For a long time I have treasured the idea that Nars Dolce Vita is the deep, warm mallow pink that looks good on absolutely everyone. A few people have since assured me that they look like smacked arse in this shade, but I wonder if they aren't just a bit affronted by this kind of strength in a pink. Imma stick with Dolce Vita as my universal white-to-medium-brown person recommendation.
That's not to say the sheer version is without merit. If you're new to the whole concept of lipstick, it's a great training shade. If you're in an ultra-conservative environment, it's a way to add polish to one's facial situation without visibly offending. It offers a really beautiful balm-like texture, fairly impressive staying power and an enviable natural sheen that serves up mid-90s Kate Moss at the beach naked under flattering atmospheric conditions-type satin lustre. Sheer bullet DV is just enough of a thing to take the edge off patchy pigmentation and smooth away the dreaded forgot-your-lipstick issue that can sometimes blight a low-key look. Perfect for sucking face across the table on a night out. Or a walk to the shops when you think you might run into someone hot but don't want to look like you were... you know... trying. Do people still do that? I have fond memories. These days I suppose one just stays home chugging anxiety meds and stalking them online.
Moving on to the Velvet Matte. The Nars VMs are probably the most consistently wearable of the truly matte pencils in my humble opinion, and Dolce Vita is among the nicest of the lot, comfort-wise. That soft, fudgey, sun-warmed mouthfeel is always welcome, and the syrupy, condensed, Venetian afternoon pink actually evokes an emotional response in my swampy old heart, always making me feel happier and less of a fucking ogre when I'm having a bad face day. Dolce Vita is a truly romantic shade, sweet and rich, graphic enough save a red lip fiend from feeling naked and modest enough to keep a more basic unit from fainting at the prospect of visible colour. I wouldn't be without it.
Shade-wise, it's essentially timeless, neither young nor mature, vintage nor modern, and I think it looks just as nice on a cool face as someone with yellow tones. Unsurprisingly, it is the perfect compliment to a brown-based smoky eye or a simple black wing.
The palm swatch above tells the story of the different versions' respective opacities. The pencil is 95% opaque but retains good workability; I can easily sheer it out and smudge it for a long time after application. It's a definite matte but never dries down into parched oblivion, remaining supple enough to be touched up without caking. Don't be fooled by the look of the bullet to the right there; the lipstick comes in at a paltry 10% (maxed out) by comparison, as you can see on my palm and in the lineup swatches below.
Yes that is a ghetto manicure; I know better and should do better but I have a massive garden and no help. Assistant weeders always welcome.
Normally I would have moved such a low-clout lipstick on, but I keep the sheer DV because it offers amendment of the pencil shade and just because I enjoy the soothing feel of its quality formulation. I wouldn't buy it again but it might become an OG option for the pigment-phobic.
Dolce Vita is an essential staple so just try it, goddamit.