Nars Cheek Palettes: Basic Instincts and Orgasm on the Beach swatches and review

Nars excels at palettes, and their recent blush palettes are some of the best they’ve released yet. I lost interest in some of their palettes some years ago because they always had the same variations of shades, or always included the shade Orgasm. However, these new releases – the Basic Instincts Quad and Orgasm on the Beach palette – are unique. Even the Orgasm on the Beach palette, which does have the shade, manages to be fresh, with different textures and shades from their usual palettes. 

I bought both these palettes within a short time frame because I just couldn’t resist them. Both of them are limited edition and starting to sell out, so pick them out sooner rather than later if you’ve had your eye on them! 

The first palette is the Basic Instincts Quad II ($39 for .56 oz/15.9 g), which is a collection of 4 shades in deeper tones. All 4 of these shades are permanent shades, but they are shades I don’t have in my collection yet, and make a really great combination when used together. They would also work great as a warm toned eyeshadow quad! There is a quad with lighter shades, but that one does include Orgasm and other shades that have already been featured in many of Nars’s palettes. 

The shades in Basic Instincts II are: 

  • Torrid – a pinky coral shade with slight shimmer
  • Savage – a warm rosy bronze with shimmer
  • Exhibit A – a matte red
  • Taj Mahal – an orange bronze with shimmer

In this next photo I’m wearing Torrid, and in the second photo, I’m wearing Taj Mahal and Savage mixed:

All the shades in this quad perform as well as their regular blushes, but what really makes this palette a great buy is the price point. It’s $39 for 4 almost full-size blushes, making it less than $10 per shade. Each Nars blush is .16g, or 4.53 grams, and they retail for $30 each normally, so this palette is only about ⅓ of what it would take to buy 4 blushes separately! That really clinched the deal for me, plus despite the brighter and deeper shades, I’ve been finding them really easy to incorporate into my everyday makeup. 

If you’re looking to expand your blush collection, I definitely recommend checking out this palette, or the more pink-toned palette if you don’t already have Orgasm in your collection. These palettes are exclusive to Ulta and the Nars website. Only the pink-toned quad is available at Ulta, but Quad II is available on the Nars website.

The next palette, the Orgasm on the Beach palette, was one I was convinced I didn’t need until I saw it in person with swatches. It seems like Nars has done a number of palettes in this shade combination already, but it’s the gelee texture that really sold me. All 6 of the shades have a beautiful wet-look shimmer finish that really captures light so well.

This palette is $59 for .6oz/17g, which is in line with their previous 6-pan palettes.It’s starting to sell out at retailers, though it is still available at Bloomingdales and Macys.

From the first glance, it’s hard not to be drawn in by the pink reflective packaging. It might attract fingerprints, but it’s so pretty that I don’t really mind. The shades include 2 shades that work best as highlighters, and 4 shades that work as blushes. The shades include:

  • Turtle Bay – a champagne with multicolor shimmer
  • Naples – a rose gold
  • Mandalay – a rosy bronze 
  • Montezuma – a golden peach
  • Orgasm – a pinky peach
  • Zuma – a rosy red
Top to bottom: Turtle Bay, Naples, Mandalay, Montezuma, Orgasm, Zuma

I also have a few full face photo wearing Naples and Mandalay together from this palette:

Like I mentioned, all of these shades have a radiant shimmery finish with a baked gelee texture, making them perfect a glowy rosy and bronze look. Each of the shades can be applied sheerly, or built up to have more intense pigment. I’ve used these shades on their own, as well as layered together for the ultimate glow. 

It really is hard to capture the full beauty of these in photos, and they glow so brilliantly in the sun without emphasizing my pores. As with any shimmer, these can emphasize texture if you apply too much at once, but in sheer layers, I don’t have any issues. 

Although summer is almost over, I will still find plenty of ways to enjoy this palette throughout the year.

Here are swatches of both palettes together:

Nars Orgasm on the Beach (6 shades on the left) and Basic Instincts II on the right

Have you tried these palettes? Let me know what you think of them below!

As always, thanks for reading.

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