NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick Review, Photos, Swatches

NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick
NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick

A Deep Red Lip for Fall Courtesy of NARS

NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “garnet red.” It’s a medium-dark red with burgundy-brown undertones and a natural matte finish, which means there’s the barest of sheen but it doesn’t look flat. MAC Rocker is slightly darker, cooler-toned. MAC Runaway Red is brighter. shu uemura Rouge Luster is similar but has shimmer. MAC Such Flare is slightly redder and brighter. MAC Extended Play is a bit browner. NARS Mascate is cooler-toned and brighter. Make Up For Ever #48 is sheerer and a bit more intense. MAC Dark Side is similar but has a glossier finish.

NARS’ Pure Matte formula is supposed to be matte, ultra pigmented, long-wearing, moisturizing, and comfortable to wear. ¬†Amsterdam is an excellent example of matte done¬†superbly. The color coverage is fully opaque, and you don’t need a lot of product to yield full color coverage. ¬†It has that mostly matte finish without being flat, or worse, terribly drying. It’s lightly moisturizing (it certainly won’t¬†replace¬†your favorite balm!) and fairly forgiving on the lips, even if your lips are slightly dry. ¬†I wore this shade last week, and¬†Amsterdam hung on for an impressive six and a half hours.

If you often find that reds look too bright, too bold, you might like Amsterdam. There’s a muted quality to the color that keeps it from being vampy, but there’s enough burgundy/brown in it to keep it from looking too red.

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NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick
NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick

NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick
NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick

NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick
NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick

NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick
NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick

NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick
NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick

NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick
NARS Amsterdam Pure Matte Lipstick

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About the Reviewer


Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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I adore this colour because it’s kind of a work-horse.¬† It’s one of those colours that is perfect when a red (but not too red) is required.¬† It’s polished and classic without looking too bold.¬† It’s the colour of confidence (to me).¬† Will work beautifully with a clean eye, IMO.¬† Thanks Christine.

Ooh, pretty! ¬†But does anyone else think that Nars’ recent LE lipsticks have been very similar? ¬†Amsterdam seems cooler than Moscow, but similar in tone. ¬†And there was also Joyous Red recently.

@Clare ¬† I do. I think there is some overlap and similarity between NARS’ line of reds across the various lines/textural formats. And that’s great for someone who would prefer one type (say, sheer) over another (pure matte). Sure, there are differences to an expert like, say, Christine who has superb colour nuance and can easily pick out the differences between, say, Trans Siberian Express or Trans Europe something vs. Red Lizard vs. Vesuvio vs. Cruella or another shade of red. Me? My eye isn’t so good. At some point, there are enough similarities that (and this is the key part), with my budget, 3 or 4 slightly similar shades are enough. If I had an open-wide budget, however, then it would be a totally different matter! LOL ¬†

I agree, I definitely think the recent NARS lipsticks have all been from the same color family. It would have been nice if he would have diversified his collection a bit for people uninterested in brown-y reds (like me). 

@yellowlantern Definitely check out Mascate. I’ve been putting off buying one until I saw actual swatches of Amsterdam, but it’s looking like I’ll be picking up Mascate. Also, Fire Down Below (Semi Matte) is nice, as well.

 @xamyx  @yellowlantern  Or Vesuvio, one of my 2 absolute FAVORITE reds ever from NARS.   A jewel of a ruby-garnet red!

 @xamyx  *giggle* down below!  
I’ll never forget being at the theatre one night for some big movie opening and as usual, they were playing a pile of trailers for upcoming movies.. ¬†so everyone is sitting there watching this action movie promo and then they pause for a few seconds and give the title of the film “Fire Down Below”!!!! ¬†The whole freaking audience pissed themselves laughing.. one of those cool crowd bonding moments.

¬†@wwendalynne¬†¬†@xamyx¬† Some part of my brain that I’m embarassed to acknowledge has a vague, elusive memory that this is a Steven Seagal film. ¬†I hope I’m mistaken because I’d rather not recall anything he’s done. They usually make Lifetime movies look like Oscar works of art.

For a matte lipstick, this one looks really nice and doesn’t seem to emphasize lines in your lips or make a “dry riverbed” sort of look. ¬†Really pretty colour too.

Wow! ¬†This is one of the most interesting orangey/browny reds I’ve recently seen. ¬†I usually do not care for lippies in this range, but there is something different about this one and I think I might be able to pull it off. ¬†And more surprisingly, you’ve paired it with a pink cheek!–okay, it’s Chanel Rose Initiale again, I just checked–I’m really glad I ordered this blush as it seems to work equally well between warm and cool toned lips. ¬†Incredible!

Hey Xamyx and Kafka: ¬†Do you think it’s the blush that is making this shade look more accessible to me? ¬†Am I nuts to even think of it? ¬†You know how much I hate orangey warmy thingees! ¬†What is your take?

¬†@wwendalynne¬† I don’t think this has orange in it. ¬†I do see brown-burgundy-red though. If you don’t have a colour even slightly close to this and if this is calling your name, then I’d say go for it. The pure-matte line is so velvety on the lips. ¬†Not thick, not slippery, not drying (for me) and it lasts forever. Personally, I prefer Mascate because I do like the slightly more reddish shade. Christine calls it “cooler toned” and I guess that’s why. ¬†(I wish I had her colour nuances!) But perhaps Mascate is more vampy and this would be more of a practical daily shade?¬†

@Kafka @wwendalynne I’m thinking this is more “sophisticated”, where Mascate is “sexy”, if that makes sense. I’d be more comfortable in Amsterdam for an office color, but for going out, I’d choose Mascate. I do like them both, but if I had to choose one, I’d go with Mascate (but would be likely to buy Amsterdam at a later time). Having said all that, I do think the shade of blush one chooses will affect the overall look of the lips.

