Continuing the NARS theme, this week's brush is NARS Ita from the Artisan line. Nars offers two different Ita brush- #21, the regular one I'm reviewing today and the wide Kabuki Ita (I'll talk about it soon). They are traditional Japanese brushes (Hakuhodo has them in several sizes under the name Itabake) and require some practice and experimenting for those of us uses to round face brushes.
According to NARS website, the Ita is meant for blending and contouring. I admit I'm not hugely into contouring unless it's strictly for taking photos because no matter what, it never looks natural in real life. The Ita brush does make things easier once you figure out it's all in the angle. The brush when held horizontally is actually quite wide, at least for my face. But since it's so thin and flat, as you turn it vertically and then in an angle (I'd say about 30 degrees) you actually get the perfect width for contouring that looks more natural and not like a stripe of color. The brush is also soft and fluffier than it appears, so it blends and diffuses color very successfully- once again, you'll need to find the right angle for you, preferably with the help of a NARS artist or at least a brand rep who knows the tools well.
I've had my Ita for over six months and so far it hasn't lost a single hair and has been very easy to wash. I'm not too fond of NARS black rubber-like handles, especially when there's the lovely Hakuhodo wood alternative. On the other hand, the NARS seems like it's more tolerant of brush abuse- I've been experimenting with using it with cream products (blush and highlighters) and so far so good. I'm not sure I'd dare do it with the real Japanese wonder.
Bottom Line: Nice to have but not an essential.
NARS Ita Brush #21 ($39.00) is available at many department stores and narscosmetics.com.
All photos are mine.