Friday, April 20, 2012

NARS Pink Blushes: Gaiety vs. Desire

Blush is not that exciting a product to me, as I find it almost entirely utilitarian. For that reason, I am rarely enticed to experiment beyond my very limited comfort zone of color. It does not help that my blush journey has been clouded by "expert" recommendations for a warm, muted, dusty rose, which always makes me look ruddy. 

It's the fuchsia blushes (especially with lavender undertones) that sing to me. ♫  While that might seem an odd preference for a fair-skinned woman, my first blush purchase over two decades ago was a Chanel blush in a clear, vibrant, blue-based fuchsia color. I used up every particle of that beauty, but over the years I stopped wearing blush entirely. When I decided to start wearing it again, I settled on Bobbi Brown's Pale Pink matte blush, which though a great shade on me, could make me look feverish if I applied with too much exuberance.

When reviews started hitting the blogosphere about the new NARS Blush in Gaiety ($28), I took notice, but as I began my research, I felt torn. I could not make up my mind between Gaiety and Desire, which seemed to be in the same color family—a cool, clear, vibrant pink.


Some reviews opined that Desire and Gaiety were nearly identical and that you didn't need both. I certainly did not want both—I wanted the most flattering. After a bit of hemming and hawing, I chose Desire over Gaiety, partly because some reviews were calling Gaiety "too lavender." I loved Desire's clear fuchsia color, but like the Pale Pink blush, I found it far too easy to overdo.



Yet I  remained curious about Gaiety, so When NARS recently had a 20% promotion, I bought it and immediately compared it to Desire.



As you can see, they are similar but not at all the same. Desire has more of a red undertone, so it is slightly warmer, and Gaiety is a straight-up blue-based pink, with almost-imperceptible lavender undertones. NARS calls Gaiety a "bright candy pink," but I find that more descriptive of Desire, which NARS calls a "delicate bright pink." I'd swap those two descriptions and call it a day.


Heaven in a pan.


I can't believe how much I ♥♥♥ these blushes. What I was unable to capture in any of the pictures is the fact that Desire is completely matte, while Gaiety has a satin finish, which leaves my cheekbones luminous—and for that reason (combined with its gorgeous color) Gaiety is the clear winner.



In the below photo, although Gaiety does, indeed, look almost almost lilac on my skin, it transforms into a glowing clear pink on my cheeks.



Here are both Desire and Gaiety swatched on plain white paper so you can see the difference without skin undertones getting in the way. Desire has more warmth.


Bottom line: Gaiety is, without question, the prettiest blush I have ever owned.

UPDATE: Reader Barbara asked if Rouge Bunny Rouge Florita (reviewed/swatched here) was similar to Desire, so I am uploading a picture. In a word, no. Florita is a visibly warmer red, more of a strawberry warmed by the sun, whereas Desire is a hot pink with only a touch of red.




53 comments:

  1. WOW!! That's amazing!! I haven't even looked at this one because of my blush ban, and also because I am not a huge fan of pink blushes. But I'm kind of loving the looks of Gaieity now a lot!

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  2. I think we may be pretty much identical in skin tone you know! After my comments on your earlier blush post where I said that I would never wear pink because of my pink toned skin and you pointed out that pink on pink works as it looks natural I have discovered that I look better in cool toned stuff and have switched to pink blush rather than a nudey peach (MAC Tenderling - described as nude pink by MAC looks peach'ish on me). Finding my HG foundation, Estee Lauder Double Wear Light, and my pink flare up skin calming down massively, have both contributed too. I have been on a mission to find a blue toned blush and have bought two, a Bourjois one which is too "hot" for me, feverish is the perfect description of how it makes me look - and a very very cheap Boots Natural Collection one which is getting nearer the sheer cool wash of pink that I want, but still isn't there. Of course having read this post I have now seen the absolute HG of blue toned pink blushers ... shame its so flipping expensive! If you are ever bored(!!) and wanted to do a total blush round up of your blue toned pinks I would be one very avid reader! x

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    1. I really should do a roundup of my pink blushes. And I totally agree about MAC Tenderling—such a pretty color but too warm and peachy on me. My first MAC blush was Prism, and it was a bit of a disaster. These 'universal' muted, dusty-rose shades never worked on me at all.

