|greta, the original|
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.
|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.
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!]