Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Portobello - review


I thought I'd keep going with my Nars eyeshadow reviews: next up is Portobello.

I have four Nars duos in total and, as mentioned in an earlier post, that's more than enough for me. While I do like these shadows, I've recently discovered what Kevyn Aucoin can do with a matte eyeshadow so my wishlist is now peppered with KA products.

Given the hype around Nars eyeshadow duos, I'm surprised there's not much online about this one. That might be because it's quite a 'boring' duo and, if you're going to pick something up from Nars, you're probably more likely to choose one of the shiny/pretty ones and not something like this that doesn't look like much in the pan.

While I totally get that, this is easily the most functional Nars duo I own - I can wear it with just about anything and it makes a good base for other colours. Also, the lighter shade is my go-to shadow for covering/diffusing any harsh lines after I've applied my crease and lid colours, so this little duo gets a lot of use - even though it's not my favourite (Charade beats it. Just).

Also, some Nars duos don't contain shades that have a lot of contrast, and this is one of them. This might be one of the reasons why it doesn't seem to be that popular.

As you can see from the photos above and below, there isn't a hell of a lot of difference between the two shades when applied, so if you want more contrast, this mightn't be for you.

But enough preamble! Let's have a look at Portobello.

Nars claims/product details:
  • Porobello is described as 'matte ecru and soft matte mushroom'
  • Nars duos are modern and unique, sometimes comprising unexpected colour combinations 
  • Worn alone or together, all duo shades feature micro-fine powders that are highly pigmented, long-wearing and crease resistant
  • Colour glides on smoothly, evenly and blends effortlessly
  • The effects can be subtle or smouldering: the options are endless
  • True colour application
  • Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for stronger intensity
  • RRP $50 AUD, but do shop around

The above shot is taken in natural light (the darker shade is on the left). 

Note that I haven't applied these wet or used a primer to make them show up better because I wanted to show you exactly what they look like in real life: these are not pigmented shadows. They're hard and sheer, so do be aware of that.

The above shot is taken in direct sunlight, and the below in shade. The paler shade is on the left now.

You can see there's not a great deal of difference between the two shades.

There we are indoors, with flash:

There we are on my eyes below. I've applied the lighter colour over the lid and travelling up, and the darker colour in the crease.

As you can see, it's hard to distinguish between the two. Note I've applied this as I would in real life: I haven't packed on the colour for the purpose of this post.

And again for good measure:

What I've done below is apply a (coloured) primer and then I've packed the darker colour on my lids so you can see it better.

I wouldn't normally wear it like this, but I wanted to show that you can intensify the colour if you want to - although this does take more work, so do be aware of that if you're after something more pigmented.


This product grows on me each time I use it. At first I thought not much of it (and preferred my Stila mattes by a long shot), but I've come to realise how versatile this little duo is - particularly as a base colour if you want to add eg some teal greens or rusty oranges - since many colours go with brown.

It's also my go-to duo if I'm in a rush and can't be bothered deciding what to wear. I know that I can throw this on and it will look good without much effort, and it's also what I reach for when I'm wearing a bold lip or bright cheeks and need a toned-down eye.

On top of that, I almost always choose this duo when I want to look like I'm not wearing any makeup. If I use a light hand, you can't tell I've got anything on, but the muted colours work to pull back my upper eye area, which is what I want because I have puffy eyes and am forever trying to make them look less like bee-stung balloons.

On the product itself, it's very easy to work with and I don't think I've ever farked up its application, so you can safely call this duo foolproof. I've mentioned in a previous Nars post that I think the workability of Nars shadows - rather than their texture or look - is what sets them apart. I can see why makeup artists love these: the ones I've used aren't fiddly and there's less room for error. Yay to that.

Portobello is easy to apply and it blends and wears well. I do prefer using it with a primer to make sure I get enough colour and to extend its wear-time, but you're safe to go without one if you don't need it to last all day.

Just a comment on my photos above: this is exactly what the duo looks like when you swatch it on your arm. I didn't want to take misleading photos that show this duo as more pigmented than it really is. Like the other Nars duos I own, its texture is hard and sheer and it's not buttery at all, so don't expect to feel like your eyes have been kissed by angels when you use it - which is what I was half-expecting when I first tried a Nars duo, given the hype about them online.

In sum, I recommend this product. Whether it's worth the Oz price tag is another story altogether, but at least I'll have it for years (there's a lot of product in the pans) and I can see myself continuing to reach for it at least twice a week, so it's good value in that sense.

If you're in the market for a Nars eyeshadow and want something that you'll use frequently - as opposed to something bright and sparkly that's only good for night - I urge you to test this one.

Underrated. Ticks from me.

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