Well, I did it! After a lot of careful deliberation and online research, I decided to take the plunge and bought the NARSissist palette! I was hesitant because of the mixed reviews but upon using it and playing with it, I think it's actually a pretty good palette! :)
I remember myself swooning over the palette when I first saw press photos and let me tell you, the actual palette is even prettier in person! Not exactly a fan of the rubberized exterior but I do love the compact size! Very travel-friendly and the mirror inside is huge! :)
There are 15 eyeshadow shades in this “neutral” palette. All are best-selling permanent colors except Bad Behavior (Row 3, Column 3) which is a re-promoted limited edition color (I believe it was first appeared in the Guy Bourdin Holiday 2013 Collection). The colors are beautifully arranged from light (left) to dark (right) shades and from warm (top) to cool (bottom) tones and together with different finishes (matte, shimmer, glitter), I think the NARSissist is one versatile palette!
I'm going to review each color individually but before we get into that, I think it's worth mentioning that I really do believe this palette was designed to cater a wide variety of skin tones and eye makeup skills (this, I seriously lack!). There are everyday, work-appropriate colors as well as some dark, smokey shades that will take you from day to night looks. I also love the fact that you can create a variety of “nude” tones with this palette – bronze-y/coppery, brown, purple, taupe, or even gray – whatever your heart desires, it's got you covered.
In terms of texture and pigmentation, these shadows are a completely different formula than the buttery smooth and crazy pigmented Urban Decay eyeshadows. I don't think it's even fair to compare the two because they are almost like two very different things. If Urban Decay quality is your standards for eyeshadows, the NARSissist may not be the palette for you. But if you are on the lookout for something a little “drier” and firmer in formula with light to medium but buildable pigmentation, then I think the NARSissist may be just what you're looking for. :)
One last thing before we get into the actual review: I don't own any single or duo NARS eyeshadows so it's out of my knowledge to tell you if these perform any differently. However, I do own the And God Created The Woman palette which also contains Coconut Grove, and while the NARSissist' Coconut Grove looks a little less pigmented in the pan, upon swatching, they have exactly the same texture and color payoff and I couldn't tell any difference between the two.
Row 1: All About Eve I, Madrague II, Fez, Bali, and Coconut Grove
- All About Eve I: flesh toned neutrals; shimmer
Soft and smooth with a very sparkly finish! Good for a wash of color or highlight. Sheer pigmentation.
- Madrague II: caramel; matte
Almost matches my skin tone. Pretty much disappears once sheered out. This would make a good base color. Sheer pigmentation.
- Fez: velvety cocoa with a strong hint of coppery bronze; metallic shimmer
The oomph shade of the palette! Soft, buttery smooth. So easy to apply and blend. Excellent color payoff.
- Bali: neutral medium brown; matte
A crease color that applies a little patchy and the texture feels dry. Decent color payoff, though.
- Coconut Grove: deep brown infused with gold flecks; matte
The gold sparkles are barely detectable once blended. Fairly pigmented. A nice outer corner color if black is too bold for you.
Row 2: Madrague I, Nepal, Ashes to Ashes, Brousse II, and Mekong
- Madrague I: vanilla cream; matte
Soft but a little chalky. Matches my skin perfectly so it is a good base color for me. Very blendable with good pigmentation.
- Nepal: soft sheer rose; shimmer
Gorgeous shade! Very beautiful rose gold. Soft, applies smoothly and blends well. Good color payoff. Great for inner corner and center of the lid.
- Ashes to Ashes: shimmery violet based brown/taupe; shimmer
My favorite shade! Very similar texture to Nepal. Soft and easy to apply. Blends like a dream. Buildable color payoff.
- Brousse II: black violet; shimmer
A nice sultry/smoky purple. A little dry in texture. Sheer pigmentation and you have to really build up the color.
- Mekong: espresso infused with gold flecks; glitter
The sparkles are noticeable. A little dry but wow, such a stunning shade! Blendable and very pigmented.
Row 3: Bellissima I, Lhasa, Bad Behavior, Dogon II, and Pandora II
- Bellissima I: shimmering beige with subtle gold glitter; glitter
This one is very glittery! Gorgeous shade but a little powdery to the touch. Very sheer. Good for highlight.
- Lhasa: lavender grey; shimmer
My second favorite! Lovely purple-y taupe. Soft and smooth. Applies a little sheer but buildable.
- Bad Behavior: deep pewter; shimmer
Buttery smooth. Swatched sort of sheer but applies almost opaque on the lid. Really nice color payoff.
- Dogon II: charcoal black; matte
Translates to more navy blue on me. Looks quite shimmery in the pan but applies matte. Nicely pigmented and easy to blend.
- Pandora II: matte black; matte
Soft but a little too dry. Doesn't turn out exactly black on me but is still a nice color to add depth. Fairly pigmented but sheers out so much once blended.
I'm not very good at doing eye makeup! But here's my attempt to create a soft smokey eye. :) I applied Ashes to Ashes all over the lid and followed with Nepal in the center. I used Brousse II in the outer corner and line the outer half of lower lash line with Dogon II. I lined the upper lash line with Pandora II and used Bellissima I in the inner corner and brow bone.
I did experience some fallout with the darker shades so definitely tap off the excess before applying. I also find applying over a cream base does bring out the color intensity a lot more so definitely give it a try if you are struggling with pigmentation.
The wear time of these shadows is excellent! I didn't expect this at all considering the texture. I wore my eye makeup over NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base and it pretty much lasted the entire day (and into evening!).
The price is a little steep but you are paying for convenience here. A wonderful selection of neutrals in one super compact palette that will fit in any makeup bag. Not to mention the shade selection that will pretty much cover any neutral smoky eye makeup look you can ever think of creating. Advanced users may find the level of pigmentation on the sheer side but it can also be a good thing for people who are just getting into eye makeup or are not very skilled.
I also think I really should stop writing because this review is getting way too long! :) My final conclusion is, it is a good neutral eye palette. If you have the means, the funds, and love neutral eye looks and palettes in general, I don't see why not.
Will you be getting this palette? :)