It’s been a long time coming: I’d hoped for a product named after Singapore when NARS officially arrived on my sunny island in 2012—perhaps a lipstick like Bangkok or an eyeshadow duo like Kuala Lumpur—but like his eponymous brand, François Nars was here for the first time too; he needed to experience the lion city before artistic expression.
Meeting Monsieur Nars all those years back remains a beauty highlight for me. I’d asked him then if he would be creating a product named for Singapore, and still vividly remember his twinkly smile when he said perhaps…the answer wasn’t definitive but it carried a hint of promise!
More than half a decade since that eventful moment, that NARS product has finally arrived, and it’s more splendid than my initial hopes for a Singapore beauty namesake.
Not only has the makeup maestro given us a palette of our very own, he has distilled his interpretation of the Singapore spirit into four striking shades: a sparkly gold-infused pale peach, a metallic warm brass, a shimmery rust red with a rose undertone, and a glittery antique bronze with silver sparkles.
Perhaps the red is a take on our Little Red Dot moniker, and the sparkles an evocation of our scintillating skyscraper-grazing night lights; maybe the colours express how the sun illuminates this tiny island set in the tropical sea. Whichever the case, this palette is visually stunning.
The texture of the eyeshadows is a touch different from that of the brand’s existing eye colours; a little more buttery, and the sparkles, whilst still sizable, flatter and finer (that said, the glitter in the peach gold feels slightly grittier than the rest).
Created using pigment powder suspension technology which binds powder to liquid, the micronised powder of this new formula has resulted in lustrous, pigment-rich shades. I’ve just learnt that the entire NARS eyeshadow range—60 singles and 16 duos—will be revamped with this improved formula by September 2018.
Just one swipe, sans base, for these swatches.
Despite carrying friendly warm neutrals, this might not be an easy palette for those who prefer something more muted and less glittery.
If you’re sparkle-shy, use the shiny shades as accents: the bronze to line; the peach gold on the inner eye line or on the centre of the lid over the brass, for instance. The vibrant red makes a daring statement on the lid but it can be a subtle pop of colour when smudged softly on the upper lashline or gently daubed in the outer corners.
The glitter does transfer, unless you use a semi-tacky base (I like the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer for this purpose) and even then, a few flakes might stray to the undereye area and cheeks. Nothing some sticky tape won’t clean up but it’s worth noting, especially if you’re averse to sparkle fallout.
The quad’s warmer than what I normally wear but I enjoyed playing with the summer-to-autumn tones. In the look above, I’m wearing all four colours.
I used my ring fingertip to apply the initial layer, subsequently using the NARS #49 Wet/Dry Eyeshadow Brush to intensify the pigments. I blended them out with the MAC 217 Blending Brush (the original goat hair version) which effortlessly feathers the edges.
On the eye, the brass and peach gold hues don’t lose most of their glitter when buffed but the rust red, while decidedly shimmery in the pan, offers a somewhat satin finish when blended out. The cool-toned sparkles in the bronze show up nicely on the lash line—at some angles, they even take on a slight blue glint—adding an interesting gleam to the final appearance.
As happy as I am about this special quad, I can’t help but think how the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” rings true: After all these years, the packaging material hasn’t changed, even though the rounded edges have sharpened.
I know it’s for an aesthetic reason but I wish the brand wouldn’t stubborn cling to that black rubber that you know will eventually degrade, inevitably leading to makeup mourning.
Grousing aside, I’ll end this post with something quite Singaporean: 4 digits, courtesy of the product code, for you to try your luck at the 4D lottery draw. All the best, and let me know if you win anything! ;)
In Singapore, the NARS Cosmetics Singapore Quad Eyeshadow retails at S$80 and can be found at all NARS locales across the island, save for Sephora.
Exclusively available here since August (Singapore’s birthday month!), this permanent palette will launch worldwide in September 2018.