NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Spring 2013: Corcovado

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “24-karat gold.” It’s a bright, sunshine-yellow gold with a frosted, metallic finish. Cinderella Gus Gus is a bit darker, more orange (and a powder eyeshadow). OCC Triptych is darker, more honey-hued (and a powder). NARS Goldfinger is a paler yellow (and a powder). Inglot #403 is not quite as yellow/intense (and a powder). MAC Bright Sunshine is comparable, slightly yellower, but is also a powder.

It will come as no surprise to long-time readers that Corcovado, for all its gorgeous coloring, did not work well for me. I’m not going to do an in-depth review here, because I’ve done plenty in the past of this formula and exactly why it doesn’t work well on me. I love the color, and I really wanted it to work. NARS often produces beautiful colors in their Soft Touch Shadow Pencil, and I had hoped that the more frosted finish would have allowed for a quicker, better dry down of the product.

Here are the ways I tested Corcovado specifically: on its own, over NARS’ Smudgeproof Primer, over NARS Smudgeproof Primer + gold powder eyeshadow on top, over NARS Smudgeproof Primer + translucent powder (NARS’!) on top, over NARS powder eyeshadow, sheered out quite a bit, and as an eyeliner. I have applied with these tools: fingertips, brushes (fluffy, firm, and in-between), sponge-tip applicator, and directly from the pencil. I experienced heavy creasing within an hour or less for every way except: 1) over powder eyeshadow it took two hours; 2) sheered out, the creasing was less noticeable but still there after an hour; and 3) as an eyeliner, it took six hours to disappear and smudge fully, but there was “bleeding” color after an hour.

So, in summary: excellent pigmentation, and it applies rather opaquely on, but it takes me on repeated trips to Crease City in as little as ten minutes (when worn alone) or as “long” as two hours (when worn over powder eyeshadow). There are definitely readers who have had success with these, and there are others who’ve had similar experiences to mine. I just recommend trying it prior to purchase or purchasing from a retailer with a return policy, in case your experience is more like mine. I have no problem with many, many shadow pencils on the market (Milani, NYX, MAC, Urban Decay, to name a few).

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil (10 minutes)

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil (inner corner, lower lash line)


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Kate Avatar

That looks so beautiful in the photo, it’s really not fair that the product can’t work in other ways. I have one of these and I sometimes use it as an inner corner shade- where it can’t crease.

Nicoco Chanel Avatar

I envy people who can make these work so much. The colours are routinely beautiful, but my eyelids veer to oily and I would not daaaare, not after hearing all the horror stories.

Kafka Avatar


I saw the entry, scrolled down with bated breath, saw the F, and then burst out laughing.

They just keep sending you this product. Is it forlorn hope, do you think? *grin*

Bella Avatar

OMG, me too!! I was about to head to bed, saw a Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review on Facebook, and just had to come see the F, haha!! Only one crease piccie this time though ๐Ÿ˜€

Catherine (@bcrueltyfree) Avatar

Hahaha I was thinking this too, that they keep sending it. I actually was looking to see if Christine mentioned having bought it herself. I do think it’s a good thing they keep sending it, because if they’re releasing the product, at least they’re also standing behind it

Mariella Avatar

Sephora makes such excellent shadow pencils at half the price of these and they last all day with no or maybe sometimes minimal creasing at worst. And they have a LOT of colours to choose from so no one needs to settle for something as shoddy as this seems to be just to get that colour.

Jennifer Avatar

Yes! I have slightly oily lids and I can wear the Sephora shadow pencils all day! They’re so great. I wear them alone over primer or as a base for shadow. Inexpensive and fabulous.

eileenie Avatar

Same thing happened to me! I heard such good reviews on NYX pencil shadows, but they crease after 5 minutes on me…NYX pencil liners too (those stay on much longer but I can only wear it for half day.)

xamyx Avatar

Now I *really* want to try the NYX pencils. The NARS pencils work well for me, although I know they don’t for many, so I wonder how I’ll fare with NYX, LOL.

Kendra Avatar

Xamyx, I certainly think NYX pencils are worth a try. They aren’t the best, but they are decent (as long as you set them and/or use primer). Although I don’t use them by themselves (and make sure to keep away from my crease), for the price they are a great addition to a makeup collection

xamyx Avatar

I’ve been wanting to try at least one, and I figure the price is worth it (and we *finally* got an ULTA), but my lids are “weird”. The NARS pencils literally last all day for me, but UD 24/7 pencils just slide right off. I figure for $5, the NYX may be worth a shot. *fingers crossed*

Sara Avatar

Finally!! Someone else who has trouble with the 24/7 liner. I thought I was a weirdo for hating them. I’ve had $0.99 drugstore liners last longer

Marisa Avatar

Something i noticed, i bought some Jumbo Pencils from NYX 1 or 2 years ago and the creased a bit, some colors more than others. Lately i bought another Milk one and i felt it creased less, like it’s not so creamy as the previous! I don’t know if they changed the formula, but it happened with me.

xamyx Avatar

I don’t think it’s a matter of “how” it’s applied, but more of your individual lids, if they’re oily, or if they have any “extra” creases, etc. I have no issues with these, and I have 3, but at the same time, *nothing* creases or fades on me. However, my lids are a bit on the dry side, and I only have the “main” crease, and it’s not deep or sharp (I hope that makes sense, LOL). I also apply *only* to the mobile lid, below my actual crease.

