City Duet Eye Shadow (Discontinued)

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Makeup > Eyeshadows > Powder Eyeshadow
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Housed in one slim compact are two shades of powder eyeshadow, each with a plastic embossed overlay that indicates where you should apply each shade (a helpful touch). The enclosed, dual-sided sponge-tip applicator is impractically small and should not be used in favor of regular-size eyeshadow brushes.

As for the texture, it's smooth and a bit waxy, but also dry enough to impede seamless application, making it tricky to blend shades into a harmonious design. Although the shades look color-saturated in the compact, each goes on surprisingly soft, so you'll need to do a lot of layering to build a dramatic or visible eye design. Although not the best powder shadows, they're acceptable for the price—if you can get past the mostly strange, difficult-to-use pairings. The only workable duo is NYC Times (soft black and white); the others are only for those whose eye design mantra is "bright, bold, and a bit clownish."

  • Inexpensive.
  • The shimmer is low key rather than sparkling or glittery.
  • Dry finish can make blending tricky.
  • Colors go on almost too sheer, requiring you to layer more than usual to build intensity.
  • Mostly unusable (or at least tricky to use) pairings whose colors are too contrasting or too bright for a sophisticated eye design.

The N.Y.C. (New York Color) brand clearly wants to align itself with all of the excitement and pulsating action of the Big Apple—think Sex and the City or any of the notable fashion magazines whose home is in the heart of Manhattan. It would have been a clever marketing maneuver if New York Color had delivered, but despite a few stellar products, the line overall is comparatively tame and relatively ordinary. Sexy product names and beguiling makeup descriptions don't equal great makeup. Forget Sex and the City, this is more like a new Woody Allen film—a few surprises, but predictably familiar in the end.

The most appealing part of this line is rock-bottom prices; everything is less than $10, and several items are less than $3 (but that's still not as rock bottom at E.L.F., where $1 per item is standard). Although this isn't the cream of the crop for makeup, there are more than enough inexpensive okay options to make it worthwhile for you to check if it's being sold at your local drugstore. Just keep in mind that not everything N.Y.C. offers is "prestige quality" or the least bit fashion-forward. Put another way: New Yorkers are a notoriously tough group to please, and as a whole N.Y.C. doesn't do enough to make an on-the-go city girl slow down and see what she's missing. In fact, shopping this line without some advance information may lead to resounding disappointments, and that's never the goal. On the flipside, knowing what to zero in on will not only save you money, but also connect you with a product that stands a very good chance of leaving you wondering why anyone would pay more.

You're most likely to find N.Y.C. at Target and Rite Aid. Regrettably, testers are not available, but both of the aforementioned retailers have a good return policy if you save your receipt.

For more information about N.Y.C., call (800) 953-5080 or visit

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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