Friday, February 04, 2011

NARS Ita Brush #21

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

All photos are mine.


  1. Thank you for this review! I recently discovered your blog and really enjoy it -- I think I have very similar coloring, taste, and preferences, albeit with a less impressive makeup collection. Thanks for sharing all of your discoveries.

  2. Hi, Gaia! Any chance you could post a video demonstrating how you use the brush? I've been thinking about it for the longest time but have no access to any NARS counters and would have to purchase online without any SAs to demo its use.


  3. Thank you, Christine! Your feedback warms my heart.

  4. Ganda, I hate to disappoint my readers, but I don't do videos. It's just... feel uncomfortable to me, I guess. Probably because I already put so much of myself into this blog, videos are extra exposure.

    As for the brush itself, like I said- it's nice to have but not an essential tool. I would recommend it if one already has a solid collection of good quality brushes and has reached the phase of buying unusual shaped brushes. The way I use it to make it work for my face shape , I start by holding it completely vertically and then move it towards my ear and downwards at an angle. The angle would depend on one's shape- I have barely any cheekbones so that affects makeup application.

    Many experts recommend drawing the contouring powder in the shape of an almost vertical Nike logo. This brush is pretty good for that, but my face is a bit too small for the full top part so I improvise.

    As for blending and diffusing I do quick strokes at 45 degrees from the inside out.

    I know it's not as good as a tutorial but I hope I helped a little.

  5. I have NARS brushes, and they're not really in the same league as Hakuhodo quality, as far as the quality of the hairs is concerned. I don't mean to enable (for all I know you have purchased and know it already), but if you got the same brush shape from Hakuhodo, you'd wouldn't be disappointed by the redundancy.

    I'm not sure, but are these traditional brushes based on geisha makeup? Something about nightingale droppings... It certainly explains the pointed lip brush in the Hakuhodo lineup, not a western style at all.

  6. WOW- So glad i found your great blog. You have a new fan/friend.
    I am still reading the older post on the changes in fragrance, and it is disturbing and true info. Im sick of the teen/speedy one hit wonder fragrance or lack of being sold today.
    Give me time and I will catch up.
    Again your so FUNNNNN !

  7. I wish I could find a higher end dupe for the nars ita 21.

    1. Hakuhodo Itabake medium and small are a great alternative at a very high quality.


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