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Monday, 16 February 2015

A NARS Lip Pencil Love Affair.

For reasons I'll never fully understand, the city that is to be my home for the next three years does not have a NARS counter. A MAC yes, Bobbie Browns and Laura Merciers in excess, and hundreds of Benefit hotspots - but as of yet, not a NARS in sight. You would have thought my most beloved make-up counter would have made my university criteria. But alas, it must have slipped my mind. Southampton, I am disappointed.
Like I wrote back in September, Vivianna Does Makeup is one of the few blogs I visit daily and when Anna began raving about NARS' lip pencils, I knew I needed to hop on the bandwagon. Within hours of being home for Christmas, I satisfied my NARS craving with an immediate trip to Liberty's. And there it was, the most perfect red lip pencil just calling out to me. Her name is 'Luxembourg' and we've been inseparable ever since. Incidentally, I received another for Christmas, the gorgeous berry shade named 'Never Say Never', and the classic 'Cruella' is the latest addition to my fast-growing collection. I know in my heart of hearts that I will not be satisfied until I own each and every one. They're just that good.

Left: Luxembourg, Right: Never Say Never - excuse the shameful pouting

Before these beauties entered my life, I was always a bit nervous of a bold lip. In premise, they're a great idea... but in reality, things get a bit more complicated. My first venture into the world of lipstick was at the tender age of 13. It was a pink glittery monstrosity from Rimmel that turned my teeth a lovely shade of yellow. After that I didn't try again till a couple years later. This time I went high-end - Lipstick Queen to be exact. Again, their universal 'looks good on everyone' red, also known as 'Medieval', was great in premise but didn't have the lasting power to win me over. However, these NARS lip pencils are a real game-changer. 
'Luxembourg' is a satin formula which makes for really easy application. The colour glides on, no fuss and stays put. Naturally you lose a bit of the sheen as the day wears on but the formula becomes matte and incredibly long-lasting. I haven't divulged the full extent of my caffeine addiction here on LydiaLulu but it's fair to say I drink a good few (averaging around four) cups of tea and coffee a day. Thus, most lip products fall short of my addiction. But 'Luxembourg' beats the odds. Depending on how thickly I've applied the product, there's naturally a bit of a lipstick stain on all my discarded coffee cups, but the colour really does stay put. This particular shade of red has pink undertones which I think suits paler complexions like my own. I only wish I could tackle those orangey-reds. But I've found my perfect match in 'Luxembourg' - it's one of those lipsticks which makes you feel ready to take on the world. In the least clich├ęd sense possible.
After I'd discovered my go-to red, I couldn't stop hovering round the NARS counter at my local Space NK. Next I had my eye on this purply-pink berry shade. I wanted something a little more low-key, a bit more effortless. 'Never Say Never' is a sweet, feminine colour which perks up a simple make-up day. I tend to reach for it when I want something more than slick of lip balm or gloss. However, it's a slightly different formula to my beloved 'Luxembourg' in that it's a 'Velvet Matte' finish. The colour doesn't glide on quite as nicely as its 'Satin' counterpart but the staying power is equally as strong. It just means I need to remember to apply lip balm about ten minutes before application otherwise you end up with chapped, strangely coloured lips. Never a good look. Whereas with 'Luxembourg' you draw on one coat and you're good to go, 'Never Say Never' needs a bit more building up which means you can vary the intensity of colour. Some would say this is a con, I personally prefer only a tinge of colour and enjoy having the option of a more dramatic look also. 


Funnily enough, 'Cruella' has come into my possession almost by accident. I inherited my love of all things beauty from my wonderfully glamourous Mum who is also the proud owner of a  Sephora 'Rouge Card'. Anyway, my Mum received a little birthday present from Sephora which included this much coveted colour and she was clearly feeling charitable. Despite only having it for a couple of days,  I feel like 'Cruella' is 'Luxembourg's more sophisticated and sultry older sister. It's a brown based red which is certainly not for the faint-hearted. My experience with these NARS lip pencils has given me the confidence to attempt this colour but had it been the first I'd tried, I probably would have run scared. But that's just my personal taste talking - I'm very girly in my taste and am constantly drawn to pinks and reds. Although I love this sultry shade, I can already see myself reserving it for special occasions and glamourous nights out. Equally, 'Cruella' lives up to NARS standards and its wearability is seriously impressive. If anything, it's almost too difficult to remove - but that's a small price to pay for lipstick with impressive longevity. 

Left to Right: Cruella, Luxembourg, Never Say Never

As much as I love my NARS, I'm thinking it's probably for the best I don't have immediate access to a counter in Southampton. I'm a student, I don't have the funds to buy up all their lip pencils. At £19 each, these lip pencils are on the pricier side - but for me, they have been totally worth it. Their wonderfully long-lasting formula means you're not constantly topping up your colour and they're small and compact enough to throw in your handbag. No lipstick brush or blotting paper needed. I know I'm not the first to sing their praises, but these pencils really are a standout product. Who knew I could be converted to the bold lip side?

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