Achieving the big ‘O’: Four cheaper dupes for Nars’ iconic Orgasm blush
During the early years of my makeup obsession, I attended a beauty workshop where the instructor divulged the One True Blush Shade to rule all others: peachy pink. The magic lies in its versatility to look flattering across all skin tones, as well as its ability to work with most lipstick and eyeshadow combinations. Not too cool, not too warm, and with just the right smattering of shimmer, it's easy to understand why the cheekily-named Nars Orgasm is the gold standard in this category and spawned countless iterations including a stick form (aka The Multiple) and the Super Orgasm.
Ever the peachy-pink blush disciple, I’ve kept an eye out for more budget-friendly dupes to this pricey HG. Sam has found something close for the liquid blush version, but if you prefer the classic powder formula, these finds are worth considering.
The cult classic: Nars Blush in Orgasm (P1,800 for full size of 4.8g at Rustan’s)
The OG and HG of many makeup lovers, this is actually a light pink base with a wash of gold shimmer that ends up looking peachy pink when applied. The shimmer has just a liiiittle bit of chunkiness to make it stand out. Coupled with a light pigmentation, it's nearly impossible to overdo this blush. As the day wears on, that perfect ratio of pink to gold mellows down to a subtle but healthy glow at the 7-hour mark.
Wet n Wild ColorIcon Blush in Pearlescent Pink (P299 for 5.85g at Watsons)
Let’s start the dupe list with the most affordable and pigmented of the bunch. Pearlescent Pink also offers the warmest tone, leaning into coral. It also has the least amount of gold pigments, which are a bit chunky inthe same way Orgasm’s gold pigments also have a slight chunkiness to them. Despite this, application is smooth and even. I had no trouble blending out and building the color up. Because it has a stronger pigmentation, the color fading is also more noticeable. On me, it wears off about 6 hours after application.
In2It Mini Heart Blush On in Darling (P379 for 7.5g at Watsons)
Frankly, scoring the local drugstore dupes for Nars’ iconic blush shade presented a bit of a challenge to me. While the offerings of mid-range and high-end international brands already tend to belong to exhaustive dupe lists, there seems to be less coverage for Asian brands. So I was completely thrilled to find In2It’s new heart-shaped blush! There is an even distribution of finely-milled gold shimmer mixed in with the peachy pink base, so it produces a more frosted finish with a more vibrant peach-pink pigmentation. The formula applies evenly and is easy to blend. I got 60% pigmentation left after 8 hours of wear.
theBalm Hot Mama (P920 for 7.08g at theBalm Official Store on Lazada)
Hot Mama already has quite the reputation in the international beauty community for being a popular dupe for Nars Orgasm, albeit slightly warmer. Application has the slightest patchiness to it, so I usually spend a bit of extra time blending everything to satisfaction. Not a deal-breaker for me though. Hot Mama more than makes up for the patchy application with its impressive wear time. It can easily go 6 to 8 hours with minimal fading.
Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Yacht Lyfe (P1,450 for 7.10g at Sephora PH)
Rihanna can do extra, and she can do it well. Case in point: Yacht Lyfe is the more rose gold version of the Nars OG, owing to a higher dose of fine gold shimmer blended into the rosy-colored base. Though it's in a cream stick form, the dry formula requires a light hand while swiping to prevent the makeup underneath from migrating. I do several passes to build up the color, and then pat down on the edges to diffuse the color and remove any harsh lines. Yacht Lyfe fades to 50% after 7 hours of wear.
TL;DR: In2It is the closest overall dupe to Nars, and the drugstore price-point makes it a truly cost-effective dupe. If you're not a fan of shimmer, Wet n’ Wild has the best color payoff, but opt for theBalm if you want a flush that lasts all day. I like reaching for Fenty as a slap-and-go version when I can’t be bothered with brush application.
In your makeup journey, have you ever pined for an Orgasm? Do you prefer to save up for Nars, or are you perfectly happy scouting a dupe out?