Being Bold with One Eyeshadow at a Time, in This Case NARS Outremer

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

Going bold with your eye makeup by getting back to basics can be a lot of fun. Believe it or not, dramatic looks like this blue cat eye starring NARS Outremer Eyeshadow ($23), my new favorite blue, don’t necessarily need to involve boatloads of products.


nars fall 2011 outremer single eyeshadow

This particular cat eye packs an edgy wallop, thanks in large part to Outremer, and only requires a single shadow, a few tools, a positive attitude and a good chunk of time (for me, from 20-30 minutes). I went with bold, blue Outremer here, but you could just as easily use another color you happen to have on hand, like a yellow, orange, pink or green. If you decide to try your hand at a bold look featuring a different eyeshadow single, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. πŸ™‚

Now, I hope you’re ready. Here are the steps I followed this time around…

1. Brushes with greatness

Brushes used, from the left: the MAC 266 Small Angle Brush, MAC 219 Pencil Brush, MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush and the MAC 217 Blending Brush

First things first, I cleared a space to work in at the bathroom counter and gathered the following eye makeup brushes, each of which serves a different purpose in the look.

  • A Small-Angle Brush — A great multipurpose brush. I use them for everything from lining my lash and water lines to filling in my brows. In this case I used the MAC 266 ($19.50) to outline the initial shape of the cat eye and to line my water line.
  • A Domed Blending Brush — Another awesome multitasking brush. Great for applying powder or cream eyeshadows, blending and for applying concealer. I like the MAC 217 ($17.50) and used it here to apply color to my lids and in the crease. I also used it to blur out the edges of lines and the overall shape of the cat eye.
  • An Eye Shader Brush — A solid performer when it comes to applying dense amounts of eyeshadow, and it excels with loose powders and pigments. I used it here (the $24.50 MAC 239) to apply color on my lids and along my lower lash line.
  • A Pencil Brush — Great for detailed work. Here I used the pointy tip on the mighty MAC 219 ($24.50) to add dense, concentrated color on my lids and lash lines.

2. Prepare to prime

Next, I prepared my lids for the look by applying a primer. I like the results I get from with NARS Pro-Prime Smudge-Proof Eye Shadow Base ($24). I think it really accentuates colors while extending wear time and preventing creases.

3. Work from an outline

Using the small-angle brush, I drew a faint outline of the cat eye shape on my lids, and down along my lower lash line. Since I didn’t want the line appearing in the final look, I tried to keep it as light as possible.

4. Fill ‘er up

Then, with the domed blending brush, I filled in the outline by patting color onto the lids and sweeping it into the crease. I aimed to put the darkest color along the lash line, and then faded it up as it moved into the crease.

With the eye shader brush, I further darkened my lower lash line with color, and then blurred out the edges (and the outline) with the domed blending brush.

Patience is a virtue at this step. There are lots of ways to build color, but I usually get the best results when I take my time to apply color in sheer layers, slowly building them up until I reach the level of color saturation I want.

5. Pump up the jam

For extra KA-POW! I used the pencil brush to pack even more color onto the lids and lash line. Then, with the small-angle brush, I lined my upper and lower water lines, dialing up the drama another notch.

6. Bringing it all together

Yea! The hard part’s done. πŸ™‚ Just a quick curl of the lashes and one or two layers of mascara, and we’re out!

Now who’s up for clubbing?


nars outremer single eyeshadow

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 147 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Jayne says:

    Oh, my goodness. You have just answered my beauty blog prayers! I have been dying for a basic single-shadow look for BRIGHT colors so that I can justify buying the new UD 15th Anniversary palette. This is amazing!

    And crap. Now I have to buy Outremer too. This is just too good. Thank you!

  2. Mary says:

    I like this bold, colourful look on you! And I appreciated how you explained step-by-step how you achieved this eye look along with photos. Very helpful!
    Mary recently posted … Nail Art Tutorial: The Grapes of Wrath Nails

  3. STUNNING! this colour is gorgeous and so is the look you created =).
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … Liz Earle Skincare: Instant Boost Skin Tonic & Skin Repair Moisturiser

  4. Elle says:

    That last pic is too cute. I love this – I’m going to try this with something similar!

