NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “navy blue.” It’s a dark navy blue with a shimmery finish. I feel it necessary to do a full copy-and-paste from spring’s press release regarding this product, because too often I receive comments and emails saying I’m being unduly harsh and unfair, all because NARS “meant” for this product to crease; that this is supposed to have that “creased” look.  I’m harsh, but I don’t think unduly so; this is an atrocious product, and from a high-end brand that can and does put out quality products, it’s appalling. I don’t make excuses for brands, least of all when they create products that perform this poorly.

This is what the press release states: “The navy blue Soft Touch Shadow Pencil complements any warm-weather look. Use the creamy, long-wearing formula alone, as a base for layering with powder shadow, or to line and sculpt the eye.” This product is long-wearing by itself, can be used as a base beneath powder eyeshadow, as well as an eyeliner. There is nothing about this product creasing, migrating, moving, turning to sludge, or otherwise indicating it’s supposed to look like this on the lid.

Whenever I wear/experiment NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, I notice my eyes are a bit irritated; there’s a burning sensation (not on the lid but of my eye), especially when I use these as eyeliners. I’ve tried Dark Rite in the three methods that NARS states: alone, as a base, and as an eyeliner. None of these methods was successful. The good news is this product creases so quickly that it takes very little time to go through all those tests!

Alone, it fades, smudges on the beneath the lower lash line (from the lid!), creases, and pools into creases. It isn’t dry to the touch after a half hour of wear, which is obviously going to be a problem–if it doesn’t dry, it doesn’t set, so it won’t stay in place. It applies somewhat evenly but does have problems; if you apply with a finger, it seems to just slide around but I wasn’t able to get a really even look with it using my fingers. I had the best luck doing one pass and doing my best not to layer.

As a base with powder eyeshadows on top, it’s both a pain to use (because it’s wet, the powder eyeshadow tends to clump and stick to it but not blend out well; the darker hue also has a tendency to “eat” the eyeshadow) and wear (because it creases after five minutes, just not as bad as it was alone). In the past, I have tried several of these pencils over/under various bases, with/without eyeshadow, and the results are dismal  (See Celebrate.).  I tried the same methods with this one as well with the same disappointing results, whether it’s used alone, underneath eyeshadow, or over a primer, it’s a one-way trip to Crease City.

Finally, as an eyeliner, it smudges and travels further and further away from the lash line. I don’t need any help making my under eye circles look any darker, but this product excelled at it.

The only reason it earns any points is that it is pigmented, but the pigmentation is patchy and uneven, which does impact the overall pigmentation score.  The texture is creamy enough that it glides on the lid without too much tugging or pulling, which accounts for some points.  But you’ll notice that when it comes to overall product score and longevity, there are none.  These continue to be one of the worst formulas I’ve come across.  At $24, it’s a slap in the eye.

If you want a shadow pencil that actually works, consider Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils, which not only wear all day long without trouble, they’re four bucks cheaper. Here are some navy blue eyeliners to consider as well.

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil – 30 seconds

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil – 5 minutes

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil – 30 minutes


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dee Avatar

I know for a fact that you(and your reviews)are a known entity in the beauty world. How could they know they’re product creases like this and still write their press release the way they do? Not to mention fixing the formula.

Maya Avatar

I knew when you posted on twitter about a “crease city” product that this was it, but I really was hoping it wasn’t so! This is the first time I’ve actually liked the color of one of these pencils, so it’s a shame it performs so terribly. I was indifferent before, but now I wish they’d change the formula!

Kim Avatar

Its so unfortunate that these pencils are so bad…the color of it is one of my favorites for pencils. I had a similar shade for MAC but lost it. 🙁

Ah well, I’m not gonna spend my money on something that doesn’t work.

Also, love the progression of time pictures, it made me laugh and cringe.

Melissa Avatar

Oof. That’s awful, particularly as the color is so lovely. And seriously, people say that it’s supposed to have a “creased look?!” People actually email you and say that?! No one wants a “creased look!” I want to put my makeup on a place and have it stick there til I take it off. It’s not a silk shirt or a twisty dress,, it’s eyeshadow. Goodness gracious.

