NARS Mandchourie Duo Eyeshadow ($33) is the new holiday duo from NARS this season. It’s an intensely smoky palette of olive-golden-indigo shimmer and a deep dark matte indigo blue. The colors are deep and dark and not for the faint of heart. Playing around with this resulted in a super smokey dramatic eye. I recommend having a paler neutral shimmer on hand to help tone down the intensity or to help blend harsh edges out. My favorite way to apply so far is to use Laura Mercier’s Platinum Metallic Creme Eyeshadow as a base and then apply the dark golden-olive shade on lids with a soft fluffy brush like MAC 217 then apply the darker matte navy with a pencil brush and smudge over the lash line upwards. The pigment in this duo is quite good, the matte shade can be a bit chalky on first swipe but layers well.
Compared to other NARS duos, Mandchourie is quite different and unique. Here are comparisons to Brumes, Dogon and Underworld. I also swatched Stila’s Diamond Lil to show how intense the NARS Mandchourie is by comparison.
Overall NARS Mandchourie is beautiful, unique, dramatic and intense. It’s lovely but a bit too dramatic for my taste – for everyday. For smokey eyes I will be reaching for NARS Brumes or Cordura more often since I feel those duos are easier to pull off although Mandchourie does go well with a softly bronzed cheek and pink lips. I’m one who prefers a natural smokey eye and while Mandchourie can easily be layered lightly for a less smokey look I still think it’s very intense (in a good way though!). It’s neutral enough in color so it won’t look too harsh on any skintone (at least in my mind). Some pure greys/blacks can look harsh and even some navy blues can look too contrasted on the skin. Mandchourie has an excellent blend of other colors in the undertone to make this intense/smokey/dramatic without being too harsh on the skin.
(For inquiring minds, the only other holiday items I picked from NARS were the multiple and highlighter but those are on presale for Nordstrom’s Trend Show, so they most likely will not be making an appearance on the blog for quite some time.)