Celebrating 25 Years of Rule-Breaking Beauty with the Nars Iconic Lipstick Collection

It was 25 years ago that Nars Founder and Creative Director, François Nars launched his eponymous collection at the beauty counter of Barneys New York. To this day, the original 12 rich lipstick shades—suggestively named and housed in sleek, matte square tubes—encompass the style and innovation at the centre of his global beauty empire. The Nars Iconic Lipstick collection pays homage to the creative vision of the legendary makeup artist, with an additional 60 shades in a range of matte, satin and sheer finishes. With an innovative, pigment-rich formula that delivers instant colour vibrancy and conditions lips for radically lightweight wear and unprecedented feel, there is certainly something for everyone with the whooping 72 shades from the collection.

Nars Iconic Lipstick

Courtesy of Nars Cosmestics

From Schiap, an electric fuchsia named after designer Elsa Schiaparelli, to Jungle Red, a warm crimson inspired by a scene from 1939 film The Women, each of his cult classic hues makes a comeback in the most extended lipstick collection of the brands’ history. Ahead of the relaunch of the original dozen — with a bonus of 60 more shades — BAZAAR sat down with Global Artistry Director, Jane Richardson to speak about her love affair with beauty and all about the Nars Iconic Lipstick collection.

Celebrating 25 years for NARS – that’s incredible. Why did you choose NARS?

I was always a Nars girl anyway. I was using the Laura Mercier primer, and one of the other makeup artists asked if I had ever tried Nars, and I wasn’t like, “No no, never”. We were at Harvey Nichols by the Nars counter and it just blew my mind. I just thought, “oh my god, this is a whole other world.” So I actually became a Narsgirl, and I’ve always been naturally drawn – I think you always are as an artist – to Nars. I was always trained to apply things using a sponge, and not the advance BeautyBlender kinds we have now, so instinctively I had always thrown them out and used my fingers. And for Francois Nars, one of his signature techniques was to always use his fingers for application. Things like that were sort of organic and felt very easy to me to connect with this brand even when I had to go for training or seek more knowledge on this brand, it just made sense to me.

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What is your go-to Nars product?

It’s really difficult, as you can imagine, but it’s the Radiant Creamy Concealer. It’s a game-changer, honestly. We’ve had great concealers, but this is taking it to a whole new level and I really do love using it to conceal but also as a foundation or a face sculptor. It’s amazing.

Talk us through the Iconic Lipstick collection.

Obviously, because of the 25th anniversary, we are looking back at celebrating the icons of Nars and it all started with the 12 lipsticks – some of which, to those of us who’ve been around long enough – are the oldies but still the goodies. There’s still this love affair with the original 12. What’s wonderful is that they’ve now used it to create a talking point, and it’s really important for us to look back at the archives. We do something to show the consumers what the story of Narsreally is. So, they’ve now released the original 12 shades in the red packaging, so they’re very distinguished and identifiable – that’s what’s really wonderful about these 12.

So many colours to choose from! Do you have a favourite?

I will always love Jungle Red and Schiap – which we’ve used today – and also Heatwave. Heatwave is actually one of Francois’ favourite, we’ve used it in a couple of the first ad campaigns, I believe. I use this beautiful orange-red together with Jungle Red as a highlight, so if you’re looking to wear lipstick and want to add in a bit of dimension to it, simply use a slightly brighter colour instead of a gloss and it instantly gives you a fuller lip effect.

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What are your top tips for picking out the right lipstick for the right skin tone? 

I think women all around the world are hearing about warm tones and cool tones, pink tones, blue tones, and it’s honestly all too confusing. First of all, discover what kind of texture you want on your lips; whether you want matte, satin, and glossy, get that out of the way first. The professionals at the counter, they’re the ones that will guide you to where that particular texture is, and that could be one of the classics, or in a velvet matte lip pencil or a gloss. Once you’ve hit the right area, then only you start deciding what colour you want. If it’s red, pick 3 and put them on the back of the hands. Take a minute, and decide which one shade you absolutely do not like and remove it. If you cover one or the other, you’ll realize that one shade will change the colour of your skin, and again, without using any confusing terms, listen to your own instincts and go for the one that you like the most. Try it on your lips and it will look different.

If your instinct is telling you absolutely nothing at all and you’re not smiling, then it’s not the right one, try the other one. Power of three – every time. The professionals at the counter will only guide you to the right texture; don’t ever ask anybody else what they think because everyone uses colour in a different way. I’ve seen it across the board, everyone’s going to say, “Oh, that’s great, that red is perfect” and you might not like it. It’s like a piece of art. Some people will love something, some will hate it. The trick is to not ask anybody. And yes, I’m a professional but I still ask, “But what do you think?” and my professionalism comes from guiding a woman to the product she likes, but it’s not my opinion so I have to remove “I think” from my category and start asking them to discover.

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How can we preventing our lipsticks from feathering?

I usually put a bit of concealer around the outsides of the lips and loose powder, then you can apply your lipstick. It also depends on your age or whether you’re a smoker or not, and if it still bleeds after that, then blotting is good or put a bit of powder on it – whether it’s through diffusing it on a tissue paper or just around the edges of the lips which I’ve just done today. Or you can use a pencil, but if you’re going with a pencil, make sure you get the line and then the fill. You can do that before or after your lipstick, it doesn’t matter. If you’re not an expert at it, do it after your lipstick because your lipstick will give you slip. It just takes a little bit of practice. If that’s still happening, then just avoid anything glossy – as soon as you put a gloss on or apply something with a glossier texture, it will bleed.