NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette (Spring 2016) Review, Photos, Swatches

NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Cheek Studio Blush PaletteNARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette ($65.00 for 1.01 oz.) includes a highlighting/contour duo, bronzer, and four blushes. Three of the blushes are exclusive to the palette with one blush being part of an exclusive offering for Sephora VIB Rouge members (as a single). Strangely, the Paloma duo, which is available in the permanent range (see my original review here), was very chalky and clumpy in the palette–it felt smooth and soft to the touch, but it looked dry and chalky on the skin. I wish NARS (and other brands guilty of it) wouldn’t include one-size-fits-all contouring products; matte highlighters are also difficult to make inclusive (without the shimmer, it is hard to salvage one that really doesn’t work for one’s skin tone).

Paloma Highlight is a pale beige with subtle, neutral-to-warm undertones and a matte finish. It was sheer, chalky, powdery, and looked all those things on the skin. It’s harder to tell the wear on a shade like this on my skin tone, but based on how powdery the skin looked in the area I applied it, it seemed to wear about six hours. Guerlain Mythic (P, $59.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Chanel Jardin de Camelias (LE, $70.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). MAC Blush Pink (LE, $35.50) is darker (90% similar). Tarte Highlight (Tarteist) (LE, ) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Tarte Halo (PiP, ) is darker (90% similar). Hourglass Ethereal Light (P, $48.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Make Up For Ever H104 (P, $23.00) is lighter (90% similar). YSL Golden Contouring Highlight (PiP, ) is more shimmery (90% similar). YSL Rosy Contouring Highlight (PiP, ) is more shimmery (90% similar). NARS Highlight (PiP, ) is lighter (85% similar). NARS Nico (P, $30.00) is more shimmery, darker (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Paloma Contour is a muted, medium-dark brown with subtle, warm rosy tones and a matte finish. It had semi-sheer coverage with a firmer consistency that was hard to blend out or build-up in coverage. It wore for six and a half hours on me. MAC Sculpt (P, $16.50) is cooler (95% similar). NARS Gienah Highlight (PiP, ) is darker (95% similar). Viseart Sculpting #2 (PiP, ) is cooler (95% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Natura (P, $37.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). MAC Scone (LE, $28.00) is warmer (90% similar). NYX Sculpt (P, $5.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). NARS Madly (P, $30.00) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Burberry Earthy (P, $42.00) is more shimmery, cooler (95% similar). Tarte Sculpt (PiP, ) is warmer (90% similar). Too Faced Chocolate Soleil (P, $30.00) is more shimmery, warmer (85% similar). Surratt Beauty Grisaille (P, $32.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). Colour Pop Aphrodisiac (P, $8.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). MAC Harmony (P, $24.00) is cooler (95% similar). Kat Von D Sombre (PiP, ) is cooler (80% similar). Too Faced Medium Cocoa (PiP, ) is more shimmery, lighter, better quality (80% similar). YSL Rosy Contouring Contour (PiP, ) is lighter, cooler (80% similar). Gucci Beauty Fair (01) (P, $62.00) is lighter, cooler (80% similar). Zoeva Unfinished (PiP, )(80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Laguna is a medium, yellowed brown with warm undertones and a soft, frosted finish. This version was firmer, sheerer, and harder to blend on the skin than many others that I have tried. It is similar in color, but the performance is sub-par. It lasted for seven hours on me. NARS Laguna (P, $38.00) is less shimmery, darker, cooler (90% similar). Laura Mercier A La Mode (LE, ) is brighter (90% similar). Guerlain Ultra Shine (LE, $61.00) is darker, brighter (90% similar). MAC Aphrodite's Shell (LE, $34.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Kat Von D Shadowplay (PiP, ) is less shimmery, cooler (90% similar). MAC Nude on Board (LE, $30.00) is more muted (90% similar). Too Faced Spice (LE, ) is warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop Paradise Cove (P, $8.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). Too Faced Jolie (LE, ) is more shimmery (95% similar). MAC Matte Bronze (LE, $70.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). MAC Sun Dipped (LE, $30.00) is warmer (90% similar). Tarte Park Ave Princess (PiP, ) is darker (90% similar). MAC Lush Light Bronze (LE, $28.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze (Original) (PiP, ) is lighter, cooler (90% similar). CoverGirl Bronze (200) (DC, $9.99) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). IT Cosmetics Warm Radiance (P, $34.00) is more shimmery, more pigmented, cooler (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Terra (P, $68.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Tropical Days (P, $48.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (90% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Medium/Dark Bronze (PiP, ) is darker (90% similar). Too Faced Chocolate Soleil (P, $30.00) is darker (95% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Cheek Studio I is a light-medium, cool-toned pink with a dusting of gold shimmer over a mostly matte finish. It looks primarily like a matte blush on the skin as the shimmer is fine, and as it is buffed into the skin, the finish is less flat-looking. The texture was lightly powdery but blendable, and the color lasted for seven hours. Makeup Geek First Love (DC, $9.99) is less shimmery (95% similar). Makeup Geek Promise Ring (P, $10.00) is darker (95% similar). Jouer Tease Me (PiP, ) is warmer (90% similar). Make Up For Ever B200 (P, $23.