Makeup Intelligence: NARS Spring 2013

It’s still cold outside but NARS Spring 2013 has me thinking beautiful, colorful happy thoughts.

Spring 2013 has sprung...the Francois NARS way!

Spring 2013 has sprung…the Francois NARS way!

Per NARS Cosmetics official press release:

The NARS Spring 2013 Collection is all about being fresh and fierce, strong and sexy. The Spring 2013 Color Collection introduces a vibrant, ‘90s-esque palette that sets the tone for a season of audaciously feminine looks. Created by Founder & Creative Director François Nars, the collection heralds spring’s arrival with shades ready to make a graphic statement.

The NARS 2013 Spring collection is made up of the following:

Eyeshadow Duos [$34 USD]

Mad Mad World

NARS Mad Mad Word Eyeshadow Duo -- Cyan and Parakeet Green

NARS Mad Mad World Eyeshadow Duo — Cyan and Parakeet Green  [Spring 2013]

Bouthan

NARS Bhoutan Eyeshadow Duo -- Soft pink tulle and bright pink with gold shimmer

NARS Bhoutan Eyeshadow Duo — Soft pink tulle and bright pink with gold shimmer [Spring 2013]

Single Eyeshadow [$23 USD]

Persia

NARS Persia eye shadow single: Paprika

NARS Persia eye shadow single:  Matte Paprika [Spring 2013]

Soft Touch Shadow Pencil [$24 USD]

Corcovado

Cythere Soft Touch Eye Shadow pencil

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Eye Shadow pencil – Limited Edition [Spring 2013]

Powder Blush [$28]

Seduction

Powder Blush in 'Seduction'

NARS Powder Blush in ‘Seduction’ — Sangria [Spring 2013]

Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil [$24]

Cythere

Cythere pencil

NARS Cythere lip gloss pencil — Soft metallic rose [Spring 2013]

Lipstick [$24]

Dressed to Kill

Lipstick in Dressed To Kill

NARS Lipstick in Dressed To Kill – Fuchsia rose with gold shimmer [Spring 2013]

Nail Polish [$18]

Disco Inferno

Disco Inferno

NARS Disco Inferno -nail polish — Iridescent Silver Green [Spring 2013]

The Eye Shadow single I believe will look amazing on medium to dark skin when smoked with Mekong (my favorite NARS eye shadow single for brown skin).  And speaking of amazing on dark skin, the new Seduction blush looks an awful lot like the discontinued Crazed.  While I’m a sucker for greens and blues, I have so many that I could successfully dupe the colors in the Mad Mad World duo.  Should you decide to get the Bouthan  eye shadow duo and you are dark-skinned, be sure to prep your lid with a layer of bright white eyeshadow or use NARS eye shadow primer (use Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance if you have oily eyelids).

NARS Spring 2013 collection is scheduled to launch on January 15, 2013 on NARSCosmetics.com and in February at counters in such upscale retailers as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

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Happy 2013!!! – Emerald: Panetone’s Color of the Year

Happy New Year Everyone!

I am super-excited that Panetone has announced for it’s color of the year…emerald!

Emerald: Panetone's 2013 Color Of the Year!

Emerald: Panetone’s 2013 Color Of the Year!

As a brown-eyed girl with a cinnamon mocha latte complexion, I live for emerald green. It’s a color that looks so regal on its own or even used to create a unique and sultry smokey eye. Green is a color of the Sky-Earth-Grass trinity I consider to be as work-safe as it is versatile. Keep checking my blog for some upcoming looks to keep your makeup wardrobe on the bleeding edge of fashion. For sure Sephora will put a line of products out but in the meantime, here is a look from my emerald stash:

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My tribute to Emerald being Panetone’s 2013 color of the year–> Wearing MAC eyeshadow in Bottle Green and Kelly Green (Pro) over Sephora’s Eye Shadow crayon in Green.[Cheeks] NARS Angelika blush.
[Lips] Urban Decay’s Lip Junkie lip gloss in ‘Naked’
[Mascara] L’ancome’s Hypnose Star

Rescue Beauty Lounge Locavore”: The Rundown

Bling, bling, Locavore’s the thing!!

