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NARS Bloodwork lipgloss: Creepy name but Gorgeous shade!

I’m sure you’ve all realised by now that I love a good red lip so of course I had to share one of my new faves, NARS Bloodwork lipgloss. I used this in a FOTD some what recently but I thought this shade was way too fabulous not to have its own post.
The name ‘Bloodwork’ might put you off but I can definitely see why NARS went with it because this is definitely one really opaque (but beautiful) blood coloured red.

I picked up the mini size which came in a gift set with 4 other shades and was planning on getting a full sized version but this colour seems to have disappeared from the NARS website. I’m assuming that means it’s been discontinued 😦

I decided to still do a post on it though because discontinued never really means discontinued in the makeup world.

Just look at that gorgeous colour! It’s got a definite tinge of orange in it which has this really brightening effect and which makes it a perfect summer shade.

The gloss itself is a bit thick and quite sticky as most NARS glosses seem to be but I don’t find it uncomfortable to wear. I just find that I need to check on my lips a few times a day to see how the colour’s wearing and touch up if necessary.

As this is such an opaque shade, my preference is to wear it over a lipliner so I don’t have to continuosly reapply it but it’s personal preference. I find that I can get a good 2 to 3 hours wear out of this product if I don’t eat or drink.

If you’re a bit scared of the intensity, you can always wear it as stain by blotting the colour off or by applying a bit with your finger.

Sorry the colour below is a bit uneven because I didn’t blot the colour off carefully.

I prefer a glossier lip so if you’re like me, just put some clear gloss on top to keep the intense shine that Bloodwork has when applied more opaquely.

I also did a comparison with Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque. That’s Dragon on the left and Bloodwork on the right. I really like Bloodwork but I just don’t think it has the same versatility, complexity and longevity that Dragon does.

I’d definitely recommend this shade if you get the chance to purchase it. I wouldn’t recommend it over Chanel Dragon but it’s definitely a nice red.
Have you tried this shade? What do you think of it? Also, what lengths have you gone to so that you can own a discontinued product? Let me know below!

NARS Yachiyo vs Japonesque Bamboo/Goat Kabuki brush

This review is long over due and I apologise but here it is ,the comparison review between the NARS Yachiyo brush and its dupe from Japonesque, the bamboo/goat kabuki brush. Here’s my original review on the NARS Yachiyo brush if you’re interested: CLICK HERE!

Both brushes look the same for the most part except that the NARS brush is all black and the Japonesque one is white. I should warn you that because of the white hairs, the Japonesque brush stains really easily. It also smells really bad the first few times you wash it which I haven’t found to be the case with the NARS brush.

Both brushes have a similar design and have thin, wrapped handles except that the NARS brush is wrapped in black wisteria and the Japonesque brush is wrapped in bamboo. The brushes both seem very similar in weight but the NARS brush feels slightly sturdier and has a bit more weight to it. The length of the hairs and the size of the brush heads are very alike but the hairs in the NARS brush are alot softer than those of the Japonesque brush and you can tell that hairs in the NARS brush are of a higher quality.

Despite how similar these brushes look, they perform quite differently and I think the difference is enough that I would definitely not consider the Japonesque brush to be a dupe for the NARS one. I tried to capture the differences in application but it was a bit hard. Hopefully the following picture still gives you an idea of how they both perform.

From Bug’s Beauty Blog

I had to apply the blush heavier than I usually would but hopefully you can tell that the swatch made by the Japonesque brush is more diffuse and patchier than the NARS brush. After comparing both brushes, I think the reason for this difference in application is down to how much hair each brush has. You can see in the next picture that the NARS brush has a lot more hair in it by how much thicker the area is where the hair is wrapped.

Because the NARS brush is more dense than the Japonesqe brush, it doesn’t splay as much when you apply pressure to it. This means that you can get a much more controlled application of blush with the NARS brush which makes it perfect for pigmented blush application. The NARS brush also doesn’t eat up product the way the Japonesque brush does and it picks up product in a much more even way.

