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making faces :: how audacious!

greta, the original
i will start this post by congratulating myself on my relative restraint in the last month, because i cautiously chose to purchase just one of nars' new audacious lipsticks and try it out to test the wear and feel of the formula on my lips rather than doing what originally crossed my mind, which was run into the first store i encountered screaming "all! i want all!" score one for civility.

those who are interested in the beauty industry probably have at least as many details  on this launch as i do: nars has introduced a new lipstick formula in 40 shades [10 of which are exclusive to the nars web site and to barney's in the u.s./ holt renfrew in canada], all named after icons of the silver screen. the "audacious lipsticks" are very pigmented, creamy and opaque. having swatched most of them, i would say that there is a slight range in finishes from moderately glossy to nearly matte. some seem a little more translucent than others, but almost all of them are pretty heavily pigmented. the formula was very consistent- more so than i've seen among any collection of that size in pretty much any brand.

for any brand to launch a forty shade collection is a pretty incredible undertaking, but nars apparently decided it was go big or go home. given the sheer number of colours available, there will likely be options for anyone. that said, there is a preponderance of what i call "hothouse shades": deep vibrant berries, juicy orange-reds, brightened fuchsias. there are also a considerable number of deeper shades for fall, which of course sets my heart fluttering. the nude shades generally have a very sixties feel to them- they're bolder pastels rather than soft naturals for the most part. i like the fact that the collection seems to stake out new ground for the brand rather than duplicating the sort of shades that we see already in their permanent collection. [word has it that no lipsticks are being discontinued to make room for the new formula. while that might be true in the short run, i'd be surprised if we didn't see at least some culling of the semi-matte formula in the near future.]

i decided to start with "greta", named, of course, for greta garbo, possibly the most marveled-over beauty of the first half of the twentieth century. her smoldering gaze, perfectly arched brows and full lips dominated celebrity magazine covers for practically the entire 1930s. her legendary reticence only increased the fascination with her, all the more so when she rather suddenly retired from film at the age of thirty-six.

the lipstick named for her is described by nars as a "wild azalea", which seems like a very bold choice for a woman renowned for being mysterious, but at the same time, it does call to mind the exotic, the passionate [garbo was known especially for her roles in romantic films] and it's certainly the kind of colour that will imprint itself on your mind [and your skin].

i think "wild azalea" is an excellent description. it's a very bold reddened magenta- one of the aforementioned hothouse colours for certain. like most of the audacious lipsticks, it doesn't have shimmer or sheen, so it's a very straightforward kind of shade.

wild azaleas
greta, the lipstick

 the finish is very nearly matte- the closest to completely matte of any of the shades that i tried- and does apply very smoothly and evenly. you certainly don't need more than a single pass and i found that the colour lasted a few hours without fading noticeably. [others have reported that the glossier shades fade faster.] it does have a smoothing effect on the lips, although after a day's wear, it did start to make mine feel a touch dry. that's about par for the course with me and all mattes. i'd say that this was one of the better near-matte formulas in that regard. i never found nars regular semi-matte lipsticks especially drying, but this one did feel creamier. i didn't experience any feathering or bleeding with this shade. again, i think that some of the other shades in the range might be quite different, given that they seem a lot glossier. i guess i'll just have to buy more of them to find out...

there are a lot of these sorts of vibrant pinks around lately- i feel like hot pinks are having a moment- but this is a particularly nice example. mac "party parrot" is more orange/ coral. bite beauty "quince" is cooler, redder and darker. mac "catharina" is lighter, cooler and more muted. mac "fusion pink" is more orange/ coral and has shimmer that makes it appear lighter.

l to r :: mac party parrot, bite quince, greta, mac catharina, mac fusion pink

i'll be honest. while i've been restrained thus far, i am still having to hold myself back from rushing up to the first nars counter i come to and demanding all the lipsticks. i'm forcing myself to be picky because i feel like the straightforward nature of the colours makes it more likely that i have near matches in my considerable stash already. however, as a fan of strong lip shades, i find myself overwhelmed by the desire for the smooth finish and intense colour payoff that these offer. in truth, i already know which ones are coming home next, i'm just trying to pace myself.

here's the look i put together when i was trying "greta" out for the first time. clearly, this is the sort of lipstick that needs to take the front seat, so i kept things fairly simple otherwise.

 


products used

the base ::
hourglass mineral veil primer
ysl fusion ink foundation "10"
dior star concealer "001"
mac paint pot "painterly"

the eyes ::
guerlain e/s palette "les sables"
mac fluidline brow "deep dark brunette"[used on brows and as a liner]
ysl baby doll mascara

the cheeks ::
guerlain blush g [tropical coral pink]*
hourglass ambient lighting powder "diffused light" [yellowed white]

the lips ::
nars audacious l/s "greta" [wild azalea]

*suggested alternates :: les sables is limited but still available; blush g = benefit bella bamba [redder and deeper, more shimmer]

at $37cad, nars have staked their claim against the prestige brands of dior, chanel, yves st. laurent and guerlain. it's a bold move [perhaps that's why they're called "audacious?], but the formula is very strong and i'd say this is a gamble that's likely to pay off. thankfully for all our sanity, all forty of the audacious lipstick shades are permanent, even the ten that are available only in limited locations, so you can build you collection as slowly [or as quickly] as you like.

[strange coincidence i thought i'd share: a few years back, i thought i did a series of red lipstick posts called "the little red book". check out who i used as a lead-in photo for my only nars entry!]

Comments

I was hoping you'd review one of the Audacious lipsticks eventually! I actually tried to guess which one you'd bought when I saw the title of the post, but I struck out: I was thinking Fanny or Vera. Would you call Greta a cool or warm pink? It seems warmer than a fuchsia, but cooler than the coral-pinks in the range.

I feel inordinately proud of the fact that I've bought ZERO Audacious lipsticks so far, despite having a tentative, ever-fluctuating wishlist of five or six. At the moment I think I'll hold off until spring and then buy a pinkish coral like Grace.
Kate MacDonald said…
I suspect that this will be the first of multiple Audacious lipstick reviews, knowing me... Both Fanny and Vera were on my short list, to be honest, and I probably would have picked one of them if it hadn't been for the fact that ALL TEH BERREEZ have followed me home recently and I had to buy something just a little different. The fact that I made myself stick to one to start with made me delay the decision to purchase longer than I would have, I think...

As far as the tone, I'd say it's on the warmer end of cool if that makes any sense. Fuchsia/ pinks can never look entirely warm to me, but I think this is as warm as they can get. Hope that's somewhat helpful.
L.P. said…
Argh, I seem to be the only one who finds the Audacious line to be a fail. I first got Jeanne, which looked gorgeous in the store (and was the one the SA picked out for me), but it turned deep rose pink after about 1/2 hour of wear. OK, but not what I was looking for. So I exchanged it for Olivia. Olivia gives me the Red Lip Ring of Death after about 2 hours. It's seriously bad. I've tried primer, lip liner, lip brush, nothing helps. I was so excited about this line, but now I feel like a wallflower at the orgy.

However, I'm giving Armani Lip Maestro in 201 (and maybe 400) serious thought...
Janet Bene said…
This is a gorgeous color on you! I have been looking at these and have decided, so far, HA HA. ON Janet,, Micyayo, and Greta. Thanks for the review and photos!
Kate MacDonald said…
Thanks Janet! I'm having a problem with these lipsticks, which is that whenever I check one off my wish list, more seem to rush in to take its place. There are more reviews coming, believe me.

L.P.- I'm sorry to hear that you're not enamoured, but consider it money saved. The Armani maestros are absolutely worthy- both of those colours are beautiful.

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