Meet The Founder

Behind the brand: François Nars

Still conquering the make up stage, learn about the man behind the world’s bestselling range. The undisputed ‘King of Colour’, François Nars has totally transformed the beauty landscape – distilling his breadth of expertise into an ever-growing edit of most-wanted make up must-haves. 

A make up artist in-the-making, François’ mother pushed her son to make the move to NYC and take his artistry to the next level. A trained photographer with an unparalleled creative vision and an urge to make a statement, Nars became a fixture on the fashion circuit – honing his techniques and bringing his distinctive flair to countless supermodel canvases (we’re talking Naomi, Christy, Linda…), not to mention some of the late-80s most iconic women (“Hey, Madonna!”). 

Quickly making a name for himself on the NYC ‘scene’, and following a cult collaboration with the aforementioned ‘Queen of Pop’ (a kinky coffee table book entitled ‘SEX’), François felt the time was right to channel his impressive understanding of what ‘works’ into a self-named range of make up, starting with his Classic Lipstick. The twelve shades took the beauty world by storm and {NARS} was born – a range that boasts a hefty dose of playfulness, a shot of ‘shock’ and formulas that look as good in real life as on camera.

With a love of fine art and photography, Nars finds inspiration everywhere. He photographs his own campaigns and so, he knows that make up must translate from face to image – ‘intelligent’ lens-friendly textures that minimise shine while creating a ‘soft focus’ finish that’s flawless but ‘honest’ is central to {NARS} brand philosophy. It’s all about a ‘real skin’ look – an authenticity that’s non-discriminatory; he strove to build a comprehensive ‘kit’ for every man, woman (and MUA), that caters to the swathe of skin tones, ages, types and tastes.

There are however several ‘hero’ products that you’ll find in every ‘Hall of Fame’ and editor’s collection. First and foremost, there’s that {blusher} – the ‘innocent’ flush that has tickled teenagers and caused countless blushes at beauty counters. “I’d like an ‘Orgasm’ please” is the cheeky phrase Nars had in mind when he named his iconic enhancer – a signature, flattering blend of pink, peach and light-scattering gold that’s designed to mimic that climactic rose glow. 

Available in stick, powder and liquid form, {Orgasm} is (unsurprisingly) the UK’s best-loved blusher, rivalled for the top spot in our hearts by its soft, bronzing alter-ego, {Laguna}. All about the glow, even {NARS} matte formulations have a ‘velveteen’ effect that means your make up won’t fall flat. It’s about celebrating the skin you live in – making you look radiant but never artificial.

When it comes to {foundation}, most have a bottle of {Sheer Glow} in their make up wardrobe. The canvas is the ‘foundation’ of any beauty look and as such, Nars believes your base should seem invisible – a lot like the foundations of a building, your base is pivotal but shouldn’t be perceivable.

With a broad breadth of options – from translucent to full-coverage – and finishes from dewy to suedette, there’s something to cater to every {complexion}. Nars recommends using fingers to ‘work’ with your base, warming a few drops between your palms and then applying as you would your {moisturiser} – blending and diffusing with your hands to make the make up ‘melt’ and guarantee a seamless, naturally luminous effect.

François’ top tip? Sweep an ice cube over skin once you’ve {finished} your look – the cold will help your products meld together and reduce the visibility of pores for an immaculate complexion that looks ‘just applied’ for longer.


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...