Chisel Those Cheeks! Contouring Made Easy With the New NARS Contour Blushes

Published in: Face, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

NARS Contour Blush in Paloma

Wearing (and holding) the new NARS Contour Blush in Paloma

I don’t want to divulge too much, because I like being mysterious, and I want RyGos to continue thinking that I wake up with these chiseled cheekbones (Haha! Not). Better to have him believe they were sculpted by Michelangelo than have him know they were actually contoured by NARS.

I mean, you already know so many of my secrets — what’s one more? Like, you know that I hide a Mini Babybel Cheese in my purse (because you never know when the urge to eat a small cheese wheel will hit you. #imjustsaying). You know that I love Bravo. You know that I am obsessed with makeup, Trader Joe’s and cats. You also know that one of my legs is slightly longer than the other.


Wait — you didn’t know that? Oops, I thought you did. πŸ™‚

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: being as how you already know so much about me, what’s a little covert contouring talk between friends?

The secret to the chiseled cheeks I’m currently sporting is the new NARS Contour Blush in Paloma, one of three $42 contouring powder blush duos recently added to the permanent line.

Babybel Cheese, yo!

Um…is that cheese in your purse?

Babybel Cheese, yo!


Each of the duos has — no surprise here — two shades, one darker than the other. The darker shade is used to define and add depth to the face, while the lighter shades is used for highlights.

Paloma, the one I wear, is the middle-of-the-road option.

NARS Contour Blushes

The new NARS Contour Blushes ($42 each)

Olympia, the lightest of the three duos, has an ivory and a rose; Paloma, a pinkish beige and a deep rose; and Gienah, the darkest duo, houses a honey and an amber.

NARS Contour Blush in Olympia

NARS Contour Blush in Olympia

NARS Contour Blush in Paloma

NARS Contour Blush in Paloma

NARS Contour Blush in Gienah

NARS Contour Blush in Gienah

Like the MAC Pro Sculpting and Shaping Powders, they’re designed to shape and contour, and have a similarly smooth texture (not patchy at all), finely-milled powders and a soft sheen.

Initially, I was a little freaked out by the strong pink, rose and beige tones among these NARS duos and thought, “Are these only going to work well on cool-toned skin?” But nope, that’s not a problem.

I feared that the pinkish beige and rose tones in Paloma would go grayish on me and my warm skin tone, and they do — if I pile on too much — but as long as I stick to using a few light layers, I can easily sculpt and shape.

NARS Olympia Swatch

Olympia Swatch

NARS Paloma Swatch

Paloma Swatch

NARS Gienah Swatch

Gienah Swatch

You may have to use a few layers, depending on how deeply cut you want your contour, because these powders are on the sheer side — which isn’t a bad thing, mind you. I actually think it’s pretty genius. It makes them easy to control and virtually goof-proof. In my experience, it’s much easier (and even quicker) to build up sheer layers of contour color, as opposed to starting with something darker and trying to buff it down.

Buuuut, even if you do happen to over-apply one of these Contour Blushes — no worries. The buttery formula is easy to blend out.

As far as the finish, it appears matte in swatches, but I do see a hint of sheen on my face, which I think is nice. It seems real and natural.

I used to think that contouring would add tons of extra time to my routine, but it doesn’t. Not really. But my kind of contouring isn’t overly carved out.

NARS Contour Blush in Paloma before (left) and after (right)

Before applying NARS Contour Blush in Paloma on the left, and after on the right

To apply these, I load an angled face brush with one of the darker shades, then swipe it beneath my cheekbones, along my hairline, down the sides of my nose and along my jawline. Then, with the same brush, I apply the lighter shade on my upper cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose and on my Cupid’s bow, finishing with a dusting of whatever blush I happen to be wearing on the apples of my cheeks.

As long as I’m not foolin’ around (which, actually, does happen often), I can knock out a quickie contour in 2-3 minutes.

NARS Contour Blush in Paloma

Paloma with a bit of NARS Orgasm Blush on top

That’s what I like best about these Contour Blushes — they’re user-friendly. It makes them perfect for beginners and others interested in light contouring. Just be a little careful not to over-apply if you have warm skin tone like mine.

