NARS Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself

My NARS counter had an event this past weekend, to celebrate the release of Francois Nars’ new book, Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself.

Express Yourself is a makeup manual that features before and after photos (on facing pages), with a transparent overlay to explain exactly where to put product to achieve the look. (It’s actually a “sequel” to Nars’ 2001 release, Makeup Your Mind.)

In honor of the book’s release, customers at the event were invited to pick a look from the book, and an artist would recreate it for them. I was lucky enough to have my makeup done by Winnie Pham, one of the resident Dallas artists.  She knows what I usually wear, so she recommended we try something outside my comfort zone.  I have to say, I was nervous at first (did I mention this is totally outside my comfort zone?), but she really did an amazing job.

This was the look we wanted to recreate:
NARS, Makeup Your Mind, Express Yourself, inspiration
I wouldn’t normally spend a great deal of time talking about the skincare prep, but one of the best things about my experience was how fantastic my skin looked — so I don’t want to leave anything out. Winnie started with Hydrating Freshening Lotion (6.7 oz, $36), a lightweight moisturizer that also contains mild exfoliating ingredients for a more radiant complexion. She also used Brightening Serum (2.5 oz, $61), a fast-acting, antioxidant-rich, skin brightener with a subtly pearlescent finish.

After the prep, Winnie went straight onto the eyes (so if there was any fallout, she could clean it up before applying foundation and concealer). She used Hollywoodland shadow pencil as a base, blending it with her fingers to just above my crease (up onto the orbital bone). She then went straight into Bali as a crease color, applied with a #12 brush. Interesting technique to apply crease color before lid color — I’ve never done that before.

NARS, Makeup Your Mind, face chartShe used the darker half of the Paris duo all over my lid (applied with a #12 or a #13 brush), and applied Heart of Glass to the inner corner of my eye (with the #4 brush). She used Edie and Biarritz as a brow highlight (#4 brush), and used Bali again on my brows (with the #5 brush).

The model in the book isn’t really wearing much eyeliner, but we both agreed we’d like to see some, so Winnie used the darker side of Pandora, wet, with a #2 brush to tightline, waterline, and line on top of the lashes. We curled the lashes and applied NARS Lengthening Mascara.

My eyes looked fancy, but I thought the best thing about my makeover was how perfect my skin looked (actually, I consider great skin proof of a really excellent artist). Winnie spent more time prepping my skin than anyone else ever has (including me!), and the results were fantastic.

The area under my eyes needs a lot of attention. Winnie used Nourishing Eye Cream (.5 oz, $76), which moisturizes and smooths the skin. She also used instantly plumping, lipid-supporting Potent EFA Cream (1.7 oz, $70). Finally, she patted on Skin Smoothing Face Prep ($30), before applying Honey concealer. (The concealer is packaged like a lipstick; she applied stick to face and blended with fingers.) She also used the oil-free, Pore Refining, (non-SPF) face primer.

Winnie actually contoured before she put on foundation. Again, not something I’ve done before, but I liked the subtle results. She used Laguna Multiple (above brows at the outside edges, under cheekbones, under the jawline at the outside edges) and Copacabana Illuminator (on top of cheekbones) — both blended with fingers. She applied Sheer Glow foundation in Mont Blanc with her fingers, and finished with Flesh loose powder.

We followed the cheeks recommended by the book: Gilda powder blush and Zen powder “blush” (bronzer). Lips were Honolulu Honey topped with Striptease gloss.

Here’s an “after” shot of me with Winnie (not only is this girl SO pretty, but her makeup always looks flawless. Clearly, she’s got skillz).
NARS, Makeup Your Mind, Express Yourself, Karla Sugar, Winnie Pham
This is a weird angle, but you can actually see the eyeshadow:
NARS, Makeup Your Mind
I’m already imagining some of you responding, “yikes! She used a lot of products.” She did, but she’s also a makeup artist for NARS with an entire counter at her disposal. You don’t have to buy/use every single item to get this look at home — Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself describes each product, so if you don’t have Gilda, you can use another coral blush. I think the book is all about introducing new ideas and new techniques into your repertoire.

Everything I mentioned here (including the book) is for sale at — and they’re currently offering free shipping at any price, no code required. Which is good, because I think I want Gilda.

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17 Responses to “NARS Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself”

  • valerie says:

    Holy sculpted cheekbones, batman! The second picture didn’t show up for me before on the talk board – you have got some kick-a$$ bone structure there missy – it doesn’t show as much in your normal straight-on photos, but you can really see it in that second photo. Cool. (And before you say it – no, it’s *not* just the makeup.)

  • xiao says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. GORG! Getting my first NARS makeover this Friday and I’m beyond excited :D

  • Your look is amazing. I especially like the looks for the over 35′s in this book.

  • Mamavalveeta03 says:

    It looks absolutely beautiful, karla! I think it looks much more subtle than you think. It accentuates all of your beautiful features! I want that book!!!

  • Chiara says:

    You look very pretty! The best MUA work you published, in my opinion.

  • Mariella says:

    You look fab, Karla! I really love this book, I plan on trying some looks from it while I’m on vacation soon.

  • Marie says:

    You look amazing and your skin looks flawless and radiant. When I had my make-over at a NARS counter not long ago, the MUA also spent a lot of time preparing my skin.

  • Coco says:

    Your skin is literally glowing!! I think you pull off the smoky look so well despite it not being in your comfort zone :]] I’d want to get a makeover from Winnie!

  • Susy says:

    You look gorgeous!!!

  • That is a beautiful look! Thank you so much for the detailed description of how Winnie achieved your look. I admit your skin looks fabulous! That would be tempting to walk away with everything she used!

  • Mea says:

    what does she have on her cheeks?

  • Rosanna says:

    Karla, the way she applied the blush on you is just perfect for your face shape! It just goes to prove that the way blush needs to be put on depends on face shape a LOT.

  • beth maiorana says:

    How wonderful you look, Karla!! For all the products Winnie used on you, one would never know- your finished face is totally radiant, fresh, subtle, and perfectly glorious. She did a terrific job, but you have all the “makings” for this beautiful look. Thanks for sharing. (I’m still trying to figure out my skin prep/prime: I’m a tough one so it’s extra fascinating to me these days). xo ;-) Beth in Pgh

  • AshD says:

    Wow, I think she is the best makeup artist I’ve seen on your blog! This looks really really great on you – I admit that usually the looks you come away with from the makeovers are very similar – this one is stunning – so glad you stepped out of your “comfort zone” b/c this is unique and exciting!

  • DJ says:

    hi there. I have been lurking for quite some time and wanted to say I think that this “make over” is one of the best you have ever posted–you look stunning! and it is an interesting style that still looks like ‘you.’

    perfection :)

  • Tram says:

    I must agree with everyone! Your skin indeed looks so fresh and the amount of products used is invisible. I’ve had the luxury of receiving a makeover from Winnie too and she is an expert with various skin types, face shapes and color!!!! I love this look on you!

  • Alex says:

    You look lovely. I went to this same type of event last month at Nordstrom. I bought the book a few weeks later at another event at Saks. I need to flip through it again for more inspiration.

    I love this book – it’s teaching me to look at my current stash in another light.

    PS. GILDA is my favorite coral blush of all time!

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