Oui, Je Suis une NARS-issist!

In psychology, filial imprinting is a process in which a young animal or person learns the characteristics and the behaviours of its parents. If I think about my relation with make-up, I guess something has gone wrong in the imprinting phase. My mother has never ever worn make-up, but I have loved all things related to it since my adolescence. It was probably as a reaction to a bare-faced mother that I started wearing black eye-liner when I was sixteen (in liquid form only; the first experiments went wrong, but I soon get used to it); since then, I’ve never stopped wearing some make-up. I don’t like wearing a mask, that is heavy and full-faced make-up, but I don’t like being completely bare-faced either. In the past years, I’ve tried almost any cosmetic brand, but I was never faithful to one, until I bumped into NARS. If you’ve ever had the chance to be part of a make-up lovers’ community, I’m sure I’ve read rants and raves about the infamous Orgasm blush. Well, that is just the peak of the iceberg, because the colour range of this brand is wide and awesome.

The first NARS product I’ve bought was, of course, Orgasm. I bought it before the birth of my daughter, in March 2008, because I knew I would have needed some colour boost on my cheeks during my stay at the hospital. I obviously didn’t use it then (the post-partum days were hideous) but that blush was the spark which originated the fire! Now I’m a hopeless NARS-issist [1] and I can’t get enough.

François Nars, the founder, was born in France, where he attended the famous Carita Make-up School, before moving to the U.S. to work in fashion photography. In the 90s he became part of a phenomenal team including photographer Steven Meisel and hair-stylist Oribe Canales, who contributed in creating the myth of supermodels. In the mid 90s, a series of twelve lipsticks was sold at Barneys New York and this was just the beginning. Now the brand includes skin-care and body-care lines and a complete make-up line [2]. I think his products have an extremely high quality, unique shades, a perfect packaging (the iconic rubber-like black case with sleek white lettering, designed by Fabien Baron) and hot names [3].

Before showing you my personal collection, here are the products from the latest NARS collections – Spring and Summer 2009.

The gorgeous Guinevere Van Seenus is the face of both campaigns.

The line includes two duo eyeshadows, three single eyeshadows, a lipgloss, a lipstick, concealer and multiple duos, a blush duo (more a highlighter than a blush duo, in my opinion) and multiple bronzers. I bought Grenadines eyeshadow, a gorgeous matte garnet eyeshadow which perfectly matches with Givenchy Rouge Vip eyeshadow (my favourite red eyeshadow ever).

The make-up seen on Guinevere in the Summer 2009 campaign is awesome! I love the contrast between blue eyes and nude lips.

The line includes a duo and a single eyeshadow, a matte powder bronzer, two lipsticks, a lip pencil, a lipgloss (as a nude-lip obsessed, I’m so lusting over it) and a nail polish. I haven’t got anything from this collection yet, but I’m eyeing Falaba and Belize.

Now here is my small collection. I’d like to try any possible NARS product, but there are some obstacles which restain my love for the brand. It’s not sold in Italy (too bad), so I have to constantly scour my trusted eBay sellers and the swap section of Make Up Alley for new items. Anyway, this is what I’ve been collecting since March 2008. If you are a make-up junkie too, here you can find swatches of most items.

I like keeping the boxes of cosmetics, but in this pics the items are unboxed. Ohhh, I love love love the black cases and the white lettering, très chic.

In this pic the cases are open, so the products are in full display. I’ve divided them into sections: the bronzers, the blushes, the eyeshadows, the lipstick/lipglosses/velvet matte lip pencils. In the upper left corner there is the gorgeous Botan brush and in the right corner there is Chinatown nail polish. One item is missing, because I’ve forgotten to include it in the pic: the Butterfield 8 lip lacquer.

