If memory serves, NARS Orgasm Blush was one of the very first makeup products all my friends lusted over universally. The pinky-peach-with-gold-flecks shade launched back in 1999 and, as Allure reported, has inspired plenty of NARS spinoff products (like lipstick and liquid illuminator) and dupes alike. For summer 2018, the brand is launching what is certainly my ultimate favorite Orgasm product yet: a loose powder illuminator that I simply can't stop layering all over my entire face.
The highlighter is part of the NARS Orgasm 2018 collection, which also includes a lip balm, lip lacquer, and limited edition oversized version of the blush. The illuminating powder will cost you $28, but just a tiny bit of the stuff goes a looooong way as far as application goes. The product comes in a shaker tin that keeps the shimmer under control until you want to use it. The powder is super fine and soft, but builds up to deliver ridiculously saturated color. I like to dump a little bit into the lid of the container, then use my fingers or a super dense brush to press it into my skin.
The shine you get when you use the product dry is already major, but if you get your brush wet, it transforms to have an almost liquid metal effect. In the right image below, you can see the comparison between dry (top swatch) and wet (bottom).
As previously mentioned, my favorite way to wear this stuff (so far) is to put it all over my entire face — in particular on my eyelids and cheekbones. To get an all-over shimmer eye look, I wet a super dense, small shadow brush with some toner, then press the illuminator onto my lids, blending it out at the crease. After a couple layers of the stuff, you'll end up with a peachy bronze, wet metallic look that works excellently for those days when you want to be about two steps up from totally natural with your makeup. The color pops even more when you add some swipes of black mascara.
At its core, however, the illuminator is a cheek product through and through, just like its blushier namesake. I find it looks the best on my skin when I pair it with the original Orgasm (that's what I'm wearing in all these photos, along with the Orgasm lip balm launching this month as well). But if you have warmer undertones, I could see it layering well with your favorite peach or orange blush, too.
I usually apply highlighter with my fingertips, but since this powder is so, so pigmented, I use a fan brush to lightly dust the stuff on my cheekbones and blend it out a bit. If you wanted a more dramatic look, you could definitely use a denser brush and get a cool, metallic effect rather than a subtle glow. But here's a little before and after swipe to show you just how much shimmer the illuminator adds to the cheekbones even when you apply it my way.
If the highlighter plus "eyelighter" feels like a little too much shine for your liking, you can always stick to a lighter application. At a press preview for the collection in April, makeup artist Niko Lopez used just the illuminator as a shimmery blush. As you can see in the photo below, it builds up to a nice bronze-y peach without much of the pink found in the original Orgasm blush. Hey, this might even trick people into thinking I've been living somewhere sunny for the past few weeks!
Basically, this illuminator checks all my makeup boxes: It's fun to play with, it's easy to use in a bunch of different ways, and, perhaps most importantly, it's sparkly. What more could you need in a summer product?