¬†@xamyx¬†¬†@Kafka¬† I knew I could count on the girls! ūüôā ¬†I’ve got a fair number of cool vampy reds and so this attracted me because I agree with xamyx, it is sophisticated and different! ¬†It’s officially going on The List. ¬†I don’t know why I saw brick red (orangey) in this, but I did. ¬†Tonight looking at the pictures without the sun pouring into my window, I don’t see red. ¬†Thanks for pointing this out Kafka!

I have so, so many reds at this point that I’ve become really picky about buying more unless the colour is really a bit different. NARS’ semi-matte and full-matte lines are my absolute favorite lipsticks and pretty much the only brand of lipstick I’ll buy at this point since they’re the only ones I find that stay on like *glue* and which don’t bleed/feather/dry out my lips. But I’ll pass on this one as I already have Mascate which is pretty close to this one and which you mention as a possible dupe. (Why are SO many of his matte lipsticks reds that are just imperceptibly, *microscopically,* barely different in shade?)
¬† ¬† ¬† I wish he’d do something a bit different with the non-sheer lipsticks: like fine micro-shimmer or gold flecks. ¬†I also wish he’d have a slightly wider range of super brights (not just Carthage or Schiap) or nude pinks/plums. Lately, I’ve suddenly became really obsessed with getting some berry or plum coloured lipsticks but I just haven’t found the shades I’m looking for in his semi-mattes and mattes. I’ve got Viridiana which is really pretty (and is unusually creamy for one of his semi-mattes) but it’s a bit too brown in its dark plum-rose, a bit *too* muted. Darling Fran√ßois, you know I’d have your children if you weren’t gay and all that, but can you please stop putting out so many similar reds? You don’t have to be Bobbi Brown but perhaps a wee bit more diversity? Pretty please? I promise to stop pretending you’re my BF if you do. (Well, I’ll try, at least. ūüėČ )

¬†@Kafka¬†I actually think Mascate is bolder, brighter and Amsterdam is more muted, and browner. I don’t know about the other reds but these two don’t look too similar to me.

¬†@sabrinasaytac¬† You’re right, Mascate is a bit bolder and brighter, but for the purposes of $25, it’s close enough. LOL! ¬†I do see what you’re saying (esp. about the slightly browner undertone) but, to me, the small differences aren’t worth the cost because I’d rather save the money for something *much* more different, if that makes any sense. My NARS addiction is a slightly expensive disease, so I have to put down some lines somewhere. <grin>¬†

The color’s not really me, but I have to say – the pictures of the full lipstick make it look like a hot dog. Am I the only one thinking that?¬†

Have they reduced the quantity of these lipsticks? I just looked at your review for Mascate and that review indicates that the lipstick has .12 oz while Amsterdam has just .07 oz? 
(Sorry if this happened a long time and I’m only now noticing.)

Isn’t it ironic they sell a lipstick called Amsterdam, but they don’t sell NARS in Amsterdam (or The Netherlands)..
gorgeous color though!

*drools* Cuz I sooo need another red! I usually stray from brown reds, but this one isn’t looking overly brown. I love how they tend to look more chic and sophisticated, but brown lip colors tend to make me feel like my teeth look duller. Definitely still need to get on getting Rouge Tribal, though. I need a brighter, but still sexy shimmering ruby red gloss, too. Any suggestions?

So I am a pretty fair-skinned girl with golden undertones (NC 20)….meaning that I usually avoid reds like the plague….so I was so ready to buy into Amsterdam being a red alternative for real reds which I do indeed find to be “too bold” and “too bright”…..but let me tell you, for lighter skin tones, although this isn’t bright, it is BOLD. I mean wear this only if you have on boots that are made for walking-type bold. That being said, I did find it to be a lovely color. But, since I don’t want to look like a vampire, I ended up exchanging in for another color.¬†

Hey Christine ! Are you going to review Nars More¬†Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil that just came out with the fall collection ?? I’ve been waiting for your review to buy it because the color looks lovely but I’d like your feedback too ūüôā

just picked this up today. this, along with shiseido’s lacquer rouge in nocturne, are my new perfect reds! the brown tones in my skin (nc42) cancel out the brown tones in the lipstick, so all you see on my lips is a beautiful classic red. it’s lasted for hours with no budging or fading, and no development on my lips into a dark pink-berry shade, which is what happens with lots of reds on my lips. i’m loving this!

Amsterdam looks beautiful especially on you! This made me want it, badly! Had to order it! Also ordered the Moscow. ūüôā && also ordered Autumn Leaves and all because of you… (loved it) My makeup collection is getting better and better. My wallet, not so much.

How is this different from Vesuvio? I already have that shade and I want to make sure if it’s worth getting this shade cause I’ve already set my eyes on Mascate and I just happen to see this and it’s got great reviews as well.. I’m a sucker for red mattes so I really need to know if it’s worth the money these two..

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! ūüôā If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!