NARS Shanghai Express & Red Lizard Lipsticks Reviews & Swatches

NARS Shanghai Express Lipstick ($26.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a deep red with warmer undertones and a satin finish. It had rich pigmentation in a single stroke, which applied evenly and smoothly across my lips without tugging during application. The texture was just emollient enough to glide on, while it felt lightweight, thin but not clingy, and was comfortable to wear. It stayed on well for six hours, left a faint stain behind, and felt non-drying while worn.

NARS Immortal Red (P, $26.00) is lighter, cooler (90% similar).NARS Infatuated Red (P, $27.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar).Maybelline Cruel Ruby (P, $7.49) is darker, cooler (90% similar).Colour Pop Lost (P, $7.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar).NARS Just Push Play (P, $26.00) is darker, warmer (90% similar).NARS Rouge Indiscret (LE, $28.00) is warmer (90% similar).Make Up For Ever M402 (P, $22.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar).NARS Codie (LE, $34.00) is lighter, glossier (90% similar).MAC Viva Glam I (P, $19.50) is warmer, glossier (90% similar).MAC Lee Hi (LE, $19.50) is warmer (90% similar).

Formula Overview

$26.00/0.12 oz. – $216.67 Per Ounce

NARS has reformulated their core lipstick range, which now includes 72 shades across three finishes: matte, sheer, and satin. The formula is supposed to go on “smoothly and evenly with a light feel” that is “long-lasting” and “resistant to bleeding and feathering.” The sheer finish has “subtle, sheer color that shines,” while the satin finish has “creamy rich color” and the matte finish has “intense color with a velvety finish.”

The matte finish has a very thin, featherweight feel to it, but they didn’t feel clingy or too prone to dragging during application, though they were definitely a firmer texture in the tube. There was enough glide from the inclusion of dimethicone (first ingredient for the matte finish) that went on evenly, felt velvety but didn’t feel as powder-like as some of the other more silicone-heavy matte lipstick formulas that have been released in the last couple of years. Most shades were pigmented and nearly opaque to opaque. The wear ranged from three to six hours with deeper, richer shades staying on a bit longer and leaving slight stains. They were comfortable to wear but felt more non-drying than particularly hydrating.

The satin finish has more slip, feels thicker (though not actually thick or heavy) compared to the matte finish, and of course, there was subtle to light shine/sheen. They applied smoothly, comfortably, and for the most part, went on evenly and didn’t sink noticeably into my lip lines but there was some variance between shades. They were typically semi-opaque to opaque in coverage with four to six-hour wear that was lightly hydrating.

The sheer finish had coverage that ranged from semi-sheer to true medium coverage but most had some translucency to them, which gave them a sheerer finish. I found most of the shades I tried were buildable to some degree. The texture was a bit firmer, but they felt more emollient and “melted” a bit more against my lips than I recall the original line of lipsticks doing. Some shades applied well with even application and were flattering on, but there were a few that sank more noticeably into my lip lines. This finish tended to wear between three and five hours.

I don’t have many of NARS’ original lipsticks in my stash (I have mostly Audacious as they haven’t been releasing many in the core range) to compare to. The matte finish was definitely thinner, more matte, and had a velvetier look on lips compared to the original which had a subtle sheen to it. The satin finish seemed a bit more pigmented and not quite as luminous/glossy as the previous formula, while the sheer finish was creamier, more emollient, and was easier to apply. It didn’t feel like a vastly different formula, but it felt a bit easier to work with (smoother, more emollient but still lighterweight and thin, far less slip than any of the Audacious range) and was more comfortable to wear across the board for me.

I didn’t notice any scent or taste, though there is “fragrance (parfum)” listed in the ingredients–it smelled neutral, not waxy but I just didn’t get any scent.

 

Ingredients

Dimethicone, Synthetic Wax, Polyethylene, Isohexadecane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Microcrystalline Wax/Cera Microcristallina/Cire Microcristalline, Kaolin, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/Candelilla Cera/Cire De Candelilla, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Polysilicone-11, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hydroxyapatite, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Propylene Carbonate ·Simethicone, Bht, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, [+/- ( May Contain): Bismuth Oxychloride (Ci 77163), Blue 1 Lake (Ci 42090), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Mica, Red 28 Lake (Ci 45410), Red 33 Lake (Ci 17200), Red 6 (Ci 15850), Red 7 Lake (Ci 15850), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (Ci 15985)].

