i figured that, with this appointment, the experience would be different. i wasn't getting a look done for any particular function and, unlike with mac, i have relatively little experience with nars, so there was already more chance of coming out with a distinctive look.
SEE WHAT HAPPENED!
i'm not really sure how nars slipped through the cracks with me. i remember several friends of mine telling me how good they were, but i guess i was always such a mac loyalist that i didn't bother to check them out. once i did have a look at what they have to offer, i was quite charmed. they're somewhat similar to mac, in that there's a certain cheekiness to their marketing, a playfulness that you don't find as much with established high end brands (not that i mind the classy image of chanel or guerlain) and it's more clever than what you see with mass brands. (i'll get to what i mean by that later.) so in a way, this is a company after my own heart, something a little "haute edgy". (i think i'm going to start describing myself that way in job interviews.)
the lovely emily lajoie bourassa was my artist for the day and the only direction that i gave her was that she shouldn't worry about being too dramatic with the look she did. me likey the bold statement. (if you want to see a nars makeover done with a more restrained approach, you can check the one that beauty blogger karla sugar had done.) emily decided to go with what she described as a "dark green smoky look with bronze". intriguing.
|the embarrassment of "morning face"|
for the eyes, she used the "tokyo" eye shadow duo (many of their products are geographically named) to give, as she put it "structure". what this means when you're talknig makeup is that it gives a bit of a highlight and some depth to the bones by having a light wash of colour over the brow and a slightly deeper colour in the crease. just on its own, this makes eyes stand out. but we were just getting started. the "main event" on the eyes was a wash of the single eye shadow "night porter".
this brings me to what i meant by the cleverness of the nars brand. to many, "night porter" is just a name, but to movie buffs like me, it's the name of liliana cavani's 1974 psycho-sexual drama about a holocaust survivor's relationship with an ss prison guard. and don't think it's a coincidence. if you want less subtle, they have a well-known blush called deep throat. there are also classic hollywood references, particularly to marlene dietrich ("lola lola", "lilli marlene", "scarlet empress", "blonde venus", shanghai express", "morocco", "hot voodoo") and audrey hepburn ("funny face", "roman holiday"). other product names contain references to blondie, louise brooks, fellini, john waters, david bowie and more. and while it's not a pop culture reference, you have to admire that their best-known product is a blush called "orgasm". (i prefer "deep throat" myself, for what it's worth.)
so for those of us who like to troll various levels of culture, there is an extra layer of playful enjoyment to their products- you feel like an insider, because you're in on the joke. the culture geek in me finds this fun. the marketing person in me thinks it's a great tactic.
but back to what was happening with my face. to finish off my eyes, emily added a highlight in the inner corner of the pale green half of the "iceland" eye shadow duo and applied hollywoodland soft touch shadow pencil (sort of like nars' version of the mac greasepaint sticks i raved about in my post about smoky eyes) along my water line. as she explained, having a little hint of light close to the eye and a darker layer around it makes the eyes look bigger, which is what you want when they are the focus of the look.
on my cheeks, she used "laguna" bronzer. now, i've already dealt with bronzed versus pale looks, but the idea here wasn't so much to make me look tanned as it was to give me a healthy glow and emphasise my bones. so rather than just using it as a straight blush, she applied it in what i'll call and "figure 3"- lightly around the brows and temples, stronger along the cheekbones and lightly around the contour of the jaw. the fact that this does show off the facial bones means that the dark eye has an anchor- so i don't end up looking like a pair of eyes floating in tapioca pudding.
|goodness! i have cheekbones!|
the final look proved strangely difficult to photograph either at the counter or afterward. let me assure you, the photos don't do it justice. i can go on about how impressed i was, but i think that the real compliment is that women from the other makeup counters at the bay- guerlain in particular- kept commenting on how incredible my eyes looked. hey, they're the experts, not me.
at the end of things, of course, i got to pick out my goodies. seeing as i was running low on my beloved mac prolongwear (nc15 if you're looking for a shade comparison), i decided to grab the "sheer glow" foundation. i also couldn't help but get "night porter", since a super-dark green is something that i lack and this had the bonus of being sparkling without leaving tons of fallout over my face. i could have stopped at two, but i also got sucked in by a lovely lipstick called transeurope express. how the heck am i supposed to resist a dark red lipstick named after a kraftwerk song, i ask you?
all the products used are available directly from nars online if you're in the united states. elsewhere, you can go to one of their counters or stores (there's a store locator on the web site). in canada, nars have counters at sephora, the bay, murale, mills brothers and holt renfrew locations.