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NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush Review, Photos, Swatches

NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is one of six duos that will be available on March 4th. The lighter shade was best applied dry, as damp application resulted in such a metallic finish that it was more like a flashing, neon sign that said, “Hey, my skin isn’t perfect! I have pores! And texture!” The darker shade ended up becoming much, much more pigmented when applied damp, but it become too shimmery, and it lasted longer that way. It was easier to apply, blend, and control applied dry, though, and coverage was buildable so greater intensity was achievable with two or three passes. Wear time is fairly good regardless of application method, but I get slightly longer results with a damp application. The texture is firm, but smooth, and it doesn’t feel dry or stiff, but it seems to have a firmer press overall.

The formula is supposed to have a “weightless, luxurious texture” that can be used wet or dry. The wet application is supposed to give a “translucent wash of color,” while dry application yields “a natural glow that warms the complexion.” If you’ve tried MAC Extra Dimension Blush and MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish, the formulas are similar. Estee Lauder, Lancome, and Laura Mercier have all done cheek products with a similar wet/dry kind of formula.

Nearly across the board, there was either negligible color payoff difference between wet and dry applications, but when there was a difference, it was typically much more pigmented. The shades tended to apply with a more metallic/shimmery finish when applied with a dampened brush and emphasized pores. The fact that it was more pigmented applied damp may be great news for some, but it is the opposite of how the formula was described (which is how I rate products), so you will see that have a negative impact on the ratings. It is interesting that it was described as a wash when applied wet, as this is the opposite of the Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow formula.

With the new blush formula, NARS also added a Wet/Dry Blush Brush to their assortment of brushes. I’m trying to give the brush more chances, but I had great difficulty using it with their formula, particularly wet, where it tended to lift the product and leave the results looking patchy, even over bare skin. With enough effort and a very, barely-there touch and some fingertip blending, I could manage fairly even color over bare skin. However, it was impossible to use over a liquid foundation, as it moved and lifted the foundation in places. I far preferred using MAC’s 159 stippling brush, which worked well for both wet and dry applications. Ultra-soft brushes by Chikuhodo and SUQQU didn’t pick-up product well with this formula. Some of the deeper shades do work with those feathery, ultra-soft brushes.

Adoration (Left) is described as a “sparkling baby pink.” It’s a light-medium pink with subtle, warm undertones and white shimmer and slightly larger silver-white sparkle. The texture was firm but smooth with semi-opaque color coverage dry and mostly opaque coverage damp. It had more of a frosted finish when it was applied dry, and it very slightly emphasized pores but for the most impart imparted a high-shine sheen and lasted for seven and a half hours. When I applied it damp, it was much more metallic and emphasized every pore and imperfection, but it wore well for eight and a half hours. The effect can be luminous without being emphasized by patting translucent or flesh-colored powder over it. MAC Just a Wisp (P, $27.00) is less shimmery. Makeup Geek First Love (P, $9.99) is less shimmery, cooler-toned. MAC For Your Amusement (LE, $20.00) is less shimmery. MAC Azalea in the Afternoon (LE, $27.00) is less shimmery, warmer. Physicians Formula Rose (P, $11.99) is warmer. Lancome Moonlight Rose (LE, $42.00) is less shimmery, lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Adoration (Right) is described as a “shimmering hot pink.” It’s a medium-dark pink with subtle, warm undertones and a satiny sheen. Applied dry, it was semi-sheer and buildable, with a more satin-like finish that gave the skin a lovely glow that didn’t draw attention to pores, and it lasted for eight hours on me. Applied damp, it was intensely pigmented with nearly opaque coverage from the get-go, and you’ll want to apply the smallest amount and build-up, or else you’ll have a lot of work ahead of you. The dampened application intensifies the sheen, but it doesn’t turn metallic, so it still gives a glow without emphasizing the texture of the skin, and applied this way, the blush lasted for nine hours. Makeup Geek Love Affair (P, $9.99) is warmer. MAC Peaches & Cream (LE, $21.00) is similar. MAC Sunset Beach (LE, $32.00) is similar. YSL Fuchsia Desinvolte (01) (P, $40.00) is less shimmery. Clinique Berry Pop (03) (P, $21.00) is brighter, cooler-toned. Illamasqua Peaked (P, $26.00) is more muted. Chanel Affinite (65) (P, $38.00) is lighter. Tom Ford Beauty Wicked (P, $55.00) is cooler-toned, more muted. Tom Ford Beauty Narcissist (LE, $55.00) is cooler-toned. NYX Bourgeois Pig (P, $5.00) is less shimmery. MAC Supernova (LE, $27.00) is similar. See comparison swatchesview dupes.

