Sun, sea, sand, and sangria. That’s what I think of when I think of Spain. All those colours – the warm blush of sunsets, the stain of red wine, the tawny sand – have been captured and reproduced in the revamped NARSissist #Jetsetter collection for 2017.
So I took the whole lot to Sotogrande.
When the range first came out in 2015, it was the brand’s first traveller exclusive. Since then, the four-set collection has gained something of a cult status. It’s packed with NARS classics such as the inimitable Orgasm Blush (I still blush asking for it at the beauty counter…) and travel-sized make-up brushes.
With three different shades in the Audacious Lipstick set, I was determined to try a new one every evening. First up was Carmen, a vivid geranium red, which I paired with dinner at an Argentine steakhouse. In the tube, the colour of the lipstick was every bit as intense and full-blooded as the name suggested. But on application, the red mellows to a far more manageable hue against my skin tone. An unfeasibly large platter of mixed grilled meats later and I’m pleased to report that the lippie stayed put. No touch-ups needed.
The following day, we went for a boat ride. Setting off from The Sotogrande Marina, we were soon bobbing along the Mediterranean Sea in choppier waters than I would have liked. Turns out, the Orgasm Face Set is just the ticket for disguising any green tinges of seasickness – who would have thought? The Orgasm Multiple is a hardworking all-rounder, willing to turn its talents to your eyes, lips or cheeks. I dabbed some on the apples of my cheeks in the morning, and the warm peachy tones kept me looking far healthier than I felt.
Once back on dry land, a slick of the Orgasm Lip Gloss (swiftly applied, no need for a mirror) restored me to a more presentable state.
That night’s dinner was a seven-course tasting menu, so I brought Charlotte along. Charlotte being a deep, rich burgundy in lipstick form. Now, my biggest gripe with traditional bullet lipsticks is that precision goes out of the window after a few swipes. The crisp edges turn to soft curves and out comes the lipstick brush, meaning you have to a) pack a lipstick brush b) wash said lipstick brush after every use. What impressed me most about these NARS offerings though, was how razor sharp the bullet nib remained. My cupid’s bow was so defined I looked like a flapper girl. Which, granted, is no bad thing.
The accepted wisdom in the beauty world is that one should focus on either the lips or eyes, never both. And I’m a firm believer in the lazy trick of using a bright lipstick to distract from an otherwise unmade-up face. However. There’s something rather fabulous about going all out on holiday, isn’t there? I opened up the Eye, Cheek and Lip Palette and, using the #20 Blush Brush, dusted my cheekbones in Laguna Bronzer. I didn’t stop there. Wielding both the #40 Eyeshadow Brush and the #43 Wide Contour Eyeshadow Brush, I built up a smoky eye look using Bellissima (shimmering beige), Bounty (soft mauve), and Pandora (matte, sooty black). Then, with a make-up wipe, I cleaned up the edges into an approximation of a cat eye flick. The coal-black Pandora can look harsh unless blended properly, so make the most of that #43 brush.
The palette also comes with a Dolce Vita Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, which can be used all over the lips as a matte lipstick. If you’re only bringing one compact with you on your travels, this is the one that will take you from day to night with no effort at all.
On our final evening in Andalusia, I decided to play it subtle. A laidback supper at a local restaurant called for natural make-up, which suited Anita perfectly (nude lipstick, you guessed it). In fact, the look was so subtle that I was only reminded I was wearing lipstick when I blotted my mouth with the napkin. That in itself was no small miracle, because lipsticks tend to make their presence felt. There’s the dryness, the lipstick-on-teeth anxiety, and the inevitable mirror checks for signs of fading. But not so with Anita. In fact, so creamy and easy-to-wear was this lipstick that I decided to wear it to the airport the next day. Still didn’t get upgraded though.