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  3. I'm happy you found an exceptional blush! Great pictures. I wish we were the same season so I could benefit from your knowledge, perseverance, and photography skills.

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    1. Thanks Emma Peel. Unfortunately you and I could not have more different coloring, given our "true" seasons. Do you find having less "give" into the neutral edges of your season to be a challenge?

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    2. Yes, it's somewhat of a challenge, but it's well worth the extra effort to find something that is bang on. There's no room for compromise with "true" seasons, as you've probably discovered.

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    3. I absolutely have! I now understand why so many colors I thought should work just simply. did. not. And, you are right--it's so wonderful to find that perfect, harmonious color and so worth it in the long run.

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  4. Oh why did I look? Why oh why? And that bottom line....well then I HAVE to buy this. What other choice do I have? *sigh* I wish we had the 20% off promotion here. I don't think it was effective here. I think I remember trying the code on the canadian website.

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    1. Guess what? I'd probably repurchase this blush if there were a 20% increase on it! I love that I can swirl and swirl my brush and it doesn't lay down a big rosy patch of color. Sure, I can overdo it with Gaiety, just as I can with Desire, but I don't have to be as careful.

      If you like clear, cool, bright pinks, this is a worth edition.

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  5. Awesome swatches. Funny, I just recieved a swap package with gaiety! Now, I'm even more excited about it with your post.

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    1. Lucky you, Jessica! I can't imagine giving Gaiety away. Of course I realize it's not for everyone, but that just means more for you and me. :^)

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  6. I couldn't agree more about Gaiety. I bought it a soon after it launched, and it is definitely as fantastic as you say. This is a great post-- I don't have Desire, but the side by side is so helpful. The difference between the two makes me think of the differences between Rose Tourbillon and the old Pink Explosion. I love that Gaiety is a true cool bright pink-- so perfect for fair cool girls like you, Perilously Pale, and me. PP-- you definitely NEED this one in your stash!! This would be gorgeous with one of those beautiful smokey eye looks that you do!

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    1. I think the comparison between Rose Tourbillon and the old Pink Explosion is probably completely accurate. I never owned Tourbillon, but I have seen lots of swatches and it reads as a much more red pink.

      I am so in love with the fact that Gaiety is such a subtle, natural look.

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    2. That's exactly what I was thinking as well-- there's definitely more red in RT. I tend to prefer wearing the clean, clear, cool pinks without much red. Gaiety really is an amazing blush-- it imparts such a lovely glow from within. I can't believe that I almost didn't get this blush when I first saw it-- I reasoned that I had things close to it in my stash. I'm so glad that I got it, but I if I hadn't I surely would have after this post!

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    3. Indeed! I can usually count on someone's blog post to tip my resolve over the edge. Of course now I am curious about Tumulte.

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    4. I do the exact same thing. Sometimes my resolve is quite weak- especially when faced with so many pretty pink blushes. I am still curious about Tumulte as well. I still haven't caved and picked it up, but definitely decided against the new Pink Explosion. The old version is enough for me.

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    5. I just picked up MAC Pink Peony Blush, and it looks like a slightly darker version of Gaiety. I was thinking of you as I picked it up. I swatched them side by side and shot some pictures-- I'll get a post up soon. It is quite pretty, but it isn't NEARLY as silky smooth as Gaiety.

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    6. I haven't heard of Pink Peony, sounds pretty. I adore peonies! Unfortunately, I can't wear MAC blush, especially the satin formula I prefer--it makes my face red. I have no idea what's in it, but it bothers me. I recently tried Dame, Dollymix, and Well Dressed, and they all did the same thing to my face.