At the moment I own four blushes and a powder highlighter. NARS blushes are the best, because the shades, the texture, the pigmentation and the lasting quality have no equals. I’ve tried one matte blush (Dolce Vita), but I gave it out in a swap because I am addicted to shimmering blushes. You need an extremely light hand and a good stippling brush when you apply some of these (in this case, Mounia and Taj Mahal), but the result can really be stunningly natural. Mounia is cinnamon coral, Torrid is coral with shimmer, Taj Mahal is burnt orange with shimmer and Orgasm is peachy pink with shimmer. I’m NC30/35 (medium-olive complexion with yellow undertones), so Orgasm barely shows on me; its more showy counterpart is Torrid, lovely on my complexion. As for Albatross, I think it’s the best powder highlighter out there. I cannot describe it – it’s a sort of “magic” gold-silver powder, you really need to try it out on cheekbones and browbones.  I like experimenting with colours and layerings, so I’ve found out that Taj Mahal and Orgasm give a sort of Apollonia-Kotero-in-the-Eighties effect to my cheeks 😉

I own Laguna (brown with golden shimmer) and Casino (dark brown with golden shimmer) powder bronzers. I use Laguna especially in spring and winter, while Casino is perfect when I’m tanned. They’re both shimmering, but shimmers are not chunky, they just give a hint of light.

I love all NARS products, but I have to admit the eyeshadows are not the best (I much prefer the lasting quality and the colour/texture range of MAC eyeshadows). This doesn’t mean they are not interesting. I own two duo eyeshadows – Pandora (white shimmer and matte black, perfect for a quick smokey-eye look) and Misfit (ecru and emerald with shimmer) – and a single eyeshadow, Grenadines (matte garnet).

Blushes, lipsticks and lipglosses are my passion, and this is the reason why I have many of these. The pic includes a Multiple, too:  the shade is Mustique, iridescent peach, which I like applying on cheekbones under the blush, or like an eyeshadow base. There are three red lipsticks – Transeurope Express (deep rose), Trans Siberian (ruby rose) and Shanghai Express (warm brick red) – in absolutely unique shades [4], two lipglosses – Sandpiper (shimmering amber coral) and Supervixen (sheer sparkling mauve) – and two velvet matte lip pencils – Cruella (scarlet red, perfect for a pin-up effect) and Bettina (natural beige). I like layering Supervixen to Bettina and Sandpiper to MAC Jubilee lustre lipstick, for a gorgeous nude effect.

I’m not the only fan of NARS lipsticks. In an old Vogue Paris issue, I’ve found a pic Sofia Coppola took of her bathroom cabinet in New York: on the first shelf from the bottom, some NARS lipsticks are peeping. Now I’m wondering which shades she likes using. I’m glad we have something else in common: Diptyque’s Olene perfume, on the second shelf from above.

Before closing the post, here is my daughter Bianca and me in December 2008. In both pics I was wearing NARS blushes – Mounia and Taj Mahal. These are very pigmented blushes, so you really need one swipe to have a nice pop of colour on your cheeks.

OMG, I feel so old when I look at these pics: last December she was 9 months old, toothless and crawling; now she’s 15 months old, she’s got 8 teeth and walks with so much confidence!

[1] I first read this adjective in the comments to this photo. I thought it was genius, so I’ve been using it to speak about myself since then.

[2] François Nars is a make-up artist and a photographer, too. I always take so much inspiration from his wonderful book Make-Up Your Mind. Here some pics from it.

[3] I know quality comes first, but aren’t you affected by the names given to shades of make-up items? The names of NARS products are so appealing: they come from movies (Deep Throat, Casablanca, Niagara, Amarcord, Belle de Jour, Dolce Vita, Gothika, Blade Runner, Charade, Boogie Nights, Striptease, and movies starring Marlene Dietrich – Blonde Venus, Morocco, Lola Lola, Lili Marlene, Mata Hari), from train routes (Transeurope Express, Shanghai Express, Trans Siberian), from Greek mythology and islands (Calliope, Penelope, Mykonos, Corfu, Cyclade), cities (Tokyo, Paris, Persepolis, Constantinople, Babylon) and holiday resorts (all the Multiples).

[4] I’ve always had a thing for red lipsticks. I’ve tried high-end and drugstore brands, looking for the perfect one, and only NARS has such unique shades.

Source and source.



  1. You’re a NARS-issist indeed! 🙂
    The blushes seem gorgeous- I have a shimmery powder by The Body Shop I sometimes wear, they create such a nice effect! But what I like the most are the lipsticks and the nailpolish. I’m only just starting to experiment with pillar box red, I love it but I’m afraid it would be excessive if paired up with my usual eye make up.

    OT: I find your intro quite interesting- I guess the make up issue is often a tough one. My mum has always worn makeup, especially on her eyes, but has always disapproved of my smokey eyes. She once even told me that i looked like i had ‘ just come out of a silent film’ (which I personally took as a compliment, but I know she didn’t mean it as such!). Yet, she has given me a charcoal black eyeshadow as a present last Christmas- I took it as a sign of acceptance.

