My Version of Survival Makeup

There are short trips, and there are long trips. This one went well over a week in a place with bright sunshine and chilly wind, but little humidity. Meaning, we’re not in Kansas anymore. In packing for the trip, I went into full-on survivalist mode with my makeup bag. (As survivalist as a beauty junkie could get, I suppose.) As usual, the goal was to be able to create many different looks with as few pieces as I could manage. Challenge accepted.

Continue reading

Vacation Essentials 2015: The Makeup

*For Part 1 of this two-part post, click HERE.

Here’s the part where my over-packing becomes a little more obvious. In an ideal world, I would be able to get by with one blush, one shadow palette, one eyeliner, two lipsticks, and one lip gloss, but I always want more options! I usually build my travel makeup stash around this one awesome palette that combines neutral/browns and pinks/purples in one compact container. I don’t stray far from these colors, so they’ve always been my go-tos. However, I just felt the summery vibe this time around, so I wanted to come up with gold, bronze, and other tan-flattering choices. Hence…

Continue reading

Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl

Fine! I confess to being a little bit of a Swifty. There were three or four songs I liked in the past, but Shake It off, Style, and Blank Space were major developments that got me hooked on the Taylor Swift mania. From her teeny-bopper days of country music to becoming a full-on pop personality, Taylor’s beauty evolution has got me loving the “cherry lips, crystal skies…” Bonus: I’ve finally scored her go-to lippie, Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl.

Nars Matte Velvet Lip Pencil Dragon Girl

Quick Specs: 0.08 oz / 2.4 g; made in Italy

A lively red lip

Pros:

  • Dragon Girl has the reputation for being the best all-rounder piece in the entire Nars Velvet Lip Pencil collection. All the blogs I’ve read have given this particular shade and its formula rave reviews. From doing my reading, I learned that the quality of the Velvet Mattes aren’t equal, just like the Nars Audacious Lipsticks don’t have a consistent formulation. Include me to the long list of users who think this lippie doesn’t disappoint.
  • The pencil’s diameter/width is spot-on. It’s not too thin like a lip liner that it will take me forever to fill in my lips. On the other hand, it’s not too thick. Precision lining of the lips is a cinch, even when the pencil isn’t so freshly sharpened.
  • It can double as a lip liner for my other red lipsticks. (See above and below.)
  • This “vivid siren red” is, in my translation, a medium blue-red that flatters many a skintone.
  • It leaves a stain that lasts all day and the longevity is great. When I eat, I only have to do minor touch-ups on the innermost parts of my lips.
  • When it comes to matte lip colors, I take comments of “it doesn’t dry my lips” with a grain of salt. This one, however, will make a believer out of anyone IMHO. One, it doesn’t feel like you have anything on. Two, it doesn’t cause “grubby-feeling” lips, even without using a lip balm to prime beforehand.

Neutral:

  • Some claim that this is transfer-proof, but I would have to respectfully disagree. It transfers and smudges like any other lipstick. Maybe they were talking about the kickass stain it leaves? That bit doesn’t transfer.

Cons:

  • I have been only too vocal about how much I hate anything I have to sharpen constantly. That, and the fact that the Nars sharpener is sold separately for PHP 300+. Even if I get a different brand sharpener to cut costs, I still have to go through the hassle of finding a perfect fit.
  • The rubberized cap gets scratched up easily. I didn’t have any trouble with scratches on my Nars blush as I can leave it at home.  For something I have to tote around in my makeup bag along with other cosmetics for retouches, my cap has already taken a beating after just two weeks of use.

At an event with a friend

Verdict: Nars Dragon Girl is so good, I’m afraid the other Velvet Pencils won’t be able to equal its excellent quality. I’ve always been so self-conscious when donning red lips, but this color has gotten me a lot of compliments. What a confidence-booster, knowing I can pull off this shade after all.

Nars Deep Throat Blush

I had a tough time deciding between Bobbi Brown Pale Pink Blush and Nars Orgasm. They’re not so far apart price-wise, but they do have completely different colors and finishes—BB is matte and pastel pink, while the Nars one is peachy-pink and chocfull o’ shimmer—so I had my research work cut out for me. But guess what? I ended up getting something else! As the title indicates, I’m reviewing Nars Deep Throat Blush, the wild card entry.

Nars Deep Throat (with flash)

Close-up on the pan (no flash)

Ingredients

There’s a funny personal story behind this shade: Wanting to have a look at Orgasm, I visited the Nars counter maybe two or three times prior to taking the plunge (actually, this was a gift from M) to swatch and compare, then rinse and repeat. Each time, I swatched Deep Throat thinking that it was Orgasm. The SA would point me to the right blush, and that would be that.

On the day I was set to make the decision between Pale Pink or Orgasm, I still accidentally reached for Deep Throat first. I took it as a sign and had the SA test both DT and O on each cheek, then I had three people vote on which one looked better on me. DT won unanimously, and even I was convinced when I looked in the mirror. According to the comments, DT looks more like a natural flush on my pale skin. With the Nars counter’s lighting, I saw O’s gold (read: light bronzer-esque feature) more than peachy pink.

Quick Specs: 4.8 g/0.16 oz; made in Canada

Pros:

  • The case feels sturdy, and the mirror doesn’t hurt either. While I’ve been handling it with care like a high school student parenting a chicken egg, I can also feel the quality of the hinges. I don’t think it’s the type that’ll just snap off after a while, but only time will tell.
  • Can I say Deep Throat is the less-enthusiastic version of Orgasm, but totally mean it as a compliment? This brings out a flush of color and a hint of shimmer without being shimmer-packed. It’s a versatile blush shade for me.
  • Lasting power is worth mentioning. For the record, this isn’t sweat- or humidity-proof, but the longevity is good for regular days without too much strenuous activity. Indoors, it lasted from early afternoon to late evening on me.

For the sake of comparison…

  • Deep Throat appears lighter than Orgasm on the pan, but the former surprisingly registers more peachy-pink than the latter. The shimmer bits are slightly bigger than Orgasm’s and are sparser as well.
  • Orgasm, on the other hand, has finer shimmer that’s packed and completely blended with the color pigment. Gold shimmer and peach-pink color appear to be at 1:1. Between the two, it has that light bronzing capability because of that sun-kissed effect that the fine gold shimmer gives off.

Cons:

  • The rubbery texture of the compact sucks. It’s stored in my makeup pouch, so I have no issue with dust. Foundation-caked fingers, on the other hand, is the main culprit for dirtying up my case.
  • As if Nars products weren’t expensive enough. It’s a shame that I was only able to get one after the price increase.
  • No mini blush brush included. I hardly use the tiny brushes that come with my blush, so I didn’t mind for the longest time. However, even a small one would come in handy for touch-ups. (See “isn’t sweat- or humidity-proof” above.)

Verdict and Recommendation: So I still haven’t crossed off Orgasm from my beauty bucket list, after all. But then again, it might also be scratched off the bucket list entirely. Despite the cult following, Deep Throat looked better on me. (Think a really close basketball game where both teams played excellently, but one just won by a point or two.) This isn’t me dissing O in favor of DT. Methinks it’s a case-to-case basis, since the two are so similar. If you find yourself struggling to make a choice between the two, best let your skin tone do the talking.

*BTW, Pale Pink may have been overshadowed by the DT vs. O internal war I was waging, but it’s still on my list!