NARS Smokey Eye Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit ($59.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a limited edition kit for fall. Each eyeshadow is 0.04 oz., and the eyeliner is 0.01 oz. It also comes with a travel-sized contour brush. First, if you purchased NARS’ NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette last spring, then you already have the three shades featured in this kit. On the upside, Bali performed much better in this palette than in the larger one.

In order for this to be a decent offering in terms of pricing, you have to get some use out of the included brush, which NARS prices at $32 for the full-sized version (the travel-sized feels like a cheap, rougher, scratchier, less dense version of the full-sized), and the eyeliner. Otherwise, I feel like you’re really paying for convenience to have these specific shades in a single palette; the larger NARSissist palette contains 0.45 oz. of product for $79 (which works out to be $176/oz.). NARS’ single eyeshadows retail for $25/0.07 oz. and $35/0.14 oz. (duos), which puts the price per ounce somewhere between $250 (duos) to $357 (singles). NARS’ Larger Than Life Eyeliner retails for $24/0.02 oz. (or $1200/oz.), so you’re getting a $12 value in this palette from the pencil alone. If you’re only interested in the eyeshadows, you’re paying $492/oz. All in, you’re getting about $30 (taking the PPO of duos) worth of eyeshadow, $12 worth of eyeliner, and a $32 brush (though I would disagree at this value, as the quality is vastly different from the full-sized), which would be $74. There’s value in having your very favorite shades in a palette for easy access and making it travel-ready, but I feel that this is poorly priced relative to other palettes NARS has done, which is disappointing.

Madrague #1 is described as a “matte cream.” This shade was of good quality in both the larger NARSissist palette as well as in this one, as it was soft, finely-milled, and blendable. On me, the color wore well for eight hours before fading. It’s a more common shade, so there are many, many shades available that are quite close. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Bali is described as a “neutral.” It’s a dark, subtly cool-toned brown with a hint of gray and a matte finish. It is much, much better quality in this palette than in the larger palette; here, it is soft, finely-milled, and blendable. It lasted for eight hours on me before fading. Tarte Dream in Chocolate (LE) Too Faced Triple Fudge (P, $16.00) Laura Mercier Espresso (LE, $23.00) Too Faced Dark Chocolate (LE, $16.00) Tom Ford Beauty She Wolf #1 (LE) bareMinerals Boardroom (LE) NARS Bali (P, $24.00) MAC Najm el Lail (LE, $15.00) MAC Dance in the Dark (P, $15.00) MAC Showstopper (LE, $15.00) MAC Diamond Dove (LE, $15.00) Inglot #363 (P, $6.00) See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Mekong is described as an “espresso infused with shimmer.” It’s a dark, subtly warm-toned brown with fine sparkle over a matte finish. It was richly pigmented, and the texture felt soft and smooth, but it could have been more blendable. It lasted for eight hours on me. MAC Midnight Hour (LE, $15.00) is less sparkly. MAC Beluga (LE, $15.00) is cooler-toned. Disney by Sephora Cinders (LE) is similar. Guerlain Terra Azzurra #4 (LE) is less sparkly. Dior Night Golds #3 (LE) is lighter. Chanel Topkapi #3 (LE) is less sparkly. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Via Veneto is described as a “black.” It’s just that–a matte black. I have reviewed it previously here. It has good color payoff, but it is a stiffer eyeliner to use, so I don’t find it as comfortable to apply. It wears about seven to eight hours on my lower lash line before smudging. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Wide Contour Brush #43 is short-handled, angled eye brush. It has a very sharp, flat angled shape, but the brush is incredibly large. Of all the brushes to provide in a Smokey Eye Kit, it’s hard to imagine how many people will get a lot of use out of it. The only way I could feasibly use it was to finish up any blending all-over the lid, but I felt like this over-blended due to the scratchier, rougher bristles and over-sized shape.

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NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Smokey Eye Kit
NARS Smokey Eye Kit

NARS Madrague I Eyeshadow
NARS Madrague I Eyeshadow

NARS Madrague I Eyeshadow
NARS Madrague I Eyeshadow

NARS Bali Eyeshadow
NARS Bali Eyeshadow

NARS Bali Eyeshadow
NARS Bali Eyeshadow

NARS Mekong Eyeshadow
NARS Mekong Eyeshadow

NARS Mekong Eyeshadow
NARS Mekong Eyeshadow

NARS Eyeshadow
NARS Eyeshadows: Madrague I (inner two-thirds of lid), Bali (outer lid/crease), Mekong (crease)

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Product Availability

NARS Eye Kit
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About the 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 information, please check the FAQ.)

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68 Comments

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Seriously, of all the brushes, why a contour brush? A tapered smokey eye brush, or a double ended one would’ve been perfect.
By the way, i applied both 210 and peony petal again, and concentrated more product on the apples (looked just fine, to be honest) and while 210 is slightly warmer, more diffused, Peony Petal does have a bright plummy sheen to it that makes it appear cooler and more vivid. I see the difference now. I still don’t need the Troy Surratt blush though. I hope he comes out with more shades because I like the sound of the formula.

My guess is that sometimes a smoky eye can look very contoured/sculpted… but the brush is huge. You can’t get a precise contour at all.

With blush, it can be hard to see the differences depending on application – the sheerer you go, the more they all end up looking the same, lol!

Oh okay, that makes a bit more sense.
Haha, exactly! And I’m not comfortable with too much blush. Still experimenting though, but done with bright pink for now.

