Right Now: NARS Penny Lane cream Blush

NARS Penny Lane cream Blush“Penny Lane, you’re in my heart and on my cheeks…”

Indeed you are, you cheeky perfect lilac nude-y creamy flush you! I have to confess I forgot about you for a while, but when I pulled you from the Vault and tapped you on my cheekbones I can’t believe you were ever out of my kit.

NARS is justifiably renowned for his blushes – the colors, the payoff, sweet baby Jesus the names! The names! Hungry Heart anyone? Exhibit A? Gold Member? How about the straight to the point Sin?

And let’s not forget how downright shocking Orgasm was back in the day, when it’s gorgeous peach-y tones was making everyone look post-coital. (This was before the road to fame and fortune was paved with intimate gynecological knowledge of a celebrity’s Baby Parts. ‘Orgasm’ now is about as racy as calling a blush ‘Elbow.’)

I have pretty much all of the blushes, both cream and powder (I went through a bit of a NARS craze a few years back), so I have to confess to being a fan. Penny Lane is currently back to it’s Number 1 spot on my blush parade, as it’s perfect on it’s own, layered under other blushes or with bronzer. It’s even gorgeous on the lips! (Apparently it’s Lindsay Lohan’s favourite, but you didn’t hear that from me).

“Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes…

There, beneath the blue, suburban skies…”

Please explain – Cream Eyeshadows

How many of my Makeup Molettes have bought a cream eyeshadow expecting it to be amazing and got it home, smeared it on, and it’s just well…not? I’m constantly mystified as to why magazines tell people to try a new color eyeshadow in a cream texture, as if buying a powder  eyeshadow to test something out would be too shocking. Ladies, I think we’re strong enough to handle it!

What the magazines don’t tell you is that cream eyeshadows are the diet version of powder eyeshadow – the anorexic younger cousin, the Lite to powder’s Maxi. Yes, they can be beautiful on their own, but you’re never going to get a full fledged rockin’ look if you don’t layer it with powder.  So expecting to get some amazing strong effect from a cream shadow, well it’s just not going to happen (sorry).Nars Cream eyeshadow

Because cream is more transparent than powder it’s always going to give you a sheerer wash of color – so for a neutral, natural everyday look they can be lovely. For this transparent, taupe-y effect I highly recommend NARS cream shadows in Corfu and Savage and Laura Mercier Metallic Crème Shadows in Gold and Rose Gold.

They are great as a base – MAC Paint Pots and Paints (which come in dinky little tubes) are often used as a base color to give the powder something to adhere to. Personally I don’t like using a ‘base’ color as I think it changes the color you put on top, but on any given Sunday Youtube is awash with people who disagree with me, so it’s really personal choice.

If you are looking for something with more oomph, Illamasqua cream eyeshadows come in amazing strong colors and strong pigments, (the strongest I have come across), so for creating really bright colored eyes I would definitely recommend these. MAC Paint sticks are also a winner although the color range is a bit limited.

I do love creating editorial looks with creams, and for this I generally turn to my trusty MAC Cream Color Bases (or CCB’s as they are fondly known around the traps). These are a staple, staple item in my kit in pretty much every color available. They are unbeatable for smudging and creating beautiful shadows and highlights – once you try them you will be hooked!

Bobbi Brown Cream EyeshadowI have also recently tried and LOVED the Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadows which are the only ones that I have found that don’t crease. For this is the definite drawback with cream eyeshadows – most of them crease like crazy, which means they need to be repaired throughout the day (not usually something most people want to worry about!) They also crease more on those with oily eyelids or in summer. You can help prevent this by setting with a small brush and a translucent powder, or a powder eyeshadow in a similar color.

And if you are channeling your inner 80’s diva, nothing beats the combo of powder and cream eyeshadow to give you mega glam slam eyes. And just like painting, half the fun is in the mix. Get to work!

Bag It: NARS Velvet Matte Pencils

Oooh, baby, where do I start? Honestly these are the best thing to pass your lips since chocolate was invented, and if you’re a lippie spastic (come on, be honest, I think lots of people are), it’s pretty much foolproof.

The chubby Crayola-like stick takes me back to my stationery collecting days at school (yes, before I collected makeup I obsessively collected stationery – am I sensing a trend?) And it’s totally Collect ‘Em All!Nars-Velvet-Matte-Pencils

Basically it’s a cross between a lipstick and a pencil, and like it says on the box, it’s truly MATTE. I’ve been into matte lips and over gloss for quite some time, so these are a timely edition to any makeup bag. However if a glossy lip is your thing, you can add your gloss of choice over the top and you have a perfect lacquered lip.

The deep reds are amazing and the orange-y one, Red Square, is this weird off color that is great for shooting editorial because it’s so strange, and the pencil glides over your lips to impart deep, rich matte color. I can’t think of a single color that I don’t like in this range, and I have about 8 (so far!) in my kit. The fleshy beige of Belle de Jour, the perfect mauve of Sex Machine, the warm browns of Bettina and Tortola which are so right for a natural lip, and the pink perfection of Roman Holiday are all staples in my kit. No more excuses for bodgy lip outlines and thin, anemic looking color coverage! Importantly, for our makeup artist friends out there they are light, portable and take up no space, which is relevant when your kit is making Bungalow 8 on a Saturday night look empty.

Its easy pencil application means that you don’t need to fiddle with a lipbrush and a multiple layers of lipstick to get the right depth of color and a perfect line. Get thee to a NARS counter immediately and

Bag It!

Bin it – NARS mascara in Black Orchid

Nars Black Orchid Mascara  



Nars Black Orchid Mascara


I flat out hate this mascara (and that’s not a word I use lightly). It has a brush that looks like it escaped from 1985, and it performs so poorly compared to the rest of the NARS brand, I was quite staggered. OK, I think mascara manufacturers have gone a little OTT with all their rotating brushes, and fancy little combs, and rubber spikes and ones that look quite frankly like torture devices (hello Givenchy, I’m talking to you), but in 2009 something that low-tech just doesn’t cut it. Even Maybelline Great Lash (or Not So Great Lash as I like to call it) is fancier than this mo-fo.

In the interests of fairness, I’m just going to go and try it again: Nope, still made my eyelashes look like 5 little sticks. Its formula is thin and has an unerring ability to get at the ends of the lash and sort of clump, and then the crappy retro brush pushes your lashes together into aforementioned sticks. There is just no way to separate the lashes then to fan ’em out and get ’em fluffy. And we all know how much we love a full and fluffy lash!

In all honesty I wanted to love this because the square rubber packaging is so chic, and I have to admit to being a sucker for NARS in general (despite it’s excessively high price point). There’s just something about the witty names, gorgeous colors and the rubberized packaging that never seems to date that means a couple of times a year I find myself purchasing more sparkly eyeshadows and blushes I rarely use, but when I do, they make me happy (maybe because I’m actually justifying that hefty price tag? Not sure).

But this sad little mascara is one for the bin. Send it back to sing with Huey Lewis and the News – you know it wants to!

Bin it!