NARS has seriously outdone themselves with their NARS x Man Ray holiday launch this year. This season they’ve launched a collection of individual colors, palettes and sets inspired by modern artist Man Ray. This is one of the first makeup launches that has me really excited about holiday – they’ve created a nice range of options so I think there is something for everyone. The collection launched exclusively at NARS online for the first part of October and now items are starting to trickle in at other counters. There’s quite a bit in this collection and I’m thrilled to be able to feature a lot of the items, but do note there are other sets and items available exclusive to certain retailers like Nordstrom and Sephora. You may have to do some shopping around to find the color sets you have your eyes on.
I’ve split my review into product category: eyes, cheeks and lips + one set. For the eyes this season we have shadows and pencils:
- Duo Eyeshadow in Debauched ($36) is a richly pigmented duo of cool-toned plums. There is a smooth plum shimmer and a blackened purple with tiny violet glitter flecks. Both have good smooth pigment, the deeper shade is probably best applied in a patting motion or liner.
- Duo Eyeshadow in Montparnasse ($36) has a smooth texture of shimmers with a soft warm pale gold champagne shimmer and maroon shimmer. Both swatch well with good pigment, but on my eyes the plum shade applies on the semi-sheer side once blended. To get more pigment you either have to pack it on over a cream shadow or with a dense brush.
- Velvet Eyeliner in Nagoya ($24) is one of the most beautiful violet cream shades I’ve ever seen but it’s a color I don’t see myself wearing on the eyes. Application is a bit sheer but the color is so pretty!
- Velvet Eyeliner in Santiago ($24) is a sheer shimmering auburn color, it makes for a good subtle liner for the lower lash line to add definition without looking harsh. However formula is sheer which I find a bit odd for a liner where I usually think you’d want more intense pigment.
- Eyeshadow Palette Glass Tears (not shown)
For the cheeks we have beautiful highlighters, blushes and a stunning palette:
- Powder Blush in Fetishized ($30) is a bright warm reddish pink, but once applied it’s not quite as warm or red as it looks in the pan. It has a subtle sheen to it but the pigment overall is very intense. I could not pull this one off alone but it looks amazing as a layering or mixing color, especially if you soften with a highlighter or warm it up with bronzer.
- Powder Blush in Intensely ($30) is a very smooth matte semi-sheer orange cream color. Texture is dreamy and soft with flawless application. I often find orange blushes surprising because they can actually be quite flattering and different than what you’d expect. On my skintone alone this one just looked like orange candy, almost like Tic-Tacs. Again this is a great one for layering to warm up colors or even mixed with a highlighter. That’s the beauty of a lot of NARS colors – you can layer and mix and the result is often really pretty.
- Overexposed Glow Highlighter in Double Take ($42) is a stunning highlighter, it’s all kinds of gorgeous with the warm gold with slight peachy tones. It has a smooth almost creamy feel with intense shimmer that you can blend out or layer for that super shimmery highlight. Swatch comparisons below to the Banc de Sable shades and some from Dior.
- The Veil Cheek Palette with Laguna, Lovesick, Surreal ($49) is another beautiful color and if I had to pick one thing from the entire collection it would be this palette. Laguna is the Sun Wash formula which is a stiffer almost hybrid kind of formula. The full size ended up being a bit muddy on me, but as most NARS fans know – the Laguna individually (regardless of formula) isn’t always the same as the ones you get in the palettes. The palette Laguna is still very stiff and sheer, but it’s not quite as muddy. Lovesick is like a dual-intensity blush formula and is a rich coral with a sheen. It’s almost identical to the powder blush Fetishized but the formula makes it more wearable. Surreal is a similar formula to the Banc de Sable palette and the Overexposed Double Take Highlighter. It’s intense with a pretty peachy tan shimmer.
- Foundation is La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer and Foundation in Satin Nude (review coming soon)
- Concealer is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger
- Powder is La Mer Pressed Powder in Light
- Cheeks are NARS x Man Ray The Veil Cheek Palette, all three shades in Laguna, Lovesick and Surreal applied with a very light hand
- Eyeshadow is Montparnasse Eyeshadow Duo
- Lips is NARS Audacious Lipstick in Barbara
- Brush shown is Wayne Goss #14 from The Face Set (reviewed here)
- Nail polish is Diorific Ruby
Some highlighter swatch comparisons below. If you own Banc de Sable the new holiday highlighters have a very similar effect in terms of formula, texture and shimmer. Colors are close and similar but not identical. I’ve also included two of the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizers (all on my face here). The NARS vs Dior both have that intense shimmer but smooth almost creamy feel (yet they are still powders).
