Are any shades of cosmetics truly “universally flattering?” This is what NARS claims with both their blush and lip gloss shade in “Orgasm,” and while I have felt the colors were personally flattering, it seems highly unlikely to determine if the shades are truly flattering across every complexion and skin tone.
What I have found that is a personal, and certainly not universal factor of differentiation here, is that both cosmetics have some degree of shimmer, something I definitely tend to avoid, and will only seek out with these products. The NARS blush (and lip color) both come in about 20 shades, with the most iconic (and a personal favorite) being the “Orgasm” color, a peachy pink with golden shimmer.
In terms of the blush, the brand has recently reformulated the packaging (not the product or makeup) itself, so the mirror is larger, making the compact much easier to view and apply a total makeup application with. The original version was more compact, but much more prone to easy breakage, and difficult to view the mirror, especially during travel.
The blush itself is an award winning pressed powder designed to flatter all skin tones and deliver a healthy looking glow, and an industry bestseller for cheeks designed to provide a healthy flush, even on days you are in desperate need of a pick me up.
The corresponding gloss is a subtle shine with nourishing ingredients that never looks tacky or shiny, and delivers a long moisture hold for smooth comfortable wear all day, preventing any chapping. Together the two pair perfectly together, and even as a big fan of matte products, I find the aesthetic quite lovely.
This review will cover main features on both the NARS gloss and blush (in “Orgasm”), more concise reviews on each, some main positives and negatives to consider prior to purchase, and a final verdict, to help you make a more informed purchasing choice. In terms of the colors being universally flattering, while this is a common sentiment, it’s one that’s certainly open to opinion and interpretation.
The Main Features
NARS’ Lip Gloss comes in 8 shades, 4 high shine finish and 4 shimmer finish, all moisturizing, for subtle everyday wear and use. My personal preference is the most popular shade, “orgasm,” considered to work well for all complexions.
They are all highly versatile and can be used for day or night, enriched with nourishing ingredients to prevent any chapping and they never feel greasy, sticky or tacky on the lips. From the manufacturer, “potent sea lavender helps protect against the signs of aging and helps keep lips soft and supple while hydrating and smoothing the appearance of fine lines. The doe-foot applicator glides smoothly across lips with comfort and precision, leaving deep shine and shimmering color for comfortable non-sticky wear.” This is definitely the only shine or shimmer type gloss I wear or find flattering, and the manufacturer does claim it is universally flattering (at least in the shade reviewed in this feature). The shine is luminous and has a long hold, looks sexy for day or night wear, has a potent and sophisticated color, and never feels greasy following application.
The NARS Blush is one of my favorite cosmetics products and one I’ve been an avid fan of for years, with a growing affinity for the product with the new design that boosts the larger compact and mirror. The blush delivers a healthy looking shade that livens up the complexion and provides a natural flush that is universally flattering and designed to compliment all skin tones and complexions. From the manufacturer, “iconic shades include a range of translucent, natural tones, each with a subtle pink undertone for a natural-looking blush to highlight the complexion. Silky, superfine micronized powder pigments in matte and shimmering shades ensure irresistibly soft, blendable application. A light application of even the highest-intensity hues delivers a natural-looking flush. These soft, buildable shades deliver a wide range of effects, from ultra-sheer to powerful pops of color.”
My most coveted shade by far is the universally flattering “orgasm,” noted by beauty editors and makeup artists alike for its ability to blend peach pigment with soft golden shimmer highlights for the perfect sun kissed glow. This is an aesthetic that works on nearly every complexion and tone, and yields many compliments.
The NARS Blush in the “Orgasm” shade is one of my favorite cosmetic products and has yielded the most compliments out of any cosmetic or skincare products I have tried over the years.
I appreciate the natural glow and the flattering nature of the product, and it can be used for a highlighter effect as well if applied the the nose and forehead. It’s very buildable and can be brushed on gently to the apples of the cheeks, or applied more heavily for an evening out. It pairs well with most other cosmetics products and you really can’t go wrong with many other colors or shades when using this product. Most say pink and red clash, however I find it’s quite easy to pair this product with a red lip for an evening look, or with the corresponding lip gloss or a simple balm for a daytime look. The universally flattering nature of the product makes this ideal for those with pink and yellow undertones, and those with darker complexions as well. I appreciate companies that can take all complexions and shades into account and provide colors that work across a variety of demographics. If you’re looking for a go to daily blush I would highly recommend this. I also would not approach the addition of shimmer with trepidation (I admit to initially doing this). As someone who prefers matte products this is something I would generally avoid, but upon application it is extremely natural and the aesthetic is really lovely.
So even if you would typically avoid a bit of shimmer, I would encourage experimentation in this case.
The Lip Gloss
While I generally opt for lip sticks and think of glosses as somewhat “retro,” NARS’ offering (in “Orgasm”) is solid and provides hydration without ever feeling sticky or tacky on the lips. It feels natural and does not require frequent application, with a long hold that can withstand eating and drinking.
Similar to the blush, while I would typically gravitate away from any product with shimmer, particularly a lip product, this is truly a standout in the category, and appears extremely subtle and natural. It pairs perfectly with the blush and results in a sun kissed and dewy aesthetic, free of any shine or unnatural looking appearance. Similar to the blush, I would encourage anyone afraid of shimmer to give this product a shot, as it is quite different than any other product like it in the category. However, I will say the gloss in “Super Orgasm” is way too shimmery for my personal preference, and this is not something I would personally recommend, unless you are a fan of a lot of shine.
