Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat+ Foundation: The Rundown

Liquid makeup foundation has always had a tough road to hoe when it comes to my super oily skin.  Most begin to slide off like a Picasso painting within an hour or so and you can forget it if the temperatures and humidity soar like they do in Florida.  There is only one liquid foundation I’ve found holds up quite well with my oily skin regardless of the heat and humidity and that is the Velvet Mat+ foundation by Make Up For Ever.

Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat Plus Foundation in #75 Shade

Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat Plus Foundation in #75 Shade

Available in 16 shades, Make Up For Ever bills this as foundation as a full-coverage, mattifying, water resistant (read: holds up to sweat).   Great for combination to oily skin, this full coverage formula mattifies with a velvety finish.  With a  formula that is very buildable, it is also very good at concealing light blemishes when blended using a brush.  I use shade #75 (Coffee–Deep skin w/ Beige undertones) of this foundation.

MUFE Mat Velvet+ in Shade #75 (set using MUFE Pro Prime Powder foundation in #174 Neutral Saffron)

MUFE Mat Velvet+ in Shade #75 (set using MUFE Pro Prime Powder foundation in #174 Neutral Saffron)

As i am constantly battling shiny skin, this foundation is amazing at giving me that matte look I like. FYI–I am not, nor have I ever been, down with the ‘dewy’ look. It doesn’t take a lot of product to cover the entire face and while the formula does oxidize on the face a bit, the finish is still beautiful.  You can apply it with your fingers but I find using a fluid makeup brush provides a gorgeous ‘airbrushed’ finish with this foundation.  As a bonus, this formula is GREAT for sensitive skins! I’ve never had an allergic reaction to this foundation. There are a few downsides to this foundation but they’ve never been dealbreakers for me.  First, while is is definitely water-resistant, oily skins will need to set this formula with a powder.  Even in high-humidity in Florida, this foundation holds up very well for about four hours.  After that, if you’re an oily girl you will need your powder compact nearby.  Unfortunately there is no sunscreen in this product so if you value your skin as I do, you will need to use some SPF on your face.   My biggest peeve with this formula is that there is NO option for dark skin with red undertones.  Some cosmetic companies need to realize that not all dark-skinned women have yellow to beige undertones.

From left: MUFE Velvet Mat + Foundation in #75, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in New Guinea

From left: MUFE Velvet Mat + Foundation in #75, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in New Guinea

While I really do like how Velvet Mat+ performs on my skin, NARS Sheer Matte foundation in New Guinea is a better color match for me. I use both foundations interchangably during the winter months.  This foundation is also used a lot for bridal makeup.  However if you do have super oily-skin as I do, make sure someone’s got a compact of Make Up For Ever Pro Finish powder foundation for a quick touch up. Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat+ Foundation is available exclusively at Sephora stores and Sephora.com and Make Up For Ever boutiques.

Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat Plus Foundation in #75 Shade (Ingredients)

Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat Plus Foundation in #75 Shade (Ingredients)

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bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation: The Rundown

Picutre it. Hot Florida weather and the humidity making it feel like 110 in the shade. You, however, look flawless and just touch-up the powder on your face like the Southern Belle you are or aspire to be.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s true!  Presenting bareMinerals READY SPF 20 Foundation!

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Bare Minerals READY foundation in Medium Dark and new slanted face brush

The ‘rubberized’ case is very comfortable to hold in the hand and contains approx .25 amount of product and sports a mirror inside. The powder is very easy to loosen so don’t be too aggressive with your usual ‘swirl, tap, buff’ movement as I did and wound up with powder all over my compact. If you have the slanted flat brush Bare Escentuals put out for this collection (or the Sonia Kashuk flat-top multipurpose brush from Target), tap the brush *lightly* against the
powder before applying it to the face.

As I am MAC NW 43 (NARS New Guinea and Make Up For Ever #75) I chose foundation shade in Medium Dark. Medium Deep would be my summer/Florida shade. Both shades I have used previously in the loose Matte foundation.

