Sunday, January 1, 2012

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana

I received a 0.32 oz/8 mL sample tube of the NARS Illuminator in Copacabana for free from Sephora with one of my purchases this summer. A full-sized 1.1 oz tube will run you anywhere between $29 and $36. The NARS Illuminator is available in four different shades: Copacabana, Laguna, Orgasm and Super-Orgasm. You can purchase this anywhere NARS products are sold, including Sephora stores,, NARS counters and

These illuminators claim to "light the skin from within." They are described as "light-reflecting liquids that glide on to refresh and enhance the complexion with shimmering incandescence."

Some of the ingredients listed are polar berries (cloudberry, raspberry, black currant) which provide antioxidant and emollient properties; bisabolol - obtained from the chamomile plant, it provides anti-inflammatory benefits to sooth dry skin; indian frankincense, which soothes and comforts skin; and panthenol (vitamin B5) which conditions the skin.

One can use this product all over the face, over/under/mixed with foundation for a 'light-from-within' glow, or on certain areas of the face as a highlighter.

This product comes in a plastic squeeze tube. In my opinion, this is a very convenient and efficient way to dispense the product without extracting too much or too little. Because of the consistency of the product, it doesn't just leak out of the tube when you open it up, so it takes some pressure to dispense just the right amount of product. I have had no problems with the dispensing of the illuminator, such as it drying in clumps or globs and plugging off the end of the tube.

Copacabana is described as a 'glistening pearl' shade. In the tube and when first applied to the skin, this product appears to be a shimmering soft white pink. Once blended into the skin, it creates a soft pearly glow with very finely milled silvery pink shimmer. It is not glittery, however. There are not large chunks of shimmer in it, which makes it incredibly wearable and more natural looking than some powders may appear. This is also a cooler shade of white pink, which is perfect for my alabaster white skin; however, I would encourage medium/dark skin tones to 'test drive' this particular shade of illuminator before committing to a full-sized tube.

From left to right: NARS Illuminator in Copacabana blended into the skin, partially blended, unblended
No Flash.

It is a liquid cream, which is very smooth in consistency - not too dry, but not too watery either. It is easy to move around and work with. Upon blending, this product dries very quickly and sets instantaneously once dry. It does not budge or transfer until removed at the end of the day.

I apply this product with either my fingers or with a brush. I apply a VERY small dot of the product to the back of my hand, and work off of it. I will use my fingers (usually my middle finger), occasionally, to apply the product to the tops of my cheekbones and/or down the center of my nose as a highlight. On the other occasions when I use a brush, I like to use a standard foundation brush to apply and blend the product.

This product is so incredibly pigmented, that it's easy to get carried away and over-apply it. Depending on what you're using the illuminator for, you may only need the size of very small pebble to highlight your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose, with a little left over for highlighting the cupid's bow of your lips, chin and/or forehead. It must be emphasized that a very little amount goes a long way - it's best to start off with a minimal amount and dispense more as needed than apply too much.

I have not personally used this illuminator underneath or mixed with my foundation, as I've never really had need for a more radiant glow with my makeup - but it would be interesting to try, just to see the effect.

I love the way this illuminator makes my skin look. It's incredibly easy to work with and gives the skin a radiant glow, in the way that few other powders can. Because of the cream/liquid consistency, it doesn't appear cakey on the skin, which makes it appear more natural than a powder or stick cream highlighter/illuminator. I love how long lasting it is and how it doesn't travel around my face leaving shimmery streaks everywhere but the place I originally put it. It gives my pasty white skin a healthy glow that I absolutely adore.

I wish that this came in other colors. A warm, candlelit white gold color would be absolutely lovely and more wearable for darker skin tones than the white pink of Copacabana. My other wish is that this wasn't so crazy expensive. My little 0.32 oz tube will last me forever and a day as it takes so little product per use. BUT should I ever find myself in need of repurchasing, I definitely would not go out and spend my own money on this - the price tag for the type of product this is, is simply too steep.

*sigh* If it wasn't so expensive, I'd recommend this product to everyone. I just can't justify $30 for one ounce of liquid cream highlighter. That's simply ridiculous. Although, in comparison to some other high-end brands, this is 'reasonably' priced... so I'll only knock it down one star, otherwise this would be a complete and total winner!

4 out of 5 stars.
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Have you tried the NARS Illuminators? Have you tried any of the other shades? What do you think of them?

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