NARS Unsung Hero: Dolce Vita Lipstick

Published in: Makeup

nars dolce vita review

NARS Dolce Vita lipstick and I… MAN, we go back.


Years ago, it was *the FIRST red lipstick* I really fell in love with. Before it I was more of a brown, peach and nude lipstick kinda girl. Dolce Vita ($24) was like a game changer for me. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s totally true.

I still remember the day we met… It was four years ago. I’d wandered into a Sephora and asked a makeup artist to suggest a friendly red.

Homeboy scooted me over to the NARS display, opened a tube of a mysterious-looking red lipstick and said, “All you need in life is NARS Dolce Vita,” to which I think angels may have started singing in the background.

nars dolce vita swatch

What I like so much about Dolce Vita is its flexibility. It makes it a great starter red — a creamy, dusty rose sheer enough to wear with subtle looks (when I want to go casual, I can slick one layer on my lips and call it a day), yet buildable enough to use for dramatic looks too.

nars dolce vita review swatch
One layer of NARS Dolce Vita!

When I’m in the mood for something a little dramatic, I’ll start with a layer of a creamy red lip pencil like NARS Amazon ($20) and add two layers of Dolce Vita on top.

nars dolce vita review with amazon
NARS Amazon Lip Pencil with two layers o’ Dolce Vita

I’ve read magazine articles that refer to Dolce Vita as “universally flattering,” and I totes agree. I’ve seen it on lots of different women, and I think it always looks good.

If you’ve been been wanting to ease your way into red lipstick, think about giving Dolce Vita a try. 🙂

Saturday soundtrack


Heya, girls. I hope your weekend got off to a good start. I’m taking it easy today, still in my bathrobe, sipping coffee (Starbucks Breakfast Blend), reading Real Simple and listening to music (Save Ferris).


This song makes me HYPER!

Do you have a busy day planned?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Check your email today. I’m contacting the winners of the Clarisonic giveaway right now!


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 40 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Smiley says:

    Ooh it’s so pretty! It’s so versatile too. The first picture totally looks like a nude-ish pink and then with that red liner it totally transforms! Hmm. Must check this out at Sephora. Have you ever tried Roman Holiday?
    .-= Smiley’s last blog post… Winged Eyeliner =-.

  2. Sheila says:

    Oh I like that! I should definitely go check it out some time. It does look universally flattering =D
    .-= Sheila’s last blog post… Random exam study music~ What about Now by Westlife =-.

  3. I love Dolce Vita too! I haven’t tried Amazon — might have to now!
    .-= Michelle (Lipstick Rules)’s last blog post… Wow "Babe"! My take on NARS Babe lipgloss and Pop Life Velvet Matte Pencil =-.

  4. CC says:

    I have loved that Save Ferris song for forever!!!! It always makes me want to get up and dance like a crazy person. I like Dolce Vita in the 2nd pic best. Do you have any recommendations for waterproof lip liners?

  5. Steph B says:

    That is totally how I feel about NARS Damages. It is a plum that I can wear sheer or vivid and rocks on both my mom (olive skin, dark hair, dark eyes) and me (pale skin, light brown hair, green eyes). Very few things look good on both of us — it has become a game over the years. I’m going to have to check out Dolce Vita. My go-to reddish shade is MAC Capricious – another great layerer but is a little on the plummy side.

    I’m snuggled up on the couch watching the snow. We’ve already gotten a foot and are expected to break all sorts of DC records.

  6. Eileen says:

    omgahs, my theme song! bahahah(:

  7. Jenn says:

    What do you think of the blush version of Dolce Vita, Karen?

  8. shontay says:

    Whoa, dolce vita with the lip pencil is beyond hot!

    No busy day for me. The weekend is my chill time.

  9. gio says:

    This looks gorgeous and so versatile! I’m not confident enough to wear red lipstick but I think I could rock this one. I’ll check it out, thanks Karen!
    .-= gio’s last blog post… Know Your Ingredients: Polyacrylamide =-.

  10. Sarah says:

    Well, I had a fun weekend planned, but like Steph B, I am officially snowed in. Luckily we went to the grocery store last night and stocked up on supplies for baking.

    I’m going to have to add this to my ever growing list of make up to buy. I especially love the idea that I can go from neutral to bright with a bit of liner and another layer – very useful for work/afterwork type things…

  11. veronica says:

    I braved Bloomingdale’s today, but couldn’t bring myself to cross the street to Sephora. Too many people out and about today! I think I’ll be a shut-in for the rest of the weekend :/

    I actually have a holiday.housewarming party to go to tonight, so I’m trying to think of some good makeup looks that I have’t tried before.

    Dolce Vita looks great! I’ve been a Benefit lipstick girl for a while now, is that as creamy as they are?
    .-= veronica’s last blog post… Dream hacking =-.

  12. Niki says:

    Wow, you slay me with your Nars picks – this is a beauty, and now I need it! Thanks for showing it off both ways. Nars is becoming a new fave,I think it may be replacing UD in my heart. You should show off the blush – I’m curious about that too!
    .-= Niki’s last blog post… Nicole by OPI Hint of Mint =-.

  13. Christy says:

    Dolce Vita was my 2nd NARS lipstick after Blonde Venus. It’s lovely and easy to wear. I’ve worn it with warm or cool looks on many occasions.

    I’ve had a busy day. I made it to the mall to get the rest of my gifts. I’m done shopping for everyone, now it’s time to walk my dog, do some wrapping and see some family for dinner. 😀 Tomorrow and Monday I’m making sugar cookies, gingerbread and chocolate truffles until I run out of Tupperware.
    .-= Christy’s last blog post… FOTD: Kat Von D True Love Palette & MAC Siss =-.

