NARS Cactus Flower: A Bloomingly Blendable Blush

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

Confession time: part of the reason why NARS Cactus Flower Cream Blush ($26) drew me in was because it looked so freakin’ scary in the pan, LOL! I’ve had serious love affairs with brighter-than-bright NARS cheek colors before (Mounia, anyone?), so I hoped from my fingers to my toes that scary blush lightning would strike twice with this shimmery reddish coral.


Cactus Flower’s one of eight cream blushes in the NARS permanent makeup line. The texture feels slightly thinner than MAC and Illamasqua cream blushes to me (almost like a gel blush), and I think that’s part of the reason why it’s so smooth and easy to blend.

It makes the lazy beast in me dance jigs whenever I put it on because of how little work it takes to use — just a few swipes with my fingers, and less then a minute later I’m out the door.

Wearing Cactus Flower at the start of the day. NOTE: I am NOT nekkid in this pic. 🙂 I’m actually wearing a tube top, ha ha!

You might think that a color this bright in the pan would verge on clown makeup, but I think Cactus Flower delivers an exceptionally natural and effortless glow. And the tiny golden sparkles add just enough kick to keep things exciting.

NARS blushes always do me right, which is why I was surprised to find that Cactus Flower bears one major flaw…

It disappears faster than that immature jerk who didn’t have the guts to break up with you in person 10 years ago (I’m not bitter).

I’ve worn it a number of different ways — on bare skin, on top of a primer/foundation combo and even layered beneath *and* on top of foundation — and I just can’t seem to find a way to make it stick. Within about four hours of applying, I’d say it’s about half disappeared, and it’s entirely gone by the end of the day.


I usually have better luck with other cream blushes, despite my combination oily/dry skin, so I’m guessing it has something to do with the formula… It may not play well with my skin.

More about cream blushes…

Still, NARS Cream blushes get exceptional reviews on (almost five stars!) and Makeup Alley, so I bet most ladies will love the way this works. It must perform miracles on many types of skin. It’s just too bad mine isn’t one of ’em, le sigh!

If you can get Cactus Flower to stay put, it should be well worth $26. Not only is it super easy to use, but it looks effortlessly gorgeous on the skin. Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 26 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Ashley says:

    I remember reading a comment on how you appear to look younger in each blog. I didn’t think much of it but now that I’ve taken notice, it is as if you were frozen in time & haven’t aged or de-aged a bit! Why do you look like you’re in your twenties now?! Not a bad thing but I hope when I’m older I’ll have the same reversal effects as you!

  2. luv2smilexo says:

    i’ve always had my eye on this blush for quite some time. Its such a beauty and cream is my favorite blush formula!
    .-= luv2smilexo’s last blog post… 20 Days of Tinted Moisturizers: Day 3 =-.

  3. Nancy says:

    karen, what have you got on your lips?? it’s super pretty…i found two beauty finds at walgreens yesterday that i’m super-excited about: Almay’s bright eyes (to recreate a look from Michelle Phan’s bright-eyed video) and from Maybelline’s new lip color sensation line of Nearly There. SUPER love this color…paired with Lancome’s Sweet Soy juicy tube = the perfect nude lip for me!

  4. Citrine says:

    I have normal skin and cream blushes tend to do that as well. It’s like I swirl on 10 circles of tarte cheek stain and they the color would be absorbed in an hour…

    Anyway, I am liking cactus flower for quite sometime and the cream consistency is the only thing that stops me from buying it. Kose Addiction (they hired a Nars makeup artiste Ayako to be the artistic director) has a similar (I think) shade in their powder blush called Revenge so I might get that instead if I ever had a chance to go to Hong Kong.
    .-= Citrine’s last blog post… Anna Sui Mini Rouge in Sheer Cherry =-.

  5. Rachel says:

    I just lurve NARS packaging. There’s just something about that little matte rectangle that draws me in. The only way I can get a cream blush to work for me is if I layer it on with a foundation brush. Whenever I’ve used my fingers it disappears. I have no idea why. Either way, you look beautiful with it on!

  6. betsy says:

    i love love love cactus flower! it’s my summertime go-to blush for day and at night i use turkish red! i have oily skin in the summer and tan easily but i’m not super dark so i also really suggest this. it pops your face with just some lipgloss, curled lashes & mascara for the day!

