If you’re a fan of lipsticks and particularly of NARS, or even if you aren’t, you wouldn’t have missed the buzz that has been going around regarding a new and promising lipstick in town. Officially launched last week, during the NARS 20th Anniversary celebrations, Francois Nars has taken his lipsticks and given them a whole new lease of life, injecting into them strong pigment, smooth creaminess and and opacity so seductive, it’s Audacious ;)
The NARS Audacious lipsticks come in square cases with a magnetic base, so the cap stays on with a magnetic hold. The body of the lipstick is a smooth, cool, matte metal that is a nice departure from the usual rubbery texture we’ve come to associate with NARS products, but as you can see from the picture, it does and will mark from the oils of your fingers. I tried to clean it as best I could but I thought it was best to show you how you can expect it to look like after a while.
The brand name and logo is spelt out around the lipstick base, picked out in glossy text, and if you have 4 lipsticks, you can spell out the name… except I couldn’t quite get it right, because the N kept repelling itself against the A. You could say therefore, that they are poles apart! LOL! :D
Now, I’m not the biggest fan of NARS lipsticks, I’ll tell you so right now. I’ve owned a few (Niagara was so dry and drying, Manhunt was ok, as was Gypsy but not memorable) and some disappointed, some were ok but they weren’t particularly products I’d reach out for. Well, the Audacious lipsticks, which have received raving reviews worldwide might change my mind. Or maybe it won’t. Let me show you some swatches and a whole bunch of photos :)
The texture of the Audacious lipsticks are in a word, sublime. When fresh out of the box, you may find that it tugs a little bit on the skin but once you start using it, it swipes on like melted butter.
There are 40 shades available, with some shades bring available only at freestanding NARS stores, I’m told. The colour families are fairly diverse so everyone will be able to find a colour to suit them, with the only problem being which to pick! I promise you, it’ll get overwhelming. I was, when I stared down at the whole range of colours available to me so it might come as no surprise that I picked colours that I felt safe with i.e. brights! :D
Nars Audacious Lipstick L-R: Vanessa, Kelly, Vera, Carmen
Departing from the provocative names attached to NARS blushes and names of places associated with their eyeshadows, the Audacious lipsticks take on names of girls. The lipstick bullet too sports the traditional pointed tip, which I can tell you is excellent, because you need that tip to get the outline right. And with colours these intense and opaque, you really do need to get it right.
Vanessa and Vera were kindly gifted to me by the folks at NARS, while I picked up Kelly and Carmen during the launch, which gives you an idea of how 4 of the colour families look and perform. Here are the swatches, done straight from the bullet, with just 1 swipe down my arm, and my description of the colours:-
- Vanessa – In tube, it looks like a very nude and subdued pink and if I’m to be honest, a colour I’d never pick. But swatched, it has a lovely rose pink neutral base, that was surprisingly wearable. It is a very safe, day to day colour that adds colour without being obtrusive. Not a colour I’d pick but a colour I grew to enjoy.
- Kelly – In tube, it looks like a bright pink coral and on skin, it is about the same as how it looks in tube. It has more pink than orange, which is what I like, and has was is popularly known to be a “watermelon” tint to it. Very uplifting (and relatively safe) colour to wear and pretty especially for warmer weather.
- Carmen – This shade is, I’m told, exclusive to freestanding NARS stores and is therefore available here at our sole store. It’s a bright red with a slightly warm undertone and is a colour for the bold because when you wear this, your lips lead the way. Forget about the rest of your makeup!
- Vera – Vera in tube looks like a slightly deep berry but applies with more red undertones so it isn’t as deep as it looks. The berry shade is fairly strong and while it looks lovely on, be warned that this shade can potentially look a little ageing if not careful.
The intensity of colours are very impressive and, I might even venture to propose, a little unforgiving. You must have smooth, flake-free lips to get the best out of these creamy lipsticks and while they feel quite weightless when worn, I will venture a suggestion also that they can be a wee bit drying. They aren’t matte, although they aren’t particularly shiny or glossy either. I’d put them at creamy and leave it at that. I don’t personally find them drying although I won’t call them moisturising either. They are creamy but not so they’ll travel and bleed, and they last on me. But, I’ve seen them worn on lips that weren’t well hydrated and it can settle a little and look unflattering.
So, the key here to having the Audacious lipsticks look at their best on you, is to ensure your lips are well hydrated, flake free and if necessary, apply a little balm underneath, let it settle and only then apply the lipstick. I don’t because I dislike wearing balm and it makes my lipstick slip, but if your lips tend to be very dry, use it or wear a lighter, more balmy lipstick.
