Home Brushes NARS – N° 42 Brush

NARS – N° 42 Brush

by Sonia G.

It’s a crease brush day 🙂

There is something special about this brush, its weight, its length and its looks remind me of something mysterious, sexy and captivating, something like the Carnival of Venice for example. A close friend from Venice knows how much I love Carnivals and all the make-up and atmosphere that goes with it so he brought me this gorgeous mask directly from there!  Imagine this black mask paired with red lipstick…  Perfect. I have been wishing for a black mask since the day I saw Lisa in this video, and I subtly forwarded that link to my friend Alex who is an angel 😀 please go watch it, or don’t, because you’ll want one too  🙂



This Nars brush is heavy, long (specially when you are used to Koyudo or other very short brushes). It’s all matte black with discrete logos and, at the end of the handle it’s painted red.  When you hold it and start using it, there are a few scenarios possible, either :

  1. you feel like you are a femme fatale, holding such a heavy brush can be elegant, glamorous and give you a killer look
  2. you feel like a two year old, using an oversized pencil for his tiny little hands but that can actually look quite adorable
  3. you feel drunk-ish or allucinating, super clumsy,  thinking that the pan shrunk since last time you saw it and fearing you are not even going to hit it from such a loooong distance

I was there, in all 3 of them ! it started with the n°2, how am I going to hold this thing ?  then I got used to it but I was on medicine these past days and was feeling like being on drugs, I thought the pan was shrinking live in front of me, now I am in phase n°1, finally, I master it with elegance and I am very ready for Venice.

I am all about emotions when I buy a brush and even though I did not necessarily love the material, I fell in love with the looks.



It weights approx 13 grams, that doesn’t help you does it ? Imagine holding both the Mac 239 and the Mac 217 (7g each) when put together, that equals the weight of the Nars 42 on its own.

It is 19cm long, challenging most of the brush holders you may have… length of the head is 2cm, width at the base of the ferrule:  0.5cm, at widest point of the head : 1cm.

This brush was recently recently with Nars new brush collection that you can view here, I have only a few from his old collection because they are simply very rough for my skin but I still use the old 12 and 13 which are the old crease brushes, I use them because they are effortless but they are on the rough side, not as rough as the Mac 226 I own though. The new n°42 is the same material as the old Nars crease ones, (squirrel but a bit on the rougher side) but I will talk more about the comparison later on.


This is how the head looks with the macro lens:


The handle is matte black with this red paint at the back :



Macro lens:



The logo is carved on the handle : macrologo

while the number is embossed:


… and origin:



Compared to the old Nars crease brushes, this #42 offers less precision as it is less tapered, more a domed shape actually, also has less density, more flexibility and little bit more softness than the 12 and 13. It’s softer but if you stipple your crease it may poke, the thing is you don’t usually violently stipple product onto the crease so with a normal usage, even on quite sensitive skin it’s ok to use. If you are used to Mac goat brushes for the eyes, this will be softer, if you are used to Hakuhodo goat bristles, it may not be as soft (I know it’s squirrel here but still, not as soft as some goat bristles some of us are accustomed to).

I use it for many reasons, mostly because I love how it looks but also because I can blend and apply more harder textures in a very easy way, buildable and diffused. I am just surprised that it is so big and that there is only one of them now, unlike in the past, well, there is the new #44 but I am not sure this is to replace the Nars 12. For smaller eyes you may struggle to use the #42 and better to try it in person, when blending, the head actually covers all my eyebrow area and I don’t have small eyes, better be safe and try in person because it costs 32$. If I put  pressure (same as for blending), the diameter of the surface becomes 1.5cm wide.

So, that Nars 42 is slightly softer than the other 2, less directional, less tapered, a better quality brush but I’d rather preferred if they had add a second one more directional and dense added in this new collection.


I am a bit obsessed with crease brushes, here is the shameless proof… and this is not even the entire crease brush collection (if you click on this pic you get the full size pic opened in a new window if you want a closer look):