Dee Avatar

What a disappointment! The color is beyond gorgeous! I wonder if it wouldn’t crease if used with a good eyeshadow base. I really like the glossiness of it, I’d hate to have to set it with a powder shadow just to make it crease a bit less :s

Saffy Avatar

The colour is gorgeous, too bad it wears so poorly. Hopefully I didn’t miss missed this when reading your review, but does it wear any better with an eyeshadow primer beneath?

Geek Faerie Avatar

You forgot to show the lovely eye boogies this product creates. Angel Noir always makes these awesome gold infused black ones whenever I wear it. I bet the ones Dark Rite makes are aces!

By the way, I’m kidding about wanting to see the eye boogies.

GlowMyWay Avatar

People really say that? LOL, there are tons of cheap brands that can give you “that creased look” for a fraction of the price of Nars. Maybe if people don’t want a critique, they should just read the press releases? It’s not as if you don’t provide pics to show that yeah, it really did perform like you described.

I appreciate your honesty and thoroughness in testing these products – and your speed in getting the reviews up! I was all set to fall in love with this one, but then I thought, “Hmm, I bet Christine’s reviewed it by now.” So I’m disappointed it didn’t live up to expectations, but I’d be a whole lot more disappointed if I bought it, had the same experience, and ended up returning it.

Christine Avatar

Yep, every time I review these, there are a few who really go to bat for the product and end up saying that’s how it’s supposed to look! It’s fine if someone else has had a better experience, found ways to make it work, though — but it’s usually been “These are for an editorial look. Don’t you get it?” type of comments re: this formula.

Wish UD had a pencil in navy blue – that would make it way easier to pass up!

Michelle Avatar

I have a navy blue cream pencil from Wet-n-Wild. It’s not the greatest thing but about a million times better than these! For shame, Nars…

Evelyn Avatar

For an editorial look? If it’s really for makeup art to make the models look like a hot mess, then don’t make it available to the general public or advertise that everyone can use it. That is the most horrible creasing I’ve seen. Even on my oily lids without a primer, I can’t make eye shadow crease so bad!

blkrox Avatar

The look after 30 minutes reminds me of the Gaga “eyeballs on my eyelids” look and I laughed so hard.

Your reviews just can’t be topped Christine – detailed and thorough, clear, honest, and include the product on a (beautiful) face, which, for me, is the best way to gauge the actual color. I love A+ products but the Fs always bring laughter to my day, thank you 😉

blkrox Avatar

I also wanted to second your recommendation of the UD shadow pencils. I have super oily lids (literally could not wear eyeshadow before the invention of primer) and those pencils have hung on through a 10 hour day, WITHOUT touch ups! (*heavens part, doves flit about, and angels sing*)

Gina Avatar

UGHHH that looks so gross! It looks all greasy and clumpy in that last picture. How horrible. That’s so shocking and disappointing, coming from a brand like NARS.

Michelle Avatar

Haha the word “atrocious” made me laugh…but after seeing the photos, it IS pretty atrocious. Too bad, because the colour is so pretty. I can’t believe it creased so badly after only 5 minutes! They need to seriously fix the formula for this product.

Steph Avatar

I commend you for even reviewing another one of these after the disaster of the green one! NARS should just give up on these and put their development money elsewhere.

Z Avatar

Thank you for posting the press release with this review! I never think your reviews are harsh, in fact I really, really, really (times fifty) appreciate your honesty. I’ve come across a few bloggers that *only* say positive things unless a product is really shitty, in which case they’ll just present us with swatches and say *nothing* of the quality or wear time. I like that you judge products against what the company says it will do *and* your personal experience with them. I never come here thinking I’m going to be mislead simply because you got some free samples and don’t want the source to dry up. So thank you for your honesty. 🙂

Also – damnit! That is a goooorgeous color! My lids aren’t particularly oily, but even the shadows you can wear without a primer, I can’t….so…yeah….

