NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer

When I cleared out my make-up stash a while ago, I noticed that while I have a good selection of concealers, they all come in a doe-foot applicator, liquid format.

What I was missing was a thicker, slightly drier concealer that would work well in covering blemishes and marks on the face. I considered getting the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, but have read multiple times that it is very dry and cakey.

Enter the Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer which appears to tick all the boxes. Thicker cream formula: check. High coverage: check. And while I do not love the fact that it comes in a pot, I have been loving reaching for this these past couple of weeks.

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Now, the color line-up is the same as the Radiant Creamy Concealer, but the shades tend to run a tiny bit darker. I picked up the same shade Vanille (Light 2) anyway, since I don’t use it as a brightening concealer as I do under the eyes. The color works well with my skin tone and blends into the rest of the face seamlessly.

The formula itself is lovely. Highly covering and not tacky without leaving the skin too dry and flaky, this is a unique blend of a long-wearing concealer that doesn’t accentuate texture or dry patches. However, I have been hesitant to use it under the eyes. As I said, it is not brightening at all and the drier texture makes me weary about using it on my dehydrated undereyes.

For now, I will stick to using this strictly as a face concealer and I have to say, it has been doing its job amazingly.

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Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Cruella

One thing that North American beauty retailers definitely have figured out much better than their European counterparts are deluxe samples. Chances are you get a cute little mini version of your favorite product rather than a flimsy sachet.

This is also how I got my hands on a mini Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, a beautiful dark and vampy red.

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The pencil glides on nice and comfortable without being too matte or drying on first application. I noticed as well that the formula is a bit more sheer than I anticipated, so with a first swipe, you can get a pretty and wearable stain that is very day-appropriate.

The color can also be built upon a little bit to work the color up to a more bold dark red. Seeing as it is a lighter formula though, it is not as long-lasting as other, thicker matte offerings.

I am really glad to have been able to try out a smaller version of the Nars Velvet Matte Pencils, especially since I didn’t love the Satin version as much. This however, is such an easy matte in a gorgeous color that I am sure I will pick up a full size sometime soon. Cruella is a beautiful shade that I’m sure I will get a lot of use out of, but let me know if there are any other colors I need to check out from the line.

Coral Lips for Summer

Even though the weather is miserable right now, summer is just around the corner and a failsafe way to inject a bit of warmth into the make-up routine is going coral on the lips.

I have a few picks that sit firmly in the coral category and are all very similar in tone, but formula-wise, I think there’s something here for everyone.

Coral Lips

Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in 18C – This one is a beautiful creamy pinky coral with great pigmentation. Since it is a lip pencil, it does dry out the lips slightly but it makes for an extremely long lasting option for summer and topped with a nourishing lipbalm (I like using Nuxe Reve de Miel for its matte finish), it isn’t too uncomfortable on the lips.

Nars Lodhi – Color-wise, this is almost an exact match for the MUFE pencil, but it is a lot creamier in formula. For my tastes, it even is too creamy, but it has a gorgeous satin finish on the lips. The pencil for makes it easy to touch up, which is definitely needed as it wears off kinda quick due to its soft formulation.

MAC Watch Me Simmer – This was a limited edition shade a few years back, but I thought I would still include it as MAC like to repromote popular items, which this certainly was. It is a touch more pink than the previous two colors and packs a lot of punch with its Amplified finish. It does have a slight sheen and sits comfortably on the lips, but make sure to carry the lipstick with you as this might need a little touch up after a while. It’s a gorgeous color though, so give it a shot when it comes out again.

Maybelline Color Elixir in Alluring Coral – I’ve talked about this one before, but for summer, this gloss is a winner. It’s nice and opaque, so you really get some color out of it, but the stain left behind after the gloss has worn down is what I actually love the most about this Maybelline number. While it is a true color, the stain pulls a bit more pink and just looks effortlessly pretty on the lips. Seeing as this is available at the drugstore, I would recommend this gloss (and the whole line) wholeheartedly, especially if you love a bit of shine.

2014 Favorites: Beauty

Happy Monday and welcome to Favorites Week! This week will be all about my top picks of 2014, from make-up to music to life stuff!

First up: Beauty and Skincare

2014 Beauty Favorites

2014 for me was the year of Nars and Hourglass. Since neither brand is readily available to me, I really took the plunge with some of the products I ordered and I haven’t been disappointed once. Both brands were featured in the Hero Products category, which goes to show how much I love their ranges.

For Nars, favorites have been the Tinted Moisturizer as well as the Pro Prime, which has been a staple since 2012(!). Pictured below is also my second tube of the Radiant Creamy Concealer, which is my go-to for under eye concealing (I use the shade ‘Vanilla’ btw).

Nars Favorites

Hourglass convinced with their Brow Arch Sculpting Pencil and the Ambient Lighting Palette, which are both absolutely stellar products that are worth the premium price tag.

Hourglass Favorites

I have talked about the Sephora Cream Lip Stains before and I still stand firmly by my love for them. If you are looking for long-lasting, pigmented and comfortable lip colors, look no further. I just wish they would add a few more brights to the existing collection.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain Favorites

A product I haven’t mentioned on here before, but one that has filled a gaping hole in my collection is the YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Foundation. Whenever I needed something more than the Nars Tinted Moisturizer, I reached for this and couldn’t have been happier about it. It is a glowy, skin-like formula with a medium coverage that manages to even out my skintone without making my make-up look heavy or fake.

