Rant & Rave: NARS

Tell us what you love and hate about...


I like that they release both limited edition and permanent shade extensions, which I feel offers the best of both worlds–room to experiment but not everything is a mad dash. I also feel like they have been listening to customers and complaints, as we are not seeing Orgasm/Laguna QUITE as often in sets! I’m not a huge fan of their standard eyeshadow range–I think it could be upgraded and reformulated for sure.

— Christine


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Wednesday Avatar

My love for Nars harkens back to the early Millennium when the label was more leading edge. The Nars counter at Holt Renfew had me a convert; I was vastly more impressed by Nars and Stila in those years than MAC.; a significant departure for me being 1. a Torontonian and 2. an avid supporter of the original Canadian company. My favourite Nars products from the era: blush (never orgasm which does nothing for me), the eyeshadow duos and core dark eyeshadows from the Night series. I will always have fondness for the label. I too like their balance between permanent and limited edition offerings. I applaud the addition of the Audacious lipstick line as previous formulas always lent themselves to desert lips for me personally. LOVE their choices for collaborations and models.. love their campaign photography and advertising.
What I don’t like: foundation offerings. I do not care for a single formula. Respect the tinted moisturizer, but that is the extent. I no longer find their e/s duos leading edge or the compelling enough to get me to step into their price range. I also do not like the dual intensity formula. Something about the shimmer takes away from the colour of the shadow and removes dimension from my already problematic hooded eyes.. not for me. They fall flat on me. I also feel many of their seasonal campaigns run too similar to those they have done in the past.

Mo Avatar

Their prices are too high for what i believe isn’t the quality deserving of the price

They should be ashamed of their mascara

The line doesn’t cater well to the darker women like myself, including some lipstick colors

The blush and shadow formulas are not the best for the price range

Marielle Avatar

Hello, quite frankly I’m a little intrigued by your 3rd statement as a deep skinned girl (mac nw50-55, Lancôme brownie). I think Nars is one of the few brands that has been paying attention for deep and porcelain skin. Taj mahal blush per example has been specially made for deep skin precisely for Naomi Campbell. I currently owned Taj mahal, Exibit A and Taos and I must say I’m more than pleased with them. Recently the brand even extended their concealer range and added darker shade, the shade dark coffee is the deepest concealer shade I’ve ever seen in my life.
One thing I’m not pleased with the brand is their limited editions palette (with blushers, bronzer…) each time I have difficulty to picture myself using more than ¼ of those, too many ashy shade. And when Nars miss, they do it well outlaw is and will always be the worst blush I ever had.
For the price point I think it’s not too overpriced specially compared to Tom Ford (blushes are okay, lipstick are good but not the best, eyeshadow I still don’t understand the fuss and I never tried their face products because the shade range is a joke); or Guerlain (lipsticks are great, face nor complexion products never tried because their shade rage is even worse than Ford’s, the eyeshadows “Mon dieu, quelle horreur” but their packaging feel so luxurious).

Fran Avatar

I feel like NARS is a brand you can explore for a while and keep finding new things, or realizing that you really like something that maybe didn’t catch your eye at first glance. I like their lipstick formulas and a lot of the colors, I like the Dual-Intensity formula on lids (it is usually is more subdued when dry, more intense when applied with a damp brush or over a tacky base), and cheeks (better dry), and I like the wide range of blush colors, even though the performance is a bit uneven. Same thoughts about the regular eyeshadows. The Eye Paints are seriously awesome, they are super-versatile. All their base products are too yellow for me, which is a problem I have with a lot of brands. I do want to try the light-reflective setting powder, but haven’t yet because of my love for the Hourglass powders. The Audacious mascara is decent. Not a huge fan of the pencils.

Nancy T Avatar

Rave: I love the DI formula, the Audacious lipstick formula, and quite a few of their blushes. Yet, oddly, I don’t own all that much Nars, even though I’m always trying on the Audacious lipsticks!

Rant: Some VERY questionable holiday collabs in the past left me feeling rather disgusted. And some collections overtly favor only the very light complected with nothing for medium and deeper skintones. Which also leaves me feeling rather cold toward the brand.

Katherine T. Avatar

*Rave- their Audacious lipsticks and blushes are strengths
*Rave/Rant- – their Dual Intensity shadows are pretty, but they are pricey, and they don’t last as long on my oily lids as other shadows, even with primer
*Rant-Their duo shadows are also pricey, and haven’t been impressed enough with the quality to get one. Not too impressed with their regular shadows. And their holiday collection has way too many red lipsticks, which I already have too much of.

