NARS Cassiopeia, Phoebe, Desdemona, & Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches

NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.05 oz.) is supposed to be a wet/dry formulation that yields sheer color when applied dry, “intense, opaque color” when applied with a “dampened brush.” Some of the shades are fairly sheer applied dry, others are more opaque but aren’t as intense as when applied with a dampened brush. The wear when applied dry is between six and eight hours, and when applied with a dampened brush, the wear is between seven and nine hours. They remain blendable when applied with a dampened brush, but they can be applied dry and are rather buildable. They’re actually not as sheer as I’d expect for a formula described as “sheer.” The texture is soft, finely-milled, not at all powdery, and smooth. In general, they are smoother, richer, and wear better when applied wet, which may or may not be a step you want to incorporate into your routine.

The formula is very comparable to Estee Lauder Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadow and MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in regards to finish and application. NARS’ formula seemed much smoother and more finely-milled–a little more refined in texture, but it was a difference that I only felt like I could feel if I had the two in front of me and less so when applied to the eye with a brush.

I think NARS’ biggest obstacle with this formula is really the price; they’re more expensive than their current singles ($25.00 for 0.07 oz.) and contain less. Their regular eyeshadows are also supposed to be a wet/dry formula, but the textures are different. NARS’ single eyeshadows run $357/oz., compared to these at $580/oz. Chanel’s single eyeshadows are $29.50 for 0.05 oz., which makes these on par with Chanel, but the NARS’ brand and its general price points aren’t comparable to Chanel.

NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.05 oz.) is described as an “iridescent electric pink.” It’s a cool-toned, pink-shimmered white with a bluish-violet sheen. Applied dry, it was sheer, and applied with a dampened brush, it was semi-opaque but was one of the least pigmented shades in the range. This is the kind of shade and finish that I think works particularly well on the inner tear duct and lower lash line. It can also be applied to the middle of the lid for a spotlight effect. It wore well for seven hours applied dry, eight hours applied wet. bareMinerals Skinny Dip (LE) is very similar. NARS Tropical Princess #2 (LE, $24.00) is cooler-toned, lighter, less pink. MAC Great Beyond #3 (LE, $21.00) is slightly darker. Dior Rosee (141) (LE, $30.00) is a cream product. Fyrinnae Unicorn (P, $8.25) is similar. Disney by Sephora Sick of Swimmin’ (LE) is less lavender. Urban Decay Aura #2 (LE, $18.00) is similar. MAC Fresh Ice (LE, $21.00) is lighter. MAC Young Venus (LE, $19.50) is darker. MAC Triple Impact (LE, $19.50) is very similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.05 oz.) is described as a “deep shimmering amethyst.” It’s a medium-dark, plummy purple with warm, reddish-brown undertones and a metallic finish. Applied dry, it was semi-opaque but had a lighter, softer look, as when it was applied with a dampened brush, it was deeper, richer, and fully opaque. This shade lasted for eight hours applied dry, nine hours applied wet. Chanel Diapason (92) (P, $36.00) is a cream product. Makeup Geek Drama Queen (P, $5.99) is darker. Makeup Geek Sensuous (P, $5.99) is lighter, warmer. MAC Circa Plum (LE, $21.00) is lighter. MAC Rare Find (LE, $21.00) is less metallic. MAC Rich Core (LE, $19.50) is darker. Giorgio Armani #27 (LE, $33.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.05 oz.) is described as a “rich shimmery burgundy.” It’s a medium, warm-toned plum with reddish-brown udnertones and a pearly sheen. Applied dry, it had more opaque color in terms of coverage, but it had a more faded, lighter look than when it was applied wet, where it was slightlyd arker and smoother–but the difference is very slight between the two types of application here. This shade wore well for seven hours dry, seven and a half hours damp. NARS China Seas #2 (P, $24.00) is darker, more muted. Anastasia Pink Sapphire (LE) is similar. Makeup Geek Burlesque (P, $5.99) is browner, less shimmery. Makeup Geek Enchanted (P, $6.99) is similar. Chanel Seduction #1 (LE) is less shimmery. theBalm Alice Copper (P, $16.00) is darker. MAC Brazenly (LE, $15.00) is darker. Inglot #452 (P, $6.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.05 oz.) is described as a “black orchid.” It’s a blackened burgundy with soft, warm undertones and a pearly finish. Applied dry, it was semi-sheer and had a softer, kind of faded look–it brought out the brown tones, rather than the burgundy ones. When applied with a dampened brush, it was richer, darker, and looked smoother. This shade wore well for seven and a half hours dry, almost nine hours wet. bareMinerals Yoga (LE, $14.00) is similar. MAC Magic Moor (LE, $15.00) is similar. Urban Decay Uncut (P, $18.00) is purpler. MAC Rich Core (LE, $19.50) is lighter. Giorgio Armani #2 (P, $33.00) is darker, more shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

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See more photos & swatches!

NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Cassiopeia Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Phoebe Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Desdemona Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow

NARS Subra Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows: Cassiopeia, Phoebe, Desdemona, Subra

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About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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58 Comments

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I wonder if any KPOP fan that is a TVXQ fan is gonna buy the Cassiopeia one, haha.

These colours look really pretty! I don’t think I’ll buy one of these since these are expensive for singles (to me), but they are damn pretty.

