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making faces :: getting naked on my second date with nars

this man knows good skin :: spokes-model marcel nars
i have no idea why it took me so long to come around to this brand, i really don't. after all, there were people i trusted who recommended it. i'd heard nothing but rave reviews and some of their products were such cult favourites that i could tell you what they were despite the fact that i'd never tried them. then one evening, i just decided to take the plunge and i bought a couple of items. since that time, it's been a seemingly non-stop love fest. and now i find out that they have a whole line of skin care products that i didn't even know about.

the fact that i didn't know about them is surprising, because there's a link to them on the company web site, where you are magically whisked from the chic black of the cosmetic site to the pure, fresh white of the skin care section. then again, nars hasn't gone to great lengths to promote the line, which means that most of the people turning to their site are there to grab themselves a fresh orgasm and don't realise that they can also cleanse themselves at the same time. the skin care line isn't even available at all nars locations.

fortunately, it's now available in canada at nars counters in the bay and, to celebrate, adorable spokesperson marcel nars is inviting the public to give it a try.
 



ready to get radiant
now i already had a date with nars recently, where i had my makeup done by the lovely emilie, but this is quite different. this, after all, is about taking away the makeup and giving yourself a really good base from which to start. and so the little corner boutique at the door of the bay in downtown montreal was magically transformed into a miniature spa, where guests could stretch out on a table and get introduced to the various magical potions nars has in order to make your skin feel cleaner, fresher, softer, better.

the pedigree for nars skincare is solid: it's actually produced by shiseido, who are part of the same overall group and who have been known for years for their skin care. so that fact that nars isn't a name that's associated with groundbreaking skin care research should not make you hesitant to try them out. nor does it mean that these are just repackaged shiseido products. this is a different line, created specifically for nars.

as part of my "spa day", nars makeup artist corinne used a total of seven products, which is a great way to get acquainted with a product line in a hurry:

eye makeup remover
refrshing hydrating lotion
hydrating moisture cream
nourishing eye cream
mud mask
aqua gel hydrator
essential vitamin serum

now, the trick to trying out skin care products is that you can't tell a whole lot from a single usage, but i've tried enough and know enough to be able to make some broad judgments.

one of the first things that jumped out at me was that, while they weren't entirely scent-free, the products were certainly all very lightly scented. there was a faint citrus aroma that was a little stronger in the vitamin serum than in the other products, but even there, it was fairly delicate. this doesn't entirely surprise me,  because their cosmetics have almost no discernible scent, but i think that it also helps create the impression [augmented by their sleek white packaging] of a line that is pure, simple and austere.

the other thing that i noticed immediately about all the products is that they seem very light and refined. even the most hydrating products are not rich or heavy. whether or not that's to your liking is subjective- how well a product work has to do with what's in it and not how it feels. [some products have to be made with a certain texture to keep their elements stable, but that's a different chemistry lesson.]

getting info and making choices
of the products used, i have to say that my absolute favourite was the refreshing lotion. this was one instance where i could feel the benefit almost immediately, as if the impurities were being sloughed off my skin and i was left feeling frseh and moisturised. the nars web site refers to this product as having exfoliating properties, which would explain my reaction. i liked the fact that the gel-like texture meant that there was no residual greasiness and that my skin felt hydrated- as in plump with water- after application. i also liked the fact that there was none of the tingling sensation that accompanies many chemical exfoliants.

i think it speaks to the gentleness and neutrality of the line that after having seven products applied, my skin felt fresh and soothed. my skin can get irritable when i put on night cream without anything else, so that's a pretty remarkable accomplishment. the ph balance of the products has to be spot on for that to be possible.

although several of the products are recommended for dehydrated or dry skin [and i think they would probably be good everyday products], i think that those with serious dehydration and or dryness [not the same thing] would need something extra to get the moisture they need. it's also important to note that these products are geared towards the maintenance of healthy skin and not concerns about aging. you'll find products that help you moisturise and hydrate, cleanse, refine [seems to be their key word for exfoliation], etc., but there are no anti-wrinkle or line-correcting products. [note- taking care of your skin's basic needs will help with lines and wrinkles, but if these are already a concern, you'll need to look at including something else in your regimen.

for normal, mixed, slightly dry or oily [nars calls it "active"!] skin these seem flat-out perfect- no tightness, no greasiness, no heavy perfume, just skin that really does feel refreshed and radiant. i'll be trying out their makeup remover [since i'm still searching for my ultimate there, as you might remember] and their aqua gel hydrator [an interesting hybrid between a mask and a cream] to see how that first flush of romance holds up under closer scrutiny. 
my happy, healthy, unadorned post-facial face

price-wise, these definitely fall into the range of what i would term "prestige" products and, as is usual, the products get more expensive the more specialised they become. cleansers are $35-$36usd on the nars web site [i didn't get a complete price list in canadian dollars but be warned, nars is, sad to say, one of the worst offenders in the exchange gouging game], and specialised treatments [like the vitamin serum] fall more in the $70usd range.

once i was done, of course, corinne was nice enough to "touch up" my makeup [actually, give me a nice makeover] with some of the new products from the nars summer collection. and yes, some of those seemed to find their way into my bag as i left and i will have a more detailed review of the collection very shortly... but not now.

for now, i'm pretty to give the nars skin care line a solid, well-moisturised thumbs up.

available at select nars locations and online [in the united states only] at www.narscosmetics.com

thanks very much to dom for the photos!

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dreamspeak

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