Hold onto your leather harnesses: Nars, the creator of much-loved cult makeup products with subversive names, released a brand-new mascara called—wait for it—Climax. We were given the exclusive first look, so as soon as it reached Byrdie HQ, we coated our lashes with the naughty-looking, S&M-esque red tube immediately. The new mascara promises to deliver “maximum volume” by way of a whipped, airy formula, so you get major fullness without any clumping or smudging. But could it live up to its lofty claims?
Would all the buildup lead to a mind-blowing, world-shaking explosion? (Sorry, we’ll stop now.) Keep scrolling for five editors’ honest reviews.
“As with any potential future partners, I expect a lot when trying new mascaras. Since my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I need a formula that will add major volume without clumping, as well as hold a curl (most volumising formulas fail in this department). And like a potential partner, I need to know that it will stay with me through thick and thin and not abandon me in the muggy New York heat. Beyond the sexual-looking tube (is it butt plug–inspired? I’ll always wonder), I was immediately attracted to the Nars Climax mascara for the thick, fluffy brush.
I know my lashes, and my lashes love this type of brush. Sure enough, after I curled my lashes and swiped the formula through, I was happy to see instant volume after just one coat. But one is never enough, so I kept applying and applying and applying. This stuff does not clump, no matter how many layers you apply. I probably applied about 10 layers before my arm got tired, and still, my lashes looked nice and airy and not at all spidery. In terms of holding a curl, I’d give the mascara an 8 out of 10.
It was much better than most volumizing formulas I’ve tried, but because the formula is so light and whipped, it doesn’t necessarily ‘grab’ every lash and lift it up (this can be solved if you have the patience to apply a few coats, let them dry, and then apply more). As you can see in the photo below, my lashes still reached to the heavens, despite the wicked-looking product that brought them there.” — Faith, editorial director
“I’d heard the rumors that Nars was launching a new mascara, and then I saw the Insta hype. Not only was this mascara breaking away from the brand’s monochrome packaging, but it is called Climax. The dictionary definition of the word climax is ‘the most intense, exciting, or important point of something; the culmination.’ So that’s a pretty ballsy name for a mascara. I was ready to get extra critical and pick this mascara apart like it was Bruce Willis and I was Demi Moore on Comedy Central’s Roast.
But despite being on high alert for flaws, I couldn’t find any.
“It looks great. The brush is a good size: not too big, not too small. It reaches every lash and is buildable; you can layer it up without clumping. But you really don’t need to repeat apply. It pretty much covers every lash, lengthening, thickening, and fanning in one coat. We’re talking serious false lash effect, zero faff. If standout lashes are your thing, then Climax should most definitely be the next mascara you buy. You won’t be disappointed—I promise.” — Amy Lawrenson, UK editorial director
“I’m always skeptical about new mascaras—I’m not exactly easy to please. See, my eyes are more watery than most, and even the highest-reviewed mascaras often leave me with below-the-lashline smudges. I swiped on Nars’s new offering, called Climax (pun intended), and was immediately taken with the large, thick-bristle brush. After a few brushstrokes, my lashes looked so long. Then, after a few more, they looked insanely thick, so much so that I had to lie when I received compliments at an industry event later that night (the product hadn’t launched until that today, and I had to keep quiet about my new secret weapon).
I couldn’t believe the difference (see the before and after shots for yourself), but the real test came later. Would the mascara stay in place, without a smudge? I examined my face after coming home from dinner and was pleasantly surprised. No terrible smudges, no flakes. They don’t call Nars iconic for nothing.” — Hallie Gould, senior editor
“Leave it to Nars to come up with another sexual product, both in terms of name and effect. Let’s start with the packaging: Climax mascara comes in a suggestive blood-red tube with deep grooves and edges, and the wand, full and voluptuous, coats every lash with a glossy, inky formula. As you can tell by my before picture, my lashes are almost negligible without mascara, but after treating them with Climax, they reached their peak (sorry). I’m fond of tacky formulas because they tend to lift my lashes the most, and this mascara is quite wet, so I think I’ll love it more in a few weeks when it starts to dry out a bit.
But in terms of first impressions, I was really into how full and fluttery my lashes turned out after brushing on several coats.” — Lindsey Metrus, managing editor
“My natural lashes feel quite lonely post–extensions life. I’m addicted to length, to say the least, and would choose extra-long lashes over short, subtle lashes any given day. My natural lashes need a lot of love and attention right now, so trying out Climax felt fitting (lol). I pulled the thick bristle out of this fire-red tube and was a little intimidated by the size of the applicator at first. I usually end up getting mascara everywhere with big bristles. However, to my surprise, after a few wiggles from the root to the tip of my lashes, I was in the clear—no clumps in sight.
This formula felt like it instantly brought the drama to my eyes after two coats. Into it. My lashes also don’t feel heavy and tacky, which is something I usually deal with when trying out voluminous mascaras. I haven’t worn it long enough to judge if fallout will be a thing or not after a long day. But this mascara is definitely as extra as I am, so I like it.” — Maya Allen, assistant editor
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.