I've never met François Nars, legendary makeup artist and founder of the eponymous brand. But through his work, books, and now-legendary line, by extension I feel like I have. There are a few things I know to be true about that world of Nars, both the man and brand, but chief among them is that makeup is art, and art is for absolutely everyone—full stop. On Monday, March 15, that ethos comes into even sharper relief with what might just be Nars' biggest and most statement-making campaign yet. Building off an already-signature product, the brand releases its "Your Skin Turned On" campaign, a celebration of the best-selling Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer and its new shade range, featuring—no, not models like Naomi Campbell or Bella Hadid, both of whom have fronted previous Nars campaigns—but rather a diverse cast of fresh faces, of all ages, from all walks of life.
The tinted moisturizer itself is one you might already be familiar with as one of Nars top-selling products. Beloved (by me especially) for its SPF-infused oil-free formula, the buildable coverage smooths skin and boosts radiance without that dreaded "makeup mask" feeling. With an expanded shade ranges topping out at 16 options, now there's a pick for every shade and every undertone. That's reflected in the actual campaign, which features a series of intimate interviews with its campaign front-people. Fortunately, you'll immediately notice the video's diversity, eschewing the one-size-fits-all (that size being white, cis, thin, and young, most often) approach in favor of truly showcasing the real Nars fanbase. The message: makeup, especially Nars makeup, is for all ages, all genders and gender presentations, all ethnicities, all bodies, and there is no such thing as a beauty "ideal."
In one campaign video, each model looks directly into the camera and says one thing that turns them on. Some answers are cheeky, sexy, bashful, sweet, or unexpected but they all captured some emotional vulnerability in the models of all ages. For many of the models, the campaign aligns with their own ideas of beauty, often ones that took awhile to arrive at as the industry finally makes strides toward significant representation. "I grew up thinking that nothing about me, from my skin to my hair to my story, was beautiful," Deon Hinton says, model and one face of the Your Skin Turned On campaign. "Beauty, for me, is a love language, one I’m learning is not to be perfected, but admired." Model Roxanne Hancock is in agreement that beauty is more than just a makeup product, and this campaign (which actually wrapped shooting on her birthday) is more than a commercial. "As a woman that is pro age, beauty is not just youth, great bones and skin. It is deeper than the skin; it comes from the peace and joy within that radiates outwardly."
Part of the perfect confluence of product and mission is the campaign's new emphasis on skin, highlighting the skin-enriching benefits in the tinted moisturizer. "We're seeing a significant shift towards skin beauty and health and we're excited to extend the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer shade range at a time when skincare is paramount," says Nars President Barbara Calcagni. "This campaign speaks to consumers’ changing needs, displaying the practicality and efficacy of the product ingredients, while also emphasizing the inclusive shade range and wearability."
Virtually every Nars model we spoke to emphasized they've come to learn that beauty is more than makeup, anyway. This massive campaign was an item ticked off model Sundus Jama's bucket list, a dream she says she's had since her days as a kid at the local mall with her mother. "My mama told me at the age of 16 that if I believed in my hard work and stay true to my roots, doors will open," Jama told us. Her mother, as moms so often are, was right.
A few weeks ago in our interview, Tayshia Adams phrased a point about inclusion so well that it's stuck with me. She pointed out that all we need to do is just be real, reflecting who's really in society, who's really buying these products. My over-50 mother, my younger brother, and I all use this particular tinted moisturizer, but typically only (very) young women are represented in beauty campaigns. Instantly, just by further showcasing diversity of gender expression and age, the brand shows two tenants of their customer base: we see you. Expanding the shade range to include something for every skin tone takes that crucial welcoming message even further. "This beautiful moment is a moment I share with every little Black boy that will ever come to graze this campaign," Hinton says. "I’m so grateful for this moment, and honored to rewrite the narrative of what is possible for BIPOC within these spaces."