Tag Archives: Nars

The greatest compilation of highlighters you can poke a stick at

Whether you’re into contouring, strobing or just really like having high looking cheekbones without the label, you probably love highlighters.

If you don’t love them, why not!? Highlighters are a great way to take the edge off a very matte foundation, draw attention to your best features and give a nice glow without the Edward Cullen look. Unless you’re into that.

I’ve compiled a list of highlighters from every brand I’ve used to give you a comprehensive guide on buying the right one for you.
MAC cosmetics.

  

MAC mineralize skinfinish in soft and gentle.

Good old soft and gentle is good for most fair skinned girls and most darker skin girls too. It has a beautiful golden peach tone and adds a lot of shine for cheekbones that can cut through steel without building up for half an hour. If you’re especially fair, I would use the lightscapade highlighter instead, but most people will be fine with this product.

  
MAC Cream colour base in shell.

I love cream products, but often find myself disappointed with their staying power, their blendability or the amount of pigment in them. I have had no issues with the MAC cream bases at all, which is kind of rare (and kind of amazing) for a range of cream products. Great amount of pigment, easy to blend, easy to build- just pat it on with your fingertips- and with a gorgeous liquid metal colour with tones of pink and gold. It’s the stylist little sister of NARS Laguna who got a bit of a tan. It also suits almost anyone because it’s not too light or dark and it gives off a beautiful wet look if you build it. My only warning is not to use on the T-zone if you’re oily or combination.
Urban Decay

  

Urban Decay NAKED flushed palette.

Ok. So technically this isn’t just a highlighter, but it has a highlight in it so bear with me.

I was gifted this palette by a friend before the Naked palettes were available in Australia and I was so, so excited. I find the entire palette has a good colour payoff and you don’t need to build any of the shades up to notice them. The powders blend easily and suit most tones, but I’m quite fair and olive and I found the pink tone a little overwhelming as it was a half a shade darker than my skin when I tried it. Unfortunately, it met an unfortunate demise when it met my tiled bathroom floor, so I can’t try it again to see what it looks like. It was amazing to use on shoots, though. Bonus points for convenience, but like all of the urban decay NAKED palettes, it’s very dusty and brittle and it chips (or breaks) easily so take care.
Laura Mercier

  

 Matte radiance baked highlight 01.

I’m working with this product a lot at the moment and it is the most user friendly highlight on the market at the moment. Shiny and pearlescent without being metallic looking, naturally radiant for fair to medium skin (don’t worry, darker skinned beauties, the next item on the list will be your best friend). This baked powder will last until only the cockroaches and whatever Donald trump is using to hide his lack of hair remain, you only need a small amount. Being a baked powder, it’s very soft and blend able but definitely not dusty or messy to use. It has a white gold tone to it that looks like you’re being illuminated by angelic light. There is good reason this is a cult product but, unfortunately, it can often be hard to track down in Australia so you may need to be patient.

  
Indiscretion highlight.

Part of the Summer in Ibiza collection for the 2015 summer (or Australian winter). This is a champagne or rose gold coloured powder that has more of a gleam than its Highlight 01 counterpart. It adds a slight bronze glow without looking dirty or dark on fairer skin and it looks absolutely gorgeous on dark skin. This is the highlight that suits everyone, plus it has beautiful packaging and it stays in that gorgeous rippled shape even after you’ve been using it for a couple of weeks. Sadly, this is a limited edition product so you’ll need to catch the next shipments to reach Australia before they’re gone for good. Thankfully, this product will last you years and years because you need so little to get a good result.
Illamasqua

  

Illasmaqua gleam in Aurora.

This is probably one of the easiest cream products to blend. The downside is that, unfortunately, you need to really build it up in order to get a good highlight. It works beautifully with a dewy foundation, but looks strange with any mattes because it is so luminous. I would liken the consistency to lip balm or body butter, it feels hydrating but it needs a lot of coaxing to work well on full coverage foundations without accidentally removing part of your base. That being said, it looks gorgeous on the skin when it is applied correctly and Illamasqua always endeavour to be cruelty free with their products, which makes them a worthy brand to support.
Bobbi Brown

  

Bobbi Brown shimmer brick in beige.

Technically, Bobbi brown don’t do highlighters as they don’t encourage contouring the face until you resemble a Kardashian. However, this product is what all the Bobbi artists are using to add definition to cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, etc. 

This colour is my favourite of the range as it suits most skin tones as a highlighter, but the Rose or Nectar variations may work better for you, so be sure to check it out. The colour payoff is very subtle like your skin has been airbrushed or like you’ve just got very, very good selfie lighting happening on your face at all times. It’s a good natural glow for someone who doesn’t want to committ to a more obvious glow and it’s a godsend for people who are a little more oil prone and don’t want to resemble a disco ball.
Napoleon Perdis

  

The ultimate contour palette.