Eileen Avatar

I got a laugh out of your Orgasm/Laguna comment, Christine, and couldn’t agree more. NARS finally got the message that not every kit had to feature those two shades. I don’t wear a lot of NARS, but generally speaking I’ve always liked their lip products. I’ve never been a fan of their eyeshadows.

thirteen Avatar

I generally like Nars and even this isn’t really a complaint – their Satin Lip Pencil (the formula Rikugien from last year’s birthday gift at Sephora came in) is one of my favorite formulas ever, and it only comes in 12 colors, I think. I wish it had Audacious-level shade range!

Kimberly Avatar

Rave: NARS has such a great aesthetic that really resonates with me. The packaging is always black, sleek, and minimalist-luxurious. The products also perform really well, I particularly love the Audacious lipsticks.

Rant: It’s very expensive! Otherwise I’d be all over it.

Heather Avatar

I don’t own a lot of NARS products–mostly deluxe samples from kits or birthday sets–so I don’t have a ton of rants or raves. The products I have tried (lip pencils, the ubiquitous Orgasm blush) are nice, though.

Their pricing seems a bit Much for what they offer, given that they’re not associated with a couture house, and the rubbery packaging looks grimy so fast!

Aris Avatar

Well, I LOVED the original formulation of a lipstick called CRUISING, but sadly it was reformulated and so now the color, texture and scent is completely different. There was no other color like it and I wish I would have known about the reformulation so that I could buy extras. What I LOVE is the eyeshadow duo called KALAHARI. omG there is no other champagne bronzey gold color like it !!! I also LOVE the blush MADLY.

Mariella Avatar

I agree with you about Kalahari – it’s one of my “go to’s” for when I’m in a rush or just don’t want to have to think about what eyeshadows to wear but I want to know that I’ll end up with a result that works and makes me feel confident.

Mariella Avatar

I love so many of their shadow singles and duos and so I’m always baffled when they come out with a duo that sucks like a vacuum! (and there are several). I love their eyeshadow primer and love some of their blushes. But that’s another thing….get rid of the stupid quasi-sexual names (Orgasm, Deep Throat, etc….I mean, what’s next? “Trump Grabbed My Privates”?) – it’s an expensive and sophisticated line and the names should reflect that (and most do) rather than sound like little kids giggling over dirty words!

AB Avatar

My experiences with NARS are so few and so specific, I can’t sum up either rants or raves.

Over the past year, I’ve bought a couple of lipglosses and the creamy concealer. I like every item; complex enough colors a/o formulas to be often used.

Other products have not called to me though; despite lots of swatching, none of the eyeshadows or blushes work for me. Local NARS counters are not easy to use: at Nordstrom lipsticks are in disarray and not according to display labels; Sephora has a very small NARS counter. So all this, plus prices, have meant I’ve just not done more work to try them out so far.

LindaP Avatar

Here is my (somewhat) interesting story about my introduction to Nars….

My gym friend is the wife of former Boston Bruin Cam Neely. She was a model back in the day. She is as nice as she is beautiful. Her makeup looks amazing. “I just know how to do it,” she says. Not bragging, just fact. I was looking for a makeup update about a decade ago, and asked her for recommendations. She swooned over Francois Nars — the quality, the pigmentation, color spectrum. You gotta know I ran to the mall.

Back then I did love Nars. Then again, I was just getting into understanding and differentiating makeup. But as I got more discerning — meh about the line. Their foundations have always been too yellow on me. Their blush comes through rather well, I think. Laguna bronzer — might as well rub dirt on my face. Their lipsticks do not last AT ALL. And the price of their eyeshadows? I cringe every time I use my duo Underworld that under performs.

Nars is a mixed bag for me at best, and I do think their quality has eroded a bit. I spent some time in Sephora last weekend (that’ll teach my husband to get a project in Aruba 🙂 ), and not one thing from the line tempted me, and I did spend time looking and swatching. I check it out all the time, but I haven’t bought anything from them in a very long time.

brittany Avatar

I have their Orgasm Blush (good for medium skin and even as a slight highlight), Kauai eye shadow, and Club Mix and Cruella lip pencils. Lip pencils are smooth and comfortable to wear. I would buy more from NARS but they are pricey. I would love the Intensity eye shadow except I think for a single it is $30. I read the Creamy Concealer is not worth investing in. I understand their makeup is the standard price for high end. The prices make it difficult to actually invest in the line.

