It seems that I’m getting quite excited about NARS these days! In 2016 I increased the NARS products in my stash from two (my eye primer, which I’ve been using for 3.5 years now, and the mini Cruella from last year’s Sephora birthday gift) to 9. This is mainly because I discovered Murale, a high-end beauty store owned by Shoppers Drug Mart, where I have now gone twice to spend about $500 total worth of Optimum points. My last Murale haul was almost exclusively made up of NARS products – I mean, if I’m getting them for free, why not, right?! (For any Canadians interested, Murale carries the standard Shoppers Beauty Boutique fare as well as NARS, YSL, Bobbi Brown, Paul and Joe, and various bougie skincare lines. Oh, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s makeup line, which I always pass over because an insufferable rich woman’s company does not get me going.)
Back in May, I treated myself to the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte, a peach with a hint of brown. Despite my general aversion to peach, I quickly fell in love with both the formula and colour of this lipstick, so when I lost it in September I not only replaced it as soon as I could make it back to Murale but picked up another colour. Murale does not carry the full line of Audacious lipsticks and had very few on the list I’d made beforehand of my favourite shades, and I ended up selecting one which wasn’t on my list to begin with: Audrey, a deep wine red.
Obviously, I’ve already spoiled you here in the opening of this review (and in a positive mention of Brigitte back in August). I really like these lipsticks. But why?
The Colours and Finish
I really like the two colours I have. Brigitte is a great everyday shade and a wearable peach on my complexion. As I’ve mentioned in the past, peaches that are too orange or that have a white base tend to make me look rather washed out. Brigitte is a deeper peach and the hint of brown makes it incredibly wearable for me. Audrey is a quintessential fall/winter wine red shade. The Audacious line in general has a breathtaking array of beautiful, varied shades – I truly think there’s something for everyone. Or a lot of things for some of us. But really – I think the colour range is one of the strengths of this line, and something that makes it more appealing than other lipstick lines that I like but that just don’t have the same colour selection. (For example, I’m a huge fan of the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution formula, but I find the shade range quite limited and the many brown-nude colours don’t appeal to me.)
The Audacious Lipsticks aren’t fully matte, but they’re not glossy or shiny either. They’re a perfect satin finish, which is generally the finish I prefer in a cream lipstick. Brigitte seems slightly more matte to me than Audrey, but both have a lovely finish which make my lips look full and pretty.
I find the Audacious Lipsticks to be creamy and opaque upon application. The colour doesn’t need to be built up at all, and Audrey, the deeper colour, isn’t patchy as some dark colours can be. They apply smoothly and easily.
Crucially, I also do not find these drying at all. I know that this varies from person to person. After reading Auxiliary Beauty‘s reviews of her Audacious lipsticks and how drying she found them (before ultimately decluttering them because they were so dry), I was shocked at how comfortable these feel on my lips. For reference, my lips, like the rest of me, are quite dry, but not completely parched. I slather on Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm religiously before bed and that keeps them in good shape, so they can handle formulas that aren’t super hydrating. But I can still tell if something is drying, even if my lips do okay – for example, though I like the Stila liquid lipsticks, and though they don’t turn my lips into a mess, I can tell that they dry my lips out more than a regular lipstick. I don’t have that experience with the Audacious Lipsticks.
The Lasting Power
With the explosion of liquid lipsticks, I think we’re all expecting a lot in terms of lasting power from all of our lip products. Obviously, no traditional cream lipstick is going to last as long as a matte liquid lipstick. That’s just not how science works. (How does science work? I don’t know, I have a degree in pop culture.) But in terms of the spectrum of regular bullet lipsticks, these guys are right at the “very long-lasting” end. They hold up for a long time, through regular eating, drinking, talking, and living life. No, they’re not going to win a fight against a greasy hamburger. But, truth be told, neither do Stila liquid lipsticks. The burger will win every time, people.
I know I’m horribly superficial. Good packaging can often sway me to buy a product if I’m on the fence, or make me interested in a product that I otherwise wouldn’t have given the time of day. But I think if you’re going to pay $39 CAD for a lipstick, the packaging should be good. I mean, otherwise I’d just buy some Maybelline Creamy Mattes on sale for $6.99 and call it a day, you know?
I really like the sleek black packaging with the NARS logo wrapped around the cap. (And I kind of want two more of the Audacious Lipsticks so I can line them up to spell NARS. As it is, I am the type of person who makes sure that they are turned to say NA when they’re in their little acrylic homes.) The packaging is sturdy – it’s minimalist but not cheap-feeling. There’s a weight to the Audacious Lipsticks that make them feel expensive. (There’s nothing that betrays cheapness quite as much as light packaging.) I also love that the lids are magnetic – it’s not really a practical necessity, but it’s the type of fun touch that makes me feel good when I use one of my Audacious Lipsticks.
And now, onto the swatches and comparisons and all that good stuff.
By the way, I totally wasn’t planning on taking these photos today, but I realized that the lip swatches I’d taken were both grainy and out of focus, a fatal combination. I’d just been experimenting with my eye makeup (and you will, of course, get a post on my blue eyeliner shortly), so all I have on besides my eye makeup is brows and undereye concealer. Personally I think both of these lipsticks look a bit better with some blush, at least.
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey is deeper than NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Cruella and Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss 09, though it’s not as deep as Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick in Scarlet. It has a more wine-y tone than both Cruella (which is a deep red) and Rimmel Kate 09 (which is a red-leaning berry), but it’s far less purple than Scarlet.
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte is deeper than Lancôme Rouge in Love lipstick in Corail in Love, and has a tick of brown in the colour which Corail in Love lacks. It’s less brown and pink than Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss 08.
I know this is only the four millionth rave review of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks out there, but, hey, this is my first review of them. Clearly, I really like them. In fact, I’d say they’re right up there with my favourite bullet lipstick formulas. As always when it comes to fancy lipsticks, I struggle to say that they’re necessary leagues ahead of some of the more affordable alternatives – is the formula worth $30 more than the aforementioned Maybelline Creamy Mattes, for example? I don’t know that it is. But is it a good formula that’s worth your money should you be looking for a splurge or something nice to spend your Optimum points on? Absolutely. And as with all expensive makeup, we’re paying for the branding, the packaging, and the feel of putting it on as much as the formula itself. All of that works for me in this product – it’s a lipstick that, in my opinion, does an admirable job of convincing me that it is worth $39.
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