10 March 2011

making faces :: product review [nars haul]

well, as promised, here are the reviews of the three nars products that i picked up with my makeover. two of them i bought on the strength of seeing them used, whereas the other i bought... just cuz.

i'm not a complete newcomver to the brand. i have a few of their eye shadows already, a blush and a lip gloss from them and I've generally been very happy with the quality. price wise, they're roughly equivalent to brands like bobbi brown and laura mercier- higher than mac and urban decay, but lower than luxury brands like chanel or yves st. laurent.  the big leap that i took with this round of purchases is that i bought one of their foundations; that's a commitment for me. i have lots of shadows and lipsticks, but foundation... well, that's serious. i'm sort of a serial monogamist with foundations.

but on to the products. these are just my thoughts, so if your experience is any different, please feel free to speak up.

SEE THE INDIVIDUAL REVIEWS PLUS A LOOK WITH THE PRODUCTS IN ACTION



night porter eye shadow :: nars actually has a whole series of "night" shadows, which they describe as "ultra velvet shades with tone on tone sparkling effect and high pay-off". the family has eleven shades in all, mostly either quite light or quite dark. all the shades have some level of sparkle or pearl, although this is much more visible in the darker shades, where the shimmer is often a different colour than the base. with this purchase, i now own three of these shades (night clubbing, a black base with gold, and night star, a peachy cream base with soft gold sparkle) and with all of them, i find that they are not prone to the "fallout" that you can get with some sparkly products.

nars describes "night porter" as "black with green pearls". i'd say that the base looks like a blackish green to me, so the base and the shimmer are almost indistinguishable. it definitely looks very dark on, but there is always a green sheen visible, even in low light (see the photos in my last post). it makes a rich colour and it blends incredibly well (use it with lighter shades of green to make a green smoky eye). you need very little to get good colour payoff (the swatch on my finger was from one fairly light stroke) and i think the fact that you don't have to work a lot to build it up is one of the reasons you don't end up with a bunch of flaky fallout on your cheeks.

it comes in the usual nars e/s packaging with the velvety finish on the outside and the cute little mirror within. i actually don't see why i'd need a mirror for a single eye shadow... i'd rather save a little on the cost. i do love the texture of their packaging, though. 

sheer glow foundation [mont blanc] :: this was the foundation that the lovely nars artist emily used on my face when i had my makeover. i was immediately struck by how good the match was. i find that others are inclined to match my skin a little darker than necessary. it's true that i do darken slightly in the summer, but i often find that i'm left with a smear along my jaw or neck line that doesn't quite match. no such problem with this foundation. it was dead on. as an aside, i'd like to point out that the ss mont blanc was one of the ships involved in the halifax explosion in 1917. so i guess it was meant to be.

since i've been wearing mac's prolongwear for the last few months, i've grown used to the matte feel it gives my skin. this foundation, being a "glow" foundation is different- it's meant to showcase the luminosity of the skin, so it gives a finish that is either dewy or oily looking, depending on your perspective. this is entirely subjective. your skin will look moist, so it's a question of how you perceive that. for those who prefer a flatter finish, nars does also have sheer matte foundation.

mont blanc on left, mac nc 15 on right
unlike a lot of products, this is meant to be worked with the fingers, not a brush. in fact, a brush, according to makeup artist emily, will not showcase the product to its greatest extent. that's fine to hear when someone else is applying it, but you really notice what that means when you're using it yourself. at first touch, it seems very aqueous, almost runny, but it actually becomes creamier when rubbed- the opposite of what you'd expect. a single layer is enough to even out the complexion, but it will still allow features like freckles to peak through. i like the dewy look it gives my cheeks, but i have to say that my nose has enough glow all on its own.

applying a little more of the foundation makes the skin tone even more consistent, but it still feels light- never like you're wearing a heavy coat. i also find that giving slightly more coverage downplays the "glow" factor, making it more subtle.

once applied, although many "moisture" foundations tend to dissipate quickly, i found that this one has better lasting power. again, a little more coverage results in much longer wear, which is probably what you'd expect. with light coverage, i felt that my skin maintained an evenness greater than what it normally has, although i did need to retouch my nose.

