Thursday, July 14, 2011

NARS Coconut Grove eyeshadow single

NARS Coconut Grove in full sunlight
Hot chocolate with a double shot of expresso. That's NARS Coconut Grove. It's such a rich, delicious, smooth, buttery, perfect color that's reached holy grail status. I love it so much, that I delayed posting because I was afraid I couldn't do it justice. Silly, but true.

Despite the summery name, NARS Coconut Grove is an eyeshadow single that was released as a part of the NARS Fall 2010 collection. It received stellar ratings from big time beauty bloggers, but I passed, because it was just another brown.  Fast forward to last spring. While google-ing the NARS summer collection, I came across Anne Hathaway's look to the premiere of Rio. She had these adorable glasses, which incidentally made her look bird like--- fitting for a animated movie about parrots, and NARS makeup. I loved the golden chocolatey look of her eyes, which were done with NARS Exotic Dance and Coconut Grove. And that's how I ended up with NARS Coconut Grove. Yes, sometimes I am that impressionable.

NARS Coconut Grove in sunlight; partially shaded by lid

 You can see from my various photos that Coconut grove is a very rich dark brown. It leans cool and looks cooler and blacker when indoors or in shade, while in direct sunlight it has the slightest hint of red-brown. Before I attempted my photos for review, I always considered it to be a cool black-brown, kind of like coffee beans. I was quite surprised when my photos showed an earthy brown. So keep this in mind! The true color base may be reflected in my sunlight pictures, however for practical purposes, the color will look like a rich cooler dark brown on the eyes.

The texture, pigmentation, and blendability ratings are all through the roof. This is why Coconut Grove is not just another dark brown shadow. Other brown shadows may have one or two of those attributes, but not the complete trifecta. When I touch my shadow brush to the pan, it kicks up just the right amount of shadow. Not too soft, not too hard. I like to use a small brush for blending in eyes since the pigment is so strong you could end up with very smoky eyes if you're not careful. This shadow blends so well with any shadow you've laid down under it. Darker liner shades are not usually designed for blending (since they're for lines), so this is surprisingly awesome. I'm partial to cooler colors, so I love blending this with just about anything to deepen a look. I've of course done a classic combo with the gold in Exotic Dance (like the Anne Hathaway look), but I often blend this brown with silvers and greys as well. The brown is cool enough to complement greys, and also adds an extra layer of complexity in that combination.

Oh, and on a side note, this Coconut Grove is my favorite eyebrow filler color as well. Plus, plus, plus, and plus.

NARS Coconut Grove in indirect sunlight
You can see that the surface of the pan is pretty beaten up. Despite heavy use, there's not chance I'll hit pan because it's too pigmented.

NARS Coconut Grove in full sunlight
I've always thought all dark browns are pretty close. In fact, I felt a little guilty ordering Coconut Grove because I figured it would be very similar to Bobbi Brown Expresso. But, fortunately I found that dark browns can be quite different. See below...

NARS Coconut Grove comparison products in strong sunlight
Here are my dark brown comparison swatches to NARS Coconut Grove. Please note that these were done in strong sunlight over a larger area; on the eye they're quite a bit darker and more intense.

I was actually quite surprised by the swatches. Coconut Grove always seemed quite dark and cool to me, however it's not nearly as dark or cool as Bobbi Brown Expresso and Bare Escentuals Smoky Quartz (a gift from Jeanie at Makeup Merriment!). Those two are more black-brown liner type colors, while Coconut grove is an exremely rich dark brown. Urban Decay Darkhorse, which is a shimmer, appears warmer than Coconut Grove. I've always considered Darkhorse to be a cool brown, so this confirms that coconut grove is cool as well.

Edit: I've updated my swatch picture to one that more accurately reflects the colors of each shadow. My previous picture, if you saw it, wasn't swatched darkly enough for my liking.

Dark Brown comparisons: Bobbi Brown Expresso, NARS Coconut grove, Urban Decay Darkhorse, and Bare Escentuals Smoky Quartz
So there you have it. NARS Coconut Grove. It shines amongst cool dark browns. That's saying a lot since I'm quite fond of the other browns as well. I'd definitely recommend it, though it is pricey for a single shadow. There's lots of great browns out there, so you wouldn't be missing out if you had to take a pass, however if you can afford a spot in your stash, it's well worth it. I'd also like to point out that Coconut Grove is one of the six colors on this year's Nordstrom Anniversary palette. And yes, I have been ogling that palette ever since Karlasugar's swatches came online.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you think you've got a shadow that can measure up to this one, brown or otherwise. I'd love to hear.

Love, Dovey


  1. This looks like a nice mate for my Nars Mykonos cream shadow! Thanks for the review.

  2. I like it! I think it would look great on my eyes :D But, I should definitely look for something cheaper :) So, will be reading for comments to see if anyone has some to recommend :)

  3. Excellent post! And what a gorgeous color. It looks like an extremely dark taupe, but then it appears warm next to Bobbi Brown Espresso. I wonder how Coconut Grove compares to BB Caviar or RBR Blackpepper Jay.

  4. I adore brown eye shadows and this one definitely takes the cake compared to all that I have. Jealous!! Great post :)

    <3 Sidd

  5. Hi Jamilla- I actually had to google Mykonos because I'm not that familiar with the creme shadows. I agree, it would look quite nice in that combo.

    Marina - thanks! I'll let you know if I stumble upon any other good browns =)

    Zuzu- It was quite surprising to me too to see how warm it looked next to expresso. I used to have BB Caviar (and loved it); I'm pretty sure Caviar is a much blacker brown, or even a brown black, while Coconut grove seems brown with a hint of black.

    Sidney - thanks! I hope I'm not overhyping it... but I really do love this color =)

  6. Dovey, thank you SO much for posting about Coconut Grove! You've completely changed my mind about this one, it's definitely on my list now!

    ♥ Jessica

  7. AnonymousJuly 14, 2011

    Gorgeous! I've seen this one floating around a while and I believe it's in a current palette, which makes it all the more tempting! Great swatches, btw :)

  8. That really is a gorgeous shade and your photos and swatches are excellent! I've had my eye on Bobbi Brown Expresso for quite a while now, but after seeing it swatched next to Coconut grove I think i need the NARS instead! Thank you for the review and comparison swatches.

  9. Jessica - you're welcome =) ... I'm glad you liked it!

    Alex - yep, it's in the Nordstrom palette, which I still want despite having CG already.

    Nat - thanks for the lovely comment! I do love BB expresso too, it's a really great liner shade.

  10. This is a beautiful eyeshadow. I googled Anne Hathaway to see how she dressed for the Rio premier and she looked adorable (isn't she always?). I loved the quirky glasses! Very nice review :)

  11. Oh my! I have always thought this looked like the most boring brown ever, but your post has changed my mind. I love the photos in all the different lighting and angles. ADORE your cute watermark too. So chic!

    You've tempted me now. It looks so much better than BB espresso from your swatch. Now I must check it out. Thanks for the lovely review!

  12. what an absolute stunner of a review!!!!! dont worry ur not the only one who can be that impressible lol
    I absolutely loved the detail u put into this, well done, I have seen this shadow and it looks pretty incredible but bc i have mekong i nv justified a purchase but it looks amazing from ur review!

  13. Tasha- I'm so glad you did, I thought her look was so fun!

    Sabrina- Thanks for the wonderful comment, I'm so glad you stopped by and enjoyed the reivew =)

    Lilladylife- Oh, I agree, Mekong does look quite similar and beautiful in its own right. Lol, on the impressionable.

  14. Coconut Grove is my GO TO eyeshadow for lining my eyes... Perfection


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