Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Nars Pure Matte Lipstick - Swatches & Review

Nars Promo - Versuvio is the shade featured
Before I start this I must confess (if you haven't seen my earlier post) that I adore the original Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. I mean I am a total addict, I collect them and have three of Sex Machine, my favourite colour in all the world, on the go at the moment.

With this is mind you can imagine my interest when I heard Nars were releasing a new Pure Matte Lipstick this autumn. I had seen them on other beauty blogs and tried to find out how they compared to my beloved pencils, but no one seemed to know the answer. I decided a test was in order so I scrapped my plan of buying the eyeshadow duos from the Fall collection and instead bought some of the lipsticks to try, I really didn't need an excuse!

There are only six shades in this new formula, 3 nudes/neutrals and 3 darker, vampy colours. I am very much into dark lips at the moment so I was drawn to those immediately. I chose Versuvio, a cherry red that is used in the promo picture and Terre de Feu, a black cherry. For a more everyday look I picked Bangkok, a warm, light pink and Tonkin, a warm neutral for my mum.

The other 2 shades that I didn't get are Tashkent, a pale beige, and Volga, a very deep aubergine. I have finally learnt that beige lips do absolutely nothing for me and I felt I'd been adventurous enough with Terre de Feu, Volga would have been that step too far towards the dark side. I wouldn't rule it out in the future though if I start getting more comfortable with the darker lip, but for the moment I have more than enough deep shades to be getting on with (this week's posts will be dedicated to dark lipsticks).

The lipsticks come in slimline packaging and this was quite a change for me, I can't believe I've never used this style of lipstick before! It did make it a bit easier to apply neatly, I am rubbish with lipstick and that is why I love the matte lip pencils, but for the darker colours I had to use a brush and clear lip liner.

Left to right: Terre de Feu, Versuvio,
Tonkin & Bangkok
I have been wearing lipsticks with a much creamier formula recently, Tom Ford in particular, so it did feel a little odd applying a product with such a different texture. They don't apply terribly smoothly, but once on the colour pay off was excellent, probably richer than in the swatches. After about a minute my lips felt completely comfortable, as if I didn't have any product on, and that is how it stayed for the rest of the day. For me they were very long lasting. With the creamier lipsticks, because I can feel it is there, I am always very aware of it and concerned about it smearing etc, but the beauty of the Nars Mattes, both pencil and lipstick, is that they stay where they should be. Once applied you don't need to worry about it.

Matte lipsticks are notoriously unforgiving so your lips do need to be in very good condition to do them justice. I have incredibly dry, flaky lips so matte is not an obvious option for me, but I like the finish so much that I don't mind taking some extra time to exfoliate my lips, apply balm etc.

 Unfortunately I was in a hurry today so I didn't do that before taking pictures! I tried to take photos of the colour on my lips but they aren't great, I'm just a beginner so I hope my technique will improve with practice. Also, Macro mode on a camera is a hideous nightmare, highlighting all your flaws for the world to see. It's enough to make me camera shy forever more but I will try to get over that.

Left to right: Terre de feu, Versuvio, Tonkin, Bangkok

I don't think any matte lipsticks swatch well because of their texture, the colours can look a little dull. In real life the shades are more vibrant, less chalky looking and more individual.

Left to right: Terre de feu, Versuvio, Tonkin, Bangkok

Please don't look too carefully at the application of the lipstick or my lips in general, the photos are not to show off my amazing lips (they are one of my worst features) but simply to give you a better idea of the true colour of the different shades. There is actually a lot more of a difference between Terre de feu and Versuvio than the pictures show.


Clockwise starting top left: Bangkok applied, Versuvio applied, Terre de Feu applied (very lightly, can be a lot darker)

Overall, these lipsticks are a winner for me. I don't think they give as matte a finish as the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils and for me, they are that bit harder to apply than the pencil (as shown by my photos!), but they come in some fantastic colours which aren't available in the pencil format and this in itself is enough to make me purchase them. Volga could be added to my beauty wish list.

Versuvio is now one of my all time favourite reds as it is cooler than most, with a fair amount of pink to it. It is the shade used in the beautiful promo shot. Even though I have a number of reds in the pencils, none come close to Versuvio. Terre de Feu may seem a little like the Matte Pencil in Damned, but Damned is darker and has more purple in it, Terre de Feu is a touch warmer. Tonkin doesn't suit me at all as it is too warm and  is similar to the matte pencil in Bettina. Bangkok has no match in the pencils.

Matte lips are one of the big beauty trends of the season and if you want to ease your way into it, I can't think of a better way than with Nars Pure Matte Lipstick. They are matte enough to be a nod to the trend, but not so as to dry out your lips and look unflattering. I really hope they add more shades soon, a vibrant pink would be lovely. It you are in a hurry though and apply lipstick like a child (that's me), you may want to go for the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil instead!

The six shades of Nars Pure Matte Lipstick are available online at http://www.narscosmetics.co.uk/ for £18 each and Nars are currently offering a complimentary mini lip gloss set with every purchase of £30 or more.

If you want to see my post on Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, check out my post here http://www.lipstickluvvies.com/2010/09/is-matte-new-black-nars-matte-lipsticks.html


  1. Hi Jennifer,
    My, Vesuvio looks gorgeous! I did see and swatch these (BTW I love the pencils, especially Dolce Vita), but matte colours are too unforgiving on me..I am in my forties and I find that sheerer and glossier textures are much more flattering).
    Still, nothing beats the right matte red for impact and drama in my opinion!
    As for the Villains, nothing else really stood out for me I'm afraid. And, if I'm honest, the whole business of endless LE collections that cause a stampede just aren't my cup of tea, so I only ever go into MAC for specific items, preferably from the permanent collection.
    Have a lovely evening!

  2. I discovered your blog through Makeup Merriment and I'm so glad I did. Your descriptions are terrific and your photo work is excellent.

  3. Hi Nina, I have to admit I am not normally one for MAC limited collections, normally I have no idea they are out. It was the Disney that attracted me (am such a child at heart!). I love Dolce Vita and Versuvio is one of the best reds I've ever tried. Even looks good when I'm wearing no other makeup at all X

    Hi Marcia, thanks for your kind comment. Reading your blog has convinced me I need more Le Metier de Beaute! Thankfully my London dwelling brother picked up the Le cirque Kaleidoscope eye kit for me (hard to find if you don't live in Central London) for my birthday and I can't wait to have a play with it when he brings it home X