Ulta is coming on up! Not to an apartment on the east side, but to the forefront of the Prestige market. Since Ulta first hit the scene in the 90s, the brand has transformed itself from just another beauty store to one of the biggest retailers of all things beauty. For years, Ulta has been playing catch up with Sephora in an effort to surpass them all while setting Ulta apart from the rest. The full service salon and massive selection of both Mass and Prestige brands has kept Ulta hot on the heels of Sephora for quite some time but this year Ulta is leveling the playing field. And in a major way!
Ulta is continuously acquiring new brands to add to their endless selection in stores with one of the latest (and most exciting!) being NARS. I’ve been a Prestige Manager for over a year at Ulta and I’ve lost count how many times I’ve encountered guests searching for the NARS counter. It was almost heartbreaking to turn away die-hard, dedicated NARSissist because Ulta didn’t carry their beloved Radiant Creamy Concealer or iconic blushes.
Apparently, the big wigs at corporate were feeling the brunt of the NARS pain too because NARS is now available online and in stores at Ulta. Woohoo! Of course, the entire line isn’t available at Ulta just yet but there’s new products being added everyday. When NARS first launched in the fall, only Orgasm Blush and Laguna Bronzer (* insert eye roll *) were available. Fast forward to today and now you can pick up your Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer, Radiant Creamy Concealer, Blush, Lipsticks and more at select stores.
Because the Ulta-NARS relationship is so new there aren’t a lot of new products in the lineup just yet. At the moment, just the staples are available with more and more being added everyday. Like the eyeliners and lip glosses that just popped up online. The newest beauty in the NARS Ulta lineup is the Cheek Studio Palette from the Spring 2016 collection. It’s quite the nifty cheek palette including:
- Paloma Contour Blush pale beige / deep rose brown
- Laguna Bronzing Powder medium brown with soft golden shimmer
- I Blush icy lilac with golden shimmer
- II Blush pale peach with silver shimmer
- III Blush peachy pink with soft golden shimmer
- Goulue deep rose with soft golden shimmer
At first glance, the Cheek Studio palette doesn’t look brown girl friendly at all but I was pleasantly surprised after giving it a quick swatch. I and II Blush look too pale for my chocolate complexion in the pan but it turns out that they both make beautiful highlighters when swatched. I Blush sheds it’s icy lilac base when blended and leaves behind a beautiful subtle golden glow that’s ideal for everyday. II Blush gives quite the stunning glow too but it’s more cool thanks to the silver shimmer so it gives more of soft lit from within kind of glow when blended out. I can’t wait to try them both! I’ve already tried Goulue and III Blush and I’m head over heels for them because they’re the perfect natural everyday blushes for brown girls. I could live without another Laguna and I’m a little on the fence with the Paloma Contour Duo but the rest of the palette is definitely fair game!
Every girl needs at least one NARS blush in her collection! I already own a handful but that didn’t stop me from picking up just one more for good measure. My choice? The classic Sin Blush. Sin is a deep berry mauve littered with fine golden shimmer that gives cheeks a soft golden glow every time the light hits. Sin is one of those blushes that look great on all skin tones. Especially my dark skin divas! On brown skin, Sin looks sophisticated and pulls everything together as it’s soft so it looks natural yet it still adds a nice touch of color and a pretty glow, too. I’ve been gravitating towards Sin a lot lately because it plays nice with any lipstick I toss as it.
The Velvet Matte Lipsticks also made the cut at Utla and I’m super pumped because I finally got my hands on a couple of shades I’ve been eyeing forever. Sex Machine is perhaps one of NARS most popular lipsticks–and for good reason! Sex Machine is a soft rosy pink with a hint of mauve that’s soft and natural yet still sophisticated and sexy. It’s a great everyday pink for brown girls looking to add a little color this spring without feeling too boring and plain. Damned, on the other hand, makes more of a statement! Damned is a gorgeous berry red with a hint of pink that’s flirty, feminine and fierce all at once. I totally recommend it if you love bold lips!
Last but certainly not least, is the fantabulous Audacious Lipsticks. You know Ulta wasn’t going leave these babies out! The Audacious Lipsticks are expensive ($32 a pop) but well worth every penny as they’re creamy, comfortable to wear and quite long lasting. I already have 3 in my collection but it’s been a while since I’ve experienced the magic of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks so I picked up 2 more including Anna and Deborah. Anna is a soft pink mauve that makes a really pretty nude pink for a variety of complexions–including brown skin. Deborah is a warm chestnut brown that looks like milk chocolate in the tube. It’s so gorgeous! I’m thinking about pairing Deborah with a super smoky eye for a sultry chocolate themed look. So yummy!
Are you excited about NARS launching at Ulta? What are you grabbing first?
NARS Cheek Studio Palette
NARS Sin Blush
NARS Sex Machine and Damned Velvet Matte Lpstick