March 3, 2019

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment Review: American Woman

I was preparing to write up a February favorites post when I realized I really only needed to mention one product: NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment. It took me a while to get around to trying this, but now that I have I’m obsessed, and I don’t use that word lightly. Let me tell you why NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment has completely taken over my daily makeup routine.

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. This post does not contain affiliate links.

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment is a lightweight, high-pigment liquid-to-matte lipstick. I have a deluxe sample size of the shade American Woman, which is a medium rosy pink.

nars powermatte lip pigment american woman


As is typical of NARS, Powermatte Lip Pigment is packaged in a sleek, matte black square tube. I have to give props to NARS for this packaging. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it prevents an issue from forming that would have been a serious mark against this product had it not been addressed properly. Because the formula is so thin and runny, if the cap didn’t sit properly on the tube, the product would leak out and it would be a huuuuge mess. I’ve had it happen before with other lip products and it’s such a pain in the ass, not to mention the hazard it presents to drawers and purses. However, because NARS smartly designed the cap to lock on securely, I’ve never had an issue with the tube leaking.

One thing worth noting is that some of the product does settle around the threading of the tube, but it doesn’t cause any leakage, messes, or prevent the cap from twisting on securely. It might drive you a little bit crazy if you’re super anal about the appearance of your makeup, but since it’s only visible when the cap is removed, I don’t think it will be a problem for most people.

nars powermatte lip pigment

The applicator is a flocked doe foot, however it’s much less flexible than the doe foot on most other lip products. I think this was another good decision by NARS because the lipstick itself is such a thin, runny texture that if the wand had more flexibility it would become more difficult to maneuver and get a clean line.


Isododecane, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Hydrogenated Polycyclopentadiene, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tripeptide-1, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propylene Carbonate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Aluminum Hydroxide, Isohexadecane, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Butylene/ Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethyl Vanillin, Phenoxyethanol, [+/- (May Contain): Blue 1 Lake (Ci 42090), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Red 28 Lake (Ci 45410), Red 7 (Ci 15850), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Yellow 5 Lake (Ci 19140), Yellow 6 Lake (Ci 15985)].


NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment has a very, very light vanilla scent. I don’t notice it at all when I’m applying the lipstick. I only picked up on the scent when I intentionally smelled the tube. Is there any way to say that that doesn’t sound weird? Probably not, but just for the record I don’t run around smelling lipstick tubes for funsies, I only sniff them for review purposes. God, this got weird fast. Moving on.


The formula of NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment is super thin, just a hair thicker than water. Often when I come across a super thin formula like this, I know there’s going to be a dreaded consequence: it’s going to crack and flake. NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment doesn’t do that. Instead, it lays beautifully on the lips for the full duration of wear. Depending on how much you layer the product up, the texture once it’s dry can be anywhere from feeling just like skin to a slightly thicker velvety texture. It’s virtually undetectable on the lips, which is one of the things I love most about it. If the texture of most liquid lipsticks drives you crazy, try NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment instead. I think it’s a much more pleasant texture than most liquid lipsticks.

If I was going to compare it to anything, I think when it’s wet it has a similar texture to the ColourPop or Urban Decay liquid lipsticks, but when it dries down it’s a much thinner layer of product and it doesn’t crack or bunch up in an odd way. NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment is immediately opaque, no layering required.

One caveat to this product is that you do need to be careful while you’re applying it. It’s so thin that you can end up applying more product than you mean to, which can cause you to end up with lipstick outside of your lip line or on your teeth. For me, it’s usually the teeth. I’ve learned to avoid this problem by using the very tip of the applicator to apply the lipstick, and also wiping the excess product off on the inner rim of the tube.

I personally don’t experience any bleeding with this product, but if you have a lot of fine lines around your lips, there’s a chance that you might. If you’re concerned about the product bleeding, I’d recommend applying it with a lip brush, which will give you more control.


I think I’ve worn this lipstick about 30-40 times now and I’ve only had it fade enough that it needed to be touched up once or twice. That was after a particularly messy meal. On an average day, NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment easily lasts through 8 hours, including eating and drinking. It does start to wear away at the corners of my mouth and a little bit in the center, but it’s not particularly noticeable, especially if you’re wearing a shade that’s similar to your lip color. (Update: didn’t last through a Chipotle burrito.)