1. Rouge Bunny Rouge 011 23. Nars 42
2. Illamasqua 24. Trish Mcevoy 29
3. Wayne Goss 05 25. Sephora 13
4. Rae Morris  9 26. Mac 226
5. Koyudo small Red set 27. Hakuhodo J146
6. Hakuhodo 5522 28. Hakuhodo J5533
7. Chicca M 29. Hakuhodo J5529
8. Hakuhodo 5533 30. Mac 222
9. Hakuhodo S142 31. Tom Ford 13
10. Royal Langnickel BC430 32. Chikuhodo GSN-10
11. Inglot 4SS 33. Hakuhodo J142
12. Edward Bess 34. Sigma E35
13. Rae Morris  7.5 35. Rae Morris  8.5
14. Rae Morris  7 36. Hakuhodo J5522
15. Nars 13 37. Koyudo special edition
16. Nars 12 38. Wayne Goss 19
17. Hakuhodo G5534 39. Charlotte Tilbury blender
18. Rae Morris  8 40. Kiwami crease
19. Paula Dorf Sheer crease 41. Mac 223
20. Chanel 12 42. Louise Young 38A
21. Evgeny crease 43. Louise Young 38B
22. Wayne Goss 04 44. Louise Young 38

I am obviously not going to review every single brush because that would take me weeks but I’ll share some details and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments.

The White crease options

In general white goat crease brushes are fantastic to use with powder but also with cream products. Some strong darker squirrel bristles may also sometimes be ok to use with both but better keep cream  product for non-dyed brushes or the ingredients of the cream products may sometimes alter the dye and then damage the bristles.



Compared to the Nars #42, this  brush on the left is:

1. Hakuhodo J146 Smaller, more directional, similar softness
2. Chikuhodo GSN-10 Less directional, less firm, less denser, less soft
3. Hakuhodo J142 More tapered, softer, similar firmness
4. Nars 42
5. Tom Ford 13 More tapered, denser, softer, firmer
6. Mac 222 More directional, firmer, less soft
7. Hakuhodo J5533 Flatter, bigger, softer, similar firmness
8. Rae Morris 8.5 Bigger, less soft, similar firmness
9. Sigma E35 Similar shape, bigger surface, less soft, denser
10. Hakuhodo J5522 Bigger, denser, softer, more tapered, firmer
11. Hakuhodo J5529 flatter, smaller, firmer, similar softness
12. Koyudo Special much smaller, softer, directional

I prefer to use a flat crease brush to apply cream shadow all over the lid, I know my crease is not flat but it’s easier for me to pick a cream shade and apply it with for example a Hakuhodo J5533 than a Hakuhodo J146.

In order to work better with cream products (because some are more difficult to work with), the bristles should be thicker, firm and dense and not too long (or if long, keep the firmness till the surface) so for cream, you don’t need to go for a very soft brush, it’s actually better not to, unless your skin is very sensitive.

Synthetic crease brushes



Compared to the Nars #42, this  brush on the left is:

1. Rouge Bunny Rouge 011 Similar shape, more directional, firmer, less soft, less dense
2. Nars 42
3. Illamasqua Softer, smaller, firmer

I am not that fond of synthetic brushes because I often find they blend and apply with less efficiency but that Illamasqua is a fantastic synthetic brush, applies evenly and diffuses the color quite well, furthermore I find it to be just the right size for my crease. I use it with powder and even though I get stronger results with a natural hair brush, I admit I am seduced by this Illamasqua, effortless and soft to use.

Bigger crease ones



Compared to the Nars #42, this brush on the left is:

1. Hakuhodo G552 Softer, denser, firmer, more tapered
2. Wayne Goss 03 Softer, denser, firmer, more tapered
3. Nars 42
4. Edward Bess Bigger, firmer, denser, less soft
5. Inglot 4SS Similar shape, bigger, similar softness, denser, firmer
6. Evgeny blender Softer, denser, firmer, bigger
7. Rae Morris 7 Denser, more tapered, firmer

Bigger crease brushes are not much for placement unless you go for a one-shadow look or don’t require precision, but they are good and necessary for blending.

Smaller ones 



If you are looking for a crease brush that delivers a precise placement you better head up for smaller tapered ones, you’ll see in this pic how much bigger the Nars 42 is.


Compared to the Nars #42, this brush on the left is:

1. Hakuhodo G5534 Softer, denser, much more tapered and firmer
2. Chikuhodo Kiwami Softer, denser, much more tapered and firmer
3. Nars 42
4. Louise Young 38 Softer, denser, much more tapered and firmer
5. Louise Young 38A Softer, denser, much more tapered and firmer
6. Louise Young 38B Softer, denser, much more tapered and firmer
7. Rae Morris 9 Softer, denser,  more tapered and firmer
8. Wayne Goss 05 Softer, similar shape, bit firmer, much smaller
9. Koyudo small from Red set Softer, denser, much more tapered and firmer

The most similar ones



Compared to the Nars #42, this  brush on the left is:

1. Royal and Langnickel BC430 More tapered, firmer, similar softness, denser
2. Wayne Goss 19 More tapered, similar firmness, softer, slightly denser
3. Nars 13 More tapered, firmer, denser, less soft
4. Nars 42
5. Paula Dorf sheer crease More tapered, firmer, denser, softer
6. Charlotte Tilbury Blender Similar shape, slightly denser, slightly firmer, softer
7. Rae Morris 7.5 Slightly more tapered, softer, similar firmness, denser
8. Sephora 13 More tapered, firmer, denser, similar softness

If you choose a firmer brush than the Nars 42 it will allow you more control on the application, more blending power and if it’s more tapered, more precision for placement.