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). NYX Pastel Chic (P, $6.50) is less shimmery, lighter, brighter (90% similar). Kat Von D Clyde (Light) (DC, ) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Guerlain Carousel (LE, $65.00) is less pigmented (90% similar). Sydney Grace Always and Forever (P, $9.00) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar). Hourglass Ethereal Glow (P, $40.00) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Dior Lolli'glow (002) (LE, $45.00) is darker (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Cheek Studio II is a light-medium, peachy-brown with warm undertones and a frosted finish. It had good pigmentation with a soft, blendable texture that wasn’t too firm or too loose in the pan. The color applied well and lasted for eight hours. Revlon Naughty Nude (006) (P, $9.99) is more shimmery (95% similar). MAC Peachtwist (P, $24.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). Guerlain Petrouchka #8 (LE, ) is warmer (90% similar). Chanel Golden Sun (280) (P, $45.00) is more muted, cooler (90% similar). Becca Fig/Opal (P, $27.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar). Charlotte Tilbury The Climax (P, $40.00) is darker, brighter, warmer (85% similar). MAC Cheek Pollen (LE, $24.00) is more shimmery, darker (85% similar). Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless (220) (P, $30.00) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Cover FX Soft Peach (Right) (PiP, ) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Too Faced Papa Don't Peach (LE, ) is lighter, brighter (85% similar). Chanel Accent (84) (LE, $45.00) is darker (85% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Rose Champagne (P, $2.99) is lighter (85% similar). NARS Sexual Content (Left) (LE, ) is lighter, less pigmented, warmer (85% similar). Clinique Nude Pop (P, $21.00) is lighter (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Cheek Studio III is a medium-dark, copper-brown with warm undertones and a frosted finish. It had semi-opaque color payoff with a lightly dry texture that applied decently but needed some extra love to blend the color out evenly. This shade wore well for seven and a half hours. MAC Peachtwist (P, $24.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). LORAC Golden Hour (LE, ) is lighter (95% similar). MAC Faux Sure (P, $27.00) is more shimmery, darker, cooler (90% similar). MAC Cheek Pollen (LE, $24.00) is darker, more muted, warmer (90% similar). Coloured Raine Bourgeois (P, $25.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). MAC Highlight the Truth (LE, $34.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Lovegasm Multi-Glow (LE, ) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). MAC Hushed Tone (P, $27.00) is darker (90% similar). MAC Rhubarb #2 (LE, $39.00) is cooler (90% similar). NARS Embruns (-, ) is lighter (90% similar). NARS Liberation (Right) (LE, ) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). NARS Give It Away (LE, $30.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Charlotte Tilbury The Climax (P, $40.00) is lighter, brighter, warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop Good Luck Charm (LE, $10.00) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). MAC Perfectly Lit (LE, $34.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Laura Geller Pink Grapefruit (P, $28.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). NARS Na Pali Coast (P, $39.00) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Makeup Geek Ablaze (P, $20.00) is warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop Non-Fiction (LE, $8.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Laura Geller Golden Apricot (P, $28.00) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Goulue is a medium-dark, berry rose with subtle, cooler undertones and warmer gold shimmer. It had good pigmentation with a soft, blendable texture that was easy to use. The color wore well for almost eight hours on me. This shade was released previously, and it is presently available as an individual shade for VIB Rouges at Sephora. MAC Love Thing (P, $29.00) is cooler (90% similar). Colour Pop Cheerio (P, $8.00) is darker, brighter (90% similar). NYX Apricot (P, $15.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Becca Nightingale (P, $32.00) is less shimmery, darker, brighter (90% similar). KIKO 104 Pastel Pink (P, $12.00) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). Sleek MakeUP Pomegranate (P, $6.99) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). Milani Red Vino (P, $8.00) is warmer (95% similar). Patrick Ta Oh She's Different (Powder) (PiP, ) is darker, cooler (90% similar). IT Cosmetics Radiant in Rose (P, $24.00) is less shimmery, brighter, cooler (90% similar). Anastasia Exotic (PiP, ) is less shimmery, cooler (90% similar). NARS Outlaw (P, $30.00) is lighter, more muted (85% similar). NARS Oasis (P, $30.00) is darker, more muted (85% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Pink Glow #5 (LE, $60.00) is darker, warmer (85% similar). NARS Ferocious (LE, $30.00) is more shimmery, darker, cooler (90% similar). NARS Dolce Vita (PiP, $30.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). Kevyn Aucoin Neolita (P, $37.00) is darker, cooler (85% similar). MAC Gleeful (P, $29.00) is darker, warmer (85% similar). Kat Von D Morticia (Shade) (DC, ) is less shimmery, cooler (85% similar). Black Up NBL 03 (P, $26.50) is darker, cooler (85% similar). theBalm Pinstripe (P, $22.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

