Thursday, October 23, 2014

NARS Audacious Lipstick Collection (Jane, Dominique, Anita, Vanessa, Anna, Geraldine, Olivia, Leslie, Deborah, Sylvia, Barbara, Catherine, and Lana) | Video | Swatches | Demo | Review

*Visual Demo on "ChaiTimewithMeesha"*

My friend Megan gifted me the NARS Audacious lipstick in the shade Jane.  A few weeks back she and I were having lunch together at Bravo on a rainy afternoon and she asked me, "if you could have any lipstick today at this moment which one would it be?" I responded, without giving it a second thought, "NARS Audacious Jane." After lunch we walked into the mall to do some window-shopping and a return at Sephora.  Later on as we drove home, I asked her why she was asking me about lipsticks that I want as if she had a trick up her sleeve.  I reminded her not to buy anything from Sephora until the VIB sale.  She, being my twin, could no longer contain the surprise and told me that she bought the lipstick for me as a just-because gift.  In that moment I was fighting back tears of happiness.  I felt so overwhelmed and had no words to express how special her gesture made me feel.  I am no social butterfly and sometimes I feel really sad about being far from my few close friends, but I sure am lucky to have such a special place in their hearts.  Megan's gift was extremely thoughtful, genuine, self-less, and generous.  

When I first saw pictures of the new NARS Audacious lipsticks collection on the Temptalia blog, the only shade in the collection that drew my attention was Jane.  Although Jane may look like a very subdued or rather boring shade when considering the color depicted by the bullet, once applied it comes off bright.  By "bright" I do not mean to imply neon bright, but more vibrant, not dulled down by a heavy brown base.  I have heard other beauty bloggers, with a lighter skin-tone than mine, describe Jane as a terra-cotta shade, but I would not describe it as that.  In my opinion, Jane is a muted coral-orange with a extremely light wash of a warm rosy-brown base.  It is not at all deep or muddy or yellowish or rusty like terra-cotta.  If you are an admirer of the current orange lip color trend, but desire something less loud and clown-like and work-appropriate, then Jane is the shade for you.  This may sound very silly, but Jane from Drop Dead Diva needs to discover this shade.  I imagine it would be one she would like to rock, especially because it has her name.  Ah, wouldn't it be cool if one of the NARS Audacious lipsticks had your name as its name?  Then who needs a souvenir keychain or magnet with your name on it when you can get a lipstick!  Well, maybe some gentlemen would not appreciate this gesture.

Once I began seeing / reading several positive reviews of the NARS Audacious lipsticks, I added a few more shades to my wish-list, such as Barbara (brown-nude), Anita (rosy-pink nude), Vanessa (mauve-pink nude), Catherine (tangerine), Geraldine (orange), Charlotte (wine-red), and Deborah (reddish brown).  I am patiently awaiting the Sephora VIB sale in November to purchase the other shades.  

The NARS Audacious lipsticks cost $32 each, which comes close to the price point of brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL.  This price point is quite a bit higher than its other lip products, which cost about $25 per lip product.  The high price point comes as a surprise to consumers, who I suppose associate NARS as more of a mid-range high-end brand.  However, after trying a NARS Audacious lipstick myself and liking it more than any of the Chanel, Dior, and YSL lipsticks I own as well as observing that the quality of the NARS Audacious lipsticks far exceeds that of its older permanent lip product lines.  

The NARS Audacious lipsticks are available everywhere NARS is sold, like Sephora and Nordstrom.  There are a few shades (Dominique (dusty lilac), Vanessa (mauve-pink nude), Carmen (red) to name a few... ) that are exclusive to Barney's New York and NARS (stand-alone) stores.  I purchased Dominique last week, but am planning to return it because sadly this shade did not suit me at all.  

