Monday, May 2, 2011

A New Appreciation and Love for Everything NARS!

Saturday, April 30th at Nordstrom, Westfield Center, SF - I attend my first NARS Master Class. I was able to sit in the Advanced Class. There was a bit of a wait for clean up from the last class so to ease our anxiety we were told repeatedly that champagne and appetizers were waiting for us. Shoot, I'd wait anywhere to receive free Champagne and Cheese!
It a huge Mega Event at the Nordstrom where there were rows and rows of stations and the black and white logo: NARS.

I wonder if the MAC people were annoyed.

There was also a DJ, a hairstylist and a guy taking head shots after you got your makeup done - it was a pretty big party. If anything it was just so overwhelming. I along with 11 other women were taken to a private conference room on the top floor. It was a bit of a wait but the NARS artists and employees kept promising us champagne, they already had our pre-payment fee of $50 - of course we're going to wait!

But as they opened the door we were greeted with music, the said champagne, cheese and fruit appetizers and lots and lots of NARS makeup to play with. This is my idea of a dream pajama party!

(If only I had enough counter space to have this many NARS products!)

Warning: Text heavy - I was so overwhelmed that I didn't take a whole lot of pics - I'm sorry!!

So the course was lead by NARS stylist, Janice Daoud and other leading NARS makeup artists representing Nordstrom locations across the Nation. Janice, a self-taught makeup artsit worked her way from MAC, Chanel, Trish McEvoy before coming to NARS where she worked her way to becoming a Stylist. Since then she has worked alongside Francois Nars for NY Fashion Week (Spr 2010). Her work has also been in print and she has worked on everyone from Usher, Kim Kardashian and The Pussycat Dolls. I learned a wealth of information from this young woman (she's only 33) in just two hours. I couldn't take too many notes because I was just so overwhelmed and too busy drinking champagne.

(Product booklet and a photo of Janice above)

After we all went around the room and introduced ourselves we also had to state what we wanted to learn. I, and most of the others, wanted to learn how to really perfect our skin and properly contour. Then Janice had each of us pick two items that we would never use. I actually froze because I wasn't afraid of any of these colors - I just didn't know which ones to pick. I settled on the Jolie Poupee (violets) duo and Roman Holiday (soft pastel, pink that I originally thought made me look washed out) lipstick.

I tried the skincare products once - I was really dismissive since the Makeup Cleansing Oil made me break out badly. But after trying it another time, I am willing to give it another shot. We were escorted to the ladies room to clean our faces. I tried both the Milk Cleanser and Gentle Foam Cleanser to remove my existing makeup. Since I have dry, sensitive skin I was afraid that my skin was going to freak out - especially without my prescribed ointment. My skin was a bit taut after the cleansers but that was to be expected. It wasn't too uncomfortable. Then we were instructed to exfoliate with the Hydrating Refreshing Lotion. Yes, it looks like your basic toner but when you're sweeping a cotton swab in a circular motion on your face it activates the exfoliating properties and helps dig in a clear your pores. I know, you can probably do this with an existing toner. I need to look up the ingredients to find out what kind of 'exfoliating properties' this contains and what makes it different than a Kiehl's toner I use to use nightly. Next we were given the potent EFA cream. It has a pump top dispenser - think of the polish remover bottles used in a Nail Salon - yes, like that! I love it because I won't have to dig into with my nails and fingers. This cream is a Omega 3 cocktail - Omegas, Ceramides, Super Sterol (moisturizing skin agent) in a ratio of 3:1:1. It also contains Hyaluronic Acid and Acai - 95% lipids.

In other words, it's a moisturizer I am kind of obsessed with. It did make my skin itch or break out the next day. I guess I would need to test drive it for a full week before buying. The sister component to this moisturizer is the night time EFA Night Fusion Serum. This also contains 95% lipids like the day moisturizer. It's a bit more intense and I learned from the Artists that this can also be used lightly around the eyes after applying one pump to the face and neck. This item I did purchase. I figured I really need to start with a great looking canvas before anything else. Then an application of the Nourishing Eye Cream.

Another item I also want is the Brightening Serum - "a combination of Active Phytoseed Complex, powerful antioxidants and Fennel" (NARS site description). It also has a lovely pearl pink iridescence that imparts a lovely glow. Next was the new foundation primer w/or w/out SPF. I never used this primer before but apparently the old formula left a bit of white-ish cast. I'm glad I never used it after hearing about that. It's oil-free and felt very comfortable on considering I have quite a bit of product on my face and I didn't even put any foundation yet. Next up was a bit of the Pro-Prime applied around my nose to blur and minimize my pores. This is a balm like primer that dries to a matte finish and it's recommended to be used on top of the primer but before foundation.