NARS Red Lizard Lipstick ($26.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a medium-dark red with strong, cool undertones and a matte finish. It had nearly opaque color payoff in one pass, which applied evenly and didn’t sink into my lip lines. The lipstick had a firmer, slightly drier feel in the tube, which resulted in some noticeable drag when I tried to apply it in a fluid stroke, so I’d recommend using short, quick strokes for the best application. It was dry enough that it had actually come away from the interior holder and fell out (hence the smashed tip!) when I opened it upside down (noted: do not do that!). The color lasted well for six hours and was still going, and when I removed it, there was a reddish stain left behind. The formula felt a touch drying over time for me.

NARS Force Speciale (P, $26.00) is darker, warmer (95% similar).Colour Pop Ribbon (LE, $6.50) is darker, warmer (95% similar).Charlotte Tilbury Screen Siren (P, $34.00) is darker (95% similar).Fenty Beauty Ma’damn (P, $18.00) is lighter (95% similar).MAC PattyPout (LE, $21.00) is lighter (95% similar).Urban Decay Rapid (P, $18.00) is lighter (90% similar).MAC Candy Cane (LE, $19.50) is lighter (90% similar).Tom Ford Beauty Night Porter (P, $54.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar).Colour Pop Hi Striker (P, $7.00) is lighter (90% similar).MAC Chateau M (LE, $21.00) is lighter (90% similar).

Formula Overview

$26.00/0.12 oz. – $216.67 Per Ounce

NARS has reformulated their core lipstick range, which now includes 72 shades across three finishes: matte, sheer, and satin. The formula is supposed to go on “smoothly and evenly with a light feel” that is “long-lasting” and “resistant to bleeding and feathering.” The sheer finish has “subtle, sheer color that shines,” while the satin finish has “creamy rich color” and the matte finish has “intense color with a velvety finish.”

The matte finish has a very thin, featherweight feel to it, but they didn’t feel clingy or too prone to dragging during application, though they were definitely a firmer texture in the tube. There was enough glide from the inclusion of dimethicone (first ingredient for the matte finish) that went on evenly, felt velvety but didn’t feel as powder-like as some of the other more silicone-heavy matte lipstick formulas that have been released in the last couple of years. Most shades were pigmented and nearly opaque to opaque. The wear ranged from three to six hours with deeper, richer shades staying on a bit longer and leaving slight stains. They were comfortable to wear but felt more non-drying than particularly hydrating.

The satin finish has more slip, feels thicker (though not actually thick or heavy) compared to the matte finish, and of course, there was subtle to light shine/sheen. They applied smoothly, comfortably, and for the most part, went on evenly and didn’t sink noticeably into my lip lines but there was some variance between shades. They were typically semi-opaque to opaque in coverage with four to six-hour wear that was lightly hydrating.

The sheer finish had coverage that ranged from semi-sheer to true medium coverage but most had some translucency to them, which gave them a sheerer finish. I found most of the shades I tried were buildable to some degree. The texture was a bit firmer, but they felt more emollient and “melted” a bit more against my lips than I recall the original line of lipsticks doing. Some shades applied well with even application and were flattering on, but there were a few that sank more noticeably into my lip lines. This finish tended to wear between three and five hours.

I don’t have many of NARS’ original lipsticks in my stash (I have mostly Audacious as they haven’t been releasing many in the core range) to compare to. The matte finish was definitely thinner, more matte, and had a velvetier look on lips compared to the original which had a subtle sheen to it. The satin finish seemed a bit more pigmented and not quite as luminous/glossy as the previous formula, while the sheer finish was creamier, more emollient, and was easier to apply. It didn’t feel like a vastly different formula, but it felt a bit easier to work with (smoother, more emollient but still lighterweight and thin, far less slip than any of the Audacious range) and was more comfortable to wear across the board for me.

I didn’t notice any scent or taste, though there is “fragrance (parfum)” listed in the ingredients–it smelled neutral, not waxy but I just didn’t get any scent.

 

Ingredients

Dimethicone, Synthetic Wax, Polyethylene, Isohexadecane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Microcrystalline Wax/Cera Microcristallina/Cire Microcristalline, Kaolin, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax/Candelilla Cera/Cire De Candelilla, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Passiflora Edulis Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Polysilicone-11, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hydroxyapatite, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Propylene Carbonate ·Simethicone, Bht, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene, [+/- ( May Contain): Bismuth Oxychloride (Ci 77163), Blue 1 Lake (Ci 42090), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Mica, Red 28 Lake (Ci 45410), Red 33 Lake (Ci 17200), Red 6 (Ci 15850), Red 7 Lake (Ci 15850), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (Ci 15985)].

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