  5. Alex says:

    I think I’m gonna try this with NARS Daphne!
    Alex recently posted … Ultraflesh Black Magic Eyeliner Set

  6. Vijaya says:

    Wow, you look awesome! So bold and pretty!
    Vijaya recently posted … MAC Gem of Roses Lipstick

  7. Natalie says:

    Karen! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I’ve been waiting for this since you first wore this look. The step by step instructions and pics are awesome. I can’t wait to try this myself. Oh and you are too cute in the last pic! πŸ˜‰

  8. Jessi says:

    I can’t get over how much i love this blue on you. It’s so striking with your eye color. Oh, and the last picture is adorable!
    Jessi recently posted … Week 14: Shopping my Stash for Untried Polish- Essie Haute As Hello

  9. kypris says:

    I love this look! And with similar skin tones (I am a bit lighter, though) I would love to try this blue, as well. I may need to dig out my colours and see what I can play around with while I wait on the blue…

  10. Claudenka says:

    makes me want to run to sephora right now πŸ˜€ I’m now seriously considering getting it

  11. Paris B says:

    I love this! I’ll give it a go. Usually with bold shades I go with at least 2 to tone the colour down a little but clearly, its not needed.
    Paris B recently posted … Tip: Makeup to help tired eyes look less tired

  12. Jen W says:

    I love how you’ve created a high impact look with just one shadow! And the saturated colour of Outremer is phenomenal.

    What are you wearing on your cheeks Karen? Looks so good.
    Jen W recently posted … Shimmery teal eye for grownups feat. Inglot (and kittehs!)

  13. Heidi says:

    Great tutorial! I’ve got some vivid colors in a few Urban Decay palettes that this method would be perfect for. Now I just have to make sure I have all the right brushes.

    • Karen says:

      Great idea, Heidi! I have a few crazy Urban Decay colors that need some attention… thanks for reminding me to look into my palettes. πŸ™‚

  14. I love strong and saturated looks like this, but being very pale, blonde, and light blue eyed, I end up looking like Barbie. :/ Brunettes clearly have more fun!

  15. gio says:

    I love this look on you! So bold and beautiful!
    gio recently posted … Product Review: Sleek Makeup Caribbean Collection Aruba Blush

  16. Rozae says:

    I would like to see a comparison with MUFE #159 & NARS ‘Outremer”. I can’t wait when this comes out, even though its more than what I like to spend on eyeshadow, this is too pretty to pass up. And Karen this blue looks great on you.

  17. Patricia says:

    I’m a big time lurker here, but this look has forced me to comment. This looks awesome on you! Beautiful color on you..I will definitely copy this look. Thanks!!

  18. Lorraine ER says:

    I am def. bookmarking this to try it out myself.Thanks for showing how you acheived this. It really looks amazing on you!

  19. Iris says:

    Oooh I never thought of doing an outline like that! Thank you! Super cute on you, too!

  20. Madelon says:

    I can’t leave this post without commenting, Karen this is amazing!
    Madelon recently posted … Zomer bij Yves Rocher! Limited Edition Couleurs Nature Producten

  21. Tracy says:

    That blue looks so good on you! It’s perfect!
    Tracy recently posted … Lush Dirty Makes Me Feel Clean!

  22. Liz says:

    I love the look on ya! The eyes, blush, lips…flawless…stunning. One of my favorite looks on you. Now, you’ve inspired me to get this shadow and try it myself.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liz,

      Thanks, babe! Everything here is pretty much NARS Fall (Pago Pago Lipstick on lips and the rose side of Grand Palais Duo Eyeshadow on cheeks) so you can do one-stop shopping for your look once it comes out.

  23. peach_ says:

    I love bold eyeshadow on you! The last photo is super sexy! <3

  24. Milagros says:

    i love this color and it looks great on you πŸ™‚ i really want to get it! πŸ™‚ ….i’m gonna put it on my makeup wishlist πŸ™‚

  25. Marina says:

    This colour looks truly gorgeous on you, Karen! Also love the way you’ve applied it πŸ˜‰
    I will probably get this shade, too. Should look nice with my brown eyes.

  26. wendy says:

    I really love this colour and am still waiting for the collection to come out!

  27. Tukta says:

    Love it when you do how-to in pictures step by step like this


  28. Emily says:

    Does anyone know of any MAC (or other) dupes for Outremer? It’s sooo pretty but NARS is too expensive!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Emily,

      I looked around at MAC last week and couldn’t find anything quite like it. It’s really interesting — it’s mostly matte, but when you build it up you can see a hint of blue sheen and the tiniest bits of shimmer, so it almost looks wet (even when it’s dry).

      The closest thing I can think of would be doing something like MAC Deep Truth Eyeshadow or MAC Marine Ultra Pigment (you can see swatches here).

  29. Leah says:

    LOVE this look on you

  30. Crystal says:

    What a great way to make this color easily wearable!
    Crystal recently posted … Last Call: Mac Weekend To The Beach Bronzer!

  31. Advah says:

    Love love love this look! I’d been trying to create something along those lines a few years ago, by using a lime green pencil and dark pencil for the water line. Didn’t work out as well, looks like powder might be the answer!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Advah,

      I think I can see what you were going for. I bet if you find a powder that matches your pencil you could probably use it on the lid and then use your pencil to add the extra color punch along the lid and lash lines. πŸ™‚

  32. Nina says:

    Karennnnn — that last picture is soooo adorable!

    i love the look! and that eyeshadow is one gorgeous baby!

