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making faces :: my nars romance continues...

the anticipation was killing her too
it's not autumn. it's hot and sunny and mostly dry, except for when we get wild thunder storms, so i don't even have a sense that fall is ever coming. but it's around this time that i start to get a little sense that the days will become shorter, the weather will be come cooler and i will once again be able to go outside without fear of sunstroke, because now is the time when the fashion world turns its attention to fall.

although the collection doesn't officially hit shelves until the beginning of august in canada [which is really as early as it should], i got a chance to check out the nars' fall offering this week and for my tastes, they set the bar very high. the lovely corinne, head makeup artist at the nars counter in the bay downtown introduced me to the products and also tried a number of them out on me... if i had wanted to save money, this was definitely a mistake, because once you get a sense that something really works well on you, it's hard to leave it behind. [this is also how i ended up with five cats.]

i was surprised by the shades selected for fall because most of them are so, well, autumnal. nars is often very brash about flaunting the conventions of seasonal colour, but this time they surprise by offering a combination of rich, deep tones and frosty cool highlights that perfectly call to mind chilly winds and the crunch of dried leaves underfoot. i can practically smell the scent of autumn leaf fires looking at these colours. [no, i can't. i can smell the yves rocher rose perfume i'm wearing, because i got it a little too close to my nose. but if i could smell anything other than roses, i'm sure there'd be a whiff of smoke in there.]



high society- natural light
fall brings us the latest in the series of limited edition shadow trios, "high society" and an icy shadow duo "vent glacé". the thing is, they almost seem like a single palette divided into two parts, in case for some reason you decided you didn't want one. [i can't imagine why you wouldn't, but that's your business.] the trio features rich shades of mauve, forest green and amethyst purple which pair beautifully with the frosted ivory and soft pewter of the duo. both lean cool-toned, but the duo is neutral enough that it'll work on most complexions.

high society- with flash
i love the combination of purple and green, which is at once so unexpected and so complementary. these are the sorts of shades that make people choose a higher-end product over a drug store one. the mauve is a real mauve- a mix of pink and lavender without leaning to far towards either. the green is a very soft matte- the texture is quite a bit like the matte shade of the mandchourie duo, actually [which means it holds together better wet and blends very easily dry]- and is a really neutral green. it's a deep shade, but it still looks green and not black when applied. the purple is the frostiest shade of the three and is quite dark. the base is really blackened, which shows when photographed with a flash. i don't find it's quite as opaque as the other two, but it does build easily without looking caky and it definitely looks purple rather than black. [dark colours that look black or grey when applied are kind of a hot point with me. if i want black or grey, i have it.]

in terms of duplicates, all three shades are surprisingly difficult to match. the mauve is probably the hardest of all, since true mauves are rare. all of the colours i found that came close were limited edition shades from mac. "mating call" from last year's mega metal eye shadow collection, is probably the closest in terms of base colour, although it's a bit pinker, but it's got a very frosty finish, which means you're not going to mistake it for the "high society" mauve. "hypnotizing" featured most recently in the cool-toned palette of the shop mac/ cook mac collection in the spring, is greyer, browner and frosted. "up at dawn" [balloonacy collection] is lighter and more lavender. "quite spoiled" [fabulous felines collection] is browner and a bit darker.

natural light l to r :: mac mating call [l.e.], high society, mac hypnotizing [l.e.], mac up at dawn [l.e.], mac quite spoiled [l.e.]
with flash l to r :: high society, mac hypnotizing [l.e.], mac up at dawn [l.e.], mac quite spoiled [l.e.]

apologies for the fact that for some reason i cropped out "mating call" in the photo with flash. 

there is absolutely a lack of neutral green shades on the market. the vast majority lean yellow and if they're blue, most of them lean very blue. a good, solid deep green may not look that exciting, but there's a good chance you don't have one already. mac's "plumage" is a lot bluer. "russian blue" [fabulous felines collection] is a bit greyer and much sheerer. chanel's "khaki vert" is darker, browner, frosty. i believe that mac's "bottle green" is closer, but darker and still leans a bit blue compared to "high society".

natural light l to r :: mac plumage, high society, mac russian blue [l.e.], chanel khaki vert

with flash l to r :: mac plumage, high society, mac russian blue [l.e.], chanel khaki vert

the purple shade struck me as the least original of the three, but i still couldn't find a really good match for it. le metier de beauté "fig" is a lot redder. mac's "noir plum" [again, a limited edition mega metal shadow] is closer but lighter and bluer. mac "black tulip" [spring colour forecast collection] is a little lighter and pinker.

