This Week I Love …

NARS Orgasm

I’ve said – ad nauseum – that I never expected to do daily makeup. Still true, friends. Even truer: Of all the cosmetics I expected to utilize on a regular basis, blush was dead last on my list. But sometime last winter, a friend recommended this blush – the legendary NARS Orgasm – and I thought, huh. Makeup doesn’t generally get to be legendary for no reason. Maybe I should give it a whirl.

So in a fit of extravagance, I plunked down $27 on my first ever blush. It’s a peachy-pink shade with the world’s subtlest shimmer. And I found that it made me look warmer, perkier, and even a bit more cheerful. Applying any blush at all helps define my face a bit, but this particular shade just made everything about my complexion sing. And, from what I hear, it does that for virtually all Caucasian complexions. (Haven’t heard as many rave reviews from women of color.)

Now on a blush binge, I bought several other shades from the drugstore, including one from my standby for face powder, Physician’s Formula. They went on like warpaint and made me look positively clownish. And it’s true that I only experimented a little and am still very much a novice, but for now I’m sticking to my NARS. I can get behind the “if it ain’t broke” philosophy on occasion, especially when it comes to cosmetics.

Anyone else a fan of this shade? Or other NARS blushes? Ladies of color, what brands and colors do you love? Share links if you’ve got ’em!

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  • I splurged on Nars Orgasm blush for my 30th birthday. I never wore blush before, just a bit of bronzer. Suddenly I started getting compliments on my skin, people were guessing me to be younger than my age, and some asked if I was pregnant because I had “that glow.”

    I’m now 36, and on my 3rd compact of Nars Orgasm. Nothing else compares, nothing else is worth my money. I am a total convert (and really, to have one blush last for that long – totally worth the cost!).

  • Nique

    I have been using Nars Orgasm for about two and a half years after trying so many other blushes, and I don’t anticipate ever using anything else. As Allie said, the compact lasts forever, so it more than pays for itself compared to other blushes. The color is fantastic, and it lasts all day, even on my oily skin. Love! Love! Love!
    Sally, your non-makeup makeup routine keeps getting more complicated-little by little. Alas, it happens to the best of us. I went from nothing, to just eyeliner, to eyeliner and mascara, and somehow I have now landed on a full made up face. It’s a great evolution, though. When you move on to eyeshadow, go for the Dior–it’s the best. Ha! Ha!

    • Ditto DiorShow mascara! Another worth the money, nothing can compare beauty product!

  • Colleen

    I only use NARs blush. I’ve tried drugstore all the way up to MAC and the NARS pigment is the best – blends naturally but has staying power. I have Deepthroat which is a bit of a deeper sparkly peach than orgasm, and Desire which looks neon pink in the compact but goes on a sheer pink flush. <3 my NARS 🙂

  • Is that the powdered blush?

    I’ve only tried NARS in the cream blush. As much as I liked the color when it went on, it didn’t last. I’m so tired of makeup that doesn’t stay on. Of course, I have oily skin and that doesn’t help. I fear spending nearly $30 on something when I have no idea if it will last. I’ve adored the Orgasm color from afar, but can’t seem to loosen the grip on those greenbacks just to *try* something.

    • Sal

      It is the powdered blush! And I’ll admit that by 5 p.m., I usually need to touch up a bit, but until then it lasts on me and I’m fairly oily.

      Might be too much hassle, but you could swing by Sephora some weekend morning and try it out and see how you do by evening …

      • If it lasts beyond noon, that is a good in my book! Have a shopping date soon so I may be able to swing into Sephora. Thanks for the idea!

      • I’m SUPER oily but I’ve still got mine on! I do use a primer in the mornings though (lately followed by powder and blush).

    • Maggie May

      Sephora lets you return makeup which does not work out! So try it and if it doesn’t work out, return it!

    • Christine

      As a girl with the oiliest of oily skin, the 2 best blush brands I’ve tried are Nars & Tarte’s amazonian clay blush. Both sooo pricey, but my theory w/ makeup is buy in small amounts but high quality (preferably that you can test somewhere like Sephora) then taking a lot of inexpensive chances at the drugstore.

      The amazonian clay one lasts >10 hours even on my skin w/ no touch ups, so it’s a winner for me :-).

      • Heidi L.

        I second this.The Tarte stuff isn’t cheap but does last really well.

  • I have actually had really good luck with Maybelline Mineral Power blush: http://www.amazon.com/Maybelline-Mineral-Power-Blush-Mauve/dp/B001KYRSHI it comes in a peachy color as well.

    A make up artist friend once told me that just blush and mascara would get me a very long way. At that time I never wore blush at all, and wow was she right.

