Eyes, Reviews

Review: NARS Eye Paint

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I should probably start this review off by saying that it’s only been pretty recently that I’ve discovered the joys (and trials) of cream eyeshadows, which is why this review has been a little long in the making. I ordered my first one the day the product launched, but I wanted to make sure that no ‘user error’ got interpreted as a problem with the product itself. That’s a good test though, right? Can a cream eyeshadow noob operate this equipment without training? I’ve decided the answer is, with a little practice, yes.

NARS Eye Paint Solomon IslandsPackaging

I love the little jars these come in. NARS product packaging is always so elegant but modern, and these are no exception. The jar is thick glass topped by a cap that has the slightly rubberized texture that’s standard for NARS. Both halves are large enough that’s it’s easy to grab onto and twist open (ergonomics is a bit of a gripe that I have with Maybelline Color Tattoos). They have a nice heft, but they’re not so heavy that I’d avoid traveling with them – and they don’t feel the least bit fragile. They are a little smaller than I expected though – the opening is about the size of a nickel. The total product amount is .08oz/2.5g, which is quite a bit less than some comparably-priced cream shadows like Bobbi Brown ($25 for .12oz/3.5g) or MUFE Aqua Cream ($23 for .21oz/6g). I’m not sure I mind though, because cream shadows are more of a special occasion thing for me so there’s a chance I might actually use them up before they start to get dry. I haven’t had these long enough to determine whether they’ll be prone to drying out, but I keep mine capped tightly and stored right side up, and so far they haven’t shown any signs of drying up.

NARS Eye Paint


NARS Eye Paints come in ten different shades, but I limited myself to two (so far) – Tatar and Solomon Islands. The full range includes:

  • Black Valley – deep black matte
  • Mesopotamia – rich chocolate brown matte
  • Transvaal – matte stormcloud grey
  • Solomon Islands – matte turquoise
  • Mozambique – olive matte
  • Snake Eyes – green shimmer in a black base
  • Tatar – purple shimmer in a black base
  • Ubangi – navy shimmer in a black base
  • Interstellar – metallic silver shimmer
  • Iskandar – metallic gold shimmer

All of the colors are very intense and pigmented. All of the shades fit in with NARS’ description of the product (“Elevated artistry that boldly strays from the straight and narrow”) but there are some more shades that I wish they’d add to the lineup. Specifically, I’d love to see a few lighter and more neutral colors so I’d have more options in using them for everyday looks, and I think a white Eye Paint could very well be that mythical beast I’ve been searching for – a quick-setting, non-creasing white cream eyeshadow base.

NARS Eye Paint Tatar

NARS Eye Paint Solomon Islands

NARS Eye Paint Swatches - Tatar and Solomon Islands

Tatar (top) and Solomon Islands (bottom)


NARS Eye Paints are much creamier than the other cream shadows I’ve used, and it’s delightful. For my first couple forays with using them, I tried applying them with my fingers and found that wasn’t the best method for me – a good bit of the product would stay on my finger and start setting, and that made it difficult to get even coverage. Using a flat synthetic shader brush has given me much better results – it just glides on. I’m using the MUFE 220, but I think most small flat concealer brushes would also be perfect for the job.  To use it as liner, it transfers onto my skin the easiest when I use an angled eyeliner brush with firm bristles like the new NARS Eyeliner Brush (though I’m using a cheapie from Kroger).

One thing you need to know about this product is it sets very quickly (under 10 seconds, for sure), so you should have a good idea where you want to put it before you start. Once it sets, it does not move. Just keep that in mind. Most of my blending brushes aren’t stiff enough to push the color around, so I’ve been blending it by wiggling the flat brush back and forth as I apply it.

It also makes a great base for powder shadows. I could definitely imagine myself using Transvaal or Black Valley as the base for a smoky eye.

NARS Eye Paint

Eyeshadow alone (left) and over Solomon Islands (right)


Absolutely phenomenal. NARS claims 18 hours of wear, and they’re not too far off. I tested these shadows on my oily hooded lids, no primer. After 18 hours, there was a tiny bit of fading and the very beginnings of creasing at the deepest part of my eyelid fold that were only noticeable with close inspection. From a normal conversational distance it looked freshly applied. I find that I need an oil-based makeup remover for these.


In Short: These have become my go-to when I’m going to have a long day followed by a late night, or any time that I need ridiculous staying power.

30 Days of Makeup - Day 30

NARS Eye Paints ($25) are available at nordstrom.com, sephora.com and narscosmetics.com


  1. Samantha M

    October 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Ooh those are pretty but i’d love to see more neutral colors as well. I wonder if they dry out as easily as MAC paint pots though? :/

    1. niccigilland

      October 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      So far they haven’t shown any signs of getting dry, but of course they’ve only been out for a month. Only time will tell, I guess!

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