Absolutely jam-packed with uniform glitter in light green, dark green and purple, it’s no wonder Locavore took the top spot in the Rescue Beauty Lounge BIB2 round of voting.  The predominance of glittery green appeals to the die-hard Tinker Bell fan in me and I could totally see her rocking this color.

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Locavore by Rescue Beauty Lounge. So glittery a tinker fairy would be lemming for it!

The glitter brushes on evenly (no ‘push and place’ as with some other glitter polishes) and you can get a pretty nice opacity in two to three coats.  The glitter is very finely milled so when it dries the glitter is barely felt when you touch it.  My favorite use of this polish is to put it over either a dark green or purple polish like Orbis Non Sufficit or Mismas.

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RBL Locavore on bare nails. 2 coats w/ flash

As with all RBL polishes I own so far, I get a little over a week of wear with this and only minimal tip wear. As I work in IT I type a LOT (over 120wpm) so while I do expect my nail polish to wear at the tips, shattering and sending dangerous shards of nail polish isn’t something that happens with RBL. In other words, no chipping. Cost per bottle is $18 and free domestic shipping is offered for orders over $100 ($200 for international orders) at RescueBeauty.com. Remember, Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polishes are 5-Free and Made in the USA.

So are you totally lemming for this? You should be. But don’t wait too long to purchase as these will only be available as supplies last.  Get it while you can at retail while you can because she who hesitates will wind up auction sniping.

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RBL Locavore over RBL Orbis Non Sufficit

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RBL Locavore over RBL Mismas--Mardis Gras anyone?

butterLONDON Spring 2012: The Rundown

Spring 2012 has indeed sprung for butterLONDON. Check out the display I saw at Ulta Beauty this past week:

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Butter London's Spring 2012 Polishes displayed at Ulta Beauty

butterLONDON’s Spring 2012 consist of the following shades (description from butterLONDON.com):

  • Disco Biscuit — Tropical hot pink with an undercurrent of tiny iridescent glitter particles.
  • Trout Pout — An opaque shade of cantaloupe, pale and retro.
  • Slapper — A truly teal lacquer, bold and very bright.
  • Bossy Boots — Light, opaque pistachio green. A beautiful take on neutral for this season.
  • Knackered — A sheer, twinkling oyster shade flecked with micro glitter particles.

I picked up Bossy Boots and Disco Biscuit because those colors personally appealed to me. I passed on Slapper as I already have Artful Dodger, Deborah Lippmann’s To The Beach and Sally Hansen’s Brisk Blue. Trout Pout is a color I think to be easily dupeable. Knackered almost got me to buy it but I’d already picked up Deborah Lippmann’s Mermaid’s Dream.

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Two of butterLONDON's Spring 2012 offerings: Bossy Boots and Disco Biscuit

Disco Biscuit is bright, pink and has glitter so I had to pick it up even though I wasn’t pleased with butterLONDON’s glitter polishes of late. It goes on sheer yet bright and takes about 3 coats to reach some opacity. And by some I mean I still had the dreaded VNL (Visible Nail Line) after all that. I honestly feel this color would work better over a bright white or pink cream polish first to solve the VNL problem but even by itself it is a fun color to wear. As pretty as it is, even with a base and top coat (butterLONDON’s Tops & Tails set) I had tip wear the first day and chipping the second day (more insight to follow at the end of this review).

Now you know me being the geek that I am I had to find out what Disco Biscuit meant, right? Turns out it’s something to keep you ‘dancing at the disco’. So this could range from a cup of Starbucks, a can of Red Bull or something to get you in hot water with local law enforcement and/or the DEA.

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Disco Biscuit by butterLONDON. 3 coats with flash.

Bossy Boots is a nice interpretation of a neutral color. Unfortunately it does remind me of the linoleum floor my Memaw had in her 1950’s style kitchen in North Florida. Still, the pastel looks very nice as a contrast against dark skin like mine though because it has more of a yellow undertone instead of blue, the color looks a bit washed out next to my skintone.  Regardless,  I got lots of compliments on the color. Most folks thought it was OPI and had never heard of butterLONDON until I informed them of it. It is lighter than Illamasqua’s Milf which is a deeper pastel green with blue undertones. While the first coat was streaky (a usual hazard with most cream polishes) and it took about 3 coats to make the finish look even. Another ding against the color is it started to chip after two days and chip like crazy it did.

