NARS Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) was an interesting concept, but I think that the texture could have been differentiated a bit more from the eyeshadows, because–as we have learned this year–that what makes a good eyeshadow may not always make a good blush and vice versa. Most blush brushes are less dense and often cut with more tapered fibers compared to a lot of eyeshadow brushes, but the texture of this formula is firmer (like the eyeshadows), so it can require some experimentation with tools and techniques to get decent to good pigmentation out of it.
Secondly, NARS claims that damp application results in a “translucent wash of color,” which is the exact opposite of damp application for their Dual-Intensity eyeshadows (the wet application is described as “mind-blowing impact with dramatic luminous matte and high shine finishes”). These perform very much in line with the eyeshadows with a damp application–they’re more richly pigmented, deeper and more intense, and the finishes are more shimmery, more metallic. Everything about them is absolutely amplified with a damp application, regardless whether one uses their specific brush (which is one of the worst brushes for using these damp), moistened fingertips, misted brush, or dampened sponge.
Funny enough, but one trait of the eyeshadows is they’re supposed to be “a sheer soft touch of sensual color” dry, whereas the blush formula is supposed to have “a bold flush” when applied dry. I’ve found many of their eyeshadows to actually be more pigmented than sheer when applied dry, which was the case with the majority of the blushes. In reality, pigmentation is pretty good either way, it just gets richer and more shimmery damp, but the formula remains more blendable and buildable dry.
They’re now available at NARS and Sephora. I was actually very curious if NARS’ would have different verbiage on their site at launch (perhaps it was a mistake), but their verbiage is the same as the press release sent to me by NARS. As of this morning, Sephora actually states: “Apply these shades wet to achieve a high-impact flush or dry to get a natural-looking glow.”
A few readers have asked if I like them: so if I take off my reviewer cap a bit and just look at them as your typical powder blush, they’re decent to good, but it depends on the shade and finish. I’m not in love with the firmer texture, and even dry, some shades still made my skin look worse, but some were really luminous and glowy in a good way. I’d prefer them as singles as well. I like a few, don’t love any, and would reach for a lot of other formulas first (regardless of claims).
Here are all the shades I’ve reviewed ordered from highest scoring to lowest scoring. Click the shade name below to read the full review and/or view the full set of photos and swatches.