The Japonesque brush is ok for blushes that aren’t so pigmented but to be honest I just don’t like using it for blush. I tried using the Japonesque brush when I first got it but I pretty much stopped after the first week or so because it’s the kind of brush I have to try and find a use for rather than one that works so well in a certain way that I can’t live without it. If I had to recommend a use for it I would say that the Japonesque brush is more suited to application of setting powder or a light sweeping of bronzer.

Usually I would be all for trying a cheaper version of a brush before deciding whether to splurge on the pricier version but in this case, if you’re trying to decide between the both, I would honestly just recommend saving up for the NARS. I know the NARS brush is quite expensive compared to the Japonesque one but if you’re anything like me you’ll definitely get your money’s worth because it’s definitely a far superior brush than the Japonesque one and you won’t regret purchasing it.

Get ready for the heatwave with NARS Heatwave lipstick

I apologise for the lame title but I just couldn’t help myself and I blame it on the lipstick! NARS Heatwave is a bright orange toned red that’s a must have if you’re searching for that perfect retro pin up girl red. It’s apparently one of the most used red’s on the show Mad Men and you know I had to jump on board the band wagon when I heard that because Christina Hendricks rocks a red lip like no one else. She just oozes old hollywood glamour!

This lipstick is another one of NARS semi matte formulas so it can be a bit drying so always exfoliate and lightly moisturise your lips before applying. It goes on nicely but it has a little bit of resistance to it compared with my creamier lipsticks but I quite like the texture.

I described it as being an orange toned red before but I think it’s really more of a corally red as it also has a little bit of pink to it. I think that’s why I find it more wearable because I’ve tried straight out orange reds before and they look quite unflattering on me but I like the way this one looks. You can see that it’s super bright and its warm undertones makes it a perfect summer red lip. I can also see it working as an easy lip stain by applying it lightly and then rubbing it into the lips.

I’ve heard this colour described as a universal red but I’m not going to go that far because I’ve been disappointed far too many times by red lipsticks that get hyped up in that way. I think it’s a nice red and definitely worth checking out but this is one of those shades that I recommend you try before you buy. I think every girl should have at least one great red lipstick in her makeup collection. Maybe NARS Heatwave will be that perfect red for you.

Wishlist: NARS Bento Box lip set

I love Japanese art and culture and I love NARS so the combination of both is something I hate to pass up. This is the reason why I’ve been buying all the NARS brushes from their Artisan brush range and also the reason why I really, really, really want the new NARS Bento Box lip set. This set which has been released for the holiday season truly transcends the makeup category and is really a work of art. It is so stunning and everything from the wooden box it comes in to the colour of the lip products just screams elegance, quality and beautiful workmanship.

The only problem is that this gorgeous set comes with an astronomical price tag. The set goes for $125 in the US (which I would actually gladly pay) but this set runs a ridiculous $240 in Australia and I just can’t justify spending that much money on it! If the US was charging the same price then maybe I could convince myself that was the value of the product but knowing that the product is almost 50% cheaper in the US makes it a no go in my books.

This set is stunning though and I have a feeling I’ll end up cracking and buying it on evil bay for a hopefully cheaper than $240 price. The set comes with two lipsticks that are in a new formula exclusive to NARS. The lipsticks are in the shades Maiko and Sakura which are a vibrant red and bright pink respectively and both shades look gorgeous. The set comes with a lip brush included and this brush is similar to the NARS Yachiyo brush in that its handle is covered in black wisteria.

The concept for this set seems to come from traditional geisha makeup which involves the extraction of the red pigment from safflower ( a variety of flower) which is then used to paint the inside of ceramic bowls. To use this pigment you have to dissolve it by using a wet brush and then paint it on. I haven’t seen the texture of the NARS version in person but it seems more similar to a typical lipstick than the true geisha makeup. The amount of product held in each bowl is apparently the same as is offered in a full size NARS lipstick bullet. Apparently you should be able to get about 150 uses from each bowl.

