Brand Breakdown: NARS

Oooh, I’m having a NARS moment again! I have had times in the past when I have been OBSESSED with Monsieur Nars’ delightful range of cosmetics, and I do mean obsessed. In fact I like to think I have a commemorative palm tree in Bora Bora (where he has an island, don’t you know) that is mine, bought and paid for, as over the years I seem to have acquired my bodyweight in NARS products.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the NARS line, and you may have seen quite a lot of coverage in the glossies lately to commemorate it. Not just that, but as a makeup artist Francois Nars has had something of a return to the fashion spotlight since keying the Marc Jacobs show the last two seasons – yes, he was the maestro behind the full-on 80’s faces we saw last year, and love it or hate it, you can’t deny how influential it has been.

Francois Nars started doing makeup in the early 80’s, and his first big break came when he did Brooke Shields for American Vogue. He worked steadily over the next fifteen years, becoming one of the biggest makeup artists in the world (he was the man who Madonna entrusted with most of her videos and the Steven Meisel Sex book). In 1994 he decided to launch a range of 12 lipsticks which just grew and grew, until it was acquired by Shiseido in 2000. It continues to evolve each season with new colors arriving and only a few leaving – a nice change from so many lines that seem to have a revolving door of Limited Edition products that you can’t get your hands on.

Now, enough background and onto the wonders of the line itself! For me it’s all about the colors – colors you just can’t get anywhere else, and in combinations that you couldn’t even dream up. I love the eyeshadows, the blushes, the lipsticks, the glosses, and the brushes particularly.

I’m also liking the new eyeliner pens as the nib is nice and stiff and so far after some weeks they are still holding strong (some of those pens seem to evaporate like a rabid toddler has been doodling with them – CoverGirl and Shu Uemura, I am talking to YOU!) And after my abysmal review of their old mascara, one of the NARS angels must have been listening as they have two new formulas out and the Larger Than Life Volumizing one not only gives a full, soft fluffy lash, but that sucker is indelible. I mean, bring the waterproof eye makeup remover because it will last all week left to its own devices!

The brushes are so good all of mine have been stolen at the shows over the years, which makes me sad but is a true sign of quality. And with no further ado, and in no particular order, here are my Top 5 favourite NARS products in each category (I had to do five for each, otherwise we’d be here all day).


  • All About Eve
  • Cordura
  • Misfit
  • India Song
  • Underworld


  • Orgasm
  • Sertao
  • Penny Lane
  • Lovejoy
  • Desire


  • Belle de Jour
  • Jungle Red
  • Heatwave
  • Roman Holiday
  • Dolce Vita

Plus! All the Velvet Matte Pencils, any and all of the glosses, and the Multiples in Copacabana and South Beach never leave my side (well, except when I’m in the shower). And now Christmas is nearly upon us, it is with glee and anticipation that I realize the new collection is just round the corner!

5 Replies to “Brand Breakdown: NARS”

  1. Love NARS, love the eyeshadow duos. Some of them look like bonkers pairings, but then they work beautifully together. Completely agree that AAE, Cordura and Underworld are gorgeous. I don’t get on that well with Orgasm, for some reason, it has a little too much shimmer for me (I prefer Deep Throat, although the name is horrible.)

    1. Yes I was tossing up between Deep Throat and Lovejoy – but Lovejoy won. Orgasm isn’t great on me personally either, but for people with yellow tones in their skin, it is gorge. It’s tough to choose though, let me tell ya!

  2. Hi,
    Could you recommend a pink, powder blusher (NARS or another brand) for a evening/party look?

    I have pale skin with pink undertones, and I always find it hard looking for a blush which does not look clown like. I would like a blusher which gives a glowing natural look which enhances and contours my cheek bones (I don’t ask much do I :). I don’t know whether you are familiar with her, but my make up inspiration is TV presenter Holly Willoughby.

    Thanks for any advice you can give

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