Saturday, April 24th, 2010

NARS Eye Pencils
NARS Eye Liner Pencils: Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon

NARS Eye Liner Pencils for Lightweight Lining

NARS Eye Liner Pencil ($20.00) is a richly pigmented pencil eyeliner that is available in sixteen shades: Black Moon (dense black), Iceberg (crisp white), Kaliste (teal), Kitty (turquoise blue), Kyoto (olive green with shimmer), London (foggy gray), Mambo (chocolate brown), Manon (violet), Parrot Cay (mint green), Patmos (khaki green), Istanbul (sky blue), and Sandstorm (gold leaf).

I test-drove five shades over the past week, and NARS has some really stunning shades available. They’re just so rich and intense without being bright. Though the pencil tip is a little on the sharper side when you initially get them, after doing swatches on my arm, it whittled away enough that it was soft, smooth, and easy to use on my lower lash line.

It’s not ultra creamy but not dry either. I wouldn’t describe it as creamy so much as smooth. It easily glided on my lower lash line without any pulling or tugging, so that’s enough softness for me. I also didn’t have to layer in order to achieve true pigmentation, either.  Sometimes with pencils, the initial use can be a little rougher, but since I always swatch on my arm first, it helps to wear down the tip, in case it’s too sharp.

  • Manon is a blue-based violet purple. There’s no shimmer, just pure purple.
  • Parrot Cay is a minty green. I’m surprised it doesn’t look super chalky, being so pastel, but it’s an interesting way to open up eyes with color rather than a white or flesh-toned eyeliner.
  • Kitty is a rich sky blue. This one felt and looked the creamiest of the five I tried. It also felt like the most pigmented–very rich.
  • Kaliste is a darkened teal–I want to call it a forest teal, because it’s so dark–and it looks lovely with a neutral eye.
  • Black Moon is a blackened brown. I’m not sure why it’s described as a “dense black,” because it’s definitely not black–there are significant brown tones to it.

But there is one huge problem that renders these eyeliners amongst the worst I have ever used: they have no lasting power at all. I can’t even express to you how much I wanted these to work, because they are truly beautiful shades, and they do look amazing on–but I can’t even go twenty minutes without it starting to smudge and migrate all over the place. I don’t have an oily lash line, and I’ve never had major issues with an eyeliner going all over the place. But these took smudging and migration to a whole new level.

NARS Eye Pencils
After just one hour…

After an hour of wear, I had liner that was on my lower lash line… on my upper lash line (say WHAT?!), all faded and smudged every which way on my lower lash line, crept up to my waterline… it was not a pretty sight in the least bit, but I couldn’t resist capturing just how smudge-tastic these were on camera.

But anyway, the point is I loved the shade range and the feel of these pencils so much that I tried every single liner multiple times. They all performed the same. I was secretly wishing and hoping that maybe just Black Moon or Kaliste were poor performers, but even the lighter shades like Parrot Cay and Kitty played me for a fool. Not to mention, when I was checking for reviews of these online, I just did not find that many negative reviews.

So, I have these, and I do really love the shades. After I get over being totally laughed at by these pencils, I’ll probably use them, but set them with an eye sealer (like Benefit’s She-Laq or Make Up For Ever’s Eye Seal) and/or set with powder eyeshadow. But this is NARS we’re talking about, and even worse yet is it’s supposed to be a long-wearing pencil.

I give it points for being incredibly pigmented, smooth, and looking lovely on, but I took away the majority of points for its complete miss on long-wearing power and how extreme the fading, smudging, and migration is.  I would really love to hear from those who have used this product, because I’m totally sad over their performance after reading so many glowing reviews online!

Have you tried NARS Eyeliner? I hope your results were better than mine!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Unless you’re able to try these first in-store, I really can’t recommend them. I had such a terrible experience with them fading, smudging, and migrating that there’s no way I could feel good about saying, “Try ’em for yourself!” There seems to be plenty of positive reviews on these, so maybe I’m the rare exception. But how I wish I wasn’t!

Availability: NARS

See more photos & swatches!

NARS Eye Pencils

NARS Eye Pencils

NARS Eye Pencils
NARS Eye Liner Pencils: Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon

NARS Eye Pencils
NARS Eye Liner Pencils: Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon

NARS Eye Pencils
NARS Eye Liner Pencils: Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon

NARS Eye Pencils
NARS Eye Liner Pencils: Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon

NARS Eye Pencils
I’m wearing Kaliste on the lower lash line… See, it’s so pretty!

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71 thoughts on “NARS Eye Liner Pencils Review, Photos, Swatches (Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon)

  1. Ashley

    Wow, that’s really terrible. I can’t believe they smudged and migrated that badly!

  2. Frances

    Such a shame :-(

    By the by, Christine, what lip colour are you wearing? It looks lovely!

  3. Rosie

    Wow, that first picture tells it all. This review didn’t even need a grade! You look really good with that color top.