Vonnie (socialitedreams) Avatar

i felt the same way! i have a nars pencil shadow in another color and it had the same look as yours; within a short period of time it was a creased mess 🙁 i thought that I was doing something wrong, because I used it with primer and everything, no luck

Emily Avatar

Christine: the upside of terrible products is your awesome reviews!!

Everyone: if you’re looking for a gorgeous, wet-look, non-creasing long lasting navy, may I suggest the l’oreal color infallible navy? It is gorgeous.

Stephanie Spann Avatar

Thank you for your honest review! I rather have honesty than some sponsored crap selling me a product that they know isn’t worth 2 cents.
Go Christine!

Marian Avatar

What the heck is the problem with NARS and cream shadows? So many companies have products out that perform so well now. Why can’t they get this right? So many of their products are exceptional.

Marie Avatar

I’m a huge fan of Nars, but the soft touch shadow pencils are a complete disaster. I can’t even begin to comprehend how they ended up on the market. They do work on me as an eyeliner (on the top lid, as my waterline is too sensitive to handle eyeliner of any kind), but it’s the only use I manage to get out of the one I bought (I don’t like to throw products away).
It’s too bad because some of the colors are lovely. And it casts a really bad shadow on the brand which has some other good products to offer.

snm Avatar

What a terrible result.It is funny that a brand like Nars still can’t come up with a decent eyepencil formula while having great shadows and a perfect base.The color looks alot like like bobbi brown’s denim ink gel eyeliner IMHO,maybe a nars is a little glossier.

Naz Avatar

I wonder what they’re doing wrong. I have some fat MAC eye shaders/pencils and they stay on. NARS should just stop putting these pencils out…stick to the larger than life formula.

Nichole Avatar

That is horrible. I’m on Nars’ site now getting ready to order the pink matte lipstick and the shadow duo. Definitely won’t buy this pencil. I remember you having issues with their lime green shadow pencil too.

Julia Avatar

Ok, if people think, this is how it should look, whatever.
But if it claims to be long wearing, it’s just a huge lie.
Don’t these companies TEST their products before they sell it?
How arrogant can a company be?
Do they think people just are ok with wasting so much money on this?
I’d be very pissed and step back from Nars…

Thanks Christine for your honesty!!

Wenz Avatar

Christine thanks for your honesty!!!

FYI If anyone is looking for a nice navy blue shadow I recommend try the new L’oreal Infallible 24 hr eye shadow in midnight blue. (The packaging is similar to Armani Eyes to Kill). They are available in drugstores for less than $10!!! While I don’t know about 24hr claim (I mean really who wears eye shadow that long!!) it has held up for 16hr so far so good 🙂

NeenaJ Avatar

Thank you for your integrity and an honest review!
BTW, Laura Mercier’s Caviar EyeStick in Sapphire is a gorgeous shade of navy that actually performs.

Mai Avatar

This is so disappointing, the color looks so good in the swatch. It would have been so funny to see a time lapse gif showing the awful creasing progression. Terrible terrible terrible.

Dinitchka Avatar

*shock face* 😮

The colour is so pretty but the product is not at all what I expected from Nars.

I already have oily lids and I have a ‘process’ I have to do to get any eyeshadow to stay put and look nice. This product would make me look like a hot mess. $24.00 to look like a hot mess, is defo something I will be skipping.

Thank you for this review Christine. I admire your honesty and hard work.

Leila Avatar

Ahahahahaha. Oh wow. A review has never made me laugh this much, just because, after seeing your tweet yesterday, then this, well it made it too funny!

NARS really should take a leaf out of Urban Decay’s book regarding shadow pencils. I haven’t even used them on my eyes (not too interested in shadow pencils), but did swatch several – they were a pain to get off my hands and lasted through several washings.

I know now to go to UD if I ever do want to try shadow pencils. With so many duds in the formula, I do have to wonder about the thought processes going through their minds at NARS. I just can’t see the logic behind releasing a product so bad. Early candidate for worst of 2012?

