I'm pretty sure Elle Woods would approve of the NARS spring 2014 collection... because the entire theme is pink.
But instead of the fuchsia pink that's been big for the last few years, I was intrigued by this collection's use of cherry blossom, tea rose and lavender pinks, along with a couple of peach corals. Don't they sound so pretty? It used to be hard to find these types of shades, which are more medium-toned (instead of how hot pinks read darker and closer to red). But they also pop really well on your skin/lips—so I think they're going to be a huge trend.
Since I loved the sound of this range, and I haven't reviewed anything from NARS in ages, I requested a few samples to test out. I received two out of the four powder Blushes, two out of the four Satin Lip Pencils and the Illuminator. Here's what I think would be worth buying...
I was instantly drawn to this cherry blossom pink blush; it's a bright pop of cool-toned colour that you don't usually see in powder blushes. It reminds me a lot of Illamasqua Powder Blusher in Hussy (bright petal pink), but with a bit less warmth.
Here are the two shades swatched:
So I liked both. But I liked New Attitude (the pink one) the best. You might think it would be too bright, but to get this much pigment for the photo, I actually had to use two or three times as much product as Final Cut. So it's not one of those bright pinks that deposits a ton of colour with your brush—you absolutely have to layer to build up more intensity. (This is different to Illamasqua's Hussy, which I find hard to use since it's so easy to look like a clown in one swipe.) I thought this was such a pretty, unique, face-brightening pink.
Final Cut, on the other hand, gives you more intensity right away. I was also a bit surprised that it looked more orange on skin than it did in the compact. However, it's a nice shade if you like warmer-toned blushes. With my colouring, I only liked it with a very light application to get a soft, neutral flush. It didn't look good on me to go as bold as I did with the pink one.
The other blush colours that I didn't receive are Sex Fantasy (pale lavender pink) and Love (tea rose). The latter looks a bit dark/brown for my colouring, so it wouldn't be my first choice. Sex Fantasy sounds similar to the orchid pinks we've been seeing, like Benefit Lollitint (that I reviewed here).
The Satin Lip Pencils give you a lot of pigment in a chubby pencil format, with a stain (not matte nor glossy) finish. Villa Lante is a cherry blossom pink, to match the New Attitude Blush. In real life, it looks less hot pink than it does in this photo (but don't worry, I also swatched).
Here are the two shades swatched, so you can see the colour comparison:
Here is Villa Lante on my lips:
I adore this Barbie pink colour, but felt a little let down by how it settled into the creases of my lips. (Which are a bit dry, yes, but not terribly so.) Patting your lips with your index finger helps spread it out a bit, and I discovered another trick for using these pencils: you have to give them a minute or two to "settle in." Seriously, do that and then pat, and you'll be much happier with the performance/coverage. It's not 100 percent perfect, but that trade-off may be worth it for this amazing colour.
Here's Torres del Paine:
This colour didn't stick in the creases as badly, and it smoothed out even better after patting my lips with a fingertip. I found the peachy shade really unique, since most peaches are quite sheer and this is fairly opaque. (Although I do think your underlying lip colour affects it a bit; my lips are naturally quite pigmented so that cut down some of the orange.) This is a great colour for when you want something neutral, but not as boring as a nude or a clear gloss. It kind of wakes up your whole face.
I should also note that the feel of these pencils is quite greasy when you first apply them, but they dry down within a minute or two into something less slick but still soft and moisturizing.
NARS Illuminators are meant to be multi-purpose, for wearing alone on skin or mixed with makeup. Adelaide is a shimmering lavender pink which is cool in tone. (It corresponds with the blush Sex Fantasy and the lip pencil Stourhead.)
Here's what it looks like on skin:
Yep, you can definitely see the pink in it, along with a ton of shimmer. I have no idea where I'd use this. It's got way too much shimmer to be mixed into a foundation, unless you want to look like a disco ball with glitter all over your face. I'm also not a fan of shimmery blushes, so I don't like this for the cheeks, either. It also doesn't work as a highlighter, since it's not giving you a natural highlight, just sparkle. The only place I can think of for this is the decolleté, but even there it's kinda... weird. I give this one a pass.
The bottom line
Of what I tried, my picks are the New Attitude Blush (pink) and the Torres del Paine Satin Lip Pencil (peach). Villa Lante (pink) is nice on lips, too—just know that you'll need to work with it a bit to deal with the coverage issues.
Let me know what you think?
Where to buy
In Canada, this collection is available exclusively at Holt Renfrew.
Have your say
Have you checked out this collection yet?
Which products do you like best?
Know of any dupes for these shades?