Patience pays off. I reviewed NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe back in August 2014 and as much as I loved it, I held off on buying any more colors due to the price (US$29 for a single eyeshadow is rather steep). But you know, good things come to those who wait! Earlier this month NARS released an eyeshadow palette that contains 8 colors of the Dual-Intensity formula! I was beyond ecstatic and practically added it to my cart the moment it became available online. What's even sweeter is that Phoebe wasn't included in the palette so every color is new to me! No doubles. No repeats. Yay!
The new NARS NARSissist Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow Palette (limited edition) sports a rather different look than their usual rubberized casing. It has a full mirrored top with the word NARSissist engraved on it in white. It's a nice change overall with a minimalist design but the mirrored surface attracts dust and fingerprints like a magnet! It was fun to photograph, though, since it reflects the design of the backdrop nicely.
There is a full-size mirror inside as well as a travel-size #49 Wet/Dry Eyeshadow Brush. The brush is not too small at all and is actually usable with soft and flexible synthetic bristles that pick up the right amount of pigment both wet and dry. It is only great for packing on the color, though; not so much for blending since it's a flat shader style.
The palette features 8 shades of Dual-Intensity eyeshadows ranging from light to dark (left-right) and neutral to smokey (top-bottom). I consider the color selection to be on the safe side with the additional darling blue as a bonus color. It is neutral enough to wear to work and smokey enough to wear in the evening if you wish to amp up your look a little (or a lot) for a night out. What makes the palette even more special to me is the inclusion of black shade. I find the palette more complete if it comes with a black color because I use it almost all the time in my eye look. :)
The colors come in smaller pans than the single format (0.03 oz/1 g versus 0.05 oz/1.5 g full-size). Seven of them are permanent and one (Ursa Major) is exclusive to this palette (they know how to get us!).
Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows can be used dry or wet/damp (by dampening your brush). When used dry, the colors are extremely soft and subtle which you may or may not like. I personally don't mind subtle colors as long as they are buildable — and luckily these are — but I know some people prefer their shadows to be well-pigmented from the get-go and if this is the case for you, you may consider the formula to be weak. However, you can always layer them over a good cream color base to enhance the color payoff. When used damp, the color intensity is amplified dramatically as you will see in the swatches down below. They become brighter and much more opaque with a high-impact finish. I normally prefer to use my shadows dry but with these, it's so much more fun to use them wet!
Some people may avoid using shadows wet to avoid blending difficulties but for me, I didn't find these to be more difficult to blend than when I use them dry at all. Also worth mentioning: the surface doesn't seem to glaze over or become hardened after it has returned to its dry state so don't worry about using them wet. Go ahead and experiment! :)
The texture in general is soft, smooth, and finely-milled. The lighter colors are a little light for my skin tone so I have to use them wet for a stronger color payoff. The darker shades work nicely right off the bat even without dampening them. Every single color contains some type of shimmer, one more than the others, that becomes much more apparent damp. I don't notice any fallout with the shadows regardless of the application method but the staying power is slightly increased when they are used wet. I do get about 7-8 and 9-10 hours with the dry and wet formula, respectively.
Whole palette swatches
- Europa – pale pink peach; shimmery to frosted
Really, really sheer and barely noticeable on my skin when used dry but the color payoff and visibility greatly improves when used wet. The formula is soft and blendable but try not to over blend as it tends to sheer out easily.
- Himalia – brown topaz; shimmery to metallic
This color is just the bomb dot com. I love its strong metallic sheen so much! And you probably don't even need to wet it to get a good color payoff on the lids! However, when wet, the metallic sheen becomes so much stronger and is therefore perfect for a statement lid color. The texture feels soft to the touch and is so easy to blend to a diffused finish.
- Ursa Major – chocolate brown; satin
The exclusive shade of the palette. It's such a beautiful and versatile chocolate brown. It's the “middle” color between Himalia and Subra so it makes for a nice crease/transition color. The satin formula is smooth, buildable, and blendable with little to no effort. The undertone shifts slightly when wet as the shimmer becomes more apparent.
- Subra – burgundy brown purple; satin
It's like having two colors in one for Subra. When dry, it looks sort of brown but when wet, the burgundy-purple tone really comes through and shifts the undertones towards purple. Such a unique shade. The color payoff is great, too, as well as the consistency and blendability. I don't notice any fallout or patchiness with this color at all (which is a norm for most dark shades).
- Andromeda – pale beige-white; shimmery
Very similar to Europa in terms of color payoff (sheer) and texture (soft and blendable). On my medium skin, I am forced to use it wet most of the times especially when I use it as a highlighting shade under the brow bones and inner corners of the eyes.
- Lysithea – gray silver; metallic
I usually don't do well with grey or silver shadows but Lysithea looks surprisingly good on me! So good that I decided to create a look using this shade as a main color! :) When used dry, it looks sort of sheer and slightly greenish but the strong metallic sheen really gets amped up and comes through better when used wet. Such a beautiful shade and the formula is a dream, too. Finely-milled, easy to blend, certainly a pleasure to apply.
- Giove – darkened navy; matte to satin
I am not thrilled with this color dry as it shows up very close to Sycorax when applied on the lids. When wet, the blue undertones thankfully become brighter and stronger but it's still not quite the same bright blue color seen in the pan. I am slightly disappointed with how the color turns out. The formula can also be slightly patchy at times and requires a bit of blending for a smooth and even finish.
- Sycorax – black; matte to satin
The color is more true-to-pan, which is slightly grayish, and opaque when wet. To me, it looks great either way and I've been using it both ways depending on the look I am creating. When used dry, though, it has a tendency to become just slightly patchy and produce a little bit of fallout. When used wet, I don't notice any fallout at all and it actually blends and layers so much better than dry.
The eye look
For this look I applied Andromeda (dry) all over the lid up to the brow bone as a base then I packed on Lysithea (wet) up to the crease area. I darkened the outer corner with a mix of Giove (dry) and Sycorax (wet) and highlighted the inner corner with Europa (wet). I used Ursa Major (dry) lightly as a transition color and finished with a soft touch of Andromeda (wet) as a brow bone highlight color.
If you have been wanting to try NARS' Dual-Intensity formula, there is no better time! With the palette, you get 8 colors that are both versatile and wearable. Not only is it a great deal, but it is also a great starter set to experiment with the option to buy full-size versions once you run out. I compared the performance between the palette and the single Phoebe that I have and found no differences so these are indeed the same quality shadows as the singles.
Well, I hope you liked the look and found my review helpful! As always, I appreciate any feedback you may have!