    I have some Nars lip gloss I got in NYC a while back that I really love. I’m adding this Nars blush to my list, as I have been really slimming down the amount of make up I own (quality over quantity) and if it’s that great, I’m definitely interested.

  • Anonymous

    I love this stuff. I use the multi-purpose stick which can double as lip gloss, but I only ues it as blush. I’ve been using it for years and I love how natural it looks.

  • Khristy

    I love that shade of blush as well. Another one of my Nars favorites is “Deep Throat.” Nars also makes a liquid illuminator in the orgasm shade.

    I am a big fan of Benefit’s powders. I recently tried “bella bamba” and I love it.

  • I always have the WORST time with blushes– I love the colors, but most, I have to admit, are too harsh for my too fair skin. I gave this one a whirl after loving a similarly hued one by Urban Decay. Can I put too much of this one on? Maybe, but it’s really hard. Does it go on perfectly and do just what I need it to? Absolutely.

  • laine

    I love Nars! Desire is my color of choice. It looks bright but is a sheer bright on, if that makes sense.

  • That is the only blush I use. I need to buy a new blush…and I’ve been debating if I should just buy a new NARS orgasm or branch out. I’m not too adventurous with makeup, so I’ll probably stick with NARS.

  • Karin

    I’ve heard of NARS via various beauty/makeup blogs, but I’ve never tried it, since I haven’t seen it here in Germany. I currently use Benefit’s Sugarbomb (blend of four colors ranging from orange to pink) ( http://www.benefitcosmetics.com/product/view/sugarbomb ) on days I feel really pale and need a bit of color or Benefit’s Ten (dual blush (highlighter + bronzer)) ( http://www.benefitcosmetics.com/product/view/10 ) to fake/enhance my cheekbones and give my face a bit of structure.

  • Gwen

    Blush has been a staple for me since I had super-short hair, as it helped me avoid getting called “sir” or asked if I was sick. I’m curious about this Nars shade, and may try it when my MAC “Blushbaby” standby runs out!

  • Courtney

    I LOVE NARS Orgasm, totally worth the splurge. I recently tried Tarte cheek stain as well (in Vivid and Flawless, which I think was a special gift set during Christmas), and it goes on and stays on. But NARS is my very favorite!!

    • Shaye

      I adore Tarte’s cheek stain! My favorite is Tipsy, which is the same slightly shimmery coral-pink as NARS Orgasm, without the eyeroll-inducing name. Plus that stain just lasts and lasts – I have oily skin and it’s the only thing on me that lasts all day.

      My favorite part, though, is that it doesn’t require a mirror to apply. Smear some on the apples of the cheeks, blend outward with your hands, and you’re done. 🙂

  • Sara

    Sal, if you’re feeling brave and want to try another NARS, I recommend Penny Lane. It’s a cream blush in a light mauve-pink color, and I think of it as being virtually fool-proof. We have very similar complexions and I love it.

    If you prefer powder, you might like the ones from Benefit as well, particularly Sugarbomb (not as scary as it sounds, and the slight sheen is just flattering, not sparkly). Coralista is gorgeous but similar to Orgasm so you may not want to drop they money on that. (I have and use both, but admittedly I have a bit of a problem).

    As far as the warpaint, you might be using the wrong tool. Very bright or pigmented blushes are best applied with a stippling brush, also known as a skunk brush. An affordable and nice quality option can be had at Target: http://www.target.com/p/Sonia-Kashuk-Highlighting-Brush/-/A-11909446
    It’s also possible that the brand just isn’t right for you, but I’ve found that the use of a skunk helps me use blushes I thought were duds.

  • Katharine

    I’ve tried this in a tester, and thought it was fine, but I’m still not really into actually USING blush on a daily basis… but I will sing the praises of NARS, and their red lipsticks, which seem to be more neutral than anyone else’s red lipsticks. I have yellow undertones, and most red lipsticks look either hot pink or orange, and hideously ugly, on me (I failed on the entire range of the famous MAC reds), but I have three NARS reds that just look wonderful.

    • Rachel W.

      Thanks for the tip regarding red lipstick! I’ve nearly broke down and bought a MAC red before, despite worrying that it would be the wrong shade for my yellow undertones. Now I know!

