Preview: NARS Fall 2012

For those new to my blog, I have an almost obsessive-compulsion to do a happy dance when NARS releases a new collection.  For those who have been reading my blog for quite some time, you’re probably wondering what’s taken me so danged long to post about the NARS Fall 2012 collection.  For a quick rundown of all the items, please see my article up on TheStyleAndBeautyDoctor.com (yep, I’m contributing over there as well).

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Clockwise from top: NARS Rouge Tribal Larger Than Life lipgloss, Outlaw blush, High Society Eye Shadow Trio

I purchased the items I was most interested in once when were available after me stalking appearing on the site.  Rouge Tribal Larger Than Life Lipgloss, High Society eye shadow trip and Outlaw blush were purchased by me and are a most welcome addition to my Fall makeup wardrobe.

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NARS Fall 2012 Swatches from bottom: Outlaw Blush, Rouge Tribal, High Society Eye Shadow Trio (w/ flash)

Rouge Tribal Larger Than Life Lipgloss

I was quite disappointed that for Fall 2012 Francois Nars did not include one of the lovely matte lip pencils I’ve become addicted to.  However, the color of this lipgloss is so gorgeous, so flattering to deep skin tones that I couldn’t help but fall in love with Rouge Tribal. With a vampy burgundy tone with metallic shimmer, it shows up very easily on the lips though there will be some settling in lip lines.  Personally I can’t wait to wear this lipgloss with Mekong and Night Star eye shadow singles.

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NARS Rouge Tribal Larger Than Life Lipgloss for Fall 2012

High Society Eye Shadow Trio

Color me so pleased at this cool-toned trio of shades.  NARS’ High Society eye shadow trio consists of three shades: a light frosty lavender, a matte midtone green (a bit lighter than NARS Fuji eye shadow single) and a deep  violet purple shimmer shade. I picked up this trio mainly because as I own the Marie Galante eye shadow duo from the NARS Spring 2012 collection, the two should go together quite well.

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NARS High Society Eye Shadow Trio for Fall 2012

Outlaw Blush

Color me devastated when I tried to find this color last fall and found out it had been discontinued!  Thankfully NARS had pity on blush addicts like me and re-released this gorgeous rose gold shade.  It is lighter than Taos with more of a cool undertone.  Like with all NARS blushes the translucent pigments made the color easily buildable on dark skin and does not turn ashy.

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NARS Outlaw Blush has returned for Fall 2012!

I plan to start testing these items for wear beginning this week and should have a review up within the next few weeks or so.  What I can tell you is that while the eye shadow trio is nice, for me the stars of this release are the Rouge Tribal lipgloss and the Outlaw blush. Budget still crunched? NARS blushes are THE thing to have and considering they also make great eye shadow bases, go for it.

The Fall 2012 collection is now available at NARSCosmetics.com and should be appearing on Sephora.com, Nordstrom.com within the next few weeks.

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NARS Fall 2012 — Are you feeling it?

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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.

Preview: NARS Summer 2012 Collection

Bet you all thought I forgot about the Summer 2012 offerings from NARS, right?  Nope, I’ve just been slow about it.

NARS Summer 2012 Collection

And rolling right along with the Summer preview posts we continue on with the pieces I picked up from NARS’ Summer 2012 collection!

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My favorite pieces from the NARS Summer 2012 collection

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Trouville is a gorgeous seashell pink--stunning!

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A hurried full-faced look featuring NARS Summer 2012 collection (Desire blush and Hungry Heart highlighter on cheeks)

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

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

NARS Valparaiso Pure Matte Lipstick: The Rundown

I used to think I’d rather rub a dry stick on my lips rather than use a matte lipstick.  And then I met NARS’ Pure Matte lipstick in Valapariso and fell totally, utterly and deeply in love with it.

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Sporting NARS Valparaiso on lips with Lhasa and Mekong eye shadow on eyes.

Launched in the NARS Spring 2012 line, this is a matte berry lipstick that it is very pigmented and goes on smooth without any skipping whatsoever.  It feels a bit tacky going on (in a good way and probably due to the wild mango butter in it) but the finish is still matte.  Color payoff is very good and the color goes on opaque and nicely without lipliner.  I got a good six hours worth of wear with this.  Even after having coffee in the morning and lunch, the color faded somewhat but not so much that I had to immediately apply more of this.  When I did touch it up I needed very little to refresh the color.

The closest color I own that looks like this, interestingly enough, NARS Damned Velvet Matte lip pencil.  Both look very similar but the lipstick has more tackiness while the pencil is more dry.  Guerlain Rouge G in Greta looks more red next to it but you can tell it still belongs in the ‘berry’ family.

Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick retails for $24 and is currently available at most upscale retailers such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus Sephora and Beauty.com.

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Close-up of NARS Valparaiso full matte lippie--so smooth!

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From top: NARS Damned Velvet Matte pencil,NARS Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick, Guerlain Rouge G in Greta, NARS Valparaiso Pure Matte Lipstick (no flash HDR)

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From top: NARS Damned Velvet Matte pencil, NARS Valparaiso, Guerlain Rouge G in Greta, NARS Valparaiso (flash)

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NARS Valparaiso Pure Matte lipstick and Paramaribo eye shadow duo--so pretty for Spring 2012

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)