A Closer Look at the Lovely NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection

Published in: Collections, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

NARS Exhibit A Blush

Wearing Exhibit A Blush, Mississippi Cinematic Eyeshadow and Goodbye Emmanuelle Cinematic Lipstick from the new NARS Guy Bourdin collection

Earlier this week, the day after I posted a quick look at this collection, I learned that the release, specifically the tie-in to Guy Bourdin’s sometimes dark, disturbing photography, sparked a controversy. I’ve decided to cover the collection because I see this as an issue of art, personal preference and freedom of expression. As someone who was in an abusive relationship, I could say more, but I don’t intend to say anything further about it in public.

The Blushes ($29 each)

NARS Guy Bourdin Blush

The three NARS Guy Bourdin Blushes

The first products I ever fell in love with from NARS were their blushes (can I get a what-what for Amour?!), and the blushes in this release reminded me of that. The brand has some of the best blushes around. In classic NARS fashion, the three here in the Guy Bourdin collection last all day long, look natural, and I don’t have to load a dozen layers on my cheeks to see them.

NARS Exhibit A

Blush in Exhibit A, a matte vivid red

First, there’s Exhibit A, a re-promote from the permanent line. It’s a vivid red with a matte finish…

NARS Coeur Battant

Blush in Coeur Battant, a magenta

Then, there’s Coeur Battant, also a matte, but this one’s an intense magenta.

NARS Day Dream

Blush in Day Dream, a peachy pink

Lastly, there’s Day Dream, a peachy pink with an opalescent, almost angelic shimmer.

The big theme here? Pigment. One or two swipes across each of these pans is all it takes for bright color on both cheeks. For reals! Even Day Dream, which I thought I’d have to layer, only requires a couple swipes.

But because these blushes lay down lots of color, they can be very tricky to use. Even with a light touch, it’s easy to go overboard with them (at least for me). If you’ve never worn blush before, you might want to go for something sheerer. There are lots of great beginner’s blushes out there, but I don’t think these three are among them.

If, on the other hand, you’re already comfortable with blush (or if you’re just an adventurous beginner), you should be totally fine.

And yeah, I know you’ve got mad blush skills, yo! — but still, I’d opt for either a skunk brush or a fan brush, instead of a regular blush brush, to avoid over-applying. Might as well make it easier on yourself, ya know?


NARS Day Dream Blush

Blush in Day Dream

NARS Exhibit A Blush

Blush in Exhibit A

NARS Coeur Battant

Blush in Coeur Battant

NARS Guy Bourdin Swatches Blushes

Blushes from the left: Exhibit A (a vivid matte red), Coeur Battant (a magenta) and Day Dream (a peachy pink)

The Cinematic Lipsticks ($26 each)

NARS Cinematic Lipstick

Now playing, the Cinematic Lipsticks…

In the event you were hoping the new Cinematic Lipsticks would last through a grilled cheese sandwich, they don’t…but that’s okay with me, because they’re smoooooove.

Smooth and lightweight (kind of like the MAC Mineralize Rich Lipsticks), these almost feel like balms — incredibly pigmented balms.

A single layer lasts from 2-4 hours for me…assuming I avoid grilled cheese.

You might think that the rosy shade, Last Tango, would be the only easy shade here to wear, seeing as it’s the most neutral, but even the brights avoid drama like the plague. You could even skip lip liner if you want (and I do).

As if that wasn’t reason enough to fall for these, they don’t have any funky flavors or scents, and they’re hella moisturizing, too. These are my favorite items in the entire Guy Bourdin collection.


NARS Short Circuit

Cinematic Lipstick in Short Circuit, a fiery coral

NARS Future Red

Cinematic Lipstick in Future Red, a cherry

NARS Last Tango

Cinematic Lipstick in Last Tango, a dusty rose

NARS Goodbye Emmanuelle

Cinematic Lipstick in Goodbye Emmaunelle, a hot pink

NARS Full Frontal

Cinematic Lipstick in Full Frontal, a rosy violet

NARS Goodbye Emmanuelle

Cinematic Lipstick in Goodbye Emmanuelle

NARS Last Tango

Cinematic Lipstick in Last Tango

NARS Full Frontal

Cinematic Lipstick in Full Frontal

NARS Short Circuit

Cinematic Lipstick in Short Circuit

NARS Future Red

Cinematic Lipstick in Future Red

NARS Guy Bourdin Swatches Cinematic Lipsticks

Cinematic Lipsticks from the left: Future Red (a cherry), Short circuit (a fiery coral), Last Tango (a dusty rose), Goodbye Emmanuelle (a hot pink) and Full Frontal (a rosy violet)