      I do look forward to the comparison, though. And yes, MAC blush texture can feel a bit stiff.

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    7. It's a very pretty color, but definitely not on par with the quality of Gaiety. It's from yet another one of MAC's LE collections. I wish that they would slow down the LE collections and concentrate on quality rather than quantity-- but I do believe that ship has sailed! Who knows which of the ingredients would be responsible for the reaction- I wish that I could say that I was surprised!

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  7. I couldn't agree with you more about finding blush unexciting - I cannot understand people who own hundreds because unlike eyeshadow and lipstick it seems to me to be something you need one of, in the right colour. Having said that, I own about ten, largely because I haven't found the right colour yet. Benefit Dandelion is pretty close though and I'm curious if you've tried that and what you think.

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    1. GreatShe, I have tried Dandelion. In fact, I have purchased it at least twice, maybe three times, and always ended up tossing it. As fair as I am, it just doesn't sit well on me, and that makes me wonder if perhaps there's a subtle warmth to it. I am not exaggerating when I say my face does not like makeup with any warmth in it whatsoever. So Dandelion, even though it looks like a cool pink in its cute little box, just disappears on me.

      Back in the old days, I had one blush. First a Clinique that I rejected (I think it was called New Clover) as being too muted and ruddy making; then the glorious fuchsia Chanel, which took years for me to use; and when that was gone I bought one by Prescriptives, which I probably purchased in 1990 and used for another 10 years. My next blush was the result of succumbing to those "universal" claims, and purchased a shu uemura blush in some amber color, #85 I think, which was so wrong. That was it for the next few years.

      Out of curiosity, I just checked (working at home today). Gaaa. I have 17 blushes, and only half of them are duds, but I will soon be releasing all but 2-3 of them into an upcoming blog sale. I agree that I need only ONE blush that matches the color of my own rosy flush.

      That said, I make no judgment against self-proclaimed blush fiends. (Tracy, I'm looking at you!) Coming from the girl who once owned more than 50 single eyeshadows and x palettes, I have no wiggle room. We all have our little predilections.

      Meanwhile, I am slowly unburdening myself of the excess. Not only does it feel liberating, getting ready in the morning takes so much less time.

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  8. I really liked Desire (I once owned it, pre-allergy test). I bought Smashbox Radiance to make up for it, because those bright punchy pinks are my favorite kind of pink blush.

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    1. Bright punchy pinks make the world go round! Maybe not so much with red lips, though. I tend to go without blush when I wear a pigmented red, but I am not wearing my crazy red lips as much these days.

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  9. Oh no now I really want this! I never thought it was the same as Desire though. Gaiety has that orchid undertone which makes it a bit lavender which I like in blushes and those are hard to find. And, since I like these types then I should really buy this now! LOL

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    1. Do you not already have it? I could have sworn you reviewed it already. Ooh, orchid. I like the sound of that much more than lavender undertones, but whatever the case, it works!

      Clinique Iced Lotus is similar, but it's a tiny bit more frosty, as it contains white microshimmers I can see in the pan. I have a hard time detecting the shimmers in Gaiety, so I guess it is a satin finish.

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  10. Great comparison! You take such accurate photographs, they're very helpful. I've looked at these blushes too and I agree, the descriptions are so backward. Now I'm regretting not giving Gaiety a chance! (Buying blush is too much of a commitment for me) I almost never buy blush, unless it happens to come in a package with other makeup goodies. I spend so much time trying to get rid of redness that it almost feels wrong to apply blush. Some blushes also tend to make my freckles look weird...like grey almost? Not a good look. It's like my freckles are more warm toned, but my skin itself is cooler toned. So I suppose that makes me neutral overall? I honestly have no idea what colors are most flattering! :)

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  11. EmmyJean, we sound like we could be skin twins. My skin is cool underneath with some beige/yellow overtones and surface redness. I also have freckles, which are a warm caramel color---exactly the same color as Ellis Faas Creamy Eyes eyeshadow, in fact. They are definitely warmer than they surrounding skin, and yet I am a pure cool-toned person.