  33. Liz says:

    Karen, this shadow looks so good on you I can’t even handle it. I want it so bad, but I’m worried it won’t look as good on me because I’m lighter skinned. I love it so much though!

  34. Alka says:

    This is a ‘hire-a-sitter-hubby-and-I-are-hitting-the-town’ look for sure!

  35. Stef says:

    Very, very pretty Karen! An amazing color and a helpful how-to, love it!
    Stef recently posted … Summer Movie Series: Coming of Age

  36. Kim says:

    This is definitely your go-to, dramatic eye color of the season; it looks so amazing on you! And I know it must take you 10x the amount of time to do the step-by-step photos, but they’re really great. I know I’ll never do a blue dramatic eye but I will definitely follow your instructions if I get up the courage to do another color (orange or pink, perhaps?). It’s so great that you took the time to do this. Thank you! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim,

      You’re very welcome! A pink or orange look sounds so refreshing, summery and fun. When you get around to doing it you must send me a picture. πŸ™‚

  37. Chris25 says:

    You look amazing in blue eyeshadow, Karen! I am waiting for the 15th, so I can order this along with Oasis lip gloss.

  38. natalie says:

    you look wonderful in that picture, your hair, the highlights. i only look jealous right now =)

  39. Lauwchen says:

    this color looks great on you!! But it looks a bit white just beneath your eyes..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lauwchen,

      Thanks! And yeah, I guess it’s a little lighter it might be a mix of the lighting and the powder I used to set the concealer (tried something different).

      Have a good Tuesday!

  40. R says:

    Fab as always! a Q: what foundation are you wearing? Is this the MAC NC42 again? My beloved foundation is being discontinued and I need to find something new. I’m thinking about MAC Sculpt. I have always used a cream foundation with luminous full coverage, and added a bit of high SPF (55+) sunscreen to it to max my protection. I don’t want to give up this part of my routine, so I need to find a creamy/gel-like foundation that actually gives coverage after being diluted. The one I’ve been using for years (La Mer the Treatment Creme foundation in #6) does a fantastic job of this. I usually apply it as a light coverage foundation, and build. For events, I add less sunscreen and have a heavier coverage. This trick also lets me adjust the color of my foundation for different times of the year. If anyone has thoughts on a foundation with good color range that might work for this, lmk! (Laura Mercier was a total fail.)

    • Karen says:

      Hi R,

      Yup, it’s MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation in NC42 w/a mix of the Careblends Pressed Powders:

      I didn’t wear MAC foundations for years (too heavy, broke me out), but this one was a game changer for me. It’s light, covers everything and photographs really well.

      I’ve heard GREAT things about the La Mer foundation; I just haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.

      • R says:

        Thanks for replying above! My Blackberry won’t let me reply to your response. This thing is getting so stone-age in the world of androids and iphones!

        Thanks for the tips. I am scared of MAC foundations because of breakouts – which is what happened with Laura Mercier.

        La Mer changed my life. I’m a total devotee. They discontinued the cream foundation, though, and I’m not feeling the color choices in the liquid. If you try it, the 6 is a smidge dark, 4 is way too light, 4.5 is oompa loompa orange.) Sad, considering the miracles the line performs for my skin!

        Have a kick-butt hump day, all!

  41. Sylvia says:

    I LOVE this on you! Just gorgeous! I also love some of the new things you’ve been doing on some of your posts, like listing the other makeup ur wearing. I hope we see more step by steps like this one. They are super helpful! I know they probably take up a lot of your time so THANK YOU! πŸ™‚

  42. Lara says:

    What this does for your dark brown eyes is amazing! Keeping everything else neutral really makes it work. Love it!

  43. Polly says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have never been able to use just one eyeshadow for a look, I am definitely trying this out πŸ™‚
    Polly recently posted … MAC Ever Hip Lipstick Review with Swatches

  44. bestos says:

    That is such a gorgeous look, and I love that you achieved it with just one shadow!

  45. Paigest says:

    Karen this look rocks, you’ve got the blues in a good way! I wish it came out last week I would rock it at the Britney / Nicki Minja concert!! But at least I scored PINK FRIDAY…. any eye shadow suggestions with the Pink Friday for the concert this week… PS Urban Decay broke my poor little heart today but already selling out on their eye shadow 15 Year eye shadow collection πŸ™ πŸ™ What to do what to do???

  46. amy says:

    Outremer looks very nice on you. I like the bright cobalt blue with your skin tone.

  47. Melissa says:

    Awesome!!! This looks stunning on you! I love the color and the tutorial =)

  48. Paigest says:

    I forgot to say your last picture is so cute! You know who you remind me of aliya jasmine do you know her, I heart her she’s fun!