YSL Teint Touche Eclat

And finally, the very luxe eyeshadow that has been gracing my lids more than any other product this year is the By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock. This little stick has really been worth its money, since it has transformed my eyeshadow game from laughably cack-handed to swipe and go perfection. If you want to splurge on one thing this year, I’d highly recommend you try this.

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Misty Rock Favorites

Another whole category that rocked my world were balm cleansers. Now these have been hyped up for the last couple of years, but they only came into my possession at the beginning of 2014. I’ve tried out a few, but the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm has come out on top without a question. Without any added scents or fussy ingredients, this is a failsafe cleanser for every skin type that I am itching to make part of my collection again.

An honorable mention also has to go to the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. Now I have only used this for the last few weeks of the year, but my skin gets ridiculously dry during fall and winter, so this one has been an amazing moisturizer to keep me from wanting to scratch my face off. Once again, it is as simple as can be – a clean feeling but highly moisturizing cream without an offensive small or any  outlandish claims.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

Hero Product #4: Nars Pro Prime

As the owner of a pair of exceptionally oily eyelids, a decent eyeshadow primer is high up on the list of my make-up staples.

Now, I don’t wear a full face of make-up or even eyeshadow every day, which is probably why this little tube of magical goodness has been going strong for over two years. I’m not sure if it really very hygienic to still be using the Nars Pro Prime Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow base after such a long time, but the product is amazing and not really readily available for me, so I’ll keep hanging onto this for as long as I can.

It is by far the best primer for eyes I have ever tried. In the past, I have tested a few drugstore alternatives as well as the famous Urban Decay Primer Potion but in my opinion, nothing even comes close to this. There is no creasing to my eyeshadow, even after several hours of wear, and the white base does not interfere with either color or finish of the shadow itself.

Nars Pro Prime

I wish I could say that the packaging is as fabulous as the product itself, but I’m afraid this is the one downfall of this primer. In my opinion, squeezy tubes are the way to go for primers and since Urban Decay has managed to rectify this with their Primer Potion, I am hoping that Nars will get on this bandwagon, too. I am dreading the day when the doe-foot applicator fails to reach the last drops of primer and I am left with patchy eye looks (this might be slightly over-dramatic but goes to show how much I do love this primer).

Nars Pro Prime 2

It might not be the fanciest of purchases to make at the Nars counter, but certainly one I wouldn’t want to miss in my routine.

Nars Tinted Moisturizer – Good Skin in a Tube

Ealier this year, when I finally managed the treck to a Nars counter, I took the opportunity to get matched for the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. Ever since then, I’ve hardly been able to put this tube of goodness down.

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While I initially thought that the color Alaska would be a good match for me, I found that, actually, the second lightest tone called Finland was perfect for my year-round pasty skin. According to the Nars website, there are 11 shades to choose from, ranging from an almost off-white to a dark mahogany color, so matching shouldn’t be a problem. However, since the coverage of this product is surprisingly high, I suggest to make sure the shade-match is as spot on as possible.

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In terms of finish, the product is wonderfully moisturizing and leaves a dewy sheen on the skin without looking sweaty. Applied with fingers (which I prefer over a brush in this case), it provides a nice, even base that – with a few dabs of concealer – makes for a perfect everyday foundation. The scent of this is also heavenly – creamy with a hint of citrus, it smells super fresh and clean. If you’re sensitive to scents, fear not, this is not one that lingers forever or is extremely overpowering.

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As you can tell from the swatch above, the shade I chose does pull very yellow in tone, but for my perpetually ruddy skin, this is actually a good thing. It evens out flushed patches nicely without looking thick or overly done up.

All in all, this one is definitely a winner and even though I thought that I would primarily using it in the summer, the Nars Tinted Moisturizer has been seeing me through this particularly moody fall very well.

Fall Edit: Blush

With fall fast approaching, I noticed a shift in the cheek products I was reaching for on a daily basis. Gone are the dewy cream formulas and bronzy, glistening shades. Instead, more earthy, warm tones have been on heavy rotation.

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Here are the four shades that have made the cut and will be seeing me through the colder months. Of course, I am a very fickle human being, so there might be some more shuffling around in my collection in the coming weeks, but for now, these products are doing me very well.

MAC Powder Blush in Peaches and Buff

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These two MAC shades have been in my stash for a long time and are staples that I come back to again and again. Peaches is, as the name suggests, a warm, matte, peachy orange that looks wonderful in conjunction with the residual summery freckles left on my cheeks.

Buff, on the other hand, is a beige-y reddish color that offers a more sculpting effect without having to bust out the heavy contours. I love this with bolder lipsticks, since it is a kind of nothing color that still provides definition but doesn’t clash.

Since both of these blushes are matte, I like to use a bit of highlighter on top to brighten up my skin. There are a few highlighting products I love, so a separate post might be in order

 

Bobbi Brown Blush in Nude Peach

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This cheek color sits somewhere in between the MAC blushes in tone and is my best bet for a subtle everyday blush. Brightening and beautifying, this is as pretty as blushes get. Again, this doesn’t clash with any eye or lip looks and provides a bit of warmth to my pale complexion.

 

NARS Blush and Bronzer Duo in Deep Throat/Laguna 

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Judging from the picture, I have busted this compact out mainly for its bronzer, which is a cult classic for a reason. But I am trying to make it a point to use Deep Throat more, since it is a beautiful color. A shimmery warm pink, this blush is great to perk up the face and bring a bit of light to it along with a pop of color. I think this will be a great option for the last of the warmer days of the year, so I am excited to use it more.

 

With the summery shades stashes away, I think this round-up will have me covered for any occasions this fall. It is, after all, my favorite season and I cannot wait for cozy knits, colorful leaves and dark lips.