NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow Review & Swatches

When it comes to eyeshadows, I rarely buy singles unless it's a refill for my own customized palette. But upon seeing the new NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow, I just had to brace myself and purchase one because my curiosity got the better of me! A shadow that can perform wet and dry? And priced at a whopping $29 each? It had better perform above and beyond my expectations!

NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe
NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe

There are 12 shades in the new NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow collection. Reviewed today is Phoebe — described as a “deep shimmering amethyst” — but I'd like to call it a multidimensional silvery plummy purple with red undertones. Can I also add with blue sparkles?! The shade is so complex it is hard to give it a definite color description! The shimmer reflects so much light that it can appear iridescent when held at different angles!

The shadow comes in a rubberized packaging signature of NARS. The compact is quite small (1.5″ x 1.5″), square, magnetized, and has a cute built-in mirror. While the tiny size is great for travel, I can't help but wonder if it will get lost in a sea of other things in my makeup bag! :D

NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe
NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe
NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe
NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe

The Dual-Intensity shadow has such unique texture. It is so unbelievably soft, smooth, and creamy to the touch. It can be applied dry for a subtle display of color with a soft luminous sheen, or wet (with a dampened brush) for a bold and intense color payoff with a full-on metallic finish.

When worn dry, Phoebe appears a light reddish purple that is so flattering on the eyes; when worn wet, it transforms to this rich and opaque metallic plummy blue-purple that really pops! The texture is very blendable, too, regardless of how you apply it. I only noticed small fallout when applied with a dampened brush but otherwise the powder performs really well. NARS also released a Wet/Dry Eyeshadow Brush #49 to be used with the shadow but it's not a necessity if you already have something similar in your brush collection.

The wear time of Phoebe is phenomenal when worn dry — no creasing, fading, or transferring; none. However, when worn wet, I sometimes see a small missing spot (where the shadow flakes off) at the outer corner where my eyes water. Priming the lids seems to help but I would also bring the shadow along just in case a touch-up is needed.

NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe
NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe
NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe swatched dry (L) and wet (R)
NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe swatched dry (L) and wet (R)

The “dual” look

Wearing NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe
Wearing NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe

I only used one shadow — Phoebe — in this look! I applied it dry all over the lid for a soft sheen effect, then I wet my brush and applied it on the outer third and along the lower lash line. As you can see, when worn dry, the color appears sort of like a reddish purple, but when worn wet, it transforms to a rich, high-impact metallic blue-purple! Now I hope you understand when I said it is difficult to give Phoebe an exact color description! ^_^

Every single shade in the lineup is so beautiful and it was really hard for me to narrow down my selection to just one. I'm so glad, though, that I chose to come home with Phoebe; it's such a stunning color the way it reflects light. I am so happy with it and the Dual-Intensity shadows in general that I plan to grab a couple more colors in the very near future (Giove and Lysithea are next on my list!).

Have you tried these shadows? What are you thoughts? Do you prefer applying your shadow dry or wet?


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  1. That is a really pretty colour. The only way I’d buy these is if there was a shade I REALLY LOVED + gift card. Or I’d have to really just love the colour enough to spend 30 dollars on it.

  2. says: Teresa

    Eep! They really are gorgeous. I feel similarly about buying singles, but I think it’s worth it buying the odd beautiful single that you really adore — particularly if they’re swipe and go types that don’t require other products to make “work”.

    1. says: Jaa

      You’re absolutely right, Teresa! To me, Phoebe is such a unique and stunning shade. It looks good on its own and layered/paired with other shadows. The formula is also phenomenal, so I feel that $29 price point is justifiable in this case!

  3. says: Rachelle

    Holy cow Jaa your photography is out of this world!!! That last picture could totally be the front of a campaign. The eyeshadow looks fab, purples look really fantastic on you!

  4. says: Sunny

    Gooooorgeous photos as usual, Jaa! I was thinking it’s too reddish for me, but you wear it so well!!! I buy more singles than palettes nowadays, and I want them to be really unique/something I’d wear often. In that case, they deserve the extra space they take up LOL

    1. says: Jaa

      Hey Sunny! Yes, it has quite a bit of red in it so if you don’t like red in your shadow, you might not like this one! :) I don’t normally wear anything with red undertones too much on my eyes but Phoebe is such a complex shade — it has red, blue, purple, and silver — everything! Haha.

    1. says: Jaa

      Thanks, Sara! I only have Phoebe right now. I imagine you could layer a matte on top if you don’t like the frosty finish? Or pop it over another shadow as an accent? What do you think? :D

  5. says: Sylirael

    SO BEAUTIFUL. 0_o. Also, that photo where the brush is gouging up all the sparkly powder..


