NARS Despair Cheek Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

NARS Despair Cheek Palette
NARS Despair Cheek Palette

NARS Despair Cheek Palette ($65.00 for 0.48 oz.) includes four blushes (three new, one part of the permanent line) and a travel-sized ITA kabuki brush. The palette contains $90 worth of blush, so it is a good deal for those who enjoy NARS’ blush formulas, and what’s nice is that three are totally new (though not without their dupes, of course!). I’m not a fan of the ITA in any shape or form, let alone the travel-sized version, which is just rougher and scratchier than the full-size. NARS’ blush palettes like this one seem bulkier than they need to be, but it should still travel well.

Nico is a light beige with a satin shimmer. It had good color coverage with a lightly powdery texture, but it was very smooth and blendable on the skin. This doesn’t show up much on me; it’s more like a very, very subtle highlighter on my skin tone, and I’m not sure if it’ll work at all on deeper skin tones, but it may be something you could mix with one of the other shades to lighten then. On me, it lasted for seven hours. This is part of the permanent range. By Terry Light & Tan Vibes #4 (LE, ) is more shimmery (95% similar). MAC Star! (LE, ) is darker (95% similar). By Terry Tan & Flash Cruise #4 (LE, ) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). NARS Paloma Highlight (PiP, ) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). MAC Soft & Gentle (P, $34.00) is more shimmery, darker (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Savage is a medium, coral-red with warm undertones and a matte finish. It had semi-opaque color payoff with a lightly dusty, thinner texture that applied without too much trouble, but it could have been easier to blend out on the skin. It wore well for eight hours before fading along the edges. Colour Pop Fruit Stand (DC, $8.00) is cooler (95% similar). Colour Pop Never Been Kissed (LE, $8.00) is warmer (95% similar). MAC Painted Canyon (LE, $24.00) is more shimmery, lighter (95% similar). KIKO 107 Tomato (P, $12.00) is more shimmery, lighter (95% similar). Colour Pop Ex (LE, $5.00) is lighter (90% similar). Chanel Duo N. 02 (Bottom) (LE, ) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Viseart Orange #3 (PiP, ) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Natasha Denona Coral (PiP, ) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Colour Pop RomCom (P, $7.00) is lighter, cooler (90% similar). Surratt Beauty Brillante Idée (P, $32.00) is warmer (90% similar). Kat Von D Sid (Shade) (DC, ) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). Make Up For Ever B316 (P, $23.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). By Terry Tan & Flash Cruise #2 (LE, ) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Anastasia Scorching (PiP, ) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). Too Faced Cherry Bomb (Blush) (PiP, ) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). Tom Ford Beauty The Afternooner (Blush) (LE, ) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). MAC Burnt Pepper (P, $24.00) is darker, more muted (85% similar). NARS Boys Don't Cry (LE, $41.00) is brighter, more pigmented, better quality (85% similar). Viseart Coral #2 (PiP, ) is lighter, brighter, cooler (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Esoteric is a soft, medium orange with warm, yellow undertones and fine gold shimmer. It had semi-opaque pigmentation with a very easily blended texture, though it was noticeable dusty and kicked-up excess in the pan. On me, the color wore well for seven and a half hours. MAC Style Cast (LE, $24.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). MAC Blazing Haute (LE, $27.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Milani Coral Beams #1 (PiP, ) is less shimmery, more muted (95% similar). MAC Perfectly Poised (Outer) (LE, $34.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). Anastasia Daydream (LE, ) is more shimmery (90% similar). NYX Synthetica (P, $7.99) is darker (90% similar). Colour Pop Most Necessary (P, $8.00) is more shimmery, better quality (90% similar). YSL Rebelle (7) (P, $47.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Too Faced Luminous Peach (LE, ) is less shimmery (90% similar). Guerlain Pause d'Ete (LE, $82.00) is darker, more muted, cooler (90% similar). NARS Luster (P, $30.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). NARS Ambition (LE, $30.00) is cooler (90% similar). MAC Linda (LE, $24.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). Becca Tigerlily (DC, $34.00) is darker (90% similar). MAC Honey Jasmine (LE, $24.00) is less shimmery, darker, brighter (90% similar). NARS Jubilation (Right) (PiP, ) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). MAC Freshen Up (LE, $35.50) is less shimmery (90% similar). MAC Bright Response (P, $16.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Sephora Minnie's Inner Glow (LE, $22.00) is lighter (85% similar). MAC Fresh Honey (LE, $29.00) is less shimmery, warmer (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Ferocious is a muted, medium-dark plum with cooler undertones and a pearly sheen. It had good pigmentation with a soft, smooth, and blendable texture–it was the best shade in the palette–that lasted for eight hours on the skin. theBalm Pinstripe (P, $22.00) is warmer (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Sublimate (Shade) (LE, ) is less shimmery, less pigmented, warmer (90% similar). MAC Sweet Samba (LE, $29.00) is warmer (90% similar). Melt Cosmetics Fire Fury (P, $22.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). MAC Petulant (LE, $22.00) is less shimmery, glossier (90% similar). IT Cosmetics Radiant in Rose (P, $24.00) is warmer (90% similar). Buxom Goa (P, $22.00) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). MAC All Aflush (LE, ) is less shimmery, lighter, less pigmented (90% similar). MAC Plum Foolery (P, $24.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Burberry Silk and Bloom (LE, $68.00) is more shimmery, lighter, more muted (90% similar). IT Cosmetics Magical in Mauve (P, $24.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). NARS Goulue (LE, $30.00) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar). Urban Decay Easy (DC, $26.00) is lighter (85% similar). MAC Plum Sparkle (LE, $24.00) is less shimmery, cooler (85% similar). NARS Sexual Content (Right) (LE, ) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Smith and Cult Cool Pink (P, $24.00) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). NARS Blissful (P, $30.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Smith and Cult Cool Plum (P, $24.00) is warmer (85% similar). Bobbi Brown Island Plum (P, $36.00) is lighter, less pigmented, warmer (85% similar). Anastasia Exotic (PiP, ) is less shimmery, lighter, cooler (85% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