The thing with Napoleon Perdis products is that they’re extremely hit and miss. They have some absolutely beautiful products, then a few that just leave me scratching my head and wondering why they decided to make something so sub par and price it at the higher end of the spectrum. This is not one of those products. Yes, it’s a contouring palette, but it is an absolute delight to use. Nicely pigmented, blend able, build able and with colours that suit the average Australian makeup consumer. Definitely worth a try if you want a lovely all in one.
NARS

  

NARS multiple in Laguna.

NARS have their cult colours in various formats, but I find their multiple sticks the most versatile and user friendly. NARS highlighters are kind of like Joan Crawford’s character in Mommie Dearest; they look appealing on the outside, but they’re actually cold, harsh and don’t love you in the way you only hoped, yet they’re still highly coveted.

The orgasm multiple is too pink and dark for a variety of people, yet Laguna is such an icy shade of silvery white that you’d be hard pressed to wear it without resembling an android. I love using them because, as I mentioned, they’re easy to use and clients love the brand, but I keep using them and instantly wishing I hadn’t because that bitter disappointment I feel when I realise I need to apply something over the top to get the perfect colour just isn’t worth it.

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What’s in my bathroom

So today for something a little different, I’m going to tell you all the products I use on a regular basis. I don’t like shameless plugs for particular brands, but I also use a variety of products for my skin, hair and makeup that vary depending on season, the condition of my hair/skin and depending on where I’m working at the time.

I think there’s a real problem that people have with product loyalty. There are so many fantastic brands out there, but each usually has one or two strong points. It’s always better to experiment and find a variety of things that work for you. Ask any makeup artist (when they’re not behind a counter and forced to promote the brand they work for), and they’ll rattle off a list of several brands and products that work for them.

Hair care

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At the moment, I’m big on using Redken products. My hair has taken a beating this year due to a lot of bleaching and colouring, so I’m alternating between the diamond oil range and the extreme shampoo and conditioner (for added protein). I find that Joico’s KPAK range can be quite drying, but a lot of people swear by it.

Post bleach, I always follow with a hayashi “emergency 911” protein treatment, which I mix with a few drops of Argan oil. It’s a godsend for damaged hair.
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My favourite toning shampoo is by NAK, it contains Argan oil and it’s quite nourishing and I buy it in a big pack with a toning leave in conditioner.

When my hair is a vibrant colour, I like to use Shiseido “Tsubaki Shining” products as coloured hair can be quite dull and lustreless.

I love Argan oil to add shine and softness post styling and I also do DIY coconut oil treatments once every month when my hair is especially dry, frizzy or damaged. It works wonders and it’s cheaper than any store bought treatment.

Skin
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I keep alternating between the Clinique 3 step and the Kiehl’s non detergent foaming cleanser followed by a Mario badescu oil free moisturiser in the summer or if it’s especially humid.

Although my skin is quite dry, I’m probe to breakout due to sensitivity so I avoid fragranced skincare or any moisturisers with an SPF.

Occasionally, I’ll use a few drops of Estée Lauder advanced night repair serum before bed in the cooler months or if I’ve dried out my skin by going to the beach. I rarely have any at home, so it’s really up to when Estée Lauder are giving out samples (ha!)

Makeup

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I always use a primer before my foundation. My favourites are the Smashbox photo finish primer (the colour correcting one), primed and poreless or a cheap face of Australia primer that I pick up at Priceline… It’s surprisingly moisturising to the skin and gives a great finish to the fuller coverage foundations.

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My current favourite foundation is Illamasqua Skinbase. Perfect medium coverage, a nice flawless finish and perfect for autumn and spring when you need a balance in products.

In the winter months, I gravitate towards MAC studiofix, which I blend with the Napoleon Perdis “beauty boosting balm” to get a nice dewy finish. They work so well together that it’s actually ridiculous.

On nights out, I wear studiofix alone for the fuller coverage.

In the summer, I wear Clinique super balanced foundation or their anti blemish solutions foundation as they’re nice and light and don’t make my face feel disgusting when I get sweaty.

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My good friend Holly gave me the “by terry hyaluronic blush” for my birthday last year (in blushberry, a nice cool pink) and I adore this product. It’s really blendable, highly pigmented (a little goes a LONG way) and has an amazing finish.

I also love the Illamasqua cream blush in “rude” and MAC blush in “peaches” and “pink moon”.

I use a Kryolan concealer wheel, illamasqua gleam in “aurora” or MAC “soft and gentle” as a highlighter (depending on how dark my skin is at the time).

I set my base with Kryolan translucent powder, as I do with all my clients.

