NARS Cosmetics

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NARS Cosmetics
Industry Personal care
Founded 1994
Founder François Nars
Key people
Barbara Calcagni, President[1]
Products Cosmetics and skin care
Parent Shiseido

NARS Cosmetics is a French cosmetics and skin care company founded by make-up artist and photographer François Nars in 1994. The cosmetics line began with twelve lipsticks sold at Barneys New York. Since then, NARS has created various multi-use beauty products and now is a subsidiary of Shiseido.


François Nars was born in Tarbes in the South of France[2] and grew up influenced by his mother Claudette and her collection of designer clothes. She also helped him acquire his first job as an assistant to some of Paris’ top makeup artists. After graduating from Carita Makeup school in Paris, Nars moved to New York in 1984[3] and became known for his love of color and modern style. He also worked with photographer Steven Meisel and hair stylist Oribe Canales. In the eighties and nineties, they produced many magazine editorials appearing in American Vogue, Vogue Italia, and Elle.[4]

In 1994, Nars launched NARS Cosmetics. Although the company was sold to Shiseido in 2000,[5] Nars remains as artistic director, in-house photographer, and copywriter for his brand.


NARS’ minimalist matte black, rubber packaging was created by Fabien Baron,[4] who Nars met on a shoot in 1989. [6]

NARS has an "Orgasm Collection" which includes blush, lipgloss, multiple use cream sticks, illuminators, and nail polish.[7]

Animal testing[edit]

NARS is no longer a cruelty free brand. [8] In 2017 NARS announced that, despite being against animal testing, it was a requirement for selling products in the China market. In a public statement the company said: "We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law." The statement elicited a number of critical responses, some suggesting a boycott of its products. [9]


  1. ^ "Shiseido Announces Appointment of Louis Desazars as President & CEO of Shiseido Europe Region and President & CEO of Beauté Prestige International". Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "François Nars is celebrating 20 years of his make-up line - and he's still ahead of the game". Independent UK. 6 September 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2016. 
  3. ^ "Feature - The François Nars Story | Issue 09 | Journal | Aviator - Boutique hotel by TAG". Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Graham, Mhairi. "NARS: Twenty Years of Lipstick". AnOther. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  5. ^ Evangelista, Linda. "François Nars". Interview Magazine. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Molvar, Kari (2 September 2014). "Everything you need to know about François Nars on the 20th anniversary of the iconic brand". FASHION Magazine. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  7. ^ "Last-minute gifts that stand out". LA Times. 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  8. ^ "Nars make-up boycotted, after cosmetics tested on animals in China". BBC. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "Nars make-up boycotted, after cosmetics tested on animals in China". BBC. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 

External links[edit]