Friday, July 15, 2011

Great Reds: NARS Damned

Hi Guys,

I know what you are all thinking. "NOT ANOTHER NARS RED. OH GOD. SHE IS OBSESSED."

I am.

 But this one is a Velvet Matte Lip Pencil! That's exciting for a change, right? And as they say, variety is the spice of life. Now, I am a big fan of all things NARS. I think they make great products, and while I think some are better than others, I've never been truly disappointed by anything from the line. I think the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are great; however, I don't think the packaging is nearly as nice as the lipsticks. For one, you have to sharpen them, and aside from being a pain, and messy (red mush in my sharpener!), you lose product that way. However, it is easy to get a nice precise line when these are newly sharpened. On the other hand, in order to preserve the product, I rarely sharpen these. My second complaint is the lid; sometimes if I put it on quickly, the air gets trapped inside and it won't push down all the way, and it comes open in my purse. Yuck! This has only happened once or twice, but believe me, that's enough. However, the formula is a delight. These feel creamy, but look matte on the lip, which can be harder to find in a lip product than you'd think. I don't find them drying, either, though they certainly aren't moisturizing; they leave my lips in the same condition they find them. And while the formula is hard to describe, it is thick enough that you can apply lip balm first, and these will sit on top of it, so if you are prone to dry lips, these might be a workable matte option. However, because of the creaminess, they feel more pronounced on the lip and are more prone to smudges or smears than the NARS lipsticks, putting the pencils in line with the performance of most other non-long wearing lipsticks I've encountered. At any rate, I don't think that these would have worked as anything other than a pencil; the formula is too creamy to maintain its shape without the support of the pencil casing, and drier, firmer matte lipsticks are always so drying, so I think NARS has found a unique solution in the Velvet Matte pencils.

At .086 ounces of product for $24, these are pricier by volume than the lipsticks, and you do have to factor in a bit of product loss from sharpening, but this is definitely a unique product and the colors they come in are gorgeous. Damned is described as a bright magenta, and it's in line with Scarlet Empress as a blue-red that definitely leans towards the pink end of the spectrum. This is by no means a true red.

My beat up lip pencil! 


Swatch of NARS Damned

NARS Damned, no flash

NARS Damned, no flash

NARS Damned, flash

NARS Damned, flash

Damned on top, Scarlet Empress on bottom; they're close neighbors!
Rating: 7 out of 10

I think Damned is a beautiful color, it's a nice way to sneak into red from pink and magenta if red isn't exactly your thing, and it gets you close to a bright magenta while being muted and matte enough to look toned down. However, I think the packaging can be tricky; I don't like having to sharpen it, and I don't like that you have to actually think when you put the cap back on to make sure it doesn't pop back off. Aside from the packaging issues, it's a great product and probably my favorite matte formula, period.


  1. as a poor college student, it's really hard for me to shell out so much money on a lipstick pencil! so i'm looking forward to the day NARS decides to make these twist up products...if that ever happens.

  2. I totally respect that! That's why I've been going through and reviewing all of these lip colors that I've collected over the course of the last 4 years or so! :P When I do splurge, though, it's on makeup!

  3. Great review, I've heard mixed things about the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils.

  4. Thanks Vulcan! Yup, I stand behind the formula wholeheartedly, it's a matte that manages to feel great... But the delivery system kind of sucks! They need to either make this a twist-up system or package these as a lipstick or something.


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