Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NARS Sheer Lipstick in Flamenco

I don't know why I ignored NARS lipsticks for so long, but this past summer I started buying them again, and am I glad!  

NARS Flamenco ($24) comes in the sheer formula, and even though NARS makes gorgeous shades in semi-matte, satin, and shimmer formulations, I prefer sheer because it feels like treatment and isn't  drying at all. But what I most love about his sheers is how I can buy a bold-looking red, like Flamenco (or bright coral-watermelon, like Manhunt) and it manages to stay natural looking, letting my own lip pigment show through. The texture is soft and silky, and when it wears off it leaves behind a light cherry stain.

NARS is quite good at describing colors, and Flamenco is no different. Described as sheer candy apple red, I see a cool-neutral blue red that does not turn fuchsia on my lips. The photo on the NARS web site makes Flamenco look a little warmer than it is.

 Aside from the yucky plastic smell of the packaging, this lipstick is unscented and contains no shimmer, just a clear, sheer red shine. Flamenco is great for day or evening, all year round.

Swatched on NW15 skin in natural light near a window:

On my mauvish lips:

Swatched on white tissue paper to remove any undertones:

And here's Flamenco compared to some NARS rose/reds and my other favorite red lipstick, Laura Mercier Gel Lip Colour in Sweet Cherry:

Bottom line:  A super pretty, comfortable red that I wear often.

All photos mine, except for the first one

Monday, November 14, 2011

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil Baroque

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24) in Baroque is described as "raspberry sorbet," and I'd say that's a good description, as it's a little more blue than my cherry red lip products. Baroque contains silver microshimmers.

For some reason I couldn't capture a good closeup, so I have included a picture from the NARS web site.

The pencils are thick but short, about four inches long, so they are easy to carry. There's 0.09 ounces of product inside the casing, so these won't be the longest lasting, but the texture really is superb. I have always liked NARS lip color offerings, but some of his lipsticks are really drying so I have stuck with the sheer formula lipsticks. The Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil was a welcome addition. It goes on glossy, smooth, and shiny and feels very lightweight. One application lasts 3 hours on me and fades from the center of my mouth outward. Baroque leaves behind a berry stain.

Because the formula is so soft, consider buying a dedicated NARS sharpener. I already had one for my NARS Glitter Pencil, but I wouldn't recommend sharing the shapener between NARS' fat pencils because the Gloss stick leaves behind some glossy goo. It would have been nice if they'd included a sharpener. I'd happily have paid an extra dollar for the convenience. Resharpening was necessary after 4-5 uses, which comes out to about once a day.

I thought Baroque was similar to some other NARS red lip products, so I swatched them. As it turns out Baroque is more blue than Flamenco and Bad Education, as well as Laura Mercier Sweet Cherry.

The Velvet Gloss formula contains moisture-rich hyaluronic spheres, which can help lips appear more full. I think it made my bottom lip look quite fat, indeed. I didn't notice the NARS-typical burnt-plastic smell when I applied Baroque, but I did notice it when I sharpened the pencil, so I suspect the stench is off gassing from the plastic casings.

Baroque is a sheer look on me, not dramatic, but my lips are already somewhat pigmented. Here you can see the cool raspberry color without any underlying pigment getting in the way.

Bottom line: A lovely lip gloss for a gloss haters like me, but I find having to sharpen it gimmicky and wasteful

All photos mine except for the two with the narscosmetics.com watermark.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Becca Fine Pressed Powder - Bisque

Becca Cosmetics Fine Pressed Powder ($42) is packaged in a flip-top, rubberized compact with a full-sized mirror. Unlike most compacts, this one comes with a plush, zippered case that holds both the compact and the puff. It feels like nylon, and it's brown, just like all of Becca packaging.(10g/0.35 oz.)

I purchased the color Bisque, which Becca recommends for light to fair complexions with pink undertones. Although the powder is slightly tinted, it is sheer and applies that way, but maybe that's because my skin is already rather pink. If you have yellow undertones, this might actually appear pink on the skin. This powder is not intended to be a foundation powder.

I tried to get a picture of the "color" swatched on the back of my hand, but Bisque is such an excellent match for my skin tone, it disappeared and refused to be captured on film.

The texture is very finely (micro) milled and contains modified rice starch, even though talc is the first ingredient listed. Upon first application, it appears matte, but within the hour, it behaves like a mineral powder where it conceals excess shine but still allows my natural glow to come through, so it's not mattifying (deadening) to the skin, which can be terribly aging. I found that I could apply it as often as I needed to, and it did not appear cakey, nor did it make my skin itch.

I roll and press carefully with a velour puff and then I flick off any excess with a big fluffy brush. I never apply face powder with a brush unless I am using the sides of the bristles to push the color into my pores or I am using a flat-topped kabuki.

Becca Fine Pressed Powder - Bisque is available in the following colors:
  • Eggshell: yellow/very fair to fair
  • Bisque: pink/very fair to fair
  • Sesame: yellow/fair to medium
  • Ginger: pink/medium
  • Wheat: yellow/light tan
  • Mocha: neutral/tan
  • Spice: yellow/tan
  • Cardamom: neutral/golden to dark brown
  • Clove: neutral/warm brown
  • Carob: neutral-warm/deep brown chocolate
  • Nutmeg: neutral/deep brown chocolate
  • Cocoa: neutral/dark bronze
Something for everyone, for sure.

Bottom line: Excellent pressed powder for touch-ups during the day.

Ingredients: Talc, dimethyl imazolidinone, mica, silica, aqua, magnesium myristate, propylene glycol, octyldodecanol, isopropyl myristate, glyceryl stearate, peg-150, quaternium-26, ricinus communis, glyceryl ricinoleate, carnauba, candelilla cera, cera microcristallina, cetyl alcohol, cera alba, paraffinum liquidum, cetearyl alcohol, sodium cetearyl sulfate, stearic acid, tetrahydroxypropyl, ethylenediamine, methylparaben, methylidbromo, glutaronitrile, phenoxyethanol, fragrance.