Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Eye Pencil Spring 2012

NARS Dark Rite Soft Shadow Eye Pencil Spring 2012 is a shimmery indigo color with intense pigmentation and soft easy to blend (and smudge) texture. /this, of course, can go both ways when it comes to performance, as we saw with the previous Soft Touch pencil, Celebrate. While Christine of Temptalia found them equally difficult and creasing, I was happy to see that Dark Rite is of similar texture and quality to the earlier NARS Soft Touch shadow pencils (Aigle Noire, etc.).

Let's talk about why I like these pencils and how I use them. First, the skin of my eyelids is pretty normal and I don't have any issues with oiliness, so obviously that's a big help with soft and creamy textures. I also use primers. Religiously. I tested NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Eye Pencil over three different eye primers from Laura Mercier, Paula Dorf and NARS. All of them worked very well. Also, I usually prefer to apply several very thin and even layers of makeup, which tends to cement everything into place even under the most unpleasant environmental conditions (aka NYC in August). Christine is right that this pencil under-performs when used as a dramatic single eye shadow- it will crease and probably sweat and migrate in the heat-- if that's what you're after get Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Sapphire.

But the good news is that it's all about how you apply this pencil and what you use with it. Here's what I do:
After priming the eyelid  I apply a nude powder eye shadow as a base (LMdB Naked, Bobbi Brown Navajo,  Youngblood Alabaster, Laura Mercier Stellar... just about anything will do). I then use NARS Dark Rite on the lid, coloring from the lashes to the middle (I have lots of lid space). If I'm going for more drama I also lightly line the lower lashes, but this is optional. I try to do it with a very light hand as the pencil is very soft and intensely pigmented. Using a domed smudge brush (Paula Dorf Smokie Eye or Sephora Platinum No. 13) I blend and soften the edges, also on the bottom lashes if needed. This makes the dark blue softer and more wearable. Next comes the complementing eye shadow: the new NARS Lhasa is the natural choice but a good taupe will do just as well, or if you're pale and blue eyed go for a bronze. I use it mostly in the crease and blend it gently downward into the blue pencil base (almost any type of eye shadow/blending brush will do. It's up to you and your favorite technique).

That's it. The pencil stays in place, including on a misty foggy and very wet NYC night as we had yesterday and while eating spicy Thai noodles. I love the combination with Lhasa and the depth it gives dark brown eyes.

Now, I have some swatch comparison to my other favorite blue shadow pencils, Laura Mercier Sapphire and Sue Devitt Victoria Falls. Sue Devitt is the least shimmery and most precise of the three, Laura Mercier combines wonderful spreadability (did I just make up a word?) with eternal durabilty, NARS Dark Rite is more indigo with just a tiny hint of teal compared to the other ones.

Bottom Line: a fabulous pencil when not used alone, but not for a quick makeup job.

You can see an extra shot of this pencil caught by the paws of Cedric The Kitten on the Facebook group (stop by and say hi to us).

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Eye Pencil Spring 2012 ($24) is available from The product was sent to me free of charge by the company.


  1. I was waiting for this post.
    I'll pass on the NARS. I think the Sue Devitt is what I'm looking for (like the color better). Plus, I like the name :)

  2. This is a gorgeous blue. I have not tried any of NARS eye pencils, mainly because of the mixed reviews. I like your breakdown of use and like you I use primer religiously and I like some e/s first, whether it's a base or the color I'm wearing. AND since I'm a NY'er, I'll try this! :)

  3. I never wear an eye pencil without a powder eyeshadow to set it, so the amount of slip on this one doesn't bother me. Dark Rite looks similar to Brumes in colour, just from the photos, and Brumes is one of my favourite blues.

    All the same, I do wish that NARS wouldn't claim in their advertising that the product was long-wearing by itself, when it clearly is not.

  4. I am so happy to see a better review of this. I really like my Nars shadow pencils, but I use them in a similar way that you do, and I also don't have oily lids.

    Now I am tempted to go and add this to my little gathering of soft touch pencils.

    I admit I resisted these pencils when Aigle Noir etc first came out. Someone gave me a sample and I found I loved the softness--and flexibility (I use aigle noir with a light smudge of night clubbing on top and, for me it works wonderfully)--enough drama and no harshness.

    Nars' claims about the pencils may be off, but I think they are something to consider if you like a certain style or in my case, are post-35 and want fun and drama without harsh lines.

    thanks for the comparison images and as always, a well-considered review.

  5. I do find in general, you can make most everything work. But kids nowadays, they like it with no effort at all. Touch and go. If they have so sharpen the thing, forget it. If a battery can do the job, they're all for it.

    Anyway, looks like a good blue, but I have tons of blues, so I think will try the other ones.

  6. This is an amazing post, i saw Joanne Smalls make up and realized she uses NARS and when i looked it up, my search brought me to your page. Thanks for sharing this


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