NARS Shanghai Express & Red Lizard Lipsticks Reviews & Swatches

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NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick
NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick

Shanghai Express

NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick ($26.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a deep red with warmer undertones and a satin finish. It had rich pigmentation in a single stroke, which applied evenly and smoothly across my lips without tugging during application. The texture was just emollient enough to glide on, while it felt lightweight, thin but not clingy, and was comfortable to wear. It stayed on well for six hours, left a faint stain behind, and felt non-drying while worn.

FURTHER READING: Formula Overview for details on general performance and characteristics (like scent).

Formula Overview

$26.00/0.12 oz. - $216.67 Per Ounce

NARS has reformulated their core lipstick range, which now includes 72 shades across three finishes: matte, sheer, and satin. The formula is supposed to go on "smoothly and evenly with a light feel" that is "long-lasting" and "resistant to bleeding and feathering." The sheer finish has "subtle, sheer color that shines," while the satin finish has "creamy rich color" and the matte finish has "intense color with a velvety finish."

The matte finish has a very thin, featherweight feel to it, but they didn't feel clingy or too prone to dragging during application, though they were definitely a firmer texture in the tube. There was enough glide from the inclusion of dimethicone (first ingredient for the matte finish) that went on evenly, felt velvety but didn't feel as powder-like as some of the other more silicone-heavy matte lipstick formulas that have been released in the last couple of years. Most shades were pigmented and nearly opaque to opaque. The wear ranged from three to six hours with deeper, richer shades staying on a bit longer and leaving slight stains. They were comfortable to wear but felt more non-drying than particularly hydrating.

The satin finish has more slip, feels thicker (though not actually thick or heavy) compared to the matte finish, and of course, there was subtle to light shine/sheen. They applied smoothly, comfortably, and for the most part, went on evenly and didn't sink noticeably into my lip lines but there was some variance between shades. They were typically semi-opaque to opaque in coverage with four to six-hour wear that was lightly hydrating.

The sheer finish had coverage that ranged from semi-sheer to true medium coverage but most had some translucency to them, which gave them a sheerer finish. I found most of the shades I tried were buildable to some degree. The texture was a bit firmer, but they felt more emollient and "melted" a bit more against my lips than I recall the original line of lipsticks doing. Some shades applied well with even application and were flattering on, but there were a few that sank more noticeably into my lip lines. This finish tended to wear between three and five hours.

I don't have many of NARS' original lipsticks in my stash (I have mostly Audacious as they haven't been releasing many in the core range) to compare to. The matte finish was definitely thinner, more matte, and had a velvetier look on lips compared to the original which had a subtle sheen to it. The satin finish seemed a bit more pigmented and not quite as luminous/glossy as the previous formula, while the sheer finish was creamier, more emollient, and was easier to apply. It didn't feel like a vastly different formula, but it felt a bit easier to work with (smoother, more emollient but still lighterweight and thin, far less slip than any of the Audacious range) and was more comfortable to wear across the board for me.

I didn't notice any scent or taste, though there is "fragrance (parfum)" listed in the ingredients--it smelled neutral, not waxy but I just didn't get any scent.

Browse all of our NARS Lipstick swatches.

Ingredients

Dimethicone, Synthetic Wax, Polyethylene, Isohexadecane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Microcrystalline Wax/Cera Microcristallina/Cire Microcristalline, Kaolin, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/Candelilla Cera/Cire De Candelilla, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Polysilicone-11, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hydroxyapatite, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Propylene Carbonate ·Simethicone, Bht, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, [+/- ( May Contain): Bismuth Oxychloride (Ci 77163), Blue 1 Lake (Ci 42090), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Mica, Red 28 Lake (Ci 45410), Red 33 Lake (Ci 17200), Red 6 (Ci 15850), Red 7 Lake (Ci 15850), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (Ci 15985)].

Disclaimer: Ingredient lists are as available by the brand (or retailer) at the time of publishing. Please always check product packaging, if it exists, for the ingredient list applicable to the product you're purchasing, or the brand or retailer's website for the most up-to-date ingredient list.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
1 of 6
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick
NARS Red Lizard Lipstick

Red Lizard

NARS Red Lizard Lipstick ($26.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a medium-dark red with strong, cool undertones and a matte finish. It had nearly opaque color payoff in one pass, which applied evenly and didn’t sink into my lip lines. The lipstick had a firmer, slightly drier feel in the tube, which resulted in some noticeable drag when I tried to apply it in a fluid stroke, so I’d recommend using short, quick strokes for the best application. It was dry enough that it had actually come away from the interior holder and fell out (hence the smashed tip!) when I opened it upside down (noted: do not do that!). The color lasted well for six hours and was still going, and when I removed it, there was a reddish stain left behind. The formula felt a touch drying over time for me.

FURTHER READING: Formula Overview for details on general performance and characteristics (like scent).