  • I have not yet tried this legendary blush (but who doesn’t love the name?). I am using a mineral blush by PUR, that so far, I like a lot. But when it is gone, I might have to take the plunge for the N.O. : >

  • Lisa

    I’ve been using Orgasm since 2000, when a Sephora representative put some on me during a makeover. Love it, love it, love it. I switched to the Multiple (cream stick) formulation about 2-3 years ago, and I love that, too. (I have combination skin, so I’ve found the cream stays on me throughout the day, even in the heat of summer, when powder blush gets kind of cakey on me.) I was disappointed in the Orgasm lip gloss, though, because it seemed sticky and gloppy to me, but other people really like it, so your mileage may vary. 🙂

  • Laurel

    I have Nars Orgasm, and while I love the color, I do have a couple issues with it. It may be subtle for a shimmer, but I tend to break out on my cheeks, and the shimmer draws attention to any bumps. Also, I think it might contribute to my skin breaking out (it contains talc, beeswax and lanolin), which is why I don’t wear it regularly.

  • Though sad but true (for me), I’ve come to realize that the more expensive brands of make-up really do come on better/last longer/look nicer. I end up experimenting less but experience a greater level of satisfaction. I’ll have to take a look at the Nars blush now:)
    Xo, f

  • Stacy

    LOL at the warpaint comment, as this was so true for me with my very pale skin. Everything looked cheap and kind-of scary, really. Then I tried the NARS Orgasm and was sold. And like others have said, the compact seems to last forever. I’ve had mine since February and it looks like I’ve barely used it at all.

  • AJ

    I bought this on the recommendation of a blogger (I think it may have been Allie, actually) and I’ve used nothing else since. I have switched from the powder to the 3-in-1 cream stick. Not that I use it in three places or anything, but it’s so easy to apply in the stick.

  • Bubu

    i may have to try it again – i picked it up at sephora once but it looked too pinkish for me – i’m usually a mac girl. I will, however sing the praises of Nars Dolce Vita liptsick which i’ve worn just about every day this summer, and feels wonderful on.

  • LG

    I have always wondered about that blush, but can’t seem to give up my MAC Style frost blush. It looks great on my very pale skin. But…maybe I’ll pick some of this up and try it out as well…thanks a lot for tempting me to buy another product! lol :0)

  • Heather

    I’ve heard so much about this shade! I’m interested in how you apply it. Blush always flakes off unless I’ve just applied moisturizer, and then it is a bit too prominent. I’m assuming you haven’t done a complete turn around and started wearing foundation too, so I’d like to hear the run-down. Maybe a before and after shot?

  • Missey

    Yes to the NARS blushes, I love the Multiples sticks too (but so expensive!). I also love the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 hour blushes and find they are a lot more pigmented than NARS (little goes a long way!), last longer, and are a cheaper by a couple of bucks (hey, $2 is $2!).

  • I have the NARS multiple in Orgasm and have been using it for years, but only at night (and only on my cheeks, which defeats the ‘multiple’ purpose!). The cream stick shimmers a little too brightly for daytime. Maybe I need to switch to the compact?

  • poodletail

    I’ll chime in and sing the praises of Orgasm, too. The Nars blushes are famous for looking completely different on the skin than in the palette so here’s one time you might ask for some advice from the Nars sales associate.

    Another favorite shade : Dolce Vita (blush + matching lip). Deep but very, very sheer.

  • Joanna

    I started using it soon after it came out and have always loved it! In fact, I’m running low and need to buy some more! I tend to touch my face a lot though, so I almost wish it was a stain. But I’m super pale so without blush I kinda look like a zombie 🙂 This blush gives the perfect amount of color that looks super natural.

  • spacegeek

    Big makeup user here. I just have fun with it, but like a relatively natural look. Have to say that the sparkles in NARS “O” is just a bit too much for my 41 year old face. 🙂 Nonetheless it is fun and I have it for weekends. Sal, I noticed in your most recent daily outfit post and your scarf post that you are *wearing lipstick*! (gasp) Looks wonderful on you–great color! I splurged recently on an insanely priced lipstick that was raved about on a makeup blog Temptalia. Guerlain Rouge G. OMG great stuff. I’ll probably purchase one more some day, but my routine makeup and skin care is Mary Kay. Been using it for 21 years, and I’m a Fan. Lipsticks I’ll go out of the box for–Lipstick Queen Saint colors tickle my fancy.

  • andrea

    NARS blush is the best. I have Mata Hari, which I looooove. It’s a slightly cool, fairly bright pink that gives my very fair, golden-undertoned skin the perfect natural flush. I’ve had my compact for over a year, use it almost every day, barely looks used.

    Another vote for the sonia kashuk skunk brush — perfect for blush and also for buffing foundation/powder on the rare occasions that I wear it. If you haven’t tried one, do! It gives an amazing airbrushed effect and makes foundation and/or powder look SO much more natural.

