look Book

NARS NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palette I Review via The Beauty Look Book

Unfiltered II has lighter cooler tones. Pigment is good but if you are tan to deep these may not show up on you as the colors pull on the lighter side. For me this palette is easier to wear for everyday. Colors are:

  • Conquest a matte baby pink that darkens after it sets
  • Undefeated looks like a medium babydoll pink in the pan, on my skin it applies more like a highlighter
  • Power Play is a medium matte cool pink
  • Hot Sand is a champagne shimmer highlighter (also reviewed here)
  • Fame is a satiny peach
  • Candid is a raspberry shimmer

NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palette II review and swatches

NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palette II review and swatches

For size comparison, here is a full size blush pan shown below from the Pro Palette Format, the NARSissist Cheek Studio Palette from Spring 2016, a Chanel Blush Brush and Charlotte Tilbury Powder Sculpt Brush.

NARSissist Cheek Studio Spring vs Unfiltered vs Full Size Pan

Two quick looks:

NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palettes I and II reviewed by Sabrina of The Beauty Look Book

One last look:

NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek Palettes I and II reviewed by Sabrina of The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line both are solid performers. In previously released NARS palettes the texture can be hit or miss with some shades, but with both of the Unfiltered Cheek Palettes colors and highlighters have consistent quality, pigment and are easy to layer/blend. If you already splurged on other NARS palettes this year you may want to shop your stash. My personal favorite this year is still the NARSissist Dual Intensity Cheek Palette (you can still find it at Nordstrom reviewed and swatched in this post here). Still both of these new launches from NARS have a good mix of colors and finishes in a palette which make them convenient for travel.

Both are limited-edition. I ordered mine from Sephora but you can find them now at NARS Cosmetics. Launching everywhere else later this spring starting February.

Did you try these yet? What did you think?

Eye Makeup NARS

NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Picks: Give In Take, Indes Galantes, Impudique and Isadora

November 7, 2016
NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Picks: Give In Take, Indes Galantes, Impudique and Isadora

NARS partnered with French fashion photographer Sarah Moon to create his holiday 2016 collection. There are a lot of beautiful limited-edition palettes and sets. I bought four of the items:

Up first are the Sarah Moon Collection items. There are individual colors for eyes, lips and cheeks. The lips are all in the Matte Lipstick Formula so I passed. Indes Galantes Eyeshadow Duo is a shimmering gunmetal and matte cranberry plum shade. Together they make for an interesting smoky eye but I can’t wear them alone. I need an additional color like a light neutral such as NARS Himalia or any of the lighter neutral duos to help blend and create a full eye look. Pigment and texture wise both shades are excellent.

For the Sarah Moon Blushes I bought them as an impulse buy at the counter. I have an extensive blush stash and probably did not need either of these but I was really impressed with the lovely soft rose almost mauve tone of Isadora. It’s rare for me to find pink mauve blushes with that kind of sheen/shimmer. It has some warmth in the shimmers so it doesn’t pull muddy on my complexion. Impudique is a brighter warm raspberry shimmer which I tried at the counter and fell in love with as well. Both are smooth and have a natural sheen and are not overly shimmery. Pigment is rich but easy to blend and apply on the skin.

The Beauty Look Book NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Picks

The Beauty Look Book NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Picks

The Give In Take Dual-Intensity Eye and Cheek Palette is a Sephora exclusive. It has six Dual-Intensity Shadows and three Dual-Intensity Cheek products. All the colors are exclusive to the palette and are different from the existing full size color options. This is a beautiful soft and smoky kind of palette but it turned out to be completely different from what I expected. I ordered this sight unseen online (as of last week I still haven’t seen it at my Sephora stores). I expected full pigment rich colors and shimmers as I experience with most of the dual-intensity products. The colors in this palette are a lot softer with a more muted finish that isn’t really intense as the product name implies. The blushes are extremely sheer – I can build them for a soft natural glow but on my medium olive skin it’s very very soft.

The Beauty Look Book NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Give In Take

The Beauty Look Book NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Give In Take
I had to swatch with a very heavy hand to get the colors to show up on my arm. I hope this shows how you can build and layer the colors. These were applied with a dry brush, to get more intense color apply with a dense damp brush.

The Beauty Look Book NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Give In Take swatches

For the eyes you have a soft grey ivory shimmer, a dove grey satin, a gunmetal shimmer, white opal, soft grey taupe satin, warm black satin.

The Beauty Look Book NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Give In Take

For the cheeks you have a shimmery ivory, a super soft peach and a soft baby pink shimmer.

The Beauty Look Book NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016 Give In Take

Here’s a look with the Dual Intensity Eyeshadows used from the top row, Indes Galantes Duo, all three  Dual-Intensity palette blushes swirled and applied on cheeks. Lips are Louboutin Altareva (reviewed here). Foundation is NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland and concealer is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Macadamia.

Shop the look below:


One last look:
The Beauty Look Book NARS Sarah Moon Holiday 2016
Overall some lovely items for holiday that are nice but not must-haves. If I were to narrow down my pick to 1 item it would most likely be just the Isadora Blush. All the colors are made extremely well with high quality and with good color payoff. The palette is a very good one – it was just different from what I expected. If you like soft looking glowy makeup and find most shimmers too shimmery you will absolutely love this one. I like the looks it can create – I just expected something more intense and dramatic for holiday.

You can find the Sarah Moon collection items now at all NARS counters. The items are limited-editino. Online at NARS Cosmetics, Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Don’t forget today 11/7 is the last day for Sephora VIB Rouge Members to receive 20% off purchases with code 20ROUGE at checkout.

