I Feel Anything But Neutral About NARS Bilbao Lipstick

Published in: Lips, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

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From a distance, Bilbao Lipstick might appear like a slow bolero beside Valparaíso’s quick-tempo salsa, but up close and personal, it’s more like the paso doble or flamenco. In other words, not as tame as it looks.


The third lip product from NARS for spring 2012 (the other two are Mexican Rose and Valparaíso), rosy brown Bilbao Lipstick has quickly become one of my new favorite neutrals.

With a pinch of plum, a sprinkle of golden shimmer and a dash of silver glitter, it’s anything but typical, and it reminds me of one of my favorite places in the world…

Basque Country!

On a whirlwind trip through Western Europe in 2005, El Hub and I explored along the Northern Spanish coast, and we stopped for a bit in the seaside city of San Sebastian, about 30 kilometers east of the city of Bilbao.

After fueling up on tapas and taking in the sights at the beach, we posted up on a stone wall to watch the sun dip below the horizon…

Bilbao Lipstick is such a heart-warming color, like sweetness in a tube, and it sure reminds me of the sunsets in that part of the world.

Even though the time we spent there was fleeting and mellow, Bilbao Lipstick is bringing back the details, and wearing the shade now I remember how content, relaxed and loved I felt.

Isn’t it funny how makeup can do things like that?

Bilbao is like a skinny ribbon tied around your ponytail, floating behind you in the wind. It’s holding your mother’s hand. It’s placing a bouquet of daisies on your windowsill, making yourself a cup of tea, and curling up on the couch with a really good book. In a word: comforting.

I bet it would be a great lipstick for date night, too, because it’s understated, but still a little bit complex.

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Bilbao is also unscented and unflavored, with a somewhat thick texture and a formula that borders on dry. If you’re partial to creamy, slick lipsticks, Bilbao may not be a perfect fit, although prepping your lips first with a balm should help.


If anything, I do think the texture improve Bilbao’s wear time. I get between 4-5 hours.

Oh, and if you’re a NARS gloss fanatic who happens to have Supervixen and/or Greek Holiday, give ’em a try on top of Bilbao (the combos looks FAB!).

PRICE: $24
AVAILABILITY: Available now at NARS counters and online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 10 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Jen says:

    I love the lipstick, but even more the photos of your trip. I need to put that on my “must see” list! Absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Chris25 says:

    Not crazy about dry lipsticks, although the color is pretty!

  3. Sunny says:

    Ahhh so darn cute! I’ve never been to Bilbao, but Barcelona really stole my heart! I miss even the humidity there lol
    Sunny recently posted … Swatch & Review: Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation in #53 Light Beige

  4. AK says:

    These pictures are so lovely, Karen. Thank you for sharing them! I love the northern Spain map with the little arrow 🙂

    My heart just melted when you described this color – the holding your mother’s hand, curling up with a good book, etc. You are such an inspiring writer! Keep it comin’ girlfran. You rock!

  5. Nina says:

    i have a weakness for colours like Bilbao! your descrption of comfort is exactly how i picture it. 🙂

  6. Rachael says:

    I just got super excited that I misread the name of that lipstick. I am such an LOTR geek that I misread it as Bilbo!

  7. Nessalba says:

    Hi Karen from Spain!!! I love the things you said about my country and your blog!!! You’re a must read!! Greets!!!

  8. Anne says:

    You’re making me want Bilbao… I already have the other 2 lip shades from NARS Spring and I now want this… and Gaiety, also thanks to you. By the way, if you had to choose between Bilbao and Pago Pago, which one would you get???

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