Asking me to choose my favorite highlighter, by the way, is akin to making me choose favorites between (fur) children (if I had more than one). There were some seriously ga-ga-glowing highlighters launched this year, too! On the blush front, there were some great shades and formulas I tried and tested, but it was easier to narrow those down.
NARS Gina Blush ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “true tangerine.” It’s a softened orange with a satiny sheen. It’s not vibrant, not an intense orange, but it’s much more orange and richer than peach (hm, I am amused that all descriptions are fruit-related!). This is actually one of the closest shades I’ve seen to Illamasqua Expose, which is darker, richer–but when worn softly, they look nearly the same. Illamasqua Lover is lighter, brighter. MAC Solar Ray is more shimmery and golden-tinged.
I really liked the texture of this shade, as it was so soft, smooth, and finely-milled without being powdery. The color was true-to-pan, and it’s a buildable blush. A light tap of product gives a warm cloak of color, while a swirl of the brush in the blush (say that five times fast!) yields full color. The softness lends to effortless blending on the skin, and the subtle sheen is both glowy and natural so it doesn’t emphasize pores. The lightness inherent in the shade keeps it from looking red-toned or burnt on the cheeks. Gina wore well for eight hours and started to have noticeable fading after nine hours.
Quality-wise, one of the best NARS blushes I've come across. The texture is soft and blendable, while the color is buildable and true-to-pan with excellent color payoff. It wears particularly well to boot!
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