NARS has just launched their Pure Matte Lipstick, a set of six shades of matte lipstick. And when they mean matte, they aren't kidding - these are matte, like the 90's kind of matte. But whatever you think of the matte finish, the colour selection is excellent - there is something for everyone, and some of the deeper shades are obviously a nod to the dark, vampy and gothic lips trend for the upcoming Fall/Winter 2010 season. Despite presence of dark shades there is something for everyone here.
NARS claims that they have put moisturizing ingredients into the lipsticks to make them non-drying while still delivering a matte finish, but when I wore them, I did feel like they were a little drying. Not as drying as other matte lipsticks, to be sure, and probably less drying than some non-matte lipsticks I know, but they're not exactly hydrating, if you get what I mean. I guess for mattes, the texture is actually pretty decent.
If you're going to wear these, it's better to prep with some sort of primer or moisturizer beforehand. Also when applying the lipstick it's a good idea to dab the lipstick on lightly, instead of swiping it in heavy motions. The idea is to just use a little bit, because using too much can result in the lip looking cakey. When the lipstick was applied on me, the makeup artist used moisturizer, than primer, then dabbed on the lipstick in order to get that matte-but-still-luminous look that the model has in the pictures.
Here are the shades swatched on my arm:
L-R: Bangkok, Tonkin, Terre de Feu, Volga, Vesuvio, Tashkent
Bangkok is billed as a "soft rose" by NARS, but I think this one is probably going to be a nude for most of us, save the very fair. It's a pretty matte neutral pinky nude that is probably a lot more pink than nude. If you're really fair it will probably be a great MLBB (My Lips But Better) shade, but for the rest of us, it will probably work great as a wearable nude.
Tonkin is my favourite of the bunch - it was actually the shade I ended up with (so expect a review and lip swatch of Tonkin coming up soon!). This looks really blah and brown when swatched, and on the tube, but if worn lightly on the lips is a gorgeous neutral pinky-brown. Very wearable and very universal. I have no idea why NARS calls this a "cinnamon plum" because there isn't much plum in it, and it's not quite brown enough to be cinnamon. Trust me, the colour's better than it sounds, and I think this is one of the more underrated colours of the lot.
Terre de Feu is a "black cherry" shade, and another one I really liked. It doesn't look that dark in the swatch (because it's overshadowed by Volga), but this one is dark. It's a deep dark cool-toned rose shade, but not so dark that I'd call it blackened rose. It's pretty.
Volga is billed as a "deep aubergine", and I more or less agree with the description. It's a deep, dark plum, darker, cooler-toned and more purple than Terre de Feu. Volga is the kind of shade that's been gracing the runways for Fall/Winter 2010. This shade was probably created partially with the trends in mind.
Vesuvio is the shade that the model wears in the promo pics for this lipstick, and it seems to be the one getting the most attention. And I can see why, because it's a stunner of a shade. It's a bright matte red that's more or less quite universal (I do think it leans a tad warm though), and is well-described officially as a "full bodied red". Yup, that about sums it up.
Tashkent is rather boringly described as a "nude beige", and I guess that's more or less about right. It's a warm-leaning nude beige, and if I'm perfectly honest, it kind of reminds me of bandages? This is not my kind of shade, but someone else will probably like it more than I do.
These cost 18GBP for one 2g tube, which unfortunately makes them rather pricey by weight - ah, NARS sure knows that beauty doesn't come cheap! But if you're interested in getting them, they are currently exclusively available at Selfridges. They will be out nationwide in October.