That Scary Blush

Nars Exhibit A Full Product Photo

Let me preface this by saying that I love neutrals, in clothing and in makeup. Makeup artists always steer me towards colour because folks with dark skin can pull of vibrant shades a bit easier than those with very light skin. So maybe it’s the rebel in me that makes me shy away from colour, or maybe it’s just because I feel best in shades of brown, bronze, and beige. In terms of blush, I love my plummy pinks and peaches as much as the next makeup-obsessed human. But since I first saw it, I’ve always been equal parts intrigued and terrified of one blush in particular: Nars Exhibit A.

I like Nars blushes a lot – they’re smooth, extremely pigmented, and last a long time on the skin. So I finally decided to pick this one up and see if I could make it work.

This is easily the brightest blush I own, and it is extremely pigmented. But I’ve found that it’s surprisingly versatile, and now that I’ve fiddled with it a bit, I firmly believe that with a little tweaking, anyone can make a blush this bold work for them.

Nars Exhibit A Swatch on Face

Here’s how I do it:

  • Always apply it in natural light – that way, you can see what you’ll look like when you go outside or in naturally lit spaces, not just in your bathroom or at your vanity.
  • Stand far enough away from the mirror that you can see your whole face. This gives you context, and when you can see the bigger picture, you’ll be less likely to overdo it.
  • Go in with a fluffy blush brush rather than an angled one. I like the Real Techniques Blush Brush for this blush because it gives a soft, diffused application with little blending required.
  • Use a light hand and a little at a time to build it up to where you want it. If you do overdo it, use a big, fluffy powder brush to soften things up.
  • If you’re apprehensive (like I was!), try keeping it neutral on the eyes and lips at first until you get used to a bolder flush on the cheeks.
  • With those tips in mind, I’m becoming quite the fan of this shade. It’s great for perking up a dull winter complexion, and I have a feeling that it will be particularly useful in the coming months!

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  • I hear applying your lipstick first before blush also helps you tone down on being heavy handed with blush. I have Nars Taj Mahal but I have not jumped on the Exhibit A train.

    • I’ve been meaning to try Taj Mahal!

  • Looks great on you!! I have super duper fair skin (I wear the lightest foundation that companies offer and sometimes it isn’t light enough) but I love making bold blush work. Maybe I’m stubborn. Most days I go for a neutral rose or something but sometimes I love plunging into my deep wine shade (with a stippling brush though). And Josie Maran Poppy Paradise is similar to Exhibit A, but it is a gel. Now I want to go through my collection and wear my craziest one today, ha.

    • Good for you, making bold blush work! πŸ™‚ I have tried the Josie Maran and found it patchy and hard to blend, but I always struggle with cream/gel cheek products. I’ll stick to powder!

  • mzcrafty1908

    Gorgeous! This is exactly how I feel about my NARS Coeur Battant blush.