  14. amy says:

    That is a one hot shade of red. I definitely like it best after 2 layers for the drama. Red lips always make me happy. I feel so inspired to wear reds lately, I wore it almost everyday for the last two weeks!
    .-= amy’s last blog post… FOTD Holiday Matte Eyes, Bronze Cheeks and Glossy Red Lips =-.

  15. Marce says:

    At first I was like…um…red? But now I see. Layered it looks beautiful, a muted red that doesn’t scream fire engine! It’s a very pretty colour, it looks great on your lips 😀
    .-= Marce’s last blog post… Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air? =-.

  16. Oh I totally am going to get this. It was on my velvet matte lip pencil list (how I am obsessed with those – they are amazing for looking sleek in work), but I might get the lipstick version instead… decisions!!!
    .-= scarlettholly’s last blog post… Unnatural At Any Time, or How I Learnt to Ignore My Inner Body Clock and Sweat It Out At 5.30am =-.

  17. Kelsey says:

    That lipstick looks lovely! I’m pale with brown hair and blue eyes, and I think that it would look good on me. Too bad it’s so expensive!

    P.S. I like the original version of “Come On Eileen” better (by Dexys Midnight Runners).

  18. Rachel says:

    This is my absolute favorite lipstick…I love the matte lip pencil and the gloss in this shade as well!

  19. Noemi says:

    i’m not a red lipstick person, but this is soo pretty . siigh .
    whoever won the clarisonic giveaway prizes are so lucky . congrats to them :]

  20. yvette says:

    this is so pretty but i don’t see any red! am i colour blind?!

  21. Monique says:

    I love reading real simple too! They have such good ideas!

  22. Nina says:

    Nars is probably my favorite make up brand … if only it werent so spendy!

    I havent even ventured into the lipsticks – I have eyeshadows, 2 eyeshadow palettes and a lip gloss.

    I think — that number is goint to multiply — that lipstick is pure love!!!

  23. Bisbee says:

    That color (the pencil with the 2 layers of Dolce Vita on top) looks gorgeous! Gorgeous enough for me to order both! I know I had Dolce Vita in the past, and it didn’t impress me all that much, but over that liner might be another story!

  24. Shivotra says:

    hey i totally checked out dolce vita today and found nothing too red about it. i am currently going through a red phase – the brighter, the better, so maybe i had great red expectations. It is a pretty shade nonetheless. a great everyday lipstick.

  25. Sindy says:

    oh i like this lipstick!
    .-= Sindy’s last blog post… Blog sale!! =-.

  26. Toni says:

    Oh, that is too pretty! Yet another thing to add to my list to check out next time I’m in Sephora (hopefully it will be tomorrow).

    We just stayed at home catching up on laundry, cleaning my bedroom (for some reason it becomes the dumping ground for the entire house), and putting up the tree. Didn’t make it to ULTA or Sephora today.

    Hope you have a great evening!
    .-= Toni’s last blog post… 2nd Menu Monday =-.

  27. BlovetBeauty says:

    wow , that’s a really nice color 🙂
    .-= BlovetBeauty’s last blog post… LIME CRIME, MAC, My Makeup Bag & Great Weird Anime:) =-.

  28. i love the blush in dolce vita 🙂 maybe i’ll try the lipstick!! i love how you can go light then more dramatic WHOOOOOOO

  29. Ohhh wow that’s pretty. I love how different it looks when you wear it. I think this would be such a good value for an everyday lipstick that transforms so easily into a beautiful red. Thanks for sharing this with us! I’m always looking for wearable reds, and usually I just use a red lipstain or gloss, but this definitely looks like something I could rock instead.
    .-= Makeupmorsels’s last blog post… EOTD: Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree ♪♫ =-.

  30. Jen says:

    Ok, you and I are creepily sharing the same thoughts! I was just starting to work on a post about Dolce Vita! I was planning to take shots of the lipstick and the gloss, and pit them against each other! Never tried the lipstick (trying to get one in my hot little hands), but Dolce Vita is definitely one of my favorite NARS gloss shades. Looks great on you!
    .-= Jen’s last blog post… Urban Decay Smoke Out Kit Review: Yerba =-.

  31. sharon says:

    I am usually very scared of anything bright on my pucker however that nars dolce vita doesn’t look too scary

  32. Lorna says:

    i have never thought of dolce vita as a red. but i agree it is beautiful. i have it as a gloss shade and absolutely love it but now i will have to get the lipstick version.

  33. Alix says:

    Dolce Vita is one of the only lippies I’ve ever loved enough to buy more than once. There is, however, nothing red about it. It’s a divine dusty brown-rose (though the lip pencil version to me seems much darker than that — anyone else agree?,

  34. Denise says:

    I am confused. I went to Sephora to look at dolce vita and it doesnt appear to be a red. I even asked three sephora sa’s and they all said it is def. not red. But it looks gorgeous on so I may go back and buy it:) It looks red with red liner… is it just me?

  35. Stephanie Zaide says:

    Thanks for this post! I ran of to and bought myself a tube and it arrived today. I was a little skeptical when I opened it (it appears to be more nude than red) but when I put it on I was totally impressed! I love it! Thanks for turning me on to such a great lipstick.

  36. vnssa906 says:

    Karen, I need to try this! I’ve been on a hunt for a flattering red lip color that is not too dramatic. Heading to sephora asap! 🙂 Thanks babes!!

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