Stepping away to take some time off with my family means that things have been a little quiet around here lately, but A) it did me the world of good to unplug and B) I’m back (but experiencing major beach withdrawal) and bringing you an awesome first post-vacation review.
Available exclusively at Nordstrom, NARS has created the Cult Survival Kit (CAN $425.00/limited edition), an 11-piece full sized collection of their most iconic products — all housed in a beautiful white lacquered & totally drool-worthy keepsake box.
As someone who is somewhat obsessed with this brand, the products that make up this kit are exactly what I myself would have chosen, and with the exception of a few that are new to me, many are my proven go-tos that I reach for time and time again.
Note that as I’ve recently previously reviewed some of the products found in the Cult Survival Kit, I won’t be going into detail on those here, but will provide links to my earlier posts that you can check out.
NARS | Cult Survival Kit
NARS | Cult Survival Kit
NARS | Cult Survival Kit
NARS | Cult Survival Kit – Face Products
Of the two blushes included in the Cult Survival Kit, it should come as no surprise that Orgasm Blush is one of the selections (I mean, right?) and if you don’t already own this universally flattering shimmery peach/gold shade then you’re seriously missing out. Exhibit A Blush is a shade that I’ve looked at over the years but never picked up, although after using it for a few weeks now, I’m hooked on the natural flush of colour it gives to skin — provided a light hand is used, as this baby is MAJORLY pigmented.
Orgasm Blush previous reviewed in more detail here
Exhibit A | A warm leaning tomato red matte blush hue with an ultra fine sheen that gives skin a very subtle luminosity to keep the colour from looking flat. Highly colour saturated, using a fan brush or the NARS Yachiyo Kabuki brush (my fave) for application helps diffuse the product so as to create a light flush of colour along the skin. If you’re thinking that this shade would never look natural applied, bear in mind that when we do flush/blush our skin takes on a ruddy hue – exactly what Exhibit A mimics, in fact. Staying power is excellent (easily 9+ hours) whether worn over foundation or along bare skin, with minimal fading.
NARS Cult Survival Kit | Exhibit A Blush swatches
NARS Cult Survival Kit | Orgasm Blush swatches
Rounding out the face products are Laguna Bronzer (a staple in basically every makeup artist’s kit) and Light Reflecting Setting Powder, a transparent powder that not only helps to set your makeup, but also manages to give skin a more polished and flawless appearance.
Laguna Bronzer previously reviewed in more detail here
Light Reflecting Setting Powder | This is a powder of the most finely-milled quality you can possibly imagine; as seen in the swatches below, trying to photograph something that’s invisible is no easy task, let me tell you. There is an almost indescribable finish it gives to skin – sort of like a luminosity but without shine, more along the lines of ‘flawless glow’ (if that even makes any sense) and goes a long way in not only ensuring your makeup stays in place longer, but does so while minimizing pore appearance as well. Like magic, I tell you.
NARS | Cult Survival Kit – Eye Products
I have several NARS Eyeshadow Duos in my beauty arsenal and while they are all unique, Pandora stands out by virtue of how universally wearable the two shades are. The white hue is a both cool & warm with a refined shimmer that not only applies smoothly, but looks amazing whether worn alone (for a mod 60’s kind of look), or used as a highlighting touch at the inner eye corner, brow bone and cupid’s bow of the lips. The black hue is a beautiful matte counterpart, and can be used either dry (makes for the perfect smokey eye), or applied with a dampened brush to be used as a liner or to create more depth. Another bonus is that you can layer the white over the black for a stunningly unique gunmetal-esque shade, which only adds to the versatility of this palette. Pretty sweet, no?
Black Moon Audacious Mascara previously reviewed in detail here
Via Veneto Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner previously reviewed in detail here
NARS Cult Survival Kit | Pandora Eyeshadow Duo swatches
NARS | Cult Survival Kit – Lip Products
Of the three lip products in the Cult Survival Kit, the only one I’ve previously owned is the Turkish Delight Lip Gloss, although Schiap has been on my radar for years. Regarding matte lip pencils, I can honestly say that NO ONE does them better than NARS; from the ease of use to the crazy long staying power (seriously; I have one shade that even after using a dual-phase makeup remover, was still visible well into the next day!) and in an ocean of reds, I absolutely love the way Cruella looks against my skin tone.
- Turkish Delight Lip Gloss – soft baby pink without shimmer, non sticky and also works to keep lips feeling moisturized. Some settling into lines apparent at first but then it smooths out for a more even finish. Can also be layered over lipstick for a longer staying power
- Schiap Semi Matte Lipstick – Inspired by designer Elsa Schiaparelli and her love of pink, this is a blazing hot shade that manages to look sophisticated and not neon-juvenile. Ultra-creamy in application and with a subtle sheen to the finish, leaves lips feeling nourished throughout the wearing. Excellent staying power, leaving a light stain behind once the majority has worn off
- Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil – A deep blood-red hue with a good mix of both cool and warm tones, thus making it universally wearable by a broad range of complexions. Application is effortless as the creamy texture helps it glide along lips, and staying power is nothing short of phenomenal. I do wish it came in a retractible format as sharpening the tip eats up product – but I’ve gotten around that by using the NARS covered pencil sharpener and actually hang on to the shaved portion to use as well
NARS Cult Survival Kit | Lip Product swatches
I’ve looked at the Monoï Body Glow II for ever, and finally last year I picked up my first bottle; since then, I absolutely REFUSE to ever be without this incredible body oil. For starters, the scent is guaranteed to instantly transport you someplace warm & tropical, and if that’s not enough then the feel of this applied will make you a believer as well, as it not only gives a luscious glow to the skin, but provides long-lasting hydration and a total nourishing feel … in other words, the perfect accompaniment to that tan you’ve worked so hard to get.
Previously fully reviewed here
For anyone new to NARS, then I can’t recommend this Kit enough (for those curious, the total value is CAN $460.00 if bought separately, not factoring in the lacquered box) as the selection of products are all extremely well curated. In fact, I was able to actually use everything in the Kit to create looks for 1 entire week with foundation and primer being the only exceptions, and you know what? Everything here was seriously ALL that I needed. Imagine that. For NARS devotees, here’s a chance to replenish some of your favourites, and if that’s not inducement enough, there’s always this gorgeous lacquer box to use & display. So basically, go and grab yourself the Cult Survival Kit – before it’s gone.
Available exclusively at Nordstrom
This collection of stunning-ness was kindly provided/As always, all opinions are my own