Wow, that’s expensive! US$59 for three eyeshadows, a mini eyeliner and one quite disposable brush? Paying those extra 20 bucks to get the full eyeshadow pallete with other 12 shades feels like a better deal for me.

Right? That’s what I was thinking (even if I didn’t love the NARSissist palette). If you love both the brush and eyeliner, then maybe it’s not such a bad deal, but if you don’t, it seems so over-priced! And things like eyeliners, brushes, etc. with an eyeshadow palette always seem like toss-ins to me — extras — not the reason I’m buying the set, you know?

On the other hand, to get all 3 shadows will set you back $85, or even $75 if you opt for a single like Edie or Abyssinia, instead of the Madrague duo. Besides, the larger 15 pan palette was LE, and a while back.

$85 vs. $59 but you’ll get significantly more product (plus another eyeshadow, if you go for the Madrague duo). If you’re going to compare, you have to still take into account the quantity of the full-sized, individual versions, too. Sephora still has the NARSissist palette, actually, both online and in the nearest store (to me). I think it is fair to look at the value proposition they offered with that palette compared this one, since the larger palette also contained these three shades. Also worth noting is that the NARSissist Cheek Kit contains 0.24 oz. of blush, plus a travel-sized blush brush – $49!

I didn’realize the larger palette was still available, but that is *definitely* a better deal, LOL! Still, I have the full-size shadows, and even after much use, I have yet to make a dent in any of them… I was sooo tempted by that blush palette, but the pans were so tiny, I don’t think I even have a brush small enough to fit! As much as I love Devotee, I still couldn’t justify buying it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed NARS will release it on its own at some point…

Or realistically, all of these shadows are pretty basic colors and you can probably find another palette with similar enough colors (and more besides) for probably not much more than half the price.

It’s just not a good value proposition, no matter how you slice it.

I know it’s not quite apples and apples but considering we pay $55 for a NARS eyeshadow duo, I’d say this is great value.
Heck, we pay $25+ for drugstore mono shadows (L’Oreal/ Revlon).

I agree though about the brushes and eyeliner. I might use the eyeliner but travel size brushes just end up getting chucked into my drawer and never see the light of day again.

But the rest of this palette is so beautiful – Mekong especially appeals. I wonder how long it will be before it is launched here in Australia.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there was more value in the palette overseas, if only because they might feel like they can’t possibly justify something super high, though! Fingers crossed 🙂

This is actually one of my “go-to” combos, but I’ll pass on the trio. It would be cheaper for me to just buy the full-size brush, since I have all 3 shadows. Still, it’s a really nice set.

Thank you Christine for the price / value breakdown. I was planning to skip this anyway as Via Veneto eyeliner smudges on me, but I’m even more convinced now after reading your review!

I have all three of these shades and love them, and I think I WOULD buy this palette for my purse, it is so nice and compact, even more so than the Naked Basics palette!

Maybe you could depot the three you have and put them in a freestanding palette? I’ve heard NARS’ eyeshadows are pretty easy to depot!

The colors work very well together but I agree about the price. It doesn’t seem like a nice value. Mekong is so gorgeous though! I would love to see NARS release this as a single

Mekong is fantastic. What a beautiful shadow! Everything else is meh…. I did finally order the kuaui duo tho! Super excited:)

That brush seem SO crappy…. I feel like that palette has nothing interesting to me. I dont use those light colors for I rather let the color of my skin shine as a highlighter, and don’t like so much product on my dry eyelids, anyways. I end up wasting any money spent on palettes for that reason. Also I rarely ever wear eyeliners… And yeah, doing the math like you di, the bigger Narsissist palette sound more like a better deal, but then again I run away from palettes. Im not that creative yo use all the shades…

At least when you get the singles you know they will perform at their best. Not like all singles perform well, but I feel like on palettes Nars really downgrades their products which is greedy and shameful, considering the fact that they manufacture overseas (China) to lower their costs… Just greedy.

I’ve felt that way in the past, though this trio seemed better (generally) and more consistent with the singles!

The shadows look nice, but they’re such basic shades and at that price point, I’ll pass. for $59 I could buy the Naked palette and get 12 full size shadows

I’m curious if it’s a go-to for anyone and how they use it or what shadows they use with it in particular. I find myself only using it as an all-over blender, but there are better brushes for that purpose. It also works as a so-so contouring brush for something like down the sides of the nose!

I have brushes similar to this one, and I use them to blend/soften the crease, but my eye shape lends itself to do so. Also, I use a duo-fiber one to contour the sides of my nose.

How did I never notice how gorgeous Mekong is before now?! 😮 I would LOVE for NARS to release this trio on its own — talk about a perfect palette.

I think for someone very new to eye makeup or someone without many Nars shadows, this might be a good purchase but these 3 shades are so dupe-able that for me, there’s nothing here to crave (and as the brush is so poor quality, even that doesn’t tempt me when I could get the full sized one instead)

It’s a more specific brush, too, that I don’t think it’s one that most people are like, “Oh, yes! I always wanted that one!”

I like the colours and the convenience of the palette, but I wish they’d just quit with the ‘meh’ brushlets. It really doesn’t add much to the whole thing! Especially since the brush doesn’t fit inside the palette, which means you have to carry it separately, which means you might as well just take along your favourite full size one if you think you’ll need it…

Sometimes you wonder if they actually sit down and really think about how these things actually work out…

LOL! Right? Since none of the products fit in the palette, you could take any brush or eyeliner you wanted with this! I feel like they’re often added as a way to increase “value” so that price can be increased, too.

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