    Based on erroneous advice, I spent a few years thinking that my pink-toned skin would look feverish in pink-toned blush, but pink is what suits me best. No muddy pinks or beiges for me, not anymore.

    Treat yourself and at least go try Gaiety on. You might be surprised. I believe it is now part of NARS permanent line, like Lhasa, so there should be no rush.

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    1. Oh so excited to have such a knowledgeable skin twin!! =D Is there a powder "bronzer" you would recommend? Not that I'm trying to look like a bronzed goddess or anything lol. I'd like to try something subtle, but everything I've tried so far just seems...off.

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    2. WmmyJean, it's funny you mention bronzer because it's that time of year when I start to think about it again. I have tried so many: Guerlain, Physicians Formula, Chanel, Edward Bess, Dior, Bobbi Brown ... all made my face look dirty. I have concluded that fair pink skin just isn't meant to bronze. Sure I can actually tan if I go outside for long enough, but the color I turn is not golden brown. My freckles will "caramelize" and warm up, but my skin turns a rosy brown (if you can really call it brown) and certain parts of my body just refused to tan, like calves and face. My stomach would get really dark, for some reason.

      The only bronzer I have ever used with a modicum of success was Armani Bronzer #1. This is because it's sheer and has very slight mauve undertones. Most other bronzers contain too much yellow.

      Rouge Bunny Rouge Liquid Bronzing Glow is also pretty good, but I prefer powder, especially the time of year when I would wear bronzer, which is when my skin is oilier. i think you just gave me a new post idea. :)

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    3. Excuse the typo in your name and any other typos I might have made above. I was typing in the dark before work.

      I am going to post about all my bronzing fails! If anything, it might give you a clue as to which bronzers you might want to avoid--or at least test first.

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  12. I really like gaiety. this and the new dior one look so great on pale skin. I like them more than Illamasqua Katie. I wish there would be a shade out there, that has a base like gaiety but more peachy. I do find most of the blsuhers look the same once applied. in fact, my pale skin allows me to see a small difference but not very obvious. or do I just have to much blushes? lol

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    1. A friend told me that Gaiety and the new Dior blush are identical. I ended up with Gaiety partly because I wanted to compare it to Desire, but also because NARS has such a good reputation for its blush.

      I can't think of any peachy blushes, mostly because peach is a color that doesn't love me, so I avoid it, but surely Chanel has the market cornered on peach-based blushes with a satin formula... what about Espiègle or Imprévu (no idea what their finish is but does Chanel even do matte?). Or what about MAC Immortal Flower (the satin finish), which is a bright peach, but it might not contain any pink.

      Or maybe Clinique Blushing Blush in Precious Posy. I have it in Iced Lotus and it has a nice finish, though maybe a tiny bit more shimmery than satin, but I was surprised how much I liked the color and finish.

      Oh, wait I just thought of one that might be perfect: Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color in Petal, which is a light peachy pink, and the Shiseido blush has an outstanding finish; I have it in Petal.

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  13. Out of subject but my curiosity. When did NARS have %20 percent off? Where? Which store/online store? Did I miss it?:(

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    1. It was online about two weeks ago. If you subscribe to their online newsletter, perhaps you'll get advance notice next time. I heard about it online somewhere, probably on another blog.

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  14. Thanks for this post! :) I bought Desire a couple of weeks ago and I looove it! I just bought Gaeity a while ago, and I can't wait to wear it!!! Love your blog! :)

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  15. Thanks for this post! :) I bought Desire a couple of weeks ago and I looove it! I just bought Gaeity a while ago, and I can't wait to wear it!!! Love your blog! :)

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! If you love Desire you will adore Gaiety. At least I think so. It's more goof proof and the color is more sheer. It is my all-time favorite blush.