  49. shontay says:

    Really stunning look for you, Karen. You have me determined to buy this shadow now when I wasn’t interested at all before. I also love that you are using the Nars primer. I switched to that this year from Too Faced and I have never looked back. It’s amazing.

  50. mn says:

    OMG Karen… I think you posted this in direct response to my request for a tutorial on how you did this look!!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t wait to go try this out, I have a similar intense blue shadow so I’m going to be brave enought practice this look.
    Fingers crossed x

    • Karen says:

      Yes! So glad that you found it helpful. πŸ™‚

      One thing I like to do when I play with new looks is to try them on before I wash my face at night. Since I’m gonna wash my face anyway, I might as well get my practice on, you know?

  51. Chelle says:

    That colour is not only phenomenal, but it looks absolutely stunning on you.

    Love it.

    PS – thank you for the recent bright shadows – I’ve noticed a lot more variety as of late and I really appreciate it. *massive thumbs up*

  52. DanaJae says:

    love Love LOVE!

  53. chiara says:

    this look is stunning, and it’s stunning on you πŸ˜‰

  54. Amanda says:

    I love it! Thanks for showing it step by step like that it really helped!

  55. evelyn says:

    how does this compare to MAC Atlantic Blue? Good dupe?

  56. Gabrielle says:

    Karen, your dark circles are invisible ! How did you do that ?!! Are you sleeping more than 8 hours or did you use a different concealer ?

  57. Tierra says:

    Wow, delurking again to say that this looks a-mazing on you! And the step-by-step was so clear and easy to follow. Now to get brave enough to try it!!! πŸ˜‰

  58. Sherri says:

    Hi Karen, I was wondering if the NARS base covers darker pigment on the actual eyelid? I have some faint redness so i use Smashbox Photofinish b/c it has a nude tint that blocks it out. Your thoughts on NARS?
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  59. Jennifer says:

    Someone asked for a dupe for this color and I thought I’d let people know that the Kat Von D palette that came out for the holidays, the one that looks like a book…. there is a matte blue purple shade that when layered looks a lot like this shade.

  60. Dovey says:

    You’re driving me crazy here, I’m literally counting down the days til I can get my hands on this!

  61. Aging_Beauty says:

    I LOVE THIS ON YOU!!! OMG, the perfect summer look, you’re beautiful!

  62. Shann says:

    PERFECT! OMG your instructions are so simple and clear! Will have the confidence to take this on when I get ready to go out. Love your photos, too! Too fierce! Thanks, Karen! xo

  63. Bernice says:

    You have amazing cheekbones and make-up skills πŸ˜€

  64. Kayleigh says:

    Love that!! It’s so simple but so gorgeous!! I reaaally love your idea of tracing the outline too, I’ve never thought of that!! Gonna cop that!

  65. Quinn says:

    Love this! Thanks for the tutorial, I’m definitely gonna try this with purple against green eyes. Then I’ll have to think of somewhere appropriate to go to rock it!

  66. Maan says:

    LOVELY!!!!! must try this!

  67. Andrea says:

    Intense πŸ™‚ the blue

  68. Gauri says:

    I followed your tut step by step & it worked πŸ˜€
    Gauri recently posted … Nivedita’s 200 Followers Giveaway

  69. Nou says:

    I LOVE IT! amazing job… I’m going to try this…

  70. Ashura says:

    So simple, but stunning! I love this look. I live in Spain, and we always have to wait more time to get the new collections, but I’d Probably purchase this shadow by internet. Thanks for the review and the look!

  71. Mairead says:

    stunning look on you Karen!! Going to try this one tomorrow night!! x

  72. Vesna says:

    As I said – bold eye shadows look great on you! πŸ™‚
    Vesna recently posted … ASOS Wishlist

  73. Enchantress says:

    OH OH OH ! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just fell in love with this little beauty. Karen it looks so gorgeous on you….
    Enchantress recently posted … Skin Care: Bliss: Bliss Fabulous Skin-Reviving Rubberizing Mask

  74. Melissa says:

    oh my god this actually made me want to cry… i have been in love with the really strongly pigmented nars eyeshadows since forever, but never ever knew how to handle them RIGHT. i mean i could use a tap and blend them into the corners, or use the slanted brush to do a bright shot of eyeliner, but i never could figure out how to make them take center stage but not look like a clown. this is a HUGE help, thank you so much!! i’m going to take an hour tonight and have a go.

  75. Heather C. says:

    That blue is stunning on you!!!!!

  76. Joey Chong says:

    I can’t wait for my order to arrive =)

  77. Ellise says:

    This look is AMAZING, could you do something bright like this with orange? I recently bought Mac’s RULE and Chrome Yellow and I need something to do with them! I’m gonna try this with the orange but if you have better ideas, show us!

    Awesome work, love the blue and the pics!

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