If you hauled anything let me know in the comments!
Dior Highlighters NARS

Easy to Wear Contour and Highlight Sticks

August 10, 2016

I have mixed feelings about the contouring technique for beauty. Mainly because I’m not very good at doing it myself on my own face. I have used a bronzer like Bronze Universel de Chanel or NARS Laguna in a 3 shaped motion along the sides of my face to warm up the complexion and add depth, but for the popular contouring powders and creams – I find they are easy to overdo and while they look great in photos, in real life I think it can look very much overdone. I do own quite a few contouring powders and the most natural ones to date that I’ve tried are the Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Powders for flawless finish and textures that blend beautifully with the skin. I haven’t really found a cream product that I love – there are a number of compacts others rave about but cream compacts get messy so I haven’t really found anything that speaks to me. Today I have a roundup of four brands of contour sticks, several of them are multi-tasking and great for travel because they are double-sided.

I find it rare to find all items I test in a category phenomenal in the sense that I think all aspects  of the product are great but this is one of those rare occasions. I tested highlight/contour sticks from Burberry, Wander Beauty, NARS and Dior and all of them are impressive to me and perfect for a natural look. If you need a contour product for dummies (like me) these are the perfect option for you because they look very natural, easy to use and blend really well. Picking one will come down to brand, texture or color preference.

Up first are the Burberry Fresh Glow Highlighting Luminous Pen in Nude Radiance 01 and Face Contour Effortless Contouring Pen for Face and Eyes in Medium 01. In terms of a highlight the Burberry Fresh Glow Pen is on the sheer and subtle side. You will see a glow on the face if you highlight the cheekbones or eyes but it gives a luminous glow versus a more visible shimmer. The fresh glow highlighting pen comes in 1 shade, if you’re similar to my skintone or lighter the effect will be more subtle, but if you’re tan to deep there will be more contrast and it will show up better on your skin. Texture is creamy but dries down quickly. It is easy to blend before it dries down so you don’t have to rush.

The Face Contour Pen comes in two colors and I picked the lighter option. It dries to a matte finish and blends easily on the skin for a very natural contour. It is on the warm side but it’s not too warm. This one is the easiest for me to use by applying a few stripes along the cheeks and then blend with either a finger or brush. This is the easiest to use along the sides of the nose because it’s slim. You can find these at Nordstrom, Sephora and Net-A-Porter.

There are two On-The-Glow Bronzer Duos from Wander Beauty. I received both items to try out, each one has the same highlighter in Candle Glow. The lighter option is Malibu which is a neutral brown and Capri is the darker/deeper option. If you go to their website you can see it on different skintones. These have a thicker creamy texture but they don’t feel greasy and look completely natural once blended. I love Malibu because it’s a lighter color and the perfect shade for my skintone for a barely there contour. Candle Glow Highlighter has the perfect mix of gold and warmth so it doesn’t look yellow on my olive skin. You can also find these at Sephora.

Next up are the NARS Sculpting Multiple Duos which are currently Sephora exclusives. I had very high hopes for these as I’m a huge fan of the multiple sticks and they did not disappoint. The texture of the highlighter multiples are stiffer than I normally see in multiples so they do not swatch well on the arms. They do swipe a 100x better on the face or eyes. I found these to be on the more subtle side which I think is due to the slightly stiffer/harder texture. The bronze/contour sides are amazing though. As a lover of lighter contour shades I love the Copacabana and Sidari Beach duo – it’s a peachy pinky color on my skintone which makes for a less traditional brown contour.

As you can see below they look to be on the sheer side. I think the highlighters are all sheerer than most multiples I’ve tried from NARS. The darker contour sides are creamy with little to no shimmer. They look streaky on the arm but blend out easily on the face.

Last but not least are the Diorblush Light and Contour Sticks which are part of the fall 2016 collection launch. They just launched at Dior.com and there are three shades each with a different color of shimmery highlighter and contour cream which has no shimmer. These are my favorite of the bunch because the round tip makes them easy to glide along the face. The flat tips of the others are still easy to apply but having the round tip is easier for me to put on the cheeks. My favorite color is 001 but 002 is probably better suited for my skintone. The browns are on the warm side which I found a bit too warm for my nose but for the rest of the face or eyes it’s perfect. Texture is very creamy but natural looking without being too dewy.

Here’s a quick look of before and after the Diorblush Light and Contour Duo in 002. Also worn on the face includes NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Groenland and St. Moritz mixed, Anastasia Glow Kit in Sundipped on the eyes, Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara, Lancome Juicy Shaker in Lemon Explosion. On then nails is Dior Minimal.

I couldn’t fit all the items on my arm so I split them between the contour side and highlighter side with a few added items to compare.

That wraps it up for thoughts and swatches on four brands of contour sticks that are easy to wear and natural looking. My personal favorites are NARS Copacabana/Sidari Beach and Diorblush Light and Contour Duo 001 – but all of the ones I tested are pretty good for that natural contour. In terms of application I put these on the face after foundation and powder. I like putting these on the cheeks in stripes along the side of the face directly from the tube and then either blend with fingers or a duo fibre brush like the MAC 159 or any synthetic brush like the ones in this post here.
Do you have any contouring favorites? If so please share in the comments what your skintone is and your favorite shades or brands. If you haven’t tried contouring and are interested in starting with natural looking products, I hope this post helps you find something new to try!

Press samples include products from Wander Beauty and Dior Beauty.