I seriously am in love with this set and I even adore the promo pictures featuring Francois Nars’ muse Daphne Guinness. She looks so ethereal and regal at the same time. It’s so visually stunning. There were only 3000 of these sets produced and 1000 of these will be sold in the US and 2000 will be for sale internationally. Exclusivity is the name of the game when it comes to this set. I know that MECCA in Australia is selling it so all of you Aussies who have money to burn better snap one up quick if you’re interested!

NARS Kabuki Artisan Brush Collection: Ita Kabuki Brush

This is another one of the brushes from the NARS Kabuki Artisan brush collection and it’s called the Ita Kabuki brush. There’s another brush also named the Ita but that seems to be referred to purely as the Ita brush.

Like the rest of the brushes in this collection, this is a very unusual looking brush.

The brush head is quite rectangular but it’s still quite a fluffy brush.

I didn’t really know what I was going to use it for when I bought it but I have discovered that it is awesome for contouring. I’ve been really into contouring of late which is why I purchased the MAC 109 brush as this was its main purpose but the problem was that it seemed to pick up way too much product and deposit it in a way that resulted in obvious streaks across my face. This is not the look you want when contouring! Contouring when done properly should add a subtle and natural looking definition to your face and with the ITA kabuki brush that’s the result you get!

Here’s a comparison between my MAC 109 on the left and the ITA kabuki on the right:

Here’s a picture comparing the denisty of both brushes with the MAC 109 on top and the ITA Kabuki on the bottom:

As you can see, the MAC 109 is alot denser than the Ita Kabuki brush which is one of the reasons why I think the ITA kabuki leaves a more subtle line of colour than the MAC 109. Here’s a reference picture I took using my Embark eyeshadow.

The application of the NARS Ita Kabuki is much more even and subtle. I think this also comes down to the brush design as the shape of the brush tapers on the edges which seems to allow it to concentrate the majority of the colour towards the middle and buff out the colour on the edges. The fluffiness of the Ita Kabuki also means that you end up with a more diffused line without having to put effort in to buffing it out.

I think the MAC 109 is an awesome brush and I use it for a range of things but for contouring the NARS Ita is definitely where it’s at. I know the Ita is more expensive but I think that it’s worth investing in good tools if the results they give you are going to be more nautral and flawless. This brush can also be used for other application types such as for blush and bronzer but I haven’t really used it for these just because I have plenty of other blush brushes and bronzer brushes.

NARS Kabuki Artisan Brush collection: Botan brush

The Botan brush by NARS is one of the four brushes from their Kabuki Artisan Brush Collection and it is the mother of all brushes. I mean as far as Kabuki’s go, this is one big brush! It’s another brush that is based on traditional Japanese brushes. I had been lemming it for a while because it just looked awesome so I was really excited when it arrived. I should say before I begin my review that this brush seems to be one of those love it or hate it things. Not many people really sit on the fence about it and online reviews are really mixed and contradictory about quite a few aspects of the brush.

So anyway, the first thing I did when I received it was to wash the brush a few times as I do with all my brushes when I first purchase them. I was a bit worried when I first washed it because the dye bled quite a bit and this brush shed like crazy! I went online and checked reviews and found that there were others with the same experience so I relaxed a bit. I think it’s normal for brushes that are this dense to shed because there’s just so many hairs packed in that a few of them are bound to fall out. I will say that this brush takes a ridiculous amount of time to dry because of its density and that I had to leave it for 3 days before it was really useable.

Here’s a picture of it from the side so you can see how big and dense it is.

It may not look very big when in this picture and even I didn’t truly understand how big it was when I first receivied it until I compared it to a standard kabuki. I took a picture of it next to my Jemma Kidd kabuki brush as a reference:

The head of the Jemma Kidd Kabuki is very similar to the size of a standard powder brush such as the MAC 150. You can see just how much bigger the NARS Botan is. It’s so big it covers most of the side of my face if I hold it up to my cheek. The immense size and density is what’s leaving me confused as to what its use is.

