At the NARS booth for TMSLA, they were including a card with purchase for 20% off at their Melrose location. I visited the boutique back around the end of April just when their new summer collection was released, and was incredibly impressed with both the layout of the boutique and the friendly and talented artists. They unexpectedly offered to do my makeup in order to really "play around" with all of the new products. It was one of the best experiences I've had with a makeup artist and suffice to say, I left with a lot of new makeup tips and a smaller bank account.
The first must have item that I knew I wanted was the new Contour Blush ($42). I was going to get the medium shade, Paloma, but they talked me into getting the lightest shade, Olympia. I'm glad they did, because it is a foolproof subtle daytime contour color (I'll still be sticking with my Kevin Aucoin Sculpting Powder for evenings). After playing around on my own for the past few weeks, I've found this to be a very unique product. The contour shade has a definite pink tone, but not really enough to be a normal blush. I like to use it right below my cheekbone, but above where I would normally contour. It gives the subtle effect of wearing both. While the highlight side is incredibly subtle on the face because it's matte, the NARS artist said her favorite way to use it is as a browbone highlight.
Next up were the new summer collection eyeshadows. The single in Malacca ($25) was the obvious choice, especially once I swatched it and they applied it. For having such a duochrome appearance in the pan, it can be applied softly and blended out look like a complex brown shade, or easily built up to it's smoky max. I had a difficult time deciding between the Tropical Princess and Lost Coast duos ($35 each). Lost Coast seemed like the more obvious wearable choice at first, but this is where the NARS artist pretty much blew my mind. The secret to the Tropical Princess duo is layering. First she used the golden shade in the Isolde duo all over the lid (now on my wish list, by the way). Next she put Malacca in the outer corner and really blended it out and into the crease. The final step was to layer the green shade from Tropical princess over the lid, and the entire look just popped in this perfect, subtle way. I can't get enough now of layering both the green and purple over everything. It looks especially nice under the eye as well for a subtle pop of color. It can even be easily built up on it's own if that's your thing (gorgeous and unique on pale skin as seen here).
The last item I was sold on was their Yachiyo Kabuki brush ($55). I've been wanting a brush like this for a long time, in particular the Hakuhodo one, but the price has really held me off. Figured with the 20% off and the expert guidance from the NARS artist on how to use it, now was as good a time as any to go for it. The trick to using the Yachiyo is to hold it from the very end, and let the flexible handle and stiff/soft brush do all the blending work for you. It makes every blush from subtle to intensely pigmented blend like a dream.
I'm still lusting after the Iraklion Soft Touch Shadow Pencil and the Lost Coast eyeshadow duo that I resisted. Another trip to the NARS Melrose boutique is probably in order soon!