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NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette
NARS Cheek Studio Blush Palette

NARS Paloma Highlight Contour Blush
NARS Paloma Highlight Contour Blush

NARS Paloma Highlight Contour Blush
NARS Paloma Highlight Contour Blush

NARS Paloma Highlight Contour Blush
NARS Paloma Highlight Contour Blush

NARS Paloma Contour Contour Blush
NARS Paloma Contour Contour Blush

NARS Paloma Contour Contour Blush
NARS Paloma Contour Contour Blush

NARS Paloma Contour Contour Blush
NARS Paloma Contour Contour Blush

NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder
NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder

NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder
NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder

NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder
NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder

NARS Cheek Studio I Blush
NARS Cheek Studio I Blush

NARS Cheek Studio I Blush
NARS Cheek Studio I Blush

NARS Cheek Studio I Blush
NARS Cheek Studio I Blush

NARS Cheek Studio II Blush
NARS Cheek Studio II Blush

NARS Cheek Studio II Blush
NARS Cheek Studio II Blush

NARS Cheek Studio II Blush
NARS Cheek Studio II Blush

NARS Cheek Studio III Blush
NARS Cheek Studio III Blush

NARS Cheek Studio III Blush
NARS Cheek Studio III Blush

NARS Cheek Studio III Blush
NARS Cheek Studio III Blush

NARS Goulue Blush
NARS Goulue Blush

NARS Goulue Blush
NARS Goulue Blush

NARS Goulue Blush
NARS Goulue Blush

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About Reviewer
Review FAQ
Reviewer

Christine Mielke is the editor-in-chief and has been reviewing products for over 14 years.

She has normal-to-dry skin with occasional dryness on cheeks and nose. She has a light plus skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones (view her foundation matches here).

Learn more about her review process here.

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Studio III looks gorgeous on you! I like the ghoulue color more than I can say for my pale skin but I will wait until I hit VIB rouge again this year to get a free mini. NARS blush is a blush I have the worst time with. I’m at the point where if someone tries tossing a NARS blush at me, I’ll run in the opposite direction. Noooooo! ? This palette looks similar to the one with a giant Laguna bronzer. I’m 100% happy for others who love NARS blush who find these colors appealing. A C grade though.. ?

They hate my brushes and my face. They don’t work as blush.. Or anything else.. Love the colors! The formula is for me like the KVD recents were for you. When a top selling blush does not show up or deliver anything at all on my skin which is dozens of shades lighter, there’s a problem. When something else strange happens with other colors, that’s it. Trial done. ?

Surprised at the Laguna grade. Do you think they change the formulas for the palettes? I found the Benefit Blush palette, for example, was a huge downgrade from the individual products (and even color differences). Wonder if this is a way for brands to offset cost – use an inferior forumla for “value” sets?

NARS’ products are usually consistent from palette to single, but there are a few that vary. Laguna has been fairly reliable until now (to my memory, which could very well be faulty, lol).

Yesterday evening, while in Sephora trying to pick out a new eye cream, I saw this. It looked so incredibly tempting and beautiful! Until I swatched the Paloma and Laguna shades. Told myself to leave it alone until you perchance reviewed it….and talk about coincidence! Glad I waited!

hi there, I do have the Paloma duo and indeed no troubles with the contour powder at all, it’s my favorite. So this is an easy pass… Blushes look nice, but I rather go for a single one since it takes ages for me to finish a full blush. 🙂

Goulue is such a pretty color! I have it in another palette and haven’t used it in a long time, I need to get it out. I like the #1 blush, too. I have the Paloma contour mini-palette and it’s good on its own, but it’s been supplanted in my routine by better (at least better for me). Laguna is not really good for me, and #3 and #4 wouldn’t be, either, so it’s not a huge loss for me that this palette is a disappointment!

