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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NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation: The Rundown

I apologize, dear readers, for my prolonged absence.  But trust me, this review is part of the reason why I’ve been AWOL. Why?  Please do keep reading…

A few months ago when this product first came out I bought it out of sheer curiosity.  It was creamy and definitely a no-no for my super oily skin. But like the good makeup addict that I am I bought it and stashed it away until the winter.  Frankly I had no intentions of seriously using it.

That is, until I caught a case of peorial dermatitis from a MAC concealer  AND had an allergic reaction one of those infernal EOS lip balms.  It is the reason why I haven’t posted any facial shots for the past five months.  And that’s a whole ‘nother blog post for a nother time…

NARS Pure Radiant Cream Foundation in New Guinea (Med/Dark5)

NARS Pure Radiant Cream Foundation in New Guinea (Med/Dark5)

NARS describes this foundation as:

“New NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation brilliantly evens skin with a lightweight, luminous finish. Combining the supple feel of a cream foundation with the sleek ease of a portable compact, the Advanced Emulsion Technology formula may be applied wet or dry for artistic versatility. Blending seamlessly with weightless medium buildable coverage, skin feels soft and comfortable with moisture levels boosted by 80% after 12 hours, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and enhancing skin’s radiance.”

My perfect shade is New Guinea (Med/Dark 5 –Dark with Red Undertone) but as usual, dark foundations for skins with  blazing red undertones are not carried at the likes of Sephora. I bough mine directly from the NARS website but this color is also available at Nordstrom.com and Beauty.com.

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Face done with NARS Radiant Cream Compact foundation–before allergic reaction

Unlike with NARS pressed powder foundation, for this product you can purchase the foundation + sponge separately from the mirrored compact made for this product.  The compact has a long mirror and vented holes in the bottom of one compartment where the foundation sponge . can sit.  The product applies easily and provides sheer to medium coverage.  If you have dry skin the sponge probably applies the product just fine but if you have oily skin like myself with acne scars, the sponge does okay but it’s obvious how splotchy the finish is. The best way to apply this foundation is to use a kabuki brush (preferably retractable) and buff the product onto the skin.  I found this method much better for covering my acne scars than simply using the sponge (is this sponge latex free?).

Various shades of NARS Radiant Cream Foundation...except my precious New Guinea :(

Various shades of NARS Radiant Cream Foundation at Sephora…except my precious New Guinea 😦

Now, back to the allergic reaction.  The case of peorial dermatitis that I caught had my upper lip area from my cupid’s bow to the tip of my nose itchy, irritated with scaling skin.  As the skin healed I could not use my oil-free NARS foundation to cover it at all as it would dry out the skin and make things even worse.  NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer did help a little but what melted into the dry, cracked skin crevices and made it look human for awhile was this foundation.  It did not make my skin itchy and was quite soothing so in the end I am very glad I purchased this to have on hand. I’m much better now but I can honestly say this is a nice foundation to have if you are prone to eczema and eczema-like skin conditions on your face/neck.

I can’t say the sponge is really worth purchasing–especially if you have oily/sensitive skin.  Load up your compact with disposable non-latex cosmetic wedges you can purchase from Target.  Simply use one/two and toss away.  Better control to apply in hard places like the nose bridge and tear duct areas of the face.

If you have very dry to normal skin this foundation is a very good value for the money.   I don’t like how the compact is in the left side and when I hold the compact I tend to pop the foundation out as I’m holding it in my left hand. Wish this was on the right side instead.  For oily/sensitive skin I would only use this in the winter and then only in dry patch areas.  Oiler skins are better off using NARS Sheer Matte (my gold standard for oily/sensitive skin foundation) or NARS Tinted Moisturizer finished with NARS Pressed Powder Foundation.

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NARS Radiant Cream Foundation in New Guinea–great for eczema-prone or peorial dermatitis-affected skin!

What I wish NARS would really do is make this same compact but with the pressed powder foundation for oily skins.  Now THAT is something this beauty geek would love to have in her stash.  Please, NARS? Pretty Please?

NARS Radiant Cream compact foundation refill retails for $38.00 USD for the refill and the refillable compact retails for $10USD.  Both products are sold separately and available at freestanding Sephora and Sephora.com stores. Again, the New Guinea shade is available at Nordstrom.com, NARSCosmetics.com and Beauty.com

Makeup Intelligence: Pro Finish Foundation from Make Up For Ever

Looks like Make Up For Ever has a brand new foundation out and in a wide range of shades!

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New for Spring 2013: Pro Finish Foundation from Make Up For Ever. FYI: The brown girl in this photo is wearing Shade #177.

Make Up For Ever’s new Pro Finish foundation looks to be direct competitor to MAC’s ubiquitous Studio Fix foundation. Available in a range of twenty-five (25) shades, it can be applied wet for a sheer finish or dry for a matte and full coverage finish. I’ve never been quite pleased with the existing powder foundation from MUFE so it is very exciting to see this new product and formula.

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MUFE Pro Finish foundation on display at Sephora. And yeah, the Rouge Artiste lipsticks are great too!