Aline Avatar

I probably have more Nars than any other brand and given my huge collection, that is saying something. I love their whole aesthetic and the risks that they (usually) take with color. I even have a couple of eyeshadow duos that I bought just for the color even though I’ve never used them.

Love the Audacious lipsticks, most eyeshadow duos and blushes. I like the DI eyeshadow as well, but I only have a couple of them. I think that their original eyeshadow formula can be improved though as I have a couple of duds that don’t stick, even with primer. Sugarland comes to mind.

I wish the Sheer Glow formula would match my skin better, but the shade that comes closest is just a bit too light. I didn’t like the Creamy Concealer because it creased under my eyes.

Hate their mascara. The brush is actually painful to use, so I could never build it up the way I liked. I actually ended up with a corneal abrasion when my hand slipped one time.

I wish their Christmas collections had more variation in color, but I’ll be picking up the lipglide kit as I have one already and like it.

Anne Avatar

I don’t have a lot of Nars, but what I do have, I love. I have 4 lip pencils. I mix and match them with a few other lipsticks to make new shades, because I don’t want to own a lot of lipsticks. I have a dual intensity blush/highlighter (Adoration) that is a HG. And, I have a couple dual intensity single shadows that I enjoy as lid colors. Though expensive, I like the quality and colors of my tiny collection, so I consider it money well spent.

(I don’t have a lot of products from any single line as I cherry pick from them all to get exactly what I want. I don’t need to accumulate makeup that I don’t love and want to wear — often. Been there and done that — it was such a waste of money!)


Rave: Two of my all-time favorite products are from NARS: the Audacious lipstick in Anna and the blush in Sin. I have four of the Audacious lipticks and love them all; hope to get a few more for Christmas. I tend to love their summer releases and all the bronzey looks they come up with. Rant: That being said, they released the same summer promo pics two years in a row. LOL. Some of the aesthetic choices and collabs have been a bit disturbing. I feel like the brushes could be waaaay better for the price and reputation of the brand.

Hildegard Avatar

I really enjoy what Nars products I have, but the brand is just too pricey for me to take any chances and purchase items on a whim – they’re as high end as I can afford to go when it comes to makeup. As a result, I only buy Nars stuff after lots of research, careful consideration as to whether my makeup collection really has a blank spot that only X Nars product can meet, if my budget allows it and if I think I deserve it.

I love the aesthetic of the brand and the colour of their products – love the weirdness of the holiday collections, their love for rich red lips and how subtle the shimmer yet effective on their formula can be. I’d be delighted to branch out more, especially when it comes to some of their single eyeshadows and the audacious lipsticks, but I can’t possibly justify the expense if the product ends up being less than perfect.

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

I like a few of the blushes and dislike the lipsticks, too dry for me. Haven’t tried anything else and really not interested in the line.

Lea Avatar

I like Nars, but just done love it overall. I primarily own lip products from them and while they’re nice, I don’t swoon over them. I think I’m in the minority on the Audacius lipsticks. Again, they’re nice but not the best formula I’ve ever worn (Rouge D’Armani and CdP). I cannot stand the packaging however. It looks nice and minimalist to begin with but that rubbery package will get grimy quickly. I could give or take Nars overall with the number of brand options these days and that’s unfortunate overall. They used to be such an “it” brand.

Deborah S. Avatar

Nars, hmmm. I feel like the things that I like, I really like and the things I don’t like, I really don’t like. I love the look of Sheer Glow foundation but Siberia was a bit too neutral for me. Mont Blanc was a little too pink. When I started mixing them with one drop of a facial oil I really loved the finish. I hate that it doesn’t have a pump and that you have to purchase it separately. When you pay that much for a foundation the least they can do is put a pump on it. It doesn’t seem like a big thing but that is why I won’t be repurchasing the foundation. I use to love the creamy concealer until Tarte Shape Tape and now I can never go back. I love the Audacious lipsticks. I hate the suggestive sexualized names they give products. I don’t care for their blushes except Madly, I have Albatross and never use it because it doesn’t show up on me, along with pretty much everyone, I hate the mascara (have never heard of anyone liking it) and many times I don’t care for their artwork (although there are times when I think they get it right. I have pretty much every D/I shadow but hardly ever wear them because I can get so much better shimmer/shine from cheaper shadows. So, I guess the uptake is that when all is said and done, I don’t like enough to keep looking and if they don’t bring out something truly remarkable and at a decent price point, I probably won’t even notice them.

