If someone asked me to nominate my favourite brand of makeup, without hesitation I'd say NARS. There really isn't much I've tried from the brand that I've actively disliked or been disappointed by. It has such a strong presence and offering across its product spectrum that even if I were restricted to just one brand for life, I'd be more than content with NARS. Like a dutiful spouse that you rely on day-to-day but don't take the time to express your appreciation for enough, allow me now to spell out my love.
I've always found the main barrier to having an extensive NARS eyeshadow collection to be the cost. I'd rather buy an Urban Decay Naked palette for $60-$80 (sideeyeing online prices for Naked3) than a single eyeshadow (retailing for $45 here in Australia) or duo ($55, cray I know). Hence the only eyeshadows I've tried from the brand have been from the And God Created the Woman Eye Palette which I hunted down with possessed fervour last year. From my limited experience with NARS eyeshadows, their formulas tend to be on the dry, compacted side rather than soft and super pigmented like say, the LORAC Pro Palette. Still, they're solid in colour payoff and apply smoothly and evenly. Major brownie points for how beautifully curated the shades in And God Created the Woman are.
A sample of the Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base came with the eyeshadow palette, so I was curious to test out for myself the eye primer favoured by Lisa Eldridge and Ingrid of missglamorazzi. I don't really use primers for my eyeshadow anymore (mainly due to laziness), but this one seems like it would be extremely effective on oily lids. Since my lids are more on the opposite end of the spectrum, Pro-Prime isn't something I reach for very often. I also prefer to use a neutral, light cream eyeshadow for my base rather than a dedicated eye primer.
For years, I'd heard raves about Laguna, but wasn't sure if the hype was justified. After all, how good could a bronzer really be in comparison to the multitude of others out there? Turns out really, really good. Laguna is probably my favourite bronzer, and I have both Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel and Benefit Hoola. I just can't pinpoint any aspect of it that I'm unhappy with, including the colour, texture, ease of application and effect it gives to the face.
I've not tried too many lip offerings from NARS, but the two Satin Lip Pencils I own (Yu and Biscayne Park) have impressed. While I'm not overly thrilled with the actual shades I picked out (I'm thinking it was potentially a mistake to have passed on Lodhi), the darn good formula makes it hard to complain. Ridiculously pigmented with just one swipe and melt-upon-contact with the lips, the only minor issues I have are that they can feel slightly drying after a while and sharpening is annoying.
NARS Sheer Glow is hands down, my favourite foundation. If your skin is misbehaving and drier than normal, it can sometimes highlight all your flaky areas, but on properly moisturised and exfoliated skin, simply nothing compares in terms of finish, coverage and lasting power/adherence to the skin. This is the only foundation I'm certain I will repurchase when I run out.
The Radiant Creamy Concealer is the newest addition to my NARS family, but I was an instant convert. This does everything you want a good concealer to do: erase blemishes, neutralise areas of redness and generally perfect the canvas of the skin to fake being blessed with good genes. It's a breeze to apply with fingers and the product sticks to the skin and doesn't transfer or fade away within a couple of hours.
Probably what NARS is best known for, and for good reason. I have reviewed each and every blush in my stash: Orgasm, Deep Throat, Sin, Douceur, Enchanted, Luster and Angelika. With the exception of the chunky glitter highlighter Enchanted which I could probably live without, I treasure my mini NARS blush collection. Sure, Sin is at times borderline unwearable for me and Angelika isn't the most flattering on my skin tone, but Orgasm is such a cult classic, Douceur is face sculpting gold, and Luster is a faultlessly concocted bronzer-and-blush-in-one that does it all with next to no effort.
What's next on my NARS wishlist? I feel like I need the Kalahari eyeshadow duo in my life because the left shade which is in the And God Created the Woman palette (despite its somewhat crumbly texture) is living, breathing perfection. I tried the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square a few months ago and became convinced it was my Revlon Strawberry Suede substitute. I have a feeling the NARS lipstick formula might be a tad drying for me, but Dolce Vita is such a classic, ultra wearable shade that there's not much room to go wrong. And I'm still all about that beautifully highlighted glow. NARS Albatross will graduate from being on my perennial wishlist to being in my actual makeup drawer. One day.