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The new slanted foundation brush makes applying the new READY foundation a breeze

Ready foundation builds very quickly and even for oily faces like me it provides a fresh, matte look that didn’t make my face look like a ‘ghost’. The finely-milled powder blended in with my skintone, giving me a flawless look.  I prefer to use this over the NARS Tinted Moisturizer (normal to dry skin) or Smashbox’s Camera Ready BB cream in Dark (for oily skin), but even alone it’s fabulous. I will warn that if you have strong red undertones as I do, pick a share designated for ‘Neutral’ undertones (Medium Dark, Medium Deep, etc) so you look natural and not like an extra from The Walking Dead.  If you have oily skin you *will* need to reapply this within a few hours. It isn’t a big deal and you will not need much to restore the oily spots back to matte flawlessness.  Just make sure to blot the oil off *first* with blotting paper or a tissue then reapply powder.

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Bare Escentuals READY foundation in Medium Dark over NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique. Chanel glossimer in Jalousie on lips.

Ready foundation wears extremely comfortable and I felt no tightness nor itching after application and during wear. The SPF20 sunscreen is a physical sunblock consisting of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.  There are are plenty of great skin-loving ingredients in this foundation, my favorite being jojoba esters as joboba provides moisture without irritating my sensitive skin and there are such skin comforting ingredients as meadowfoam seed oil. I prefer this to MAC’s Studio Fix (which breaks me out) and Make Up For Ever’s Duo Matte powder (no SPF in it), both of which I have used in the past.

Ready pressed powder foundation from Bare Escentuals costs $29 USD and is available at such retailers as Ulta.com, Sephora.com and Nordstrom.

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Bare Minerals READY Foundation–excellent for hot climates and sensitive skin

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (11%), Zinc Oxide (18%)

Inactive Ingredients: Boron Nitride, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Magnesium Silicate, Silica, Nylon-12, Humic Acids, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Jojoba Esters, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Lecithin, Betaine, Algae Extract, Mica, Bismuth Oxychloride, Iron Oxides.

Preview: NEW Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams!

Score one for the Sephora inside JCPenney for this one!

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It’s late May, which means Miami Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week approaches…and so does new MUFE launches!

It turns out not only has Estee Lauder surprised me this week, but so has Make Up For Ever. They have added four (4) new aqua cream shades for eyes and cheeks that are so vibrant, so gorgeous, I had to acquire a few of them.

The four (4) new shades are:

  • 23 — Acid Green (straight up frosty chartreuse green)
  • 24 — Yellow (semi-matte taxicab yellow)
  • 25 — Pastel Blue (frosty pastel blue–stunning!)
  • 26 — Purple (looks a lot like the legendary #19 that never made it to the US on initial product launch)
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The Aqua Creams I bought–so happy! (w/ flash)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams are my favorite cream shadows to use in the summer and in hot humid climates like Florida. I have tested these extensively in the hot July Florida weather and they hold up beautifully! The price has gone up to $23 per pot but you only need very little to get intense color payoff. If you think you can get the same kind of payoff with Maybellene’s Color Tattoo cream shadows, you are sadly mistaken. They are extremely good for a drugstore product but nowhere near the longevity and pigmentation as MUFE–especially if you have oily eyelids like I do.

These aqua creams are available NOW at Sephora.com. GO, GO, GO!!!  But before you leave skid marks, check out the picspam!

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Swatches from top: #26, #23, #24, #25 (flash)

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The Aqua Creams I bought–so happy! (w/o flash HDR)

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Gorgeous, perfect for summer and could probably withstand a nuke blast w/o creasing

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#23 Acid Green: Stunning alone or under NARS Rated R green shadow

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#25 Pastel Blue: An excellent choice to make brown eyes pop

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#26 Purple: A long time coming and the PERFECT base for MUFE Eyeshadow #92.

PowderFX Mineral SPF10 Foundation: The Rundown

Anyone who has ever had to deal with oily skin in the heat and humidity of Florida knows how invaluable powder foundation is to keeping your complexion fresh. My grandmother (whom I inherited my crazy oily skin and who had no wrinkles even at age 60) always had her handy powder compact within reach. So when I returned recently to Florida for a family vacation at Disney World, I knew I couldn’t arrive there without any. Last year I used Bare Escentuals mineral powder and while it was okay, it was messy and caused all kinds of packing problems I didn’t want a repeat of this time. And as I’d been meaning to try the color diverse and dermatologist developed Canadian beauty brand CoverFx for quite awhile, I decided to take the plunge.