The Cinematic Eyeshadows ($24 each)


Cinematic Eyeshadow in Rage, an electric orchid ($24)

WARNING: Klutzes beware. If it seems like you’re always dropping your makeup on the ground, 1) I feel your pain, sister; and 2) you may have to handle these new Cinematic Eyeshadows with kid gloves.

They’re made with a new eyeshadow formulation, appearing for the first time here in the Guy Bourdin collection, and it’s bunny tail soft.

I’m talking so soft that it almost feels like a cream.

On the one hand, that’s great, because they’re so easy to blend and apply. The shadows effortlessly glide across the skin, making it incredibly easy to blend away each and every harsh line.

It’s almost unreal how easy it is to create gorgeous gradients with these shadows.

Buuuut, on the other hand, I think that softness may also explain why two of them, Mississippi Mermaid and Bad Behaviour, shattered on their way to Tabs the Cat Industries, LLC…

If Chanel’s buttery Ombre Essentielle Soft Touch Eyeshadow singles make your heart flutter, something tells me you’ll also like these. They feel very similar to me, with the biggest difference being that the Cinematic Eyeshadows contain much more pigment.

As for the finish? Well…it’s interesting. It reflects a lot of light, but it’s not as shiny as a frost. I’d peg it as somewhere between a frost and a satin. Really pretty.

On top of my trusty NARS Pro-Prime Eyeshadow Base, these last a solid 10+ hours without any creasing.

Impressive, but dagnabbit! — I just know I’m going to drop one of these on my foot or the floor, and it’s going to break into a gazillion tiny pieces.

It’s just a matter of time…


NARS Wishful Thinking

Cinematic Eyeshadow in Wishful Thinking, a macaw blue

NARS Cambodia

Cinematic Eyeshadow in Cambodia, a pinkish copper

NARS Mississippi Mermaid

Cinematic Eyeshadow in Mississippi Mermaid, a champagne

NARS Bad Behaviour

Cinematic Eyeshadow in Bad Behaviour, a deep pewter

NARS Cambodia

Cinematic Eyeshadow in Cambodia


Cinematic Eyeshadow in Rage

NARS Wishful Thinking

Cinematic Eyeshadow in Wishful Thinking

NARS Mississippi Mermaid

Cinematic Eyeshadow in Mississippi Mermaid

NARS Bad Behaviour

Cinematic Eyeshadow in Bad Behaviour

NARS Guy Bourdin Swatches Cinematic Eyeshadows

Cinematic Eyeshadows from the left: Wishful Thinking (a macaw blue), Rage (an electric orchid), Bad Behaviour (a deep pewter), Cambodia (a pink copper) and Mississippi Mermaid (a champagne)

The Nail Polishes ($19 each)

NARS Guy Bourdin Nail Polish

Nail Polishes from the left: No Limits (a bright pinkish violet), Follow Me (a deep fuchsia), Tomorrow’s Red (a scarlet flame) and Union Libre (a blossom pink), $19 each

With all four of these polishes, “saturation” is the key word. Two layers and I’m good.

Two of them, Deep fuchsia Follow Me and bright pinkish violet No Limits, have a really interesting finish… It’s not quite matte — more like a semi matte — whereas bright pink Union Libre and scarlet Tomorrow’s Red have a classic high shine.

I think all four of them fit well with the rest of the collection, but they seem pretty standard to me (even though I still made grabby hands at the intensely pigmented colors). You could easily find similar colors for less at the drugstore.

These are probably best for NARS die-hard fans.



NARS Guy Bourdin Nail Swatches

Nail Polish swatches from the left: Union Libre, Tomorrow’s Red, Follow Me and No Limits

Overall, I’m pretty stoked about this collection. I think there’s a lot to love.

