Round-up: NARS Dual-Intensity Blush Overview & Thoughts

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.

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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.

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NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Dual-Intensity Blush Duo Jubilation
C+
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
7.5
Texture
8
Longevity
8
Application
4.5
Total
79%
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MAC x Julia Petit 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.

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MAC Linda Blush
MAC Powder Blush Linda
A
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
8.5
Application
5
Total
93%

MAC x Bao Bao Wan Summer Opal Beauty Powder

MAC Summer Opal Beauty Powder ($28.00 for 0.39 oz.) is described as a “light bronze with golden shimmer.” It’s a light, golden peach with warm undertones and a soft, frosted finish. Kevyn Aucoin Starlight (P, $44.00) is darker. Bobbi Brown Pink Glow (LE, $45.00) is lighter. Benefit CORALista (Palette) (P, $28.00) is warmer. Becca Guava/Moonstone (P, $27.00) is darker. Becca Fig/Opal (P, $27.00) is darker. MAC Stereo Rose (2014) (LE, $30.00) is peachier. MAC Perfect Topping (2014) (LE, $30.00) is pinker. bareMinerals The Many Splendors #2 (LE) is lighter. Becca Rose Gold (LE, $38.00) is darker. Urban Decay Glint (LE) is more sparkly. MAC Soft & Gentle (P, $30.00) is less peach. Le Metier de Beaute Whisper (P, $30.00) is more shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

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MAC Summer Opal Beauty Powder
MAC Beauty Powder Summer Opal
B+
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8
Longevity
8.5
Application
5
Total
87%

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.

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NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Dual-Intensity Blush Duo Craving
B
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8
Longevity
8.5
Application
4.5
Total
84%
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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.

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Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball
Estee Lauder Lip & Cheek Ball Ultra Pink
C-
Product
5.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
6.5
Longevity
6
Application
4.5
Total
72%