I bought Cassiopeia today on the basis that I’m a fan of TVXQ/JYJ *fan mode: on*

I’m starting to like the shade though. It looks absolutely stunning when the shade shifts under the light and when it’s blended with Giove (I’m such a sucker for navys).

I think Opalesse has a slightly murkier, almost warmer, base – but it might depend on skin tone. Triple Impact (by MAC) seemed closer to me, so I went with that one πŸ™‚

My only super expensive eyeshadow purchase has been Chanel ebloui and besides a few MAC I dont really buy too many eye shadows. If these are too sheer as dry, which is my preferred way of applying then there is no point investing in them! I am never going to remember to use them wet anyways!

Definitely one of those products that will depend on your application style/preferred technique, I think!

I quite like that they have decent pigmentation dry. I thought this was going to be a way to get away with bad pigment when dry but it is just about making it more intense when wet which is nice. Can’t wait to see the rest, thank you πŸ˜€

Yeah, I think they might have positioned these as less “sheer” dry and more subtle or softer, because some of them are… over-pigmented for a sheer, dry application.

I agree with you, Christine. The only thing that’s keeping me from impulsively buying Phoebe is the price tag… I’m probably getting it anyway, but the fact that three of these would put me in the hundred dollar range is definitely a buzzkill.

It seems overpriced to me, relative to the rest of NARS’ range. Are there other brands charging more? Absolutely, but then again, all of their other products are more expensive, too (e.g. Chanel — their eyeshadows, lipsticks, blushes, etc. are all significantly more than NARS’ prices for same type of items).

So…love the names. These four are, like, my favorite color range of eyeshadows. And two of the four look really good wet. But…I am too lazy for using eyeshadows wet. This is why I stopped buying baked shadows.

Desdemona is pretty unique, and I’d call the pigmentation good when it was dry. So that’s probably the only one of the four I’d even consider. These would be nicer for someone less lazy than I am about using things wet!

I do my makeup in the bathroom, so it’s not a huge deal (to me), but at the same time, I’d rather avoid that step altogether. The one thing about using eyeshadows wet is anything that’s of a deeper/richer color, I feel like you really NEED to wash your brush immediately after (if it has lighter bristles) or else it will stain.

Oh Christine another beautiful eye look!! I gotta try to find cheaper dupes. Would MACs Beauty Marked be a possible dupe for Desdemona by any chance? Did you use them wet or dry for that gorgeous eye?

Beautymarked is darker, less shimmery – the texture makes it pretty different. I applied them with a dampened brush in the photo in this post. I wore them all both ways, however.

I really like phoebe, desdemona and subra, but I’m not sure I would get enough use out of them to justify the high price tag (probably around 40$ in Canada) for single eyeshadows. Plus the extra step of applying wet is sort of a pain.

I don’t know if it is just me but the Subra looks more purple on your eye as an eyeliner than the swatch. Was there one of the pink shades under it that did that (changed the color) or am I just not seeing this correctly because of all the pink around it. I really like the wet swatch on your arm, to me it looks like a pretty brown.

As an owner of many Nars eyeshadow singles I just don’t think I like these shades enough to pay $4.50 more for less product.

You reviewed all of the shades I was looking at together in one post. Agh, so pretty. I can’t wait for these, but I’m thinking if I should get any because, as you pointed out, they are so expensive per oz.!

Convenient! πŸ™‚ If you’re comfortable paying $29 for a single eyeshadow, I wouldn’t let the PPO necessarily stop you. 0.05 oz. is a fair amount of product (it is the average size, NARS’ 0.07 oz. is above average), so it’s not like you’ll run out quickly. They just feel overpriced relative to NARS, you know?

i think these are reallly pretty but i don’t think i’ll be in a rush to grab them… i LOVE the shade names though! so far cassiopeia looks like the one i’d want for sure.

I like the colour of Phoebe πŸ™‚ I’m not sure about the price increase, but I always have trouble gauging that sort of things because 1. I will never finish an eyeshadow (and they basically never expire so if you go by $$/years then it’s not too bad) and 2. Everything is crazy expensive in NZ, so I guess I don’t notice as much (how sad is that? LOL).

Whatever the price of NARS’ blush, I think these will be just a tiny bit lower, to translate into NZ pricing!

I’m not really seeing any territory I do not have covered here. Yes, I’m feeling strangely ambivalent with this group which I thought would really appeal to me. Leading up to review, I was particularly interested in Subra, the Black Orchid shadow, but upon swatch.it looks meh -shrug- brown to me. I find Phoebe quite pretty, but it looks like a dupe to a GA ETK I have in the stash which I do not have to wet for the payoff.

The GA ETKs are more interesting of a formula, and perhaps since they were one of the first, that helps (I always appreciate the original).

I’ve been looking for a permanent version of the NARS Cassiopeia shade. The sheerness is just the nature of the pigment which i think most companies don’t want to make it permanent because it take more of the mica to get a good wash of colour with it.

All of these are really incredible looking. Once again, I’ll need to swatch to make sure the reddish tones won’t make me look sickly.

Ooh! I wasn’t expecting Cassiopeia to have so much colour, based on the way it looks in the pan. Swatched, though, it’s quite lovely!

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! πŸ™‚ If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!