Nars Soft Touch eyeshadow pencils ($24, Sephora) is a cream formula that promise to “provide easy, portable, long-wearing application” with easy blending and “ideal” for use as a base under powder shadows.
They are portable, I’ll give them that.
The color is a deep sapphire blue with a black base and a moderate amount of shimmer. It swatched beautifully on the arm, both in a thick line like eyeshadow and a thin one like eyeliner:
I really liked the color. Unfortunately, at this point in the process I had already noticed a nasty smell to these things. It reminded me of Crisco, and sure enough, #1 on the ingredients list:
Vegetable oil! I suspect that’s the source of the smell, since it’s the only ingredient here that doesn’t appear in loads of other products I’ve owned and worked with. Now, the problem with vegetable oil is not just the smell, but the fact that’s it’s greasy and slippy and moves around easily. But I went ahead and applied it. It didn’t glide on as smoothly as I would have expected. It didn’t quite tug, but it was impossible to get the color only where I wanted it. But maybe that meant it was less greasy than I’d expect based on the use of vegetable oil? Sadly, no, it didn’t mean that at all.
That is after 15 minutes, and yes, I used a primer that works very well for me with other cream shadows. I also rarely have trouble with creasing at all because my lids are normal to dry. And I never get creasing on my lids – only in the crease area. I realize this is all kind of hard to believe, especially if you’ve had great experiences with a lot of Nars products. So I made a video in which I apply this shadow right before your eyes, and you can watch it crease for yourself.
Under no circumstances is it okay for a cream eyeshadow to crease that badly, that quickly. I didn’t test it further; I was going to test powder shadow over it, but it creased before I could get it applied, and kept creasing while I applied it. It all just turned into a hot mess. The longest I left this on was thirty minutes, and it still felt greasy – it never does set, so I don’t know how you could possibly work with it. If you know a special technique, that’s fine, but why? A $24 pencil shouldn’t be this difficult.
Since I uploaded the video, people have wondered aloud to me: how does a thing like this happen? I can’t even imagine. Unless they tested the product under one formulation, and at the last minute swapped some ingredient for a cheaper ingredient, mistakenly thinking it would perform just as well? That’s my best guess. I also think cream shadows are not the easiest product to get right – that’s why Maybelline’s Color Tattoos came as such a wonderful surprise.
I did really love the color on this one. I’ll keep an eye out for something else like it, for sure.