Mother of All NARS Shadows: The NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette

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narsissist eyeshadow palette nars eyeshadow palette

Say Hello to the NARS Mothership

I’ve pretty much convinced myself that this is a palette I am better off avoiding. Plus, I’ve read more than enough reviews that swayed in this direction so it wasn’t exactly an “omg must buy because of the hype” product. BUT. The temptation of having 15 NARS shades all in one palette was too strong and debilitating that I inevitably gave in. Especially since I knew I could get it for cheaper in Nordstrom through GCASH-AMEX Virtual Pay* as compared to buying it locally. It’s definitely $$$ cheaper than buying NARS shadows in duos or singles despite their size and most probably inferior quality. I’ve two other NARS palettes – Fairy’s Kiss and Voulez Vous – that were so-so (more so bad than so good) that should’ve further deterred me but then, where’s the fun in that? Haha! I’ve had this for quite some time now but wanted to fully test its capabilities to be able to give my final verdict and not just a measly ‘first impressions’ post. This’ll be a long one soooo, are you ready? narsissist eyeshadow palettenars13b

The Lowdown

The long and short of it? I can’t proclaim just yet. To be honest, I’m still deciding as I type this entry. Having experienced the other NARS palettes in my stash, I knew better than to swatch this unprimed. On the fingertips, they seemed relatively pigmented. Deceivingly okay actually. But I was sure that if I applied it sans primer on the arm or on the lids (which I did just to compare), the true beauty of the shades won’t at all shine through. So all the swatches you’ll see below are swiped over the NYX HD Primer (a reasonably okay primer that’s not too shabby yet not the best either). The matte shades are the weakest link in this palette. As expected – since I really don’t get on with almost all the NARS mattes I’ve tried. Seriously. I can’t understand how a large and well-known brand that executes most of their satins and shimmers almost perfectly can screw up their mattes? Please explain. Are they really meant to be stiff and dry? If they are, then maybe I’m just using it wrongly and/or haven’t found the proper way to apply them (no sarcasm here, just simply confused). narsb nars2b

Shades

Moving on, the shade selection varies from soft highlights, classic NARS satin slash shimmers along with their signature smokey darks. I think they did a great job mixing in cool and warm-toned shades as well as in balancing out the matte and the shimmer textures. Well, technically not balanced or proportioned – as there are only 5 mattes with the rest being shimmers. I do however favor it as is because like I said above, the mattes could use some reformulation (or explanation as to how to use them!!). I would have preferred all the shades to be the beautiful satin shimmers but that wouldn’t be a balanced palette now, would it? nars3b

Highlight Shades

Madrague I. A matte cream with a slight yellow undertone. Similar to Urban Decay Foxy which has more yellow. Slightly creamier and not as poorly pigmented as its duo counterpart, Madrague II. It’s one of the better light mattes. All About Eve. A flesh-toned neutral in satin texture. Again, dismal pigmentation. Although when packed on the lids shows up… eventually yet not at all effortlessly. Bellissima. A speck-filled ivory. More like specks that are just waiting to fall as they float on a super sheer white base. Similar to MAC Nylon. Madrague II. Matte caramel. POORLY pigmented. It took like 4-5 layers to actually get it to show up well both on my arms and on my lids. nars8b

Not-so-Neutral Neutrals

First five are my top picks in this palette. Nepal. A soft sheer rose with a slight golden reflect. Almost close to rose gold in some angles. Good pigmentation and isn’t too dry. I believe I don’t have a shade quite like it yet it in my stash. Lhasa. A lavender grey. This is one of NARS’ cult classics which I actually have it in my Voulez Vous palette. Although a beautiful shade, is quite sheer and not as pigmented as I would have liked. I did have to pack it on a few layers to get it to the pigmentation above. Fez. A velvety cocoa. Absolutely the best shade in the palette. Boldly pigmented, nearly buttery, smooth texture, easily blendable a.k.a the only shade representative of NARS quality. If you can make this kind of beauty, why not apply it to all the shades, NARS? I don’t get it!! Easily my favorite shade and the one I’m sure I’ll get the most use out of. Ashes to Ashes. A shimmery violet-based brown that looks like a pale purple taupe. Not the best in terms of pigmentation because it took a few swipes to get it to the opacity as shown above. A nice shade, but takes too much work to get it to show up. Bad Behavior. A deep pewter. Quite pigmented compared to most in the batch but applies quite patchily. Also, it loses its shifting gray dimension when applied on the lids. Bali. A dark mushroom brown. Mediocre pigmentation and just plain stiff and dry. This becomes MUD when applied on my lids. Like I just did some gardening and smeared on soil on my face. nars9B

