Sunday, March 8th, 2015

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).

Report Card

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.

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a warm-toned duo that is for those who love shimmer and metallic finishes. The texture of both shades is a bit firmer, so using ultra-soft brushes may get you poor results (e.g. blue squirrel haired brushes don’t work well, but goat hair and synthetic brushes worked fine). The color payoff was good regardless of dry or damp application, though the shimmer in the finishes was amplified when I used the shades damp. The “translucent wash of color” for damp application continues to elude me–I get nothing but intense color (and my brush is lightly misted, not sopping wet!). I would recommend a duo fiber brush like MAC’s 159 for applying these damp, rather than NARS’ own brush, as the damp application easily lifts base products and/or moves the brush around together while lifting it from place to place rather than blending it out, and I’ve had the best luck with the duo fiber brushes as they swirl without lifting the best. Damp application is a lot more work, because it is quite fussy.

Jubilation (Left) is described as a “sparkling yellow gold highlighter.” It’s a brightened, light-medium yellow gold with warm undertones and a metallic finish. It is actually rather metallic whether it is used dry or wet, though it is even more metallic when used wet and the pigmentation is richer. It emphasized pores very slightly when applied dry, and it lasted for seven hours. When I tested it with a dampened application, it definitely made my pores look bigger and skin more textured, and it wore well for eight hours.
NARS Frenzy (Left) (P) is much lighter. Dior Transatlantique (LE, $58.00) is similar. MAC Centre of Attention (Inner) (LE, $30.00) is similar. Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder (LE, $70.00) is darker. Chanel Or (LE, $45.00) is lighter. bareMinerals The Shining Moment (LE, $26.00) is less shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Jubilation (Right) is described as a “shimmering soft nude peach.” It’s a softened peachy-orange with a warm, golden metallic sheen. It had rich color payoff regardless of wet or dry application, but a wet application brought out the metallic shimmer and also tended to give it a chunkier, more textured look (the powder seemed thicker). Applied dry, it illuminated the skin and added warmth without emphasizing the skin’s natural texture and lasted for seven hours. Applied damp, it was thicker and more metallic, which amplified pores and my skin’s texture but wore well for eight hours. NYX Beach Babe (P, $6.50) is darker. Laura Mercier Rosegold Shimmer (LE) is less shimmery. Becca Guava/Moonstone (P, $27.00) is a cream product. MAC Fairly Precious (LE, $30.00) is lighter. bareMinerals The Many Splendors #3 (LE) is darker. MAC Perfectly Poised (Outer) (LE, $30.00) is darker. Becca Rose Gold (LE, $38.00) is less warm-toned, less metallic. MAC Trace Gold (P, $21.00) is very similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

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palette

Jubilation

C+

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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product

Jubilation (Left)

C+

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Jubilation (Right)

C+

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Thursday, March 5th, 2015

MAC Linda Blush
MAC Linda Blush

MAC Linda Blush ($24.00 for 0.21 oz.) is described as a “soft pink bronze.” It’s a slightly muted, coppery-orange with warm undertones and a satiny sheen. Colour Pop Bonus (P, $8.00) is brighter, cream. NARS Frenzy (Right) (P) is more shimmery. MAC Seduced at Sea (LE, $25.00) is more shimmery. MAC Pleasure Model (LE, $25.00) is darker. MAC Bad Girl Gone Good (LE, $21.00) is darker. NARS Soulshine #2 (LE, $29.00) is more shimmery. NARS Gina (P, $29.00) is similar. MAC Eternal Sun (P, $23.50) is darker, browner. MAC Coppertone (P, $21.00) is slightly darker, rosier. MAC Blazing Haute (LE, $25.00) is lighter. Illamasqua Expose (P, $26.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The texture is very soft, finely-milled, and blendable, though it can get a smidgen powdery in the pan, but luckily, it doesn’t translate on the skin. Applied, it gives a beautiful, luminous sheen that keeps skin looking natural and fresh without being too dewy. The finish gives a noticeable glow but doesn’t emphasize pores. It’s also very pigmented but diffuses easily for a softer flush if desired. On me, the blush wore well for eight hours before fading. This was one of the best products in the collection.

The Glossover

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product

Linda

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Monday, March 2nd, 2015

NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a highlighter and bronzer duo. The two work together well, and when applied dry, they can be quite flattering on the skin, though dry application doesn’t have the best staying power. Both shades tended to emphasize the skin’s natural texture and any imperfections when applied with a damp brush, unfortunately, as the shimmery finishes intensified. To reiterate what I’ve mentioned in previous reviews: NARS describes the damp application as a sheer wash of color, but the reality is that this type of application yields deeper, richer, more opaque coverage than dry, and it also makes it harder to work with, as it doesn’t blend as readily as the formula does used dry.