    And another vote for the diorshow mascara as being totally worth the extra $$. It’s the only one I’ve found that doesn’t flake all over my face or clump. Although I’m not as in love with the waterproof version, which can get a little clumpy.

  • Oh gosh, just good old Maybelline. It’s five dollars and lasts for ages.

  • I have a Milani blush (looked up the shade: Luminous) that is supposed to be a NARS Orgasm dupe. Generally speaking, as a light-skinned blonde, I think I look better in cooler pink shades.

    I agree that the right brush can make all the difference. And when I’m wearing makeup, I never skip blush–in fact it’s the one product that makes the biggest difference in my appearance, maybe aside from undereye concealer.

  • Liz

    I just started using freshface blush in nectar and LOVE it. Similar price point to the nars blushes. I got mine at sephora.

  • I’m also a regular Orgasm user, and in the last few months I’ve discovered another NARS blush favorite — Desire. It looks like a terrifying neon pink in the compact, but it’s really a great flushed pink when applied really lightly to my fair skin. My favorite thing about NARS blushes is they’re buildable, they stay put until you wash them off, and because you use so little, the compact lasts FOREVER! I’ve had the same compact of Orgasm for over a year, and I’ve only used about half of it.

  • Katie

    Hello blush users!

    I’m still pretty new to the blush game so I just keep using the Mary Kay powder blush that I’ve had for ages. At first I thought the color was too dark on me since it would always come out so harsh, but then I started using an angled blush brush and it works so much better! Beforehand, I would look like a clown or that I had a sunburn. But now after using an angled brush I just look gently flushed and it adds an extra oomph of pretty! So moral of the story: use the blush you like, but try an angled brush!

  • Aya

    I rarely use blush, but I too prefer a very sheer and subtle color for my cheeks. I tend to be rosy/warm complected already, so too much and I fear I look like I’m perpetually on my 3rd glass of wine.

    I am a woman of color- I’m Japanese American so I am fair-skinned, but not as fair-skinned as some of my Caucasian friends. I recommend The Body Shop to my even-more-fair-skinned friends often, as their makeup line is very subtle (I only buy the darker colors, since many are so subtle they don’t even show up on my skin) and has a variety of light colors. I’ve also found their makeup doesn’t have that chemical “smell” that often puts me off cheaper brands.

    For blush the items of theirs that come to mind are Shimmer Waves (a palette of warm colors that you can blend and use as cheek or eye color) and a blush called Golden Pink.

    If you want to try it out, you can go into one of their shoppes and try out the makeup or ask one of the gals there to help you out and apply items you’re interested in trying for free.

  • A resounding YES to NARS Orgasm blush. It’s the only one I have and I use it everyday.

  • diane

    Orgasm is my favorite as well. I have the one with a blush and a bronzer. The 1st day I wore it, I got dozens of “You look great – what’d you do?!” comments.

    I bought expensive make up 🙂

  • Lauren

    This is embarrassing but… where do you put it? After watching tons of mamkeup tutorials and playing around a bit, blush still baffles me. On the cheekbones? Below them for contour? Nose? Forehead? Aaaaaahhhhhh!

    • Sal

      Lauren, I think it depends on your facial structure! But I use Sonja’s tips from this great guest post: http://www.alreadypretty.com/2010/04/makeup-101-cheeks-and-healthy-glow.html

      (Scroll down to “blush.”)

    • Karin

      I like Sonja’s tutorial as well, but Marlena from http://www.makeupgeek.com has great 101 video tutorials and I learned a lot from her.

      Sal is right, though, it depends on your facial structure and what look you want to achieve. For example: I use a light bronzer under my cheekbones (on the line that appears when you suck in your cheeks) to conture my cheeks more. If I want a fresh kind of look, I put a pinkish blush on the apples of my cheeks. For a sun-kissed, been on vacation look I dash a bit of warm bronzer onto my forehead, apples of my cheeks, nose and chin (very lightly, or else it looks clownish).

  • I have to go bluer, so I use YSL cream in pink. Oh, btw, if you ever want a cream blush, the NARS multiples are great and I believe Orgasm is now available.

  • My everyday blush is MAC Blushbaby.

  • I have to agree that for me as a woman of color, orgasm was not quite as wonderful. My favorite blushes come from MAC (higher end) and the drugstore brand milani. I am a GGG, NC 43ish for reference.
    Some of my favorite MAC colors that give me an orgasm like effect for my darker skin are Peachtwist, Pinch me, Springsheen.

    I rarely wear makeup but when I do, blush is the easiest thing to do and gives the most payback—I look less tired and happier. A little lipstick and it’s all good.

