Skip to main content

making faces :: what's in a name?

file this under "better late than never", since spring collections have by now ceded their shelf space to summer and, indeed, the weather in montreal just seems to have bypassed spring entirely and shot up to the high twenties centigrade with barely a blink at the mid-to-high teens. but i don't like feeling rushed and mother nature was, up until the last few days, pretty stingy about giving me adequate light for getting good swatches and shots of makeup.

i knew from the beginning of the spring launches in the middle of winter that i wanted at to pick up one nars "kauai" eye shadow duo, but the nice folks at nars decided to make it part of their permanent collection, which meant that i didn't feel the need to rush out and buy it the second it hit counters. i like that, because a lot of times i just can't make rushing out to buy new makeup a priority and i don't think that's a bad thing. so if someone like me, who writes about beauty products on a blog can't make this a priority... well, you see where i'm going for this. bravo to nars for allowing us to take our time, think about a purchase and then inevitably make it anyway because you know it's a sound decision based on swatching the product yourself, hearing others' thoughts about it and looking at what you already have in your collection.

now that i have the duo, i do find myself wondering what took me so long. this is very much a "what you see is what you get" shadow duo. a combination of a coolly tarnished gold and a shadowy orchid purple, it is glam incarnate. seriously, it looks like it was made from the distilled sweat and greasepaint makeup of 70s-era bowie and marc bolan. that's how over-the-top glam this is.

i like the comparison to glam rock, because both of the shades in this duo are full-wattage, unapologetic, sequins and lamé, and at the same time, each has something a little dirty about it. in the most literal sense, i put it down to the fact that each colour has a soupçon of grey in it. it's not enough to really mute the effect [although neither shade is what you'd call bright], just enough to make the colours look like they might have rubbed shoulders with something a little seedy.



of the two shades, the gold looks a little cleaner, a little fresher, but it's still not a true gold. nor would i call it an antique gold, which is a term i normally reserve for golds that look tarnished with brown. this one has taken a step in the direction of platinum or pewter, but is still definitely gold. and what a gold. the smoothness of the shade is unbelievable. it is rare to see something this frosted apply this flawlessly. there is no unevenness, no patchiness and, most interestingly, no fallout. it reminds me a little of the frost shades from rouge bunny rouge in terms of texture, as well as of mac's inexplicably limited mega-metal eye shadows.

kauai gold
i was able to apply it very quickly, because it didn't take any effort to get even coverage. even better, it didn't have that tendency to bunch up and emphasize imperfections on the lid the way that a lot of frost shadows do. quite the opposite, in fact. it seems to make my lids look smoother.

the purple shade is a cool blackened violet base with a lot of cool purple shimmer.the base and the shimmer are really melded into one, although if you look, you can see that there are separate elements. this is the dirtier of the two shades, which makes sense since it's also the darker of them. the same comments i made of the gold shade formula apply to this one as well. and because both are so soft and creamy, they virtually blend themselves when worn together. the one tiny flaw i would note about the purple shade is that whereas the gold hung on flawlessly without creasing or fading for more than ten hours, the purple did start to fade at around the six or seven hour mark. it never creased, but by the end of the day, i would have described it as a dirty purple-grey shade, rather than the intense orchid i saw when first applied.

kauai purple
i mentioned earlier that the formula reminded me of mac's mega-metal eyeshadows and, interestingly, the shades put me in mind of a couple of them as well. the gold shade reminded me of "dalliance", which is lighter and less gold, although there is a similar greyness to both of them. [i believe they'd look amazing together now that i think of it.]

l to r :: kauai, mac dalliance [l.e.]
although i didn't swatch it, the shade reminded me of a tarted-up version of le metier de beauté "chameleon" as well. you certainly wouldn't mistake them, since "kauai" is so much glitzier, but there is something about the colours that seems to connect for me. again, i think they'd look nice paired together.

the purple shade called to mind mac "noir plum", which is lighter, cleaner, more purple but still in the same family.

l to r :: kauai, mac noir plum [l.e.]
because of the shimmer factor, this is really a duo that is meant for a night out rather than everyday wear. it is exceptionally eye-catching and, unless you go really light on the application, it's probably too dazzling for the office. but for evening- any evening- it's absolutely breathtaking.

which brings us to the only truly puzzling thing about it [to me]: why the heck is it called "kauai"?