Smoke Up Shades

So I’m missing two more in these swatches, Brouse II and Dogon which you can just refer to below. To be honest, these dark smokey shades look so alike that I wouldn’t be able to differentiate them at all. Coconut Grove and Mekong are infused with flecks but… apparently, they tend to disappear when swatched. I’ll give these dark shades another dry by applying them damp and ‘foiling’ them in the hopes of unraveling their true potential. Coconut Grove. A deep brown infused with reflects that don’t translate on the swatches. Like Bali, this just turns into a muddy mess when I apply it on my lids. Patchy with mediocre pigmentation. Mekong. An espresso infused with gold. What? Where is the gold? This looked so gorgeous in pan, I was sure to love it, but when I applied on my lids – the dimensionality it seductively depicted failed to deliver.  Same with Coconut Grove, patchy with poor pigmentation. Pandora. Matte black. This doesn’t look as bad as it swatches, to be honest. It’s not the blackest of black but it is buildable and not as patchy as the previous mentioned. I use this for eyeliner and it’s perfect. Not long-lasting, though as it disappears after a good 4-5 hours. Brousse II. A shimmery blackened violet metallic. Somehow, this appears a deep brown in some lighting and in others, the plum shade it’s meant to be. Better pigmented than most of the shades although still not as I would have wanted it to be. Dogon. A charcoal black with green undertones. Same dryness yet less stiff and better pigmented than most of the matte shades. On my lids, this has a tendency to look like a dark gray sky has just fallen upon me.

And finally, a swatch of ALL TEH shades!  The first one is under indirect sunlight while the next two are under direct sunlight. Most of these are layered on 4-5 times on average (some even 6!) save for Fez. While they don’t look too bad in these swatches, it took a lot of effort to get them to show up like this. Also, on the eyelids, some shades lose their dimensionality and just translate to a muddy shade. nars4bnars5b nars10b

FINAL THOUGHTS!

So while I am completely smitten with Fez, I can’t overlook the mediocre textures of most of the shades. I’ve been convincing myself that it’s not such a bad palette but then there you go – I have to convince myself that it isn’t such a bad palette. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled rotten by the beautiful textures of Burberry, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Laura Mercier even Urban Decay and LORAC! Maybe it’s not such a sucky palette. And it’s just more challenging and a bit taxing as compared to other more effortless formulas (heck, even the Wet n Wild eyeshadows are easier to work with than most of the shades here). The mattes are patchy and not easily blendable, but with some perseverance and borderline-numb fingers from all the windshield-wiping and swirling, they can be workable. I wish they hadn’t included as much almost-identical-when-applied-on-the-lids dark shades because… exactly that. Some of the dark shades also translate to MUD when applied so I’m not genuinely thrilled with that fact either. The lighter shades, on the other hand, are so sheer and if not sheer, patchy – that they do take some work to show up decently too. And when they do, they all look quite the same anyway. Narsissist Palette Narsissist Palette narsissistpalette3

The Look

I mainly used Fez for this look, with Madrague II on the inner lid and a bit of Mekong for the outer-V. Blending was tedious. It took a good 20-30 minutes to finish both eyes and they’re not even as well-blended as I’d like them to look. I kinda just gave up and applied some falsies to make up for it, hah! So yes, this palette isn’t entirely crappy. It will deliver results — if you work hard enough for it. As I said, it’s not an effortless ‘swipe-and-go’ kind of palette. But once you put some effort (and enough time!) as well as a bit of patience, you may even like/love the Narsissist palette (especially if you’re into smokey eyes!).

Okay, final final thoughts!

So, okay – I think it’s pretty obvious with the overall tone of this review – I’m disappointed. While many people recommend this to those who haven’t experienced any NARS shadows yet, I can’t go with their recommendations. I think this palette is not at all representative of NARS quality. For $80, I would recommend to just buy two of their best duos (or three of their singles) – those with the outstanding quality I believe NARS is truly capable of. I love 2 (Fez and Nepal), like another 2 (Lhasa, Ashes to Ashes) and find 1 okay (Pandora) making it 5 out of the 15 shades. Sure, you’ll be “saving” as compared to buying the NARS shadows in singles or duos, but most of the shades in this “value-for-money” palette are just disappointing that I don’t think you’ll be getting your money’s worth anyway. I actually know of drugstore shadows that perform better than most of the shades here. There, I said it. Maybe the palette is okay and the real problem is my amateur blending skills hindering me from unlocking this palette’s real potential. Who knows! For $80 though, I expected more in terms of quality and not just a whole lot of quantity – which sadly is this palette’s strongest selling point and nothing more.

