Review - NARS Lipstick in Afghan Red

Monday, March 4, 2013

No one will believe me when I say this, but there was a time that I would literally just steer completely clear of red lipstick as a whole. I remember girls at work talking in the break room and overhearing something along the lines of "Pale girls shouldn't wear red lipstick" and somewhere in me, it made me feel self conscious for a good amount of time. Given, that ship has LONG since sailed, but just a little PSA; Rock whatever you want because if YOU like it, then that is literally ALL that matters. And hey, I LOVE a red lip on me!

In hindsight, I should have been wearing this bad boy when they said that.

Afghan Red is one of those more "demure" reds. Its not a bright shade, but not a vampy shade either, and it kind of has that healthy medium to it. NARS website describes the shade as a "rich garnet". It reads like a subdued raspberry on my lips. 

This shade is part of NARS Satin lipstick range, which are touted to be longwearing, comfortable wearing and to provide a silk like finish. It has a creamier finish than MAC Satin finishes, which are far more semi-matte than this. The feel on the lips of this, if still using MAC as a benchmark would be something along the lines of an Amplified Creme. 

While I wasn't incredibly disappointed, Afghan Red is still not the most phenomenal lipstick that I have in my collection. One of the things that irked me a bit is the shorter wear time. I usually get phenomenal wear out of anything with this deep of a hue, but this one faded unevenly. I wore Afghan Red without a lip liner, so going forward I may accompany this with one to see if it improves wear and lessens the feathering. It wore somewhat comfortably, and didn't dry, but it was not as moisturizing as the company describes it.

My biggest qualm is the performance for the price point. This shade retails for $26 for 0.12oz. This would translate to $217 per oz. As a benchmark, MAC lipsticks retail for a much more palatable $15 for 0.10oz. which translates to $150 per oz. It boils down to the fact that if I am paying just short of $30 for a lipstick that I could get almost 2 for the same price (or 5 at a drugstore price!) I want it to be THE BOMB. I had higher hopes for this one than I did Roman Holiday simply because it was Satin finish rather than a Semi-Sheer finish. Maybe I'll have better luck with a matte?

I did search through my stash to see if I had any dupes and this is what I came up with. 

From left to right we have NARS Afghan Red, Milani Sangria and Maybelline Bit of Berry.

Milani Sangria was a bit more cherry red in comparison and didn't have the sheen. If my memory serves me correctly, Milani may categorize this one as a matte.

Maybelline Bit of Berry is quite similar. It is more opaque and a touch more red, but if you're not splitting hairs about it like I am, I'd call it a decent dupe (and you all know I don't really throw that word around lightly). The wear is similar, but it is a touch less creamy and a bit more pigmented. And, you know, its like 1/5 of the price..



- Flattering hue on many skin tones.
- No fragrance
- Non Drying


- Short wear time.
- Feathering

I've seen better formulas in my day, but this shade, possibly for the hue alone, does have a special place in my heart. Its sophisticated, and sometimes I can just deal with more touch ups.

6.5-7/10 because I really can't make up my mind.

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