You know, Christine, I was thinking that it’s one of the colors in the Guy Bourdin One Night Stand palette from a couple of Christmases ago, but, taking it out and looking it it, now I’m not so sure… it seems to me that it was in a palette at some point, though…

I really liked the similar palette that came in the Steven Klein Collection. I’m surprised of the low rating for this one. By the way, you don’t seem to be wearing much on eyes and they look so pretty 🙂

Part of me wants to go ahead and get this since I wanted Goulue anyway and the other blushes are pretty, even if not stellar performers. But Paloma is so bad that the other part of me wants to skip this one just on principle! (Also, I need another palette with Laguna like I need another hole in the head, but I basically just recalculate each Nars palette now as if Laguna and Orgasm weren’t there.)

Totally agree about including matte highlighters in palettes. They’re going to work for so few people. And I feel like they’re not as popular as luminous ones? At least in a palette, I feel a luminous highlight is a much better selling point, seeing as how ubiquitous shimmery highlighters are right now. And I feel like the contour color and the bronzer are competing here. So, the matte highlight goes with the matte contour… then there is the huge bronzer with no shimmery highlight to go with it? I like the blushes, though, especially I and II.

Shimmery ones seem more popular, and I know that at least with a lighter but shimmery shade, it can be mixed more readily with blushes to create something workable – but something that’s so matte and chalky is much harder to mix and use!

While I like the colours of the blushes in this palette, the Palomas and Laguna aren’t for me. I don’t contour, I use highlighters, but this one didn’t look fun, and Laguna is so wrong for me, it makes me look dirty, not healthy.

I liked the initial look of the palette, a lighter version of Despair, which I love. Sadly not as good! Half is pants and the other half is nice. I have a dupe in Ferocious for Goulue anyway, even if it is darker. Might be worth looking out for the 2nd half of blushes if they ever bring them out again, I do like them a lot. It’s interesting reading your original review for the standalone Paloma shade, it looks beautiful. Shame it didn’t perform so well here.

I got a mini Nars Goulue last weekend when I renewed my VIB Rouge thru 2017. I love it! I’m ordering the full size as soon as I get back for Az. (Which is gorgeous and I love FYI :)) . It’s sooo pretty!

Oh goodness… I was contemplating whether to get this palette after I missed the Steven Klein one…but I’m so glad I put it off! Needed an excuse not to buy it…Your review saved my wallet 😀

Oh yikes, not good. The shades either didn’t perform well or the oranges won’t look good on me. The only color I like is Goulue, but I’ve held off on buying it because I heard it was going to be the 2016 Rouge VIB Renewal gift but not sure

With these shades and this rating, I think I’d be leaning toward UD/Gwen Stefani’s blush palette instead.

Of course, that would be assuming I liked / was into blush palettes 😉

I absolutely love the Paloma Contour Duo. I mean it’s perfect for my olive yet neutral light/med skin. The rosiness helps give life to my face, and it doesn’t look orange on me. And the highlight shade, I use it to sometimes brighten under my eyes! And it’s my go to highlighter since I have oily skin and don’t really like shiny highlights. It’s an absolute shame that they can’t take a formula and transfer it to a set without losing it’s amazing qualities. Bummer.

I just don’t understand this specific thing with NARS on their palettes…
WHY do they, almost literally, include either/both shades Orgasm and Laguna!? It drives me up insane, like every single new palette includes at least one of them, and is instantly gives me the click to overlook. Chances are that if you are at all familiar with NARS’s makeup you definitely already have at least the orgasm blush or laguna bronzer (whether or not it’s in a palette you own already or bought individually).
Lol, so that’s my rant for the day.

This Goulue blush looks super gorgeous! The most frustrating part about reading Temptalia is you can’t’ get hold of the 90% products featured here.. We don’t get Nars here in India 🙁

I don’t understand how the Paloma duo and Laguna could be so much worst the the Steven KleinOne Shocking Moment palette of just a few months ago.

Is this the sole Nars palette blush offering this spring? It’s not what I expected. Not very promising; glad I got Despair. (Still available @nars.com, I believe.) For my preferences & coloring, only Goulue is a standout. Clearly it’s one of my preferences: I have 6 dupes. Always wanted Neolita, too. I accept how silly getting a Goulue single would be. It’s what I said before about preferred shades…you see all the minute differences, and rationalize ridiculous expense. As Nancy Reagan said, JustSayNo. About drugs, that is naive and oversimplistic. As far as that blush shade, yeah, Nancy, you got me.

Every time I go on Pinterest to look at swatches your website comes up. Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your reviews. Especially with how much I love nars it’s nice to see swatches before spending the money on this high end brand. And I think I need goulue in my life.

I saw this in stores when I bought my NARS One Shocking Moment Cheek palette… Briefly thought about this one and I am glad I passed. My countour duo performs great and the blush shades are more interesting.

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