seriously, there is nothing in this that speaks to me of a tropical paradise, with aquamarine oceans, chlorophyll-soaked greens and pure golden sunlight. i normally love nars' names and this one belongs with something, but not this eyeshadow duo. this duo requires a name worthy of its meretricious chops. "diamond dogs" or "get it on" to continue my earlier metaphor, would be great. but if you want to use a place name [and want to skip the obvious nod to las vegas], there are still a lot of great options. think overblown,glamourous but also faintly tacky... here are a few names i think would be much better:

ibiza [almost as obvious as vegas]
st.tropez
gstaad [the ski-and-be-seen haven in the swiss alps]
monaco

but that said, if you really want to, you can just make a label with a perfect name and apply it to your duo in the privacy of your own home. the important thing is that you get your hands on this little sequined wonder and let your inner glam queen out to play with it.

here's a look that i tried with it, obviously inspired by the shades used in the spring 2014 promo image [above], but a little more muted than what was done there.




the base ::
hourglass mineral veil primer
ysl teint touché éclat foundation "beige 10"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
nars smudge-proof eyeshadow base
nars light reflecting setting powder

the eyes ::
nars e/s duo "kauai" [dirty frosted gold and dark blue-purple]
mac e/s "dazzlelight" [neutral highlight]
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt" [black patent]
urban decay 24/7 e/l "rockstar" [shimmery eggplant]
ysl effet faux cils mascara "noir radical"

the cheeks ::
nars powder blush "torrid" [tawny peach]
hourglass ambient lighting powder "dim light" [champagne beige]

the lips ::
nars l/s "autumn leaves" [semi-opaque burnt orange]

"kauai" is available wherever nars is sold and has been made part of the permanent collection. pick it up whenever your jet-setting lifestyle allows.

Comments

I dithered over Kauai for ages before deciding against it, for precisely the reasons that make it glorious: it's a metallic glam-rock glitter bomb that's perfect in the abstract but would have little place in my everyday life. I love what you've done with it and how you write about it, though. You're right that its grimy, seedy side makes it even more appealing. All this talk of glam rock makes me wonder if you've ever seen one of my favorite movies, Velvet Goldmine...?

I think Ibiza would be a far better name for this duo, though Kauai sort of fits if you think of the gold as sand and the purple as water. That's a bit of a stretch, though.
Kate MacDonald said…
This is definitely one of those duos where, if you think it's going to be too much, you're probably right. There's no point in wearing makeup that's going to make you feel aware of it or uncomfortable.

Funny story with me and Velvet Goldmine: I missed it in theatres, but I was watching it on TV one time. When I mentioned to my bf that I hadn't seen it before, he made me stop watching, because he said that we should watch it on DVD, because it would look so much better. We have never watched the DVD. And I was really enjoying the movie!!! So, long way of saying that I've seen part of it only.

Actually, I think that you may have stumbled across the perfect name for the duo: Velvet Goldmine
Carly said…
Velvet goldmine would be the most perfect name!

the velvet reminds me of the velvet in old trophy boxes, and goldmine = the dirt in a dark mine mixed with raw gold
Kate MacDonald said…
Well I think it's official. We have to contact Mr. Nars and ask him to rename this.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

making faces :: i could maybe not buy this one thing

i've been into makeup on some level for a long time- much longer than i've been writing about it, for certain. even as a young woman, i loved the feeling of i got from applying a deep-hued lipstick and some mascara. it took years for me to figure out eyeshadow, and even longer for me to appreciate blush. but at this point, i think we can agree that i'm pretty much into the whole gamut. [except liquid and super-matte lipsticks, and most very sparkly eyeshadows. but that's because they're painful for me to wear.]

the thing about spending a long time collecting and holding onto just about everything is that you accumulate quite a stash. lately, i'm trying to force myself to think about what i already have before laying down money for something new. most recently, i found myself drawn to the modern renaissance palette from anastasia. me and a lot of people. by the time i started thinking about it, it was already sold out in my local sephora and online. i signed up…

when you want a great pair

i have finally come to the realisation that i might be trying to learn too many languages at once. that's not to say that i don't want to learn all the languages that exist in written form, but spreading myself across a dozen at one time doesn't allow for a lot of progress in any of them. therefore, while i'm still "checking in" with all of them, i'm trying to focus on a couple at a time. lately, that's been swedish and norwegian, because they are both grammatically similar to english [even if the swedish accent is very tough for me], which makes things progress faster. in general, i've been trying to pair similar languages because, while it can get a bit confusing, building the skill sets of both at once strengthens each of them. if you want more bang for your linguistic buck, 'pairing' like this can be quite helpful. here's a few suggestions for ones that i'd recommend:

swedish and norwegian :: they are so similar, it's easy …