PRICE: $42 each
AVAILABILITY: Available now at NARS Boutiques and coming April 1 to NARS counters (also coming soon to

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 46 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Dovey says:

    Hi Karen,

    I was *just* searching for swatches of NARS Paloma when your review of the new contour blushes popped up! I haven’t used much bronzer lately, but I suppose I should get into the habit now that warmer weather is coming around. Love the naturally beautiful effect NARS Paloma has on you here πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dovey,

      Glad that I was able to do swatches for ya. I should mention that bronzer seems to give a different effect — more warmth, rather than straight chisel. Does that make sense? Anywho, you will enjoy Paloma, I think! It’s very easy to use and looks natural on the skin.

  2. Have been loving Nyx’s Taupe but I think I really need this new NARS offering! And yay for cheese πŸ™‚
    Marina(Makeup4all) recently posted … Cleansing Balms and Melting Cleansers Round-Up

  3. Tiffany says:

    I love all things NARS! These blushes look perfect for a natural looking contour.
    Tiffany recently posted … Breaking Beauty News: Ulta 21 Days of Beauty

  4. Natalie says:

    I can’t wait to try these! I’m so excited and glad that the highlighter side it’s glitter city.
    Natalie recently posted … Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade

  5. Allison C says:

    I do declare, I have the same little vice. But I love the light version of those cute little Mini-Babybels. They are great for taking the edge off when I’m out and about or at home and it’s not dinnertime. Love the Nars duos. I have to learn how to contour and highlight. It makes such a big difference. I have fair skin, and the contouring thing has always scared me, but the lightest of the 3 duos maybe just the thing! I guess I’ll pull out one of the contour/highlight charts and give it a shot πŸ™‚
    Allison C recently posted … March 2014 Ipsy Bag: A Little Lighter Than Usual

    • Karen says:

      Great minds think alike! I haven’t tried the light version. Is it just as yum?

      Oh, and contouring is easy once you get the hang of it. πŸ™‚

  6. I do like the idea of these! I can imagine getting myself one with a gift card since I wouldn’t pay $42 plus tax for one, I don’t think. I’m not sure which of the lighter two I’d get.
    Rikki Poynter recently posted … EVERYDAY NEUTRAL TAUPE SMOKEY EYE MAKEUP TUTORIAL | closed captioned

  7. hanna says:

    I like them!
    hanna recently posted … My Walmart Trip

  8. Fancie says:

    Karen, you remind me of my dog lol. Not that you look like a dog lmao. But EVERYTHING you do is so adorable!! Like who looks cute eating cheese? No one but you LOL! These duos look so amazing! I can’t wait to swatch Gienah!
    Fancie recently posted … Spring Lip Picks

  9. Oh i now think the void in my bronzer drawer will be filled! I have never found a bronzer that i have been happy with in terms of how well they sculpt my cheeks!

    Since yours is the same skin tone as mine, i know which one to pick!
    Chaitra @ PinkPot recently posted … THE NU NUDE

  10. Rhea says:

    Oh these seem great! I typically don’t contour with blush but Paloma seems great:)
    Rhea recently posted … Essie : Bikini So Teeny

  11. Bee says:

    Damn Karen… I just stocked up on costa riche and now Iwant these so bad… You are not good for mywallet …. (But then you mention RyGos and I melt)

  12. Alison M says:

    I love a good rosey shade for contour. These look fab!
    Alison M recently posted … I’ve Got the Blues With Radiant Orchid

  13. Let says:

    Paloma and Olympia look nice!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Let,

      They’re both really nice. I can’t do Olympia now, but maybe next year in the dead o’ winter, LOL.

      Do you currently contour on a daily basis? Or is it a once in a while thing for you?

      I always try to do a tiny bit, just to warm up my skin and build back in the curves after I do foundation.

      • Let says:

        Nope. I can’t contour to save my life :p . I’ve been looking at a few tutorials and products, but still not sure if I’m doing it right. On the rare occasions that I practiced, I ended up either with obviously asymmetric/unequal contours between left- and right- sides of my face , or with contour that’s way too sharp.

