Nars Duo Eyeshadow in St Paul de Vence - review


This will be my second Nars post in the space of a week (the first was on the duo Charade: see here).

St Paul de Vence was the last of four Nars duos that I bought, and it will likely remain the last - at least for the foreseeable future - because I think four is more than enough for me.

While I do like the Nars shadows I own, I prefer matte shadows due to my eye shape and there's just not enough interesting mattes available in the Nars range. Plus I've since discovered the mattes that Kevyn Aucoin can produce, so I'd rather save my pennies and wait for another Beautybay sale if I need any more shadows (which I don't, and won't for at least ten years).

St Paul de Vence is a duo that I couldn't not buy: I'm obsessed with all things orange and this falls within the orange department (indeed, I feel that wearable shades in this colour range were missing from the Nars offering); plus it's limited edition so it mightn't always be available; plus the darker colour isn't shimmery so it's something I can wear on my puffy eyelids and in my crease without accentuating an area that I want to look smaller.

On top of all that, I had some money left over on a Mecca gift card I'd got for Christmas and there was nothing else I had my eye on, and I wanted to buy something because I was on a spending ban at the time and feeling a little sorry for myself ; )

Anyhoo. I'm saying all this because St Paul de Vence is the worst Nars duo I own in terms of quality, although I'm still glad to own it because I don't have any other eyeshadows like it.

I've included two shots of the pan so you can see how it looks in both sunlight (above) and natural light (below).

It's definitely a warm duo but the colours are quite chameleon-like and do change depending on how dark/pale I am, the light I'm under and what else I'm wearing on my face. I'm mentioning this because this duo is worth not only testing in store, but also wearing for a day in different lights so you can see how it looks. More on that below.

Nars claims/product details:
  • St Paul de Vence is described as 'shimmering nectarine and chestnut'
  • 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

Above the chestnut is on the left and the nectarine on the right (photo taken in natural light).

The shadows are sheer and not particularly pigmented, and I've photographed them as they are - rather than applying them wet to pack on the colour - because I don't want the photos to be misleading.

There we are again above in direct sunlight, and below indoors, with flash. The colours don't get any deeper, no matter the light!

Fortunately the shadows do show up better on your face, although it's best to use a primer. Below I've put the chestnut all over the lid and the nectarine on the inner corners. I've used a different highlighter shade along the lashline because the nectarine doesn't have enough punch (you can see that the inner corners look muted by comparison, which is why I used a different highlighter shade so you can see how muted it is).

One more for good measure:


This isn't a good quality eyeshadow, especially when you consider the price. While the quality isn't horrendous, as mentioned this is the worst Nars duo I own and I wouldn't be rushing out to buy it unless you're set on the colours as I was.

I've seen other reviewers comment on the sub-par quality and I agree with those who suggest using a primer or cream-based shadow to help this stick and show up. Other suggestions include using a sponge applicator and/or pressing the shadows on. While I haven't tried those techniques (I rely on a decent primer), I can see how those methods might help things.

Let's just say from the outset, however, that you shouldn't need to work this hard with a shadow that costs this much, and since what sets Nars shadows apart (at least in my view) is their workability - rather than their texture or pigmentation - this one isn't worth the outlay and you're better off finding something cheaper that's easier to work with.

I'd be careful of the colours too. I liked the look of this on me in store when I went to test it, but as soon as I applied it at home the next day, I was disappointed in how it looked: for some reason it made me look a bit sick, or like I'd had an allergic reaction to something around my eyes. Fortunately it doesn't look that way now that it's winter and my skin's paler, but since these are good colours for the warmer months, I'm sad that I won't be reaching for it when the sun returns because it just looks wrong when my skin is a certain tone.

On the product's application: I should have been more switched on when the sales assistant tried this on me in store because after trying it dry, she switched to a sponge applicator and told me she needed to apply it wet. That should have told me something! I think it was one of those situations where I'd already decided to buy it - even before I saw it - and because most of its cost was covered by the gift card, I didn't question the purchase that much (I mean, it's not really money when it's not yours, is it?! ; )).

When I apply it myself, aside from needing to use a primer, I've found that both shades can be quite dry and patchy to use. Plus they're so sheer that you need to build them and spend some time making sure they're looking even, so I don't reach for this duo when I'm in a rush (which is often). Thankfully they do blend well enough, but at this price point they shouldn't need that much blending in the first place.

Also, the contrast between the two shades isn't huge and it's quite difficult to tell one from the other once you've applied them. That's why I used a different highlighter shade on the lashline above and left the nectarine colour for the inner corners: you can see each colour more easily when they're separated.

Finally, these don't last as well as other Nars shadows on their own, but since you need to wear a primer with them anyway, that's really just adding insult to injury and it doesn't affect how I use the shades.

In sum, be really careful with this duo. Definitely test it a few times before committing to the purchase because you mightn't be happy with its quality.

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