The Hype Machine is a series that takes a critical look at well-loved, cult classic, appears-in-every-other-Instagram-photo products and asks: are they worth the hype?
Sometimes--probably in more instances than I'd like to admit--I can be a makeup hipster. I wouldn't say that I write a product off as soon as it becomes the raved-about community wunderkind, but I'm definitely suspicious and curious at the same time. I actually imagine myself circling around hyped-up products like my cat when the furnace kicks on: on the one hand, WTF even is that noise?!, but on the other hand, oooooh waaaarm.
So it took me a while to get a NARS Audacious lipstick and test it out. My first shade was Michiyo, a bright blue-based pink. As noted in The Lipstick Diaries, I really liked this shade on my skintone and I thought the formula was nice. But I'd yet to be totally wowed, especially with the $32 price tag. When the Sephora VIB 20% off sale rolled around and I noticed I was still short a dark, blue-based red lipstick, I decided to give NARS Charlotte a try.
That, my friends, is where the love affair began.
Natural light on top, flash on the bottom; from left to right: Charlotte, Anna, Michiyo.
Charlotte almost got me hooked on this range. Yes, it was a hair drying like Michiyo before it, but neither was horrendously parching, and both shades were saturated, wore evenly, and garnered boatloads of compliments. I noticed that these lipsticks were better than many of their counterparts in my collection--they wear more evenly than MAC satins and are less heavy than the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipsticks, for instance.
I fell in love with the packaging as well. To some extent, it's typical NARS: sleek and black with the logo embossed on the case. But NARS is infamous for using rubberized black packaging, which gathers fingerprints and dirt like crazy. The Audacious tubes are matte and smooth, making them easy to clean. They're also magnetic so the lid snaps on tightly.
From left to right: Michiyo, Charlotte, Anna.
Now, I said that Charlotte almost got me hooked on the range. Anna was a bit of a wake-up call for me. It seems like a perfect cool pink in most bloggers' photos, so I was suckered in to buying a tube of it. But on my fair skin, this stuff turns straight purple. It's not a bad shade--my mom actually loves it on me--but it's not the color I thought I'd get. In fact, while the Audacious color range is expansive, I find that the "softer" shades run a hair dark for my liking. As such, there's no truly flattering nude pink or beige shade for me here.
Do I think this is the end-all be-all of lipsticks? Probably not, especially if you dislike anything even remotely drying or already have a pigmented satin lipstick range you love. Is $32 a little steep? Definitely. But if you can find a few shades that really speak to you and flatter your complexion, it may be worth the splurge for such a beautiful-looking formula. Just resist the urge to replace every single lipstick in your collection with an Audacious counterpart. I almost fell down that rabbit hole myself.
BOTTOM LINE: The NARS Audacious lipsticks aren't the kindest to super dry lips, nor are they the cheapest lipstick you can get. But the color range is phenomenal, and the formula definitely reeks of quality. Save your pennies for a few signature shades.
The Hype Machine is a series that represents my experiences and opinions. It is not meant to be a personal attack on a specific company, product, or consumer. I always recommend that you try products for yourself and see how they work for you. Everybody is unique, after all!