Review: NARS eyeshadow duo in Melusine

Melusine eyeshadow duo is part of NARS 2010 holiday collection, but IS now part of the permanent line.

Melusine is composed of a dark eggplant purple matte, and a frosty silvered lilac.

Cliff Notes!

Would I recommend it? Oh yes.  A million times YE S.

What were my main issues/complaints with the product? Matte shadows like the eggplant can be tricky to blend.  And the soft texture of NARS shadows sometimes means that you have to pat pigment in to get a more even application of color.

How do I apply it most effectively? Are any specific brushes or techniques needed?  Nope!  Standard primer and dry brush work beautifully.

What skin types, or shades would I recommend it for? The duo is beautiful on cool skin, but may be difficult to work in with warmer skin tones.  The shades show up best on light/medium skin, but darker skins might not show the full lilac tone to the shimmer.

Was it worth the money to me/will I repurchase? I doubt I’ll need to.  The pans are a generous size, and I’m not likely to run out.  If I did, then I DEFINITELY would.  This is one of my favorite eyeshadow duo’s from NARS.

Have I seen any colors that are VERY close to this? MUFE 92 is slightly bluer than the deep eggplant, and MAC Sketch, Fyrinnae Forbidden lover , or Avenging  Salem are slightly redder.  As for the lilac?  Urban Decay Stripped is more of a true blue-silver.  MUFE Aqua Cream in lavender matches it fairly closely, but isn’t quite as metallic.  It is more metallic than Urban Decay Grifter.

Both textures are quite nice.  The shimmery one has a distinctly NARS texture—a bit of fallout, but very buttery, on the whole.  The matte one is prey to the matte issues that other brands shadows have—it can apply streaky if  not blended properly.  On the whole though, the colors work beautifully together.

NARS seems to like including purples in their special collections. Daphne(from their fall 2010 collection) has a good amount less red, and was a bit darker, and less blend-able.  Plus, the eyeshadow duo’s are a better value, in my opinion, than their singles.  I’m more than a little in love with Melusine.

The Dark purple may need to be patted in for an even look.  NARS mattes can apply patchily or sheer due to their soft texture.  I had good results applying a thin layer of the shimmery lilac, and then patting the dark color over it, and lightly fluffing outwards.

The silvery lilac can be applied sheerly for a highlight color, though it’s still too gray to look totally natural.  On warmer skin tones, the lilac would probably be lost, and the color would appear a pewter or silver.  The dark color would be gorgeous on both, but the lilac is easiest to work with over pink undertones.  There’s a little fallout from using it, but nowhere near what you see with some Urban Decay shadows, metallic pigments, or mineral shadows.  It’s easy enough to just put a layer of powder down below the eye to catch fallout, and lightly brushing it off after application.  Failing that, it removes easily with makeup remover, no staining or smearing.

Update for Susan:

Habanera is another duo from NARS, that I will be reviewing soon.  It’s not at all like Melusine, though it is a purple/silver combo.

The silver has strong seafoam green notes and is a true metallic.  The eggplant burgundy has silver sparkles.

The burgundy is actually fairly close to the lilac shade in Melusine.  The base is darker, the sparkle more prominent, the base isn’t frosty.  And the Melusine purple is much darker, and is completely matte.

Here’s swatches, over Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy.  Top row is Habanera, Bottom row is Melusine.  Note:  the Habanera burgundy is darker than it appears in these photos.  The shimmer in the swatch and pan lightens it up considerably on camera.


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Susan
    Dec 22, 2010 @ 02:10:49

    Can you compare it with Habernera? It’s a silvery/purple-y look too. I have it already; maybe I don’t neeeeed to purchase this one.?

    I love your reviews! Good job explaining and the photos are well lit and much appreciated.


    • dolcearia
      Dec 22, 2010 @ 07:33:45

      I just got Habanera. Trust me, they’re DIFFERENT.

      The Habanera silver has quite a bit of minty seafoam green in it, and the burgundy with silver flecks is a warm burgundy.

      The NARS silver has some lilac or pewter notes, and the matte darkpurple IS a TRUE purple, with a HINT of burgundy.

      If you’d like, when I get back from work, I can try to snap a comparison swatch photo for you. Honestly, though, they are COMPLETELY different in practice, and in swatch. One is cool lilac and purple. The other is seafoam and wine…. They don’t look at all alike.


  2. Susan
    Dec 22, 2010 @ 17:39:06

    Aw you’re so sweet! You are amazing how you get right back to me. I’d love to see them compared together, in pan and swatched, if you have time. Thank you and Happy Holidays!!

    P.S. I JUST took advantage of MAC’s free overnight code (XMAS) and ordered Greensmoke and Lucky Green eye shadows. Christmas is turning out “one for you and three for me”! LOL


    • dolcearia
      Dec 22, 2010 @ 19:01:47

      Updated the main post with the photos. As you can see, the darker habanera shade is CLOSE to the lilac. It looks considerably darker in person, because of the amount of sparkle in it. The textures and finishes are different too. Hopefully that helps!