When I read reviews online, alot of people wrote that they use this brush as a finishing brush to blend their make up as a final step and apply their finishing powder. In theory this sounded awesome but when I tried to do this it really did not work for me. Instead of getting this flawlessly blended makeup look, this brush just ended up wiping away all my hard work concealing and applying blush. I tried using it very gently but this brush is so dense that it just strips off my makeup and leaves my application looking patchy.

I think this brush would be good for people who don’t have blemishes on their face that they need to conceal as there wouldn’t be any concealer to wipe off. This brush would also be great for people who only wear powder foundation or want to wear bronzer all over their face as you could buff the products in really well and attain a flawless finish. My only concern is just how gentle this brush is for your face.

When you touch this brush it feels super soft but for some reason this doesn’t translate when you brush it against your face. I’ve seen quite a few other people say that this brush was harsh on their skin. While I don’t think it feels like it’s stripping your skin away (like I read in one review), I also don’t think it’s as gentle and soft as NARS and some reviewers would have you believe. Some reviewers say you need to break this brush in so it reaches its ultimate softness but I would just not advise getting this brush if you have very sensitive skin.

Since I purchased this brush a few weeks ago, I really haven’t had much cause to use it. The few times that I have reached for it has been to buff off my makeup when I’ve applied too much blush or powder. I use the brush to buff off the top layer, touch up my concealer and then just reapply my blush and powder to my liking. I also like doing this if I’ve applied a blush colour I don’t like and want to use something else.

The only other use I have been able to find for this brush is to apply powder to my jawline, neck and chest so it doesn’t look like I’m my face is a different colour to the rest of me. This brush is really good for this as it covers large areas really quickly. Apart from these rare instances though, I’m afraid my Botan brush just sits by itself on my shelf away from all my other brushes as it can’t even fit in my brush container.

Don’t be discouraged though if you want to try this brush because I think it’s a good brush depending on the type of skin you have and what you want to buy it for. I think the key to finding the perfect brush for a particular use is research so just make sure you do yours before taking the plunge because I should warn you that this brush is pricey! It’s $75 in the US and $145 in Australia!

I definitely would not have paid full price in Australia for it and I doubt I would have paid full price in America for it either just because I haven’t found it to be that useful. The only reason I’m ok with having this brush despite not using it much is because I picked it up for a ridiculously good price online. So ridiculously good a price in fact that I thought it was a fake but I am now sure it’s not.

As always, if you have the money to spend and you think this brush would be useful for you then go check it out but otherwise I would say this brush definitely falls in the non-essential and probably unnecessary pile. That’s a pretty big statement for me to make becasuse Oprah had this brush listed as one of her favourite things and I love Oprah, but O, I gotta say that you may have gotten it wrong with this one! There are so many other great, more user friendly brushes out there that you could buy for a fraction of the cost of this one but as always the choice is yours to make!

UPDATE 6/10/2010:
I was getting really frustrated with my inability to use this brush for any real purpose so I went to my closest NARS counter (well Mecca counter seeing as I live in Australia) to speak to a makeup artist. I told her that I just couldn’t figure out how to use the brush because I thought I could use it as finishing brush but it kept wiping of my makeup.

This is what she told me:
1. This brush is made mainly for applying a base of powder product whether it’s bronzer or powder foundation or mineral powder makeup.
2. The density of the brush means that it will buff those products in quite flawlessly and give you a natural looking finish.
3. It’s not ideal for applying powder on top of cream or liquid products as they tend to move under the density of this brush.
4. If you do use liquid or cream first then you can’t apply powder on top using a buffing motion and instead have to use a sort of gentle pat and roll motion so as not to disturb the makeup too much.
5. This brush will get softer the longer you use it.

This brings me back to the point I made earlier about researching prior to purchasing a product. If I had gone to a counter and had a feel for the product then I would have known that this brush wasn’t for me. Hopefully my experiences will help you with your research though and give you an idea of whether or not this brush is for you. If you have purchased the brush or have used it then I would love to hear your thoughts below.