CoverFX's Powder FX Mineral foundation

CoverFX’s Powder FX Mineral foundation. Perfectly milled and excellent for hot temperatures.

CoverFx SPF10 pressed powder foundation contains .42 ounces (12 grams) of product and comes in a very sleek lightweight plastic/aluminum compact complete with mirror. The physical sunscreen consists of the natural ingredients of Titanium dioxide (3.5%) and Zinc Oxide (3%). Its low profile packaging makes it easy to stash in your purse or theme park swingpack without taking up more precious space that it needs. A small sponge comes with it but if you have oily skin I would recommend tossing it. It is embossed with the CoverFx logo with plastic protector and the powder is very silky and well-pigmented.

Press shot PowderFX in B25 (the shade I bought)

The shade I chose was B25 which was a very good match for my NW43 about to go to NW45 skin in the Florida heat. My main use for this pressed powder was to finish my look and keep my oily skin at bay while using NARS Pro-Prime primer and their new Tinted Moisturizer. After using the NARS primer and tinted moisturizer in, I used the EcoTools retractable kabuki brush to blend the CoverFx powder into my skin to take the dewy shine off from the tinted moisturizer and provide a matte finish.

Because of the dense pigmentation, it is very easy to build coverage to the intensity you desire without looking ‘cakey’. CoverFX does sell a sheer touch-up powder but as I have super-oily skin I decided the foundation was a better buy for me. A unique feature about this product is that it is printed with an expiration month and date. As I go through a lot of pressed powder during the year I’d use mine up well before the expiration date. What I like is the implication as to the freshness of the product and I like that.

Florida Performance

In the morning before heading out one of the Disney theme parks, I applied the NARS Pro-Prime primer, Make Up for Ever Full Cover concealer under eyes and on acne scars, then blending in NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique, then buffed the CoverFx SPF10 foundation into my skin. The powder felt very light and I did not use much as I wanted a natural look and only needed to take the ‘dewy’ look off of my skin. My skin felt very comfortable despite the 90 degree heat during the day (and about 90 – 95% humidity). While I did sweat, my skin did not itch because of the powder nor was it irritated by the active ingredients in the sunscreen. Twice during the day I gently blotted the sweat off of my face and reapplied a light dusting of the CoverFX SPF10 powder and my complexion was refreshed quite nicely. In the evening after a shower, I again applied NARS primer first, then tinted moisturizer and concealer, then built up the color of the CoverFX SPF10 powder foundation on my skin for a more formal and flawless look. Although in the evenings I spent more time in air conditioned restaurants, my complexion still looked fresh, flawless and comfortable. I didn’t bother with touch-ups in the evening as the temperature was cooler (lot 70’s) and humidity lower at night during Easter in Florida.

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Wearing CoverFX’s PowderFx in outside Florida light over NARS Tinted Moisturizer in Polynesia (eye shadow is NARS Rated R Duo)

Because of the lower SPF in this product, the strong Florida sun rays did penetrate to darken my skin, but I’m please to say it did so very evenly. The darker shade of this powder compensated for my skin’s browning in the Florida heat. Side note: I did bring my lighter shade of NARS tinted moisturizer (Martinique) with me because it was Spring in Florida and not summer. Even when I darkened to NW45, the color adjusted flawlessly.

Final Impression

I am so impressed with the packaging, natural sunscreen, formulation and performance of this product that I expect it will replace my MAC Careblend powder as my setting/retouching powder of choice. I’m also impressed with CoverFX because it has so many deep tones to accommodate the complexions of women of color. The line seems to be inclusive of all skin tones rather than catering to a core few and this is why it personally ranks up there with the likes of NARS and MAC for me. In fact, I like this product so much it is hereby FLORIDA APPROVED! CoverFX products are available exclusively at Sephora, Sephora.com and on CoverFX.com

B Series Color for CoverFX. Love how deep the colors run!

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My Powder Fx SPF 10 pressed powder–my new favorite finishing powder.

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Back of package. Note the printed expiration date–nice!

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My well-loved Powder Fx SPF10 Mineral foundation in B25.

Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Concealer in #5: The Rundown

Concealer is a beauty product I discovered was indispensable for ‘erasing’ my sleep-deprived caused dark circles under my eyes from too many all-nighters as an Engineering student in college. It’s also been a godsend for covering my acne scars and any evidence of late night partying.  So as soon as I got word from The Muse that her highly-recommedned Boi-ing concealer from Benefit Cosmetics was being produced in darker shades, I was on it in picoseconds. Obviously other gals had gotten wind of this because I had to go to two Sephoras and three Ultas before I finally found one to take home with me.

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Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer in Shade #5

Benefit Cosmetics has released three new shades of their Boi-ing Concealer in #3, #4 and #5. #3 is a medium neutral, #4 a medium-deep with yellow undertones and #5 a medium-dark with red undertones. Their pitch wording on the product reads as follows:

“You name it, boi-ing hides it! This industrial-strength concealer camouflages dark circles, shadows and discoloration for a seamless, natural-looking finish without creasing or fading. it’s the concealer that goes the distance.”

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Yeah, this is as dark as it gets for now.

Weighing in at a hefty 3.0 grams (0.1 ounces), it comes in a black screw-top shallow plastic pot encased in a paper ‘peep’ box. The cream is slightly stiff to the initial swipe of a finger, but warms to your body heat and spreads nicely when using your finger. If you use a concealer brush the stiffness takes a bit longer to go away as the product warms to your skin. I noticed no product ‘drag’ as I do with my MAC Studio Finish concealer but it wasn’t as smooth going on as my NARS concealer. Unfortunately this product did crease on me (and perhaps because I have very oily skin) and I had to use a little bit of MUFE HD translucent powder to set it and discourage any further creasing. The pigmentation is very good and I was able to cover my light acne scars as well as I have been with my MAC Studio Finish concealer or my MUFE Full Coverage concealer. It is a shade lighter than my MAC Studio Finish concealer and about two shades lighter than my NARS concealer.

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Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer swatch in #5 (deep) no flash/HDR
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Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer in #5 (deep).

One of my biggest peeves with Benefit is that their concealers did not come in darker shades for beauties of color. It seems they’ve finally listened to this market. I am dissappointed that there wasn’t a deep color with yellow undertones and a darker espresso-like color for deeper undertones. #4 color is best suited for those NC42 and under while #5 for NW 45 and under. My second pet-peeve is this product contains mineral oil (paraffinum liquidium). While not the first ingredient, if you have sensitive skin and want to try this, I highly suggest purchasing from a retail establishment that takes returns like Sephora or Ulta. I have sensitive skin and haven’t had a reaction to this product so far after almost two weeks of use but I took a chance. Overall I am pleased with this concealer but it is only because Benefit made one that fits my skintone. Were I an NW45 – 47 this may work best as a color corrector rather than a concealer.

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There’s Mineral Oil in this?!? Why?!?

An interesting point to note is this product is made in France, not the US. I find French-made cosmetics to be of very high quality so I believe that has a lot to do with the very nice performance of this product. Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer retails for $19 USD and is available at Sephora, Ulta and other upscale retailers.

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Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer in #5 (deep)
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Clockwise: Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer in #5 (deep), no flash, no flash/HDR

Preview: Guerlain by Emilio Pucci [Summer 2012]

I love Guerlain.  And I love Pucci.  Put them both together and it rockets right to the top of my Summer 2102 beauty shopping list.

Natalia Vodianova--the face of Guerlain looking gorgeous for the Emilio Pucci Summer 2012 collection (Source; British Beauty Blogger)

Les Meteorites Pearls D'Azur tricked out with the Pucci art on the tin for Summer 2012 (Source: British Beauty Blogger)

Terra Azzura blush/bronzer with Emilio Pucci motif--amazing! (Source: British Beauty Blogger)

There are eleven (11) pieces in this special collection.  According to ChicProfile.com, here’s a breakdown of what’s included:

Terra Azzura Bronzing Powder & Blush

Formed with the iconic Emilio Pucci logo, it has separate bronzer, blush and possible highlighter strips that when all used together provides a bronzy blush glow to the skin.  I’m a fan of the Terracotta bronzer so I’ll more than likely pass on this.

Meteorites Perles d’Azur

The world-famous meteorites highlighters that are more than worthy of their reputation.  I own the Cruel Gardenia highlighter and the color is amazing on dark skin.  If you’ve ever wondered if this would work for you definitely give it a try!