*I bought this palette on my own using the GCASH-AMEX Virtual Pay service by Globe. GCASH-Amex is an online debit card tied up with My Shopping Box which allows you to shop anywhere abroad and have items delivered straight to your doorstep. Sign up here.     **No affiliate links

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35 Comments

  1. Raven Ang
    April 15, 2014 / 12:12 pm

    They don’t look too bad. Seems like nothing a little eye primer can’t fix! Thinking of getting this or the And God Created the Woman Set. Check out Carina’s review on it! She lahvs that thing.

    PS. I figured out that these were the swatches on your arm!

    • April 15, 2014 / 12:47 pm

      Primer solves the pay-off issues, but on the lids – most of the shades don’t translate to the same color and vibrance. The dark shades tend to look all the same because they lose their ‘dimensionality’. And the light shades, even with primer, still lack pay-off. I wouldn’t recommend this talaga. I would say go with And God Created the Woman na lang.

      • Raven Ang
        April 15, 2014 / 1:32 pm

        okay okay.. Thanks for your thoughts! But hey, if you don’t want I’ll take it.. lol

        • April 15, 2014 / 1:43 pm

          If you do buy one, share with me your tips! Im still finding ways to make it work cos I really wanna LOVE this palette!

          • Raven Ang
            April 15, 2014 / 1:50 pm

            Trust me, I will. If I’m paying that much for something, it better be useful somehow..

  2. Lippie Hippie
    April 15, 2014 / 2:20 pm

    I have experienced this thing with Nars too – they don’t make their palettes as good as their ‘original’ products. It’s just too bad, because the price tag is pretty high, and as you said, you can get better quality in a drugstor range. Nevertheless, you are beautiful and the eyeshadows really suit you! x

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:48 am

      Agree with all your points. Such a shame. I wish the shades were all made equally 🙁 Anyway, thank you for the sweet compliment. Appreciate it!

  3. April 15, 2014 / 3:15 pm

    Hey Shari, I’m sorry to hear this isn’t a hit for you! I was tempted, but since I never reach for my big palettes and the reviews are mixed, I passed. I love the look you created, and there are shades that I might end up picking up as singles. In general however, NARS remains a brand that I can only have a casual fling with from time to time 😉

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:56 am

      Ooooh, interesting! I cant consider my relationship with NARS a casual fling because I use most of their products regularly (which means I feel they’re good enough to keep on using) – like the NARS concealer, the brow corrector, primer, tinted moisturizer, foundation, blush, highlighter, bronzer – omgosh a lot (I just realized now!). So I guess it’s only the eyeshadows I should have a casual fling with — which means I should stop insisting on taking things further. 😉

    • April 24, 2014 / 1:57 am

      Hi Ara! Glad to know you’re back and wow, you have lost a lot of weight. Congratulations!!! Can’t wait to read more of your posts!

  4. April 15, 2014 / 6:55 pm

    Buti nalang!!! I was thinking about getting this but put it off because 1) it’s too expensive and 2) the reviews confused me. Some say that this one of the best NARS palettes but some claimed it to be a major dud. Oh well. At least I didn’t waste $80 for a crummy palette. Dalhin mo nga to sa 19, haha! Chos. Yung Chanel nalang please. Para maconvince na talaga ko hahahaha

    • April 24, 2014 / 2:00 am

      Maarte lang ata ako, VVcakes. I guess I expected more as it is NARS and most of their other products are really good naman. Between this and a nice Chanel quad, I would choose the quad (esp the newly-formulated ones which I’ve been seeing all over other blogs and ahhhh, ganda lang!). But then, if quantity ang paguusapan – malamang this one is a winner cos HELLO 15 shades! ~~~

  5. April 15, 2014 / 10:41 pm

    I have the shade Nepal from another smaller Nars palette, which I like but I can’t believe you have to layer the colours 5 times for them to show up, sounds likes a lot of work for the price tag tbh. I’ll stick to my UD palettes for now 🙂 great review though, very in depth!