        On another note, maybe the contour shade of Olympia could work as a blush on you in the summer? πŸ™‚ It looks like a rosey color on your skin swatch.

  14. Agata says:

    I love these! I think the lightest one would work for me, right?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Agata,

      Yeah, totally. You might be able to do Paloma after you come back from a long beach vacation!

      I was thinking of you the other day…do you have Urban Decay Scorch liner? It would look GREAT with your eyes.

      • Agata says:

        I really think I should get Olympia! Lol. I don’t have Scorch liner, I will have to swatch it next time I am at Ulta but I did love the way it looked in your Unsung Heroes review. How would you see me wearing it?

  15. Gurrrl. These look so good! As a contour addict through and through (did you know that I bought my first contour powder long before my first blush? >.<), I'm dying to give these a go.

    And that purse-cheese idea, too πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›
    Rae // theNotice recently posted … Fraud vs poor customer service: What are your worst online shopping β€œhorror stories”?

    • Karen says:

      I didn’t know that! That’s really cool though. I bought many blushes before I even entertained the idea of contouring. You’ve got those killer cheek bones, though!

  16. Renae says:

    Wow, Karen! Cheekbones for days. What color do you recommend for a NC 30-35 ish? Can you do a YouTube tutorial on how you chiseled does cheeks and face?! With the orgasm blush, please?!

  17. Annette says:

    These look awesome! I just ran out of my Nars Laguna. Maybe I’ll try these out. Thanks Karen!

  18. Carolyn says:

    Hey Karen, you’ve piqued my interest in contouring!! However, I have a narrow face. From what I’ve read in the past, it seems that contouring can narrow a face — do you find that the case? Would you still recommend contouring for a person w/ a narrow face and noticeable cheekbones already? Thanks!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      Yes, I’ve noticed that. I can definitely see the difference in pics — with a little contouring I feel like my face looks a lot slimmer.

      You can always modify your contour to suit your face shape. On you, I think I would do a little bit underneath the cheekbones, just to add that extra something if you were going to take pics. Then I think I’d do a very light wash of color just along the edges of the forehead, but I wouldn’t bring it too far inward, because if you do that the face can look more narrow. Does that make sense?

  19. I just saw these online and was wondering how I haven’t seen any reviews for these and here you are! I like how they’ve added some rose tones to the lighter shades. I think very warm contouring can give a muddy appearance on lighter complexions.
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Video Tutorial : Emma Watson Oscars 2014 Makeup

  20. Sarah says:

    I just wanted to note, on top of the baddest cheekbones I’ve seen since Kim K, your skin looks RADIANT and flawless! You must tell me what you’re wearing and your secret!! xoxo

  21. looks really nice, and I like how the shades add subtle depth to the skin.. not very harsh.. me likey πŸ˜€
    Ritu TheIndianBeautyBlog recently posted … Kryolan Contour Pencil- 905: Review, swatch, demo

  22. Erin says:

    I love love love the subtle but noticeable effect! Can’t wait to swatch!
    Erin recently posted … Workout Wear Worth The Investment

  23. Vineetha says:

    These duos are nice! I am getting paloma πŸ˜‰ ! Thanks for those helpful swatches!
    Vineetha recently posted … Givenchy Le rouge Fuschia Irresistible Lipstick Review, Swatches

  24. Amber says:

    I didn’t think these would be my thing, but after your swatches, I need to check the lightest shade. I really love the look it gave, natural but contoured! I bet they would be good multi taskers too, maybe working as eyeshadows in a pinch. πŸ™‚
    Amber recently posted … Beauty Box Five March – Spring Cleaning!

  25. Katie says:

    Why oh why did they not bring back the ITA brushes with these!?! I can’t wait to try this as I love that it is packaged together and who can go wrong with NARS.

  26. Tiffany says:

    I love your swatch of Olympia. I use Bobbi Brown honey, do you think Olympia would show up on my skin tone?

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