Okay finally getting into some color. I used the Sheer Glow Foundation, which I love and have been meaning to buy a full sized bottle. I have been able to hold on to my deluxe sample size since I tend to only wear tinted moisturizer (LM) during the week since I go to the gym during my lunch break. I did learn a great trick that I'll be using when I know I'll be taking lots of pictures - using the color I normally wear all over the face and placing a slightly lighter shade just around my nose and a bit on the forehead (somewhat a triangle formation on the face). Followed by both Copacabana and Laguna Illuminators and because I knew I had the Brightening Serum on I was scared that I was going to look like a Caesars Palace Statue in Vegas like I did after a bad MAC makeover. The final touch Punjab powder foundation applied with the giant Boton Brush. I NEED this brush!

After I applied some Smudge Proof Eye Shadow Base, I did a violet smoky eye with the Jolie Poupee duo (bright violet on lid/purple shimmer in the crease), a bit of the silver lilac shade (on lid) from the Nouveua Monde duo, and something I would have never thought of trying - touch of Mousson (silver sage) cream shadow as the last layer on my lids. Finishing up with the gunmetal shade from the Eurydice duo applied with a wet Push Eye liner brush and Larger Than Life Lengthening Mascara in Black.

Taj Mahal (burnt shimmery orange) blush on my cheekbones and Roman Holiday satin lipstick and Sweet Revenge (pink grapefruit) on top.

And here's my head shot:
(I just wished it didn't take more than 3 products to get this glow on my face)
And here's my work station after I was complete:

(Each time I looked at my glass of Champagne it was always refilled!)
Here's a closeup of my eye - sorry bathroom lighting.

and lips:

(I'm still on the fence with Roman Holiday but Sweet Revenge is my favorite pink nude gloss)
 I was pretty pleased with the overall outcome of this event. I did end up purchasing not only the Jolie Poupee duo but also the Mousson cream shadow, Taj Mahal blush (I will be using a lot this summer) and the EPA Night Serum. I hope to pick up the EPA Day Cream/Brightening serum and that Botan Brush next.
The main takeaways from this class:

The NARS approach to makeup - "Don't be too seriously, it's only makeup"
Do take your skincare more seriously and yes it does take a lot to get that 'dewy, radiant', complexion!

And on to the gift bag. What was in my goody bag?

(Deluxe sample of Orgasm polish, Makeup Cleansing Oil and Copacabana Illuminator)

But the best part - getting the Anniversary NARS palette that was a Nordstrom exclusive. I believe this came out last year?

Eye shadows:
Top Row - Alhambra, Abyssnia
Bottom Row - Ashes to Ashes, Pandora

Middle row
Top - Orgasm Blush
Bottom - South Beach Multiple

Top: Baby Doll Lip Laquer, Red Lizard
Bottom: Manhunt, Fire Down Below

(yay more REDS!)
I feel a challenge coming on.....

As you know, I'm not a beginner - most of the time the attending makeup artists left me alone after they recommended colors to me. They knew that I knew what I was doing. But I really appreciated the NARS products I currently owned - I am now doing a lot of color mixing and having even more fun with makeup.

Will this make me an exclusive NARS convert? Probably not, I like to have just as much fun with other brands too!


  1. Wow you do have an amazing glow!

    can't wait to see what do you what your new goodies

  2. You look HOT and I can't believe I don't already own Jolie Poupee...or Taj Mahal...must fix this!


  3. Thanks ladies - it was such a fun event!

    Joey, I am truly shocked because not only it is a NARS duo but it contains a violet and a purple shade!

    I bet Taj Mahal would look great on both of you!

  4. I LOVE your look after NARS! You look so flawless and glowing!! Lately I've been lemming NARS like mad, so it was fun living vicariously through your post. Can't wait to see what you think of your new goodies =)

  5. Aw thanks Dovey! I was always a fan but I'm an even bigger fan after this class - I picked up lots of tips and ideas.

  6. Omg I just had a big ole NARgasm reading this post, and I'm so jealous because I want to take this master class! Your headshot is fucking fierce bootch. WERK!

  7. Haaaaaaa - thanks Bootch. It's hard giving give fierce face with hella people looking and quietly judging you! hahaha

    Thanks girl - I hope you are well!