    Hanh x |

    • April 24, 2014 / 2:04 am

      Yup, UD > Nars on this one. And thank you for appreciating the review, Hanh! :*

  6. expatmuaddict
    April 16, 2014 / 12:30 am

    This is definitely the best and most detailed review of the palette I have seen-I have bought it and find it really useful for travelling with as it pretty much has everything. Like you, I don’t rate all the shades but seem to be favouring the centre panel with ashes to ashes (own the single as well) and lhasa being my favoruites

    Stacey Expat Make-Up Addict xx

    • April 24, 2014 / 2:05 am

      Thank you thank you for the nice words, Stacey 🙂 Appreciate it!

      For travelling, it definitely makes a good companion cos you have 15 shades to choose from all in one palette! I love the center panel shades too 🙂

  7. April 16, 2014 / 2:01 am

    Gosh, what a stunning collection of neutrals! Your swatches are amazing and super helpful! Love the look you created with the palette 🙂

  8. April 16, 2014 / 6:25 am

    Hey Shari, yes Fez was the most amazing performer in this palette. I am totally in love with that shade now.

    • April 24, 2014 / 2:06 am

      Fez is such a beauty talaga!! 🙂

  9. April 16, 2014 / 7:19 pm

    Awwwww…At first I was like “OMG you have it!” And then when I read through…meh. Good to know that Lorac really is good an so much more affordable compared to that Nars palette. 🙂

    PS. I like whites but Bellisima looks super chalky.

  10. April 16, 2014 / 7:29 pm

    Really love this review. Very informative and it’s definitely a must read for those people who are looking at buying their own NARS Palette. Love the Fez shade tho!

    • April 24, 2014 / 2:08 am

      Thank thank you for the kind words! Appreciate it 🙂
      And yes, Fez is truly a standout shade!

  11. April 17, 2014 / 8:50 pm

    I feel bad you don’t like it talaga, lol. It makes me sad you’ve had bad experiences with NARS cos I love them sfm T^T I love Fez, Nepal, Brousse No. 2, and Mekong!

    • April 24, 2014 / 2:11 am

      Ang arte ko lang talaga ata :S Haha! I like some of the shades A LOT, esp those in the center panel. It’s just in general, I don’t like-love the palette. Medyo redundant kasi yung darker matte shades and the light ones are -_- zzzz.. I do love the looks you’ve created though ‘cos it shows how versatile this palette really is!

      • April 27, 2014 / 10:58 pm

        Yeah, gets haha zzz nga yung darker colors! Mas gusto ko pa nga variety nung And God Created the Woman sa darker/bottom row, and that’s just a 6-pan palette! Haha sayang cos they have so many nice colors.

  12. April 18, 2014 / 11:08 pm

    Hay jusko, where have I been?!!!! I read this post the day you published it and ngayon palang ako nagcomment, wth! 🙁

    Anyway, I’m sooooo glad I didn’t get this palette! Good thing I trusted my instinct. Lalo na’t walang Sephora ditey. 🙁 NARS seriously needs to step their game up kasi heller, spending $79+TAX on a palette which doesn’t live up to its claims? I CAN’T!! *grabe ah, feels lol*

    I’ll get the LORAC Pro nalang. At least I’m guaranteed that the quality of the shadows is superb. Thanks for this review, Ate Shari! It’s very helpful! 🙂

  13. looknookhook
    April 19, 2014 / 4:20 pm

    Despite the palette’s shortcomings, i think you executed a beautiful look here! Fez looks amazing on you!

  14. April 21, 2014 / 8:17 am

    Fabulous eye look, Shari, though 20-30 mins to concoct it is less than stellar fo sho! I am scared. I bought this palette during the Sephora VIB Rouge sale but haven’t gotten into it just yet, lol! I know some NARS shadows are tricky and emotional, LOL, but I’ve had a long-term positive relationship with several of them and my most favorite shadow trio of all-time is Ramatuelle, so I feel like this palette *may* not disappoint me as much? We shall see…I appreesh your awesome, comprehensive review and lovely swatches! <3 XOXO

  15. April 21, 2014 / 9:26 am

    You made a very good shopping advice here. Money going out is still money going out no matter how you’re supposed to be saving. If it’s not worth it, it isn’t.

  16. April 24, 2014 / 2:07 am

    I don’t blame you, Chloe 🙂

  17. Soc
    March 15, 2015 / 10:17 pm

    Aw, too bad it didn’t work out for you. Good thing I saw your review, was about to head to NARS Glorietta to check it out sana (but they probably don’t have it here yet)

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