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)

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Preview: Guerlain by Emilio Pucci [Summer 2012]

At times like this, it pays to be a Sephora Beauty Insider.  Why? Because I got first crack at ordering pieces from this collection I’ve been waiting for w/ baited breath.

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Finally in my possession--the Guerlain by Emilio Pucci collection for Summer 2012.

The collection is only available for purchase now by Sephora Beauty Insiders but should be available for sale to the general public in time for it’s publicized May release date.  My advice is to keep stalking Sephora, Nordtrom and Neiman Marcus websites for the launch.  Considering how fast the Cruel Gardenia highlighter went, the limited edition meteorites from this collection should go just as quickly if not faster due to the Pucci name.

Individual product reviews to come in the next few weeks or so but in the meantime check out the picspam and comments!

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These smell absolutely divine! Even if you bought them to scent your lingerie drawer they'd be worth it.

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Pucci print all over in my favorite colors.

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The eye shadow palette in warm colors are perfect for women of color.

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The cult classic returns in a striking indigo color.

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The Emilio Pucci brush. You cannot call yourself a Pucci fan and not get this.

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

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.

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

Hervana Blush by Benefit: The Rundown

In general I’m a big fan of Benefit’s blushes. Bella Bamba and Coralista are among my favorites.  I figured the case would be the same with Hervana but I was sadly mistaken.  This is the first product I have ever returned to Sephora because I was truly dissatisfied with it.

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Hervana blush by Benefit. You are too pretty to require so much effort.

What should have set my ‘do not buy’ radar was the large amounts of white pigment in this blush.  Swirled together all of the colors looked a powdery orange-pink.  Press photos seem to hint this color leans towards a cool pink.  Swatches I’ve seen on fairer-skinned ladies seems to show the same thing.  So I have no idea if it is because of my undertones this color went on the orange side or what.

The color itself wasn’t bad but it seemed I had to get a lot of product on the brush for it to even show up a hint on my skin. I hadn’t had this problem with other Benefit blushes so I was very disappointed to have it happen with this one. There is no discernable shimmer in this blush but it is very powdery and ‘dusty’ which translates to ashy on dark skin unless you use a cream blush base. And even with that it seems to take a lot of product for it to even show up. In terms of value this is a deal breaker. Why should you go through a $28 blush so quickly just because you have dark skin and the pigmentation is light so you have to use more product? I have NARS blushes that are matte (my beloved Gilda) and the pigmentation is amazing with no ashiness.

Overall I’m very disappointed with this product. I wouldn’t recommend it to dark-skinned folks who are say, deeper than NC/NW30. But even if you are fair to medium skinned, I don’t think the quality is as up to par with Benefit’s other blushes. Definitely swatch in-store to see if it is for you.

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Unlike other Benefit blushes, this box is hinged. An absolute pain in the butt.

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From bottom: Hervana heavily swatched alone, over NARS Lokuom cream blush, over MAC Shine Mixing Medium

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Wearing Hervana without anything beneath. Can you see it?

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A closer look. Can you see HerPurgatory, I mean Hervana?

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Let's try Hervana again this time over NARS Lokoum cream blush

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To paraphrase Dolly Parton, it takes a lot of work to make Hervana look good.