What do you think? Any cool takeaways here?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 35 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Steph says:

    I may as well just give Monsiour Nars my paycheck outright. Daydream looks divine and I think I may need Mississippi Mermaid because it looks gorgeous and is also so much fun to say (::in Southern Belle accent:: “I do believe their is a little Mississippi Mermaid a’twinklin’ on my eyes like lights on a Christmas tree just for you love” )
    I now have even higher hopes for the gifting collection….

  2. hanna says:

    Exhibit A is so red. Perfect if I was pale white.
    hanna recently posted … Giveaway: Barnes & Noble Gift Cards and Books

  3. Monica says:

    I am taking all the eyeshadows and blushes home after seeing this post =) Been stalking your blog for quite some time now, and I must say you are one of the most hardworking bloggers out there- truly marvelous!

  4. Noon says:

    Bad Behavior looks like a dream for a perfect smokey eye, omg.

  5. Charisma says:

    I definitely am looking forward for this collection for a long time. I’ll get Full Frontal and Couer Battant.
    Charisma recently posted … Riri Hearts Mac Fall Collection Nude Lipstick Reviews, Photos w/ Swatches

  6. Colleen says:

    Ohhhhh this is real bad. These are all fantastic looking, but I am really in love with the lipstick… but It’d be crazy to get all five, right? Right?!

  7. Chris25 says:

    And there goes my savings account. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Chris25 recently posted … NOTD: Foxy Slipper

  8. Lancy Cv says:

    Wow! You look fab in the first pic ๐Ÿ™‚ Lovely shades!
    Lancy Cv recently posted … Top 5 Tips to Prevent Nails from Chipping

  9. Trisha says:

    Wow! Those are some bold blushes! And I love the lipsticks on you.
    Trisha recently posted … 9 Ways to Wear Sigma Creme de Couture Eye Shadows

  10. sahana says:

    Everything looks great! Especially the lipsticks. You always manage to take great pictures!

  11. Paris B says:

    Hi Karen, I am happy you decided to cover this collection for the reasons you have said. Also, I love Amour blush which was my first NARS blush too, and I’m somehow glad we have that in common ๐Ÿ˜€
    Paris B recently posted … I did NOT just hear that! 3 skin and skincare myths debunked!

  12. Gowthami says:

    I love bold blushes!! Really osm collection
    Gowthami recently posted … Kkcenterhk.com : Online Shopping Experience | Review | Haul

  13. Chantelle says:

    Exhibit A blush is beautiful on you! x

    The Girl In The Tartan Scarf

  14. Esther says:

    Wow, I love the lipstick in Last Tango!
    Will these be available in the UK, do you know? Love your blog, just found it recently and you work sooo hard at it! Just amazing and informative and so much fun to read.

  15. Darbie says:

    I’m a daydream believer about wishful thinking. I thought I was all into the rage but thank goodness for your reviews.

  16. Tami says:

    Karen you worked so hard on this post and it’s awesome. Please pass on to Tabs you may need an extended break. Maybe a shopping spree even. You deserve it! Love Nars!!! This red lipsticks are on my to get list! Thanks for the awesome review!!!

  17. Allison says:

    Daydream blush has my name on it, even tho’ I’m still paying for the Nars velvet lip pencil in a gorgeous shade of red that I just bought. I love your description of the eye shadows — bunny tail soft, almost a cream, and I like a couple of the shades but unfortunately, I must have matte shadows.
    Allison recently posted … GIVEAWAY: Kiss Gradation Polishes Kit in Gold: Easy Ombre Mani

  18. I really love how the blushers look on you!
    Marina(Makeup4all) recently posted … Want It: ArtDeco Cream Rouge For Cheeks and Lips

  19. Still want to be a supportive reader says:

    Thank you for acknowledging the fact that Guy Bourdin’s photography troubles many, and for bravely sharing a bit of your personal story.

    Yes, one has the right to free expression, and as consumers we can choose not to buy products associated with Guy Bourdin because of that same freedom. I and many others still disagree with supporting this collection – for all the reasons expressed previously.

    All of those other issues aside, as always your photos, reviews are top notch.

  20. Danielle says:

    I love Day Dream!
    Danielle recently posted … Julep Blank Canvas Mattifying Face Primer

  21. Natalie says:

    I love the blushes and eyeshadows! Pigmented blushes are the best. Especially the bright ones.
    Natalie recently posted … YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch and Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking Mascara

  22. Trude says:

    Oh so pretty! If I could have all Nars lipsticks, blushes and shadows I would. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the way you photographed the lipsticks!
    Trude recently posted … October Desktop Background

  23. Bella says:

    Oooh, Rage and Bad Behaviour….

