Top row: Hourglass Diffused Heat, NARS Exhibit A, NARS Gaiety, NARS Deep Thorat.
Bottom row: NYX Apricot, NYX Red, NYX Flamingo, ELF Candid Coral.

When it comes to blush, NARS make hands-down the best one around. Whether you’re going for a soft glow, a natural flush, or a cute pop of pink, there’s a cruelty-free blush for it at every price tag.

Diffused Heat and Apricot create a highlighted peachy pink cheek. If you’re on the pale side, check out Deep Throat or Candid Coral for the same effect. The scary-looking matte red blushes, Exhibit A and aptly-named Red, work great for dark as well as light skin; I’m pretty pale and Exhibit A, when applied lightly, gives me a natural-looking flush. Yes, a very light hand is the key, or you’ll end up looking like a baboon’s bright red bottom — it’s that pigmented. If pink’s your thing, Gaiety is also super pigmented and a little goes a long way.

Verdict: I like to splurge on blush. Don’t get me wrong; NYX makes pretty good affordable blushes. But for me, nothing compares to the quality, pigmentation, and lasting power of high-end blush.