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  16. Thanks for the comparison! My Sephora seemed to be constantly out of Desire :(

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    1. Hi OPI, I don't know if you subscribe to comments, but I wanted to let you know that this morning I recevied an email from narscosmetics.com.

      They're offering free shipping for 5 days, and it appears there's no code required. You can also get a mini Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base with any order using ESBASE12 at checkout.

      I just checked and Desire is in stock.

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  17. That's a wonderful post!
    I love reading your blog because I am a cool season as well (cool winter). This really makes shopping more difficult.
    Do you think that desire is similar to RBR Florita?

    Thanks!

    BTW, have you checked the blush Amazing from Addiction?

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    1. Hi Barbara, thanks very much! As a Cool Summer, I am just a lighter, slightly more greyed version of a Cool Winter. :) No, I have not seen Amazing from Addiction but you have now piqued my interest.

      As for Florita, I would say not so similar to Desire. Desire is primarily a blue-based hot pink with very very slight red undertones, which barely takes the cool chill off. Florita is a warm red raspberry red with almost infinitesimal gold shimmers.

      I hope that helps. RBR Gracilis isn't similar, either. Gracilis is a neutral rose with faint brown undertones that mutes it. It's too muted for me. I'm all about the clown cheeks as long as I do it gently.

      I just uploaded a photo of Florita into this post, so you can see the color in context, but I also reviewed Florita here, where the pictures are a little better than the one above.

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    2. Thanks very much! I only shop online, and this is so incredible difficult for pure cool seasons! I have Gracilis and Florita, and I think Florita is too warm and Gracilis is a little too muted on me as well.
      I enjoy reading beauty blogs in my free time, and so far yours is the most helpful for me. I have bought a lot of make up based on reviews by The Beauty Look Book and by Cafe make up, but colors that are wonderful on Sabrina and Liz just don't work for me (of course this is all my fault - I always have the hope that wonderful beige lipstick that are gorgeous on them will be also be gorgeous on me - it never is the case). This is very interesting - I have the LMdB lipstick in Fiji, a pink peach color - on Liz it appears completely pink, on me it is predominantly peach.

      Well, thanks again!

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    3. I agree, Barbara, it's extremely difficult for pure cool seasons to shop, let alone online! All ready-made eyeshadow quads have at least 1-3 colors that are too warm or shimmery, so I have given up. And, yes, Sabrina and Amy are bloggers extraordinaire, but they are both warm toned.

      I finally learned last winter the reason I can't wear brown eyeshadow. My skin broadcasts any warmth applied to it, so like you, a peachy pink lipstick will be practically orange on me and a taupe eyeshadow that has even a hint of gold will look like someone smeared mud on my eyelids.

      When I had my colors done, my analyst said, "No cool is too cool for you." I thought she was partly joking, but after a few months of experimenting, I finally get it. As a Summer, it's harder for me because I have to wear ice cool, but it has to be lighter. Winter colors are too vibrant for me.

      I would be happy to share the cool enough colors that work for me if you're interested. You could email me or I can post it here.

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    4. Hi, this reply really intrigues me: I'm part Asian, part Scottish, with a light complexion and green eyes. Freckles, yes! The thing is, it seems the world over, everyone insists on making me buy/wear brown eyeshadow!!! It just does not suit me; it makes me look exhausted, and it seems to be a completely different colour from what it actually looks like it might be. I'd love to be able to wear all the "Asian" looks but I really can't. I also cannot seem to find a "nude" shade of lipstick! Lots of colours will look orangey/apricot on me, but at the same time, if I wear a true nude shade, I look once again exhausted, washed out and terribly aged! I'm a makeup fan, but not knowledgeable, so I don't understand the whole "winter" "cool" etc. I know that it's hard for me to find eyeshadow colours that will suit me AND bring out the green in my eyes, as well as a nice, everyday go-to lipstick colour! And I completely get that statement about taupe eyeshadow looking muddy; I tried some the other day and it looked like I had dark mud on my eyelids! So, what can I do??? I find myself liking colours like blue/greens on me. Is that normal or am I completely wrong? I thank you in advance for any advice/help!

