Sunday, August 14, 2011

NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliners : Via Veneto and Madison Ave.

         I'd like to take a moment before I start my NARS Larger than Life Long-Wear eyeliner review to tell you that I've got BSB's Larger than Life CD cranked up as I write this. I couldn't help it. The urge was too great. I have a soft spot for both eyeliner and blast-from-the-past-music.

         If there's one thing I'm utterly dependent on, it's black eyeliner and heaps of mascara. I have a small collection of eyeliner greats which includes MUFE 0L, Urban Decay 24/7, and Bobbi Brown's Black Ink gel liner. I don't need more black liner. When I heard that NARS was taking a stake in an already saturated eyeliner market, I wasn't too interested. However, after reading Karlasugar's positive review, I had to try them for myself. Could the NARS Larger than Life eyeliners really offer something new?

          In short, yes! I bought NARS Larger than Life eyeliner in Via Veneto (black) and Madison Ave. (stormy grey). I took them on a test drive for the past few days and it's love. They're impossibly saturated and long lasting. The fact that they are twist-ups add icing on top of the cake. Eyeliners tend to crease and fade on my eyes over the course of a day, even if I've used a primer. NARS Via Veneto did not. Even after a 12 hour day there was no creasing, and the color remained strong. It was amazing. The color did fade, but it was no where near as much as my other liners. After several hours of use, there was a very slight amount of running at the edges of my eyes where I had winged out the liner. Again, this is typical of my other liners and NARS performed better than the rest.

          I bought NARS Madison Ave. with the intention of using it to line my lower lashline. Usually I prefer to use a brown or grey to line the outer 1/3 of my lower lashline since black is too harsh. When I tried Madison Ave. on the lower lashline, I found it was too intense! My other grey liners appear as shadows, however Madison Ave. was insanely pigmented for a grey. I can use it to liner my upper lashline as an alternative to black. Since Via Veneto is such a strong black, I find that Madison Ave. is a great alternative on more casual days. Today I decided to be brave and wear Madison Ave. without eyeshadow primer. I never wear eyeliner without primer because it's a recipe for disaster. Within one hour my liner will crease and smudge away. Lo and behold, the eyeliner did not budge! There was no immediate creasing or smudging away. The color lasted reasonably well for 4-6 hours. I was ecstatic.

          Overall, I give this eyeliner an A+. It's better than anything else I have.

        A cool feature that the eyeliners come with is a tip sharpener. This sharpener is tucked into the end of the pencil. You pull it out. Because the pencil is a twist-up, I find that the liner is already thin enough for my liking. It is nice to have the option of sharpening though. Most standard pencil sharpeners butcher soft eyeliner tips. I bet this one would work a lot better.

          One of the things that sold me on the Larger than Life eyeliners was the twist-up tip. I love twist up eyeliners. They're convenient and easy, plus you don't lose product due to sharpening. If I have a pencil eyeliner in heavy rotation during one week, it can shrink a good half a cm in length! Additionally, if you forget to sharpen your liner, the sharp edges of the casing can tug at your eyelid. That hurts. I had only one twist up eyeliner prior to this. I reached for it all the time just because of that function (and not the quality of the liner).

        In the photos below you can see what the liner tips look like after use. I like to show the used versions of my products. This is because a) I'm too eager to use them and b) it's more helpful to see what happens when you use them. You can see that NARS Via Veneto has completely lost its point. (The small shimmer particles are residue from my eyeshadow. Via Veneto is a matte black). I don't plan on sharpening the tip since the line is adequately thin enough for my liking.

         NARS Madison Ave. is a stormy matte grey that leans blue. NARS Via Veneto is blackout black. See swatches below.

         I've compared Via Veneto and Madison Ave. to other black and grey pencil liners I own. Each swatch was approximately three swipes of the pencil liner. You can see from my swatches that NARS Via Veneto is blacker than Make Up Forever (MUFE) 0L and Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Zero. I was quite surprised since MUFE and UD are quite black already. NARS Madison Ave. is considerably more saturated than MUFE 21L and MUFE 1L. It is also cooler and more blue.