P.S. — I am testing the wet and dry application for each shade, so one duo is the equivalent of testing four blushes, and while I will work diligently through the six, I may not get be able to test all of them before the official release date (it really depends on how long each shade wears and whether I can test more than one shade per cheek per day!)–just as a heads up.

See more photos & swatches!

NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)
NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)

NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)
NARS Adoration (Left) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)

NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)
NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)

NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)
NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)

NARS Adoration (Right) Dual-Intensity Blush (Wet)
NARS Adoration (Left) on cheekbones/top half of cheeks / Adoration (Right) on lower half of cheeks Dual-Intensity Blush (Dry)

Makeup Look
On face:
  • Guerlain Parure Gold Foundation
  • Urban Decay Naked Loose Setting Powder
On eyes:
  • NARS Colombo
  • Jezebel
  • Brousse
  • All About Eve Eyeshadows
  • Sephora Sun Tan Eyeliner
On lips:
  • NARS Anna Lipstick


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Carrie Avatar

Shimmer overload!! Kind of disappointing, did NARS really think people want that much shimmer on their face? Shame too, because I otherwise love it.

Christine Avatar

It’s tough, because I think the blushes are pretty nice if they’re just used dry – usually it gets to be shimmer overload (to the point where it makes skin look worse, whether you like a lot of shimmer is more of a preference, but ideally you wouldn’t want the texture of the skin to be worsened!) with the damp application.

Mariella Avatar

Ooooh – so pretty! It’ll be a toss up between this and Panic (I think that was the name) or I may just crumble and get them both. Thanks for all that information about which brushes worked best/results with different types of brush and also the “heads up” about Nars’s own wet/dry brush. I’m curious about the wet application – how “wet” is wet? How much did you wet the brush and did you have to experiment to get the “right” amount of moisture?

Christine Avatar

I usually run my hand under the faucet, shake it off, then I run the brush back and forth over my hands. The brush is noticeably damp, but it’s not sopping – so if you squeeze the bristles, it wouldn’t drip water. I didn’t feel like I had to experiment, but I’ve used a lot of products wet/dry so I just went with the same method I’ve always gone. It’s better to err on the side of not wet enough, though.

I was VERY surprised that the NARS brush didn’t excel at damp application.

Katherine T. Avatar

Yeah, when I saw all that sparkly shimmer in the preview swatches, I knew we were in trouble. It’s like a magnifying glass on pores and dry patches. NARS is known for their great blushes, but I think this is a case where they got too fancy with the dual intensity formula ( just because it works on shadows doesn’t mean it will work as a blush, witness the Hourglass disaster when they tried to convert their ambient face powders into shadows), then the marketing people went crazy with the wet/dry hype, and then they rushed out a special wet/dry brush that wasn’t adequately tested. I think if you ignored all of the hype, this sounds like a decent blush set if applied dry with a regular brush, but wish brands wouldn’t over-hype because it disappoints customers when the product doesn’t perform as promised.

Christine Avatar

Yes, it is funny, but they’re better blushes if you just think of them as your normal powder blush! I’m baffled by the wet application leading to sheerer application – it gets so pigmented that it becomes a total pain to take it down if you don’t actually need/want that level of pigmentation, which is so opposite.

Nicole Avatar

This looks really pretty in the pictures on you! I am glad these are permanent because by your description this is something I likely will want to feel in person Unless the others come out differently in texture. I don’t tend to go for stiff blushes. My skin is too dry to handle that. I do like the looks of this and it looks like a nice blush highlight combo. Thanks for doing these reviews! 🙂

Debra Avatar

I don’t get the whole point of NARS doing this wet/dry formula with a blush!? The company is diluting the franchise — their shadows are so good and such a hit? Why push your luck on a good thing and end up with mediocrity!

I thank you though for the frank and frankly funny review. It sounds like you are dealing with a recalcitrant boyfriend!! You just might have to give the brush the brush!