natural light l to r :: lmdb fig, high society, mac noir plum [l.e.], mac black tulip [l.e.]

with flash l to r :: lmdb fig, high society, mac noir plum [l.e.], mac black tulip [l.e.]

vent glace- natural light
"vent glacé" is the sort of combination everyone can wear. you may have similar shades in your collection, but the quality of these is so nice and they are the sort of colours you can wear in any situation, so chances are you'll go through them quickly. this is becoming part of the nars permanent range, so you can hold off, but the duo is also a perfect complement to the dark lips of the fall season...

vent glace- with flash
both shades are frosty, but not in a way that ages my eyes or brings out the flaws in my lids. the lighter, ivory shade packs a lot of pigment and can really brighten your lids. the golden-pewter shade is more subdued. there's a faint dirty green tinge to both shades that i suspect will be more prevalent on those with more golden-toned skin.

highlighting shades are a dime a dozen [not where you buy them -ed.], so you may feel that you have a match for this colour already. it's clearly an off-white, but there are similar colours. the fact that it leans a little green/ yellow made me think of the mac shade "unbasic white", which is similar and which also has heavy colour payoff. next to "unbasic white", though, "vent glacé" has a slightly dirty, tarnished look that mellows it a hair.

natural light l to r :: vent glace, mac unbasic white [l.e.]
with flash l to r :: vent glace, mac unbasic white [l.e.]

the pewter shade is a real winner. nars is phenomenal at these kind of colours, like the taupe included in last year's "dogon" shadow duo [which is browner and has a distinctive green sheen compared to "vent glacé"]. sisley "stardust" is darker and pulls green in comparison. mac "hazy day" [mac me over collection] is a bit deeper and browner.

natural light l to r :: nars dogon, vent glace, sisley stardust, mac hazy day [l.e.]
with flash l to r :: nars dogon, vent glace, sisley stardust, mac hazy day [l.e.] 
getting cheeky

l to right :: undress me, outlaw
to give you that wind-kissed glow, nars has both a new multiple [wow, a double entendre? from nars? i'm shocked] and a new[ish] blush.

outlaw- with flash
"undress me" multiple was one of the few items i passed on. these products are intended for use on the lips, cheeks, eyes, nostrils, ears... but i can never see them as anything other than a big stick of cream blush. the texture is nice and smooth on all of them and i'd say that this one felt particularly creamy. it's a fleshy pink with silver glitter embedded in it and it's really the glitter that is the breaking point for me. it's chunkier than that found in "new order" blush, although the two are close ["new order" has a cooler pink base] and if you own one, i'd say you certainly don't need to have both. "luxor" multiple is lighter, cooler and shimmery rather than glittery.

natural light- outlaw
nars blushes are rarely a miss with me and it basically comes down to a question of personal preference. this summer's "liberté" blush was great, but the deep, warm orange wasn't particularly flattering on me. "outlaw", which was previously released in limited edition, is a home run. it's a deep raspberry-rose colour with a very prominent golden sheen that can be applied sheerly with a soft, fluffy brush, or given more impact with a firmer, denser one. under no circumstances should you swatch this and make judgments. just trying it on my fingers, i was convinced it was a dud, but when corinne applied it to my cheeks, i was shocked. you can see both the base colour and the sheen very well and it really does add what i'd call an autumnal glow to the cheeks. major love.

it does bear some resemblance to some other blushes, but i find that outlaw reads cooler than its cousins- possibly something that is emphasised on my skin. mac "breezy" is deeper, redder and has a pink sheen, although they are similar in base colour. guerlain's cult favourite "blush g" is a brighter pink and the sheen is much less pronounced. mac's "mighty aphrodite" is definitely more coral and lacks the sheen. i should add that these are all blushes i reach for a lot and if you like this kind of shade, "outlaw" is a must. a must, i tell you!

natural light l to r :: mac breezy, outlaw, guerlain blush g [l.e.], mac mighty aphrodite [l.e.]
natural light l to r :: mac breezy, outlaw, guerlain blush g [l.e.], mac mighty aphrodite [l.e.]

l to r :: more, amsterdam, autumn leaves, rouge tribal
i'm trying to make myself behave when it comes to lip colours. i have way too many and i can never choose ones i want to get rid of. so instead, i've set myself certain rules that may prove hard to follow in the coming months:

  • no deep berry shades, because i have too many already. 
  • no cool reds for the same reason. 
  • no corals, because i don't wear them often enough to even justify the ones i own, much less more. 