I say every lipstick wearer needs at least one NARS Audacious lipstick. Yes, needs! So, why does one need a NARS Audacious lipstick? This is the only lipstick amongst the lipsticks I own that I can assure you with extreme confidence that it is indeed a long-wearing lipstick, which is not a staining lipstick and will not kill the hydration in your lips.  This lipstick stayed on my lips through two solid meals and brushing my teeth before going to sleep at night.  In addition to its exceptional staying power, the pigmentation and formula are excellent as well.  There are no compromises here!  You are not compromising opaque color or staying power for a comfortable formula.  The NARS Audacious lipsticks provide it all.  The formula is the perfect amount of creamy and not overly emollient, making the application smooth, yet not slippery.  One does not need to apply more than a single swipe for full color impact.  

Overall, I am so pleased by the quality NARS Audacious lipsticks.  Their new and superb formula has influenced the quality I desire from lip products, making me even more of a lipstick snob than I already am.  NARS Audacious lipsticks are feel creamy during and after application applied, yet set to a comfortable semi-matte finish.  Lastly, these lipsticks provide rich pigmentation and excellent staying-power without actually staining your lips.  So, the product comes off easily without requiring you to scrub your lips harshly.

I highly recommend Jane as this shade would flatter so many skin tones.  Dominique on the other hand is an acquired taste.  Thus far no one amongst my confidants, mom, Mr. Beau, and one of my close friends (Alexandria - you know I'm talking about you), has liked the appearance of Dominique on me.  Of course I did not want to experiment with it too much because sadly at first glance I decided to send it back.  I have heard that Anna is a wearable version of Dominique, so I plan to purchase that shade in the future.  Update: I have decided to keep Dominique.  Something about it has drawn me from the beginning and I ultimately decided to keep it because it is a truly unique shade to my collection. Yes, that is how amazing these lipsticks are!  Thanks to Megan for the vote of confidence to rock this shade.


I hope this post was informative and helpful. Your friendly comments are much appreciated.  Come back soon. Please follow, like, share, connect, and subscribe. Thank you!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

MAC The Matte Lip Collection (2014)

MAC Cosmetics released The Matte Lip Collection today, October 9th, in stores.  MAC collections are usually available for sale online a few days before the collections are sold in stores.  I wanted to share my thoughts on this collection as soon as I could because MAC limited-edition collections do tend to sell out within the first few hours of their release.  I  am truly impressed by this collection and given that this collection will be available for a limited period of time, I want to convey to my readers  my eagerness for them to try at least one item from this collection for themselves.  

The Matte Lip Collection includes eight matte finish lipsticks, three blushes, and six lip pencils.  I selected five of the eight lipsticks, all of which I recommend, and one of the blushes.  Don't the products look delicious in the pictures below?  At first, I could not bring myself to swatch the items because they looked so fresh, clean, beautiful, and colorful.  

Initially, I had only planned to purchase Styled in Sepia, Pander Me, and Make You Mine, which is what happened during my first trip to Macy's in the morning.  However, I returned a few hours later and purchased Damn Glamorous, La Vie En Rouge, and Nouvelle Vogue.  

The lipsticks applied smoothly and did not feel dry like some of the permanent MAC matte lipstick formula and of course not at all like the "retro-matte" lipsticks, which were released last year.  The magical feature of these lipsticks is that they appear matte without looking dry.  I find that such an effect is very difficult to achieve with most matte lip products.  

Styled in Sepia is a conversation piece.  I am in love with it.  Of course my Mr. Beau dislikes it very much.  He thinks it makes me look depressed.  I beg to differ.  It is bold, but I feel I am comfortable to carry it on with confidence.  Although Styled in Sepia might seem very unique to western consumers, it is a commonly worn shade by Southeast Asian and Indian women.  As I have mentioned before, the lipsticks that fit into the brown category have been popular in the Indian market ever since I can remember.  Styled in Sepia looks like an intimidating, perhaps even hideous, shade, but I highly recommend you try it out.  You may surprise yourself.  It is perfect for the Fall / Autumn season.  If you can only purchase one item from this collection, then I highly recommend this particular shade.  

