Chartreuse is an odd color, but I think we need to give it some more love.

Here are some of my picks for this fun, summer color.

 

Two posts in one day! I’m totally giving myself a high five on that! The latest item on many beauty lover’s wishlists is the new NARS NARSissist eyeshadow palette. It’s just arrived on my doorstep and I wanted to share some initial comparison swatches and my first thoughts.

NARS Narsissit Palette

First, what is it? It’s a palette filled with 15 half-sized eyeshadows (14 permanent shades) for $79. Translation? Deal of the century. Considering that the full sized singles and duos featuring these same shades would set you back $24 or $34 each, you are getting an excellent bargain. It’s a great way for any NARS lover or someone new to the brand to expand their collection or try the most iconic shades.

I’ve seen and read mixed reviews on this palette. I’m offering my initial thoughts here. First, consider the fact that the eyeshadows have been compacted from their original sized pans to fit a much smaller space. I think whenever a powder product is made more compact it can lend itself to being slightly more difficult to use.  Secondly, it’s important to understand the NARS brand. It has some stellar products, I mean STUNNERS. Great performers in pigmentation and application. However, like everyone, it has some misses. To say I’ve spent a great deal of time (and money) getting to know the brand is an understatement. I have personally purchased 11 of their single shadows, 9 duo shadows, 20 of their blushes and probably two dozen lip products. I tell you that so can you can fully understand the time I have invested with this brand. I feel like I have a good grasp on their quality, consistency and artistry.

I will be keeping my palette. I love the concept, appreciate the forethought and overall came away feeling that it was executed in a way that will please most and disappoint some. I have wanted to try many of these shades for awhile but haven’t had the inclination to do so because, well, that’s a lot of money for the 10 shades I didn’t already own.

NARS Narsissit Palette Comparisons

It was upon my comparison swatching that I knew I would keep this gem. I swatched everything with the same brush on unprimed skin. I think it’s important to use a brush and not your fingers when swatching. I have been misled by my own eyes on several occasions because the finger swatch was ‘meh’, only to return to the product later and fall in love with it once applied. After all, I rarely if ever apply powder products with my fingers. Note the difference in size. As I said above, the shadows in this palette are all roughly half-sized. Fine by me as I have never actually finished a NARS eyeshadow before, or even come close to hitting pan.

NARS Narsissit Palette Comparison Swatches

Swatch Comparisons: Mekong (palette), Mekong (single), Lhasa (palette) Lhasa (single), Coconut Grove (palette), Coconut Grove (single), Madrague 2 (palette) Madrague 2 (duo), Madrague 1 (palette), Madrague 1 (duo)

My thoughts on the shades I already owned in single/duo form:

Mekong: The shades are similar. The single has more visible sparkle and is slightly less stiff (stiffness not as noticeable when using a brush) and slightly more warm toned.

Lhasa: Shades are very similar. Lhasa in the palette seemed slightly creamier. No other differences detected.

Coconut Grove: Shades are similar, but the palette version is better in pigment and texture. The palette is an improvement on the original!

Madrague Shade 2: The shades are similar with the palette version being a hair lighter. Texture of the palette version is slightly stiffer, but not as noticeable when using a brush.

Madrague Shade 1: The colors are similar but the palette version is creamier and an improvement on the original. The shades are difficult to see because they almost match my skin tone.

I don’t have all of the swatches for every shade to show you tonight. I wanted to do the comparisons first for those on the fence about buying or returning the palette.

The question of whether or not this palette is for you I cannot answer. Not everyone will like this palette, and that’s ok. Some will fall in love with it. I can say that, for me, I will enjoy testing out the shades I have been eager to try for awhile and that NARS did something that other brands should follow: they actually listened to what their customers wanted and delivered. In a big way.

There is always that one awkward post wherein the beauty lover succumbs to the change of season and writes the first post geared towards the one coming up in lieu of enjoying the one at hand. And so we find ourselves talking about my top choices for lip color this fall. I won’t be adding nudes in this post because I’ll be featuring some of my favorites in a separate post.

*-denotes sample

Fall Lip Colors 2013

There is only one matte formula in the bunch as mattes are probably my least favorite formula. They tend to be drying and I’ve had trouble with mattes making every line in my lip magnified and pronounced. Not pleasant. However, the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick is the exception to the rule (as almost every Hourglass product is). The rest are either glossy or semi-glossy in finish.