         After photographing my swatches, I performed an informal wear test (a.k.a washing my arm). If you've ever tried washing off eyeliner swatches, you'll know it's not easy. Regular soap did nothing. Foaming makeup cleanser helped a little. Finally I used some olive oil to help dissolve the colors. Urban Decay 24/7 dissolved first, but NARS and MUFE 0L held on longer.

          I hope you enjoyed my review of the NARS Larger than Life eyeliners! I'm certainly enjoying the eyeliners. To be honest, it makes me nervous to put out an overly positive review so early on. I don't want to mislead anyone. If I do find negatives after long term use, I'll be certain to update this entry. The color selection at this point is limited and a bit flashy for my taste. I believe I saw two new colors (a blue and a gold) in a preview of the NARS Holiday 2011 collection. I'm hoping they add some more wearable cool-toned neutrals over time. Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on these liners (both positive and negative) in the comments below.

Happy Monday.

Love, Dovey.


  1. Glad you like them! I just got Via Appia!

  2. Great review! I prefer twist-up liners, too, for the reasons you stated. I don't usually sharpen them, either, but it's nice to be able to. I really like these especially for the waterline because they tend to be gentler there. On my blog you asked about vegan brushes, and I've tried a lot! But honestly, I haven't tried many UD because I wasn't impressed with the shadow brush that came with my Naked Palette. But Ecotools brushes (especially the Alicia Silverstone sets) are great (especially the face brushes), lots of brands make some Taklon brushes now. I love Too Faced "Teddy Bear Hair" brushes. They recently came out with an eyeshadow brush set that is great (though, I've never tried the more famous MAC eyeshadow brushes to compare). I have several E.L.F. studio taklon brushes and they are okay and inexpensive, but not great. I hope that helps (and sorry for the novel)!

  3. those look beautiful! I have never tried a grey liner . . . madison ave may be perfect for my first one!

  4. What a wonderful review ( you keep getting better & better!). These remind me of Chanel's Stylo Yeux Waterproof which also twist out and have the sharperner at the end. I only have one, but it's the best eyeliner I have and it does not budge all day. I save it for special occasions because I find eyeliner for the day isn't the best look for me...

  5. One quirk: if you put the cap on the back of the eyeliner while you're using it, the sharpener can get stuck in the cap as you take it off. The lady I bought mine from made sure to tell me to always just put the cap down on the counter!

  6. I'll definitely be checking these out! Glad to know that they are so long-lasting - I cannot stand smudged liner. And I find that most liners run on me :(

  7. Excellent review! I haven't tried any NARS eyeliners. You're making my NARS wishlist longer and longer. lol

  8. Glad you love them as much as I do!

  9. Jamilla - That's exciting! I did like Via Appia too.

    Sarah S - Thanks for the response =) I've tried EcoTools with varying degrees of success. I'll probably try one or two UD brushes and stick with the sporadic synthetics that some brands offer.

    Kelly - It's really pretty, I'm wearing it today!

    Alex- Yay! Me too, I hate how most liners run, especially pencils.

    StealMyHeartLove - Thank you (I hope that's not a bad thing?)

    Lexi- You know I do!

    Tasha- Thanks for the nice comment =). Chanel escaped my mind; however I think you're right. They are known to be incredibly budge-proof!

    Tess- Glad you told me; fortunately I haven't tried capping the pencil yet (and I won't!)

  10. oooh! Maybe I'll give this a try next time I need new eyeliners. My only concern is if it will stay on TOO WELL..... and be tough to remove....

  11. ZZ- true, I don't think these stay on too well, but eye makeup remover does help!

  12. Like the coal color that is displayed in here and the quality of the pencil.I really like to use the coal over the stiff eye lipstick


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I truly enjoy hearing your thoughts!

Comments are moderated to prevent spam. Please note that links, promotions, and offensive / irrelevant / questionable comments will be deleted at my discretion.