I personally apply directly to the lid, and blend lightly with my finger. I don’t use a primer, or “set” it with a powder, and I’ve actually fallen asleep with it, with only slight fading. Again, for some reason, 99% of all eye products (incuding MUFE Flash colors) wear like iron on my lids, so your results may vary. If you have good luck with similar products, this may be worth picking up, especially if you have a Sephora or NARS counter near you that has a fair return policy.

Yellowlantern Avatar

Maybe it’s too “been there done that” for you since you’ve reviewed the formula in the past, but I for one was disappointed in the lack of crease city photos. ๐Ÿ˜€

What can I say, I like to cheer on the epic wins and laugh at the horribleness of the epic fails.

EvilStepQueen Avatar

Maybe you should try it over MUFE Aqua Cream in either 11 Gold or 24 Matte Yellow to get more longevity. But, for normal people buying both of those products would put them near $50 just to get a decent non creasing yellow color.

tea-chan Avatar

Ha! I was looking forward to this review just so I could see the fail. XD Your eye look is gorgeous though, and it definitely doesn’t look like the product is failing there.

Sara Avatar

I do love the bad reviews, listing the many failed attempts, though Dustin Hunter does the best review of bad products I’ve ever seen. I can watch them again and again.

Sara Avatar

The L’Oreal One Sweep is mine, partially because it was my introduction to him (can’t remember the YouTube path I went down to get there). Then there’s one where he calls something “tranny”, and the whole diatribe is quite hilarious. You should send him some of these just so he can review them.

xamyx Avatar

No; some of us actually really like them, and have absolutely no issues. I’m only skipping this one because of the color, and just because some people can’t pull this color off doesn’t mean NARS (or any other brand) should stop making it.

Nicoco Chanel Avatar

Reformulation might be a better choice here – it works for a minority of people, which is fine, but there are loads of eyeshadow formulas (cream and powder, pencil and pan) that can work for a lot more people (and, I’m guessing that if someone can wear these, they can wear almost any other formula without problem).

Besides, the STS colours are always stunning and I would love to see them in a less crease-prone formula.

Bre Avatar

I saw that it was a Soft Touch Shadow Pencil and for kicks I decided to read it… I knew it was going to be an F, I just knew it. LOL Nars should stick to blush, bronzer, and nail polishes! I love the color and your way of making it work on that look, but I think for $24 I could get a decent lower lash line pencil elsewhere (UD, perhaps).

Beth Maiorana Avatar

Dearest Christine,

Thank you for the review/post: I purchased two of NARS Soft Shadow Pencils and cannot for the life of me understand what the heck they’re thinking! Everyone else’s similar product eventually become set, don’t smudge or crease at all at a comparable price point, too. I can’t figure this out. It is a shame as you say because some of the shades are so pretty … beats me. xoxo Beth in Pgh ๐Ÿ˜‰

Kimryan8 Avatar

Ugh, I don’t know why I had my hopes up for this one. The color is gorgeous but i should have figured this would get an F. It looks awesome with the blue in your picture above.

KarKar Avatar

I’ve got dry eyelids and these shadow pencils work pretty well for me, so I may just have to pick this up! I know they’re a hit or miss type of thing and they are thankfully a hit for me.

Emi at Project Swatch Avatar

I’m sort of impressed / surprised that you continue to test these so many ways, when they just at all for you (or most). I’ve swatched them on my hand, and they don’t dry down at all on my skin, so I just can’t see them working on me either.

Becca @ The Beauty Sample Avatar

Always a shame to see. I have the copper Skorpios that I got in the Nars Beach Lover set and it’s SO gorgeous that it makes me want to cry that it doesn’t work on me. I have quite oily lids and this stuff creases almost with the first blink post-application :/

Christine Avatar

Hi Nalita!

Here are the ways I tested Corcovado specifically: on its own, over NARSโ€™ Smudgeproof Primer, over NARS Smudgeproof Primer + gold powder eyeshadow on top, over NARS Smudgeproof Primer + translucent powder (NARSโ€™!) on top, over NARS powder eyeshadow, sheered out quite a bit, and as an eyeliner.