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My favourite lipsticks are the NARS semi mattes and Napoleon Perdis matte-tastic lipsticks (above). I only use Napoleon, MAC, Kryolan or rimmel lip pencils.

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For eyeshadows, I stick mainly to Kryolan and Inglot because of the great colour payoff, affordable price tag and the convenience of the large palettes. I also but individual shadows from MAC and a few other brands if it’s an especially interesting colour.

I almost exclusively use gel liner and usually go between Napoleon Perdis or Kryolan because they’re quite soft and easy to apply and blend and also quite affordable. I like Napoleon, MAC and Stila kohl pencils as they’re the perfect consistency and don’t end up all over your face if it’s hot outside.

As far as brows go, I alternate between Bobbi Brown pencils and the smashbox brow crayons (they come with a clear gel and it’s AWESOME). For a more graphic brow or when my hair is dark, I’ll use a dark brown shadow with an angle brush.

Fragrance

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I only wear four fragrances: Estée Lauder “beyond paradise” (above) and Marc Jacobs “Lola” in the summer; Thierry Mugler “angel” and Jean Paul Gaultier “classique” in the winter.

So thats it. A boring list of what a pro makeup artist uses on a daily basis to look, feel and smell nice.

What are your favourite makeup/skincare/hair products? What do you think I should add to my routine?

Why peach blush is freaking awesome.

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As far as blush goes, sadly not all colours were created equal. I get so many customers who tell me that they never wear blush because it makes them look too pink, especially if they usually have a lot of redness in their face that needs concealing.

Then we also have the poor dark skinned girls who not only have virtually no choice in terms of foundations here in AUS, but also are too dark for the blushes that we have to offer for predominantly Mediterranean people. A pale pink looks like a highlight on darker skin and it will take on a dull, greyish tone that is unflattering… How unfair is that?!

Then we also have pale as hell people like me. Goths, English people and albinos will know what I’m talking about. A punk blush makes me look like I’ve run a marathon despite my more olivey undertone to my skin because of my allergic to the sun appearance.

Enter the best colour in the world…. Peach! Peach is flattering to ALL skin tones and does not give you the illusion of being literally blushing a deep red from a scarring level of embarrassment.

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My top picks for peach toned blushes to make your skin look amazing are:

MAC cosmetics blush in “peaches”

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A customer favourite from MAC addicts. A sheer tone blush guaranteed to give you some colour without overpowering you.

Napoleon Perdis mosaic in “flushing”

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I love napoleon’s mosaics and flushing is my favourite. A perfect blend between “blushing” and “bronzing”, this colour is highly pigmented and super smooth for optimal blending.

Illamasqua cream blush in “rude”

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I love this product so much I actually posted a review a few months ago. Sheer yet buildable with a good coral tone and a lovely creamy, blendable consistency perfect for summer.

NARS blush in “orgasm”

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The one that started it all for me. The original shade designed to suit all skin tones. It’s on the pricey side, but it’s so pigmented and easy to apply that it will last ages and is a beauty staple. Available also as a stick, a liquid illuminator… Seriously, too easy considering you will always get the finish you want.

Product review: NARS semi-matte lipstick in heatwave.

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So I’m monogamous when it comes to lip colours. Once I find a colour I like, it will take hell or high water (or the discontinuation of that colour) to convince me to change. Enter NARS lipstick.

Several years ago, Mecca cosmetica opened a concept store in Melbourne central called “Mecca maxima”, combining them with their sister store kit cosmetics and selling their most sought after products and a few other cult products usually in available at their counters.

I worked nearby and went in to kill time. I was looking for a shade similar to the (at the time) unattainable MAC lipstick in morange. I found heatwave and fell in love. Less orange than morange, less coral than MAC’s “lady danger” and a nice matte finish. The price set me back a little bit, but I was a woman possessed and I vowed to only wear it on special occasions to save the precious lipstick as long as possible.

The next day I caved and applied it the next morning. I started work in the evening but went out all day and forgot to take it with me for touch ups. I was immediately taken aback after eating; it was still there and strong as ever in colour.

When I finished work at 11pm that day, the colour was still there and only a teensy bit less intense than it was during the day… I had done my makeup at ten o’clock that morning and obviously eaten and drank throughout the day! My foundation had started wearing off, my eyeshadow and blush were faded yet my lips were still a startling red.

This product has become my staple for days I won’t be able to touch up or nights out when I risk bleeding lipstick after a few drinks.

The pros:
– incredibly pigmented
– long lasting
– suits most skin tones and hair colours

The cons:
– costly (here in Australia it retails at around $60!)
– can be a little drying so remember to apply lip balm between wears and use a lip primer.
– I’ve fever found another red lipstick I’ve loved as much.
– now I need to find a foundation as long lasting.

Have a product you think I should review? email me with your suggestions!