Whilst I can sort of get away with wearing bright blue-leaning pink, there is always something slightly nasty, bordering on vaguely horrific about the result. And judging by the steady resale market I'm not the only one who loves and yet struggles with shades like Nars Yu.
The colour is admittedly incredibly alluring- candied orchid is the phrase my brain spits out but impatiens pink or bluish rose are probably more relatable. I don't consider it fuchsia. Sadly it just not really suited to a rather wide swathe of eligible humanity.
A recent prune of my collection really should have sent Yu on its way, but I just couldn't let it go. The Nars Satin Pencil formula stomped that sensible impulse with its uncanny silkiness and persistence on the lip. This is not the kind of colour you want punking out or clinging to the margins unbeknownst to the wearer and Yu delivers 3-4 hours of untouched up staunchness. If you liked the idea but not so much the ratchet reality of MAC Heroine, Show Orchid or Full Fuchsia, Yu is a more tasteful alternative.
As you can see from the swatches, this sort of shade is widely iterated and if you already own the MAC Retro Matte versions, you don't really need to splash out on another. The difference is largely textural. Personally I would keep Yu before all the others because it is technically superior and just more pleasant to wear.
The finish is less slippy than it appears on the hand, drying down to a lower sheen than my other Nars Satin Pencils. This is the secret to Yu's longevity, so it's probably best not to overload with product unless you're specifically going for a wetter look + collateral maintenance.
The colour is so of itself that lighting changes don't really have too much effect. That deep Nars pigmentation really makes its neighbours seem dull and recessed; when MAC shades look cheap in comparison, you're doing something right.
There are a few tricks you can use to shorten any eww factor in Yu. I like to match my skin's sheen level to that of any difficult lipstick I'm attempting- in this case, low satin. I then try to eliminate most of the competing pinks from my face i.e. rosacea blotches and the blueish-lavender in capillaries, eyebags etc., with a thorough concealer effort. Keeping Yu slightly sheer helps its tones adapt to your own, and finally I've found it's important to blur out the edge rather than maintain a hard line, especially on a mature face, so leave the liner pencil in the bag. Works for me.
* Gulabi is the Hindi word for pink but I'm not sure if it's the specific term I was looking for. Incidentally- respect for the Gulabi Gang, a group of Indian activists who publicly shame and punish perpetrators of violence against women.