I guess it would be easy for a makeup artist to just use this for an editorial (morning-after look perhaps) than applying normal eyeshadow and messing it up on purpose.

A little more seriously though, I do appreciate how honestly and thoroughly you test your products Christine and the detailed reviews. The honesty comes through in your writing, and that’s why your beauty reviews are No.1 on the internet.

Lulle Avatar

How dare they sell that??
It makes me wonder if anyone acutally test their product before they release them… don’t they have a lab where they put the formulas to test??
Or do they know it’s performs so poorly, but they decide to sell it for 24 bucks anyway?
In both cases, they’re doing a terrible job.

Erin Avatar

Christine, I just want to chime in and say that this review is a prime example of why your site is ALWAYS the first one I check whenever new products come out (and on a daily basis, for that matter!). I greatly appreciate your honesty and how thoroughly you conduct your testing. I know that I can rely on you to tell it like it is and come down hard when a product just plain fails to live up to its claims.

Over the years, you’ve saved me a heck of a lot of time, money, and disappointment! Thank you for what you do for us! <3

Casey Avatar

Its honest reviews like this that make me relieved to have this blog, and others, to read. I would be so disappointed if I had spent $24 on a product that performed as bad as this. Thanks for the heads up!

Hannah Avatar

I think this product was used a S/S 2012 runway show, I think Rodarte… in the beauty shots it showed that creased backstage, before the girls even got on the runway!

YellowLantern Avatar

After the last soft touch shadow pencil bombed here you’d think NARS would have changed the formula since then. A lot of NARS eye products seem to under-perform for their cost it seems.

Michelle Avatar

Its unfortunate that such a beautiful color performs soo badly, I respect your reviews Christine and obviously everyone’s presence in makeup performance is different, I definitely do not like this excessive creasing in a product, also if I spend $24 on a product I expect it to work just like it says and not have to do more work just to make the product work. Thanks!!!

MandyB Avatar

Awww, that’s awful that you and others have issue with this line of products. I seem to be one of the lucky few that these work for. Maybe because I have dryer skin and live in a dry climate? Either way, I love the product and have one in almost every color.

MandyB Avatar

I use lighter colors like Goddess daily to brighten up my inner eye, I also like using them as liner (over TF shadow insurance and under whatever powder shadow I’m using), and rarely I’ve used them as an all-over shadow including the crease (again over TF shadow insurance, but I always make sure that any bare skin between my crease and brow bone is covered in powder shadow or at least a translucent powder. This morning after reading this review I thought “am I crazy?” so I tried the copper one as an all over shadow and 3 hrs later when I had to shower and get ready – still no creasing! What gives? Still if a product performs so poorly for so many people, it’s probably not a good business decision.

Adelita Avatar

NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are the epitome of worst beauty product, Christine. I remember your review about NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil. Bad, bad, bad product.
What a shame this is come from NARS, a makeup company that I love (read: obsess) so much.

jessica Avatar

ugh. I see this in your “worst of 2012” already. ick. which is a real shame because the color is really pretty :-/ what a terrible product though :-/

Alyne Avatar

I am shocked, how can they launch such awful product in the market? i felt the same way with the big bounce eyeshadows.
Thanks so much for the honest review. That’s what I most appreciate in your blog.

Christina Avatar

I fully agree. Your honesty, backed up so undeniably by those photos, makes you stand out from the bloggerscene in my opinion! Thanks for being so honest!!!

Victoria Avatar

WOW I also tried a similar WnW shadow pencil and it was exactly like this. It was a super creamy/greasy consistency that refused to set and creased instantly. At least I only wasted $3 on that though! I can’t believe NARS would release a product this bad!

Esther Avatar

if I’d seen this product without seeing your review, I probably would’ve bought it because the color is gorgeous. the last thing I need is something else that’s useless but pretty. thanks for saving me from wasting $24, Christine!

