Monday, November 08, 2010

Let's talk about it: NARS Bento Box Lip Set

This is an open thread about one of the most sought-after (at least in theory) products of the season- the Nars Bento Box lip set.

When I first received the press release about the limited edition Bento Box I did several things:
1.Got a serious case of the Covet
2. Added my name to the wait list on Nars website
3. More coveting
4. Reminded myself that Nars might be my least favorite brand when it comes to lipsticks.
5. Told myself to shut up. Coveting resumed.
6. Pondered the $125 price tag. Can it be worth it?
7. Deciding it probably isn't.
8. Wondering if I'm missing something.

Now here we are a month later. The set is available from Nars website as well as from Barneys, Neiman and Saks. It hasn't sold out yet though it's been out for a week now and supposedly there are only 1000 Bento Boxes in the US market (1000 more will be offered in the UK). I'm still looking at the photo and trying to figure it out.

The colors are pretty straight forward- one is a gorgeous red, the other is a dark pink. The Japanese aesthetics and the concept of lipstick in a cup you slowly apply with handcrafted tools are elegant and appealing. It says "luxury", which is probably why the Bento Box is so attractive to me. In theory.

Now, NARS promised the lipsticks are a new formula enriched with vitamin E, which is a very good thing considering their regular lipsticks are much too dry for me. Still, are they on the same level as Kanebo Sensai,  Cle de Peau and Tom Ford? Is the packaging really worth the price hike? And what about the brush? It looks  like a cousin of my beloved Nars Yachiyo blush brush with its hand-spun black wisteria handle. I use lip brushes quite often, but this is one brush category I never found a huge difference between top and mid-level brands as long as they're thick enough. Besides, if I were to drop top dollars on a special lip brush I'd probably go with this one:

That's the Kolinsky large craftsman lip brush from Hakuhodo, a real Japanese brand that makes professional makeup brushes (  Their entire Japanese Tradition series is on my wish list as well as the red-handled S100- they look exquisite and will probably get a lot more use than any two lipsticks in a cup.

What do you think: are you buying the set? Have you seen it in person? How do you feel about this product in general? Please share any thoughts you have about this.

Photos: NARS and


  1. It's interesting for sure. But the price.... No, I don't think I want it :D

  2. If it was half theprice I'd consider it. But its not. It's ridiculously overpriced no matter how beautiful it is. I'd be interested to know how much product is there too.

  3. It's an interesting concept, but if I'm going to spend that kind of money I'd rather it be on the real lip lacquer bowls, not a NARS interpretation, and on Hakuhodo brushes. I love NARS but this is a pass.

    - Kel

  4. I'm in the same boat. Every time I see this I want it, badly, but I can't reason that I'd actually use it. I think I'm mostly in love with the packaging since I don't usually wear bright lipsticks and I don't really have the urge to either. I would spend $125 on the real deal, but I just can't pull the trigger on this, and I've tried; I've added it to my shopping cart about three times.

  5. $125 for faux Japanese? No, thank you. I would easily pay that amount for something of singular interest or beauty, but not for a Western interpretation of a traditional Japanese product. I don't think this one is going to fly off the shelves any time soon.

  6. Out of the steeply priced holiday offering, I think I'd rather go with the Tom Ford Black Orchid set. Sorry Nars. Not tempting enough with too high of a price tag.

  7. I am so obsessed with the aesthetics of the product that I'm tempted to buy it just for display. I'm fairly certain its too pretty for me to actually use!

  8. It's neat looking but not useful and I can think of stuff I can enjoy much more for $125 so sorry Nars! :)

  9. Well, I don't wear lip anything but isn't this setup guaranteed that you'll only wear one? One's pink and one's orange. We could share,,

  10. It looks nice...but I agree with Charlie! It's hideousley overpriced. Pick any other high end brand's Christmas/Holiday/LTD EDT range that's available at the moment and you could get so much more for your money!

  11. Although in concept-it's probably lovely, it's not worth the price. I have several NARS lipsticks and overall, they are a bit drying. I also don't think I could pull off that pink so I'd be paying 125 for one lipstick, in a lovely case.....
    There are so many other lovely offerings, I think I'll pass on this one!

  12. Nars does not seem compatible with anything I desire, in both wear and as of recently in theory. I'm preferring simplicity and more $$ in my pocket, and while $125 for a *legitimate* collection edition would be lovely, their line is a little too instant-gratification catchy for me. I do love the concept of traditional make-up, (a brass makhala has been as far as I've gone), and those Hakuhodo brushes look gorgeous, I'm afraid to open the site...

  13. I think this is all hype for me. I love NARS but passing on this.

  14. I hit the snooze button when I saw it! The shades and concept bore me (and I love Japanese art), and the price is ludicrous.

  15. well, for one thing, they would have to prove to me that the lipsticks won't dry out my lips. i love nars colors, but the nars lipsticks i've bought i never wear because they are too drying. also, nice concept, but it might've been better used for eyeshadows, which i tend to hang onto for longer. i use nars eyeshadows every day, so i could possibly justify a bento box of eye candy. then again, it's still expensive, and i'm more into product than packaging, so i probably wouldn't pop for this - whether lipstick or eyeshadow.


  16. I'm on the wait list but haven't yet received an email. Like you, I'm vacillating. I like NARS lip products (most of the time), but might just have to see and experience it first - - -

  17. I on the other hand want it badly. I am a true make-up lover and seriously have to have everything they come out with. Maybe I have a problem. But it doesn't bother me or my husband...LOL


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