Monday, November 23rd, 2009

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Pop Life & Toudra

NARS Pop Life & Toudra Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($24.00 for 0.086 oz.) are two new shades from NARS’ Holiday Collection.  These are jumbo-sized lip pencils that are designed to be used more like a lipstick than a lip pencil.  The product is “enriched with Vitamin E” and is designed to last for “hours.”  NARS describes Toudra as a “richly pigmented Barolo wine shade is creamy, long-lasting and matte for strong, seamless color and a perfectly defined pout,” while Pop life is a “bold, bright and modernly matte holly–red hue that slips on with a velvety texture – a new holiday staple.”

Toudra is a bronzy, not quite coppery, brown-based wine.  It’s not really what I’d think of when someone tells me it’s a wine shade, though.  It’s in there, and yet it’s distinctly different.  It has a bit of a frosty/shimmery look, and I didn’t find it applied as easily as some other Velvet Matte Lip Pencils have in the past.  It even felt a little gritty, and dare I say… drying?  (Which these are specifically stated to not be!)  It is reasonably pigmented, though since it doesn’t apply smoothly, you end up using a fair amount of product get an even, full coverage look.

Pop Life looks very holiday-red when you check out the product, but on my lips, it was definitely not the case.  It was more of a brightened up orange-based coral shade.  It was smoother and gave a better look overall compared to Toudra, but even this still felt a little drying to me.  I didn’t get “hydrating” when testing either of these shades out myself.   If you’re looking for a red, you might consider Dragon Girl or Cruella instead–both of which are a lot redder than Pop Life.

These aren’t really your best bang for your buck lip product, considering you only get 0.086 oz. for $24–a NARS lipstick contains 0.12 oz. but also costs $24.00.  NARS has plenty of pigmented lipsticks in their collection (along with sheer shades, of course), so I’d probably start there in a lip color hunt.  I like these, in terms of the actual product (and discounting the price differential), more than NYX’s Jumbo Lip Pencils, because they feel a little more high quality and they do last much longer on me (about four to five hours).

Bottom Line: I don’t love the new shades from holiday.  I don’t own any of the permanent shades, but I’ve tested them in-store and have been more drawn to them there than I was when I swatched these two (and liked them even less when I actually used them!).  Neither color really pops for me, and I’m not sure why these aren’t as hydrating as NARS touts the product line to be.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I’d recommend trying these in-store before purchasing, to see if the texture meets your expectations!

Availability:, NARS Cosmetics, Sephora

See swatches

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Toudra & Pop Life

NARS Toudra Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Toudra

NARS Pop Life Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Pop Life


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24 thoughts on “NARS Pop Life & Toudra Velvet Matte Lip Pencils Reviews, Photos, Swatches

  1. Melinda

    Oh No :( so Sad I was kinda excited about these But I don’t like them Sorry Nars I Adore you but this is a Big Dissapointment

  2. Meagan

    So disappointing – was really excited about these, but definitely wouldn’t be able to wear either. Oh well! Thanks for the review :)

  3. rose

    very disappointed. just looking at the pencil, i expected more. :-/

  4. I have 2 of the Nars lip pencils, one in Bettina and one in Roman Holiday and I hate the texture! Maybe the frostyness of them makes a difference and the formula is better matte, but either way I’m not dropping that much money on a product that might not actually work out.

  5. b.

    I don’t care much for Toudra, but I think Pop Life looks lovely on your lips even though it turns coral on you :)

  6. Wilcoa

    I was expecting more pop of color when I saw the pencils, very disappointing :(

  7. Kristina

    I have had a few of these and didn’t like the texture at all, I have since given them to my mother.

    On my last trip to the US I picked up a few of the Sonia Kashuk versions (Canadians love Target!)
    and they are really amazing.

    They do not share the same drying and waxy feeling of the NARS pencils. Unfortunately the SK line is extremely shade limited.

    Have you tried the SK version?

  8. Macaddict

    I have Damned ( a brick red) and an orangey-red one (can’t recall the name now…) from their regular line and I love them. I also bought Pop Life and don’t have a problem with it. I don’t find it more drying on my lips than the other ones I have and, on my lips, the color looks very vibrant.

  9. Sarah M

    The colours are really beautiful and I do love matte lipsticks. I would use these very happily on a photoshoot (for effect) but for me personally its really important that any makeup I am going to be wearing all day feels comfortable on and having tested these I just wasn’t impressed at all. I expect better quality for that price tag. Some of you may disagree but that’s just how I feel.

    • Maria

      I use these, and I must say they feel amazing if you put some chapstick before and let it nourish the lips, and then apply these. The colour is vibrant, and don’t let it scare you because of the whole “matte” feel.

  10. Thanks for sharing – I’ll know to skip these now. I can’t do drying lipsticks.

  11. Kristin

    I have one of the normal line – dolce vita, I think, and it is a bit drying as well. It stains my lips for hours, so when my lips feel dry, I just top it with a clear gloss. It’s an OK product – convenient, definitely, but not my go-to.

  12. Lorna

    I love NARS but I would agree their lip pencils are not my favorite product. I have Sex Machine and while I love the color I would rather go with a lipstick because when you sharpen, you lose so much product. Thankfully, I bought mine in a set so I wasn’t *too* disappointed.

  13. amy

    I like the pop life colour, too bad it is drying and not as long lasting as you thought it would be.

  14. I like the pencils but did not care for the 2 2009 holiday ones. I tried Toudra in person and it is very brown. I have Roman Holiday – great somewhat frosty pink and love the creamy texture. I also have Red Square, an orangey red I got deeply discounted at I was afraid it might be old (and dry) but it is also creamy even though on the matte site. Really good with the new MAC Cremesheen Glass one that is reddish orange (can’t remember name).

  15. Brittany

    These are disappointing! I was looking for not a cherry red, something darker, so i was thinking about Cruella. Have you tired Nars Velvet Matte in Cruella? I like the fact that they are matte. I’m looking for something long lasting. Any ideas?

    • I haven’t tried Cruella, but I’ve heard good things about it!

      • Maria

        I have Cruella, it’s quite an amazing colour! Dragon girl is my favourite by far, though. I really want to try Pop life, it looks like such a beautiful colour for pale girls..!

  16. I like the color of pop life, but I’ve never been

  17. (oops, the comment got published before I finished typing it!)
    a fan of lip pencils used as lipsticks. Plus, as you say, this is so overpriced for the little quantity you get.

  18. NARS lip products are NOT the best overal, but they have sometimes really gorgeous colours so sometimes I just fall for it. Love my Beautiful Liar, but my lips are in the evening very dry. And I do not have a problem with dry lips for usual.

    Matte colours are indeed never hydrating! I am a lipstick junkie and treid all matte and longlasting poducts, and ALL dry lips out. Otherwise they would not be matte/stick on your lips. Used with a matte lipcare underneath (WELEDA Everon, organic) they are better wearable.

  19. NYX Jumbo lip pencils are way better deal. Color pay-off is great, too.