NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg collaboration review

NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg

NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg collaboration is in stores now, and I advise you to grab your wallet and head to the shops as soon as you can, if you’re in the mood to be tempted by a versatile collection of sheer, subtle, shades.

This year, NARS wins the crown for persuading me to part with my hard-earned cash. I’ve been spending more on clothes than on make-up in the last two years, but NARS have persuaded me to smash the children’s piggy banks twice in the last year. I’m still feeling guilty that I never found the time to post here about their collaboration with photographer Sarah Moon before the collection sold out. I bought as much of that collaboration as I could afford: driven to purchase by the fantastic packaging; delighted with the contents within.

When news broke that NARS were collaborating with Charlotte Gainsbourg, I knew I had to start skimming the housekeeping money. Brands spend so much money, time and effort signing up celebrities to front their campaigns, and speaking personally,  I wish that they wouldn’t. I’m old school: I like looking at models, not reality stars, or ‘real women’, and I enjoy creative, directional editorial. So for me,  NARS are one of the very few brands that get it right with their collaborations – they know how to pick ‘faces’ that are all about character, not personality; artists who have a body of credible, creative work behind them and the vision and talent to achieve more in the future. 

NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg swatching

Having carefully perused the entire collection on line, I knew I’d have to try the products on my skin to decide which I liked best. The NARS boutique in Covent Garden is a friendly space, with lovely staff who know their cultural references, so I spent a pleasant twenty minutes there scribbling across my hand with every liner, and dabbing and daubing each multiple and shadow, whilst chatting about the Birkin-Gainsbourg dynasty. Still not sure what products I liked best though! So I accepted NARS invitation for a quick make-over, and advise you to do the same if you’re able to. Why? Because NARS listened very carefully to what I wanted from the consultation, namely:

  • fast work, applied with fingers not brushes, and done from start to finish in 20 minutes (because that’s all I will do at home, and what’s the point in trying a look you won’t or can’t replicate?)
  • sheer coverage – I’d far rather all my blemishes shine proudly through and dazzle the nation, than feel I’m wearing heavy or mask-like base

NARS met this brief perfectly, creating a look I was super-comfortable with, and enabled me to pin down exactly which colour and product choices were going to bring me maximum joy.

NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg reviewI left the store with a very prettily made-up NARS face, and the following products:

  • NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint in Light
  • NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg Multiple Tint in Jeanette
  • NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in London Clinic

Now, something important to note about this particular collaboration, and consequently to my review – it does seem very tailored to the physicality, as well as the spirit of Charlotte Gainsbourg. She and I have three things in common: 1/ We both have light coloured eyes 2/ We both have pale skin 3/ We both have an air of having kicked the hairbrush under the bed some months ago, and not felt the need to get down amongst the dust-bunnies to retrieve it.

So, this means that there was an unusually high number of the colours available that looked good on me. Out of the four skin tints available, three were a possible fit … that’s 75%! And readers of a mathematical bent will realise, as I did, that this might well disappoint interested customers who are at the Polynesia end of the NARS spectrum, rather than the Terre Neuve. I find this surprising, I’m unsure of the logic behind offering such a limited shade range, and, as I like to recommend the things I like to all my friends that have similar tastes in products and packaging to me, I find it frustrating and the only piece of uncomfortable grit in my otherwise pearlescent NARS experience. 

NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg windowNARS Charlotte Gainsbourg collaboration – Scored!

Great Name? 5/5 on three different levels. 1/ The NARS name itself… A mini-biog of make-up artist François Nars is beyond my scope here, so if you’re interested in finding out more, then click! 2/ The Gainsbourg name … isn’t it fascinating how the French can do creative dynasties, openly and with élan, whilst the English skulk about trying to hide and deny nepotism. In England, you find out who someone’s parents are when you google their name, muttering ‘how did someone so talentless get on my bloody telly ..? Oh, that’s how.’ 3/ The product names: always a treat. My lip pencil is called London Clinic; the other, darker one is called Blindfold. NARS are of course, most famous for naming a blusher Orgasm back in the day, and so popular was this shade, and so memorable the name, that Orgasm went on to spawn its own little dynasty within the NARS empire. 

Effective? 5/5 NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Alaska has been my favourite base since its release in May last year, and I’m loving the NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint just as much. The Lip Pencil is a perfect example of what a good friend calls ‘posh girl pink’: chic, flattering and understated. And the Multiple is – as you’d expect –  total versatility. I’m going away for a week soon, and am not planning to take much more than these three products with me. Literally, all you need to create a face out of nothing. (Add a brow pencil and mascara if you’re uncomfortable with naked eyes. I’m not.)

Packaging? 5/5 Boxes are dark green, black and gold with a reptilian texture. Containers are dark green and gold, matte, and with a satisfying pop on the lid of the Lip Pencil and a snap on the Multiple closure. My Velvet Matte Skin Tint has a flip-up cap, but the Hydrating Glow Tint has a twist off lid with a satisfying heft to it, which feels much more luxurious. All very dressing table worthy and a temptation to apply make-up in public just to show the products off. (Don’t do that, though. Especially not on the tube. Eurgh).

Scent? n/a I’ve decided it’s just too harsh to award points in this category when it’s make-up under scrutiny, not skincare. 

Price? 5/5 Products range from £19 for the eyeliner to £29 for the Multiple. Great textures plus versatile, wearable colours convinced me this range is well worth the prices asked. I splashed out  £74 for my three products (which is very extravagant for me). But buying three products at once meant that I was gifted a NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, so, if you’re going to succumb to temptation, succumb in one go!

You can buy the NARS Charlotte Gainsbourg collection online or in store at NARS boutiques and major beauty halls. If you’d like to visit the store that I had my lovely makeover at, it’s in King Street, Covent Garden.

Will I repurchase? Not from this collection! Before I get close to using up this makeup, the collaboration will be gone, and besides, I still have my NARS Sarah Moon collection to use as well.





Will I fall for another NARS collaboration? Pretty certain the answer to that is yes, so I should probably start a little savings fund, right now. Apparently, they have some very special things lined up for Christmas. Here’s hoping for a collaboration with Grace Jones (a collaboration that I would strive to be first in the queue for, elbows out at right angles and wallet clenched between my teeth …) 

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