  4. Kiwi.Cozy

    I have a couple eye liner pencils that do the same thing… I’ll put a line right above my lash line and it will end up above my crease! @_@ However, I’ve always thought that was justified by the fact that they were ULTA brand or some other eye liner that can be purchased for relatively cheap. But wow, that’s super sad that they’re such a nice brand and they do the same thing. :( Thanks for sharing your review with us and not going with the flow and just saying that they’re great! Your honesty is appreciated. ^_^

  5. Simone

    that colour is beautiful on you, the last picture is stunning!
    Ii does actually look nice smudged, so maybe they’d be great for a sort of smouldering look or something!
    beautiful colours

  6. Az

    Is this the 1st time I see a D-? And it’d be less disappointing if they’re not pigmented or the colors are not beautiful. Kaliste looks really pretty on you :( And for $20!

  7. kristina

    Wow, I have had a completely different experience with these. I have four of them, and they wear rather well on me. On the upper and lower lash line.

  8. Sara

    wow they look so gorgeous! and all of the colours sound so amazing… but then they smudge so bad. =( i REALLY was hoping for these to work

  9. wow those eyeliners are horrible !!! Christine I think you should check bourjois metallic eyeliners, they are pigmented, gorgeous colors and long lasting. I strongly recommend # 54 Bleu Clinquant =)

  10. I’ve had better luck with these – lasting 4 or 5 hours except for maybe the water line. I have Kaliste, Parrot Cay, London and Kitty and of those, London and Kitty last the best. I don’t have oily skin and I usually use them over some kind of primer on the upper lid at least (usually a MAC paint pot)

  11. Oh wow, that does look bad! Too bad, I was looking for an alternative to the UD 24/7 pencils, oh well.

  12. Those colors just look gorgeous… but sealing them sounds like too much work for me :(

  13. Wow that’s really disappointing. What’s with Nars and their cream formula/ products sucking? Their cream eyeshadows do not last, neither do the cream blushes or the thicker shade pencils. I’ve learned that expensive lesson and won’t buy any of those things from Nars again.

  14. Hannah

    Wow I can’t believe this! I would have expected a lot better from a brand like NARS.

  15. Jessica

    Wow, I wish I had read your review before I bought this. I got Black Moon about a week ago and I really regret it because it doesn’t last long at all, it fades really quickly! I have never been dissatisfied by a NARS product but I guess there is a first for everything.

  16. Sexy Sadie

    I adore my Gosh and Make up Factory pencils for about half the price after this.

  17. Melissa (divinem)

    OMG, that’s an awful result up close! ARGH!

  18. Dini

    Oooh… Thanks for the review. The photo and beautiful colors caught my eye, but the info about your trial with them was disappointing. Thanks for the heads up.

  19. Wow, I can’t believe it! That sucks! I have this problem a lot, but if a product does it on other people, it’ll for sure do it on me! Whatta waste too, because they’re gorgeous colors!!

  20. I used these before I have 5 shades of it and they were WORSE on me, if you could believe it! I have more oily lids but I didn’t put it on until after I used UDPP and I powdered it and it still smudged and migrated from the top lash to the whole lower under eye area. Terrible! I have to use She-Laq to keep it in place. Kaliste is my all time fave of the colors but I’ve found it’s better as a liner for only my top lid and if I wear it, I smudge it up to give a really pretty sexy look to the eyes..It’s pretty that way but I can’t wear it as regular liner…just does NOT work for me!

  21. Rusty

    Wow, I’m actually surprised. I wear them and I really love them. They stay put very well on my lashline and I love the 2 colors I have, Kitty and Kaliste.

    BTW, the smudged pic looks like it could be a cool look to wear. Very pretty! :)

  22. aradhana

    the colours ARE pretty, esp. manon and kaliste…
    i might try out one of them anyway…maybe for a smudgy look? kind of reminds me of the 80’s.

  23. Evelyn

    That’s sad b/c the Kaliste looks amazing on you and in general a pretty color

  24. Ashley J-L

    Wow, how unfortunate! I was so excited to see this post; I have Manon and Kaliste, and I’ve never had any migration or problems of them wearing off. Like a previous poster said, they actually wear quite well…I’m sorry for your experience =[

  25. Marie

    I guess it depends on people, because I have the London pencil and it stays on just fine, it doesn’t smudge or fade. But that’s the thing with make-up, right? Different people, different experience… 😉

  26. What the… that staying power sucks! Maybe it’ll look good worn in a different way with a look that’s supposed to be smoky??

  27. Kalee

    oh my goodness, how craptastic! that sucks! i cant believe it migrated to your upper lashline! i kind of had to giggle about how odd that is.
    NARS what the hell?! lol. im bummed because Manon looked like the purple ive been looking for!

  28. amy

    Too bad these didn’t work out for you because Kaliste and Kitty are both so gorgeous.

  29. Annie

    I wrote a review about this eye liner on MUA about 2 years ago, and I completely agreed with you! I can’t believe they haven’t changed the formula :(

    • It sounds like we’re in the minority, Annie! There have been several readers who have had great results with these — wish we were among them! But it’s good to know I’m not the *only* one.