Amy k Avatar

Thank you so much for this!! I love my nars blush products and the color of this pencil is so beautiful I can see myself plunking down the 24 I-dont-have-to-spend dollars for it and being so broken hearted. Such a shame!!! THANK YOU!!

Mel Avatar

Goodness, that creasing/fading reminds me of the time I used expired UDPP under my shadows. Who would buy a product that fades that much after a half an hour? I mean, who has time to touch up every 30 minutes…horrible.

Camila Avatar

Hi Christine, I have combination skin and I have the gold one from NARS. I use it with UD primer potions and with a shadow over and I have no problems with it creasing. Have you tried the gold one?

Brenda Avatar

I don’t know if I’m lucky or what, I’ve seen them crease like MAD on people but I don’t have a huge problem with them. I’ve tried a few and they’ve seemed to stay on fine on me but I know on most people they crease like no tomorrow!

G Avatar

Who is responsible for testing their products??!?? That person should probably be fired…. I am just shocked such a reputable brand such as Nars would even dare put out such a poor product! People are going to realize the second they use it… tis a shame as Nars makes such amazing eyeshadow…

Layla Avatar

Im a huge nars fan but i agree that this pencil is definitely a miss.
I own the black one and i have hardly used it cuz it smudges very badly.
Thanks for always giving very honest reviews & not giving in to pressure!

Lark Avatar

Good grief that is absolutely appalling!! Nars made this?
I was going to scoop up the Xmas set of these and I’m so glad I hadn’t done it yet. The color is stunning too, making this an even more disappointing Big Mess…..

I’m just floored that Nars would let this out of the house.

DJ Avatar

I might be the only person around that actually doesn’t have problems with the soft touch pencils–although I can’t say anything about Dark Rite because I don’t have it–they don’t crease on me when I use a primer and they don’t really move around on me, either…I actually have liner my lower lid with them!

But if Dark Rite is wetter/creamier than the others, that could be a problem.

(I also really love my NARS cream shadow duo, but have had less success with the single cream shadows, those, to me, are about a D rating)

In contrast, I can’t get the MAC Black Chromographic pencil to stay put at all, and that smears everywhere when I use it on my eyes.

Thanks for the review, excellent as always.

Violet Avatar

I really appreciate these kinds of reviews! For me, Nars is a brand that has some great products that I use all the time and some that don’t work at all… plus I love blue eyeliner. Good to know that this is a dud. Thanks!

cyndi Avatar

lmao @ NARS! what is up with them lately? horrible products. im still upset over the arabian nights shadow trio looked so gorgeous in the pans but when swatched all you get is mac carbon with some sparse colored glitter.

Sarah Avatar

I love the colors that NARS has been releasing for the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, why can’t they just fix the stupid formula! They can’t honestly think that this product works… Can they!? I have had such good luck with so many of their products that are spot-on, I can’t believe that they let this go into production, much less that they continue to release new shades in the same formula!

Petrice Avatar

My eyeshadow pools into my crease and disappears in my inner part of my lid. I don’t know why this is happening! It wasn’t always like this! And yes I do use a primer and I even tried putting powder on my lids! But it still happens! Any suggestions?!

Donna Avatar

You do expect every company to have some not so great products, as well as the super best sellers, but for a company like NARS to have something this horrifically bad??? No, you don’t expect that. I mean if you said they had some slight creasing after 5-6 hours, I’d be like, oh well, not every product is going to be perfectly wonderful. You know?

Hannah Avatar

I have problems with this product too, I’ve tried two other shades and they’ve creased in no time. How can they say the product is creaseproof and long wearing when it creases in five minutes. Isn’t that classed as false advertising. For something that costs this much, you would not expect it to be so bad.

MissMercurial Avatar

I think you’re harsh in a good way. Actually, maybe not even “harsh,” as that implies being excessively critical; more like stringent. Demanding of high performance/having high standards? Sure, but never unreasonably so IMO.
Like a good toner, you cut through all the junk out there and leave us feeling much better ;P

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