    O_o Love iiiiiiiiiittttt……. *foams at mouth*

    1. says: Jaa

      Hehehe Syllllllllllllllllllllll! It hurts and I die a little inside every time I “ruin” my makeup for the sake of photos. LOL! At least this one turned out good!! ^_^

  6. says: Grace

    Hi Jaa, I don’t usually buy single eyeshadow either. They are just not as convenience to use and to travel with. This one looks stunning on you. I am so impressed with Nars lately. Lots of the new products are so spot on!

    Oh, the quality of the photo! Girl, you can do perfect photos, you can do tricky coding to make your website look so good. Apparently you work full time too. Is there something that you can’t do?:)

    1. says: Jaa

      I know right?! I’ve been so crazy about Nars makeup lately, too! They just keep coming out with more awesome products in every release!

      Oh there are a lot of things I can’t do, trust me! Hehe. But thanks for the compliment!! <3 Let me know if you ever need help with your site! :D

  7. says: Laarni

    Your application was WOW! I haven’t tried wet eye shadows. I don’t know how. I need to educate myself on that area. Thanks for sharing this single!

    1. says: Jaa

      Hey Laarni! Thank you so much!

      It’s pretty simple to use eyeshadows wet! Just dampen your brush and dip in the shadow like you normally would and apply — tada! :D No mystery!

  8. says: bellyhead

    That is a stunning color. The flaking off is kind of annoying though and I don’t think I would want to bring along eye makeup for reapplication during the day. That color with the red/blue reminds me also of Chanel Illusion D’Ombre in Diapason. I love one shade looks that is so complex that it looks like you used multiple shades at once. :)

    1. says: Jaa

      Applying on primed lids seems help a lot with the flake off! :D I don’t have Chanel Diapason but from online swatches, it seems a gorgeous color! :)

      One-colored eyeshadow look sounds pretty simple but it’s actually quite tricky to get it right (at least for me). I think I spent more time creating this dual look than if I were to use multiple shades. LOL!

  9. says: Carolyn

    Wow, what a beautiful color! It looks so nice on you. I purchased Andromeda a few days ago and haven’t had the chance to play with it yet, but I’m excited to do so, especially after your review! If you do review Giove, I can’t wait to see your thoughts as I thought about that for a liner :).

    1. says: Jaa

      You’re right! Giove would look good as a liner, too! Andromeda is PRETTY! Looks like it’s going to be versatile, too! I’m ready to read your convincing review that I will need it haha!

  10. says: Alice

    Alright, I think you NEED to give me photography lessons … Your pictures are simply beyond gorgeous! Beside the pictures, the eyeshadow looks phenomenal! I’m not sure if I can pull it off as well as you do, you wear it beautifully!

    Alice x {My Beauty Blog}

    1. says: Jaa

      Thanks, Alice!!! And you need to give me lessons on how you do your hair! GORGEOUS! For the life of me, I don’t know how to properly curl my hair. LOL!

  11. Oh my Jaa! HELLO GORGEOUS EYE LOOK, yo! Love it. I too shelled out for Phoebe! We are eyeshadow besties, lol! I am kind of still deciding whether or not I like the color on me, though! I can usually wear warm or cool shadows but this one pulls very blue on me and I wasn’t in love. Will keep on truckin’ though and see if I was just having a bad face day, 555! ;) The formula, though, is FANTASTICO.

    1. says: Jaa

      Thanks, Kristen!! Will you be featuring an eye look using Phoebe on your blog? I’d like to see how blue it looks on you! I hope you find a way to make it work because just like you said, the formula is fantastico!!! ;D

  12. says: rashmi

    I would buy these justttttttttttttt for the pics you shared :)
    how i wish i can award you each time you post such amazing pics for us :)
    a virtual hug for all the efforts you do Jaa XOXO :)
    would be buying one but not decided , your eye look is stunning dear

    1. says: Jaa

      Awww thanks so much, Rashmi! ^_^ I try my best! I hope you get to try these shadows soon — the formula is too awesome to miss! :D

  13. says: Liz

    Phoebe is the one I tried on (with the purple NARS eye paint underneath — Tatar?) and the combination was PHENOMENAL. I really want to pick it up because of the reddish sheen which makes it not your ordinary purple. Kind of hoping though that NARS would come out with a palette of these new shadows. ;O

    1. says: Jaa

      It’s such a unique purple — it’s essentially a purple but with blue and red and silver in it. I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it before!

      Now, a palette with these shadows? I WOULD BE ALL OVER IT!!!! LOL!

  14. says: chen

    this eyeshadow is so pretty! it look so nice on your brown eyes I LOVE playing with eyeshadows to get diffrent colors love what you did with it it looks beautiful :)

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