Nars PowerMatte Lipstick Review + Wear Test

Nars Powermatte lipstick in Notorious review and wear test by Miss Amy May

I love trying out new lipsticks, so if social media ads tell me a new lipstick is long-lasting or transfer-proof I’m going to be very tempted to try it out. Unlessss that ad is from a premium brand like Nars or Dior, because I’m sorry, a new product from any brand is a bit of a risk–they all claim to be incredible in a myriad of ways, but personal body chemistry, preference and use plays such a big role in how a product works for you, so dropping £20-35 on a product that I might hate is just too much of a gamble for me. Plus, drugstore products are so good these days, often it’s not necessary to opt for luxury, certainly not for day to day wear. However, the Nars Powermatte ads really made me curious, and since I got a great bonus at work this Christmas I decided to treat myself by picking one up in the shade Notorious.

Review and wear test of Nars Powermatte lipstick in notorious by Miss Amy May

Packaging: The packaging is, of course, prettier than drugstore packaging tends to be. A thin rectangular tube, each lipstick boasts a matte rubberised finish on the outer packaging that matches the shade inside, with the white Nars logo printed across the bottom of the tube in a wraparound fashion. The lip colour itself twists up out of the black inner casing in the standard way of bullet lipsticks, a slimline tower of colour. Overall it’s a sleek, minimalist design that feels more expensive and luxurious than grabbing a lipstick from any of the standard drugstore brands.

Review and wear test of Nars Powermatte lipstick in notorious by Miss Amy May

Formula: It’s creamy and lightweight to apply, fully pigmented but obviously lacking that crisp, solid opaque punch that liquid lipsticks offer. It takes a minute to dry down, then it feels so lightweight and gently powdered that it’s as almost undetectable on the lips as any lip colour will likely achieve. Once dry, it won’t transfer from any direct pressure to the lips, although I imagine a rough smudging motion will make a dent, because come on, what do you expect?

The shade Notorious specifically is listed by Nars as an orange toned red.

Nars Powermatte lipstick review by Miss Amy May

Wear: Promising 10 hours of wear, it’s touted as transfer-resistant, rather than transfer-proof, so with that allowance in the claims I am impressed by its power to resist transfer. It holds up very well through eating and drinking, wearing away predictably in the centre of the lip just as literally every other lip product does if one eats normally without any cautious manipulations of one’s lips and teeth.

I was reluctant to splurge for this lipstick mainly because I didn’t believe a bullet lipstick could perform akin to liquid lipsticks in regards to eating and drinking, but I found this lipstick performed almost as well as my liquid lippy faves. There’s the added bonus that reapplying a liquid lipstick after nourishment, especially more than once, can lead to a thick, rubbery feeling on the lips, but this lipstick is so lightweight that it remained comparatively much more comfortable after reapplications throughout a full day’s wear. My favourite, the Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink, is my go-to if I know I need to wear a lipstick through meals and/or hours of sipping on drinks, but when I wore this Nars Powermatte for 7 hours on New Years Day for a curry potluck with my family and an afternoon of nursing soft drinks, I must admit the Nars felt more comfortable at the end of the day than the Matte Ink would’ve done, despite my being used to the feel of the Matte Inks.

You can see below how Nars Powermatte performed for me throughout a day’s wear. Please do note, however, that I don’t adapt how I eat or drink at all when wearing lipstick, with no delicate peeling back of the lips to avoid cutlery or any similar dainty behaviours, so I’m sure careful and lipstick-conscious eaters will find these perform better than my wear tests suggests–consider this a worse case scenario for the lipstick’s performance, really.

For my wear test below, I ate the same kind of snack and meal that I test all my lipsticks with when I review them here on my blog, so you can more easily compare how lipsticks perform against one another.

Review and wear test of Nars Powermatte lipstick in Notorious by Miss Amy May

1: One hour in. 2: After a snack and soda by straw. 3: Reapplied post-snack. 4: After lunch of a salad wrap and water drunk by straw,

Photo 1 in the collage above shows the Nars Powermatte after an hour’s wear. Photo 2 shows it after I had eaten a pack of Hula Hoops crisps (chips, for you Americans) and drank a Pepsi Max through a straw, a couple hours into wear. Photo 3 shows how my lips looked after I touched up that inner portion of lipstick that had worn away from eating the snack. Photo 4 shows my lips after I ate a lunch of a chicken salad wrap and a glass of water drunk by straw. I must point out, however, that while I deliberately ate the same kind of meal for this test as I eat for all my other lipstick tests, this lipstick survived much better when I wore it when eating the aforementioned curry meal on New Year’s Day. In that case, it survived looking more like photo 2. For the curry, I still ate as I typically would, without being careful to prevent my lips touching the fork or food directly, but the use of a fork compared to the hands-on, mouth-forward nature of eating a wrap clearly preserved the lipstick much better, so if you are careful when you eat I suspect this lipstick will look most like photo 2 for you throughout the day. 

When I reapplied my lipstick after photo 4, the lipstick applied just as well as before, with no piling up or growing claggy. It remained lightweight and soft. 

So what’s the downside? It’s purely a matter of the amount of product you receive and the expense of it. It’s Nars, they’re not a drugstore brand, so if you buy from them it’s a bit churlish to complain you aren’t getting your money’s worth because that’s kind of the whole point of these premium brands. They promise quality and luxury, but as drugstore products have largely caught up with them on the side of performance in many product categories, that mostly means it’s the luxury you’re paying for. In this case, my cheapass does love this lipstick, but if I wore lipstick every day I feel like I would finish this one within a couple months, maybe just one, because it’s only 1.5g of product for £25. Bullet lipsticks are usually 3-4g of product, so this is half the product of a standard lipstick. If you can easily afford to drop £25 on a lipstick every month or two, or consider the daily comfort of your lipstick worth a splurge, it’s absolutely worth it. Personally, I will likely save this lipstick for social occasions that either last all day or revolve around eating, so I can fully appreciate the comfort afforded by this formula without feeling like I wasted an application for just a short stint of wear.

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