|Source: Omona They Didn't. Spica disbanded last month. :(|
And here's Irene of Red Velvet for Instyle Korea, March 2016:
|Source: Omona They Didn't|
Now, needless to say, these photos have been smoothed and blurred and color-altered to hell. Because every irregularity of color and texture has been airbrushed away, there's a sharp contrast between skin and blush, a contrast that I'm not sure is achievable in real life. But that hasn't stopped me from searching for a blush that can deliver a subtle, yet not quite natural, cotton-candy flush. By the time I began my quest, the NARS Final Cut collection had come and gone, and with it my platonic pink blush, Sex Fantasy (lol). I thought about buying NARS Gaiety instead, but it seemed just a hair too dark. So you can imagine my elation when I heard about a new NARS spring collection containing a blush described as "lavender pink." It looked very similar to Sex Fantasy, and even had a similarly raunchy name: Threesome.
The collection in question is the pastelicious Pop Goes the Easel. Confusingly, this is not the official NARS Spring 2017 collection. Even more confusingly, it launched in Asia and Europe first, but landed just last week in the US, where it's a Nordstrom exclusive. Pop Goes the Easel comprises three blushes, three Sheer Pop Multiples (a new formula), and four Velvet Lip Glides, all limited edition. François Nars previously drew inspiration from Pop Art with his Warhol collection for Holiday 2012, but the product names in this collection ("Threesome," "Peep Show," and "Suck," among others) don't have much to do with any particular art movement. I'm all for cheeky allusive names like "Goodbye Emmanuelle" (my favorite lipstick name ever), but the names in Pop Goes the Easel don't really cohere with the collection's overall vibe. I just don't find over-the-top sexual names interesting unless they're placed in an aesthetic or narrative context, and these aren't. To confuse things further, the Sheer Pop Multiples are named for beaches and islands: Motu Tane (an island in French Polynesia owned by Mr. Nars himself), Cote Basque, and Navagio Beach. So...okay. Let's have a look at the blush.
The first thing I noticed about Threesome was its dusty, muted quality. It was very pale, but not as bright or white-based as Gaiety or Sex Fantasy. It was a slightly warmer pink than Instagram swatches had led me to believe, and I was reminded for the nth time how stupid it is to rely on Instagram for product shots.
When I finger-swatched the blush, I felt some trepidation: the pigmentation I expected from NARS blushes simply wasn't there, and I couldn't imagine that the color would show up well on my cheeks. From left to right, we have two finger-swipes of NARS Mata Hari, FIVE of Threesome, and one of Illamasqua cream blush in Zygomatic:
See how peachy Threesome looks next to Mata Hari? It's a cool pink for sure, but I wouldn't call it "lavender pink."
Generally, arm swatches done with a fingertip make blushes look more pigmented than they do on the cheeks. However, Threesome is odd: it looks pinker and darker on my face than it does on my paper-white inner arm. I definitely need more product than I do with Mata Hari, but two dips in the pan suffice for one cheek. I like concentrating the color on the apples for that vaguely k-beauty vibe. Threesome also wears quite well: I can still see it on my face several hours after application. I will say here that if you're not very pale, like too-light-for-most-foundations pale, this blush will probably not work for you. Pop Goes the Easel's other blushes, a dusty peach and a pinky coral, seem better suited to darker skin tones: here's the peach, Misconduct, on my beautiful Instagram pal tremblelikeaflower.
Yesterday was National Women's Day, so I paired Threesome with my favorite red lipstick, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red. The combination of pink blush and red lipstick felt very retro, so I did a messy '50s/'60s-style eye as well, using the Urban Decay Naked2 Basics palette and my Kiko black pencil liner. I used Stark all over the lid and Frisk in the crease, lined my upper lashlines with the Kiko pencil, smudged that out with Undone, and added a bit more Undone to the lower lashlines. Mysterious Red looks shinier than usual here because my winter-dry lips demanded that I apply it over lip balm.
It's hard for me to review blush because it usually looks less pronounced in photos than it does in real life, but the photo below gives a pretty good idea of how Threesome looks on my face. It's understated, but it's definitely there and definitely pink.
Possibly too close:
During my four-hour minimum-wage shift at a library desk yesterday, I realized that my Women's Day lips matched the red Loeb editions pretty hard. For those of you who aren't hardcore humanities nerds, Loeb is a Harvard University Press imprint that specializes in scholarly editions of Greek and Latin classics. The Greek editions are green and the Latin ones are red (for Rome). I sent my boyfriend (who, you'll remember, picked up Threesome from Selfridges) a photo that pretty much epitomized "gradcore"...
...which led to the following exchange:
My Glossier Puff should arrive today (it's somehow taken five days to travel just over 200 miles), so that will be my next review. I'm thinking that my ideal flush can best be achieved with a cream blush, and we'll see if I'm right. As for NARS Threesome, I like it and think it fills a gap in my blush wardrobe, but it's not quite what I expected. Come to think of it, Threesome resembles the activity for which it's named: alluring in theory, it can easily go wrong in practice, and it's certainly not for everyone.