the formula is perfect for ladies (possibly like me) who have a few crow's feet, because it absolutely refuses to settle into lines. i absolutely love that. it's a natural product for warmer weather, when you want to keep the skin as clear as possible and it does still have enough strength that it won't easily melt away.

i would advise that you keep the moisturiser light underneath this. a richer cream underneath this foundation left my skin feeling greasy, but a light, more easily absorbed one was far better.

having tried this a few times in different situations, i definitely give it a thumbs up. feel free to ask the ladies at your local nars counter to help you in matching. they're used to the products and are, as my experience dictates, pretty good at matching.

one thing that concerned me a bit was the fact that i could not get the cap to stop rotating when i screwed it back on. i'm used to things locking into place and, in the absence of that, i was worried i'd have a real mess on my hands. so far, it seems to be fine, but i still find it a little unnerving. 

transeurope express lipstick :: when nars debuted, it was apparently with a series of lipsticks and they're still one of the products the company is best known for, along with their blushes, but my entry to nars was through their eye shadows and i'd never really moved on. don't get me wrong, i quite like the gloss that i have, but i hadn't quite moved on to the lipsticks yet.

one of the things that had always worried me was the number of nars lip products that were a matte finishes. i haven't had great experiences with those- they've often left my lips feeling dry and cracked and the wear on them has left me with that hideous "lip liner" look, where the centre fades, but the edges remain. this lipstick is what they call a "semi-matte", but that's just what nars calls their matte finishes (probably concerned that people like me are going to be frightened off without the prefix "semi").

nonetheless, i absolutely fell in love with the shade, so i decided to give it a try. swatching it on my arm, it didn't have the rough drag that i associate with the most problematic mattes and, of course, the colour payoff was excellent. and it's named after a kraftwerk song, for crying out loud.

the colour is described by nars as "deep rose". to me, it's clearly a red colour, but with a lot of purple in it. i can't see this shade working on people with warmer skin tones (although there are plenty of warmer tones in the nars arsenal- narsenal?), but it's a perfect match for me.

the first time i tried it on my lips, i did feel a little drag on the first pass, but i was able to get a nice, even application afterward with no problem. the wear time, as with matte lipsticks in general, is very good. i did notice some centre fading after a couple of cups of tea, but, unlike a lot of matte lipsticks, i found that i was able to dab a little more colour on without having to wipe my lips clean and start over. the colour faded completely when i ate and did not leave a stain on my lips.

most important, my lips didn't feel in the least dehydrated. i didn't take any unusual precautions- although i did dab a bit of balm on my lips before the original application- and i had no discomfort the entire time i was wearing it. they might convert me to a matte lady yet...

that's the round-up of what i thought of the different products i picked up. certainly enough to keep me visiting the nars counter frequently! you've already had a good look at "night porter" in action via my last post, so here's a look i did with "transeurope express" and "mont blanc" on my own (also featuring "night clubbing").


products used

face 
nars mont blac sheer glow foundation
mac nw20 prolongwear concealer
mac light mineralize skinfinish


eyes
inglot #352 e/s
mac all races e/s
mac silverwear e/s
sisley stardust 17 e/s
nars night clubbing e/s
mac blacktrack fluidline e/l
mac smolder e/l
mac false lashes mascara


cheeks
mac play it proper beauty powder
mac briar rose beauty powder


lips
nars transeurope express l/s


for more information on products and retail locations, visit the nars web site.

2 comments:

Ali said...

Nice review. I feel very similarly about NARs. The products always impress in quality. The packaging is refined, sophisticated, cool. It's perfectly modern, mature, ... the naming is intelligent. It's edgy without trying too hard. The skincare is great too as are the makeup brushes - loving the #14 brush (got it Friday).

flora_mundi said...

Thanks Ali! I haven't tried any of their brushes... I have to admit,my brush collection is somewhat shameful. All drug store finds, save a few surprisingly nice pieces from The Body Shop that I picked up in a Boxing Day sale for $20 (5 pieces plus a nice little fabric roll...) It is truly embarrassing, given the amount I spend on beauty products, how little I've spent on brushes...

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