Many of us are still chasing that one stick to rule them all, that elusive Holy Grail badarse dark red. I consider the recent MAC Just a Bite (LE) semi-HG and have been wearing the shit out of it lately, but as the warmer weather, café visits and resultant lipstickface (bad thing) roll around I've also been wishing it was a little more matte. So yay for Mascate with its 10/10 Pure Matte formula and rather similar shade.
In the swatches, Mascate looks closer to MAC Russian Red than it really is. RR is quite a bit warmer and more of a 'middle' red. Mascate makes RR look generic (something I've always sort of felt but had never been able to put my finger on til now) and leans in the opposite direction- darker, stronger and blue-based. Evil garnet is how I would privately describe the colour and it packs a lot of visual punch once applied, turning your mouth into a slash of gothy, velvety, old skool cabaret red. Think shallow puddle of merlot on the cherry-red hood of a classic car at four in the afternoon. Does that help? This stick pic is looking pretty close to reality on my iMac, for reference >
BELOW- here it is, second from left, indoors, natural light.
Mascate (مسقط Masqaṭ) is the French for what Anglophones call Muscat, the capital of Oman. Muscat grapes are possibly the oldest in cultivation, the source of the most delicious raisins and Nars Mascate is soaked in exactly this kind of rich, vinous gorgeousness. But don't go by the image at left (which I oversaturated to get your attention); instead have a look at the tube pics below. I shot the one below right against a neutral cardboard background in filtered light in the pursuit of accuracy.
Like most reds, Mascate is a complete bitch to photograph, zinging out of gamut as soon as the light hits it, even with a relatively high-end camera. That's why so many online lipstick review pics are crap, in case you were wondering. I just hope you can find at least some of these shots informative.
And it really is goth rather than pin-up. Some reds are pleasers; they simper and twirl their hair at you. Mascate isn't one of them. It's a dramatic, nocturnal, Dominant ball-crusher. In that respect it's definitely too much so for some; I'd score it 7/10 for difficulty (as far as pulling off the colour goes), so it's not going to be an everyday thing for the average peep.
Filtered outdoor daylight. Mascate is sheered out in the stripe over the vertical swatches.