I was prepared to love the NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio ($45), introduced with the Spring 2011 Collection. It's a trio of sun-washed, neutral shades that NARS told us could be mixed and matched to supply a limitless range of sophisticated eye looks. "Each is rich and blends effortlessly."
I ordered it the moment it was available, and I admired it when it arrived. It wasn't until I started playing with it that I realized it wasn't love.
NARS describes the three shades this way. On the left, there's a gold-infused platinum with silver flecks. In the center is a light, matte caramel. On the right, a rich, antique bronze completes the look. My photo at right is truer to the shades than the NARS photo above. Forget the little NARS color swatches.
The bronze and caramel shades in the trio are very pretty. Had this been a duo, I would be raving about it. I like the two shades. You can see them on my arm below - the top two shades.
Unfortunately, the "gold-infused platinum" is fairly useless. It has no color. It lays down a sheer sparkle and nothing else. I swatched with a sponge-tipped applicator, and I took my photo indoors in morning sun. The sponge-tipped applicator should have punched up the color. It didn't. So, I swiped my finger across the platinum shade, and what I learned was disappointing. There is no color, just an uneven, crumbly sparkle - seriously uneven. I couldn't even get a finger pad photo. Then I went and got a shadow brush. It was worse. No matter what I did, I couldn't get the platinum shadow to leave an even application of color on my skin (and it was even harder on my eyelid). That means that 40% of the trio is relatively useless, unless you want to struggle to apply a sparkly sheen evenly on your eyelid. I have better uses for my time.
So, as much as I love NARS, the Calanque Eyeshadow Trio gets a mediocre grade from me. I know it's hot, but I can't recommend that you purchase it. Definitely don't do it sight unseen. There are so many gorgeous neutral shadows available, why spend $45 on one that doesn't please?
Don't take my word for it. Wait for it to arrive at NARS counters and take a look. Please let me know what you think.
Photo at top courtesy of NARS