  24. Kim says:

    I shouldn’t be by now, but I am still amazed that you’ve not only swatched this collection but also done mini FOTDs. You’re like the Energizer Bunny of beauty blogging! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Jennifer says:

    Wow, Exhibit A looks gorgeous on you!!!

  26. Deb says:

    Karen, I have been reading your blog for a long time and respect the work you do and the amount of time you put into it. I am compelled to say that as someone who was also in an abusive (physically and emotionally) relationship, supporting this collection just feels wrong. Supporting Nars in general is now no longer an option in my life. However, it’s your blog and you certainly have the right to do whatever you want with it. I respect that and will continue reading, just skipping over any posts on Nars. And it was very brave of you to make the statement you did about being in an abusive relationship; it’s not an easy thing to admit or talk about.

  27. Nicole says:

    I am drooling over this collection! I need Day Dream, Last Tango, Rage, & Bad Behaviour. I love the names and the shades themselves.
    PS. I think this collection is loving you, too Karen because you look even more stunning than usual! =)

  28. Kells says:

    THANK YOU for covering this collection!

    Having also been in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, I appreciate how this upsets some. As a photographer and one who is drawn to art that provokes, I am able to separate the art from reality. Bourdin isn’t for everyone and I can see how this collection would strike a nerve in many. At the end of the day, it has drawn awareness to the subject.

    This collection is beautiful and I will be buying a lot of it!

  29. Denise S. says:

    Love the new blushes! Exhibit A was my first Nars purchase, so pretty.Since then I have purchased so many Nars products. I like the new nail polishes too, especially Union Libre.

  30. Glossy says:

    ohh, i really like theese blushes! look’s bit near to sleek blushes… the eye shadow colors are verry pretty too ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. fancie says:

    Everything looks sooo good! I’m a little disappointed in the lipsticks though. The formula sounds fantastic but the wear time is so short! I don’t know what to do now lol. I just know that magenta blush is coming home with me!
    fancie recently posted … MAC Nude Lipstick Review

  32. Dee says:

    Thank you for your review, great post as always =) I think some other bloggers are overreacting about this collaboration.

  33. Maureen says:

    I think it’s a gorgeous collection. It’s interesting people don’t boycott Rihanna’s collections with MAC since she was in a highly abusive relationship and went back with CB and is the type of role model she is publicly doing drugs etc. Guy Bourdin dark there is a lot of hype against him and not all his photos are glamorized violence against women. He’s been passed away a long time but was a mainstay in Vogue, harpers bazaar and has inspired many photographers so far. The makeup and inspiration I can def see with NARS always pushing the boundaries some but always beautiful artistic, and modern. People can say Terry Richardson promotes sex etc and has scandalous pictures but it’s all subjective to the person. I do not promote violence against women, however people will always have problems with something and can’t take away inspiration and seperate Nars is a modern artistic line and I think this collection is stunning!

    • Clementhyme says:

      Very nice counter to all the hysteria! People forget art is about expression and inspiration of the soul. I think some people, especially the most sensitive and conservative types, find it difficult to understand that the most volatile and intense emotions are generally the most inspiring…I cringe even thinking about all the great art lost to the judgement and condemnation of artists and their lifestyles by society. I too have been abused both emotionally and physically, but I do not agree that an artist whose expression is rooted in such behavior need be censored nor boycotted. I also have a deep appreciation for art of all mediums and I often find artist who are daring in their medium to often be very effective, take NARS for instance. I long ago came to terms with the idea that every human has flaws as well as gifts and to deny the gifts due to the flaws is a refusal to understand or accept humanity, or the human condition, at it’s most fundamental. Not surprisingly, it is simply another facet of the oldest, and arguably, most inspirational aspect of the human condition; the duality of good and evil that lives within us all…the inspiration behind some of the worlds most ancient tales, writing, and works of art.

  34. Dominique says:

    I love this collection, it’s a beautiful one. The blushes are stunning. I do not agree with some bloggers who push women to boycott this collection, such reactions are ridiculous. Back to Nars/Guy Bourdin I will pick up some items of course !!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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