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Bossy Boots by butterLONDON. 2 coats with flash.

So by now you probably think my opinion is that butterLONDON is a lousy polish. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am very, very, very hard on my nail polishes as I type over 120wpm (which causes crazy shear forces on the nail edge), am constantly typing all day (a hazard of working as an Software Engineer/Business Analyst), use a lot of hand sanitizer as I am a serious germaphobe, then add to that the usual daily hazards and my nail situation is, to put it in statistical terms, an outlier. I’m in the tail to the right of the bell curve. Because of my occupation and personal habits I need a nail polish that performs above and beyond the norm. butterLONDON polishes are very pretty, very trendy and have a great color assortment but the consistency across formulas is not there…yet. I love my frost finishes (Wallis and Fairy Lights wear like iron), have a love-hate relationship with the others (Artful Dodger, Tart With A Heart, Black Knight), and you will have to pry the gorgeous pearly blue-gray Lady Muck from my cold, undead fingers.

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I'm not a bug, I'm a feature! 🙂

The truth is, butterLONDON polishes need more work on the wear longevity across the range before I can recommend them against the likes of Illamasqua. Illamasqua is the same price (though not as widely available in brick and mortar locations) yet out of the 20+ polishes of theirs I own I have yet to run across one that chips as easily as my butterLONDON polishes I’ve indicated. And cheaper brands such as Sally Hansen and even the awesome indie brand Cult Nails have a longer wear time under my use conditions. So until the consistency improves (and I will continue to buy colors that appeal to me), I wil consider this line to be in ‘Beta’–which in software geek lexicon means the code is right but it’s not ready for use by the general public until the ‘bugs’ are worked out.

butterLONDON polishes retail for $14 USD and are available at Ulta Beauty boutiques and online store, SkinStore.com and Beauty.com. Skin Store has a lot of 20% off sales so definitely check that site out first for butterLONDON polishes to see if they have the color that sparks your interest.

So what have your experiences with this polish line been?  Ping me in the comments!

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Bossy Boots by butterLONDON. Pretty but a very 'dupeable' color.

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Disco Biscuit by butterLONDON. A pretty tropical pink with sparkles.

Deborah Lippmann Spring 2012 Collection: The Rundown

I’ll admit I am a total sucker for blues. From bright blue to teal green there is something about the color that grabs me. Perhaps because I was born under a ‘water sign’ (Scorpios represent!) or because I am in total love with the bright blue waters of the Caribbean and the South Pacific. And obviously I wasn’t far off as Deborah Lippmann tells Lucky Magazine, “I wanted to create something that felt like a vacation no matter where you are—whether you’re actually going away or just dreaming of it.”

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Deborah Lippmann's gorgeous offerings for Spring 2012: Mermaid's Dream and At The Beach

Even though our winter here in the Philadelphia suburbs has been relatively mild, I’ve definitely been dreaming of a vacation somewhere warm. So when I saw these two polish up for pre-sale on NeimanMarcus.com I immediately pre-ordered and was overjoyed when they arrived ahead of the estimated delivery date.

Deborah Lippmann’s Spring 2012 offerings consist of two complimentary yet different shades: To The Beach and Mermaid’s Dream. To The Beach is a textbook cyan blue cream which Deborah describes as, “The French Riviera in a bottle’ . I think of it more as Tahiti in a bottle but French Rivera works for me too. It goes on the nails very smooth and the consistency is neither too thick nor too thin. It isn’t opaque in one coat (and looks a tad bit streaky) but becomes a nice opaque cyan in two coats with a smooth glass finish. I personally like three coats to punch up the color intensity. It is more blue than Illamasqua Muse and more cyan than Sally Hansen Instra-Dri Brisk Blue. Sally Hansen’s Brisk Blue is a very close color hack of To The Beach. And by very I mean down to the finish and the color. Illamasqua’s Muse is too dark of a teal to be a dupe.

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At The Beach: Described as 'French Rivera Blue' the Programmer in me sees it as 'Textbook Cyan' (2 coats w/ flash)

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From top: Sally Hansen Brisk Blue, Deborah Lippmann At The Beach, Illamasqua Muse (2 coats w/ flash)

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From top: Sally Hansen Brisk Blue, Deborah Lippmann At The Beach, Illamasqua Muse (no flash/HDR)

Mermaid’s Dream is a gorgeous seafoam green pearl with flecks of turqouise glitter and it is hands-down my favored polish of this collection. A glitter-on-pearl look I’ve done separaterly using Boom Boom Pow over Nefertiti but never before did Deborah have a bottle containing both in her polish line. According to Deborah, she likes this as a ‘accent-nail look’ to just wear on your ring finger while the other nails are painted bright blue. This would definitely be a cool look as coupled with To The Beach but personally I think this shade is just too different and glamorous to not have it on all of your nails. Opaque in one coat, this is a perfect ‘glam’ shade to wear for a night out, the prom, full glitz beauty pageants and my favorite, just swimming in the pool when wearing jewelry isn’t a practical option. I have nothing in my nail polish color collection that comes close to this shade. This makes it truly unique and the ‘must have’ from this collection.  I would put it up there with Chanel June as the must-have ‘on trend’ nail shade for Spring 2012.

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Mermaid's Dream: A glitter and pearl seafoam green polish--a first for Deborah Lippmann (2 coats w/ flash)

With both shades I had minimal tip wear and both shades wore for over a week through intense 120wpm typing/coding through an 8 – 10 hour work day. The performance is in line with the other Deborah Lippmann polishes I own.

Deborah Lippmann polishes retail for $16 on average with some variation according to finish.  At The Beach retails for $16 while Mermaid’s Dream retails for $18.  Both colors are available now at LippmannCollection.com, NeimanMarcus.com and coming soon at Beauty.com.

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Deborah Lippmann's Mermaid's Dream from Spring 2012 collection

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Deborah Lippmann's At The Beach from Spring 2012 collection

NARS Paramaribo Eye Shadow Duo: The Rundown

Leave it to Francois Nars to come up with a very interesting twist in his eye shadow duo offering for Spring 2012.

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Look out Star Sailor, there's a new cool neutral in town!

Paramaribo is described by NARS as a metallic bronze and brass shimmer finish but frankly it looks like the Star Sailor duo with a greenish cast. The brass shadow in this duo is unlike any other colors that I own. The closest might be a dirty version of MAC Gorgeous Gold topped off with Lucky Green. The bronze shadow doesn’t look like a ‘true’ bronze at all. It is more like a bronze patina if that makes any sense. Like with most of the NARS eye shadow duos, both shades in Paramaribo are well pigmented, go on smoothly and neither one was powdery. I did not have to work hard to get the shadow on my brush and the color built up easily on my bare eyelid.  They are also very blendable and I did not notice any fallout or serious color degradation when blending.

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Swatches on NW43 skin of NARS Paramaribo Eye Shadow duo from top: bronze side, brass side

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Closeup of NARS Paramaribo on my eyes (liner is MAC Fluidline in Dark Envy)

As I’m always on the lookout for alternatives to all the boring brown and neutral colors out there this one was definitely up my alley. I find earthy greens to very work safe and versatile in my makeup wardrobe. Both shadows can be used alone beautifully but together they give off an even bigger impact. For even more drama I would blend in a bit of Mekong (a holy grail NARS eye shadow shade for women of color) into the crease and onto the lower lashline. Top this off with a berry lipstick and you have a gorgeous look that will take you from winter to spring with the greatest of ease.

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NARS Paramaribo on lids, Gaiety on cheeks with Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick--perfect winter into Spring look!

At $33 USD this definitely lands it in Upscale Beauty land in terms of price.  But I feel the price is more than justified given the intense pigmentation and the color payoff–especially for women of color.  In terms of value, this eye shadow duo has it.  As I said earlier, greens are very work safe and dense pigmentation of these two eye shadows would work great alone or with any other neutral colors that you own.