I recently picked up two items from the Dior counter- Ensorcelante and New York. I have this terrible habit (or OCD tendency) to buy Dior lip products in pairs only. Is that odd? I have to buy a lipstick and a gloss to match. I think it’s because I love Dior lip products that much that I know if I love a gloss or lipstick in a particular shade I know I will end up wanting a matching one to make the set. I didn’t care for the fall lipstick Dior released to go along with Ensorcelante- it was far more dark and vampy than I’d use to pair with the gloss. I even tried them on together and decided it was not for me. I set out to swatch other shades and New York was the perfect match. It’s plummy and nude and has a gorgeous shimmer. How have I not heard of this shade before?! It pays to play at the counter I guess!

I didn’t realize before setting down to swatch how close MAC Craving, Plumful and Too Faced Cinnamon Kiss are. There are nuances, of course, but they are very similar. I love the Too Faced La Creme formula and would easily get every shade they make.

Fall Lip Colors Swatches 2013

Swatches L-R: MAC Rebel, Maybelline Color Whisper A Plum Prospect, MAC Craving, MAC Plumful, Too Faced Cinnamon Kiss, Dior Addict New York, NARS Strawberry Fields, NARS Bougainville, Dior Ensorcelante, Hourglass Empress*

I really enjoy the Maybelline Color Whisper formula. I prefer it to Revlon’s Lip Butters (though I only own two of the former and many more of the latter). A Plum Prospect is coming up a little bit brighter in the photo than it is in real life. A very lovely color, though.

NARS glosses are among my most favorite formula. These two are particularly creamy and pigmented and in shades that were made for cool Autumn days.

MAC Rebel is in a class by itself. It’s reputation precedes it, no doubt. It’s bright, in your face and so so pretty.

And for good measure, I posted these FOTDs to my Instagram wearing the new Dior products I picked up:

FOTD Wearing Dior New York

Wearing Dior New York

FOTD Wearing Dior Ensorcelante

Wearing Dior New York and Dior Ensorcelante

FOTD Wearing Dior Ensorcelante 2

Wearing Dior Ensorcelante (different lighting)

Are you ready for the fall makeup collections? I know that this summer has been quite hot and I’m enjoying the cooler reprieve we have had lately. I don’t know that I’m quite ready to let go of summer completely, though!

*items marked with a ‘*’ were provided by PR for review purposes only*

Don’t you hate being disappointed?

It wasn’t long ago that I eagerly anticipated the arrival of each NARS seasonal collection. I would make note of the exact release date and excitedly order several things from each new launch- batting 300. It was with their fall collection last year that I began to feel a bit let down. My excitement for their collections was rivaled only by my dismay with items that looked good in theory but ended up not working for me (I’m looking at you, Autumn Leaves- one of the worst NARS products I’ve ever tried). In fact I rarely touch anything I purchased from that collection. Then the Andy Warhol collection came out and absolutely nothing from that appealed to me. The same story was repeated when their spring collection was released. The colors were not was I was expecting- but not necessarily in a good way.

After months of being disheartened I was super excited to hear about the new Satin Lip Pencils AND the summer collection AND the Pierre Hardy blushes- all of which have not let me down. I’ll say this: NARS knows how to redeem themselves.

NARS Euphrate Shadow

NARS Euphrate Eyeshadow

This appealed to me on several levels- the beautiful shimmer, the silvery-green color and the oh-so-buttery texture. This is a must have from the summer collection for me. Of course, I went through my stash to see if I had anything similar…

NARS Euphrate Swatch Comparisons

(excuse the goosebumps! The sun was out the day I did swatches but it was a few weeks ago when the weather was still fairly cold!)

L-R: Sunday Riley Fool’s Gold, Chanel Epatant, Chanel Ombres Perlees de Chanel green shade, NARS Euphrate, Lancome Erika F

Euphrate is significantly more icy/silver than the shades I had to compare it to. The formula is spot on and highly pigmented. It is a unique shade for certain.

NARS Barrow Street Eyeliner Macro

NARS Barrow Street Larger Than Life Eyeliner

This is my very first NARS Eyeliner. No other shade has seemed unique enough to warrant a purchase and I don’t know that I ever really hear anyone rave about the formula. I enjoy it. It is highly pigmented and very smooth. This mint-y shade is so on trend right now…NARS describes it as seafoam. It leans more green than blue on my skin, but I think it’s a “your mileage may vary” kind of product depending on your undertone.

NARS Barrow Street Swatch Comparisons

Swatches L-R: NARS Barrow Street, MAC Aqua, NARS Euphrate, NARS Habanera Duo Mint Shade

I didn’t really have much to compare Barrow Street to. The other three swatches are eyeshadows and none of them are as bright or as minty. I did, however, include the mint side of the NARS Habanera Duo to compare to Euphrate. It’s lighter still and even more icy. Euphrate is more olive in tone but if you already own Habanera you might not feel as pressed to rush out and buy Euphrate.