  7. j e n says:

    It looks great on youuu!! I’ve been meaning to try this BUT I’m trying to collect their powder blushes 1st, next on my list are the multiples and then I want to try their cream blushes. Cactus flower is #1 on my NARS cream blush list next would be Penny Lane and Gueule de Nuit! <3

  8. Marie says:

    Wow. Please do a post on your skincare regime sometime! You look great!

  9. Catherine says:

    Ah, Cactus Flower is so very pretty but I’ve been shy of buying it for the exact reason that I’m afraid a cream won’t last on my oilier-than-normal skin. Sad it didn’t work out for you. =/

    (But I just had to share! I used the tokidoki Kabuki Brush for the first time today and I love it! I have to agree it’s not really all that useful for anything besides setting powder, but it’s just so damn cute and sooooo soft. I ♥ it. Aaaaand, I bought the bronzer in Diavolina today since I don’t really have a bronzer yet and it’s really lovely!! I had the SA at Sephora try it and NARS Laguna on each of my cheeks. Diavolina is about the same depth of color as Laguna, a touch less red/brown and despite the scary looking shimmer in the pan, it’s actually more subtle than Laguna and easier to blend. Who would’ve thunk?!)
    .-= Catherine’s last blog post… NOTW: Gold Flowers in Strawberry Fields =-.

  10. caitlyn says:

    Too bad it doesn’t have staying power, because it looks gorgeous on you! Definitely gives you a natural-looking glow.

  11. too bad this doesn’t stay because the color’s niceee, and so springy! Have you ever had those cactus prickly pear taffies? I always wanted to try one, but never got around to it. I see them all over the place every time I take a road trip to Arizona. ooh and I went to Target and got that bent eyeliner brush today! Love it so much already
    .-= makeup morsels’s last blog post… Intensive Skincare with Prescriptives =-.

  12. amy says:

    Cactus Flower always catches my eye at Sephora and at Nars’ counters. Maybe I will pick one up with my VIB coupon.
    .-= amy’s last blog post… EOTD MAC Art Supplies Collection Pearlglide Intense Eyeliners in Black Line Swatch on Eyes =-.

  13. Inaya says:

    I know. NARS portofino has the same problem.. but dissapears in an hour. no exaggeration. oh and i don’t even have oily skin!

  14. Magi says:

    It’s my favorite blush. I wish all cream blushes would come with this great texture.
    .-= Magi’s last blog post… MANHATTAN QuickDry "67C" Nagellack =-.

  15. April_yay! says:

    How does this compare (color-wise) to MAC’s Joie-De-Vivre from the Lilyland collection? I wonder…

  16. Helen says:

    Looks awesome on you – but you always look gorgeous, Karen 🙂
    I adore you and your blog, keep up the good work!
    .-= Helen’s last blog post… New York – I love you! ♥ =-.

  17. You are gorgeous Karen! El Hub is a lucky man. Oh the Nars isn’t bad either!
    .-= Annabella Freeman’s last blog post… A bathroom I can play baseball in – Violet luxuries =-.

  18. Nina says:

    Ah what a pity … I am happy w/ the MUFE, Benetint and PosieTint so far. I might add a MAC Cremeblend blush to the mix soon … MIGHT being the operative word!

  19. Kate says:

    This looks great on you; really pretty and natural. I haven’t tried Nars cream blushes but I’ve got 2 of MACs and I love them.

  20. i’ve got this stashed at my work desk – looks great at first but i find it disappears too, which is a shame. but i do love this color!

    i find that if you set it with a sheer blush on top it lasts longer…
    .-= ines + cha cha’s last blog post… Le Look Du Jour – Moody Blue =-.

  21. What a pretty colour! I’ve recently gotten into cream blushes so I will have to check this one out. What a great summery colour!
    .-= SoVeryFabulous’s last blog post… MAC Art Supplies Greasepaint Sticks Review =-.

  22. smeegal9 says:

    Nice blush, BUT what did you have on your lips? Vary Pretty!

  23. Fatema says:

    Hi Karen, Cactus flower looks so pretty on you!!! Is that blush oil-free? I’m looking for oil free cream blush (I’ve combo skin, acne prone), but couldn’t find any…help!!

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