Damn Glamorous and La Vie En Rouge are similar so you might not want to invest in both.  So perhaps purchasing both was a bit excessive.  Well, my Mr. Beau seems to think so.  He was unable to tell the difference between these two shades.  I believe the formula really swayed me. Both are cool-toned, blue-toned reds.  Damn Glamorous has a magenta base, while La Vie En Rouge has a coral-pink base.  Need a fun bright red for Christmas?  I recommend one of these two.  If you are currently liking the neon trend, then opt for La Vie En Rouge.  Damn Glamorous is a tad bit deeper, more for the raspberry or berry lip color fans.  Pander Me is a peachy light brown shade; an ideal nude for deeper skin tones like mine.  Nouvelle Vogue is a cool-toned or blue-toned medium pink.  Some describe it as a deep mauve-pink, but on me it appears quite bright as you can see in the picture below.  

In the pictures below I have worn each one of the lipsticks paired with the Make You Mine blush.  
MAC Pro Longwear Blush in the shade Make You Mine 

Other items, apparel, and accessories that are shown in the photographs were purchased at the following stores: 
Eyeliner - MAC Fluidline Gel Liner in Blacktrack 
Sweaters - SO and Vera Wang Princess @ Kohl's 
Earrings - Sterling Silver Tiffany-Ball Studs @ Kohl's, Antique Gold Crystal @ J. Crew 

I hope this post was informative and helpful. Your friendly comments are much appreciated.  Come back soon. Please follow, like, share, connect, and subscribe. Thank you!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bobbi Brown 'Smokey Nudes' Creamy Matte Lip Colors: Soft Nude and Nude

A few months ago, I noticed a new collection by Bobbi Brown of four new creamy matte lip colors called the 'Smokey Nudes' collection on Nordstrom's website.  I am not sure whether this collection is a Summer or Fall limited edition release.  Also, I am not sure if this collection is limited edition or a permanent addition.  I saw this collection posted up on Nordstrom about two months back and I do check the website periodically to look for new lip color releases.  

I have always been drawn to the Bobbi Brown brand.  I believe I like the packaging and shade range.  Obviously, I will not purchase a product solely because its packaging is appealing to me.  However, despite several dissatisfying past experience, I was still eager to try this new collection.  This collection caught my attention specifically because it consisted of neutral, yet deep shades, which I presumed would suit women of color like myself.  I cannot wear a majority of the popular nude or pinky-nude lip colors in the market because of my more pigmented lips and deeper skin-tone.  The majority of beauty bloggers I follow are fair-skinned and can wear the popular, cult-favorite shades.   

Being a lip product "junkie" (dislike that word, but it seemed fitting here), I want to experiment with almost every shade out there.  I have come to terms with the fact that the nude lipsticks designed for fair skin-tones will not suit me.   However, I am still not satisfied with the availability of nude lip colors for women of color in the mainstream market.  What especially irks me is this new Kylie Jenner or 90s lip trend?  I have been wearing these sort of mauve-pink-brown shade since I began wearing lip colors five years ago.  Before the dawn of this trend, these sort of shades were considered the "grandma shades" or "mom shades" or boring or "work-appropriate."  Now because Kylie Jenner wore such a shade, she, unbeknownst to her, created a marketing scheme and cult-favorite.  

The 'Smokey Nudes' collection consists of shades that are right on point with the Kylie Jenner or 90s lip trend.  I believe the 90s lip trend was brown lip colors, as in straight up chocolate brown, sometimes mixed with mauve or red undertones.  I cannot be too certain of the trend because I was just born then and a little tyke for most of that decade.  My aunt still rocks the 90s brown lipsticks. In fact, it still appears to be one of the go to lipstick shades for the women in India, especially with a bit of icy frost added to it.  Yuck, I hate frost or shimmer in my lipsticks.  I cannot even tolerate the most subtle hint of frost or shimmer.  Kylie Jenner has altered the 90s lip trend by wearing a gradient of light to deeper mauve-pink-brown shades.  Coincidentally, new lip product releases have reflected this resurrection of an old beauty trend (Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in Glace, Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color in Touch of Spice, NARS Audacious Lipsticks in Barbara, Anna, and Deborah --> just to name a few of these new cult-favorites).  As a side-note, these new NARS Audacious Lipsticks are next on my Wish List.  I have only heard reviews proclaiming the excellence of these lipsticks, so I cannot wait for the Sephora VIB sale in November to purchase quite a few of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks. 