Catherine (@bcrueltyfree) Avatar

Corcovad๏ปฟo is one of my favorite places & gold is one of my favorite colors, so I was a bit excited that those two things happened to be paired together, but I knew this wouldn’t be something I’d buy… #1 because of the price and #2 thankfully I’ve followed Temptalia long enough to know to stay away from these pencils (from other reviews, I believe my eyelids are quite a lot oilier than yours, so I’m sure this would only perform worse on me)

Lorraine ER Avatar

I wonder why they haven’t reformulated these by now? It seems you’ve tried them every way under the sun and it’s not like you haven’t given them every chance! Surely the majority of people experience the same issues?

I used to dislike/not use cream shadows because they all acted this way on me (years ago) and after buying a Revlon Cream shadow palette that had been positively reviewed (but sucked on my lids). it took me years to pick up another cream. It happened to be Benefit Creaseless Cream in “Flatter Me.” which I still have and love and it made me fall in love with cream shadows and now shadow pencils that are cream-based as well.
With so many great options out there, even ones from drugstores I see no point in paying for one of these!

If a cream shadow doesn’t work for me over a good primer OR with powder on top then forget it. I don’t even like them needing a primer, I’ve gotten so spoiled by quality. NARS Smudgeproof is the best I’ve tried so if that won’t do it, I’d forget it!

Cream products have improved so much that I’m happy to buy them from the drugstore now when 8 or so years ago you couldn’t have paid me to wear a drugstore cream shadow for the day.
Some of my favorite potted ones are Benefit, MUFE and some of the Color Tattoos and my fave pencil versions are UD and Tarte, but I haven’t the chance to try Milani and some others.
The NYX ones I own (Milk and Rust) are fine when used as a base, with a primer but I won’t be buying more when there are other better budget versions that require less work.

Christine Avatar

I do agree with you, Lorraine – cream eyeshadows and the like really shouldn’t require *too* much effort. Much of the point of cream eyeshadows is the concept of grab and go (more so when they’re neutrals) as a quickie look that you can apply, sheer out, and you’re out the door. If not worn that way, then I think the next go-to tends to be used as a colored eyeshadow base, so if they crease even with (powder) eyeshadow on top, it’s frustrating.

One of the reasons I keep trying with these is they’re so, so pretty; and then the other reason is, frankly, it creases so quickly that I can try it four or five times in the time it would take me to normally test one cream eyeshadow! In my experience, something will either crease within an hour or not until 6-8 hours later. I’m not a beauty chemist or anything, but one of the things I’ve experienced with these is they never fully set, which is why they remain movable and slip-slide all over the lid. I’ve had some pencils that are creamy enough that they can very lightly crease while setting, but after it’s set, they don’t move (and the creasing doesn’t worsen).

Sandra Avatar

I’ve never tried these but do you think they’ll work better on top of a paint pot or something similar? I use nubile paint pot and it seems to be more matte than UD Primer potion… I’d imagine better results.

Manuela Avatar

These pencils make me angry on several levels. I have one in a lovely plummy shade, but the only thing it is good for is to line under the eyes. The thing creased immediately on me and no matter how I worked with it, it just creased, creased, and creased some more. They are all such gorgeous colors, but a totally worthless product. They aren’t cheap, either! NARS products are such a hit or miss with me. I would love to know how they test their products for wear and longevity.

Vanessa Avatar

HA! I KNEW IT! I was basically scrolling down and waiting for the F come up. Seriously. It’s amazing that they’ve not changed the formula!

Jen Avatar

…and they keep sending them. It just makes me giggle!

I still say it’s the “vegetable oil” that’s a main ingredient that make these fail. I would be genuinely curious to talk to someone who’s had a good experience and try to figure out why and how it works for them. Because my lids are dry, most cream shadows do just great on me. I couldn’t believe how fast these creased!

lafemmetopaz Avatar

I don’t have any issues with shadow pencils. I think it’s because I knew they are not waterproof nor are they water resistant. The product does not contain any “setting” agents. They are to be used a base to have powder shadow over it. I usually apply my powder shadow over it in a patting motion and it last for about 8 to 9 hours.

The product is very reminsicent of a cream foundation. Unless the foundation says long wear, you’ll have use powder to see it . Or the foundation is going to move.

A friend of mine who is a MUA using a setting spray over it and has had excellent results with that too.

I think this is one of those products which is a hit or miss for some due to several factors, skin type and ingredients. Just like some folks do well with products that contain talc and other do not.

rachel Avatar

nars always has such great colors in these and they swatch beautifully on the hand/arm. i don’t understand how you even get it on as well as you do; i can’t get ANY product on my lid.

Marie Avatar

I am so disappointed. I saw the picture of you doing a look with it on the page for the Blue/Green duo, and thought ‘I need that!’

Then I found out t was a soft touch pencil. So so sad.

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