Bottom line  

I cannot use the Nars 42 for precision and control, but if I want to place and blend a shadow on the crease and across the browbone, then it will be fine. Since the bristles are thicker than other Japanese squirrel brushes, it picks harder textures better, for example I like to use the Chanel quads with it (not that I love Chanel that much anyway but just saying…). When I use dark shadows it doesn’t apply them too heavily since it’s not too dense, a very dark crease shadow will end with sheer or medium intensity which is more appropriate for the crease than a whole opaque dark application all over that area.

The Nars 42 is not my favorite brush from all the ones here but overall, I am satisfied with it. If it wasn’t that different in terms of how it looks, I wouldn’t be as happy. I am not that tempted by the others from the collection, seeing the close-up pics here, I can nearly feel how rough they are (or seem to be). I am just a bit tempted by the #44 but I am afraid since it looks firmer, that one will put too much pressure on my sensitive skin and feel too rough for me. I’ll see if I find it in a counter somewhere, I checked in Lausanne (Switzerland) in a mall called Bon Genie, which I think may be the only shop around here to carry Nars but they did not had them in April when I checked.


Hope this was helpful, wishing you a happy (long) weekend if you are celebrating the bank holiday!


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Gladys L. 29 May, 2014 - 4:02 pm

Lovely to see Illamasqua here, I have been always wondering if getting one or 2 of the brushes is nice, especially one of my fav. utuber like the brand. I don’t expect much but can’tt deny being fond of it. Esp. this brand often offers discounts and we need synthetic brushes sometimes.

Iris 29 May, 2014 - 5:07 pm

Hey Sonia,
There’s a NARS counter in the Bon Genie in Geneva too, it’s on the 3rd floor in the women’s clothing section. Sephora at Val Thoiry also has NARS but I haven’t seen the brush range at both counters yet.

Cat 29 May, 2014 - 6:10 pm

This is one major post Sonia! More than enough options and information here to satisfy every single make-up lover in the planet’s crease brush needs 😀 HAHAHAAAA I love your 1-3 options of how you will feel hahahaaaaa.

About the Nars…I don’t know, no matter how efficient a brush is I just can’t be bothered with non-soft ones anymore. Maybe this only applies for well behaved products, but for now at least, there is nothing in my current makeup stash that my Hakuhodo or Chikuhodo brushes can’t blend. I do still have and love my very old MAC 217, it is not rough at all, not as soft as others but still totally comfortable and efficient.

Of course I have not tried all the brushes you mention here (not even close!) but I can vouch for the amazing softness and efficiency of the Haku G5522. I love it so much that it is the only brush I have a duplicate of in my collection. I like to always keep a clean one for the final blending and diffusing. And it is also perfect for setting under eye concealer. I just love it to bits, and I got it thanks to you of course <3

Bea 29 May, 2014 - 7:14 pm

Gotta go grab that Illamasqua brush lol.

nur 29 May, 2014 - 11:49 pm

I’ve been following for a while: I love your post, your reviews!
No need to tell you that your brush collection is both, something to deeply envy and something to admire, like a calming balsam that supplies my own lack of most of your treasured brushes!
it is awesome to read you. Your love for your brushes is reflected in your words, in your detailed description of them. Just…keep it that way!!

About the nars 42…when I read your 3 main points,it was like…woow girl, you totally nailed it: exactly the same process for me with this “little” sleek piece.
(well…my little girl thought too: nice magic wand 😉 )

(And I don’t know for sure,for I don’t own the older 14, but I think there isn’t an actual “replacement” for the former 12. The new 44 is likely more similar to the former 14…
Illamasqua tickeling…)

WondersReviews 2 June, 2014 - 5:43 pm

Love your way to présent the brushes !

Ylenia 7 June, 2014 - 6:56 pm

Sonia I love your reviews!
I’d like to ask you if you ever heard about The Coco Beau foundation brush?

Hope you’re well



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