As a brand, Nars loves to lean into a provocative name. Orgasm, Deep Throat, Afterglow; at a certain point it’d make a girl want a refractory period, if the products themselves didn’t work so well. So when I heard about Nars’ newest launch, Climax, a mascara that goes head to head with Better Than Sex in both its racy name and outsized claims, it obviously had my attention. Even the name aside, its pledge to do for your lashes what Orgasm does to your cheeks begged for a test run.
Upon getting my hands on a tube of Climax after Nars’ Ibiza-based launch party (I assume because there’s nowhere sexier than Ibiza. Back me up, Lindsay Lohan), I have to say, the packaging doesn’t say sex in the over-the-top way you’d expect. The mascara comes in a lightweight, glossy red-enameled tube with rings on it. There’s a little bit of a Red Room vibe, but it’s still PG (other than the big “CLIMAX” on the side, but you know, it could refer to the pinnacle of a story). The tube is distinctive and even in my Legends of the Deep-esque makeup bag, it’d be easy to spot.
The wand and its fiber bristles don’t look out of the ordinary, but after you swipe it on, you’ll immediately be impressed. After three coats, my lashes were thick, dark, defined, and long. That’s thanks to what Nars calls the formula’s Lash Moisture Complex, which creates “a whipped, creamy formula that lifts and builds without clumping.”
Mascaras are usually great at one or two things, be that length, curl, volume, definition, or not irritating the hell out of your eyes after a few hours. About a year ago, I decided that curling my lashes was my routine’s weakest link and haven’t curled them since, so I prioritize length and curl, closely followed by volume. There’s no real weak spot to Nars’ new formula. Where the brand’s Audacious mascara is best for length and definition, I’d give Climax a solid “A” on everything.
The formula thickens my lashes from root to tip, and leaves them defined enough that I can see my lashes from about a foot away. The curl was there too; on my deep-set eyes, my lashes just about reached my brows when I looked in the mirror. And while I could eerily see my lashes in my top peripheral vision, it wasn’t irritating by any means. I wasn’t entirely blown away by the length that it gave, but on the flip side, that means it’ll be good to go for daily use, in the office and out in the world.
So the million dollar question: Does it hold up to the name? To be honest, no. Nothing could, it’s an impossible bar. But it did feel great when someone offhandedly complimented my lashes, and I will wear it everyday purely because the tube is very stylish.
Nars Climax Mascara, $24, ulta.com