Al Avatar

Yeah, I really wish they hadn’t done that. I remember reading the description and feeling completely skeptical about the whole ‘translucent wash of color’ when used wet, only for my suspicions to be confirmed by the sneak peak swatches and this review.

meganlisa Avatar

I hope you do a roundup on these. I can take a little shimmer in blush (and tone down my other makeup â€ĶI get that glow effect) but too much is a little, um, awful. With one review of yours up I’m still on the fence. I suspect these probably aren’t for me.
As a longtime Nars user I feel like the brand really, really gets it right sometimes. Others. they’re too experimental and willing to take a wild risk and the results don’t work for me. I’m waiting for your other reviews on these to decide if I’m right.
And I absolutely love the like shadows.
Again, you’re bravely going somewhere that none (or few) have been before…

Natalie Avatar

Christine, i really like the tanned glow you have in these pictures! And Anna looks great on you! I agree with others though-that highlight is too much and draws attention to imperfections that we can’t see otherwise. I am really disappointed that the wet application didn’t lead to a sheer wash as described because I was really looking forward to that. I appreciate you working through the testing! I can’t wait for a review of Fervor!

beka Avatar

i was pretty sure, just from pictures of the compacts, these wouldn’t be for me…i was right! i love the eyeshadows you have on though. are you going to review those? i usually don’t like NARS eyeshadow, but this palette and the dual intensity palette have me wanting to give them another go.

Mary Avatar

Way to matellic and shimmery for me, even with dry application it wouldn’t be a look that would suit my skin. Sad because I think the dark color is pretty, but I’m pretty sure these blushes will be a pass for me. I’m sure they will work better for others those!

jilly Avatar

Thank you for such a detailed and thorough review, Christine. I may cave and try one, because I can’t help myself, even though they sound like such a disappointment. I had such high hopes for them. Beautiful color and, as usual, they look beautiful on you.

Ginny Avatar

Thanks for doing wet and dry face shots! Using blush wet seems odd to me. A wet brush to the face after you applied foundation? But I absolutely love both of these colors.

Kate Avatar

No way are my pores going to accept this. I had assumed that the “softer colour when applied wet” was a typo the first time I saw it, because I’ve never heard of anything being less pigmented when applied wet. Think someone at Nars PR might have messed up there.

xamyx Avatar

I actually really love the lighter shade, both wet & dry, and hate the darker pink (I’d just end ip looking like a clown…). Then again, I also really like the Maybelline Master Hi-Light blushes, which many find too OTT. I find matte blushes to be more pore-emphasizing, and go for this sort of finish. Unfortunately, most of these duos aren’t to my tastes color-wise…

Rachel R. Avatar

I think they’re beautiful. They are so shimmery wet, though…maybe for clubbing, but I haven’t done that since my 20s. I like them dry, though.

El Avatar

I’m still curious about these, and willing to sandwich the blush between foundation and powder, which sounds like it might be the way to go if you need to dim the shimmer some. The shades are very pretty. This particular duo is a no-go as the darker pink is precisely the type of shade that emphasises any redness in my face (and thus I avoid completely) but I’m definitely interested to see how the others swatch.

Sylirael Avatar

I really love both of the colours – but I’m not sure I’d ever use the pale one on my cheeks! O_O Maybe as an eyeshadow though – it’s such a nice colour.

The hot pink is lovely as well, although I think I’ll continue diligently working my way through Affinite for now ^_^ (not exactly a chore *clutches Affinite adoringly to chest*)

Disa Avatar

What do you use to “wet” your products? Water, fix+, or something else? Thanks!

Nars needs to stop going overboard when they have a successful concept. (I’m reminded of the Orgasm stuff, which is a bit gimmicky) IMO

fancie Avatar

I had a feeling these would apply more pigmented when wet since it just makes sense lol. But I wasn’t expecting any of these to be sheer when dry. NARS is known for their ultra pigmented blushes so I’m not sure what to expect from the rest of these duos. Especially with the high glitter content.

Laura Avatar

I’m still undecided on the line in general (metallics on the cheeks? ehhh), but thank you for working through these and being so diligent. The fact that you’re testing each shade both wet and dry- you’re the best!

Sophia B. Avatar

I see a lot of people are commenting about the level of shimmer in this…I would love 2015 to be the year of satin blushes! I definitely like that finish the best. I think satin blushes offer the most versatility and are the most flattering. I really hate it when I go out into the sunlight and then my cheeks look like they belong to a twilight vampire. even very fine shimmer gives this effect. :/

Noah Escarda Avatar

i waaaaaaant hahaha ive always dreamt of making a blush duo like this! even if its uber shimmery it looks GORG on you Christine, then again everything does haha and the last photo tho, when you were supposed to show us what ot looks like layered its just a pic of the packaging 🙁

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