I think Nars Rouge Basque is discontinued now, but if I can find it online, you should be able to. I'm a big fan of these Nars 'original recipe' satin-finish lipsticks and hope like hell that they're not retired in favour of the Audacious line. I mean, the Audacious sticks are fine, but they're more expensive and I actually prefer this less generic older formula.
Rouge Basque is a sultry, evening-sunlit russet, warm and
paprika-y, though possibly redder on the lip than you might guess from the swatches due to it's 80% opacity.
When it comes to everyday wearability, it's this beautifully-judged translucence that sets the Nars formula apart and shades like Rouge Basque are perfectly weighted to adapt to your individual colouration. Unless you have very pale lips, it reads 'red' without exposing you to all the technical difficulties presented by this colour, referencing enough natural tonality to prevent whoreface, lol- for those of you concerned about that shit.
You can sheer it out to lip gloss-type coverage or build it up to a rich full-bodied sundried tomato. The silky satin finish is very flattering to a thinner mouth, moderately plumping without being sticky or looking cheap. RB really shines on a neutral/warm complexion regardless of depth or pallor and redheads should crawl through broken glass, probably on Ebay, to get it. I particularly love it as a single-shade gradient which is easily achieved on my dark lips.
In common with the other original Nars shades I own, Rouge Basque doesn't bleed and because it's so non-streaky it is amenable to being smooshed around my mouth for most of the afternoon to provide decent coverage without reapplication. Why the hell was it ever discont'd? *Weeps bitter tears*
MAC Red, Nars Deborah, Nars Cruella
This winter afternoon light is strong but quite neutral- the colours are probably most broadly accurate in the image above.
Scarlet Empress didn't have me at hello. I was expecting something more...mmm... scarlet, to tell you the truth; instead, it seemed just like a hundred other grapey berry wines that I'd tired of over the years. It was the primo Nars formula that granted it a stay of execution.
I won't lie; there really are a hundred other versions of this cool berry floating around in the lipstick ether. Two things set Scarlet Empress apart from the rest- the subtle, balanced, blue-based tonality which looks a little pedestrian in the tube but is completed and perfected on the lip. And the typically smooth non-streaky low-satin Nars texture. Tout le shizniz.
It's difficult to find a wine or berry that isn't either matte + clumpy or shiny + streaky. Nothing looks more lurid than a purple that's migrated into a hideous ring of clowny death, retreated to the corners of your mouth or bled out into your mini-wrinkles. But unless you pile half the damn tube of Scarlet Empress onto your cakehole you'll be pretty safe through dinner; it's officially a semi-matte, and its stable, low-satin sheen means you'll get some fade but nothing greasy and frightening.
In this winter light and without the benefit of that all-important lip influence, Scarlet Empress might look like MAC Rebel but the latter is pinker, warmer, sloppier and more teenage. Guerlain Rouge G Gigolo is warmer, more fuchsia with the same adult quality as SE.
MAC Beet pencil, MAC Rebel, Guerlain Rouge G Gigolo