  • Nars Orgasm is the end all, be all of blush shades for me! I love it! They have a lip gloss in the same shade that is also awesome and my next purchase is going to be the nail polish!

  • Tiffany

    I’ve got the Nars Illuminator in Orgasm and it is wonderful. I’m super pale, but don’t suit anything too pink, so it’s perfect for me. Might have to get the compact blush as well 🙂

  • Eleanorjane

    Yup, I’m a blush devotee, but haven’t ever tried Nars… May have to give it a look-see…

  • Anna D.

    Everyone has raved about this so much, I should probably try it… I’ve always worried it would be too warm for me (peach makes me look ill), and I really really really dislike shimmer (on me – looks great on other people!). I will have to test it out at Sephora sometime!

    I only started wearing blush regularly summer before last – I dug out an ancient Clinique blush and put it on one day, and got compliments on how good I looked! Now I alternate between that same ancient blush (Pink Mocha – seriously, it’s got to be 10 or 15 years old, but it still does the job) and an E.L.F. blush I bought at Target. Which totally represents how I lurch between department store brands and drugstore brands – I generally like the idea of spending a bit more on fewer but higher quality items, but every now and then I go hogwild in the drugstore to try a bunch of new things.

  • Fruitful

    I used to follow the “smile” rule to put on blush until someone on MakeUpalley.com said do the opposite (they got the tip from Wayne Goss aka gossmakeupartist).

    So my rule is DON”T SMILE. Smiling lifts the cheeks and you’ll end up applying blush lower than you want it, dragging your face down. I keep my blush high on my cheekbones and gently blend it down and out (no lower than my nose).

    Nars Orgasm and Mata Hari were my first blushes and I loved them to death. I don’t know how I feel about Orgasm now as I haven’t owned it for ages. I am a woman of colour (approximately NC30-35) and Mata Hari is very natural on my cool toned skin.

    I also have Nars Exhibit A which I apply very sparingly for a wintry cheeked/slightly sunburnt glow (sounds awful but it isn’t!).

    For cream/liquids I have Becca. Beach tint is wonderful, delicate and skinlike and great for a no-makeup look (all my looks are no-makeup looks though :)) I wear it in watermelon (for a cool effect a bit like Mata Hari) and grapefruit (for a warm, light pink). I also have a couple of lip and cheek cremes in palettes.

    A tip I’ve found for cream blushes is dot it on with one finger but use a separate finger to blend it. You can control application better that way.

    I’m very conservative with makeup application but I recently tried a tip to put on more blush than I think I need. This is great for me as at first my cheeks go red from the physical stimulus of applying, but later the colour drains from my cheeks.

  • NYC Gal

    Try Milani blush in shade Luminous. Its a perfect dupe for NARS Orgasm!

  • Monika

    I went into a shop and asked the girl working there to give me “This colour” – and pinched my cheek. She gave me a blusher that looked hot pink. Not something I would have thought of trying, but applied lightly it really is the perfect colour for me!

  • Glamdoc

    Since we didn´t have NARS on my continent until recently I got someone to bring me the big O blush from the States once. It´s a bit cold (!) on me, but used sparingly it´s nice. Bought The Multiple in Copacabana at a duty free in Thailand, and wore them both (subtly) on my wedding day in August. Fantastic combo 🙂

  • Kris

    Haha. I never wear blush – in fact, in my overflowing makeup collection, I only have three! Generally I don’t like wearing it because I can get super rosy cheeks, especially if I’m too warm. But now after reading the comments, I might have to give blush a chance.

  • i’ve heard rave reviews for NARS orgasm but still haven’t tried it – ike the sound of the multiple though.
    i tend to steer clear of blush – my slight rosacea means i always have ‘colour’ on my face and the idea of adding more doesn’t appeal. i also have heavy freckling, which again doesn’t seem to look right with added colour

    • Melinda

      I also have a bit of redness in my cheeks and I’m a woman of color. I don’t actually need blush most of the time.

      Because my skin is very sensitive, I need to be careful of what I put on it.

      I bought this really pretty blush last week, though. It is called Pressworthy Pink and it is by Maybelline.

      I wish I could afford Deep Throat by Nars. It looks gorgeous in the compact. I’m not sure about Orgasm. It seems to be overrated.

  • I haven’t tried the blush version, but I really love Nars The Multiple in Orgasm. It has a bit more shimmer than the blush, by the sounds of it, but it really peps up my skin and I generally prefer cream products to powder so it suits me in that respect too. And it lasts seemingly forever!

  • I’ve been using Nars Orgasm since right before my wedding 5 1/2 years ago. I had my wedding makeup done professionally & she chose this color for me – still love it.