NARS describes the colors as “gold lame” and “iridescent smoky orchid.” That description is spot on: the left shade is a rich, warm metallic gold, and the right shade is a cool, shimmery grey-based plum. Neither of these shades is the most unique. Urban Decay Maui Wowie is slightly yellower, but similar to the gold. As for the purple, Urban Decay Gravity is similar. However, the gold is lushly pigmented, with the metallic effect coming through. The purple is semi opaque, but even with primer, it needs to be built up a bit. (3.5/5)
When it comes to wear, the gold was excellent, lasting a full 8 hours looking flawless. The purple didn’t do as well: it only made it 5 hours before it looked faded (even with primer). (4/5)
The gold applies soft, smooth and opaque, even without primer, and has great textural intensity (the foiled effect, naturally, looks enhanced over a base). However, it was a pain with fallout, the kind of shadow where you’d want to apply your face makeup afterwards to avoid looking glittery on the cheeks. The purple also went on smoothly and blended easily, and didn’t suffer from fallout. But, the pigment wasn’t as intense as I’d have liked, and needed to be built up. (3.5/5)
The duo comes in traditional NARS rubberized packaging with a great full-size mirror included. The rubber texture is great for absorbing impact from a fall or during travel. Also, the compact is sleek and thin, and stays secure when shut, making it easy to store. It also has that nice feel you expect from more expensive products. The two pans of shadow have a nice distance between them, and they don’t kick up much product to begin with, so there isn’t much worry of powder crossover. However, this kind of rubber packaging is prone to showing fingerprints. (4.5/5)
A NARS duo is $35 USD, and contains 0.14 oz of product. That’s $250 an ounce. (Comparatively, one MAC shadow is $15 for 0.05 oz, which is $300 per ounce.) This is another great example of spending a little more to get more (in this case, 2 shades instead of one, with 0.9 oz more product), and having it add up to less money in the long run.
In terms of quality, it’s not the best, but it doesn’t do so poorly that I’d say it isn’t worth the money. The gold is fabulous and the fallout can be contained. The purple could’ve been improved a bit more. But the shades work so well together and look fabulous enough that I’d say $35 isn’t an outrageous cost, especially if you don’t already have something similar. (4/5)
If it isn’t clear by now, the gold definitely grabbed my attention in a positive way. The metallic, high shine finish is lovely and sets it apart from the other golds I own. The purple has been done before, but I like the rich smokiness and how it pairs well with the brighter gold. Yellow and purple are complimentary colors, so it’s not the most unique combination, but I like the way Kauai turned out. (3.5/5)
Kauai is a rich, plush looking duo that draws the eye. It looks lovely in the pan and on the lid. However, there were some technical issues (fallout and lack of vibrancy) that disappointed me. My makeup collection is not super large, but still I was able to find dupes for both shades. If you like the shades and don’t mind working with their respective difficulties, go for it. However, there are cheaper options available if you like the effect and not the price tag. (3.8) C+
-This product was purchased by me.
-NARS is cruelty free, but their parent company, Shiseido, is not.