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See more photos & swatches!

NARS Despair Cheek Palette
NARS Despair Cheek Palette

NARS Despair Cheek Palette
NARS Despair Cheek Palette

NARS Despair Cheek Palette
NARS Despair Cheek Palette

NARS Despair Cheek Palette
NARS Despair Cheek Palette

NARS Despair Cheek Palette
NARS Despair Cheek Palette

NARS Despair Cheek Palette
NARS Despair Cheek Palette

NARS Despair Cheek Palette
NARS Despair Cheek Palette

NARS Nico Blush
NARS Nico Blush

NARS Nico Blush
NARS Nico Blush

NARS Nico Blush
NARS Nico Blush

NARS Savage Blush
NARS Savage Blush

NARS Savage Blush
NARS Savage Blush

NARS Savage Blush
NARS Savage Blush

NARS Esoteric Blush
NARS Esoteric Blush

NARS Esoteric Blush
NARS Esoteric Blush

NARS Esoteric Blush
NARS Esoteric Blush

NARS Ferocious Blush
NARS Ferocious Blush

NARS Ferocious Blush
NARS Ferocious Blush

NARS Ferocious Blush
NARS Ferocious Blush

Where to Buy

Current Sales & Deals

  • Neiman MarcusFree shipping + free returns every day, ends 12/31. 15% off your first order when you sign up to receive Neiman Marcus emails, exclusions apply, ends 8/30.
  • NordstromNew markdowns -- up to 40% off (shop here), including more beauty markdowns (20-40% off a lot of holiday sets) (shop here), ends 1/31. Current gifts with purchases viewable here, ends 12/31.
  • SephoraChoose a stress relief trial size with any $25 merchandise purchase. Use code STRESS. Online only, exclusions apply, ends 2/06.
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Makeup Look

On face:
  • Guerlain Parure Gold
  • Urban Decay Naked Loose Setting Powder
On lips:
  • NARS Redemption Lipstick

About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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65 Comments

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This is definitely going on my christmas list! I LOVE that they actually did some new colors this year! I don’t have Nico so it’s really 4 new shades for me which is great–the only one I probably wouldn’t wear much is Ferocious, but the coral and orange ones are so pretty it would still be worth it!

Christine, would you say this cheek palette has more color pay off than last holiday’s Nars cheek palette?

I purchase Nar’s holiday cheek palette and Kat Von D’s holiday eyeshadow palette every year except for last holiday season. They both were such a swing and a miss IMO

Nico is a strange beast but it’s one of my all time favorite products. If you are fair and want to warm up the perimeter of your face but aren’t into the contour thing, Nico is the ticket. I use it around the hair line and backs of cheekbones. It makes my forehead look smaller. It’s slightly luminious but won’t emphasize skin texture and the shimmer does not build up.

I just don’t understand this palette. I looked at it on the NARS site, but decided to pass. I simply don’t understand mixing these shades together. Reasonably, how many people can actually wear all of the shades? I know I can’t. So while as a quad with a brush it might be a good deal for some, for me, it just seemed like a waste of money regardless of how collectible the packaging may be. I hate to say that I’m glad it didn’t get a stellar review from you, but honestly I am…it helps me not have pass-up-remorse!