So in a nutshell, Paramaribo would definitely make a good addition to your makeup wardrobe should you choose to indulge.  According to NARS this duo is limited edition for Spring 2012 however, unlike in MAC Cosmetics-speak,  limited-edition means as long as they feel like manufacturing it for sale it will be available for purchase.  So if you are interested in picking this up but if you’re not in a position to get it right now I wouldn’t worry about it –you have plenty of time to haul.

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NARS Paramaribo: Brass side on inner lid, Bronze side blended from outer lid

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NARS Paramaribo in outside light--my new fave 'go to' shadow (wearing NARS Sheer Matte foundation in New Guinea)

Dior Vernis in Waterlilly: The Rundown

Scented nail polish?  Say what?!?  The beauty side of my brain just told the geeky side of my brain to stop trying to figure out the chemistry formula involved and just buy the damned color because it’s ‘cool’. So yeah, I bought it.

DISCLOSURE ALERT > I own stock in Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy (LVMH) group which is the parent company of Dior couture.

For Spring 2012,  as part of its Garden Party collection, Dior presents us with two scented nail polishes.  The first is a purple pastel called Forget-Me Not (aptly titled as the polish is the same color of said flower) while the other is a murky mint green aptly called Waterlilly.  As I already own tons of purple nail polish, and the price of this polish is pretty steep at $23 for .30 ounces, I opted for Waterlilly.

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Dior Vernis in Waterlilly--gorgeous pastel green shimmer polish

Packaged in a stunning silver box and contained it a beautiful glass bottle with ‘Vernis’ etched into it, Waterlilly smells pretty much like any other high-end nail polish out of the bottle.  The green is a mid-tone pastel with flashes of pink iridescence which are more apparent in the bottle than on the nail.   It comes with a wide brush I’ve seen in my Sally Hansen quick-dry polishes and I am not a fan of it.  The brush felt awkward in my hand and the polish seemed to want to stick to the brush more than my nails.  I worked my way around it and the color payoff is gorgeous to say the least. Against my cool skin it screamed ‘spring is coming!’ in a classy fashionable way.

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Dior Vernis in Waterlilly. 2 coats, no flash (HDR)

Compared to Illamasqua’s Milf, Dior Waterlilly is a darker green and not a cream polish.  Illamasqua Radium is more yellow-toned with shimmer.  The only thing I have close to the color of Waterlilly is Essie’s Mint Candy Apple with Pure Pearlfection over the top to add shimmer.  Even still, it isn’t as vivid a green as Dior Waterlilly but it’s close enough for a good color hack. If you have cool undertones, this color will definitely pop on you.  Warmer skin tones could also wear this color but as it leans more cool (think Illamasqua Milf) than warm (think Illamasqua Radium).  No matter your skin tone, this is a very ‘bleeding edge’ fashionable shade of green for spring that very few people will be rocking.

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From top: Illamasqua Milf, Dior Waterlilly, Illamasqua Radium (2 coats each with indoor flash)

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From top: Illamasqua Milf, Dior Waterlilly, Illamasqua Radium (2 coats each without flash)

Drying time wasn’t measured as i used Illamasqua top coat (quick drying) and Nicole by Opi Drying Drops to speed things up as I am beyond impatient about drying nail polish.  When dry, I did notice a faint violet smell but nothing that made me want to continuously sniff my nails.  It’s a nice touch but pretty forgettable as i noticed no smell after the first day of wear.  After two days of 120 wpm tying/coding, I noticed no discernable tip wear at all.  Like with other luxury nail polishes I own (Rescue Beauty Lounge, Chanel) I get no chipping of the polish on the nail and only slight wear on the tips.  Because of the etching (and this is just me), I find this bottle to be highly collectable and definitely worth having in your nail color wardrobe.  The price is steep for how much you get but considering this is a haute couture design house and not MAC for Gareth Pugh, and there are no existing true dupes for it, plus the outstanding wear makes it a worthy beauty investment.

Dior Vernis in Waterlilly is available from upscale retailers such as Nordtrom and Neiman Marcus and of course Dior.com and retails for $23/bottle.

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How cool is the etching of 'Vernis' on the bottle? So luxe.