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NARS Summer 2012 Collection — Colors For The Leisure-Loving Jetsetter

Usually, come summertime, cosmetics companies embrace beautiful but predictable palettes that incorporate aquatic tones (teals, turquoises, azures, aquamarines, sky blues, cobalts, navy shades, and seafoam greens); shimmering earth tones (pearly shades of sandy cream, khaki, and warm brown); sizzling metallics like gold, copper, and bronze; and punchy brights like raspberry pink, coral orange, and deep magenta; and  fluorescent iterations of bold hues like blue, green, purple, and pink. But, if there’s anything beauty hounds know about François Nars, it’s that the cosmetics mastermind rarely ever plays it safe, his marvelous understanding of color and texture apparent in each surprising color collection. The  NARS Cosmetics Summer 2012 Collection is no exception.

For Summer 2012, François Nars envisioned a look that involved icy touches and iridescent shimmers along the eyes, conjuring up images of the crushed ice bits in frozen cocktails or of the luminosity of ocean and lagoon surfaces when kissed by the sun’s rays. Texture, then, is key in the eye shadows created for this collection: the Ramatuelle Trio Eyeshadow ($45 at NARScosmetics.com), which contains a matte apricot color, a satin silver shade and a shimmer-packed light peach shade reminiscent of the paler fleshy inside of said fruit; and the Marie-Galante Duo Eyeshadow  ($34 at NARScosmetics.com), which pairs an almost ethereal lilac-meets-orchid-purple hue with a smoky, shimmering, blackened blue.To round out the eye makeup offerings, there’s the Calabria Soft Shadow Eye Pencil, a deep, burnt plum hue with plenty of shimmer.

Lips, meanwhile, are either understated thanks to a glaze-like, sheer red grape (the Vendanges Lipstick) and a glossy beige pink (the Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil), or bold thanks to a matte strawberry red hue (the Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick) and a vivacious, deep azalea pink (the Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil).

Lastly nails get just a hint of color: a delicate seashell pink that’s creamier than it is opaque.

Below, you’ll find photos of all the products in the collection, along with swatches of a few key products. Dive in!


Those looking to create an understated makeup look that will brighten the face and add just a touch of color will live for the NARS Ramatuelle Trio Eyeshadow ($45 at NARScosmetics.com). The eye shadow trio contains three pale hues that work excellently together. The deeper apricot color has a matte texture, making it an ideal base for your makeup look, while the shimmering creamy peach hue adds an icy sheen that gives any look an ethereal, dreamy quality. Both of these colors have a fleshy characteristic to them that’s consistent with the “no makeup” trend that’s been so popular as of late. The light silver color, meanwhile, adds a bit of contrast to the warmer, more golden peach and apricot hues.

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When you first look at the NARS Marie-Galante Duo Eyeshadow ($34 at NARScosmetics.com), you’re likely to fall in love with the depth of the purple and blue shadows in their sleek case. In truth, based on how dark the pressed eye shadows look in their packaging, you might think they’d be better suited for a fall or winter collection, but here’s why they’re ideal for summer: while they look dark and mysterious in their palette, once applied to the skin, the colors look diaphanous and celestial, shimmering and iridescent. This is particularly true of the purple color which, when swatched, looks more like a light lilac hue, saturated with silvery shimmer to magnify the otherworldly quality of the product. The blue hue, meanwhile, has a more somber tone to it, so that the deep navy shade almost borders on a smoky gunmetal hue, a handful of micro pearls adding a hint of luminosity to the otherwise severe hue. Together, the shades create a lovely play on textures, a push-and-pull between darkness and light. Ideally, you’ll want to wear them layered over one another (consider applying the darker hue first, then topping it with the iridescent lilac hue) or combined with other shades in your collection for a multi-dimensional effect.

Below you’ll find swatches of the two eye shadow hues in the Marie-Galante Duo Eyeshadow:

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Named for the region south of Naples, the NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24 at NARScosmetics.com) is described as a shimmering plum color but, in truth, has more maroon-ish undertones, making it more of a raisin-y shade than a purple one. The color does have a fair amount of shimmering, but it’s distributed so evenly that it creates more of a metallic sheen. And, as with all Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, you can wear the color by itself on your lids, layer it underneath other powder shadows, or use it to line the upper or lower lash lines.

Here’s what the hue looks like on the skin:

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This is the type of versatile, no-fuss, natural-looking color that captures the ease of summer but can also transcend the season and be incorporated into any look where a muted lip is ideal. The NARS Buenos Aires Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24 at NARScosmetics.com), then, has a pinkish beige hue and the type of shiny finish we associate with glosses, so that you can apply it with the ease an precision of a pencil but still benefit from the mirror effect you’d get with a gloss.

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As a fan of bold colors and a statement-making lip, I’ve been swooning over the NARS Never Say Never Matte Lip Pencil ($24 at NARScosmetics,com), a delicious shade of azalea pink with cool, lilac undertones. Though it’s a bold shade, it’s not saturated with pigment so that it looks like more of a stain on the lips — almost as if you’d applied lipstick and then blotted it with a tissue to soften the effect. I personally like to layer the color until I can lift it to a more robust intensity but those of you going for a more demure look will definitely appreciate the moderate pigmentation.  Also, the color has a nice matte finish, which I personally tend to prefer to overly glossy hues since it doesn’t dilute the color in any way.

Here’s a swatch of the Never Say Never Matte Lip Pencil:

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On the lipstick front, the collection incorporates the NARS Vendanges Sheer Lipstick ($24 at NARScosmetics.com), which is described as a “sheer grape” hue. I’d actually describe the color as more of a fig hue since there are earthy, brownish tones mixed in with reddish purple ones, but the color certainly has a gourmand, Mediterranean feel to it. The sheer formulation, meanwhile, makes the color look as juicy as a freshly-picked fruit.

Here’s what the NARS Vendanges Sheer Lipstick looks like on the skin:

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To complete the selection of lip color offerings, there’s the NARS Moscow Pure Matte Lipstick ($24 at NARScosmetics.com), a strawberry red shade meant to achieve a bolder, more striking look.

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Though summer collections are typically bursting at the seams with several bronzer options, golden coral blushes, and rosy pink cheek colors, the NARS Summer 2012 collection incorporates an unexpected cheek color offering: the NARS Libérté Blush ($28 at NARScosmetics.com). This intense, corpulent, burnished apricot hue will give  cheeks a slightly windswept look that’s more striking than the traditional glitter-packed bronzers and blushes of the season.

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The NARS Trouville Nail Polish ($18 at NARScosmetics.com) conveys delicacy and daintiness. The creamy color is a light pink that feels warm, like the inside of a conch shell, and it’s somewhat sheer yet buildable enough that you can achieve full coverage with several coats.

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