    1. The nail polish is a gorgeous blood red, similar to Chanel iconic Rouge Noir, but more peculiar, imo. The red lipsticks are amazing as well: I’m sure you’d love Shanghai Express, so dramatic. You’re right when you say you’re not sure if pairing red lips to smokey eyes; when I use red lipstick, I tone my eye make-up down, because I think it’s best not to overdo with make-up.
      OT: my mother always disapproved of my heavy eye-liner, too! She said it gave me raccoon eyes 😦

  2. Nice post! I already knew about your… addiction but it’s nice to see the updates, hehe. 🙂

    (Sofia Coppola also uses Dr Hauschka!)

      1. Hard to tell… Anyway there’s also a little bottle at the bottom (and maybe also a cream tube).

  3. I think the bottle on the fourth shelf from above is a cleanser or a toner. As for the box on the top shelf, the writing says ‘Augenfrische’, eye drops in English!

  4. I noticed a Dr. Haushka square box on Sofia’s shelf too. It’s on the the top at right.

    I’m a make up addicted too, I prefer Chanel for nail polish and eye shadow, Clinique for face powder, Guerlain for blush and tan powder and Lancaster for lipstick. I also love Lancome, only for eye pencil and mascara.

    Bianca is so sweetie and cute!

    1. Chanel nail polishes are amazing, for their shades and quality. I’ve recently tried OPI nail polishes, though, and I think their quality is even better than Chanel’s. I’ve never tried Chanel eyeshadows, but I love their glosses 🙂

  5. I love this ‘Spot Sofia’s cosmetics’ thing!
    I can only recognise a Kerastase product (middle shelf, far right) and a Bumble&bumble shampoo (second shelf from the bottom, just over the NARS lipsticks). Oh, and something by Clarins in the middle shelf too!

  6. I love it too!
    I can also see a Caudalie tube on the second shelf from the bottom, next to what looks like another Dr Hauschka product (in tube form). On the third shelf from the bottom there are a Mario Badescu bottle (I guess it’s a toner) and a Valmont cream vase. On the second shelf from above, next to Diptyque Olene, there’s a bottle of Fracas, a perfume by Robert Piguet.

  7. Eccomiiii,
    se un solo fard autorizza a scrivere qui ne approfitto:-)).
    Naturalmente io non ne possiedo uno molto originale ma l’iconico orgasm,mi piacerebbe molto il Taj mahal da quando proprio tu lo facesti notare sulle guance di Mira Duma ,ma è introvabile(cercato a Londra a Ny e on line),che sia forse un’edizione limitata?.

    Tornando a HBendel,mi chiedi se ho fatto shopping?solo tu mi puoi capire,davanti al corner Headband (dire cerchietti è troppo riduttivo)non ci si può trattenere…e per quanto mi riguarda neppure daventi alla loro scelta di cosmetici,collane,orecchini,anelli…A proposito di headband posso affermare senza esagerare che Jennifer Behr è una vera artista le sue creazioni sono veri gioielli.


    1. Ciao!!!
      No, che io sappia Taj Mahal non è un’edizione limitata. Probabilmente non sei riuscita a trovarlo perchè non è uno dei colori più venduti, ma con un po’ di fortuna sono sicura che riuscirai a trovarlo on-line.
      Confermo: pur non avendo mai potuto ammirare (o indossare) dal vivo le creazioni di Jennifer Behr, non stento a credere le tue impressioni in merito. D’altronde, basta vedere che meravigliosi pezzi della Behr indossa Blair in GG per rendersene conto. Ahhhh, che sogno fare shopping da Henri Bendel *___*

  8. Ok visto che non è un’edizione limitata inizierò una caccia intensiva al Taj mahal!.

    Dimenticavo:ma la piccola è sempre più carina!,mha perchè i capelli corti? penso che sia piena di mirabolati ricciolotti!!!.

  9. Come si vede nella foto a destra, ha i capelli mossi 🙂 In inverno glieli ho lasciati più lunghetti, ma in estate preferisco tagliarglieli in modo che stia più fresca. I bambini, infatti, sudano tantissimo anche in testa!

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