  30. Vanessa

    OMG! I had that same experience when I tested Moon at the counter. Except it was even LESS than an hour–after about 15 minutes of popping around to every counter, that’s when it was all smudged and faded. Super disappointing.

    • Yeah, it starts smudging on me within a half hour – noticeably so! :( Then it just gets worse!

      • Lauren

        Seems like a whole lot of work just to make an eye liner stay in place in my opinion. For $20 bucks, I don’t want to have to go spend another $30 for something to keep them where they should be. ha. I have a mix of drugstore brands that work just as well for a fraction of the price, lol. I think I’ll stick to Rimmel/Gosh,Annabelle, etc.

  31. Maya

    Would it possible using a very good base and then used something like manon all on the eyelid and then topped with a exact match eyeshadow? that usually keeps anything in place, for me anyway.

  32. Heather

    You have always given fair grades so I believe you when you say D-

  33. Haley

    my sister has the blue one and its amazing!

  34. Look at it this way… It might have taken a makeup artist HOURS to get the smearing and smudging and slipping JUUUUST right. And you did it all without touching your face! GOOD JOB! Haha

    Seriously, it IS too bad though because hose are some GORGEOUS colors! Ah well… Maybe NARS should subscribe to Benefits mailing list. Then they’d know how important a good review on is! :)

    • LOL!

      I’ll probably layer She-Laq on top when I want to use them, since I do *really* like the shades, but at least now I know what those with oilier lids/eyes experience with most eyeliners!

  35. Violet

    Thanks for reviewing these! Black Moon looks so pretty and I’ve *almost* bought Parrot Cay a few times… but with the lasting power being so poor, I won’t waste my money. Thanks again!

  36. I have the grey one, London (I admit, partly bought for the name) and I have the same experience – it smudges like crazy. I like it for a smudgy, smoky look, but it’s no good at all for a precise line.

  37. that sucks it looked so cute on you. I hate it when that happens.

  38. Theresa

    I bought Kitty a few months ago as I was in the only city that stocked Nars in my country. Used it the next day, and it smudged all over the place. Disaster. Haven’t worn it since. Pity since it’s such a gorgeous colour!

  39. Mary Ann

    They look so beautiful though! Good thing I read your review because I was going to get Parrot Cay…

  40. YJ

    Awwww that sucks, the colors are super pretty! But I have this problem with every single eyeliner I’ve ever tried… I’m pretty sure it’s because of my eye shape (I’ve noticed it’s a problem a lot of my Asian friends share with me!), but I always have to set it with a powder shadow in the same/similar shade =/

  41. Shahada

    I’m not sure why you’re having such a rough go with these pencils. I’m sorry that they’re wearing off on you. I use Kaliste religiously (still my favorite teal pencil) and it never goes anywhere. Have you tried Urban Decay 24/7 pencils? The glide is silkier and they never go anywhere on me or my clients. You might have better luck with those…

    • Yes, I have all of UD’s 24/7 pencils — I actually don’t have a lot of problems with liners smudging or migrating — I’ve never had an eyeliner look this bad on me *ever*!

  42. Sydney

    I have the eye pencil in the color Mambo from Nars, and I really like it.

  43. The colors are AMAZING. I really like how Kaliste (omgosh my name’s in there) looks with your eyes so it’s really too bad about how short-wearing the pencils are. I was also wondering if She-Laq will really make this budgeproof.. I really love the colors.

  44. what a pity- those colors are so pretty!!

  45. Christine, you are not the only one with a bad experience with these eyeliners. I tried them out when I was getting into make up and the lady at Sephora recommended me this and it was the WORST! In less than one hour my eyeliner was all over the place and I looked like a raccoon! I really hate to have hate on these eyeliners cause they have so many beautiful shades but the product really sucked.

  46. Oh man- what a bummer!!!

    I have this liner in London and do like it, but have never worn it on my bottom lash line.
    It seems whenever I line my lower lash line, everything smears— Urban Decay, all MAC Make up Forever.
    Are there any secrets other than setting with powder? I don’t want to cover up a Pearlglide’s color with shadow.

  47. renée

    i’ve used these pencils for years, and i don’t have your smudging issues. i just wear it on my top lid though :)

  48. oh man… thank goodness I read this first… I wanted kaliste so badly… dang.

  49. I’ve had polarizing experiences with this pencil. Kitty works amazingly on me: no smudge, no migration, and minimal fading after a day of wear but Manon is useless. It swatches fine on my arm but it just won’t work at all on my lash lines. Only when I press REALLY hard on my eyelid (to the point of pain and tears), do I get even a bit of streaky, inconsistent colour. I would’ve returned it to Sephora but it was a gift from my mom and I was in another country when she gave it to me.

    I just recently got Black Moon as a gift but I promised that after my experience with Manon that I’d never use this product again.