Terra Azzura Brush 

This is in pretty Pucci print case!  More than likely I’ll get it because it’s Pucci, my mom wore Pucci in the late 70’s so I’m programmed to want it.

Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette

  • #13 Capri (consists of a cream, pink, coral and brown shades)

Mascara Le 2 de Guerlain by Emilio Pucci

  • Indigo (dark indigo blue mascara)

Terracota Khol Kajal

I first saw this last year in the Guerlain boutique at the France Pavillion in EPCOT center in Disney World.  The creamy smoothness of how this applied to my eye and the pigmentation really impressed me. Turns out this product had been out of the Guerlain product line for several decades but was being reintroduced to consumers.  It is offered regularly in a dark black but for this collection it comes in a beautiful cobalt blue.  Definitely picking this up.

Terracotta Kohl Kajal (source: ATime4Beauty)

Terra Azzura Vernis

I don’t remember Guerlain ever having nail polish before so this is a first.

  • #01 Paradisio (coral pink with a dazzling brilliant finish)
  • #02 Riviera (electric blue indigo with a metallic finish)

Terra Azzura Gloss

  • #10 Porto Fino (Coral pink)
  • #11 Porto Ercole (Chocolate)
  • #12 Porto Azzuro (Indigo blue)

The international release date is scheduled for  3 June 2012.  In North America (more specifically the United States) It is possible that it could be released earlier by online retailers such as Nordstrom.com, NeimanMarcus.com and Bloomingdales.com.  I will keep you posted if anything changes. Lemming for swatches?  Then check out ATimeForBeauty’s website for more!  The website is in Russian but if you’re using Google Chrome as a browser you can easily get a ‘close to English’ translation.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique: The Rundown

I am so in love with this product I went back for the lighter (and better match to my Winter/Spring skin) shade in Martinique!

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique

Martinique (which is an island in the Caribbean and yes I was geeky enough to look it up) is described by NARS as a medium-dark with red undertones.  If you wear NARS Sheer Matte/Glow in Cadiz or New Guinea, or NW40 – NW45 in MAC foundations or Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat+ in 70 – 75, this shade is a good color match.

If you’ve read through my review of NARS Tinted Moisturizer in the Polynesia shade, you know how impressed I am with this product. While I loved Polynesia, it really is too dark for my Winter skin (though it did give me a gorgeous summer bronzed look!). After a trip to my local Sephora where they’d just gotten these in stock, one of the sales associates picked out Martinique for me straight away. I took a sample home and was so impressed how well this shade matched my skin that I bought the full size.

For reference, Seychelles was too yellow in tone though the shade did match and Malaga was also very yellow and obviously too light for me. Cuba was also too light. Also while these colors were too light, the yellow tones were more apparent and the color didn’t look ‘ashy’ on me–just an undertone mismatch.

So let’s get to some picspam of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique!

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Back of the container with sunscreen active ingredients and usual cosmetics warnings

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique, swatched on NW43 skin (no flash/HDR)

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Martinique swatched on NW43 skin w/flash

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Martinique swatched w/o flash (overhead light)

By now you’re probably wondering how Martinique compares to Polynesia and of course, I’ve got you covered there.  Polynesia is more of a dark chocolate as compared to the milk chocolate color of Martinique.  The picspam speaks for itself.

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Side by side comparison of NARS Pure Radiant in Martinique & Polynesia

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Swatches of NARS tinted moisturizer on NW43 skin from left: Martinique, Polynesia (w/ flash)

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I mixed Martinique with Polynesia and got the PERFECT shade!

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From left: Make Up For Ever Velvet Mat+ in #75, NARS Pure Radiant in Martinique, NARS Sheer Matte in New Guinea

I’ve had Polynesia for about a month and Martinique for about two weeks and my impression of this product has only gotten better. I’ve noticed (and other people have too) how my skin is improving with the consistent use of this product. A few acne scars that I had been covering up with concealer have begun to fade noticeably and I’ve got this nice glow going on!  Another added benefit is this product has no artificial fragrance and neither is the natural fragrance overpowering.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is now available at NARSCosmetics.com, Sephora.com and Sephora stores, and of course at Nordstrom.com and Nordstrom stores.

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Martinique - Swatches & Ingredient information

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizers in Martinique & Polynesia