These are the swatches of the lipsticks I own on me. My lips are quite pigmented on their own and I’ve found that products that look one way when swatched on my arm don’t look the same when I wear them on my lips where they really belong. However, due to the opacity and strong pigment of the Audacious lipsticks, you can see that each colour does look quite different and Vanessa actually looks pretty flattering when worn!
And for the sake of completeness, here’s how they look in a full face shot. All makeup is the same with only the lip colour changing which may give you an idea of how just changing your lipstick can change the way you look, and the look you want to project.
IN A NUTSHELL
The NARS Audacious lipsticks are incredible in terms of texture, pigment and opacity. They are creamy and opaque in just 1 swipe and the intensity of colours is very impressive. There are a few colour families available in 40 shades to suit almost all skintones and preferences, and that is quite remarkable. While not particularly drying on me, the formula can catch on flakes or dry lips so this isn’t a lipstick to wear if your lips are feeling dry. It will settle into lines and it won’t be flattering. To get the best out of this lipstick, ensure your lips are flake-free and well hydrated or it can age you more than flatter. The formula can feel a little dry in some of the colours (Vera in particular, while Carmen feels very creamy) so I’d put out a warning for someone with drier lips to be a little wary and put a little more work into prepping lips before using this.
PROS: Pigmented and opaque in 1 swipe of the bullet, Bright and intense colours are very flattering, Wide selection of colours will suit most skintones
CONS: Potentially drying especially if you already have dry lips
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who likes using creamy lipsticks, Anyone who likes opaque and pigmented lip colours
I make no mention of cost, because I think the asking price of RM95 per lipstick is pretty reasonable for what you get. I’ve paid more and gotten less so I’m not complaining.
I have here a couple more swatches I took at the counter while trying to pick out my colours. What I noticed when browsing the colours is that while there are 40 shades out there, not all will suit everyone. So, you really have to work with your skintone and preferences as to shade and intensity.
For example, I was dithering between Carmen or Annabella. In tube, which you’ll see below, they look quite similar. But on my skin, I could see that Annabelle had a significantly warmer tone with more orange while Carmen is slightly cooler. I wear cooler tones better, and when I had Annabella tested on my lips, I knew it was definitely out. It made me look sallow while Carmen made me look brighter.
Similarly, the orange shades at the top, Catherine and Geraldine (or it could even be Lana) which looked fairly coral in tube, got a straight No from me the minute they were swiped on my skin. They looked straight Halloween pumpkin orange on me which made me shudder.
Jane and Brigette look straight nude in the tube, and unlike Vanessa which looks slightly pink, applied on my skin brown. Unflattering browns at that so that again made me strike them from my list. For safe brights, Natalie, Kelly and Grace are all very pretty. Natalie is lighter than Kelly and looks more pink-peach. Grace has more red tones and while I was quite drawn to it, I was dissuaded from getting that, because it would be too close to Carmen. So I settled for Kelly.
I didn’t manage to swatch all the shades, but I’d definitely advise NOT buying the Audacious lipsticks sight unseen because how each shade looks will depend on your skintone and it is quite a gamble basing your purchase on just an online swatch based on someone else’s skin.
Testing NARS Audacious Lipstick in Annabella (front) and Carmen (back)
Instead, head to a counter, have a good play with them and then decide on the shade that suits you best. Out of 40, believe you me, there will be 1 for as Francois Nars says “Lipstick is an instant attraction, go with what works for you” :D
Incidentally, I’d like to give a shout out to Gee (Apologies if I got the spelling wrong!) who I captured testing out the Audacious lipstick with her friend while I was playing photographer. It turned out she was a reader, who came up to me to say Hi after that, and I really appreciated it! I hope you go back and buy the lipstick you tried, Gee, it looked amazing on you! ;)
Have you tried the NARS Audacious lipsticks or have you already got your eye on one? Does any of my picks catch your eye?
I like the 4 I own but I can’t be sure I’ll pick up more, because the other colour families didn’t sit well with me. I prefer brights and I’d pretty much exhausted the selection of brights available. Of the 4, my favourite is Carmen, but closely followed by Vanessa. Polar opposites, just like the magnets in their base :D How about you?
NARS Audacious Lipsticks come in 40 shades Price: RM95 each Availability: NARS store at Pavilion KL