Update 10/21: I re-swatched the comparisons with a denser brush. The original comparisons above looked a little washed out due to the curve of my arm combined with blending using a larger brush. A more dense application shows that Surreal is closer in color to Embruns than it looks when it’s blended out more. Same order below just swatched with a MAC 239 brush.
This year the Becca x Chrissy Teigen palette has been my favorite face palette launch (review + beauty look here). It’s wearable, easy to layer and I love the color combinations. At first glance I thought the NARS might be exactly the same, but it’s deeper, warmer and a bit more intense. If I had to pick one it would be a tough call. Both are extremely versatile and you can increase or soften intensity depending on what brushes you use or how much you layer product.
For the lips, the Man Ray collection has four glosses in a new formula called Photogloss Lip Lacquer then there are lots of sets with a mix of colors:
There’s a new formula called Photogloss Lip Lacquer ($26 each) which is super opaque and glossy without being thick or tacky-feeling. These have serious pigment and smooth finish. Lasting power is excellent for a gloss and there was no color bleeding along the sides.
- Photogloss Lip Lacquer in Zambeze is a yellowed-beige cream
- Photogloss Lip Lacquer in Off Limits is a bright sparkling fuchsia purple
- Photogloss Lip Lacquer in Kiki is a blood-red semi-sheer, the sheerness made it a tiny bit streaky looking, it can be smoothed out if you apply over a liner or lipstick
- Photogloss Lip Lacquer in Muse is a shimmering gold, the color and shimmer was a bit patchy looking once applied but there is no gritty texture and you can blend it out for a smoother finish
- The Kiss Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Set ($49, Sephora exclusive) has four full-sized Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, I really love this set – they look better in person than in these photos. Pigment is smooth with a soft matte finish. They have a very airy feel to them and glide on the lips nicely. Lasting power is about average for a lipstick, they will fade after a few hours and transfer to cups if you drink, but I don’t mind reapplying. This set comes in a shiny gold zippered pouch:
- Endangered Red is a soft muted deep vampy red
- Spellbound is a pretty shimmering pale pink
- Toundra is a muted plum-brown with shimmer
- Wild Ways is a shimmering soft tan bronze
- Audacious Lip Coffrett in Noire Et Blanche, not shown ($55, Sephora exclusive) with Lee, Dolores, Josephine and Charlotte Audacious Lipsticks
- Audacious Lip Coffrett in Les Amoureux ($55, Nordstrom exclusive) with pretty neutrals that aren’t boring. I had forgotten how much I loved this formula of lipstick, Barbara was a staple for a long time for me. I need to use it more often. The lipsticks in these sets are miniature sized. The coffretts come in a round dome case.
- Ady light peachy orange cream
- Ardon medium rose
- Jane coral
- Barbara perfect nude pink beige
Then there are a number of duos with minis called Love Triangle ($24 each). Different color combinations are available at different retailers. I have the Deep Throat + Barbara duo which is available at Sephora. These aren’t full-sized, they’re minis and I think they’re great options for stocking stuffers or something under the $25 mark.
That wraps it up for my look at NARS x Man Ray for holiday. There’s a lot to pick from! My top picks include The Veil Cheek Palette trio, Double Take Highlighter, Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Set and the Audacious Lipstick Set. Quality and pigment is on point for everything except the two Velvet Eyeliners (a bit sheer) and the gold lip gloss (just a bit patchy-looking on application). The blushes are excellent quality but for me require layering to work, alone they don’t quite look right on my olive skintone but they are beautiful if you mix them.
All the items are limited-edition. You can find them available now although you’ll have to do some hunting to find all the pieces as some are exclusive to certain places. Online now at NARS, Nordstrom, and Sephora. They should arrive at other retailers very soon.
Have you tried anything from the collection yet? What did you think?
NARS x Man Ray items provided courtesy of NARS for review.