Is NARS makeup worth the price?

Janice asks…As a makeup addict I was wondering if there really is a difference between NARS make up, which every make up artist worships, and something less expensive but good quality like MAC or Lancome. Is NARS really worth the price?

The Right Brain replies:

For those of you with no NARS knowledge, here’s the quick scoop from their website:

At the heart of NARS is François Nars’ mission to empower women to experiment and have fun with makeup by teaching them how to enhance their natural beauty and individual characteristics. An iconoclastic philosophy, Nars believes there are no rules when it comes to beauty; whatever makes you look and feel good is right. NARS has the ability to be many things to many people: a stylish accessory, a guilty pleasure or a makeup wardrobe staple, but it’s a certain allure imparted by François Nars that makes NARS a state of mind and a lifestyle brand for the future.

NARS Knowledge

All this philosophy aside, are NARS products worth more because they’re “better” formulas? Probably not but it depends on what product you’re talking about and how you define “better.” Let’s look at a couple of examples.

If you’re looking at a product that is primarily functional, like the NARS bodywash, then the answer is no. As you can see from the ingredient list, NARS is selling a combination of betaine and lauryl sulfate – the same kind of basic detergent formula that many other companies sell for shampoos and body washes for much cheaper.

Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Dipropylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Poloxamer 184, Menthol, Citric Acid, Trisodium EDTA, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Barbadensis Extract), Macadamia Ternifolia (Macadamia Ternifolia Nut Oil), Sodium Benzoate, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Parfum (Fragrance)

There’s no way that this kind of formula is worth $38.00!

On the other hand, if you’re looking at a product that is more experiential, like a color cosmetic or fragrance, it may be worth more to you. These products may not be technically or functionally better but they may offer you a sense of style or a color or a packaging element that you can’t find anywhere else. And that elevated experience is worth something extra. How much is that sensory aspect worth? Only you can decide. (Still, $23.00 for a lip gloss seems a bit steep!)

The Beauty Brain’s bottom line

Be choosey – if you find the perfect blush from NARS that you can’t get anywhere else then maybe it is worth the cash. But don’t waste a lot of money on their other products, like the bodywash example above, because they’re really nothing special.

By the way, NARS products are fomulated by Shiseido, so you might check out their products to see if you can find on that’s similar but cheaper!