Formula Overview

$26.00/0.12 oz. - $216.67 Per Ounce

NARS has reformulated their core lipstick range, which now includes 72 shades across three finishes: matte, sheer, and satin. The formula is supposed to go on "smoothly and evenly with a light feel" that is "long-lasting" and "resistant to bleeding and feathering." The sheer finish has "subtle, sheer color that shines," while the satin finish has "creamy rich color" and the matte finish has "intense color with a velvety finish."

The matte finish has a very thin, featherweight feel to it, but they didn't feel clingy or too prone to dragging during application, though they were definitely a firmer texture in the tube. There was enough glide from the inclusion of dimethicone (first ingredient for the matte finish) that went on evenly, felt velvety but didn't feel as powder-like as some of the other more silicone-heavy matte lipstick formulas that have been released in the last couple of years. Most shades were pigmented and nearly opaque to opaque. The wear ranged from three to six hours with deeper, richer shades staying on a bit longer and leaving slight stains. They were comfortable to wear but felt more non-drying than particularly hydrating.

The satin finish has more slip, feels thicker (though not actually thick or heavy) compared to the matte finish, and of course, there was subtle to light shine/sheen. They applied smoothly, comfortably, and for the most part, went on evenly and didn't sink noticeably into my lip lines but there was some variance between shades. They were typically semi-opaque to opaque in coverage with four to six-hour wear that was lightly hydrating.

The sheer finish had coverage that ranged from semi-sheer to true medium coverage but most had some translucency to them, which gave them a sheerer finish. I found most of the shades I tried were buildable to some degree. The texture was a bit firmer, but they felt more emollient and "melted" a bit more against my lips than I recall the original line of lipsticks doing. Some shades applied well with even application and were flattering on, but there were a few that sank more noticeably into my lip lines. This finish tended to wear between three and five hours.

I don't have many of NARS' original lipsticks in my stash (I have mostly Audacious as they haven't been releasing many in the core range) to compare to. The matte finish was definitely thinner, more matte, and had a velvetier look on lips compared to the original which had a subtle sheen to it. The satin finish seemed a bit more pigmented and not quite as luminous/glossy as the previous formula, while the sheer finish was creamier, more emollient, and was easier to apply. It didn't feel like a vastly different formula, but it felt a bit easier to work with (smoother, more emollient but still lighterweight and thin, far less slip than any of the Audacious range) and was more comfortable to wear across the board for me.

I didn't notice any scent or taste, though there is "fragrance (parfum)" listed in the ingredients--it smelled neutral, not waxy but I just didn't get any scent.

Browse all of our NARS Lipstick swatches.

Ingredients

Dimethicone, Synthetic Wax, Polyethylene, Isohexadecane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Microcrystalline Wax/Cera Microcristallina/Cire Microcristalline, Kaolin, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/Candelilla Cera/Cire De Candelilla, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Polysilicone-11, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hydroxyapatite, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Propylene Carbonate ·Simethicone, Bht, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, [+/- ( May Contain): Bismuth Oxychloride (Ci 77163), Blue 1 Lake (Ci 42090), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Mica, Red 28 Lake (Ci 45410), Red 33 Lake (Ci 17200), Red 6 (Ci 15850), Red 7 Lake (Ci 15850), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (Ci 15985)].

Disclaimer: Ingredient lists are as available by the brand (or retailer) at the time of publishing. Please always check product packaging, if it exists, for the ingredient list applicable to the product you're purchasing, or the brand or retailer's website for the most up-to-date ingredient list.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
Lipstick
NARS
$26.00/0.12 oz.

87%

Average

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About Reviewer
Review FAQ
Reviewer

Christine Mielke is the editor-in-chief and has been reviewing products for over 14 years.

She has normal-to-dry skin with occasional dryness on cheeks and nose. She has a light plus skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones (view her foundation matches here).

Learn more about her review process here.

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
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8 Comments

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I just adore Red Lizard! That’s one of those that does that odd visual trickery: lip swatches*appear* like a warmer red, but in the arm swatches, those cool undertones show themselves. But I still love it lots!

Nars’ “regular” lipsticks are just not appealing to me at ALL. The quality just isn’t THERE for the price point I feel, and the casing looks and feels cheap. I wish they’d make more audacious lipsticks instead.

Christine I know you haven’t reviewed them all, but of the deeper, warmer reds in this line do you think shanghai express is the best dupe for Viva Glam I? Or is it Immortal Red?

Red Lizard is so appealing that I immediately went to look at the dupes before reading anything; I don’t have anything in the dupes list, but I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter, I’m not getting another red! NOT doing it. Except maybe MAC’s “Give Me Fever.”

Two new NARS purchases arrived broken and it seems yours did as well. Something is big quite right with the new bullets, but gorgeous shades and feels great on.

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