NARS Matte Multiples: Review + Swatches

The NARS Multiples have been a popular product in the blogosphere for years. More than once, I’ve stood in Sephora playing with them, debating whether or not to purchase.  I always decided to pass… until the new Matte Multiples were released.  This new line features seven matte colors in twist up packaging, formulated to be a multipurpose cream makeup stick for lips and cheeks that can be used wet or dry.  There are three bronzer shades and four lip/cheek shades, and it was impossible to choose just one (or two or three), so I ended up coming home with four!

mattemultiples5wAltai, Exumas, Laos, Siam

mattemultiples7wAltai, Exumas, Laos, Siam

The Matte Multiple formula is impressively easy to work with.  They don’t “stain” the skin as much as typical cream products, making them really easy to blend out and harder to overdo.  I can apply quite a bit of product and it still blends and evens out without giving me clownface (has this term been coined in the blogosphere yet?  If not, it is now!).  If you use a damp sponge or brush to apply these wet, you will get a sheerer effect, but I prefer to use these dry.

I snagged one of the bronzers in the shade Altai.  This is the lightest and least orange color of the bronzer selection, and it works well with my fair complexion.  My favorite way to use this is for contouring.  I draw a line from my temple to the outer corner of my mouth, and use a dense synthetic brush to blend it out.  The result is extremely natural.  I also bring this up around my forehead and along my jaw line.


altai2wNARS Altai

For blush/lip colors, I picked up Exumas, Laos, and Siam.  I find that the easiest way to apply these on the cheeks is to tap on a few dots and blend with my fingers.  To apply to the lips, either fingers or a lip brush work.

Exumas is a bright coral orange, and I almost passed on this one because I was afraid it may be too orange for my complexion.  As it turns out, Exumas is my favorite of all of the shades I chose! Paired with Altai my face looks healthy and warm, like I’ve spent a weekend in the sun.



exumas3wExumas on cheeks and lips, Altai as cheek contour

Laos is a warm pink, the kind that you can pair with almost any makeup look, any time of the year. The color isn’t really unique, but it is very pretty.


laos2wLaos on cheeks and lips, Altai as cheek contour

Last, but not least, SIAM.  When I laid eyes on Siam, I knew it was a beast I would have to tame. The color is intimidating in every way: bright, pigmented, poppy RED.  The girl at the counter warned me that it may not work for my fair skin, but I was willing to risk some clownfacing to find out if I could get away with such a powerhouse shade.  If I use a lighter hand and blend really well, it actually works!  The result is definitely bold, but I tend to prefer heavy-handed blush looks anyway, so I kind of love it.  BEAST TAMED!  The color is gorgeous on the lips too.


siam2wSiam on cheeks and lips, Altai as cheek contour

Now for the moment of truth: are the Matte Multiples worth the hype?  I LOVE the way these apply and wear on the cheeks, because they’re easy.  I don’t have to worry too much about blotchiness or going overboard.  But these are marketed as a multipurpose product, not just a cheek color, and guess what?  I don’t like these on the lips AT ALL.  The color applies patchy and accentuates dryness. It doesn’t feel or wear well.  Even with a color as gorgeous as Siam, I would reach for virtually anything else for a lip formula unless I was in a pinch and it was all I had.  So if I’m grading this as a “multiple”, it doesn’t pass every use with flying colors.

That being said, if you are okay with just using these on the cheeks, I definitely recommend them for blush/contouring.  Altai and Exumas have been my go-to cheek combination these days and I’m smitten.

The NARS Matte Multiples retail for $39 (0.26 oz.) and are now permanently available wherever NARS cosmetics are sold.

Have you tried these?  Do you have a favorite “multiple” product that works for cheeks AND lips? I’d love to know!


  • Her Philly

    Absolutely great review! I have been wanting to try these & I am super fair as well – I think Siam looks so fun though! I just got one of the Clarins creme blushes that work well on the cheeks & lips, but NARS seems to give more color payoff.

  • Kyllie

    Me encanta Siam, es una preciosidad de tono aunque habrá que tener cuidado con él 😀

    Kyllie | Make Up Fragrances

  • Astrid De Clercq

    Damn, they look amazing on you! 😀

  • Alessia

    They sound really nice. Except of the fact that they aren’t recommendable for the lips. But I can imagine that these multiples blend well on the cheeks! Xx

  • kiwifashionblog

    Awesome in depth reviews Alison :)

  • Siham Hamdan

    They look great on your skin! I loved the first too <3

    | |

  • Lindsay Weimer

    These do look great as blushes, but oh my goodness so expensive for a product that only does half of what it’s advertised to do.

    • Sasha

      That’s a great way of putting it!

  • Rosiebyanyothername

    Thanks for the honest review Allison! I really like the way Altai looks on you. It’s too bad these aren’t truly a “multiple” product; I tend not to reach for cream blushes too often so I’m going to pass! I do really like Benefit’s Posietint as a lip/cheek colour though – and I have one of your videos to thank for introducing me to Benefit’s tints ages ago! :)

  • Gwenayfer

    I use Altai for contouring and it is AH MAY ZING! I love it. I was really skeptical in Sephora when the beauty person recommended it but definitely an A+ purchase!

  • Kaitlin Valentine

    Great review! I’m still on the fence about buying these since they are pretty pricey and I generally prefer powder blush. Thanks for the warning about these guys not being super great on the lips.

    Great post as always! :)

    Blue Valentine Vintage

  • Jocelyn

    LOVE Exumas on you! Very helpful post, thanks!

  • Zazie Bibi
  • MissMavieStar

    All of these colors look positively beautiful on you but in the last photo, you look like a a little doll or something (sounds creepy, but I swear, it wasn’t meant to be!) and it’s just perfect. Definitely worth the hype!

  • Marine T.

    Exumas looks beautiful ! These swatches makes me want to try it !

  • Abby Evans

    I love the way that looks as a contour and I love Laos, especially on your lips!

  • Kate

    I adore your swatches of these! Laos looks really pretty :)

    Kate xo //

  • Sasha

    One of the best reviews I’ve read of NARS Matte Multiples, which I’ve wanted to get for the longest time. Thank you for actually showing us how you put them on, haha. I’ve wanted Altai for contouring, and Exumas (or Laos? Or Siam?? hahaha) for blush. A bit sad to hear that they don’t work as well for the lips. Maybe I’ll just grin and bear it and put on loads of lip balm, if I finally do get these!

  • Claudia

    Amazing photographs, the contour shade is definitely the one I’m leaning to most!

    Claudia xx | Beauty and the Chic

  • jhoran85

    I received a half size of the Orgasm multiple several years ago as part of a NARS kit form Sephora, and I was never impressed with it, nor the actual blush, which I own and find hard to build up, which given I’m quite pale, that’s not a good thing. I also tend to prefer heavier blush looks, it works better for my bone structure, I’ll have to swatch these in store sometime. The NARS Outlaw blush is phenomenal, its a deeper version of Orgasm, and works great for pale skin with pink under tones.

  • Karen

    These look amazing. There’s 3 I’d definitely think of buying. I like they are multiple use products, the colours are beautiful.

  • Laura

    Laos looks beautiful on your lips and cheeks!

    Laura | Breton & Blush

  • Kyra Crisp

    I’ve been so interested in these! I’m happy you posted a review. It’s a shame they are smaller then the original and same price though. Although the shades are so lovely!
    Kyra |

  • Rhea X

    Holy Pigmentation I’m in love!