the point is that i really want to stick to purchasing colours that are original to my collection. and so, despite the fact that nars has a nice selection of lip colours, i walked away with only one, the rich brownish-orange-red "autumn leaves", which is a true original.

natural light- autumn leaves
there are a selection of products in different formulas- the velvet gloss pencil "more" is a lovely rich neutral, but i just can't come around to the idea of sharpening a gloss. likewise, i loved the deep garnet larger than life gloss "rouge tribal", but its tiny applicator made it a pain to swatch, let alone wear. it would take longer to cover my lips than it would to do the rest of my makeup. and get dressed. and get where i was going. pure matte lipstick "amsterdam" is a lovely rose-berry shade, but it comes perilously close to both colour families i'm supposed to be avoiding. [tell the truth! -ed.] ok, chances are i wouldn't have been so strict with myself, but the texture on "amsterdam" seemed drier than other pure matte shades i've tried. it tugged at my skin when i swatched it, which made me nervous about what it could do to my lips.

autumn leaves with flash
"autumn leaves" fascinated me from the beginning because it's just such a non-me colour. oranges and browns are not terrifically well-represented in my collection, although they do crop up, and this was such an especially warm shade that there was no question of me having anything like it already. plus, nars' semi-sheer lipsticks [which are really more "semi-opaque", if you see what i mean] are a lovely everyday formula. the last a few hours on me and fade evenly and once faded, if you reapply without wiping the previous layer off, the stain that it fades to becomes gradually stronger and closer to the colour of the lipstick freshly applied- seriously!

because it's a sheer-ish formula, it will vary a little from person to person, depending on the pigment of your own lips. i think that this is why the colour is workable on me- it includes just enough of my natural lip colour to come through and modify the shade that you see. being sheer, it can also be built up. applied in a single layer, i find that the brown tones are a little more prominent, whereas if its built up a little, the red in the shade moves to the fore.

natural light- autumn leaves
autumn leaves with flash
i tried it against the warmest orange i had in my collection- guerlain's "gipsy", which looks positively red by comparison, and against the warmest, most orangey brown in my collection- mac's "spiced tea" [warm and cozy collection], which looks kind of drab, since it's quite a bit softer.

natural light l to r :: guerlain gipsy, autumn leaves, mac spiced tea [l.e.]

with flash l to r :: guerlain gipsy, autumn leaves, mac spiced tea [l.e.]

now here's a look at how corinne used these products on my face, to show you just how everything can pull together.

face ::
nars sheer glow foundation "deauville" [omg! i'm really tanned! how did this happen?]
nars concealer "vanilla"

eyes ::
nars e/s duo "vent glacé" [shimmery ivory/ soft golden pewter]
nars e/s trio "high society" [satiny mauve, matte forest green, shimmery dark purple]*
there was mascara used, but i'm not sure which one

cheeks ::
nars multiple "undress me" [neutral pink with silver glitter]
nars blush "outlaw" [raspberry pink with gold shimmer]

lips ::
nars l/s "autumn leaves" [warm orange terracotta]

and here's a quick look at something i did myself the following day. in this case, i used marcelle beauty balm and gosh liquid concealer as my foundation. this should illustrate what i was saying about the difference between a lighter application- which is what you have here- and a heavier one- which is what you have above. it's the same shade, but there's a definite change of character that would make it work day or night.

eyes ::
nars e/s duo "vent glacé" [shimmery ivory/ soft golden pewter]
nars e/s trio "high society" [matte forest green shade only]

cheeks ::
nars blush "outlaw" [raspberry pink with gold shimmer]

lips ::
nars l/s "autumn leaves" [warm orange terracotta]

other than the eye shadow trio- which are always limited edition- i believe that everything is joining the nars family in the long term.

if you go to the bay [or saks fifth avenue in the united states] you'll also have the opportunity to buy a couple of limited edition palettes made up of six permanent nars shadows each. there's a bright option and a neutral option. both are fun, but nars really carries the torch when it comes to exceptional, nuanced neutral shadows. they also have a short-handled brush set with some of their most popular face and eye brushes.

of course, you can also get nars from sephora, holt renfrew and murale in canada and at most major department stores in the u.s., as well as through their very user-friendly web site that ships to many countries and gives you pricing in your own currency.

the summer collections will soon be upon us. nars is out of the gate with an exceptionally strong offering... please don't tell chanel, armani, mac, guerlain or any of my other cosmetic lovers, but this nars thing is getting pretty serious with me...


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