Rachel R. Avatar

I don’t own a ton of NARS, but enough. Overall, I like the brand. They’re cruelty free. I really like their blushes and lip products, and the Dual-Intensity shadows and blushes. I like that they have foundation shades for very light skin (though I know they’re lacking on darker shades). They do nice packaging for both permanent and LE collections. Their eyeshadow duos have some interesting color combinations that I don’t see in other brands. I think their collections are usually pretty cohesive.

NARS’ prices are on the spendier end of mid-range, so less affordable for me. The regular eyeshadow range is hit and miss. The standard black packaging is hard to keep clean. LE collection quality can be sub-par or even outright suck (Andy Warhol collection comes to mind). I also get sick of seeing Laguna and Orgasm in every set, though I think Christine is right when she says it seems they’re starting to change that.

Justine Avatar

Rave: I really do adore their blushes. The variety of textures and shade range is amazing. The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are one of my favorite matte lipsticks; easier to apply, wears well, and is comfortable. I only own a couple of their Audacious lipsticks and the lip glosses, but I enjoy both immensely. The contouring blush duo in Olympia is my absolute favorite contour color on my fair skin; never looks overdone and always blends beautifully.

Rant: The base products. I really love Sheer Glow and the Tinted Moisturizer, but I have to mix them with a white foundation in order for them to be light enough for my skin tone. Some of the eyeshadows are nice, but are generally not worth the high price. In general, the high price of Nars prevents me from purchasing more. Additionally, I am not a fan of the rubberized packaging. One of these days I’ll be brave enough to depot my blushes!

Blue Avatar

NARS is probably my favorite brand. I like their aesthetic, their classic and Audacious lipstick formulas, their non-sticky lipgloss formula, and the majority of their color choices for releases, particularly for lipsticks. I’m a big fan.

I don’t like that their color names can be a little silly. I like provocative, and I don’t really feel that a brand owes it to us to make child friendly shade names, but all the Orgasm/Deep Throat stuff feels overdone, like something Samantha from Sex and the City would buy for herself then gift to Charlotte. lol. I get why they do it, it’s probably made them a bajillion dollars, but I’d prefer something a little less expected. The MAC Dark Desires collection last year was a disappointment overall, but I was in the minority in that I actually thought the name Spank Me was cheeky, and it did make me laugh.

Names aside, I also think they could phase out some of their older lipstick shades, or make them online only because they are no longer very current and make the counters look weighted down. Similarly, I veer away from many of NARS’s classic blushes because I think the level of shimmer was cutting edge at the time of their release, but is now a little bit dated. Obviously those are still the brand’s bread and butter so they shouldn’t remove them from the counters, but I wouldn’t reach for one myself.

Brittany Avatar

I love Smudge-proof eyeshadow base and Deep Throat blush (the only two of their products I’ve tried so far)

I love their rubberized packaging for the ease of opening, but the one downside is it picks up the oils off my skin easily. Still like it overall!

I’m not a fan of their price point, but I get that they’re higher end, so it’s not that different than other brands, really.

Natalia Avatar

Well, I have to say that NARS is the second to MAC only brand that I’m kinda partial to, so it’s mostly rave for me 🙂

Maybe because of the high price I’m very careful of what I buy (even though I never pay full price and always wait for sales) and do a lot of research.

Rave first: Sheer Glow Foundation and The Tinted Moisturizer are the bomb. My skin looks porcelain and youthful 🙂 The lipsticks are also worth raving about, had NARS offered as many shades as MAC, I think most of my lipsticks would be NARS. The translucent powder is also great (granted I have not tried Guerlain meteorites or Laura Mercier translucent) – it’s got that nice blurring effect without being drying or the white cast.

Rant: Limited availability where I live. Because we have this brand at a comparably good price here, Chinese tourists buy NARS products in bulk! Always out of stock with smth. Creamy concealer. Dunno. It is very decent, but so are so many other concealers on the market that cost a bit less. Albatross. Pulls a very strange unnatural shade on me OR my sister who is a couple of shades darker than me. The product names are another thing. I mean I’m not a native English speaker, so it does not hit me THAT much, but still rough to my years.

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