NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Red Square ($24), tonight’s unsung hero, has a lot in common with MAC Lady Danger and NARS Heat Wave, but while it hangs out in the same bright reddish orange circles, it sports sportier, travel-friendly attire.
A few things I learned (and in some cases relearned) in 2011:
So maybe that third one’s a slight exaggeration, but I will say that red lipsticks always make me feel better — especially bright, cheerful reds like NARS Heat Wave ($24).
It makes even mundane tasks, like trips to Trader Joe’s, a million times more fun. I wore it there a few days ago and made a new makeup-loving friend on the staff.
Lately (in case you haven’t noticed), I’ve had a thing for red lips. I look at them the same way I look at pairs of black shoes, which is to say that one tube (or pair) is never enough.
There are just so many different spins on the red lip motif, just as there are when it comes to black shoes. With the shoes, you’ve got your black high heels, low heels, stacked heels, platforms, and don’t get me started on the sub-shades of black.
It’s the same thing with crimson lip colors. Every one is unique, or at least different in some small but significant way.
Take NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned, for instance. This $24 jewel-toned reddish magenta could moonlight as a crimson crayon in its chubby packaging, and sometimes, when I’m lining and filling in my lips with it, I feel like I’m in art class. 🙂
Every year around this time, my regular weakness for red lipsticks turns into a serious condition, but even now, it’s usually treatable (with the careful administration of crimson cosmetics), except when I’ve been exposed to a jewel-toned red from NARS.
Then, the only cure is a tube of something like NARS Lipstick in Afghan Red ($24), a rich pinkish garnet. I tooled around town with this particular tube all weekend long, trying to keep the fever at bay…
To be safe, I should probably just keep it in my purse. 🙂
Never mind that my purse is already loaded down with compacts, other lippies, emergency cans of gravy and the occasional acorn, it never hurts to be prepared. Once you’ve been exposed to a shade like Afghan Red, you never know when another red lipstick episode will occur. Trying to predict them is like trying to forecast when terry cloth tracksuits will be back in style (read: impossible to know).
More Jackie than Marilyn, Afghan Red is a refined garnet. It says, “Bonjour, ladies and gentleman,” giving a slight wave of a cupped hand wearing pristine white gloves.
It’s not a color that needs to shout in order to be heard. Dab it on for a whisper light stain, or embrace opaque color by applying a single layer, as I did for these pics.
NARS Taos Blush ($27) belongs to an elite battalion of blushes in my beauty brigade called the One Swipers, a group of blushes able to deliver all-day color from a single swipe across the pan.
These One Swipers pack a lot of pigment, so a little goes a long way — which is great when they’re as expensive as a NARS blush. Taos, here, should last until forever, or at least until Bella and Edward break up (whichever comes first).
A platoon leader in the NARS permanent collection, Taos is one of those vibrant colors that I always notice when I walk by an open pan. A bright rosy red with golden shimmer and a wisp of coral, it’s like NARS Torrid’s darker red doppelganger.
I’ll wear it year-round, typically with neutral eyes and lips, but I find myself reaching for it more often around the holidays because of how much I like the way it looks with red lips.
When darker divas ask for blush recommendations, Taos is one of the first blushes that comes to mind, and I think it looks fan-freakin’-tastic on dark complexions, on both warm- and cool-toned babes.
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