Walking into Sephora without a specific mission is a lot like going to the grocery store without a list when you’re hungry. You pick out one thing, try to pair it with something else, walk back and forth to each end of the store about 45 times because you keep thinking of things you want to get, and then you get home and realize you didn’t end up buying anything even remotely practical. This is what happened the day I came home with my NARS Blush in Nico.
Nico is housed in the usual slim black NARS blush case with a mirror, which makes it super portable. I have a couple of minor issues with these cases-they all look identical, so I have to dig around in my blush drawer and read each label to find the right one. They also have a semi-rubbery texture on the outside (I assume so they won’t easily slip out of your hands and shatter or something), so they get dirty very easily. At the price of $30, I try not to be too picky as long as the actual product performs well.
Nico is described as a “natural glow”. It’s categorized as a blush, but as you can see, it’s a light beige and would probably be more fitting as a highlighter, which is why I picked it up. At the time, I was experimenting with lots of different highlighters and completely missed the mark as usual when trying to pick out specific colors or finishes in that dim Sephora lighting. This is where the internet comes in handy, but I guess I was living dangerously that day.
True to the description, Nico does have a natural glow to it. So natural, it wasn’t at all shimmery like I was going for. It looks more like a setting powder with very, very fine shimmers in it for that subtle glow. And I mean SUBTLE. The texture is very soft and it blends nicely into the skin. Since this blush practically disappears on my skin tone (it’s blended into my wrist to the right of the swipe in the photo) and the glow is so subtle, it was not effective as a highlighter for me and ended up sitting in a drawer for 5 months.
A couple of weeks ago, I was digging around in my stash, stumbled across Nico, and decided to give it another try. I swatched it across my wrist and it was the same old light beige it was before. I swatched it next to my Hourglass finishing powder that I often use as just a highlight because it’s way too shimmery to put all over my face, and suddenly had a eureka moment. WHAT IF I USE NICO AS A FINISHING POWDER?! I was feeling like a total smartypants with this little discovery, so I had to do a Google search to see if this was a thing people did. There is mention of it here and there, but I never managed to find any in-depth reviews about it or any pictures of anyone using it this way. So naturally, I decided to experiment with it myself. Here is what I found when using it all over my face as a finishing powder:
1.) The soft glow that Nico gives off adds brightness and dimension to my face while the white translucent finishing powders I’ve been using leave my face looking dull and flat until I apply a blush and a highlight.
2.) If you are super pale like me and have a difficult time getting bronzers to work for you, this is a great alternative. In an instant, I was able to achieve a nice little summer glow all over my face without actually getting any sun or risking the dreaded dirt smear look that I often encounter when I try to use a bronzer. To top it off, my face still matched my neck!
3.) Since the formula is so silky and blends evenly, it looks less powdery than most finishing powders I’ve tried and it softens the look of my pores or any other imperfections considerably. I’d like to emphasize a light application because I found that putting on too much resulted in my makeup looking very heavy.
4.) It is AMAZING for touchups. I am the type of person that cannot do a makeup touchup without having to redo my whole face because putting something on top of oily, caked-up makeup results in something worse than what I had to begin with. Unless I have something special going on, I don’t even bother retouching (or in my case, redoing) throughout the day. With Nico, I am able to make even a worst-case scenario look like freshly applied makeup without having to start over. Shortcuts. I dig ’em.
Here is how Nico looks applied all over my face before adding a blush and highlight:
I think Nico would also be great as a subtle, natural highlighter for those with darker or oily complexions. In addition to using it as a finishing powder or a highlighter, some people have reported using it to set concealer under the eyes, to add extra dimension to matte blushes or to tone down more pigmented ones, and even as an eyeshadow. With that, it becomes a very valuable multi-use product and I’m no longer disappointed with my purchase. Over the past couple of weeks, this has become my holy grail finishing powder and I’m sure I will find more uses for it as time passes.