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making faces :: spring splendour

this is not the blog post you should be reading. i wrote a much better one that tied together five thousand years of history, my thoughts on surviving the isolation of a long and consistently frigid winter, the beauty of nars and the annual reawakening of hope in our hearts with the turning of our tiny blue marble back towards the sun.

unfortunately, my pulitzer-worthy opus turned out to be useless, because it was, at its core, a review of nars' new eye shadow duo from their spring collection and the whole thing hinged on it being called "dolomites". but it's not called "dolomites", because that was the name of the beautiful duo they released with their fall 2014 collection. the one i'm reviewing right now is called "st. paul de vence".

like a lot of nars products, it's inspired by a beautiful locale in the south of france, not far from nice. it's a tiny village of only about three thousand inhabitants, but it's been around since medieval times and some of its inhabitants have been pretty high profile. for instance, marc chagall lived there, and was inspired to paint the piece you see above, entitled "sun over saint-paul de vence".

the eye shadow palette that takes its name actually shares some tones with the chagall painting, being a combination of shimmery peach and orange-brown, like his sun-drenched sky. i think that part of my confusion with "dolomites" came from the fact that they are, in some ways, fairly similar. the colours are different, but the textures and finishes of the shades is similar. it's like "st. paul de vence" is "dolomites'" lighter, cheerier cousin.

the first [left side] shade is a shimmery warm peach. it has plenty of colour, but the shimmer reflects light in such a way as to make it seem a little paler on the eye. i love shimmery nars shades for the same reason that i love shimmery rouge bunny rouge shades: neither one of them does that evil "crêpe-y" thing, where all of the flaws of one's eyelid skin are intensified. instead, this gives a very smooth, even look with a  lustrous sheen.

saint paul de vence #1

because this colour is deeper, it doesn't match up with icier peach shades like chanel "complice" or le metier de beauté "nouvelle". the most similar shade i had in my collection was mac "paradisco", which is a good deal pinker.

l to r :: mac paradisco, saint paul de vence #1

the second [right side] shade is an orange brown. brown is supposedly the colour that orange becomes as it darkens and i would say that this colour is right at the point where one turns into the other, because it can look either orange or brown, depending on what it's next to. next to the lighter shade in "saint paul de vence", it looks more like a light, very warm reddened brown.

it's a matte shade, which can be a bit touch and go with nars. some of their mattes are nice, while others tend to be overly powdery and sheer out or fade easily. i would rate this one as very good. i think that you could make it quite sheer if you wanted to, but i had no trouble getting it to maintain its pigment with what i'd consider a "normal" amount of blending. [note :: when i swatched the colour on my arm, i noticed that it isn't completely matte. rather, it has a soft pearly sheen. however, on the eye, unless you're really going to apply it intensely- power to you- it will appear matte.]

saint paul de vence #2

i'm kind of flummoxed that i have nothing that's even particularly close to this colour already. surely a matte brown can't be that difficult to duplicate? yes, it bloody well can. the closest shades that i could find were urban decay "buck", which is much deeper and cooler. the russet-brown shade in guerlain "turandot" is deeper and redder. [although i didn't swatch it, the same would go for the terracotta shade in guerlain "les fauves".]

l to r :: urban decay buck, saint paul de vence #2, turandot [l.e.]

combined, the two are magical. you can see both in use in my earlier review of "vivien" audacious lipstick. or, you can see the look i've posted below. in the "vivien" review, i've done the standard application style of using the left shade on the inside and the right shade on the outside/ in the crease. below, i used the right shade all over the lid and the applied the left shade in an arc going from the inner angle of the eye outward along the brow bone, getting softer and more diffused as i went.

my one caveat about this combination is that it isn't going to work for everyone. in fact, there are a lot of people it may well not work for. to start, it's a warm combination, so ladies with very cool complexions won't warm [yuk yuk yuk] to "saint paul de vence". second, it's very orange-y, which can look muddy on some complexions, or clash with deeper, cooler brown eyes. finally, on very dark skin, i don't think that the deeper colour will work terribly well. so after all that, who can wear this palette? well, anyone in the light to medium-deep complexion range, with at least a hint of warmth in them. but above all, people with blue eyes. seriously, this combination is electrifying against blue eyes, enough that i'd almost consider it necessary. ok, no eye makeup can truly be necessary, but if there was such a thing, all people with neutral through warm skin tone and blue eyes would be required to own this. it's just that amazing. i believe it's a permanent addition to the nars collection, but i'm not 100% sure of that. sincerest apologies.

now that we've cleared that up, here is the duo in action!


products used

the base ::
nars luminous weightless foundation "mont blanc"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
mac paint pot "painterly" [eye shadow base]

the eyes ::
nars e/s duo "saint paul de vence" [warm shimmery peach, soft chestnut brown]
inglot e/s "351" [matte ivory highlight]
guerlain e/s palette "liu" [highlight shade]*
urban decay 24/7 e/l "perversion" [blackest ever black]
dior new look mascara

the cheeks ::
guerlain rose aux joues blush "chic pink" [light shimmery pink/ soft warm pink]
hourglass ambient lighting powder "diffused light" [yellow-tinged white]

the lips ::
mac amplified crème l/e "petals and peacocks" [bold cool magenta]*

*suggested alternates :: liu highlight = mac nylon [yellower] or armani gold ashes; petals and peacocks = nars sylvia

so while spring might seem as far away as the glorious côte d'azur right now [well, unless you're in southern france], take a deep breath and remember that better meteorological things are coming and that until they arrive, nars is sending us a little bit of mediterranean sunshine to tide us over. 


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


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: soft touch

ah winter, how my lips hate you. it's too bad, really, because the rest of me likes winter, down to about -12 or so. but there's no arguing that i get dried out. nuxe rêve de miel is my super best friend at this time of year, even more so than otherwise. [i gave bite's agave lip mask a try only to find out i'm allergic to something in it.] but our [still] new apartment is somewhat drier than the old one [electric vs hot water heating], which meant that, for a long stretch, virtually every kind of lipstick was uncomfortable. the horror. [i wrote a post a while back about the formulas that are friendliest to chapped lips.]

faced with this dilemma, i decided to try something not exactly new, but [for me], out of the ordinary: being a gloss girl. now, i don't mind glosses. i buy them from time to time, and i used to buy more until i discovered that i just wasn't using them near enough to justify the continued purchases. my issues with glosses are that they feather…

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…