  3. Susan
    Dec 22, 2010 @ 19:47:07

    Oh my gosh! You are so right! They are completely different! Thank you so much for taking the time to show me. You are the greatest!


    • dolcearia
      Dec 22, 2010 @ 20:16:11

      No problem! Melusine is definitely better on cool skin tones. I bet the two would look striking together, though. i may have to try that sometime soon.

      The warmth and sparkle of Habanera is gorgeous! I love the green tint(that didn’t come through in pictures) of the silver…. It’s an unusual shade.

      Do you already own Habanera, then, or are you debating which to get?


  4. Susan
    Dec 22, 2010 @ 21:50:13

    Yes, I have Habanera. (And Portabello, Cheyenne, and Wicked). I love the silvery part of Habanera to go in the inner corner and under the inner lash line a bit. (I need to learn more uses for Portabello…both shades end up so similar on my lid.)

    Well, since I’m warm tone maybe I should save my $ for more greens or something… It’s an awfully pretty purple though….

    I think the saying should be “So much makeup, so little money/space/time!”


  5. dolcearia
    Dec 22, 2010 @ 22:31:50

    I haven’t played with those other duo’s. I know that has been one of my nitpicks with the NARS duos though, that either the colors are SO different that you need to use at least 3 other colors to get them to work together, or that they’re so very similar that you can only use one at a time. Habanera works with itself pretty well, but I do think that with JUST melusine, you can put together a much more coherent look. Maybe it’s just my bias, but I HATE duos/palettes/products marketed together that expect you to spend more money supplementing it.

    I like it when the colors are matched, but contrasting, and you CAN choose to supplement it, or you can use it on its own(with the exception of using whatever your preffered highlight color is. Highlight colors in kits don’t usually work for me)

    Have you tried Portabello over different primers, or colored bases? Sometimes that makes the difference in drawing out different elements in the colors. Or layering the shades? (I find the melusine matte easier to blend if I apply the lilac underneath it, and it gives it a pretty luminous finish). Maybe little variances in your technique would help you get your moneys worth out of both colors?


  6. Susan
    Dec 22, 2010 @ 22:40:11

    Aaaahhh, I KNEW you’d have a solution to up the ante with the Portobello! I’ll try the different base idea! Learning layering is opening up new doors here! Thank you! (Guess you’d say I’m having a “aha moment”.)

    Yippee, I get to play tomorrow. (When I can’t sleep I think up color combos I want to wear the next day.) Hmm, now Constructivst, Coral Crepe, Indianwood, Quite Natural under Portobello – this will be fun!


    • dolcearia
      Dec 23, 2010 @ 16:58:07

      Do you have Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy yet? If so, you might try that as well. It REALLY helps preserve all of the minute sparkles/shimmers/finishes to make your eyeshadow apply more true-to-pan. Something like that might also help bring out more variation between the colors… especially if you used it with one shade, but not the other…… That said, I LOVE Smashbox Jet Set liner in Starstruck(deep bronze burgundy) as a base for smoky looks.

      Have fun experimenting, let me know how it comes out!


  7. Susan
    Dec 23, 2010 @ 18:07:50

    Can I get the Pixie Epoxy anywhere else besides Fyrinnae’s website? I think I need that. ; )

    I tried the MAC Quite Natural on my lid first, then the dark side of Portobello over it and the lighter one in the crease. Meh, it’s okay, but nothing fabulous. I’ll keep mixing.

    Dang, the Starstruck is out of stock at Sephora. I’ll keep looking; it looks wonderful. I got Coastal Scents “Boom Boom” gel liner (similar??) and love the color, but it came kinda dried out. (I didn’t have any problem with their other gel liners.) Now I have to rub my finger HARD to get it out. Maybe the Starstruck could replace that.


    • dolcearia
      Dec 23, 2010 @ 18:38:11

      Hmm. I wonder if they’re clearancing it. A few months back, Starstruck was a $5 sweet steal, at Sephora. I haven’t played with Coastal Scents products at all, so I can’t say anything about how the two eyeliners compare.

      Fyrinnae is ONLY available on their website. No local distribution, or resellers, or anything else like that. I hate online shopping, and it took me forever to get brave enough to try their stuff, but trust me it’s worth it! Also, I’ll have samples in two of the upcoming giveaways. So you might snag it there, too!

      In a pinch, if you want a bit more adhesion over your paintpots, there’s always the option of using a THIN coat of chapstick/vaseline on the lid. After all, that’s what the world did before there was Pixie Epoxy. It’s a little bit more difficult to get the hang of, and doesn’t wear as well, but you could see if you like the effect?


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