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making faces :: quick peek [nars summer 2012]

it's getting hot in here...
whew. glad i remembered to do that bit on chanel's spring collection earlier, because it's time to start on the summer goods! since there have been snowflakes here this week, it does seem a little premature to be talking about bikini weather [and in my case, it also seems a little post-mature to talk about bikinis, but i digress]. nonetheless, summer is descending on us with the same insistent rhythm as the bits of hail that pelted my bedroom window the other afternoon and while i was strolling through the downtown core the other day [the part that's underground, since i didn't really want to face the wind chill outside], i got my first glimpse of the season's colourful harbingers.

in fact, some collections [hello guerlain] have been out for a while, but this is really the time when they start showing up in canada and i was excited chiefly because the nars offering for summer, which i've been anticipating more than any other, has arrived. of course, i expect i'll be going back to pick up a couple of items for my own personal stash at a later date, but here are a couple of pictures to whet the appetite and inspire the imagination.

i love nars collections because they always have a good offering of products without being overwhelming and because even the limited items tend to hand around long enough to allow one the time to reflect on whether or not you really need them. this one is no exception. there's a new shadow trio [limited, but likely to be available on line for some time after the season is finished], a new duo [permanent], a new blush [permanent], four varieties of lipstick [all of which are permanent, i believe] and one shell pink nail polish that is limited. [there is also a different nail polish collection which is already out in the states, but which hasn't surfaced here yet. or at least, hasn't shown up underground where i go.]

i'll apologise for the fact that i didn't grab a shot of the blush, but i will say that it's a sort of terracotta- orange shade that will look wonderful on darker and warmer complexions.

first up are the shadows, a trio of silver, platinum-gold and apricot called "ramatuelle". the quality seemed phenomenal on all three shades. the first two are very shimmery- metallic, really and a quick touch was enough to get a smooth swatch. the third, being more satin-matte was a little drier in texture, but yielded great colour all the same. two of the shades tend a bit warm, but i find that the silver "neutralises" them, meaning that pretty much anyone could wear these colours. they're not too dramatic, either, which means that they're a good choice for a season when you don't want to look overly "done".

top :: ramatuelle trio bottom :: marie-galante duo

the eye shadow duo, "marie-galante" is probably the item that's going to stir up the most debate. in fact, i haven't quite decided how i feel about it myself. the colours give me shivers- good ones- because they're so delicate and beautiful: a lavender-pink shade and an indigo blue, both suffused with shimmer. i was completely sold and then i tried to swatch them. the colour payoff is almost unbelievably sheer. it took a couple of layers to get the shade you see on my hand. the thing is, they do build fairly effectively- particularly the lighter shade- and it's obvious that this isn't a poorly made shadow, but a very different kind of formula.

unless you use a coloured base, you aren't going to get the sort of impact you do from regular shadows. these are made to provide a sheer, sparkly wash of colour- the kind of thing that will play in the light. they're not entirely dissimilar to bobbi brown's shimmer wash shadows, but the texture of the nars ones is exceptional. whereas most glittery shadows are dry and scratchy, these ones are as soft as the chiffon they resemble. they smooth onto skin and, although they are sheer, they apply very evenly. i suspect this duo will have a somewhat limited appeal, but those who love it will love it a lot.

for the lips, nars has rolled out a whole variety of colours and coverage choices. for fans of matte finishes, there's a cool pink velvet matte lip pencil called "never say never" and a strong, warm red called "moscow" in the pure matte formula. both colours are attractive and i like that there's a clear option for the person who prefers cool and warm shades. i did find that "never say never" tugged a little swatching it on my hand- more than other velvet matte lip pencils i've tried- which makes me think it runs a little dry. although matte lipsticks as a rule pack a lot of colour, both of these are muted enough that they'll be fine in everyday use.

t to b :: vendanges, never say never, moscow, buenos aires
for the ladies [or gents] who want something a little glossier, there is a new velvet gloss lip pencil in a nude beige-pink called "buenos aires" and a semi-sheer lipstick called "vendanges", a deeper brown with a rusty, plummy undertone. i can't even pretend to be neutral [haha] on these. "buenos aires" is nice, but it's far from distinctive and has the disadvantage of being a gloss you need to sharpen [which is both wasteful and kind of gross]. "vendanges" is just wonderful. it's a rich, warm colour, deep without being overwhelming for summer. it's the exact shade i want to be wearing as i'm looking at the sunset over the vineyards ["vendanges" means harvest- as in grapes] of my villa somewhere in the european countryside, after i win the lottery and have houses pretty much wherever i want. sigh. it will be a beautiful memory.

i know that some people have been bewildered by the mix of shades and finishes in this collection. i find, though, that it's very much in keeping with nars, who always seem to contrast the standard seasonal picks at the same time that they embrace them.

best bets :: ramatuelle trio, vendanges lipstick, marie-galante if you don't mind a product you have to work with a bit

meh :: buenos aires [you could get something just as nice that you don't have to grind up], marie-galante if you want something quick or bold

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