Positives and Negatives
While I find using both the lip shade and blush overwhelmingly positive and the benefits, especially when paired together are quite complimentary, the only downsides I see are in the price and in the shimmer. As far as the shimmer addition there are some mixed feelings, as it is quite natural and sun kissed, however it would still be a nice addition to see a matte version of the same product. With this in mind, here is a look at some main positives and negatives to bear in mind prior to purchase:
- The two shades (the blush and gloss in “Orgasm”) work perfectly together and are extremely complimentary
- The shades referenced are universally flattering, and work across a variety of complexions and tones
- The gloss provides moisture but never feels sticky, greasy or tacky following application
- The shimmer is extremely subtle and provides a soft, subtle glow, free of any “tacky” aesthetic
- Out of all cosmetic products I have used, the blush has yielded the most compliments by far
- The shimmer in the blush provides a soft, natural glow (sun-kissed), that is appropriate year round
- Neither product was irritating, created any breakouts, redness, irritation or reaction even with very sensitive and acne-prone skin
- The blush is highly buildable, so you can customize the look, based on a very natural slight dusting or a more dramatic nighttime look
- Product longevity: even with continual daily use, the blush lasts for several months, and the gloss lasts for about 3-4 months
- Blush can be applied to the bridge of the nose and forehead as well for a contour/highlight type aesthetic
- The flushed color of the blush is not at all overbearing all looks very natural, even with the addition of shine
- The blush mixes quite well with most bronzers, particularly NARS’ “Laguna” (sold in a duo compact with the “Orgasm” blush shade)
- Both products are extremely nourishing and gentle on the skin
- The gloss is excellent for chapped lips and does not require frequent reapplication, and has a long moisture hold that lasts throughout the day
- The gloss can be applied to the middle portion of the bottom lip for a very natural look, and never feels sticky, greasy, or leaves behind any residue
- Gloss can be placed over a matte lipstick for an extra shine or shimmer and long wear (this works especially well with reds)
- Does not come off after eating or drinking, and the texture feels hydrating and lovely
- While I prefer the color range of the Buxom Full On Lip Cream, it requires more frequent application and the product does feel a bit stickier, and comes off more frequently, especially after eating or drinking
- The colors used in tandem give the overall complexion a very soft quality and healthy glow, and both have excellent staying power, without the need for setting spray
- Products work even better with the use of a radiant primer or serum underneath, to achieve a perfect natural and sun kissed type aesthetic
- Personally, I do wish the product had slightly less shimmer, while it does still look natural, I would prefer a matte version of the same shade
- The price on the blush seems to have recently gone up slightly, and while the larger compact and mirror is a nice addition, the amount of blush product is still exactly the same as the old formulation
- Some reviewers claim the gloss has a terrible taste if it gets inside the mouth, perhaps this applies to other colors or palates, but I have certainly never experienced this
- Price point: both the blush and lip product are certainly not cheap, however they do provide longevity and use high quality ingredients that do not break out the skin, making them a suitable investment, and a great indulgence if and when you can afford it
Other Products You May Like:
If you enjoy the NARS blush and lip colors you may also enjoy the following products:
- NARS Bronzer (particularly in “Laguna”)
- NARS Bronzer/Blush Duo Compact in “Laguna/Orgasm”
- NARS Foundation with SPF, Sheer Glow Foundation
- NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
- NARS “The Multiple”
- NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
Money Back Guarantee Policy
The manufacturer, NARS, has a strong return and exchange policy that honors full refunds upon dissatisfaction or allergy, and this policy favors the consumer, both new and returning.
If you are dissatisfied with the use of the blush or the lip product, or if they do not work for your skin/facial aesthetic to provide suitable cosmetics benefits, or you experience any product allergy, irritation, or skin reaction to the formulation, you may elect to return either product at any time. It may assuage fears to know both formulations are incredibly gentle and not prone to breaking out the skin. If you elect to return, in this case, you will receive a full refund equal to the entire purchase price of the item. If the item was received as a gift (without receipt), the policy applies for an even exchange, and this policy is applicable to online purchase, as individual store policy may vary depending on location and distributer.
If you feel the policy if not taken into consideration, you may contact customer service, and you can remain ensured you will receive a full refund. You may also elect to return one of the products and keep the other, if you are dissatisfied with one.
I was happy to discover that both of the products worked very well together to provide suitable cosmetics benefits and looked great together and quite complimentary, so there was no need for return. There was also no product reaction, irritation, or sensitivity, even with very sensitive skin that tends to be highly reactive to cosmetics products.
The Final Verdict
NARS’ cosmetics line is definitely one of the strongest in the luxury beauty category, in terms of powder products, foundations, lipsticks, bronzers, and setting sprays.
However, I was quite taken aback to discover for the first time developing an affinity for products with any type of shimmer, as I highly gravitate towards matte type products. The blush and lip color in “Orgasm” do have subtle shimmer, however they are quite natural, and the result is a very soft and dewy aesthetic that is universally flattering and sun-kissed (yet not seasonal).
This is a product I would certainly recommend, especially for those who tend to approach products with shine or shimmer with caution, as it’s fun to experiment and see that some of these products really can work, and I found them lovely. I would highly recommend both and find they work beautifully in tandem.