I tried applying this to my bare skin in Sephora using the new tapered foundation kabuki brush. The foundation went on flawlessly and the tapered brush expertly laid the foundation down in those challenging areas of the nose bridge and eye sockets. It was very easy to blend when dry and the resulting finish was nice and matte. I believe a sponge applicator is included with the compact but if you are prone to breakouts as I am, toss the sponge and go with the foundation brush. Even with all of the swatches I’ve shown here, my ideal shade is #175. Why this color was not included in the Deep skintone sample card is beyond me. Interesting how I am #75 in the Velvet Matte formula and #175 in Pro Finish.

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MUFE Pro Finish Foundation deep shades on sample card (available for free at Sephora)

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Swatches on NW43 skin of MUFE’s new Pro Finish Powder Foundation (w/o flash)

Definitely check out the foundation Kabuki brush. I am beyond impressed with how well it applies and blends this foundation. The bristles are soft and deliver practically mistake-proof application. This is definitely on the list to be reviewed/Florida Tested when I head to Disney World in July.

Make Up For Ever’s new Pro Finish Powder foundation is now available exclusively at Sephora stores and Sephora.com.

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NEW! MUFE Pro Finish Foundation. All swatches are on bare MAC NW43/MUFE Velvet Mat+ #75/NARS New Guinea skin.

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Swatches on NW43 skin of MUFE’s new Pro Finish Powder Foundation (w/ flash)

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MUFE Pro Finish ingredient list. Why is there NO sunscreen in this? ::sigh::

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MUFE Pro Finish foundation can be applied either wet (for sheer coverage) or dry (matte full coverage)

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MUFE’s Pro Finish Foundation for Deep Skin (free card from Sephora, w/ flash)

Tarte Cosmetics 30% off Friends And Family Sale!

Tarte Friends & Family 30% off sale? Step away from the blush and nobody gets hurt!

If you’re a bona-fide Tartlette you understand full well my excitement at the 30% off Friends and Family sale Tarte Cosmetics has going on at their website. And even if you’re not a Tartlette yet, now is a great time to initiate yourself into the cosmetic awesomeness that Tarte. Use the code FFAUG through August 8, 2012.

Here are my recommended picks to haul during the sale.

Amazonian Clay Long-Wearing Blush

Blushaholics can’t truly call themselves one unless they own one of these amazing blushes. Made with Amazonian clay, they are moisturizing to dry skin yet oil-resistant enough to withstand even my OPEC-threatening oily skin. These blushes are very pigmented and you need very little to start with and the coverage is buildable. For those with dark skin, be wary of the very light shades as while the color does build up, fair shades will look ashy on dark skin. My favorite blush colors (and the ones I own) are Frisky, Tipsy, Amused and Flush. I’ve tested these in the hot Florida heat and while there was some fading of the color at about 4 – 5 hours, a quick re-touch with a little product brought it back to life.

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Swatches of my beloved Tarte Amazonian Blushes!

Amazonian Clay SPF15 12 Hr Full Coverage Foundation

This foundation is waterproof and is so light on the skin it is a godsend for oily-skinned gals. Unfortunately I returned the color I bought (Deep) as it is made for dark-skinned beauties with yellow undertones, not us red undertoned gals. That aside the foundation performs well, blends effortlessly, is long-wearing and comfortable even on my sensitive acne-prone skin. Hopefully Tarte will make a dark shade with red undertones in the future.

Amazonian Clay emphasEYES Eyeliner

If I didn’t already own an obscene amount of MAC fluidlines and YSL gel eyeliners I would so haul some from Tarte. Made with Amazonian clay, these waterproof eyeliners are softer than MAC’s yet a bit stiffer than YSL’s but come in a very wearable range of five (5) shades. A nice bonus is all shades of Tarte’s waterproof eyeliner come with a brush to line and smudge the product on your lids.

So what are you hauling from the sale? Got anything you’ve just gotta have? Comment and let everyone know!

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.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Polynesia: The Rundown

Yes, dear readers, I am finally ready to give you the scoop on the once-postponed but now finally released tinted moisturizer from NARS! Cue the Super Bowl-like cheering….

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Finally! NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer has been released! (Polynesia shade)

Exclusively released first at Nordstrom and scheduled for release at NARSCosmetics.com on 15 February 2012, NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer boasts beneficial skin ingredients (including some from Francois Nars beloved French Polynesia), an SPF of 30/ PA+++ and is available in nine (9) shades.