Michelle, I tried the Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Balm last night. It’s a solid but bouncy gel, you swipe your finger across it, and put on your face, it melts on contact with skin. It has a clean herbal medicinal smell from the natural flower extracts and plant oils, but the smell doesn’t linger. At first it feels kind of oily, but most of it sinks in, with a little film left over. I like to put it over a moisturizer, and I like the film, because it seals in all the moisture while you sleep. But it didn’t feel like my pores were clogged. It has a lot of sunflower and jojoba oils, and I read somewhere that those oils are very similar to the natural oils in your skin, so less chance of clogging pores. When I woke up, my skin was soft , nicely hydrated, and bright. Since I also use other moisturizers and retinols, I can’t tell if it’s just from the Farmacy balm itself, but I think it’s nice, especially for winter, and I plan to keep using.

Katherine, Thank you for the update! Right now I use a serum, vitamin C cream and a retinol eye cream before bed. It sounds like this might be safe to add as an extra boost especially in the cooler weather. I think I may give it a shot. 🙂

I can’t believe they are calling Nico a blush, looks more like a setting powder, I don’t think it would even show up on a vampire. But the other 3 are really pretty

I like these shades. But, I will want to check out the Sephora exclusive one first too before I decide. I wish he would have just put Ferocious on it’s own. I’m a little concerned about the others not working on my dry-ish skin in the winter. Any opinion on that Christine?

It’s not too bad. I noticed the comment about these possibly selling out. Are they not going to be available in November when the collection releases to other retailers? I thougt it was just NARS.com that was selling this stuff now. Nov for other retailers? Am I missing something?

Whew! Ok..I had to check out Nordstrom. Didn’t see anything. But, I had to get some sleep and didn’t have time to check other places. This is a big collection. I’m not ready to choose yet! I’m so grateful to have you to these things to us upfront! Otherwise, I would pass or buy it all!

I’m glad and sad it got a good grade. Glad because it’s so beautiful. Sad because I don’t know if I can snag one before they sell out. And the image on it is one of the prettier ones.

These are some rather beautiful shades ( and no Orgasm! ), but VERY dupable though. I’m thinking it would make a lovely gift for someone who really doesn’t have many blushes, or for oneself if they are lacking these shades. But Nico wouldn’t even show on me I know, and I already have dupes for all but Esoteric. Time to get CP Most Necessary!

I still think Ferocious is gorgeous. Not sure just how much I would use the other colours. I probably would, maybe, apart from Esoteric. Just not a colour that would suit me. Hmm…not sure I could justify the purchase. :/

This is nice and I like the idea of having the brush right there, but I’m holding out for the Sephora exclusive palette. I know the pans will be smaller but I’ve barely made a dent in the Digital World palette from last year. They did manage to give a nice range of colors with this palette!

I know the artwork is off-putting for quite a few people but it does at least make it unique!

I guess it’ll ultimately come down to availability and pricing in Canada. Since I refuse to buy it from the Nars website. $65 USD + $17 shipping makes this ~$107 CAD, which wouldn’t be worth it =(

I’m so jealous you can even rock a straight orange blush and look stunning! That’s some primo DNA you have 🙂 I really wanted this but after seeing the colors in action it would be all kinds of bad for my skin tone. Plus I’m not sure how I feel about the art on the packaging. On a different note, I really need to change my picture lol my nephews don’t look anything like that anymore ❤❤❤

PS thank you for having the BEST dupes!! I love the Ferocious shade but have plum foolery and pinstripe. I would have mourned missing out on ferocious if not for the dupes bc apparently I can’t figure these things out on my own. You ROCK!!!

what interesting packaging! I heard some of the packaging for the gift sets are quite naughty lol. I like this palette a lot and I have never bought a nars pallette. the only problem is I own multiple dupes of every color….

Personally, I am not a fan of these kinds of blush as I prefer the mosaic kind. But the colours look really good and wearable for most complexions. It helps that it rated pretty well too.

Christine, will the new blushes be available for purchase individually? I’m confused since each one is listed as permanent in the glossovers.. I’m not a big fan of the art on the cover but if this is the only way they’ll be available then I may go ahead and pick this up! 🙂 Thanks for your reviews!

This one is the Nars.com rendition, right? No way it’ll ever last ’til the f&f. Ferocious is my general favorite blush tone family. And I adore the contrast of oranges. Plus, I’ve been hankering to get Burnt Pepper. Guess I’ll just have to learn to understand Nico. This one has my name on it…..not to mention my fingerprints. It is one of the rubberized cases, right? They survive so poorly at my house.

Erin: cruise Hautelook until they do theBalm @50% & get Pinstripe.. Since it’s 50%, snag Cabana Boy as well. I believe both would suit you.

Really not interested in this one – the fourth shade is the only one I like, and happily I’ve just bought one of its dupes! (Pinstripe, theBalm.)

Finally a blush palette without bronzer! I’m excited that these are new colors and that they all seem to work well on WOC minus Nico. I knew that one wouldn’t do much for me but I’m still looking forward to getting my hands on this

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