Nars Holiday 2011

I was on Oxford Street the other day, taking in all of the lights and sights and sounds and I can say that it is definitely festive. Like it or loathe it, Christmas is getting earlier and earlier as the years spin round and whilst I firmly believe that it shouldn’t be getting going any earlier than November, I do like the fact that this means that the holiday collections are on the way!

Today I have some things from Nars’ Holiday collection for you. It only feels like five minutes since we were looking at things from Autum Winter, but things move fast around here. There are three new eyeshadows in the collection, so let’s start with those, shall we?

Ponderosa is my first ever cream shadow from Nars. There’s a black cream that I’ve been meaning to buy for absolutely ages but other things seem to keep taking preference. Generally, cream eyeshadows are a bit scary – what about creasing and melting and all the usual concerns.

I went to the Nars counter in Liberty the other day and had a fantastic hour relaxing and playing with all of the products, and the make-up artist who served me said that often creme eyeshadows are better used in the crease as a contrast shade, rather than all over the lid. Although a light touch and a good whack of primer means that the latter is possible as well. Ponderosa stayed put all day, with no creasing or melting – seriously impressive.

However, Ponderosa is so dark that I haven’t yet summoned up the courage to wear it all over my eye, so you see it here layered over Himalayas, one of my favourite Nars single shadows (it looks white but flashes pink duochrome). It looks lighter in the pan than when it transfers to the eye so you need to go easy – it is like a glossier and smoother creme version of Mekong. It builds and blends perfectly, and has tiny pieces of golden shimmer that actually (shock horror) show up on the eye. It’s love.

St Mark’s Place is one of the two new Larger Than Life eyeliners that have been released for this season. Reportedly based on Nars’ cult eyeshadow Daphne (which I don’t actually own), St Mark’s Place is a stunning bright violet shade. I knew I had to have this the moment I heard about it and I was not disappointed. It glides on beautifully, stays all day, and further fuels the myth that purple shades look best on brown eyes – it’s great.

Mandchourie didn’t really flicker on my radar until I saw it in the shop. The left hand side is a beautiful soft grey that is shot through with flecks of gold shimmer. It isn’t glittery, so there is no fall-out, the gold just gives it an additional dimension. Beautiful.

The blue shade is perfectly matte and really caters to my desire for navy and dark blues at the moment. They’re not the easiest to blend together and I had to work at these for a bit but I had no regrets at all after buying this and actually can’t wait to wear it again.

I think I might even need a back-up of Mandchourie, you know…

Speaking of working at things, here we have Arabian Nights. Probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in the pan, but the hardest to work woth. Like the rest of Nars’ Night collection, this looks divine, until you actually come to get it on your eye.

All of the coloured “pearls” vanish into oblivion, leaving you with a chalky, charcoal effect. Even the lighter pink shade smudges out to a blargh grey. Below you see it used wet, tapering off into dry.

I spent an hour trying to get Arabian Nights to work for me. I tried it over my usual primer, then the Nars’ own primer, then over a white creme shadow. Nothing. It all looked like this:

Crap. And before the Make-Up Alley fanatics get on at me, yes, I do know how to apply Nars eyeshadows. I own 30 of them. I know about patting not sweeping and all the rest of it, but this didn’t stop me from feeling frustrated witn Arabian Nights.

I decided to try it wet as liner, in an attempt to salvage something from the trio. Slightly Winehouse-esque maybe, but it worked! Phew.

Then, inspiration hit. I soaked a brush in water and applied a really light wash of the middle shade to my eyelid. It was like one of those painting by numbers things you used to do when you were little. Whilst that was still damp, I then packed the shadow onto the brush, and slapped it on to my damp base. It took a while, and there was absolutely no blending to be done.

It’s a look any way. Not one for every day, perhaps but I am pleased I made it work. I’m used to a light lid shade and dark in the crease, and there is no way you can get this with Arabian Nights. But look, the glitter shows, and it looks good, if very vampy block colour is your thing. If not, stick to using it as liner. But if you ask me whether you need it? No, you don’t. No one should have to work this hard at eye make-up.

Finally… Albatross gloss. It’s no secret that I adore Albatross highlighter and will recommend it to anyone after either a new highlighter or a Nars product, so I was interested to see the lipgloss version. In the tube it looks like a very alarming shade of white, but on the lip is perfectly reminiscent of the highlighter – shimmery and with a gorgeous hint of gold. Love it, this will also be really nice for layering over a matte lipstick.

So, there we have it. What do you think? It’s not the most straightforward collection but I love Mandchourie and Ponderosa. I can see myself recreating the Arabian Nights look next month when I go and see Motley Crue but probably not at many other times. Is there anything here you like the look of?


*Ponderosa, Albatross & Arabian Nights were PR samples,.Mandchourie & St Mark’s Place were purchased by me*



  1. 7th November 2011 / 7:41 AM

    interesting Albatross highlighter !

  2. 7th November 2011 / 12:12 PM

    I do harbour regrets for purchasing Arabian Nights last week, but I did finally get it to work after using your wet brush technique. I’m not sure quite how much use I will get out of it, but at least it’s not totally wasted! xx

  3. 7th November 2011 / 12:42 PM

    Ponderosa is really cute but I’ll be skipping Arabian Nights.
    As a side note I love Motley Crue! I saw them at a couple festivals and they are awesome but was too late for tickets this year 🙁
    S xx

  4. 7th November 2011 / 2:53 PM

    Love Ponderosa and Mandchourie on you – beautiful. I never look at NARS e/s but I’m gonna now!! That purple liner looks gorgeous too.

    Hate Arabian Nights – it’s all hype!

  5. 7th November 2011 / 4:22 PM

    I find this collection rather disappointing so I won’t be buying anything from this collection.

  6. 7th November 2011 / 8:04 PM

    The shadows are beautiful in the pan. You certainly have to work hard at getting them to look gorgeous. You really got Arabian Nights to look incredible. I always think of you when I see that a new collection from Nars is coming out. You look lovely with every look.

  7. 7th November 2011 / 10:25 PM

    I really normally love Nars eyshadows and loved the look of the Arabian Nights, exactly my sort of colours. But I’ve read on a few blogs that it’s not great, boo!

  8. 11th November 2011 / 10:07 PM

    How gorgeous would that trio be if it actually worked? The blue glitter is gorgeous in the look that you achieved but I agree, no eyeshadow should take that long to work, especially one that is so costly. I find that issue with a lot of NARS shadows though, remember Daphne? That looked SO nice in the pan but whenever I swatched it, it was a chalky mess. I want to buy Outremer but the payoff doesn’t convince me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *