NARS duo eyeshadow: Isolde & Cordura

For the longest time my wishlist contained a high end brown eyeshadow palette. I had heard good things about Tom Ford’s eyeshadow palettes. I had held out until I went to Paris last summer to see them in the flesh first. And so I found myself in Galerie Lafayette in the heart of Paris, set on purchasing my first ever Tom Ford make up item. Only to be disappointed by the swatches in store. I figured that for 70 euros I should be able to find something better elsewhere. So I crossed the street, into Sephora and there I found these two beauties by NARS. This was exactly what I was looking for: bronzy-brown shades packed with gorgeousness and pigmentation.

NARS Duo eyeshadow
Isolde & Cordura

I had never tried NARS eyeshadows before. I have two of their blushes, the infamous Laguna bronzer, a lipgloss and a lipstick and that is about it. Since NARS isn’t readily available where I live and I have learned my lesson simply buying make up on a whim via the Internet, I don’t get to try too many of their products. I would still love to their their lipsticks in pencil form and their face products other than blush. But the minute I saw these babies in the store, I knew it was meant to be. Price wise, NARS isn’t cheap: these duo eyeshadows retail for €34 a piece via, but on the official NARS website they are €35. Yes, that’s a whole lot of money for two eyeshadows but in my opinion very well worth your money.

First of all there’s the packaging. The eyeshadows come in a black cardboard box and then in a rubberized compact. NARS packaging is quite possibly one of my favorites for make up. Yes it looks gruppy easily, but it’s sleek and simple. The only problem is that all the packaging looks so much alike that it is hard to tell the blushes from the eyeshadows once your packaging is closed. It does feel sturdy and it’s packaging you can easily travel with. The lid is also covered with a mirror which again makes this an easy palette to throw in your overnight bag. It doesn’t come with a brush of any type, which to me is no problem, as I never use those anyway.

From the NARS website:

Modern, unique, sometimes unexpected color combinations of eyeshadow shades. Worn alone or together, all Duo Eyeshadow shades feature micro-fine powders that are highly pigminted, longwearing and crease resistant. Color glides on smoothly, evenly and blends effortlessly. The effects can be subtle or smoldering — the options are endless.

  • True color application
  • Can be applied dry or with a dampened brush for stronger intensity
  • Multi-funtion use for shading, lining and highlighting the eyes
  • Classic, neutral, and fashion-forward shade pairings

The range of shadows in this line is immense. And some of the combinations are indeed not your every day shades. I went with something safe though. I use tons of brown eyeshadow and it makes for a great basic eye look. One thing I like about the shades I picked out is the fact that they are safe, but anything but standard and you’ll know what I mean when you see these shades close up.

When you open up the compacts, the shadows are protected with a sheet of plastic with the NARS logo on it. I actually kept these. It prevents the mirror from becoming smudged with make up and I love how classy it looks.


The first duo I would like to show you close up is Cordura. Cordura is described on the NARS website as being a shimmering warm rich brown and a shimmering sooty dark brown. The shade on the left can easily function as an overall lid shade with the one on the right as the crease shade and you’re done. I love how the darker brown has a subtle golden gleam to it. That golden gleam is in fact the smallest golden shimmer I have ever found in an eyeshadow. And in case you’re afraid this is an overspray or anything of the sort: it is not. This shade would also be perfect for a brown smokey eye.


Next up is the second palette, called Isolde. Isolde is described as containing a frosted ginger and a shimmering copper. The second indeed has a bit of a redder undertone, but I would still count these shades as different shades of bronze. Both are very shimmery, though not metallic looking. The shine is not really visible in the pan, but all the more on the swatch and your eyes. I personally love these. These are again, browns with a twist, turning an otherwise standard make up look in something just a tad more special.

Left: Isolde light – dark
Right: Cordura light – dark

On this swatch you can hopefully see why I picked up these four shades to make my own high end brown eyeshadow quad. I think the shades complement each other very nicely. I have played with these several times so far and they never disappoint. The pigmentation is great. The shades are buttery soft and glide on and blend really well. The darkest shades looks a little chunky in the swatch, but that too blends in easily. With an eyeshadow base these shades last all day too. Below I have used all four shades in an eye look.

eyes close up

full face

I love how this gives off a very nice warm glow to my eyes. It complements my brown eyes nicely and I think this will look extra good in summer. I love wearing bronze/ copper shades in summer. With a bit of a tan or sunkissed look and bronze eyeshadow I think your make up look is complete.

For the eye look I used the lightest shade from Isolde in my inner corner. The darker shade is all over my lid. The lighter shade from Cordura is in my outer V and crease. The dark brown with the gorgeous gold shimmer is the liner I used to complete the look and pull it together.

Looking at these shades again for this review, I am remembered of how versatile these are and that I need to play with them so more. I still have to try using that darkest shade for a smokey look. And if you remember, I bought a Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow palette a few weeks ago when I was in London. I think these shades will combine nicely with that palette too.

I hope you can tell that I’m absolutely in love with these eyeshadows. The quality is bang on, pigmentation is great and the colors perfect for every day but still special enough to justify spending the money. Am I a horrible person for fessing up that I am now eyeballing the limited edition NARSissist palette?

What do you think of these NARS eyeshadows?

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