Craving (Left) is described as a “sparkling seashell pink highlighter.” It’s a pink-tinged iridescent white with a metallic shimmer-sheen finish and cool undertones. Applied dry, it was semi-sheer with a frosted, metallic finish, which didn’t emphasize pores and lasted for seven hours on me. Applied damp, it was semi-opaque with a metallic sheen, which did emphasize pores and stayed on for eight hours before fading. NARS Devotee (LE, $29.00) is more sparkly. Urban Decay Luminous (P, $29.00) is less pink. Lancome Moonlight Rose (LE, $42.00) is darker, pinker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Craving (Right) is described as a “shimmering beachy bronze.” It’s a medium-dark orange brown with warm undertones and a gold shimmer. Applied dry, it had opaque color coverage that was fairly blendable and had a lovely satin sheen that didn’t emphasize pores. It wore well for seven hours this way before fading. When I tried to apply it with a dampened brush, the finish was more like a high frosted sheen, which did give my skin a more noticeable texture, though the color lasted for eight and a half hours. NYX Beach Babe (P, $6.50) is lighter. Bobbi Brown Bronze (LE, $45.00) is more muted. Urban Decay Strip Bronzer (P) is darker. MAC Alpine Bronze (LE, $27.00) is less shimmery. Too Faced Sun Bunny #1 (P) is darker. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bikini Contest (P, $3.99) is less shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

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palette

Craving

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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product

Craving (Left)

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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product

Craving (Right)

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes

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Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball
Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball

Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball ($26.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “translucent berry hue.” It’s a muted, pinkish-red with cool undertones and a subtle shine. NARS Adoration (Right) (P) is a powder. MAC Red Obsessed (LE, $20.00) is warmer. MAC Bred for Beauty (LE) is a powder. YSL Rose Frivole (02) (P, $40.00) is similar. YSL Fuchsia Desinvolte (01) (P, $40.00) is brighter. Illamasqua Peaked (P, $26.00) is more muted. Illamasqua Seduce (P, $26.00) is more muted. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The formula is supposed to be a “jelly-like gloss” with a “full-throttle shine” that gives a “slight tint to lips while imparting a rosy glow to cheeks.” It’s not at all glossy or jelly-like; it’s more like a very thin, firm balm that offers a satin shine with sheer color. The coverage is as described–translucent–and tints the lips and cheeks with a barely-there hue. It’s extremely uncomfortable to wear on the lips, as it feels dry and is drying over time, while the color lasts about an hour before sliding off. As a blush, it wore for six and a half hours before breaking down, but it imparted no real shine, just a smidgen of color (would be better suited for a fairer complexion than mine).

The Glossover

LE
product

Ultra Pink

C-

Product

5.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

6.5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Saturday, February 28th, 2015

NARS Panic Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Panic Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Panic Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a vibrant duo featuring a bright pink and rusty coral. This seemed to be the least forgiving of the duos releasing as we’re working with much richer shades to begin with, so any weakness in blending is easily seen, and it is lacking that blendability that is so necessary when you have deeper shades like these two. The texture of the product dry is firm and a little stiff, so getting a really even, smooth layer of color dry wasn’t easy and required some buffing with a separate brush to get everything in place. Applied damp, it was hard to avoid splotchy color. Worth repeating, NARS described the formula to have richer color payoff applied dry with more of a wash of color applied damp, and the latter isn’t true whatsoever–applying with a damp brush results in much richer, deeper color and a more intense finish (typically more shimmery).

Panic (Left) is described as a “shimmering shocking fuchsia.” It’s a brightened, medium fuchsia pink with cool, blue undertones and a soft, frosted finish. Applied dry, it had mostly opaque color coverage, was somewhat blendable but not easy to apply, and the shimmer very slightly emphasized pores, but with enough buffing, it’s possible to tamp it down, while the color itself lasted for seven and a half hours on me. Applied damp, it was fully opaque with really rich color coverage but lacked blendability as it adhered and “dried” in place and didn’t want to diffuse/blend out after a few seconds. The finish is more noticeably shimmery on the skin and tended to emphasize the skin’s natural texture. The damp application lasted eight and a half hours. NARS Adoration (Right) (P) is warmer. Clinique Berry Pop (03) (P, $21.00) is brighter, darker. Tom Ford Beauty Narcissist (LE, $55.00) is darker. MAC Supernova (LE, $27.00) is warmer. MAC Feeling Flush (LE, $27.00) is more muted. Burberry Hydrangea Pink (P, $42.00) is less shimmery, darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Panic (Right) is described as a “shimmering orange-pink.” It’s a brightened, medium coral with a hint of pink and a gold, frosted shimmer. Applied dry, it had mostly opaque color payoff with a fairly shimmery finish, so it did make my pores more noticeable, and the color stayed on well for seven hours before fading. Applied damp, it deepened and turned a reddish-orange coral with a more metallic sheen, and definitely made my cheeks look very textured as a result, though it lasted a bit longer than dry application at eight hours. It was also rather difficult to blend the color out when I tried using it damp. MAC Secret Admirer (LE, $20.00) is a cream product. Surratt Beauty Ponceau (P, $32.00) is less shimmery, lighter. IT Cosmetics Pretty in Peony (P, $24.00) is pinker. Clinique Ginger Pop (01) (P, $21.00) is less shimmery. NARS Realm of the Senses (Together) (LE, $29.00) is pinker. MAC Simmer (LE, $27.00) is pinker. Tom Ford Beauty Flush (P, $55.00) is less shimmery, lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

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palette

Panic

C+

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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P
product

Panic (Left)

C+

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Dupes
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product

Panic (Right)

C

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Dupes

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