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Colors

1 Finland – Lightest with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
2 Alaska – Light with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
3 St. Moritz – Medium with a neutral yellow undertone
4 Annapurna – Medium with a neutral peachy undertone
5 Cuba – Medium with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
6 Malaga – Medium dark with warm caramel undertones
7 Seychelles – Medium dark with golden olive undertones
8 Martinique – Medium dark with warm red undertones
9 Polynesia – Dark with warm chocolate undertones

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From left: Malaga, Seychelles, Martinique, Polynesia (w/ flash)

Going by the promotional swatch shots NARS released to the press, it looked like my skintone (MAC NW43) was between Polynesia and Martinique. Usually I am ‘Dark 1’ in NARS foundations so that was another reason I went with Polynesia. While mine was en route to my house from Nordstrom.com, a blogger named Micheleista managed to get swatches of Cuba and Martinique along with Polynesia and going from her swatches, my ideal color would be between Cuba and Polynesia. [UPDATE> My local Sephora just got these in stock and I was color matched with Martinique which turned out perfect for my winter skintone. Will review within the next week or so]

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Swatches of NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer in Polynesia (no flash/HDR)

One thing I noticed right away is how the tube actually feels in my hand. Perhaps it’s ergonomic design, perhaps its art but I like how it fits the natural grip of my hand unlike the longer tube of my Laura Mercier Oil-Free tinted moisturizer. Unlike with Laura Mercier, you can see the color of the product without having to remove the cap. And speaking of the cap, I really like the flip-top design. It is much more convenient and easier to access than the screw-top of other brands of tinted moisturizer.

The color itself is sheer yet the pigments are translucent enough not to show up ashy on dark skin. It blends easily and dries down quickly–an important feature for my oily skin. After it dries down on your skin, it leaves a semi-glow look that is very natural. Not as made up as when I use my NARS Sheer Matte foundation but more ‘my skin but better’. I’m not a fan of the ‘dewy’ look as I already have oily skin so using a pressed powder like NARS’ Pressed Powder in Solei, or MAC’s Careblend powder gives a beautiful matte finish the face. I found myself using this mostly on Saturdays and Sundays where I want to have great looking skin but not necessarily look more formally made up.

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Full face look with NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Polynesia (NARS Kuala Lumpur eye shadow duo on eyes, Matte Velvet lip pencil in Damned on lips/ outside natural light)

When it came to performance, NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer did not disappoint. The texture of the moisturizer is very lightweight and it is not an exaggeration to say it feels like you have nothing on your face as it dries down. Some people like to apply tinted moisturizer with their fingers and that method would definitely work with this product, but I prefer to use either a stippling brush by MAC or the Sonia Kashuk flat-top face brush from Target for more controlled and precise blending. I wouldn’t call this tinted moisturizer waterproof but I did find it to be somewhat water-resistant. During a very hard workout I blotted the sweat off of my face with a towel (blot, don’t wipe or everything will come off no matter what brand it is) and hardly any of the tinted moisturizer came off. I will be Florida testing this when I go to Disney World for Easter so we’ll see how NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer hangs with the likes of high humidity, Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids.

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Polynesia swatch blended in (no flash/HDR)

NARS claims to want to cover a wide range of skintones with this product. And for the most part that is true. Polynesia definitely makes me look more like my summer NW45 skintone and it definitely makes my NW43 winter skin look like I’ve gotten some sun. As I mentioned earlier, the pigments in this formula are translucent and I can see women approaching NW/NC50 range being able to wear this as it will enhance your skintone. In addition to the top-shelf SPF 30/PA+++, there are good-for-your-skin botanicals and ingredients that claim to help reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation. Women of color are very prone to hyperpigmentation due to such things as acne scars (I’m very familiar with this one) and other factors so this is a very nice benefit.

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Clockwise from top:NARS Promo shot of model wearing Polynesia, Me wearing Polynesia (natural outside lighting), back of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer tube in Polynesia, Me wearing Polynesia (indoor lighting, no flash)

NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturizer retails for $42 for 1.9 ounces of product. When compared to my Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer which only has 1.7 ounces of product and is SPF 20 and has the same price, it is a very good value for the money. If you have super-oily skin as I do, and find the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer to take too long to dry down (which was very annoying when I Florida tested it), it’s worth it to give NARS tinted moisturizer a chance. I am very pleased with this product and plan to use it more extensively when my skin gets darker in warmer weather here in the Philadelphia suburbs.

So are you sold? Are you planning on buying this? Let me know in the comments section!

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From left: MakeUpForEver Velvet Mat+ in #75, NARS Polynesia, MAC Matchmaster 8.0, NARS Polynesia, Laura Mercier Oil-Free Moisturizer in Mocha, NARS Polynesia, MAC Studio Fix Fluid NW45 (flash)

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From bottom: MakeUpForEver Velvet Mat+ in #75, NARS Polynesia, MAC Matchmaster 8.0, NARS Polynesia, Laura Mercier Oil-Free Moisturizer in Mocha, NARS Polynesia, MAC Studio Fix Fluid NW45 (flash)

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From top: NARS Polynesia, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in New Guinea, NARS Polynesia, NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Trinidad

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Love the bottle, the formula and this shade. Definitely pick one up!

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NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer box, instructions and ingredient list

Sneek Peek: NARS Sheer Matte Foundation

Happy New Year to you all! May 2012 bring you peace, prosperity and more blessings than you deserve and can stand.

Here is a little peek at two shades of NARS Sheer Matte foundation that I will be reviewing within the next week or so. These are samples I got from Sephora but it is enough to give you an idea of shades that are lighter and darker for women of color.

Enjoy!

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From left: Macao, Trinidad NARS Sheer Matte Foundation Swatches