By Tiffany Luning

I’m one of those women who believe that makeup is not so much an enhancer or camouflaging agent, but an outlet for creative expression. Not that there’s anything wrong with a basic shimmery taupe shadow, but I admire the daring of a woman who can wear neon purple lipstick and do it with conviction. Fortunately, NAO never accept ordinary™ cosmetics has come along to cater to us women who like to step outside the lines of conventional beauty.

This new artist-grade cosmetics line – launched in August – offers two categories: NAO Studio Essentials and NAO Limited Edition. The Studio Essentials are just that – the day-to-day elements of makeup, including a highlighter, contour powder, mascara, and brow pencil. The Limited Edition items include loose mineral pigments, loose glitter, cheek color, eye color singles and duos, glitter eye pencil, and lip colors and glosses. The Limited Editions are only available as long as supplies last, so grab them while you can – the color collections will be updated every six months in order to stay current with seasonal trends.

But before we get to the cosmetics, let’s talk about the innovative way NAO has decided to launch itself upon the world – by revealing its new line in an exclusive web fashion show. The 30-minute streaming video was first broadcast at 10:00PM EDT on September 21st, and will remain available for viewing at until January 1, 2006. The fashion show was hosted by NAO spokesperson Jeannie Mai (you may also know her as a makeup artist and TV personality), and featured three “ordinary” women getting makeovers from professional makeup artists, runway models sporting different NAO looks, as well as a Q&A with Mai about the cosmetics brand. It’s a great – and completely different – way of introducing a new line, particularly for us tech-savvy makeup lovers.

Now, on to the Limited Edition collection. The eye color duos contain highly contrasting shades – “subzero/reputation” is an icy blue/cool yellow, and “arrant/fled” is a light pink/grass green. The shadows are nicely sheer and wearable, so no need to worry about looking like a refugee from Ringling Bros. NAO’s loose mineral pigments, which can be used wet or dry, come packaged in color-complemented pairs – one matte, one shimmer. The lipsticks and lip glosses are imbued with a hint of apricot, avoiding the ghastly plastic taste of other lip products. Mmm!

Despite being past my club-kid days, I have a not-so-secret glitter obsession. NAO’s loose body glitter – a set containing “VIP” in silver, “3 a.m.” in pink-purple, and “night life” in orange-red – is finely milled, and shimmers in just the right way. It’s sexy and subtle, not I-fell-into-a-vat-of-craft-glitter. Even the bottles are well-designed; they’re made of glass and not plastic, making it harder to accidentally knock the entire vial onto your carpet… not that I’ve ever done that, of course. The glitter pencils currently are available in two shades – “misfit” (soft lavender) and “out of order” (bright blue). As a long-time devotee of glitter eye makeup, I cannot stop raving about these pencils. Unlike so many of their predecessors, NAO’s glitter pencils are soft and silky in texture, deposits both sparkle and color, and the glitter actually stays where you put it, instead of migrating all over your face. Amazing, amazing stuff!

You can purchase NAO cosmetics at, and through Quixtar-powered IBOs. Remember, the Limited Edition line changes every six months, so be sure to check back often!

Originally published October 2005
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