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    5. Hi MazzyMouse, if even cool-neutral shades turn muddy on you, I'd suspect you as being one of the true cool season, such as True/Cool Winter or True/Cool Summer. Test it out, but it's best to drape yourself with swatches of fabric, as makeup isn't an ideal determinant. If you find you look your best in colors with blue undertones, you'll next need to figure out if you can handle the more saturated and/or icy cool tones of Winter or if you look best when your colors are softened a touch with grey, such as the more muted tones of Summer. Although hair and eye color can play a role in how colors appear on you (especially their value), forget about them. It all comes down to the skin's undertones.

      I'd recommend that you join two groups on Facebook. The people there can give you lots of help and point you to resources. The groups are private, so you can post pictures of yourself, which some members of the groups find very helpful. You can also find out, through these groups, if there are any color analysts near you (and whether they come highly recommended or not!). The two groups to search for are "True Summer Sisterhood" and "All Things Winter."

      I really do understand how confusing and frustrating it is. My eyes are blue, but they appear green because they have yellow dots around the iris. And my hair is dark ash blonde, but it has red highlights (apparently this happens the minute I step out into the sun). And I have freckles, the color of caramel. For years, makeup artists mistook me for Autumn, which is probably the worst season on earth for my skin tone. :) Luckily, I discovered Prescriptives back when they were at counters, and I came up a Blue/Red every time, which confirmed my own suspicions and preferences.

      I wrote a little bit about color theory a couple years ago in this post; http://theeverydaybeauty.blogspot.com/2011/12/i-got-draped-seasonal-color-system.html

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  18. I just discovered your blog after jumping over from Into the Gloss - and I LOVE IT. As you can tell, I've been reading through the archives. I agree with you on so many things! I actually hadn't read anything about Gaiety - makeupalley, where I go for all my reviews, only just recently began to have reviews posted for it, and I bought Gaiety possibly the day it came out. I LOVE this blush, it's just so pretty and 'lit from within' looking. This makes me think I need to go and rethink all my blushes. I keep getting caught up in the peachy/warm toned ones, and am always disappointed that they make me look muddy. Cool toned blushes it is, from here on out.

    Thank you!

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    1. Hi tai, I am so glad to hear it! It doesn't get much more perfect than Gaiety. Thank goodness it's in NARS' permanent collection and not limited edition.

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  19. I hope I am not too late here haha,just ordered my Gaiety from Sephora and I am longing for it to be in my hand,and on my cheek! I don't have pink blushes and was looking through Nars's blushes online since in my country,there is no Nars in Sephora here,so too bad I can make a swatch and test it for myself. But after reading this review I know I made the right choice,I just need one pink blusher,I don't need two or three since I am not so keen on pink,but I know I will love Gaiety as much as you do! For reference I am NC30 and slightly NC35 when tanned. Hope this color will complement my skin tone since I have a bit of redness on my cheek? Well anyway,thanks for this awesome reviews! :) love it!

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  20. Hi ! Just wanted to let you know I just bought Gaiety yesterday and I love it! True Summer here , NW25 in MAC. It looks great! Natural, yet bright. Thanks so much.

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  21. Hi ! Just wanted to let you know I just bought Gaiety yesterday and I love it! True Summer here , NW25 in MAC. It looks great! Natural, yet bright. Thanks so much.

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  22. Thanks for the review! I couldn't decide on which to buy.' After reading your review and the photos shown, it came clear to me that 'gaiety' is the one for me, as my skin has a cool undertone. I also agree with you that Nars should swap the descriptions for the two colors; 'delicate bright pink' for 'gaiety' and 'candy bright pink' for 'desire,' the description almost misled me... All in all, great review and great photo! Thanks again.

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