Well, let us get on with the review.  After hearing about the superior quality of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks, I almost feel like discouraging you from purchasing these Bobbi Brown lip colors, but that would be an unfair judgment on my part as I have not tried the NARS lipsticks myself.  I can advise you to test out both brands in the store, before making your investment in one over the other or compare my review of the Bobbi Brown lipsticks with someone else's review of the NARS lipsticks.  

My first gripe with the Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Colors is that they are dry and need to be worn with a lip balm underneath.  They are not as uncomfortable as MAC's matte lipsticks, but they are not as comfortable as Bite Beauty's matte creme lip crayons either.  As demonstrated in one of the pictures below, each and every crevice or line in your lips will show.  The formula is not at all a creamy matte.  Rather, it is a true-matte, but not entirely unbearable like a stain, such as the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lip Colors.  I cannot tolerate most matte lip products even with a lip balm worn underneath, but I was able to wear these Bobbi Brown shades without feeling complete discomfort.  My issue with the formula of these two lipsticks is not so much the feel, but the dry appearance.  Both lipsticks applied smoothly and when I pressed my lips together, the product felt smooth (not emollient, just smooth).  While applying, I felt no tugging or friction with the lips.  In a nutshell, I suppose I just do not like the true-matte look, especially with light or neutral shades.  

Color-wise, I liked both the shades.  Of course I was expecting Soft Nude to look on my lips as it does on my hand - a brown with something mixed in.  Instead, it looks like a rosy pink-nude. Next, Nude is not very different from Soft Nude.  Only a beauty enthusiast would notice the difference, so it might not be necessary to get both.  I prefer Soft Nude over Nude.  According to my fiancĂ©, Nude looks like the chalkier version of Soft Nude.  By chalky he means that the shade has a gray or white cast to it, which I feel dulls my complexion and teeth color.  In my amateur makeup experience, I have observed that the gray or white undertone in lip colors seems to have a counter-brightening effect.  The names of the four shades in this collection is deceiving.  I only have two to show you.  For example, the swatches I have seen online demonstrate that warn nude (not reviewed here) is a lighter shade than soft nude (reviewed here).  I am still unsure whether I will be keeping or returning Nude.  Mr. Beau completely dislikes it and wants it to go back ASAP!  

Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Colors cost $26 each.  I find this price point to be high for the quality of the product.  It is not an ideal product.  Again, I shall reference the wisdom of my Mr. Beau, who believes that I should not invest a lot of money in a product that I have to put in additional effort to make it work, such as a lip balm or gloss or another lipstick.  It is so underwhelming to talk about disappointing products even though my reviews of sub-par products seem to be lengthier than products I absolutely love.  Fortunately, I used a $40 Nordstrom note towards the purchase of these two lipsticks.  I cannot say that the note justifies buying sub-par expensive products though because Mr. Beau received the note after he purchased almost a year's worth of formal business clothes.  Sadly, you need to accumulate a lot of points from your purchases before you receive these notes.  Other than these notes and an occasional 10% off of select beauty products, Nordstrom does not have any special sales on beauty or give out any coupons that can be used on beauty products (like Sephora's VIB Sale or ULTA 20% off high-end products coupon).  Ebates (a website too good to be true and I am curious to learn about its business semantics) occasionally has 3%, 6%, or 10% cash-back on Nordstrom purchases.  All you have to do is start a virtual shopping trip to Nordstrom's website via the Ebates website and of course create your account.  

(Soft Nude on your left and Nude on your right, with Fresh Sugar Lip Balm underneath) 

(Nude, with no Fresh Sugar Lip Balm underneath) 

(Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Nude)

(Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Nude) 

I hope this post was informative and helpful. Your friendly comments are much appreciated.  Come back soon. Please follow, like, share, connect, and subscribe. Thank you!