I’ve only tried the shade American Woman, but based on my experience with this shade, I suspect that the wear time of a deeper or brighter shade may be slightly lower because it’s going to show fading more easily. The lipstick does transfer slightly, but it’s not significant enough to affect the appearance of the lipstick.

Although longevity is great, especially for someone like me who hates having to touch up their lipstick, on its own it’s just not enough to make me fall in love with a product the way I have with the NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment. What really caused me to form such a love for this product is the way it performs. It’s so lightweight on my lips that I forget I’m wearing it sometimes, and unlike other liquid lipsticks, it never makes me feel like the life is being sucked out of my lips. Because it doesn’t provide any moisture, my lips do gradually begin to feel dry throughout the day, but it’s not irritating or uncomfortable. Even some of the best liquid lipsticks I’ve tried can give me a bit of a cakey feeling, especially as the day goes on. I never experience that feeling with NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment. On top of that, it doesn’t flake or crumble, and it doesn’t leave me with an awkward line around the inner part of my lips, AKA butthole lips.

I like to wear this lipstick in two ways. First, I’ll wear it as it’s intended to be worn in a full, opaque application with the doe foot. Second, I’ll wear it as a sheer lip stain, especially on days when I’m wearing lighter makeup. When I wear it as a lip stain, I apply it by dotting a bit on my finger and smudging it into my lips. When it’s sheered out, it has the same durability with an even lighter feel, but it gives a much more laid back appearance.

nars powermatte lip pigment american woman swatch

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in American Woman. Left: Sheered out. Right: One swipe.

Final Thoughts

I can’t say enough good things about this lipstick. The packaging is well-designed and clearly shows some thought on behalf of the team at NARS. From the packaging to the formulation, the lipstick is practical, innovative, and beautiful. Across the board, NARS nailed this product. With some liquid lipsticks, I feel like I have to trade comfort for longevity, but finally thanks to NARS I don’t have to make that trade.

One thing that surprised me about this lipstick is that I can eat with this lipstick on and it doesn’t drive me insane. Unless I’m forced to (i.e., I’m testing something for y’all) I refuse to eat with lipstick on. I don’t like the texture, I don’t like getting lipstick in my mouth, I hate leaving lip prints all over dishes, and it drives me crazy trying to put my mouth in the same exact place on the cup every time so that I don’t give myself a Joker smile with the smeared lipstick. Side note: do y’all do that too, or am I just neurotic? I think I know the answer to this, but let’s see how it goes. For science or something, idk.

Anyway, you get the point. NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment doesn’t bother me when I’m trying to eat, which is actually a pretty significant accomplishment. I now know this lipstick is going to be my go-to for long days and for social gatherings involving food because I know I won’t have to worry about blotting my lipstick or making a mess. It’s such a simple thing, but it’s a relief to find a product like this, truly.

I do think the thinness of the lipstick may require a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re newer to liquid lipsticks or to lipstick in general, but ultimately that adjustment period leads to such a great payoff in terms of performance that I think it’s very much worth it. NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment solves so many of the problems that I’ve had with liquid lipsticks since they first hit the market that it’s made me reach for it almost every time I do my makeup. Typically, a bullet lipstick is my go-to on an everyday basis, but NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment is making me neglect my other lipsticks, and honestly, I don’t mind it one bit.

$26 NARS | Sephora | Ulta

You might like this if…

  • You’re looking for a lightweight, matte lipstick.
  • You’re sick and tired of liquid lipsticks that crack, flake, and crumble.
  • Longevity is the number one priority for you when it comes to your lipstick.
  • By some wonderful chance you were one of the people who didn’t think I was crazy when I started ranting about how much I hate eating with lipstick on.

Skip this if…

  • You have extremely dry lips that can’t be fixed with a quick scrub and a bit of lip balm.
  • When it comes to lip products, moisture is more important to you than longevity.
  • You’re super anal about the appearance of your makeup products, and having a bit of product around the threading of the tube is going to get on your nerves.

Thanks for reading!



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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like Marc Jacobs Velvet Primer Review

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