NARS Dual-Intensity Blush is a twist on the brand's iconic powder blushes, with claims to provide intensely pigmented "customizable coverage" color. The "customizable" promise refers to NARS claim that these fragrance-free formulas can be used wet or dry (which they absolutely can—more on that in a moment). The good news is that these are, overall, excellent additions to the NARS color lineup, with a pleasing array of highly pigmented shades.
Packaged in a matte black mirrored compact with a magnetic-snap closure, each of the six Dual-Intensity Blushes contains a duo of color-coordinated shades (one deeper and one lighter tone). You'll find that both shades work well on their own or mixed to create a custom color. In most cases, the lighter shade in the duo can be used as a highlighter, too. (The "Panic" duo may be the exception, as both of its shades are vibrant, deep colors.)
Making good on their marketing claims, Dual-Intensity Blushes are richly pigmented and can be applied wet or dry. Applied dry, they blend easily into skin—their degree of pigment means a little goes a long way for the fair-skinned, and those with deeper complexions will love the fact these build effortlessly and won't pull ashen or disappear on their cheeks. The wear time is excellent, with even the more subdued shades lasting for a full workday without fading.
Applied wet (with a slightly dampened blush brush or sponge), each duo takes on a much greater depth of color and their pearlescent sheen amplified. This look may not appeal to everyone, and is perhaps best left for nighttime. We should note that unlike many other wet/dry formulas, this powder does not harden or change its texture in the compact—it simply returns to its regular powder finish once it has dried.
While we're on the topic of their pearlescent finish, we'll clarify that when applied dry, the sheen they leave behind isn't glittery and is workable for daytime or nighttime wear. However, the "glow" they lend to skin may not be preferable for those with oily or very oily skin. If that's your skin type, we would encourage you to try these in-store to determine if their finish is to your liking.
Whether or not you're a fan of the brands iconic powder blushes, NARS certainly delivered with their Dual-Intensity Blushes. For their long wear performance, color curation, rich pigments and that their one of the few truly wet/dry application blushes, these earned our highest rating.
Frenchman Francois Nars has been painting the faces of New York's top models since arriving in the United States in 1984. Their images and his handiwork have been seen on the covers of countless fashion magazines, most notably Vogue and Elle. As the story often goes for the talented makeup artists who have become celebrities in their own right, Nars became frustrated with the state of available makeup and, surprise, another cosmetic line was born.
Beginning (as Bobbi Brown did) by launching a small collection of lipsticks in 1994, the clamor for the colors was incredible, and demand for more NARS products from the artist grew. Shortly thereafter an entire product line followed, gaining attention with vibrant, deeply pigmented colors, sleek, tactile-enhanced packaging and risqué shade names.
As an overview, NARS makeup has many strengths—it reaches its zenith with blushes, tinted moisturizer, foundations, brushes, and lipsticks. If you’re a fan of bold colors, you’ll find them here, and the brand offers consistently impressive foundations and concealers. NARS consistently impresses when it comes to offering a wide range of shades to suit nearly any skin tone.
Where NARS often falls short is in the amount of fragrance added to many of their skincare formulas. In some cases, the amount and specific fragrance ingredients chosen outweigh the potential benefits, so be sure to double check their review before buying. Overall, NARS offers a lot to love, and if you don’t mind splurging a bit (as their prices can be on the spendy side) there are quite a few makeup picks that come with our highest recommendations.
Strengths: Superior foundations and foundation shade options; excellent blushes; splurge-worthy lipsticks; beautiful bronzers and consistently impressive color products.
Weaknesses: Can be expensive; a few skincare formulas contain high amounts of fragrance.
For more information about NARS, owned by Shiseido, call (888) 788-6277 or visit www.narscosmetics.com.
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