May 112011

Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($24) was released over the past year, and I viewed it as a high-end alternative to Urban Decay Primer Potion, my then-current favorite primer.  I know that Urban Decay’s gets plenty of criticism, but it’s easy, cheap and lasts forever (especially if you literally cut open the old tube design to get the residual primer left inside).

Nars practical packaging and overall quality made this an interesting alternative.  My thoughts:

  • Easy application with the doe-foot applicator
  • Dries clear
  • Doesn’t change the color of my eyeshadow
  • Makes all powder eyeshadows last all day, hours longer than they would without any primer

As with any primer, less is more.  You can bet your last blush that you’ll run into trouble if you put on too much primer.  A whisper is appropriate, a layer is too heavy.

The downside with Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, based on my own opinion and experience, is that it grips the powder very quickly and makes the shadow very difficult to blend.  There’s a ‘fly paper’ aspect to it–the eyeshadow powder sticks to it.  And sticks.  It doesn’t seem to move well once placed on the lid.

Therefore, although I appreciate the long wear-time and elegant quality and packaging, the primer works best on looks that don’t require softening or blending between shades.  I’m happy if you find that this is your holy grail must-have,  all that I can give is based on my own experience and opinion.  For that reason, I find that Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base is a little too smudge-proof for me–because I frequently knock down and blend my shadows, it’s not something that I anticipate re-buying once it’s gone.  Proceed with caution.

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  15 Responses to “Some Thoughts about Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base”

  1. Sorry to tell you that but I’ve read that the UDPP formula has been changed recently to be made 100% vegan, and since that change it’s not as effective as it used to be. People are complaining that it does crease during the day.

    For me Nars is the best, because I found it hard to blend on top of UDPP and I hated the oily liquid that always came out of the TFSI tube. Nars is the best of both worlds: good formula and doesn’t make blending hard, at least not immediately. Once the eyeshadow is set, ideed, it won’t move.

  2. I don’t wear heavy eye shadows much so I never gave much though to eye primers. Maybe I’ll pick this up the next time I’m at Sephora…

  3. Amy,

    I tend to agree with you on the NARS base. There is something about it that I did not like, but could not put my finger on it. Your description of how it behaves sums up how I feel about it. I love UDPP, but I am concerned after reading Musing on Beauty’s post above. I liked TFSI and never seemed to have the problem with the oil separation issues that some had, so maybe I’ll have to go back to it if UDPP turns out to be a bust. But the NARS base was a little too “flat” for me, and I found my shadows spread nicely over the UDPP base.

    Great review!


  4. Over the past year – that’s funny, I feel like I’ve been using Nars eyeshadow base forever. Amy, I can take your whole description of Nars and repeat it word for word about UDPP. That “too smudge-proof” quality was the reason I’ve stopped using UDPP and switched to Nars. Talk about different strokes…

  5. Amy: I had that exact some problem with Urban Decay. My shadows wouldn’t stay put and because I have oily skin, creasing was a problem by 11am. I don’t know if you have ever used Laura Mercier’s Eye Basics, but it does work well and is easily blendable (for me). Just a thought and possible alternative to both UD and Nars….

    Also, are you planning on reviewing/swatching Dior Mitzah from a while ago? Would love to see more pics on that gorgeous palette!

    • Hi Jen–I believe The British Beauty Blogger just swatched it! Check out her blog to see them now!

  6. I always love hearing primer takes from different people – I’ve tried many, including the omnipresent UDPP and TFSI, but I have found my favorite to be the Mac Paints (not the Paint Pots, just the paints. My picks are either Untitled for a matte option or Stillife for a shimmer option.

    I love the NARS face primer, though!

    • We all love to hear / debate these things Tess, don’t we? Could talk about them all night really…. call it an obsession?

      • Yes! This makes me want to try the NARS eye primer…there might be a Nordstrom sample excursion in my future…

  7. Amy – I had a similar experience with the NARS base. I had a few sample packets when this was released. It dried on my lids funny and did not provide a moist enough base to work with. I had high hopes but alas – it’s a no go for me. So far, cream shadows make the best base even though they hardly help shadows last long. I always need to mix bases with a tiny bit of eye cream to make them work for me.

  8. So curious how products can work so differently on people!

    For me, UDPP is the primer that I can’t blend on top of. With NARS, though, blending is a dream. It’s my HG, and I don’t say that about any other product.

  9. A tip I read from Bobbi Brown about making shadows more blendable when using base is follow the base with a layer of a neutral shade such as BB Bone (for the pale amongst us) before applying color. I’m not sure how this impacts durability as I haven’t found a base that really works on my industrial strength oil producing lids but it definitely helps with blendability.

    • The review is perfectly on point. I do love Smudge Proof and that “fly-paper” aspect of it is true. What I’ve done, is to use Smudge Proof on the lid, up to the crease and only up to the crease. Or I use it all over, but add a really light highlighter eyeshadow that matches my skin tone (I personally use Burberry Trench eyeshadow) or even a light spray of translucent powder, so that the stickiness is diffused. I apply color after that and it’s easier to blend. Maybe the technique will work for you too? I wonder if you tried doing something like that.

      However, adding Trench eyeshadow on top of the NARS base no longer makes it the transparent base that it otherwise would be. On days when I don’t want a super-sticky base, I just use Laura Mercier’s Eye Basics in Wheat for the “my lids but better” effect 🙂 It’s true that primers work differently on people. Personally UDPP doesn’t agree with me.

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