NARS Boys Don't Cry Blush

NARS Boys Don’t Cry Blush

Isn’t she a beauty?! The gold worried me until I found that it was a very thin overspray. The blush is matte and super, super pigmented. By far the most impressive NARS blush release in a long, long time. The pan is oversized, and quite a bit larger than regular NARS blushes. Fine by me as the color is stunning. However, if you keep your blushes in drawers it’s worth noting the size differential as it may or may not fit in your storage unit. I use the IKEA Alex drawers and it can sit upright in there with plenty of room to spare. Also, the price is quite a bit higher on this as a result of the increase in size. It retails for $41 USD, which is $12 more than a regular blush.

NARS Boys Don't Cry Blush Macro

In the macro you can see just how thin the overspray is.

NARS Boys Don't Cry Swatch Comparisons

Swatches L-R: Tom Ford Flush, NARS Boys Don’t Cry, MAC Bite of an Apple, Tarte Achiote

I struggled to find a dupe for this. The pigmentation just blows the rest of the competition out of the water. I haven’t layered Boys Don’t Cry; you are looking at just one swipe. Bite of an Apple is closest in tone, but still not as smooth or as intense. Rotunde (the other shade released in the collection) is firmly on my wishlist.

NARS Lodhi Satin Lip Pencil

NARS Lodhi Satin Lip Pencil

NARS Biscayne Park Satin Lip Pencil

NARS Biscayne Park Satin Lip Pencil

I ordered two of the new Satin Lip Pencils in my standard, go-to shades. Biscayne Park is a lovely nude that isn’t too cool or too warm- it’s just right. Lodhi is a gorgeous coral-peach that’s perfectly ripe for spring and summer. I will be doing a separate review post with swatches and my full thoughts after I have used them more. For now, I’m pretty impressed with the colors and the staying power.

What started off as a brand being, well….. disenchanted has turned into a true Cinderella story. NARS fully redeemed themselves with their latest releases and I’m back to being excited again.

It’s hard to believe that fall collections are releasing everywhere and that summer is already half way over. I love the summer, but I also enjoy the fall. It’s hard to tell if I like one more than the other- they are actually pretty equal for me. If we could alternate between fall and summer all year I’d be totally good. :)

Anyway I picked up a few things from the collection that I thought looked stunning, and all of the pieces together reminded me of a picture I took on an outing last fall:

You can *almost* see and feel the wind, right?

NARS Vent Glacé Duo- A light silver and a warm silver/pewter mix. I love this color combination and Vent Glacé actually means icy wind in French. I can see exactly why they named it this after applying it. It really does evoke both the image and the feeling of that cold, autumn wind (like my photo above). The texture is buttery and soft.

Outlaw Blush- I was really looking forward to this being repromoted. It’s already been said that the texture could use significant improvement and I agree. However, when I apply it to my cheeks it went on easily and nicely- not like the swatch.

More Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil- My obsession with these pencils continues on. The texture and payoff is glorious as usual.

Autumn Leaves Lipstick- I was actually disappointed by this. It’s kind of patchy and doesn’t go on evenly for me. It’s probably my least favorite NARS Lipstick that I have tried thus far. I like the color and the name, but the formula needs improving.

Swatches L-R: More Lip Pencil, Autumn Leaves Lipstick, Vent Glace Duo

All of these are pretty unique to my collection. You can see how pigmented More is and the patchiness of Autumn Leaves. Normally sheer lipsticks being slightly patchy isn’t as noticeable but with a deeper color like this it kind of stands out. As I said earlier, the duo is buttery and smooth and I lurvvvve it. ;)

Swatches L-R: Tarte Blushing Bride, Sleek Pomegranate, TheBalm Cabana Boy, NARS Outlaw, Illamasqua Ambition, Milani Red Vino

Outlaw isn’t the most unique blush in the world so you could definitely skip this one. I do think it looks nice on the cheeks and I don’t mind having it in my collection.

Wearing Autumn Leaves

Wearing More

Vent Glacé on eyes

Wearing Vent Glacé and Outlaw

Wearing Autumn Leaves, Outlaw, Vent Glacé

Wearing More, Outlaw and Vent Glacé

My overall picks from the collection end up getting narrowed down to two: More Lip Pencil and Vent Glacé duo. I was slightly disappointed with the quality of both Autumn Leaves and Outlaw so I have a hard time recommending them unless you are dying for the colors.

I don’t think I’m quite ready for fall yet. As I was applying the colors I winced a little– bring back my coral lipstick please! lol. How about you? Are you over summer and ready for cooler weather?